Don't Ask Don't Tell - Blake Cornish's new play

So today was my son's sixth birthday party. It didn't finish in enough time for me to take a train to London to see a rehearsed reading of Blake's play. Blake has written a play set in the early days of the DADT policy. It is a farce. Get it? It's so perfect because it is a farce. The play and the policy. I think that is what makes the play so powerful. Blake is a Groucho Marx fan and a Marx Brother movie buff like me, and he has caught something of the voice of their movies. So it isn't trying to be a statement, it's trying to be entertaining. I have been privileged to read several drafts, and I think it's huge. It is the perfect play for now. I really wish I could have been there. I feel the same physical pain that I felt when I missed the Battersea Theatre preview of Jerry Springer Opera.

I'm going to text him right before the curtain and tell him to enjoy it. Just to enjoy it. One of the best nights of the last decade was in August 2000 when I first watched a performance of a play I wrote. It was so unexpectedly delicious and transcendent to see the reaction of the audience to my truest thoughts. Nods of assent, deep laughs . . . empathy. It was better than winning a jury trial, and let me tell you, that is a phenomenal feeling.

Thinking about it is almost enough to make me want to restart my own plays, but right now I am existing in this odd half life. I am beginning to conclude that the multiple rejections and blow offs I have had from so very many theatres extract a physical cost. It is depressing, and right now the short term gain in knowing that no more rejection is on its way is worth ceasing writing plays.

And maybe, anyway, the thrill I describe above I could find in a different venue, I'm practically testifying in these plays, I just need to find some kind of congregation. In a strictly unreligious sense. Just some group. Sometimes Facebook does that for me, every once in a while, and Twitter, and this blog, but it's a strange thing blogging, it's like playing charades to team that cannot shout anything out. Oh, and also, someone is always calling you from the other room to get him milk or watch a really funny part of Beverly Hills Chihuahua (I know) (don't judge).

Before I go I would like to kick off Cornish's hit with a few anecdotes. You know my father-in-law died this fall, but he met Blake and he started this joke where he would say, Blake, what is your surname and Blake would say Cornish and Sir David would say, I know it's Cornish but what is it? That one is kind of corny, but Sir David was kind of proud of himself for the gag and repeated it a couple times and I thought it was adorable.

The most sit-commy moment with Blake was definitely when he was dressing for the Adams Morgan Halloween Ball, which is the social event of the gay fall calendar, at the magical house on Swann Street I shared with V. and my brother. He was going as Marge Simpson. He left his elaborate costume in a bag. Next to a number of bags I had out for charity pick up. So of course we had an unwanted Three's Company episode trying to get the bag back.

He also watched the returns from the Gore-Bush election at the house. A bunch of people did, and when I came back from dance class, there was a happy drunken party in my living room because Gore had taken Florida.

And then there was another announcement and Gore had not won Florida and from there the world has gone terribly wrong.

Blake did not leave the television in our living room that night. He was definitely there when I left for work in the morning and I think he was still there when I came back. I could be mistaking that for other instances when a late evening merged into a brunch. But it was as if as long as he stayed by the tv it would work as some magic spell, Bush wouldn't really be president.

Post script: The reading by all accounts went very well.


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  2. I went to junior high with Blake. We used to work at the same small community store, cleaning up after school. Blake was a genius back then, so it is no surprise that he continues to produce excellent work. His dad was amazing as well. His dad founded the World Future Society. Well ahead of his time on all major issues.


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