A short performance piece remembered, reimagined

by | Oct 4, 2017 | Memoir, Musings | 2 comments

Last night while drifting to sleep I remembered a short performance piece I created while studying at San Francisco State University. It was part of a longer program comprising my senior project.

The program consisted of short works involving a mixture of media. Some highlights of the program included me interacting silently with a stuffed Snoopy while a tape of a conversation between a mother and daughter that I’d written and pre-recorded played; me dressed up as an uptight, obnoxious character (I gave her name but can’t recall it) giving a lecture, complete with posterboard illustrations, on how we could all survive a nuclear war; me moving in tandem with a friend up and down obstacles (staircase, ladder, chair, large wooden blocks) on the stage and accompanied by voices on tape. That one centered on fear of walking alone at night, but I can’t recall any of the text. A friend wrote original music to go with it. I wish I had that recording today.

In performing the piece that came to mind last night, I sat on stage in a rocker and sang, acapella, a song I’d written. The song was in a minor key until the last two words, which shifted to major. Projected on a screen behind me was a flim clip of a young woman and man, who meet briefly at a wall by San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, separate and then walk away. He moves away from the beach. She descends the steps to the sand and meanders out of view, leaving footprints behind. A friend who’d shot and edited the film was at the projector while I was on stage.

The program was called Nightwalk; the short performance piece with the song was titled The Quest. I’m wondering now if the words to the song might work as a poem.

The Quest

The quest is over
There is no Romeo for me
I never was much like
Juliet anyway
And now my dark hair
is graced with gray
The quest is over
There is no Romeo for me

Restless mirage of feelings
finally stilled
If only my heart had spilled
and filled again
But then I’m tired
of waiting, wondering
when, oh when, oh when

The quest is over
There is no Romeo for me
I didn’t like playing
Juliet anyway
And now my dark hair is
graced with gray
The quest is over
There is no Romeo for me

I’m tempted to rework the words a little bit to vary them some while keeping the rhymes and rhythms, but I think I’ll leave them as they are. What do you think?


Notes: Photo of graffiti by Mike Carney. It’s of a wall where teenagers put up notes to their lived ones near Verona town center, where Romeo and Juliet was supposed to be based.   http://bit.ly/2fTH8ER

Photo of sleeping woman by Phil http://bit.ly/2xS51n9

Photo of shining gray hair is a selfie.

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  1. Mary Ellen Gambutti

    I would love to see that performance piece! And the poem feels good. Agree, the rhythm and rhyme works.

  2. Laura

    Thanks, Mary Ellen! Looking back, I’m a bit more impressed with the evening now than I was when I did it. I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment. I didn’t see your note till I logged in here a few moments ago. WordPress has stopped notifying me by email when I receive comments. My wonderful web person looked into it. We thought it was all fixed, but alas, the problem has resurfaced.

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