Friday, 26 February 2010

The Path Worn

I've seen it so many times that a map of the image has been burned knee-deep into my unconscious, the result of which has led to an occasional missed turn or false move. This.. the shoes I have on; the ones the stranger uses to contextualize where I'm coming from - the ones we all use to conceptualize where one's been and where they might be going.

I've ridden along a number of streets in this city. Sometimes I don't even see where I'm going; other times I think that I do.

Nineteen - holy fucking shit - NINETEEN years ago in another town, I walked that stretch on Clark Street so often that it once belonged in my wardrobe. It's worth.. defined my self-worth; in turn, this must've had an influence on what those I met thought about me - no doubt upon those I got to know.

Andrew Koenig ran through ImprovOlympia during my infant stage there, and this coincidence led to our sharing the stage upstairs at the Wrigleyside for one night only. As Charna put it in our debriefing that evening: He denied me a bit.

Scene: It's quickly and clearly established that we are two cell-mates when Andrew grabs the bars of the fourth wall, screaming for the guards. I had already taken a seat behind him and decided to cradle an invisible baby in my arms (we were not like certain improv places with loads of props behind the stage; the most we would use was the glasses on our face, a bottle of beer from the bar, a cigarette, or, in one case - when Matt Besser grabbed a lady's bag out of the audience and brought it up onto the stage, Victim's Family rifled through it, and Rick Roman started the first scene of what became The Gauntlet of Power by stretching her glove on his flexing hand, seated centre stage, posing powerfully).

The virtual reality of Andrew's and my scene is set when the always brilliant Dave Adler, accompanying us just off stage-right, begins to play a tinkly rock-a-bye parody.

Internally, I get frustrated when my scene partner seems to ignore this fact, even when I introduce "our baby" into the discussion. My frustration is heightened when he returns to the bars, shouting about wanting out. My response is to make the angry and visceral declaration, "You can't leave me!" which got a great response from the audience (something I could always do was get one big cheer per performance, otherwise I recall being as hapless as Andrew was that night).

Or maybe I'm mistaken and Charna was wrong and he gave me that line by playing a denial game. Who knows. I never held it against him, so didn't bother to ask.

I do remember another night when Andrew was in a different group and he did a really good spider man bit, even effectively climbing on the tenuously erected stage walls.

Depression ain' nuttin' da fuck wit'! RIP Andrew. I didn't know you very well, but I wore your path.