I went to Boston to see my parents this Sunday, quite forgetting that today was the Boston Marathon. It was mighty cold as a spectator at the penultimate hill (the one in Newton before Heartbreak Hill). However it was extremely appropriate that I ended this stretch of time with this, my fourth marathon. Of the four that I saw, it is the oldest. The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897 and is the world’s oldest annual marathon race. It has never been cancelled, even during World Wars 1 and 2.
Now the original and still first definition of a marathon is a foot race on a road that goes a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. However, over the years the definition has expanded to embrace a task of very long duration.
The third marathon I saw this week, on Sunday, was an open rehearsal of a one woman piece, by my old and dear friend, Lisa Wolpe, Producing Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. The show is called Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender: In Search Of Shylock. She is on her way to England to perform at Stratford on Avon on April 27th which is one heck of a way to celebrate Katherine and my wedding anniversary! Why a marathon? Back, several years ago (ahem), when I directed Lisa in David Hare’s Fanshen, her interest in Shakespeare was already apparent, as was the fact she was a rare and gifted talent. After college she delved into Shakespeare and in a sense has never come up. This show evolved from a solo show she has been performing for many years and she is still working on it. I doubt she will ever be finished as the best work never is. Down the road, when she brings this piece or it’s companion pieces to your area, or stages a production of Shakespeare or performs, please make sure you see her.
My second marathon, Saturday, was a showing of slightly less long term, but still old friend, Brad Brown. His piece, Love Gasoline, is at GRIDSPACE in Brooklyn through May 25th. This is an extract, if you will, of Brad’s piece, The Look Stains, which he has been working on since 1987. Unavoidably it is about the passage of time and the effects that the interactions of materials, both organic (including humans) and inorganic, have upon each other. His work is in many museums including MOMA, and The National Gallery and he has also been published. Again please check out his work.
Finally, my first marathon is from my “youngest” friend (and actually it will probably please her to know that is an accurate temporal statement in all senses of the word), Andra Watkins. If you are a regular reader of QH, you know Andra already. If not, she is the author of a novel,To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and a memoir/travel book, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. This marathon was a Thursday production, the day I received her latest book, Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time A Book of Photography. These three books are linked and you should read them all, in sequence if possible. After, To Live Forever, was published, Andra conceived of the idea that the best way to publicize the book, which takes place for the most part on The Natchez Trace, was to be the first living human to walk the whole thing. This used to be commonplace, although the sensible and/or well off folk rode horses. She used the opportunity to rebuild her relationship with her father which led to Not Without My Father. Now if you are walking 15 miles a day, everyday, you have lots of time on your hands. Sensibly she used the time to take photographs. They are an excellent documentation of the Trace and quite worth seeing even if, unadvisedly, you do not get the first two volumes in the trilogy…
So, just writing this has tired me out. For me and the QH, this is a marathon of words. Five Marathons in one week?