A Couple of Choices

I’m still here. Been busy as a bee. And I need your help. But before we get to that… we have to digress a bit.

<Digression Alert: But why are bees always represented as being busy? Why not busy as an ant? Have you ever seen an ant lying around goofing off? No, right? But bees get all the credit for being busy, when, in fact, all they do is buzz around, pollinating flowers. Well, I guess they give us honey for my toasted English muffins. And of course, the thought that if we get rid of the bees, we’d have only twenty years to live before we die of starvation and cannibalism gives us pause.>

I know, you love those Digression Alerts! Nobody else alerts you like SloWord does. How absolutely darling we are here at SloWord. But now folks, we have to tell you why we’ve been busy. Busier than a hibernating bear. Busier than a Punjabi Pasta. Busier than a Bollywood dream sequence. Busier than… you get the idea, right? I’ve been busy.

Why have I been busy? Let’s consider the facts.

  1. I wake up at the crack of dawn.
  2. I undergo the usual morning ablutions plus additional special ceremonies to maintain the facade.
  3. I climb up and down flights of stairs carrying a bag.
  4. I catch commuter trains by the skin of my teeth, throwing them this way and that. ( Yes. I’m kidding. )
  5. I climb up and down steep, dangerous stairs among a crowd of other death marchers.
  6. I walk 12.785647 minutes to work.
  7. I drag a wheeled bag behind me as I cross streets, dodge other pedestrians.
  8. I undergo severe stress testing all day surviving on a single cup of dark roast coffee.
  9. I walk 12.785647 minutes to the station.
  10. I climb the steepest, narrowest stairs to the train platform.
  11. I ride home on the train.
  12. I stare at the ceiling for 3.986643 hours
  13. I repeat steps 1-10 the next day.
  14. I teach for 4.4637 hours on Saturday afternoons.
  15. I stare at chores for 12.5857 hours on Sunday.
  16. I go back to step 1.

Notice, what’s missing from that list? Exactly! No writing time. No time for you. No time for pandering to the polity that politely passes-up the possible pleasure of perusing posts such as this. In the interest of fairness and full disclosure I should mention that I have exaggerated a bit. It doesn’t actually take 12.785647 to walk between the station and work. It’s only 11.9863 minutes.

I’m hoping that my disarming honesty will charm you into wastin… I mean, indulging me a little.

For I have an announcement to make. Very soon now, you will be able to look for this on Amazon.

(c) Ajesh Sharma

Yes. True fact! I cannot tell a lie. I wrote a play and it will be available on Amazon as an e-book very soon.

How soon, you ask? Soon. As soon as I can read each stage direction and edit and re-edit for the 45th time.

What’s it about?

Ok. This is how it goes. Alex and Phyllis are estranged, middle-aged couple, who have never divorced. He moved away to the other end of the country. Ten years have gone by. They have two children. Mark is now married. Andrea is engaged and is planning her wedding. Phyllis calls Alex to say she is coming to visit him. The curtain goes up as he prepares for her arrival. What happens next? Do they resolve their differences? What do the kids think of all this? What about Linda, Alex’s agent?

And what happens at the end? You can help me decide. Vote below and tell me what you think happens when the curtain falls. Gives me your best guesses and wildest endings!



The Lady and the Fan

Oscar Wilde in 1889
Oscar Wilde in 1889 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday Jul 23rd, 12:30AM EDT: Now at home sipping tea after the longish drive back from Niagara-On-the-Lake for dinner and theatre (or theater, if Murrcan) with the missus.

Every time I see or read a play, I’m amazed at the depth of emotion playwrights can evoke in me. Schaffer’s Equus or Amadeus, in particular, are powerful works; the whole body tenses up as the lights and sound flash by in my head.

I’ve always admired Captain Bluntschli, Raina’s chocolate cream soldier, for his charm, his confidence and sheer good sense and practicality. Shaw’s Pleasant and Unpleasant plays are all wonderful to read and re-read.

As an idealistic dreamer in college I went through a long drawn phase of reading every play I could find. Stoppard, Ayckbourn, Pinter, Plater, Schaffer, Simon et al. I devoured them all. Samuel French would have shaken my hand if I had actually bought copies instead of borrowing from the British Council library!

Meanwhile, here is a picture of the non-Shakespeare drama selection at Indigo, Canada’s largest bookstore chain.

Indigo's drama selection
Indigo’s drama selection

Evidently Shakespeare is the only real playwright they know and even the great Will only has as much space as the others and a lot of that space is occupied with study guides. So clearly, if you want to buy a copy of a play you’re up the proverbial creek.

Anyway, back to my theatre or theater experiences. A few years ago, I was treated to one of my favorite Oscar Wilde plays, The Importance of being Earnest. That was a lavish and beautiful production, one that Stratford, ON can be proud of. (Justin B – I’d brush under the carpet, if I was Stratford).

Today’s production of Wilde’s darker comedy was lavish in an understated way. I must confess that Lord Darlington failed to impress. In the emotionally chaotic scene with Lady Windermere his passion and his profession of love for lady W died on delivery. She on the other hand came through strong as a young woman tossed first one way and then the other. She was ably supported by strong performances from Mrs Erlynne and Lord W,

All in all a great play and an excellent production.

Later today will be in Toronto for Mousetrap, where Agatha’s cliched and mildly xenophobic/racist characters will run through the usual rounds of misdirection before the climax. We shall see.

Next Tuesday, it’s back to the NOTL for Major Barbara. The Shaw Festival wouldn’t be complete without something from GB himself. Here’s hoping I get to see Stoppard’s Arcadia as well.