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WHAT A JOY TO BE HERE!
3 February 2014
I will always remember the feeling of awe that my friend Alison and I had the first time we walked into a Lamplighters rehearsal in the late 1970s. We quickly lost that sense of awe over the coming months, of course. as we (or maybe just I) attended rehearsals frequently and the magic of seeing the world behind the theatrical productions we had watched for years quickly dissolved. But that first night was magic, as if we were trodding on hallowed ground that only those privileged few involved with the company should be allowed to see.
It was a rehearsal for a production of Die Fledermaus and as we crept quietly through the dark to seats where we could watch things, the chorus was singing the opening number for the second act. What a joy to be here, on this wonderful occasion... We watched them rehearse it many times. To this day, I can't hear that part of Die Fledermaus without remembering that magical evening.
Today we drove to Yountville, near Napa, to watch The Lamplighters bring its latest production to a theater there. They haven't performed the show in nearly 25 years and we will not be able to attend the San Francisco performances, so we decided to catch it in Yountville.
We're not around the company much any more, so I knew very few people in the production, but it was fun to hear the old songs again. This is a new translation. The one I know pretty much inside and out was done by Ruth and Thomas Martin. This is a new one by David Scott Marley. I met him after the show and told him he'd done a great job. In truth, I don't know whether he did a great job or not. As I said, I know the Martin version backward and forward. Marley left out some scenes, rearranged some scenes, and of course the lyrics are different and I miss the old lyrics. I also missed my favorite lines of dialogue ("How long have you been an actress?" "About as long as you've been a Marquis, Marquis.") But that's not to say it wasn't great. It probably was. One reviewer says it's better than the version that's currently at the Met, so it must be very good. I just don't do change well.
When I realized we would be only about 10 minutes from Napa, I contacted our Brasilian daughter, Sonia, whom we have not seen in about 10 years. Which is ridiculous, since we live about an hour apart! But somehow we just don't make the time. I told her we would be in the neighborhood and would she and husband Charlie like to go out to dinner. She was thrilled.
I later got a note saying we should just stay for dinner at their house. Even better. It gave us time to really get caught up, not only with Sonia but with kids Daniel and Denise. I remember when both of them were born and we haven't seen either of them in nearly 15 years. They've grown up in the interim!
Charlie, a vintner, poured wine for a toast while Daniel and Denise helped get dinner ready.
Over dinner, we had a good chance to talk about lots of things, and I was deighted to discover how much Denise and I have in common in the area of animal rights. I happened to mention Temple Grandin's work and she lit up, as she has read several of Grandin's books. It was just so much fun. I loved all the table conversation on animals, politics, and everything else.
And at a certain point, there was a tira misu cake which was fabulous.
We celebrated all of our birthdays -- Paul's (last week), David's (this week), which he shares with Sonia, our friend Nelson in Brasil, me and Walt (Nelson didn't get any cake, of course--nor did Paul and Dave!).
Eventually we had to say goodbye, but not before making friends with Dan's bird, Mel.
Sonia is, among other things, an artist and works in clay and watercolor. She wants to give me one of her paintings for a birthday present, but it's difficult to see them in the dark of the living room, so I suggested we get together for lunch sometime in the next month and I can choose. I'm thrilled with an excuse to get together again.
What a joy to be there, on that wonderful occasion!
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