Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: Sally Field plays Olympic matchmaker, Lupita & Michael B. sitting in a tree, and Adam Rippon everything.
I recently finished a play I've been working on for a while. Well, I finished a draft of it. Now the real work begins ::cue angel breaking through the ceiling, dramatic music, classical tableau, applause, etc.:: This play is crazy banana-pants. I won't even tell you what it's about because 1) I'm not very good at talking about things that I'm writing. People ask me about what my book is about and even though I wrote a 65-page proposal about it and had numerous meetings in the pitching process in which I had to talk about what the book would become, I still usually say something insane like "It's... funny, but also... thinking emoji... this one time I caught on fire while trying to be inconspicuous at a party, so that's in there... intersecting identities... non-fiction. Pre-order! Thank you!"
2) The plot of this actual play is actually insane. But then again it's a farce so it's supposed to be insane. A farce about a slave ghost who likes to watch TV. I've said too much. I've made this weird.
Anyway, the play ends with a monologue because apparently I do no know how to end a play in any other way than with a woman speaking directly to an audience. This is how all plays end, yes? Either with a woman saying wise things or a detective revealing the identity of the killer. Sometimes both! Also, anther way that plays end is if someone says the name of the play very loudly and with great portent. These are the best plays. Finally, a play can end with an angel crashing through the ceiling but only if it is part one of two and if you have a big budget. I don't think my play, when produced, will have an angel budget and I'm not sure I have the emotional strength to write Part 2 of this one: the Further Adventures of the Grey's Anatomy-Loving Revenge Ghost.
So, she's talking, and searching for a New Yorker magazine on a desk (this doesn't give anything away, I think, because the play--as I previously mentioned--is a wild, messy, half-crazed club mix but on paper in 12.5 pt font. Plus it's a first draft and you are allowed, in fact required, to write a weird first draft and to follow your impulses and to let things be messy because how else will you find the truth if not in the mess? The truth certainly isn't in things that are tidy, and neat, and have clean edges, or don't at least involve the threat of a angel causing major property damage or someone shouting the name of the play you are watching with the conviction of a Reese Witherspoon character. All Reese Witherspoon characters have a surfeit of conviction, by the way, even if they doubt themselves, or the process, or Laura Dern's intentions. This is why we love Reese Witherspoon, we like conviction. This is also why we like Law & Order, even though the word conviction has a different meaning in that context.)
This woman in my play is talking and searching and at a certain point I got stuck. And then I thought for a bit. And then I decided that I thought she was done. I thought the play was done. I thought it was time to go home. I thought your babysitter is probably wondering where you are. I thought do we go to the theater to be transported out of our own lives or to be taken deeper into our true selves. I thought, how long is that journey? About an hour and a half. Two hours? Five if there is an angel involved.
And, having decided that she was done speaking I had her look at the audience and say "I'm done speaking." And then I wrote END OF PLAY, which is how you know that a play is done if you're reading it. And then I looked askance around the empty room, sneaky-like, as if Lin-Manuel Miranda was going to burst out from behind my kitchen island and accuse me of being a drama criminal.
I will probably find a better way to end this play than with a woman saying "Buh-dee-buh-dee-buh-dee, that's all folks," but also if it worked for Porky Pig whom am I to judge? I mean, honestly. We have to know that a thing is over. That's why we have finish lines and credits and last call. Otherwise, books would have no back covers, just blank pages that went on forever. And Adam Rippon would be stuck in that crotched spin for infinity. And we'd all be sitting in dark theaters, listening to people talk to each other, trying to find the truth, waiting for a revelation, or a conviction, or an angel.
This week! So many epic journeys--some of them reaching a dramatic conclusion, some of them on-going mysteries. Rippon's Gold Medal in Extra, the unveiling of the Obama portraits, a Black Panther romcom. But first, Sally Field shoots her shot!
Much of the convo is blocked out (would you put your texts with your mom on Twitter?!) but one can clearly see Sally advising Sam to shoot his shot. "He's insanely pretty," says two-time Oscar winner Sally Field. "Find a way." Look, when Sally Field, who got Shelby to drink her juice, who taught Forrest that life was like chocolate, and who did not realize that Mrs. Doubtfire was her husband in drag, gives you life advice, you listen. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
I know that they're not technically in love with each other but I'm in love with their love and that counts for something, right? What about what I need? What about what's best for me? What about how I feel? What about me? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
[This one isn't a column, but rather a straight reported piece about the unveiling. If you're looking for some more context around the style of painting or if you just want to gaze at their faces again, give it a click.]
Adam Rippon’s bone structure makes him look like he was made in a lab by the country’s top diva scientists. If I don’t get a video of him applying contour with a gold medal by the end of the Games I am RIOTING. If someone isn’t writing a sequel to that Tyra Banks movie about a doll who comes to life and casting Adam Rippon as said doll, Hollywood is cancelled. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Like our favorite performers, pairs figure skaters are able to convey a story and a connection despite the reality of their actual relationship. Are they siblings? Are they in love? Are they enemies?! Everything disappears on the ice. But as relatable as the dramatic performances are, it's the little frozen moments that occur on the ice that make us shout "That's so me!" while bundled in a blanket on the couch, critiquing Olympic figure skating while eating Grubhub. Let's take a look!
Pictured above: "You have to stop right now. No one at this party wants to hear you rap Cardi B." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
The major differences between Winter events and Summer events seem to be excess clothing and excess danger. Summer events are highly technical versions of things your would normally do at a Sandals Resort. Winter events are highly technical versions of things you would do to escape a trained assassin. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
No one seems to appreciate how incredible Tuscany is on this week's episode because they're all too preoccupied with either trying to get Arie to come over to their house and meet their weird relatives or realizing they are not in love with Arie and trying to gracefully extricate themselves from his kiss banditry. You can do that, of course, but if you're in Tuscany, you need to do it wine drunk and with a mouth full of olives. Thems the rules! [READ THE FULL RECAP]
We open on Blizzard City, the most ironically named town in all of Anonymous Midwestern US State. The residents are getting ready for another local Winter Games Festival™, which will once again be played on verdant grass and dry hillsides. A little kid runs through the streets and asks a stranger, "Hey ma'am! What's snow like?" The woman stares into the distance and mumbles, "I wish I knew, young lad. I wish I knew."[ READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Random thing from the internet...
From now on I'm dressing like the owner of a gay bed-and-breakfast in Wakanda. To start, I'm going to buy everything from Ikire Jones, a Philadelphia designer who provided the gorg. scarf that T'Challa wears at the end of the movie.
LET'S HANG OUT!
Let's hang out at the The Moth in DC on February 19 (tomorrow!) I'm hosting and the theme is "Love Hurts." Online tickets are sold out but you can get tickets at the door of the Howard Theater starting at 6:30pm
Let's hang out in Chicago March 1 through April 7! Purchase tickets. [I'll be in town for opening night! Let's ACTUALLY HANG OUT!]
Let's hang out in Philadelphia May 2-20! Tickets are pay-what-you-decide after the show! Reserve here.
The angel arrives!