public-theater

Sonnet for President Trump

Shall I compare thee to a Shakespeare play?
Thou art less clever and less literate,
But how else should poor poets have their say?
Alas, our leader lacks a donkey’s wit!
Sometime too fierce the fire of ego burns,
And when a man is made to look a fool,
He rages ’gainst the mockery he earns,
As little boys will cry when teas’d at school.
But thy eternal tantrums shall not wane,
Nor shalt thou e’er unclench thy tiny fists,
Nor listen when the people dare to say,
“’Tis you, dear sir, who made a scene of this.”
        So long as men can breathe and speech is free,
        The Bard shall speak and show thy shame to thee.


(4 July 2017, in honor and defense of freedom of artistic expression)

Photographer: “Lin, stand in front of that Season Board for the Public Theater. History is happening in Manhattan.This is historic.”

Lin: “Would you mind waiting a minute? I need to finish this banana.”

Photographer: “No, Lin! I’m past patiently waiting. PLEASE. Get. In. The Frame.”

Lin: “But this lovely banana—”

Photographer: “Bear with me. Are you aware that we’re making history?”

Lin: “Oh, all right.”

Lin’s mind: *There will come a day when I can eat a banana in peace*

Lin’s mind: *What the–?!?!*

Lin’s mind: *Did they seriously put White Men right above Hamilton?!*

Photographer (to a friend): “I wish I could tell you what was happening in his brain


(What I like to imagine happened during the taking of this photo)

10

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

Public Theater, 2017

Starring Oscar Isaac, Keegan-Michael Key, Roberta Colindrez, Ritchie Coster, Peter Friedman, Michael Saldivar, Anatol Yusef, Gayle Rankin, & Charlayne Woodard

I want to see Greek gods in the modern era.

I want to see Zeus in a tailored suit and shaggy beard, a walking disparity of the loud, brash, post-graduate frat boy variety who can’t pass a woman on the street without catcalls, who has more one-night stands than he could possibly keep in his head, for whom adultery comes as naturally as the weather he predicts on the Channel 4 News—with startlingly accuracy, and an endless wealth of charisma.

I want to see Hera walking tall, six-inch heels and not a wrinkle in her skirt, knowing her boyfriend is cheating, and knowing with equal certainty that she is better, stronger, fiercer than he will ever be, a wedding planner with an eye of steel, spotting vulnerability, slicing it open, teaching every woman who crosses her path to value themselves over any mistake made in the name of men and love.

I want to see Poseidon in Olympic prime, a gym rat who skives off class to shatter backstroke records, who spends his summers lifeguarding at the city pool, who keeps an ever-expanding aquarium in his bedroom and coaxes all the pretty girls up to visit his fish, his charm as impressive as the earth-rending temper he generally uses to fuel his competitive nature.

I want to see Hades, big, hulking, quieter than his brothers would ever think to be, who dresses in neat dark clothes, and polishes his boots, and spends more time reading than fighting, who debates eventuality and ethics, who stoically reminds everyone how enormous, how terrifying, how inescapable a thing like silent inevitability can be.

I want to see Hermes in a beanie, with watercolor splashes of tattoo crawling up his arms and holes in his Chucks, a bike messenger with no helmet, no regard for the rules of the road, all cataclysmic laughter, lock-pick tricks passed along to every kid who thinks to ask, thumbing through his iPhone without a care in the world.

I want to see Athena with reading glasses pushed high on her head, six books in her bag and a switchblade in her back pocket, her clothing as neatly ordered as her mind is feverish, brilliance and temper clashing and blending, doing her best to look dignified—even when her brain chemistry rockets ahead of her well-intentioned plans.

I want to see Apollo splattered with acrylics, board shorts and Monster headphones and a beautiful classic car, busking on street corners, not because he has no choice, but because the sunlight catching on a sticker-patterned acoustic is summer incarnate, because music is blood, because the act of creation is the ultimate in sublime.

I want to see Artemis in ripped jeans and haphazard topknot, star of the soccer team, the track team, the archery team, who rides a motorcycle, and keeps a tribe of girls around her at all times, and does not care for men, for expectation, for anything but volunteer hours down at the local animal shelter and falling asleep under the stars.

I want to see Aphrodite in sundress and scarf, homemade jewelry and lavish amounts of bright red lipstick, who is excellent at public speaking, at theater auditions, at soothing bruised egos and sparking epic fights, who kisses as easily as she breathes and scrawls poetry onto bathroom stalls.

I want to see Ares all but living in the boxing ring, cutoff shirts and sweats, red-faced under a crew cut as he punches, punches, punches until the noise in his head dims, a warrior with no war, all crude jokes and blind fury, totally incapable of understanding what it is to sit, think, plan before running screaming into the fray.

I want to see Demeter with the best garden you’ve seen in your life, with a lawn care business she runs out of her garage, a teenage prodigy grown into a joint-custody single mother, who teaches her carefree daughter all she knows while scaring off the hopeful neighborhood boys with the pet python draped across her shoulders.

I want to see Dionysus with a joint in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, baggy hoodies and three-week-old jeans, who brews his own beer in his basement and greets all visitors with a fresh pack of Oreos and half-stoned theories of the universe, of birth and death and partying mid-week, because why not, man?

I want to see Hephaestus with a workshop taking up the majority of his house, whose kitchen is overrun with blowtorches, whose bathrooms are home to all manner of hodge-podge invention, who walks with a cane and forgets his laundry for weeks at a time, and strings together the most beautiful steampunk costumes at any convention at the drop of a hat.

I want to see wood nymphs fighting against climate change, waving their signs and pushing for scientific progress. I want to see epic heroes sitting down to Magic: The Gathering tournaments, poker brawls, Call of Duty all-nighters with beer and snapbacks. I want to see Medusa working a women’s shelter, want to see Achilles training for deployment, want to see Prometheus serving endless community service stints for what he calls providing necessary welfare with stolen goods.

Give me modern mythology. I could play for hours in that sandbox.

OK so, earlier on, before Mr Creepy turned up, the arseholes in the noisy bus woke me up. So I went outside for a cig and more people were being annoying and shouty so I decided to go for a walk. But because I didn’t want to end up wandering all night, I decided to set myself a destination and went to that revolving cube thing near the Public. That’s where I went last night to talk to Mum as well.

Tonight I ran into this dude called Bryan who was carrying pictures of Oscar and intending to get them signed because he’d not been able to the Thursday before when he saw Hamlet. People were already leaving as we approached the Public and one of the staff called out that we could wait but not on the steps if we didn’t have tickets for tonight. I thought that was fair enough but Bryan was a bit pissed off and I calmed him down by discussing Oscar’s other roles.

We were just discussing Hamlet - Bryan had enjoyed it but thought it too long, and I was about to say ‘ha, try the fucking Brannagh’ when Oscar came out. He was about to walk off the other way, but saw us and came over. I was rather less stunned this time and so I was able to tell him how good I thought he was. He asked if I’d seen it tonight so I said no, Sunday and Tuesday and he remembered the pin. :D

Bryan took the picture.