this playwright friend texted me that she really wanted me to see her new play which ran this weekend, adding that she was almost embarrassed to admit just how much she wanted me to see it. i wasn’t expecting that. we had gone out a few times over the summer, and i really had a great time with her, but it never quite jelled beyond the awkward beginnings of new relationship that may have become platonic or post-platonic, but it simply ended after 3 or 4 outings together. which made me sad. i was not the one who ended it.
but in an inexplicable socially networked world, we have remained very close. i’ve written about this before, but i have been confounded and bewildered that we can’t translate that closeness into the tangible world. i just can’t figure it out.
anyway, i went to her play last night with some trepidation because she mentioned in an online chat that there was a scene based upon one of our “dates.” Uh-oh. But it was really quite harmless and amusing. We had gone to see a production of Krapp’s Last Tape and even though we both love Beckett, we both were really annoyed with the actor and we both thought it was a pretty mediocre performance. So one of the characters in her play mentioned going on a date to see Krapp’s Last Tape, and then this character went on a hilarious diatribe about the pretensions of the actor. That was really all there was too it. I was not depicted or referenced at all, although she was kind enough to thank me in the program notes.
The same thing happened a few months ago, with another of her plays. We had not communicated in months… but then, out of nowhere, she texted me to tell me how much she wanted me to see the play. Because there was a section that was inspired by one of our meandering conversations (they all meandered). But I have such a poor memory. I could barely recall the conversation that she mentioned And then to add to the mystery, the night I saw the play, the actors forgot their lines… and skipped over that entire section. So I didn’t have the chance to see which conversation she was referring to, or how it was adapted onstage. She told me that was the only time this had happened during the entire 6 week run.
There was another play in between the 2 i mentioned. again, we had not communicated in months. and then, out of nowhere, she sent me an email to ask if I could read a monolog she was writing for an upcoming solo performance and if could offer my opinion. Which I did, of course. And when I saw the performance, I noticed that she had taken all of my suggestions. But then when I approached her with my congratulations following the performance, she avoided eye contact. And I was hurt. And then I left. And we did not speak again until the run of her current play.
I find all of this bewildering. what you would call this type of relationship?
it doesn’t feel like a friendship.
it doesn’t feel like we are collaborators.
And it doesn’t have the narrowness of a work friendship.
because there is something that runs deep between us, even though we barely even know each other. i wish i knew what it is, or what it means, what to call it, or what to do with it. i guess i know for sure we are not enemies.