diary

Spring 2002

Alligator Alley (for Imo)

Please don't dilly dally
In Alligator Alley.
That may be a log
That you see in the bog,

But if underneath
You see a row of teeth,
Then get out of sight
For an alligator's bite
Is painful;

And that may be a log
That you see in the bog,
But if you see eyes,
Well then - surprise!

So please don't dilly dally
In alligator alley,
And that may be a log
That you see in the bog,

But it happens quite a lot…

That it's not.

This was composed during the eight and a half drive which also took us across the width of Florida along the road called alligator alley. At first I saw nothing amid the swamp, the palm trees and the Spanish moss, except for the vultures and herons. Suddenly I thought I saw… what?... Logs? Tyres? And then I saw him. He must have been 15 foot long. He stood sunning himself on the bank beside the mangrove swamp canal. His body was hard; the scales formidable. A presence, which although seen in a moment, was a menacing and unforgettable sight. After that, I saw one after the other; some in the water, others on the bank; about 15 in total. Alligator Alley had lived up to its name.

The night before we had performed at place called the Ocean Reef Club. This was on the way to Key Largo, on the edge of nowhere, and is one of the most exclusive gated communities in the country, if not the world. The place just smelt of money, although there was none to be found actually on the premises. No need for cash here. It boasted a golf course, tennis courts, churches, banks, shops, gyms, its own theatre, and its own airport, full of private jets and helicopters, and a private marina full of the most expensive luxury yachts. We were settled in one of our more less glamourous hotels about 20 miles up the road, and so as soon as we checked in, we headed down to the Keys via the smoothest road we had seen in over 5000 miles and arrived at Ocean Reef just in time for lunch, which had been all set up backstage. It consisted of sandwiches, salad, pineapple, melon, and a whole host of assorted dips. We devoured it eagerly and then retired to the community's own lagoon, where we sunbathed, swam and played volleyball for the rest of the afternoon. Apparently Liv Ullman is a resident here, but unfortunately we didn't see her for the evening performance of The Tempest.

The theatre only seated about three hundred, which made a change from the 1000 plus we have been used to. I experimented with the TV performance of Prospero and enjoyed watching the drifting smoke, courtesy of the theatre's extremely efficient dry ice machine. The biggest debate was the question: would you live here? It's the question I keep asking myself about this whole country outside of New York.

The next few days are the toughest of the tour. A five hour journey tomorrow, followed by an evening performance of The Tempest. The following day, 10 o'clock and 7 o'clock shows of The Tempest. The next day, 600 miles up to Indiana.

Head down! Breathe in! And don't dilly dally…

 

March 7th 2002

Touring a State of Mind

When I travel from State to State
I often contemplate
The state that I am in.

Four states in one day
I have got to say
Is a hell
Of a long way

I enjoy the panorama
When traveling Alabama
They have a wonderful manner
But nothing is black and white…
Not any more.

Four states in one day
I have got to say
Is a hell
Of a long way

Should I be so lucky
Racing through Kentucky?
Briefly we stop and munch
Our fast Kentucky lunch.
And is the chicken Finger lickin'?

Then on again
Under the curled clouds
And the azur'd vault.

See the chain gang by the road
Collecting trash
Which they stash
In black bags.

A captive audience…

Four states in one day
I have got to say
Is a hell
Of a long way

On Aquila wing and telephone wire
Relation ships can tire,
When speaking to the air
Into thin air
A silence becomes a scream.
A wind tearing a sail
In a tempest
The wild waters in a roar
The sky as black as pitch
And where our life together
Seems now a remembered dream.

I cried to dream again.

A thousand electrical shocks
As we're heading for the rocks

We split, we split!

Falling into the deep,
I flam'd amazement
Where full fathom unknown
My father lies.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing is black and white
Not any more

Finally face to face
Finally the same place
Two souls once more meet
And join…

Then divide and burn in many places.

I am Aragorn,
I am the Ranger
Stranger to stranger
To stranger
Will it seem so strange
To long for long range?

Our revels now are ended.

The mind has cliffs
With drops unknown,
Unfathomed.
Crawling along the ledges
One must not look down.
But would it be so amiss
To fall in the abyss?
Haunted by memories
Hunted through time
This thing of darkness
I acknowledge mine.

I forget…

Once more Speeding through Tennessee
Where Nashville country
And good ol'boys abound.
Listen to their sound
And to the way they speak…
But we were here last week!
Pass the Advil quick, I'm beginning to feel sick.

Four states in one day
I have got to say
Is a hell
Of a long way

Night is falling
And my throat is aching
Too much talking
Too much mistaking
That they understand
His language
Or really are that interested.

How now, moody
What ist thou canst demand
Before the time be out? No more!

Crawling though Indiana
We see a car banner
That bears the legend
"Liberals Suck."
"Oh fuck," Says Ariel.

At last our destination
But alas our elation
Is short-lived.
Arriving in the cold and the dark
To barrack-like buildings on campus.
I throw open the door
No carpet on the floor
And twin single beds and no TV.
The company flees
To a bar
To ease the grief.
For me, no relief.

Broken glass stabs my throat
I am ill
I am sick
More Advil
Quick!
And so instead I head
For a single bed.

We travel through this nation
On a theatrical migration
Bringing Bard to bored
But also to those
Who have never heard
Such beauty in the spoken word.
Who are surprised with all.
But my rejoicing at nothing can be more.

It's good to be admired
Even better to be hired.
But joyless when you're tired.
I'm still searching all I know
To find the art of Prospero.

Lie there my art.

Our little life is rounded
With an uneasy sleep.
And then in dreaming…
Six hundred and fifty miles
Nine and a half hours
All in a van
Can Be tiring.

Four states in one day
I have got to say
Is a hell, and a hell
Of a long way.

Should I be berated

For stating the over-stated?

 

I was ill for a week. The illness lifted, but the darkness is still there. Peter outraged at the digs we were put into and apologised. We felt much loved, and looked after, our tired band of brothers. His concern was much appreciated by all the group.

And later as April comes...

Technicolour days have vanished. ...future uncertain...

fade to black.

 

 

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