Wednesday, 9 June 2010

London - The Fantasticks

Wyona and I went to Wicked Monday night. Everything went wrong. Wyona attempted, but didn’t get a nap before we left for the show. She put her umbrella on the seat of bus and didn’t pick it up when we transferred. She wanted to see the new lead for Fiorello in the show, but the understudy was playing the part.

Still, we agreed, -- a good show even though so much had gone wrong. Neither of us have tired of seeing the costumes, hearing the lyrics, watching the dancing or figuring out the nuances of the plots. And Wyona reminded me today that the new Elphaba is absolutely the best ever. Electrifying. When she is on stage and Glinda plays off of her character, we are seeing a heightened "blonde" in action -- two brilliant actors / singers / dancers at work. I don't know how to describe this except to say that when they are on stage together my own body feels paralyzed by the action, as though I can hardly breathe and I don't dare try to move a muscle.

The Fantasticks.

I am the one who wanted to see this show, even though it is still in previews. They haven’t had their press night, yet. I wanted to see musical theatre that originally ran in an off-Broadway production for 42 years. That was the same reason I wanted to see Hair – to take a look at what was happen in those years when musical theatre was not available in my community.

There were 10 cheaper seats in the show, only £20, but that patrons sits right on the stage and play the part of the audience during. When the lady in the seat next to us told us that, I turned I told her that we paid senior’s prices: £25 and that I was very happy to pay the extra five to have a seat on the floor of the theatre rather than sit in a spot where everyone could see me for the duration of the show.

She agreed. Concessions was good for us.

I was surprised to hear the lyrics of the first song:
Try to remember the kind of SeptemberF
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.
That tune was familiar to me.

The singer, El Greco / narrator / black-caped bandit played with the vowels of every word, elongating them at every chance The pauses between words, the lingering between lines – all of that so beautiful in the first few minutes after the curtain went up.

Funny how some of the stage lyrics became songs I know, though I have never seen original productions.

I went to the play cold – no reading on the internet. Right from the get-go the dramatic apparatus that charms theatre goers was up front. Who wouldn’t love a play that had a little bit of Pyramus and Thisbee, a little bit of Romeo and Juliet, a little bit of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a little bit of Donizetti's L’Elisir d'Amore, running through it. In the past two months, some of those plays have been refreshed for me.

So what fun was that to see threads of them running through that musical written back in the 1960's.

There was even a little bit of Waiting for Godot, between two old classical actors, helping to fake an abduction. On reflection, Waiting for Godot was hard to see – it reminded me that age is descending or at the very least winding its way out on a wonderfully interesting path for me. Last night troubles that come with old age were comic, campy and outlandish. Wyona and I giggled with equal glee.

The man next to me was grumbling when the first act was over -- wondering what it was that gave this show any charm. His grumbling gave me a clue as to why he was there alone, instead of with a partner. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t figure out how he had missed all of that fun going on for us.

One good thing about the day the day for us – we didn’t loose any more umbrella, we weren’t disappointed in about not seeing the actors we had come to see, and we were rested enough to enjoy the matinee.

Three cheers for the Fantasticks.

This morning Wyona said she is going to find the score for the song, “Plant a Radish”. The lyrics point out how a radish seed becomes a radish, how a turnip seed becomes a turnip, but that it is hard to know about planting children.
But if your issue
Doesn't kiss you,
Then I wish you luck.
For once you've planted children,
You're absolutely stuck!
Every turnip green!
Every kidney bean!
Every plant grows according to the plot!
While with progeny,
It's hodge-podgenee.
For as soon as you think you know what kind you've got,
It's what they're not!
No question why two sisters who have 15 children between them would have been enjoying the lyrics from The Fantasticks.

Love to the hodg-podgenee,


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