heart shaped tomatoes

As I walk up the street, my neighbour is in his backyard, tying up his fabulous tomato plants. I say “You must be Italian, the gorgeous fig tree, the grapes, the red rose, the peppers and tomatoes -” He smiles with pride. “Yes…Tony.” “I’m Lucia.” He nods, recognizing my heritage. “Ah”. And he hands me an extra Cuore de Bue seedling he has grown in an old coffee cup. “I have an extra one.” I gasp at his generosity! It’s a perfect example of an heirloom (ox heart) Italian tomato and of l’arte d’arrangiarsi. (the art of “making do”). Old coffee cup. Brilliant. Later, I haul bags of garden soil from my car and Stephen Drover and Peter Boychuk run out from Studio 1422 (the theatre across the street) to help me and to give me a hug for Espresso.

Do I ever love these moments of community.

imagesI kind of think of the artist Ins Choi as my East coast brother in arms. He’s fabulous and a warm wonderful human being. He is the author of Kim’s Convenience and Subway Stations of the Cross and many others: he stars in his own work like me and often deals with cultural heritage and spirituality. He came to the show today with SM Neha and they bothered to come backstage to chat with us and have me sign their plays they both bought! It’s a small generous world lately.

And though I have tried valiantly to avoid reviews a few people have inadvertently passed along to me criticisms, but more have passed on praise. And even more importantly, people have shared with me their personal stories about what the play brings up for them. I find that deeply moving. It’s why we do this thing called “art”, flawed as our offering can be.

As I drive home after my matinee performance two middle aged men with ball caps on are driving fabulous old convertible cars – an electric blue caddy on my right and a Snow White Impala on my left. The caddy yells to the Impala through my open windows – “nice ride!” Though my mini is awesome, I know he’s not talking to me. The Impala calls back “Not so bad yourself! Wanna race?” We’re on Broadway in rush hour traffic. They both laugh and rev up their engines and squeal their wheels to drive about ten feet.

I love Vancouver when the sun hits the street.

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