Last week was super busy, so now I finally have a spare moment to sit, and process, and also to get you up to speed.

Wednesday night was the first play-reading group we’ve had since Tossed In tossed in the towel on leading the group. A handful of us have been persistent about keeping the group going, and after about two months, we finally managed to make it happen. We read the script for the movie My Dinner With Andre.

It was an amazing evening. A few of us were die-hard fans of the movie, and knew our favorite parts almost by heart, and a few of us had never seen or heard of the movie, so it made for a particularly interesting discussion. I really should say ‘discussions’, because we stopped many times along the way to switch to different readers, and to discuss the section that we’d just finished reading.

A couple of us had our favorite sections that we really wanted to read. I read Andre’s section about the Little Prince and about how New York is the new model for concentration camps, and Matt read Wally’s introduction, his argument near the end, and his ending monologue. We all discussed different ideas for staging this work as a play, and the various ways we could bring the various scenes to life, while still retaining the feel of a dinner. It was an amazing evening, and a passionate discussion all the way around.

Afterwards, Matt, Lindsay and I went to Squeez for a drink. I really should say ‘another drink’, because we’d already had plenty at the reading. We shared some quesadillas and continued the discussion about the play and about various other things.

Matt was too shy to want his picture taken that night. I tried to surreptitiously snap a picture of him and Lindsay while they were at the bar ordering, but the picture didn’t come out. Not that these did especially well, but the other ones are even worse, I promise you. I love the colors inside Squeez. It’s just a really cool, comfortable place to meet with your friends.

Oh, and for the record, I’m lucky enough to have found a very special copy of the script for MDWA. . .it was autographed in 1982, by both Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, AND it’s inscribed to someone here in Portland. A bunch of years ago, I went looking for the script, and finally found it at HugestBookseller. I decided to wait, however, and felt that another one would turn up, despite the fact that I had already been fruitlessly searching for it for years. No matter, I had a hunch.

The next day I went to Powell’s (even though I’d checked there countless times before) and sure enough, I was rewarded with this:

Talk about synchronicity. . .which fits in perfectly with the themes of the script, too. The autograph picture I left at higher resolution, so you can read what they wrote. I love it.

I first saw the movie when I lived in Yakima, at the age of twenty-four, and was mesmerized by it. I instantly went and tried to find out as much as I could about both of the guys, and all of the references they made to actors, directors, books, plays. . .everything. Jerzy Grotowski, The Master and Maragarita, The Little Prince, I couldn’t wait to understand what they were talking about. For the record, not a single one of my friends shared my enthusiasm for this movie. I raved about it, and even made a few people watch it, but they got bored and gave up after a few minutes. (I think this has something to do with the adage, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’)

Anyway, it’s one of my all-time favorites, and it also introduced me to the Little Prince, which to this day I re-read every year or two, and I’ve probably had to buy ten or twelve copies of it over the years, because I’ve loaned so many out and never gotten them back. That’s okay, in this instance, because the story is so beautiful that I want everyone to read it, and I hope that they get as much out of it as I have.

And I have my friends Wally and Andre to thank for it.