It Shouldn’t Have Been Me

It’s ridiculous that I have cancer. Cancer is supposed to happen to other people, older than me and preferably not that close. If I learn someone I don’t know well has cancer, I say, “Oh, that’s terrible!” I ask what sort of cancer but I don’t get overly involved in their disease. I might bring up the person’s situation if the subject of cancer arises, but I keep my distance. Are they undergoing chemo, or getting surgery? Sorry. I don’t know.

If, heaven forbid, it’s someone close, or family, my reaction might be more caring. I will offer to help; I’ll drive them to and from their doctors’ and wait in the car for them; I’ll bring food, and sit by their bedside. But when it’s me, well, frankly, I don’t know how to react.

I was diagnosed in February 2012, and there was nothing outwardly that would indicate I was the one out of two males in America to get cancer. I thought it should have been the other guy, not me, and over time, I developed an “it is what it is” attitude. I told a few friends and acquaintances, mostly people who were in 12-step programs like me.

I cried a little. The disease was painful only when I had to have biopsies. Those hurt. Peeing after a procedure was nasty, and wearing a catheter was even nastier. I remember peeing my pants once, when trying to hold it became impossible. That ended a nascent relationship with a young woman who really wanted to help, but not if it involved bodily fluids and plastic bags full of urine.

I learned cancer jokes. There are hundreds of them and only people with cancer can tell them. I memorized the location of public bathrooms (shades of George Constanza) in the District and two adjoining counties. I learned to forget that I had the Big C, and respond to question with, “Yeah, well, you know, it could be worse.” One idiot asked me what sort of cancer I’d prefer to have and I said, “Ovarian.”

Increasingly, there’s little to say, and that’s because almost everyone I know, knows. I’ve undergone 27 invasive biopsies and the 28th is around the corner. I know what to expect. I even know many of the nurses who’ll be on the floor. I am on my seventh oncologist and am comfortable not agreeing with his suggestion that my bladder should be removed.

I’ve lived alone for the better part of my life and know exactly what provisions I should buy to surf through the next surgery. I have mastered surviving—so far—what cancer has lobbed at me. I’ve had excellent care through the surgeries, chemotherapy and, more recently, immunotherapy.

Still, it really should have happened to someone else. There are fewer than 200,000 people diagnosed yearly in the U.S., so that leaves a lot of people who are not me who could have gotten it.

But yeah, it is what it is and it could be worse. A lot worse.  

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The War on Cancer is Fifty Years Old

A recent article in the AARP Bulletin on the effectiveness of the war against cancer was more informative than most articles I’ve read.

The war is now 50 years old and has cost over a billion dollars. Cancer is far from vanquished, but the statistics are encouraging, particularly for those among us who have been dealing with the disease for some time.

The article states, “Since 1971, the cancer death rate is down more than 25 percent. Between 1975 and 2016, the five-year survival rate has increased 36 percent, from 40% to 63% for Black Americans and from 49% to 67% for the U.S. population as a whole. Up-to-the-current-year stats are not available, and we must rely on numbers dating from 1970 to 2016.

Briefly, the five-year survival rates of the following cancers have improved drastically in the almost-half-century.

Prostate cancer survival, 98% from 66.3%; leukemia, 67.2% from 33.4%; melanoma, 95.8% from 81.9%; breast cancer, 91.8% from 75.3%; bladder cancer, 78.8% from 71.9%; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 75.8% from 47%.

Faring somewhat less well are lung cancer, 22.1% from 11.5%; brain and other nervous system cancer, 35.8% from 23%, colorectal cancer, 66.3% from 48.9%; and pancreatic cancer, 12.1% from 3.1%

Uterine cancer’s five-year survival rates have actually fallen from 88% to 82.5%, perhaps because this particular cancer receives the least research funding.

Cancer remains the top killer of Hispanics, Asian Americans, women in their 50s, and everyone aged 60 to 80. One in two men will get some form of invasive cancer, as will one in three women.

Treatments have changed as well. Back in the 70s, there were only eight cancer drugs available. By 2021, there were 641. The downside of this statistic is that the cost of drugs in 1971 was $134 a month. In 2021, the monthly cost was $14,580. You should be aware that not every new treatment has proven effective. According to studies, only 10 of the 93 drugs fast-tracked through the USFDA actually extended life.

“Ten years ago, chemotherapy was the only treatment for advanced cancer,” says Ravi Parikh, MD, in the article. “Now… immunotherapies harness he immune system to fight cancer.” They are not cures per se, but they stall cancer’s growth and can turn a killer cancer into a disease treated with a daily pill.

Some advances have been facilitated by smoking rates, which have fallen to 63 percent, even as the obesity rate in America has climbed. Obesity is now thought to increase the risk of contracting 13 types of cancers, and be responsible for at least 40 percent of the cancer in this country. This can be alleviated by eating more produce, grain, and beans, while avoiding red and processed meat, sugary drinks, junk food, and alcohol.

Meanwhile, cancer avoidance strategies are thriving. More and more people are opting for regular mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap smears and prostate cancer checks. In the near future, we can look forward to a single blood test identifying floating traces of protein and DNA from a wide range of cancers.

There’s a lot more information in the Bulletin article, and it’s worth a detailed reading. Cancer is not always preventable, but increased research and daily discoveries make the disease a less fearsome enemy than ever before.

Contact AARP at www.AARP.org   

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Holidays

A good friend of mine, a woman with a demanding life, once told me how she felt during the holidays. “It’s like being the only kid left in the dorm, when everybody else has gone home.”  I agree with her.

     I’ve spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases by[ts1]  myself. It’s not necessarily through lack of invitations, but rather because (1) I was not in a relationship at the time and (2)I truly feel that if I don’t know the welcoming family very well, I’ll be an outsider infringing on the group’s togetherness. Holidays are a time for recounting family tales, laughing at past embarrassments and relishing the successes of the year gone by. If I’m a stranger to all of these, I—and the hosts—will be ill at ease. Or, conversely, they’re times for rehashing old arguments, unearthing resentments, and airing grievances. No place there for a stranger.

     The truth is, I dislike the holidays. My silly season begins with Halloween, an evening once made for kids but recently appropriated by adults, and ends March 2, the day after my birthday. It’s a dark time, cold, stressed and strained, with drama just below the surface.

When I was a kid, my parents would throw what the French call reveillons, elaborate parties that would last until the wee hours. Kids weren’t invited, but I remember getting up at dawn and finishing off the various glasses of wine, champagne, and liqueurs left by the revelers. It was my introduction to alcohol.

I also remember the adults’ behaviors. Many were drunk, and on one occasion, a family friend emptied his glass of alcohol into my aquarium, killing all my fish. Another tipped over the Christmas tree. One couple, who obviously didn’t enjoy marital bliss, hissed at each other until the wife, well-oiled, angrily left the party, got into her car, and promptly drove it into a telephone pole. During one such party, my father had to be taken to the hospital with pneumonia, which many of the guests found hilarious.

Forced revelry, bogus cheer, excesses of all kinds are not for me. So yes, I’m a grinch.

Happy holidays.


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Le Jour de Merci Donnant (Explaining Thanksgiving to the French)

For decades prior to his death, Art Buchwald’s column Explaining Thanksgiving to the French ran in The Washington Post on Thanksgiving Day. Art is no longer with us and the Post no longer carries it,  so here it is.

This confidential column was leaked to me by a high government official in the Plymouth colony on the condition that I not reveal his name.

One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant .

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims ( Pelerins ) who fled from l’Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde ) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts’ content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai ) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn (mais). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins’ crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.

It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilometres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the jeune lieutenant :

“Go to the damsel Priscilla (allez tres vite chez Priscilla), the loveliest maiden of Plymouth ( la plus jolie demoiselle de Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action (un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.

“I am a maker of war (je suis un fabricant de la guerre) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar (vous, qui etes pain comme un etudiant), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden.”

Although Jean was fit to be tied (convenable a etre emballe), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow (rendue muette par l’etonnement et la tristesse).

At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: “If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?” (Ou est-il, le vieux Kilometres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas aupres de moi pour tenter sa chance ?)

Jean said that Kilometres Deboutish was very busy and didn’t have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilometres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, Jean?” (Chacun a son gout.)

And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes and, for the only time during the year, eat better than the French do.

No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fete and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilometres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.

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Aging

This business of getting older is a full-time job.

Gone are the days when I’d hop out of bed and face the world full of vim and vigor. This morning, I had a doctor’s appointment and immunotherapy which required an IV and an infusion of a drug I can’t pronounce, all before breakfast. Prior to that, though, and before going out, I showered (remember to put in ear plugs so as not to get otitis), tended to my eyes (drops to avoid advancing glaucoma), took the various supplements and meds to allay diabetes, high cholesterol, and another condition that I forget. Then I pricked my finger to check my blood sugars, put in my (stupidly expensive) hearing aids so I can listen to the world, and slathered a moisturizer on my dried-out feet.

I forgot where in the underground parking lot I parked my car, and the remote that flashed the headlights on didn’t work, since I’d parked on G2 and was looking on G1.

I make sure I do all my chores during the day as I can no longer drive safely at night, or in a downpour. On any given morning, my hip joints hurt. I’ve been told this was partly due to age and partly to the immunotherapy that deals with my bladder cancer and, apparently, has ceased working. The last lab tests found errant cancer cells, which means I’ll need another cystoscopy, my 28th in a decade. This in turn will lead to a month of peeing every eight-or-so minutes and making sure I’m never too far from a men’s room.

According to the latest figures, the life span of a white male in the U.S. has dropped to 74.5 years, so I have already gone past my expiration date. I try to watch what I consume and have largely given up eating meat. I neither drink nor smoke, and my last (il)legal drug was consumed in 1991. I drink decaf tea and coffee and do not partake of sweets. Shouldn’t there be a payoff?

I’ve also discovered that I now walk differently, having taken on an old man shuffle punctuated by trips and stumbles. Young people (the polite ones) hold the door open for me. I drive slower than I used to and no longer care if a 20-something passes me in an unmuffled muscle car. I tip 25 percent. I don’t eat as much as I used to and I sleep a lot more. I was amazed to learn that the crowns put in my mouth in 2000 now need to be replaced, at a cost that should buy me a small island in the Pacific.  The purveyors of hair growth creams, drops and sprays have invaded my Facebook page.

It’s my contention that we live far too long. We should all pleasantly drop dead when we hit 60 and let others take our place. Instead, we hang on doggedly, as our hair recedes and clogs the bathroom drain, which is not a graceful way to go.

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Nancy and I

I received six emails from Nancy Pelosi yesterday, which I think is a little over the top since I hardly know her. I bumped into her at a Trader Joe’s three years ago and I remember she was holding a bag of tangerines. I smiled. She smiled. I recognized her; she did not recognize me. And I saw her at a Georgetown restaurant a while back. Her plate had a smidgeon of fish (sole?), a wedge of lemon, two sprigs of parsley and a marble-sized potato. I didn’t stare. I just noticed as I walked past her table.

Her emails are rarely good news. In fact, I’d be tempted to say Nancy is very much a pessimist. She worries a lot about the Democratic party, and my thought is if she spent less time online and more time working with Hill colleagues, she might have less to be concerned about.

So OK, I know she doesn’t write the emails herself, and that she doesn’t even vet them before they go out to millions of people like me. I know an army of online workers are flooding the internet with her thoughts and words and anxieties. It’s overkill.

I know the parties—all the parties—need money, because if there’s one thing political parties do well, it’s spend your money and mine. They know how to trigger your worst fears (“Trump says he will run in 2028!!!”) and they spend sleepless nights seeking ways to avoid my delete button. They try being pals (“Hey Thiery! A friend suggested we talk to you about…”) or more formal, (“Dear Mr. Sagnier: We are appealing to you because we know you are a listened-to…”) They seek my funds, my approval, and my vote. Judging from the number of surveys I receive, my opinion really matters to them. It’s quite flattering, and it’s about as effective as the daily scam calls to renew my car warranty.

I’m a little surprised the experts haven’t realized yelling “wolf” five times a day isn’t an effective way to grab my attention. In fact, it does the opposite and I get increasingly hostile. They remind me of the online weapon sellers. Shortly after I asked to be removed from one dealer’s mailing list, I was inundated by offers for tactical flashlights, firesticks, and cameo underwear.

This being said, I haven’t asked Nancy to take me off her mailing lists. There’s a part of me that still thinks one day I’ll get a message from her that’ll say something like, “Hey, want to grab some Ethiopian food tomorrow?” Or maybe, “If you’re at TJ, can you grab a bag of tangerines for me?”

Hope springs eternal.

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Immuno Day

Today was unusually jolly at the oncology department. The nurses were cutting up: Benjamin told tales of his native Ghana, Isabela joked with an older man with stomach cancer, and I wondered aloud about substituting alcohol for the drug that makes up my infusion.

This was my 17th immunotherapy session. Every three weeks, I have blood drawn for a litany of tests and, two days later, I come in to be given my dosage of pembrolizumab, a drug that strengthen my immune system against cancer. I was diagnosed with bladder cancer about a decade ago, have had more than two dozen biopsies and, this time around, have been in remission for just about a year.

In September 2020, I told my oncologist that I would not undergo the operation he was strongly suggesting which would remove my bladder, prostate and various other bits of pieces of my anatomy. He had told me a few months earlier that my bladder was dying and excising it was the standard procedure for cases like mine.

We talked for quite a bit, but what persuaded me against having the surgery was the recovery period of a year, at best, with no promise that the cancer would not return and affect another organ. He said he understood my decision, even if he didn’t agree with it, and suggested a relatively new procedure, where a new formula would be infused into my system via an IV.

Before this, I’d undergone several years of chemo where a particularly noxious drug, based on the tubercular cells of infected sheep, was shot up my urethra and into my bladder. It hurt. It burned. It made me ill. To add insult to injury, it was French.

Immunotherapy does not cause much discomfort and, bless me, appears to be working.

I go to the clinic and sit in a sort of Barcalounger chair. An IV is inserted in the crook of my arm, and the pembrolizumab drips into me for 75 minutes.  The nurse gives me coffee, takes my blood pressure a couple of times, and lets me know if any of the tests undergone 48 hours earlier show anything odd.  Today, they didn’t.

I listened as the patient in the curtained-off chair next to mine spoke about his wife and children. The patient across from me spent  time on his iPhone, haranguing someone without, it seemed, obtaining any sort of satisfaction. I said hello to the nurses I know, a dozen or so, and in time the IV beeped and I was done. The most painful time of the process is removing the IV and tearing of the tape that secures the needle. Most times, I remember to shave the area. Today I forgot.  

Pembrolizumab can have serious side-effects, but I’ve been fortunate—mine are limited to fatigue and muscle soreness. I’ll take that over being injected with sheep cells any day.

Currently, the immunotherapy is limited to two years’ duration, so I’m halfway through the treatment, though it’s likely further ongoing studies will allow longer treatments. In a couple of weeks, I’ll have a cystoscopy, where a tiny camera will be inserted in my bladder, and if I’m clean and there is no sign of cancer, I’ll have been in remission for a full year. That’ll be the first time this occurs since I was first diagnosed.

I’m trying to stay positive but must confess to a deep fear. I’ve had nine months clean in the past, only for the cancer to reappear, a medical tar-baby, rhat defies the rules of logic.

Se we’ll see. Fingers are crossed, positive thoughts are entertained, all while my faith in modern medicine is tested.  Time will tell.

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Food and Friends

Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunch with Rich and Nathalie Forsen, true friends of almost three decades’ standing, at an upscale restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.

It was a splendid day, cloudless with a cerulean sky and the temperature one wishes for year-round. I managed to park less than a hundred yards away and, wonder of wonder, it being Sunday, parking was free.

The food was excellent, small servings of Balkan treats that included light and tasty breads, a variety of spreads, beef prosciutto and other charcuterie, eggs fixed to your liking with salmon or sausage, chicken, beef and pork… In all, there were 29 different delights offered, with the invitation to eat as few, or as many, as you wanted. We had multiple servings of 20 offerings and only one, highly seasoned potatoes, raised eyebrows. The service was excellent, the brunch beverages–mimosas, bloody Maries and such–were twenty-five cents (not a typo) and, all in all, it was one of the best meals I have had in memory.

It began in confusion. I thought we were going to an Ethiopian restaurant, and it was only when I got there and glanced at the menu that a sort of food insecurity crept in. No tibs, no kitfo, no shiro or dulet. And not an injera in sight. None of these, it turns out, are native to the Balkans.

We ate outside. After a short while, I noticed that I was by far the oldest person at a table. In fact, during the two hours Nathalie, Rich and I spent there, I spotted only one grey-haired couple walking by. Everyone else appeared to be in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties which I, in my aged wisdom, consider very, very young. And they were well-off, too. As mentioned, this was not an inexpensive place. Brunch for two with tip was an easy $100, and there was a waiting line of foodies at the door. The hostess, in fact, told me when I arrived that there was a two-hour limit per table occupancy.

Arlington has become a choice neighborhood for the young and affluent, and this is great! There’s a vibrant culture of music there, and dozens of excellent ethnic restaurants. I must admit that I didn’t see any bookstores or art galleries on the main drag, but the neighborhood, which 60 years ago sheltered the American Nazi Party headquarter, and where its leader, George Lincoln Rockwell, was assassinated, has gone from a quasi-slum to a pearl.

It was, all told, a great day spent with great people. It strangely reaffirmed my faith in the nation’s ability to survive what have been dreadful times. Occasionally, and thankfully, life is indeed very good.      

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Sex, Part 3

First, let’s discard the conception of fairness. Fairness is a human construct that has little to do with reality. Life isn’t fair, that’s a given. It’s not fair that women live longer than men; bear pain better, recover from trauma and illness more quickly than men, and have reserves of fat allowing them to last longer during famine. According to a Guardian interview of Steven Austad, a researcher studying aging, “Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men.”

That’s not fair at all. The Guardian story goes on to say, “Men are treated as superior to women in virtually every regard: They’re thought of not only as physically stronger, but smarter, better suited for leadership, and overall deserving of better treatment. All of this is based on the faulty idea that men are just better equipped for modern life, a notion Austad’s aging research challenges.”

So why is it men are considered more aggressive and violent than women? Jesse Prinz, a City of New York University professor, believes that, “Both men and women want to obtain as many desirable resources as they can. In hunter-gatherer societies, this strength differential doesn’t allow men to fully dominate women, because they depend on the food that women gather. But things change with the advent of intensive agriculture and herding. Strength gives men an advantage over women once heavy plows and large animals become central aspects of food production. With this, men become the sole providers, and women start to depend on men economically. The economic dependency allows men to mistreat women, to philander, and to take over labor markets and political institutions.”

Shall we blame sexual harassment on the development of agriculture? Why not. It makes as much sense as any other explanation.

Perhaps, as has been often suggested, it’s a question of power. Most of the power in our world is wielded by men.

The same study appears to establish that, “Men are more xenophobic than women, because they are wired to wage war[…] and one disturbing study shows men endorse war after being primed with a picture of an attractive woman, which suggests that male violence has a sexual motive. But the link between sex and violence may derive from the fact that sex is often coercive in male dominant societies.”

All this would seem to say we have institutionalized our worst habits. War and other violence, cheating and theft as practiced by the wealthy and made legal by them, poverty, sexism, racism. Why not harassment?

Now notice the preponderance of the words ‘appear,’ ‘seem,’ ‘perhaps,’ and ‘believe.’ I point this out because all of these statements are assumptions, save the ones about upper body strength and those that can be proven statistically.

We can also say with a great deal of certainty that sexual harassment is cultural. My friend Beatrice Hamblett, the photographer and writer, remembers walking through neighborhoods in New York when she worked at Colombia. “The abundance of catcalls, whistles, and sexual comments varied depending on the ethnic make-up of the neighborhoods I passed through,” she recalled recently.

Women who have traveled will tell you, for example, that on the streets French men may comment and whistle softly, but they won’t touch a woman, while Italians will touch. Germans press too close in elevators and buses. Japanese are known for groping females in the subways. Greece, interestingly, has a legal description of sexual harassment: “When any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs with purpose or effect of violating the dignity of this person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.” It’s a start, but since it does not deal in definitives, the Greeks themselves call it The Ostrich Policy.

What does this prove other than sexual harassment seems to be as international as Coca Cola?

We’re back to the beginning.

A while back, French women launched their versions of the #MeToo hashtag, #BalancetonPorc, which loosely translates to Dump Your Pig.

Personally, I’m not sure what to make of the hashtag campaigns here and abroad. This is the sort of social media action whose effectiveness I question. I do know that in France, the incidence of domestic violence accounts for a sizeable percentage of the country’s crime-induced deaths, and that the government there has for the past 25 years tried—not very effectively—to come to grips with sexual harassment.

Now I’ll suggest a theory of my own.

We men are afraid of women. I’d even go so far as to say, we’re terrified of their powers. What we fear, we try to control, and isn’t that what sexual harassment is, a form of control? Some of us–a minority, I’ll say again–the boorish ones, the ones who are the most frightened, the ones whose very manliness is suspect both to themselves and to others, will harass women because it makes them feel strong and superior.  

Men, at the cortex level, know perfectly well that without women, we’re nothing. There’s a reason for poems, and chansons d’amour, and legends of love. We adore and worship women. In the most primitive of ways, we know that all women are goddesses. They do what only divinities can do: create life.

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Three Plays

Not too long ago I wrote some short plays, mostly because I was challenged to do so by an actress who wanted to test the limits of my skills. Two plays were produced locally, and two were staged in New York at Tada Theatre and the Long Island Fringe Festival.

Recently, my friend and director Stu Fischer asked if he could direct three of the plays on Zoom with actors with whom he’d worked before. Yesterday, I saw a rehearsal and was reminded, once again, of why I write. In two words, to entertain.

In 2018, Stu had directed Death Be Not Loud, a short comedy about a man who over breakfast reads his wife’s obituary in that morning’s newspaper. The trouble is his wife is far from dead; she’s in their bedroom getting ready for work. In these tumultuous times, who should one believe, a wife or the media?

Heaven on Hold tells of a woman’s attempts to negotiate her imminent death with God’s customer service representative, who does his job with verve, talent, and the necessary traces of annoyance.

L’Existentialism, La Musical, is a longer, more intricate piece. A young American couple visiting Paris are beset by existentialist philosophers whose views on life, love and death, are no match for the couple’s naiveté and desire to be left in peace.

The actors were, to a one, spectacular, particularly considering that Zoom constricted their movements and creativity. I seldom laugh at my own works, but I did last night and thought how wonderful it was to see my words interpreted by others and given, at least to me, a brand-new buffing and gloss. Writing for the stage, I realized early on, is not like writing dialogue for novels, which I’ve been doing for years. In a book, the reader can linger; in a play, the words are said once and gone, so clarity and brevity are of the essence.

If you’re interested in seeing the plays, they’ll be on Zoom tomorrow, Saturday July 10, at 2 p.m.  Follow this link for more information!    https://www.facebook.com/events/521533032384512       

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