In a marriage, once in a while, whether by whim or earthquake, a gateway opens. You have the choice of walking through or not. You might take hands and plunge impulsively, or you might debate the pros and cons. But it only stands open a while. In the Nineties, we tiptoed or lurched through one gate after another. We were sane enough to mistrust mirages, but wise enough to pursue the journey. In the space of a few years, we became pagan, polyamorous, and Philadelphian.
None of these were final destinations, any more than our long ramble through the classics, sketch comedy, audio drama, realism or puppetry has anchored us to a “brand.” But they brought profound changes even to our absolute commitment, our trust, our story-making obsession, our mutual eros: these have deepened.
You’re moving into maturity. You know you’re past the midpoint. You’ve weathered storms. You’ve gained a bit more courage. Multiple paths intersect and meander over the hills. You grope to make sure your mate is along for the trip. And what you find isn’t the Holy Grail: it’s just more pathway. The whole point of walking the labyrinth isn’t what you find at the center. It’s the magic of coming there.
I started to keep a journal in 1987, but prose-writing is foreign to me. My daily chronicle is a bit more informative than that of Louis XVI, who went into great detail on the success of his hunt, but on the day the Bastille fell simply noted, “Nothing.” I have difficulty finding a voice that doesn’t ring false to me. I simply record an array of trips, meetings, producing, writing, building, dancing around bonfires, growing hair— Who did all this?
In a profession where the labors of a year peak in a few short performance weeks and leave only the debris, you have sharp envy of Rodin’s bronzes. You want that illusion of permanence. So you search for a personal soul, the hard nut at the core of that eight pounds of flesh and bone that your mama gave birth to. Who am I? That question was never important to me, until these years. Before, it was just a matter of making things, doing things, tasting things— “things” being the plays, tools, meals and list of achievements that comprised the multinational corporation known as myself.
That has changed for me, though I still doubt there is any actual core to this onion: peel is onion, after all. The point is to savor it. Maybe I lack a soul, but I flavor the stew.
I was beyond ready to come full circle and make something new for the two of us to perform together. I was thirsty. He’d done a solo with Mark Twain, I’d done a solo with Beside Herself, and then I’d taken a hike to Pittsburgh to see what it was like to be a “normal” actor. Enough. Eli and Johanna were no longer in the house, we had moved ourselves out of our King Street nest into a new creative space, and the Multiverse was saying, “Look there. There’s your partner.” . . .