The sensitive audience member

June 1, 2008

Yesterday I heard two more excellent performances of HOMER IN CYBERSPACE. The actors are growing into their roles with great artistry. Seeing the roles evolve through the nine performances is a thrilling opportunity for me. Premiering a role is an opportunity not all students get. Once they realize that THEY are really co-creating the role with the authors, they are empowered.

I sat next to a 70-something year old woman — a woman of great dignity, poise and focus. Daniel and I chatted with her about the excellent seats. She replied with a tone of great authority that every seat in the house is an excellent seat. The curtain went up for Act 1.

As we went through the show, her responses were verbal and gestural. Like my sister in law Jeanne — who tries to save people on the screen with her arms, or say “NO!” if someone is doing something they shouldn’t, and otherwise be utterly IN the moment of the film — this gal had a lightning response to every line. She chuckled before anyone else did. She gasped at the beautiful sets and costumes. “My, ohh! MY!” When icky things would happen she would use her hands to “push it away” or shake them from side to side as if to say “no!”. There were many moments where the iGods move their arms in exotic manners, and I’d look over and her arms would be moving in erratic patterns. When she was engaged in the song, she would lean forward, bare a kind of smile, look straight ahead and clap her hands with out making a sound.

At intermission I asked her how she liked it. She said “It was so intense. At my age I don’t know if I can take long stretches of such intensity.” I assured her that there was more heart space in the next act. After we returned from the intermission she was still there. I confessed to her that I was the composer. “You are? You are not.” “No, I am.” She grabbed my head and planted two big kisses on my cheek. And then the curtain went up.

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