A Man’s Home is his Castle

It is a widely held fact that “a man’s home is his castle” – even if he does not live in an actual castle.  Faith Hill sang about it, so you’d best believe it.  We all know what she gets like when she doesn’t get what she wants. While castles themselves are often littered with rooms, luxuries, and servants, non-castles are usually littered with errant toys and, well, litter.

However, there is one commonality between both castles and non-castles…they both have throne rooms.  And these rooms are where EffTD and Eventualism really take hover (I say hover instead of flight because it is, after all, appropriately eventual).

In the times before now when there were kings that actually mattered, both the King and Queen (and sometimes the Jack) would sit upon thrones during ceremonial exercises such as knightings, beheadings, and pilates.  All of these ceremonies were eventual in nature, and the throne was designed as a comfortable way for the monarchs to pass the time comfortably so that they would not lose their heads during them (as opposed to the beheaded).

In modern times, the throne is sat upon for various lengths of time.  During these times, which are sometimes known as movements despite the fact one is sitting still, one can “zone out” or “zen out” depending on the mood and temperament, read (or be read to via audiobook or, if you live in a castle, a servant) or simply do nothing at all.  It is a time to simply be (or do something that rhymes with “be”).

I think it is crucial for every budding Eventualist to discover the power behind the throne and treat your self to a “Bathroom Retreat” eventually.  If you happen to live in a castle, then you can take part in both this and a retreat of your choosing – since you live in a castle. Suggested listening: Uncle John’s Slight Irregular Bathroom Reader.

Royal Treat: King Hedley II

August Wilson”s King Hedley II, directed by Marion McClinton (Jitney), plays more like an opera than a play. Lovely, long lyrical aria-like discussions of past grudges, life’s injustices, abandonment and other frustrations, and how they scar generations, hurtle the characters toward inevitable destinies.

You can’t play in the chord God ain’t wrote, says Stool Pigeon (Stephen McKinley Henderson), a gentle neighbor. He wrote the beginning and end. He let you play around with the middle. An installment in Wilson’s decade-by-decade history depicting African American experience in the 20th century, King Hedley II is set in Wilson’s hometown, Pittsburgh, in 1985, though it has little to do with the eighties.

King (a name, not a title) Hedley (Brian Stokes Mitchell) is just out of prison for murdering a man. He is named for a man he believes to be his father, who also murdered a man. Mitchell’s wonderful baritone voice (lately the lead in Kiss Me Kate) lends the proper operatic feel to his impassioned monologues. Abandoned earlier by his mother Ruby (Leslie Uggams), he now lives with her in a rundown row house with his new wife Tonya (the excellent Viola Davis). Life’s got its own rhythm. It don’t always match up with your rhythm, Ruby tells the pregnant Tonya.

Visitors to their home are Hedley’s associate partner in his future planned video store and current scam, Mister (Monte Russell), and Ruby’s ex-boyfriend and con artist, Elmore (Charles Brown), who plans to marry her and also is inexplicably determined to tell Hedley his true parentage.

Much is made of the seeds Hedley plants to get something to grow out of the old dirt, but he learns nothing from these symbols of new life. Speaking of his murder he says: The next one ain’t gonna cost me nothing. Two guns and a bloody machete also figure into the plot, foretelling the play’s tragic ending.

King Hedley II is a lesser Wilson play. But is rewarding both for its powerful images and sympathetic showcase for people only he depicts on stage.