Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bacchus Grinned

Thursday night a week ago was one of the better evenings I've experienced since our move to Seattle nearly 3 years ago. The author of the entire experience was sweet Evan, a good new friend of ours, who had already given us a couple of evenings of his excellent company at our apartment and had used his extensive connections to get us into the dress rehearsal for The Wedding Singer, the movie-based musical that tore up Seattle with its sly humor, clever dance numbers and overall gorgeous 80s-inspired, early-Madonna style. His partner, the luminously beautiful Marc, a founding member of the Washington Ensemble Theater, was in a production called "Swimming in the Shallows". Ramon and I decided a week ago Thursday to attend that night's production, since it was just a quick bus ride away. WET's little theater seats about 50 and abuts a wonderful little coffee shop where we had the best Americanos I've ever tasted while waiting for the house to open. The play - an amazingly quick-paced, clever little comedy about one woman trying, with little help from her bewildered hunter-husband, to buck her own latent Western consumerism; two women in love trying to get the nerve to take the plunge into marriage; and too-quick-to-give-his-heart-and-body Nick (played by Marc) who finally falls for the right guy - an intimidating but, in the end, perfectly congenial shark. Clever and funny don't begin to describe the talents of this little cast of 6. Our little audience laughed enough for 200. I've missed going to plays - someone said that even a bad play is better than anything currently gracing the shelves at Blockbuster. And this was no bad play. I'd missed, without even realizing that I had, the energy, the inevitable interaction (they performed practically in the laps of the front row) between audience and cast, and - I'd forgotten - the almost-awkward voyeuristic feeling of watching two live humans share a hot kiss not 25 feet from where you're sitting. Wow.

So, the play ended to thunderous applause and we filed out to the tiny foyer where Evan waited to hear how it went (he'd already attended twice and planned to go again that weekend). After we hugged Evan, hugged Marc, met the cast and waited around a bit, Marc, Evan, Ramon and I slipped off to Canterbury for a pitcher of what we suspected was Budweizer hefeweizen and a lovely talk. We covered Evan and Marc's love story, Marc's dreams for WET's future, Evan's plans to soon actively take a hand in turning a beloved family member's destiny and then, at length, Ramon's anxiousness for his artistic future and immediate need for a shakeup in his life. Two more lovely and kind (and intelligent and articulate) men were never born.

We then took a chilly walk several blocks to join the rest of the cast at Chez Gaudy. Chez Gaudy is a charming, hard-to-find restaurant on the ground floor of a local apartment building. Indeed, we've lived not 5 blocks away from it for a long time and never discovered it. We were met, as we walked in, with beery cries of greeting; you know the kind of yell that's kind of between a "heeyyyy" and a "helllloooo" and just morphs into a slurry sort of "eeyyyoooo" with a few "there they are!"s mixed in? Yes, that's what we were met with. All very cozy. We even got some hugs from cast members (people we had never previously met) and then, once the four of us had drinks to hand, everyone launched into a long, convoluted and very intersting conversation encompassing pretty much every subject under the sun. Even Ovid got mentioned, I remember. Ramon, Evan and I were crowned the three founding members of WET's newest fan club: The WET Dreamers. The name was Ramon's idea - I voted for the Bed-WETters, but he's better-looking than me, so I got voted down. I feel no bitterness. What a conversation. These bastards are freakin' smart, cultured, knowledgeable and armed with up-to-the-minute knowledge of everything going in Seattle that's inexpensive and worth looking into. Eventually everyone drifted off to their homes and Ramon and I walked arm-in-arm back to our apartment with something like seven new friends, a closer relationship to Evan and Marc, and I think a couple of party invitations.


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