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Greece 1: A Wood Near Athens

In the summer of 1964 I played the role of Bottom the Weaver in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as a member of the Dunes Arts Foundation Children's Theater in Michigan City, IN. We did the play again the following year at Elston High School (which no longer exists), and that second set of performances, with most of the same cast members, was memorably excellent.

The ass head I wore for the production was made of paper mache, and I constructed it at home with the help of my mother, who was, I realize now, a true artist in that medium. In our house when we had a stack of newspapers gathered it was time to start mixing flour and water for pinatas, volcanoes, or model train scenery, or full-scale animated Halloween witches, or Christmas Snow Men. So, in seeking her aid, I felt I was looking more for a high-quality product than maternal support.

The head lasted through both productions and through several years after that. Where if finally met its end is now clouded in mystery. But having carried the head around with me for a couple years, and inhabiting it with Shakespearean magic of a heady sort (ooh sorry), I had grown rather attached to it-- or it to me? I would sometimes wear it when I wanted to be alone.

I had forgotten the play was set near Athens, that Bottom was an Athenian weaver, and had no inkling that I, enroute to Athens in a witless way, was about to reprise my role one more time.

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Cydonia photo: ESA

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