Saturday, February 23, 2008

Good theater, sunshine, and brunch

Just came from Washington Ensemble Theatre's production of Mr. Marmalade. I was already smitten with Marya Sea Kaminski (see picture above), thanks to her performance in the Rep's production of My Name is Rachel Corrie, and in this show she finds another good outlet for her childlike energy, as she's playing a precocious 4-year-old with a volatile imaginary friend. I love the play's sense of humor, how it moves from comedy to tragedy without sacrificing the potency of either, and I admire the way it examines childhood concerns and adult problems side by side. I also love how it depicts married life; it's a portrayal that points out the ridiculous notions we get attached to, whether we like it or not -- white picket fence, kids running around, etc. -- while acknowledging that sometimes, for reasons both cultural and personal, we really, really want to believe in them. (See also: the song "I Wanna Get Married" by Nellie McKay.)

The cast as a whole is strong, but it's especially wonderful to watch Kaminski work. She has a tremendously expressive face, and her timing is really remarkable. There's a moment where she transitions from one facial expression to another -- I honestly can't remember if it's from excitement to disgust or what -- and she hits it so perfectly that I thought: Wow. Yet that moment didn't take me out of the reality of the play; I noticed her skill and fell right back into seeing her in character, and it all happened in an instant. She's fantastic. If you're up for something loopy and somewhat dark, go see this show. I laughed throughout, and it's just the right length. I left feeling inspired to write.

Speaking of which: This morning, while having brunch at Linda's, I took a second look at the two pieces of fiction we're discussing tomorrow at my writing workshop. (I finished the process later at Bauhaus.) I love that Linda's has a morning cocktail that involves one of those vitamin-rich cold-prevention powders, and that they'll serve their famed Bloody Mary with a piece of buffalo jerky if you want it that way. (Someone brought a piece of it to the party at our house last night, which seemed like an odd thing to do.) I had the migas, and while Portage Bay Cafe makes what has to be the best version in town, Linda's wasn't half bad. And the hash browns were some of the finest I've eaten in months.

It's hard to overstate how happy the sunshine made me today. I hope more is on its way.

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