Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I spent the middle of the day in Boston Monday putting the furniture and prop items from The Inman Diaries production back into MIT’s storage. I had a kind of Emily in Act 3 of “Our Town” moment, a feeling that I was in a familiar place but separated from it all at the same time, that I was an alien in what had once been my home.
Nothing that any of my friends and former colleagues did or said kept me at arm’s length in any way. I was greeted with enthusiasm and hugs. On the contrary, I was the one who felt distanced, wondering how freely and familiarly I should treat tools and computers and other objects that four month ago were ”mine.” The feeling eased as I got everything put way, but I was aware that I’d gone through a life passage and that in ways both great and subtle, everything has changed.
My time at MIT was followed by lunch with a close friend in Somerville’s Davis Square at the Rosebud Diner. I’ve got a real soft spot in my heart for diner and bar food. It’s generally good, cheap, and plentiful and frequently served by great old waitresses who serve up meatloaf and fruit pies with equal amounts of humor and attitude.
I try to locate diners wherever I go. When I first met Fritz, he introduced me to the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH, noted hangout for the city’s politicians. We were there again just last week for breakfast after a trip to his HMO. When we’re on the road I frequently suggest we find diners for breakfast or lunch. They’re old fashioned, comfortable and comforting, like the food they serve.
My next goal when we travel is to stay at a place that has individual cabins rather than a modern motel unit. I loved staying in cabins as a kid and want to do it again.
The reviews have started coming out for The Inman Diaries. We knew the work was popular—we got audiences larger than ever before and public response was strong. So far, the Boston Globe and Edge Boston—a gay-oriented ezine—have published reviews; both praised the music enthusiastically but were rather hard on the libretto.
The singers got a lot of well-deserved praise, and the Globe felt that our young director’s “clean, unobtrusive staging keeps the drama in focus.” The Globe also acknowledged the company’s unique mission to premiere new works: “Intermezzo is an invaluable champion of new opera: "The Inman Diaries" is its sixth premiere in five seasons. And there are some fine things in the work. [Composer Thomas Oboe] Lee coaxes some rich sounds from the seven-piece orchestra (conducted with sturdy clarity by James Busby); he has a flair for gently tipping simple, triadic folk- and hymn-like harmonies into the more melancholy opulence of classic American popular song.”
Edge Boston’s Kilian Melloy was even more enthusiastic about everything (but the libretto), and had this comment on my work:
“The lighting was moody, affecting, sometimes mysterious: the set, with gemlike islands of furniture scattered about a space defined by heavy black curtains (fitting for Inman, who prized quiet and employed heavy drapes to shut out light and muffle sound) was like a collage from memory, or a scrapbook come to fully dimensional life; thank William A. Fregosi for both the lighting and the set.”
This production was my first time designing in Boston without a base (a fully equipped shop of my own) to work from, but with proper organization and preparation I now am sure it can be done. Intermezzo and I are both interested in my designing for the company well into the future and that’s something I’m looking forward to with much happiness.
From a group of relationship jokes sent by a friend:
Question: Why is it so hard for women to find men who are sensitive, caring, good-looking and great lovers?
Answer: Because those men already have boyfriends.