One of the characters in Donna Hayes's play is Kendra James, who was shot and killed by a cop in 2003 for refusing to get out of the car when ordered to do so. Today, at our last rehearsal, when Fyndi Jermany walked into the theatre, I said to her casually, as I had said to each of the actors playing people in Donna's play, "Your job is to bring Kendra James back to life so she can tell her story," and Fyndi began to cry. Surprised, I muttered, "What is it, Fyndi?"
"That's harsh," she said. "That's some heavy shit. Yeah, yeah, I can do that, but damn." She began to read and ripped our hearts out. She was Kendra James. Like Kendra, Fyndi has two children. Like Kendra, she is small-bodied and fierce with life. When she embodied Kendra, her anger at being taken from her children, taken from her life--shocked us with its power. She is right. This is some heavy shit we're involved in.
This will almost certainly be my last theatre piece. What a grand finale for a long life.
Tomorrow is my 75th birthday, and Sue and I leave early in the morning to drive down to Yachats, a cell phone dead zone. If I go park outside the tiny public library, I might be able to get wifi for a bit. But I can't be sure I'll be back here till we get back to Portland on the 30th.
We have no idea what may happen to our city while we're away. Will thousands continue gathering to meet the feds and mercenaries at the fence, to breathe in tear gas and and be shot with impact munitions, as they have done for the past 59 days? Will something happen that jolts that nightly ritual out of its rhythm? We don't know. I don't usually pray, but I'm praying for them to be safe, as I slip away to breathe the ocean air one more time.
Update: 20,000 people protested last night. CS gas is powder; thousands were affected by it. Pepper spray is oil; thousands were affected by it. Among them, a 75-year-old photographer I know was pepper sprayed in the face, a much-younger photographer was pepper sprayed and her camera was damaged, and a young mom I don't know was shot in the eye, and her eye exploded.