Saturday, January 10, 2015

All Is Not Lost

Last night, on a whim, Pam and I went to see "Mame" at the old Empire Theatre downtown. First we had a fabulous dinner at Tarrants, then walked the block or so to the newly named Virginia Repertory Theatre. Because it was all so last minute our seats were in the balcony and the second we wedged ourselves into them I knew that I wouldn't last two minutes. My knees were rubbing against the back of the seat in front of me and we were in the middle of a row. In my nightmares, I saw a very large man reeking of cigarettes pouring himself into the seat beside me, trapping me for the duration. Quickly, I spied two lone seats all by themselves in a small cove above the stairwell in the farthest corner of the place. I made some excuse to Pam and beat a hasty retreat to claim them. I hadn't been gone two minutes when the huge, cigarette-smoking beast of a man and his two large friends arrived as if on cue. I texted Pam from our newly absconded seats. The relief on her face was palpable! The usher with the clipboard cut us a sideways glance with a knowing smile that we found out after the show was because she thought Pam was the mother of the child star in the cast! Crisis averted.

The show was wonderful. Although the actress who played Mame was an understudy,( I assume the lead actress was ill ), she did a masterful job. I remembered several of the songs from the movie version I had seen years ago. They were clever and fun. The actors were good, not great. The orchestra was superb.

It's always the same thing when I attend a concert. It started back at Godwin High School when I would listen to choirs led by Sherri Matthews. Since then there have been a stream of productions great and small that have featured my son; Nashville Symphony performances of Beethoven, Dr. Entsminger's Chamber Singers, countless other concerts from the Belmont Beltones to Handel at Carnegie Hall. I aways leave the theatre feeling better about life. Although we all live in a world that is full of despair, pain and cruelty, and at times it's tempting to believe that we are doomed...we are also capable of incredible beauty. The same world that gives us hatred and starvation, also gives us Bach. It is the most comforting, life affirming thing in the world to sit down for two hours and listen to talented men and women perform beautiful works of art. It reminds me that all is not lost.