Reviewing Theatre For Over 40 Years
So, what’s up with the delayed reviews? (I ‘fess up)
Those who check in with this blog will find this no secret, but I’ve been wrestling with injury. At least I have a good story to go along with it.
While hiking above Avalon, on Catalina Island – one of my favorite places – on the spur of the moment (and admittedly in the wrong shoes), I hit a crumbling patch of path. I sat down hard and began to slide toward the edge of a cliff, but managed to stop myself short of a roughly 200 foot drop. In the urgency of the moment one does what one must, and relief was so great at not dying that it took me quite a while to realize that the initial stiffness I felt was more than that.
Being, in general, an overachiever, I appeared to have damaged my knee several ways. The bursitis was treatable. The sprained ligaments were simply to be borne until they healed. Unfortunately, the meniscus which had torn in two places would not heal and would need repair. As I waited for this, the pain of walking or even bending my knee grew. Pain is fatiguing, and completing my work as a critic and dealing with my day job often became overwhelming. Who knew that one wounded part would affect all of one’s life so much!
The good news is two-fold. First, the arthroscopic surgery to repair my knee, undertaken Friday, March 16, appears to have been a success. I am finally over the major side-effects of anesthesia, and literally back on my feet and walking, albeit slowly. Secondly, though I still cannot drive my own car, I’m able to focus on theater again. My first attempt to sit in a theater for an entire performance comes tonight, as I attend the opening of The Mark Taper Forum production of “Waiting for Godot.”
So, no more long delays from viewing to review. At least that’s the plan. Certainly, I have more stamina now that every step doesn’t hurt.
In the meantime, I have found this a learning experience.
Several years ago I went through a period when I was not allowed to talk, in order to heal vocal cord nodes. As I wrote my half of conversations, I discovered that most strangers I met immediately assumed one of two things – or, in some cases, both. First, if I could not talk (I had a note pad I would hand them, explaining this was true), they would assume I could not hear, and feel they had to write notes back to me too, or shout, or mouth things in exaggerated ways. Secondly, and far more disturbingly, with great regularity they would assume that because I could not talk I was mentally disabled. They would speak very slowly, and use words of one syllable when possible. They would stop discussing complex things with me in the room. It made me very respectful when I run into the anomalies of human life. I work hard to never assume.
With this knee injury, I have added to that knowledge of human nature. On several occasions, including a visit to Disneyland, I ended up in a wheel chair. What I discovered was just what those who must deal with this all the time had told me before: people look over you, because your eyes are at too low a level to make you a person. One was ignorable. Since that time I have made it a practice to look directly into the faces of those I meet who must, due to disability, end up in a situation which puts their head lower than mine.
It’s a good thing to have emphasized in one’s life. I have always done my best to treat all persons with the dignity and respect I wish to be treated. Now I have that reinforced, when it comes to the disabled. And, as I begin to hobble about again, I will remember the stress and fatigue which kept me from working at optimum, and have special respect for those who spend their lives overcoming that kind of thing.
And now back to timely reviewing. Sorry for this last month’s delays.