“Fell in it” By Damaris Montalvo

TriesteSo say you’re in Italy – Florence, maybe – and the sun is setting over the Ponte Vecchio, bathing the city in a warm, orange glow. You look down at your throbbing legs, sore from walking up and down museum hallways and cobblestone streets, and you think to yourself, “Wow, I have thighs like oaks.”

That’s when you know a play has hit you.

When you’re miles away from home, admiring The David or a Stradivarius violin that’s older than your country, and you’re quoting a rockabilly play you saw the week before about a nation that’s a mere 237 years old – you’ve got it bad. American Misfit has swept you off your feet, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

And it doesn’t end there. Every time it rained on my vacation, my boyfriend and I would look at each other, drenched, and one of us would say, “Fell in it,” spoken in a deep, stoic voice that makes you think there should be a hyphen between each word. A good ten minutes later, once we were under cover, the other would say, “Think there’s a fish in me pants.”

While this is certainly a testament to Dan Dietz’s memorable writing and AJ Meijer’s wonderful rendition of Big Harpe, it also goes to show how I’m so addicted to theatre, that even my couple-y inside jokes come from my thespian obsession. I wish I could tell you this is the first time … alas, it’s most definitely not.

If you’ve been attending Boston Court plays in the past three years, you’ll understand why I am unable to see kale at the supermarket and not exclaim, “Kale! It’s a wonderfood!” (The Treatment, 2012.) Or perhaps you’ll understand why whenever I say, “in this moment,” I envision a dapper gentleman with a flower in his lapel (The Twentieth-Century Way, 2010), or why, similarly, when I got stranded in Long Beach, I couldn’t stop pronouncing it as “LOOONG Beach,” in a heavy, gravelly voice. These quotes run in a long stream of consciousness, blending together in our brains and our speech:

A gentle, purring sound
But ya don’t (said in a British accent)
I’m bored. So BORED.
So big and strong (pounding a fist into one’s palm)
A curse is upon me!
¡Oye! ¡Oye!
Dig deep! Make it happen!

Much like music, plays have a way of articulating every-day life experience and sentiments in a much poignant and compelling way than ordinary thoughts. The lines quoted above are deceivingly simple, and upon first glance, they would give you no reason to think they’re remarkable in any way. But expressed at just the right time with just the right cadence, they become immensely meaningful.

Prior to American Misfit, I would’ve looked down at my new, muscly thighs and thought, “Damn, those are some thick thighs!” And it would’ve served as a fleeting thought that would’ve passed just as quickly as it came, leaving no trace of significance. Yet now I find myself thinking about oak-like thighs, “silent like oaks,” wondering about the audibility of thighs and whether they’re ever really “silent” and what a “loud” thigh would be like, and noting that I’ve never devoted this much attention to thighs in my life. It’s a line so delicious I can savor it; it’s like a cat with a raspy tongue licking smooth, creamy gelato.

I guess that when I packed my bags, I didn’t realize I was also bringing with me Rockabilly Boy’s crooning tunes, playing in my mind more often than the playlist on my iTunes.

**

Dama is a marketing professional who helps identify opportunities for nonprofit organizations, developing fundraising strategies to grow their programs and pursue their admirable causes. She has been a proud and happy member of The Theatre @ Boston Court since 2010.

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