Playwrights Realm Playwright Jonathan Payne, The Red Stairs, Juillard, 2018
I’ll tell you a story about a friend of mine, before you all go. Long before he started receiving services, he had hit rock bottom. Spent nights on the streets wondering how he might take his own life. And one night he found it. He would walk into a hotel on the Lower East Side, take the elevator all the way to the top, and jump. And he did that. He jumped. And he died...for a minute. Now he suffers unbearable pain, but at least he can walk. Barely. And now he has services; therapy, a nice little studio apartment to call his own, a doctor, and when he recently caught COVID, he realized he had a new lease on life. He had never been so scared to die. For once in his miserable life he told me he wanted to live.
What a mysterious scene. And somewhere in the same night another youth bleeds between her legs, staring out a window, wondering whom to tell, wondering what to tell them. What a mystery. The onset of the breeding years. Growth. The cancers are almost all in place. Nature laughs last, ladies and gentlemen, laughs hardest and best and last, deep into the night, at you. But, think of it all. What a paradise, as I have said. What a surprise to have a body.
click to enlarge Playwright Ian W. Hill, at the Brick Theater, Brooklyn, 2017
created by Gemini CollisionWorks
written, designed, and directed by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson
costumes by Holly Pocket McCaffrey
You took your picture of me on the set of my play ReFuse in 2017, so I have a quote from that, or rather two -- I prefer the second of these two, but if it's too long for your layout, the first is fine. Both spoken by the same character, The Engineer-Detective:
Once there was a Mother, and once there was a Father. There was something about this that made the units work. Can you do the math? There’s a problem here.
For every problem there’s a solution.
And I held the solution in the palm of my hand.
My weapon was a tool of destiny, and I could fire individual events of creation with the slightest touch. It was easy, then, justice. And I had cornered the market in my corner market.
So I pulled the trigger, and a new world oozed onto the floor.
Reaching one person is reaching an entire world. A hand pulls, and a step is taken. One more day, one more night. Voices in the air. The change occurs. We are altogether the same and in solitary we find the differences that matter. Just the attempt makes for a happy ending. The attempt is a heroic act. My hands are big enough to hold so many, to pull so many to the next step. I want to be joined in this. Voices in the next room. Has this ever happened? Every day. A reason to be in the room. It’s a job. The ethic is in the action. I’m a romantic. Futility makes strength. Get lost. I’m in it for the long haul. These decades are only a start. Voices from outside, and one could be mine. I’ve finished my homework. Lost. Open hearted and newly washed clean, I move forward. One could be mine.
with John Amir*, Rolls Andre, David Arthur Bachrach*, Olivia Baseman*, Philip Cruise*, Ivanna Cullinan*, Linus Gelber, Amanda LaPergola, Leila Okafor, Alyssa Simon*, Anna Stefanic*, and Zuri Washington*part of Gemini CollisionWorks’ 20th Anniversary Season
From behind the wheel. I pass through the streets. Where I am is arbitrary, my destination is not my determination. I am in a constant state of flux. I am looking for the ghost of Atget, through the distortion of the windshield, I see Kandinsky’s lost perfect paintings.
The rising sun hits my face, I take a picture. Feeling the heat on my skin, the blinding of my eyes, I behold the sustainer, redeemer and transformer, I follow from the east to west. Ending the day as the sun descends into the harbor. I go back to the lot and wait for its return.