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FEAST OR FAMINE
9 January 2005
It seems that it's either feast or famine around here. This weekend it's "feast."
Thursday night I was reviewing "Evita," at a Davis theatre company. "Evita" is a difficult show to do. The music is quite demanding and it's a multi-media presentation to boot. For a community theatre, they did a good job. Their Eva Peron was wonderful. Their Ché Guevara was competent but I remember the very first production of Evita that this company did, with a guy in the role of Ché who was so good that a year later he had left this area and moved to Hollywood, presumably hitting the big time. I would love to have seen the current Evita with the past Ché. What a blockbuster that would have been.
I did get a kick out of the opening, though. Those who have seen the show may remember that it begins in a movie theatre in Argentina where a crowd is watching a movie (in Spanish, of course), which gets interrupted when someone comes out to announce that Eva Peron has died.
The productions I've seen of "Evita" before seem to use stock black and white Spanish films, but this company made its own movie, which someone in the company translated into Spanish. I got a kick out of the fact that two of the leading characters were "Lucia" and "Ricardo." I wonder how many people caught the "Lucy-Ricky" connection.
I love a lot of the chorus parts of this show and was so happy to see that the chorus did an excellent job of it, even the atonal harmonies.
Friday night it was the young adult theatre's production of "The American Clock," by Arthur Miller. Whoever knew that Arthur Miller opened a show with a musical number? But "The American Clock" is about The Depression and there is music of the period which pops up, either sung or as background music--and ending with a rousing sing-along to "Sunny Side of the Street."
There is a guy in the cast--he is kind of the narrator of the show (though everyone takes a turn at it at one point or another), who reminds me so much of Paul that when I saw him lounging to the side of the stage while the action was going on in the center of the stage, it could have been Paul. Only he didn't have a green suit.
On the docket for Saturday is the memorial service for Clifford in the afternoon. My friend Kathleen sent an e-mail asking if I thought it would be OK for her to print up the lyrics to Steve's song, "Save me a Seat," which she has found has helped her since Clifford died. I was going to suggest that she play the recording, but then remembered that while Clifford liked Steve, he didn't like his voice, so it would be the ultimate insult to play a recording of Steve singing for his memorial.
I remember the very first time I saw Steve do that song. I had seen the show, "The Last Session" ("TLS"), in Los Angeles, with Bob Stillman playing the lead character, Gideon. I had the soundtrack recording, also with Bob singing the songs. And I had a cassette tape with Steve singing it. Steve and I kind of had this casual friendship, which didn't deepen until later that year. I had never seen him perform.
We had gone to a gathering of TLS fans in Denver, because Steve would be doing the lead in this production. Everyone was going to see the show on Saturday night and instead of attending the Saturday matinee, they decided to go out on a tour.
The group was going to see the Denver area, including Columbine High School. I will always have difficulty with Columbine because the day of the Columbine tragedy is the day that Paul died. So the very last thing I wanted to do was to go and take a tour that would include seeing Columbine High School.
Walt had already decided he wanted to explore downtown Denver, which I didn't want to do--too much walking--so I was the only one who actually stayed at the hotel, and I decided I would go see the TLS matinee.
"Save Me a Seat" opens the show. It begins in the dark with the opening notes and then gradually the light starts to come up on Gideon sitting at the piano singing. Gideon has AIDS and has decided he's tired of living with it and is going to end his life. He is in a recording studio to make one last recording (the last session) to leave for his partner, Jack. "Save Me a Seat" talks about his own memorial service and how he'll be there in spirit, so they should save a seat for him.
This was just two months after Paul's death and at a time when I had gotten to know Steve well enough that I was beginning to think of him as a friend. Watching the man on whose life the plot of TLS is based, the man who is himself living with AIDS, sitting there singing about his own memorial service when I'd just come from a memorial service for our son just did me in. By the time he got to the last lines:
...I was a sodden mess. I sat there in the dark by myself and sobbed and sobbed. I was very glad that I'd gone to that matinee alone because I was better able to handle the song when I saw it again that night.
The final show of this weekend will be a little less emotional. Following the memorial service, we are attending "...and the Dream Goes On," which is part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Theatre Project at Sac State University. As the ad describes it, it...
We saw this review a couple of years ago and it was quite enjoyable, so it should end the 3-show weekend on a high note.
Sunday, I have to stay home and type a rush report.
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