Actor Keith Hamilton Cobb website

Monthly Archives: August 2014

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A Collection of Short Fiction in Progress

Leer and Keith SoundsmithWebRandom clips taken at Soundsmith Studios with the soundsmith himself, Leer Leary.

“The Odd Purgatory of My Personal Perception” is a collection of stories that have been kicked around on one laptop of mine or another for the past 15 years.  Some have said that they are not stories at all.  Maybe they’re right.  Some call them erotic short fiction.  Others have said that there is nothing erotic about them.  We’ll see…

Fourteen selections… or so… Small noises…  Big silences… Awkward, unbalanced, verbose, meandering prose in bite-sized pieces…

And it’s coming soon.

 Above:  Recording work on the short story, “God’s Children,” also excerpted below.

…She was God’s child, so he had thought; one of the ones that the Universe looks after because, for whatever reason, they didn’t end up here upon this seething orb of self-serving fuck-ups with the tools to fend for themselves, so he thought…  Dumber than a box of rocks, he’d thought, but as delicate and as lovely as an orchid.  And she smelled like vanilla ice cream.  She was the sort of vacuous that could be beyond sexy when the sexy wore it.  And he had not been looking for a lover that would be anything more than that: sexy, immediate, and unencumbering ever after.  He had few other reasons to subject himself to a barroom’s sensory barrage of boisterous humanity.  Everywhere else, feeling the oppressive weight of its incurious tumbling on, he navigated around the dumb motion of the masses as best his own too human condition could manage.  The only thing to be gotten by braving the concentration of festering crowd psychology that a Friday night tavern contained was the prize of some pretty diversion intent on receiving him without superfluous ceremony; something sweet and soft to distract his embattled heart and sate his hunger for an hour or two without making of itself a nuisance in the a.m., and she came dancing up to him from out of the aggregate of noise and dark and compressed bodies in a joint in Seattle, and stood at the bar staring at him, blankly, as her hips swayed to the bass beat of The Isley Brothers singing “Caravan of Love…”  

© Keith Hamilton Cobb
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Hudson Sunset Sailing… Just Because…

 

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Monday Night Moor

August 11th, 2014, “American Moor” plays to a full house at Luna Stage

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

Of all three public performances of this new, developing play to date, this one, Monday night, the 11th of August, was the most energized, the best performed, the tightest textually, and the most satisfying evening of theatre that I, as the performer have had for some time.  Luna Stage is a 98 seat “black box” theatre space.  The seats were filled with a diverse audience, a combination of Luna’s regular patron base, some friends and colleagues of mine, and a number of people having come from as far away as DC, Massachusetts, and Missouri, to lend their minds and voices to the growth of this work, and all for one evening in the dead of summer, the toughest time to get people to come out and support theatre.

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

What I have found about these one-night-only presentations of “Moor” is that there can be no real relaxing into the work.  There is the one opportunity to put it on its feet, have people watch, listen, and comment, then nothing until the next time you get a space to mount it, and an audience to watch it.  In that circumstance, nerves are high, the space is unfamiliar, things are happening for the first time, that haven’t happened anywhere else.  This can lend itself to what people like to call “the magic of theatre,” or create utter amateur hour…  The entire creative process is stilted at best.  As those sorts of things go, this was a fairly strong showing.  At least I thought so, and the audience responses seemed to back up my perception.

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

This play is trying to speak to several very complex issues that haunt our culture in a very short space of time.  It frustrates me to attempt to do so, and I think it frustrates the audience as well.  It is a lot to hear and consider, and one tendency seems to be to say to the play, “That just ain’t so…  It’s not like that.  It’s like something else.”  As we ventured into the “talk-back” segment of the evening, I felt the agitation that this play causes in the bodies of people.  This, I felt, is a good thing.  If it were not rattling people into thought, and reaction, there would be cause for worry.  But people are outspoken and vehement in their reactions to this piece, and I’m guessing, for all my creative frustration, that I’ve done something right… something…

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

The discussion was long, and we spoke to many uncomfortable aspects of the play.  The play is about the discussion that never gets had.  I’m encouraged that it seems to want to happen in the moments following the curtain call.  People have had their emotions stirred, and are all wanting to express, “This is what I feel!”  We asked them to please feel free to express it.  They did not disappoint us.  We spoke like a group of people, diverse in background and experience, all trying to understand the same thing; to find a point of balance.  In that respect, I think the play did what it was supposed to.  American theatre did what it’s supposed to.

 

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

Then…  We stood on the stage and talked, one to one, face to face, until it was late.  Many did.  I suspect that means there was something worth staying late and talking about…

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Photo Credit: Donna Davis

from left:  Frankie Faison, myself, Cheryl Katz (Luna Stage artistic director), and Craig Alan Edwards

from left: Frankie Faison, myself, Cheryl Katz (Luna Stage artistic director), and Craig Alan Edwards
Photo Credit: Donna Davis

I’m grateful to Luna Stage Company, and all who came out to make this evening with me.  I knew there was a reason to be doin’ this shit.

 

 

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The Great City

On both sides of the crime and punishment equation there reside imposters in the great city.

choke18n-12-webThey are not difficult to identify, for they can be found seeking not to benefit the city, but to benefit themselves.  Criminals do this.  It is the very definition of their enterprise.  Seeking to benefit one’s self at the expense of the greater good is also a human failing, however.  Another is the tendency to cloak the criminal enterprise in rationale that either excuses it, or worse, dresses it up to look as though it is in support of the great city that one goes about one’s selfish business.

The great city strives to be just.  It does not strive for justice after the fact, for any mediocre society will show a semblance of making that effort.  There is no greatness in that.  The great city is just before the fact, always and only…  The great city defines itself by what is just, and the pursuit of justice presupposes that what is just has already been undone; that what is just has fled, and justice seeks but vainly to retrieve it.  But it cannot be gotten again.  We of the great city cannot, in our hearts, ask an eye for an eye.  If we know the difference between “just” and “justice” we cannot.  If we derive our solace and comfort from the punitive, we do not belongsiegel22e-1-web here, in the great, just city.  We of the great city know that restoring what is just can only mean doing the impossible; that we un-injure the injured, un-wrong the wronged, and return the dead to life.  We know that, in the just city, injustice cannot thrive, but once it has entered in, we cannot un-do the damage it does.  If it is here, then the just city has become unjust, and ungreat, and we can only start again, from the beginning, as a people, in the great city, to be just.

Because, in the great city, we are just, we must forgive cop and criminal alike.  We must admit, if we are just, and not seeking justice, that we cannot often tell them apart, and hope that they come to realize that they are both engaged in service to themselves, no matter what they would like to claim.  And we hope that they will forgive us, seeing that we are people, and not great, like them, in the great city.

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