Temperamental "T" Battles, Theater

“Deathwatch”-ing “Short Eyes”

Alright my dear darlings, I believe my port is kicking in, because I feel like I need to finish this entry somehow. Of course nobody is going to die if I don’t finish this write up, but if I don’t finish it, the world will miss on Plastikoff’s smarts. I need to move my fingers faster on those clicking buttons that make words. Let’s talk about my value at another time when I am less important to myself, alright? I can’t handle myself at the moment that’s why I decided to give you another “Temperamental “T” Battle.” Umhum thaz right Plastikoff is going to talk theater again after blabbering so much about politics and things of that nature in the previous blog entry.

Politics is theater and theater is politics or whatever, as my good friend Joe Truman would say. Eat rhubarbs if your life is too sweet, if not, there is always Donkey Donuts around the corner somewhere, and no, I haven’t misspelled that. If I eat one more donut, I will definitely turn donkey on you for sure, but about them… oh that’s right I began writing about something else… and now I am craving donuts. Ugh, this damn blog.

Okay darlings, if you were able to follow me to this point, congratulations, because now I am going to demonstrate you how I make myself to like a play which, if not for this blog, one could dismiss as not interesting enough.

Today’s battle is between two writers who spent some time behind the bars. They both loved stealing and toyed with drugs. Well who haven’t, I would ask you? If you read this entry of mine, you know what I am talking about. But this writty-shmitry is not about how to steal or how to “become” a homosexual. What it is about, I don’t know yet myself.

Most of you probably don’t even know how this whole “homo” thing works, unless you have been in jail, as my dear Jean and Miguel were. When you are trapped behind some steel, or whatever they’re called, bars, your real you comes out in all colors of the rainbow and that’s, my dears, is the time when you “become” gay. Ha, do you really believe that (smiley face)?

Okay I should cut this whole gay-shmay talk right now and go to the point. Why is that suddenly I decided to talk about these two authors and these two particular plays?

Well, first of all, they both were/are great writers and, what is even more exciting, they were/are both street smart, which could only mean they didn’t go to any fancy-shmancy university. They got their education from those flees which they collected in those unmarked, full of junkies houses. I truly am impressed by how both of them kept on writing. Even though they both were “criminals,” … f*ck I forgot what I was going to say here, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Let me dissect “Short Eyes” and “Deathwatch” for you instead.

If you have forgotten how the “Temperamental “T” Battles” go, read this entry. I find that entry pretty good, especially when I am drunk.

“Short Eyes” and “Deathwatch” are not produced very often because they deal with very particular situations in very particular places. My work here is to convince you and show you how you, my dear readers, could enjoy a work that doesn’t necessary move you at all.

God, the stuck “t” on my keyboard is driving me crazy.

Now, why would you choose to see a play about convicts? On top of it, why would you want to see a play about murderers, homosexuals, blacks, Latinos, drug addicts and pedophiles, why?

To tell you the truth, I don’t know why, but this is exactly why I decided to write this entry. I want to convince you that beauty is all around you, in all kinds of shapes and forms. Yes, you can read this last sentence sarcastically, if you wish.

No, I am not a fan of pedophilia, no. Oh god, I just imagine all these parents go crazy imagining somebody taking advantage of their children. Even I got sobered up from that thought alone, and no, there is no smiley face at the end of this sentence, no.

But, I should mention to you, that I knew somebody who was wrongfully accused of being sexually involved with a minor. He was an unbelievably talented and free spirited artist. Think Basquiat and Rimbaud in one person. Yes, on top of his free spirit and talent, he also, it happened so, was a homosexual. His story ended in a suicide. He was not able handle the accusations. He was twenty one years old, the boy was sixteen at that time. Yes, that’s true, he was a homosexual, which automatically mean in some countries that you are sick. What also is true, that that person confided in me a night before he ended his life, telling me about the people who made these accusations. He could not understand how anyone could think that he was taking advantage of a young man he was teaching at the time. He really adored his pupil as an artist. They had a very special bond.

Piñero in his play “Short Eyes” is dealing with a somewhat similar situation. There is a man who is jailed and, as later we find out, falsely accused of molesting some young girls. The play painfully reminded me of my friend. The only difference with my friend and Piñero’s character Short Eyes was that my friend was not jailed but living in a society which understood anything homosexual a crime. In my friend’s case society was the jail where being a homosexual meant being a pedophile.

Piñero is raw, Genet is poetic. To compare their writings is like comparing apples to chili peppers, so I am not going to do the comparison. Instead I want to tell you why I decided to spend my time talking about “Short Eyes” and “Deathwatch.

Let’s go to “Deathwatch” now. First of all I should mention that I love Genet, period. “Deathwatch” is not as popular as his “The Maids” is. But “Deathwatch” is worth looking into.

“Deathwatch” takes place in a single jail cell where there are three criminals “residing.” One of them Green Eyes (interesting how the word “eyes” has a huge meaning in jail slang) is waiting for a death sentence. The death happens in the play, but not to the person who is convicted.

I don’t want to go into plot details here. In “Deathwatch” there is almost no plot. What attracted me in the play were inspirations and ideas I got from it.

While I was reading and later watching a film, an adaptation of the play, I found myself thinking about Genet’s genius construction of human psyche using three different characters. I got myself involved with questions like, what and who do these characters represent? To me the jail cell represented a human psyche where there were three conflicting thoughts (three characters). Knowing that Genet was quite often in jail and dealt with situations where he was sexually attracted to other men, it made sense to me that he would write whatever was happening in his mind on paper.

In “Deathwatch” Genet, in a way, is all these three characters: gorgeous looking Green Eyes, secretly in love Lefranc and openly in love with Green Eyes Maurice. They all have their own secrets and they all could represent a jailed human psyche. So, in short, by entering the jail cell we are entering Genet’s mind.

Summing up both plays:

“Deathwatch” gave me perspective of how a play or a performance could be built using characters as representations of different parts of human psyche.

“Short Eyes” hit close to home because somebody I knew ended their life because of a similar accusation.

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