Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd

OK, so it's not my line, but the title of a 1960s Brit musical - it still fits.

The show is done, the applause faded, the costumes ready for cleaning, the props tucked lovingly away (okay, it's more appropriate to say "flung with great force") into boxes, and last hugs exchanged. I took a minute or so to just sit in my favorite seat in the house and look out at the empty stage once everything was packed away. That may be a touch maudlin, but I don't think so. Magical things need to be remembered and acknowledged before we return to the rush and bother of everyday life.

To me, theatre's a funny thing. It's like a soap bubble - fragile, beautiful and, well, rather vulgar in this case. But even vulgarity can have a sort of loveliness to it. (Ever hear someone truly creative mad enough to cuss? It's not to be missed. But I digress.) Theatre's not the same from night to night. It's happening right THERE, look now you, or you miss it, and you can't rewind it or TiVo it. The show is done. Period. You either saw it, or you didn't. And it was different every night. It's there and then - well, then it's not. Now, don't misunderstand me - I love film, but one of the weaknesses (and strengths, to be truthful about it) of that medium is that it's always the same. Indy's crooked smile as he faces certain death will always be just so, the light will always cling to Ingrid Bergman's face at that angle that makes you catch your breath, and the cross-hatched shadows will always fall across the crags of Mal's face in that way that makes you think fleetingly of jail bars trapping him. And you can show it to other people and point it out and say, "See? That's what I mean!"

And that's great. But it's not live.

One of the things I loved so completely about this show is that it's ever-so-slightly dangerous. You really DON'T know what's going to happen. And I have nothing but warmth for everyone who made it come off the page and dance for all of us. When even reality shows are scripted, it's good to be reminded that art doesn't need clean edges nearly so much as it needs messy interaction.

I know it's not exactly cricket to praise your own work, but I've also learned that the smart don't wait for someone else to decide to crown them. So even though it's going to lose some force because I'm the one saying it, it was a solidly funny show. Glad you were there, or sorry you missed it, as the case may be.


Akin said...

Oh hell yes it was funny, and I'm glad I was able to make it! Opening night, too!

But... please take it easy on yourself for a while now! Relax a bit, and work on the book, but for Pete's sake don't volunteer for anything else for a while! :-p

Stacked Librarian said...

It was hysterical, both times! And my parents also loved it which is a glowing endorsement if you ask me.

I also agree wholeheartedly with Akin. Just say "no!" Mockingbird! You need some time to unwind. No more impressions of Jack-in-the-Boxes about to spring open.

And what's this about crowning yourself? Have you suddenly turned into Napoleon? Surely there are better historical figures for you to emulate. Although we do have M. Bonaparte to thank for the advent of the tin can. Ah, the things you can learn on television these days.

amnbdad said...

It was the funniest show I've ever been apart of and it's the most fun I've ever had doing a show (that's saying a lot btw). You were fantastic, there's no need to crown yourself I would gladly do it for you. Hope to see you soon.

Mockingbird said...

Amnbdad: You like me, you really, really like me!!

It WAS a great show, wasn't it? Just wait 'til you see what I have planned next. I don't want to give too much away, but I'm thinking about a musical version of Homer's THE ODYSSEY. Oh, wait. They did that already, with bluegrass and the classic line "Is you is, or is you ain't, my constituents"?