Thursday, February 1, 2007

Movement of the Human Body and All Life is a Stage

Marco & Paulo Lorador . . . . Norman and Ruth in"Living Together"
. . . . . . . . . . . . Pictured on the far left as Ruth

Movement of the Human Body is Art

Did ANYone see Oprah today? It was like Michelangelo's "David" in Florence, Italy - but two of him in motion. WOW. Just WOW. Two brothers, Marco and Paulo Lorador from Portugal, “wow audiences night after night with their physical feats of strength and balance”. Today, they were one brief, but monumentally memorable segment of the Oprah show. For me, it was dancing. Beautiful male bodies, dancing - poetry in the movement of the human body. O-O-ah-a-a. My heart is still full from the sensual sensation. Thank Goodness I have it recorded. I wrote to Oprah on her website while the show was still on today and I asked if this portion of today’s show could be posted on her website. If not, hopefully someone will put in on YouTube.com for those who would appreciate the beauty and missed it.

Oprah - the World’s Best Cheerleader

When they were poised on the stage ready to begin their “act”, no I will call it “art”, Oprah said these words:
“No, we just want a moment to look at 'thehm'. Pause. We want a moment. All take a deep breath. What in the world? What in the world? Oh my goodness. (Can’t contain herself.) We all just took a deep breath. . . . Strength, discipline and balance is the answer to how this next act is done, but even knowing that, you might not believe your eyes. Please, welcome from the Cirque du Soileil show “Mystere” - brothers Marco and Paulo.” Oh dear people, there is such beauty in the movement of the human form. I’m watching it again as I type this, just to refresh my feelings. Oprah’s jaw just dropped. My heart is beating, boom-Boom. When it ends Oprah says, “That’s amazing. Wow… wow …wow, who-o-o. That is unbelievable. Wow, wow, wow. Hello, hello, nice to see you. I was watching you and it felt . . . um, (she goes to their abs) . . . so Marco is 39 and Paola is 41 years old. . . ”

I love movement of the human body. I am drawn to it. Beautiful bodies are enjoyable, but the movement is what pulls me in . . . like nothing else. When I taught children music in schools, I taught movement as well as music. And I noticed that when I purposely moved myself in measured and intentional ways while I taught, the children could become mesmerized and pulled in. And the change in tempo and dynamics (volume) of the delivery of my words would affect the students, as well. When I would be teaching mundane information and break into singing it instead of speaking it - they loved it. I think it is human nature to love theatre on any stage. The children loved the simple drama and creative movement classes probably inclusively more than any other part of the music class. We are all drawn to beauty. I think.

If Life Is A Stage I’d Like Better Lighting
My Experience in Theatre – Oh How I Miss It

Thinking of these thoughts brings memories of experiences that I have had on stage. I miss it so much. One of the few good things of my year and a half at the fundamentalist United Brethren church-affiliated Huntington College experience was the fact that I got cast as the female lead, Fiona, in the musical Brigadoon. I remember getting a rash just before the weekend of shows began. We had two female student directors who somehow got us on the local NBC noon news program where we sang a duet. Now that I think of it, I wonder how we got a way with kissing each other on stage in such a HC stringent environment. I have almost nothing left of it but the bottom half of the poster for it. It reads that seats were $1.50 and $1.00.

Later, I continued for a while in different community theatre productions. My very favorite role was Ruth in Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy The Norman Conquests, which included I. Table Manners, II. Living Together and III. Round and Round the Garden. I was teaching in the day and going to rehearsal every night. During this time, I have to admit that I did relegate my lesson planning and music classes to things that ordinarily I never did – filmstrips. Other teachers did this lame stuff all of the time on a routine basis, but for me it seemed such a cop-out for what the kids deserved. I had 9 classes a day and 700 students. Music teachers have never had it easy. It was tough even for a young teacher. For Norman Conquests, we had a British accent coach, Jill, who was from England. She became a friend and gave me confidence in my effort. The Norman Conquests actually has good writing. Our sets were decent. There are six characters in this comedy based around Norman, who is married to Ruth, but fancies that he is a ladies’ man. Norman attempts to seduce any other female, including Sarah, Ruth's sister-in-law, but mostly Annie, Ruth's sister, in the trilogy. Most of the acting was passable though we were amateurs, but then there was Norman. oh. I was surprised when I learned that he graduated with a theatre degree. Okay, it took me a while to find my rhythm. But, Norman never found a beat for a rhythm to call home. One night when I had to kiss him, afterward he came up to me all excited, well I think it was excitement, hard to tell with his emoting, he said something like “I REALLY thought our scene (that one with the kiss and rolling around on the parlor room floor) was so-o good tonight.” It was no better than any other time that we did it. Truly. He was just influenced by something I did that surprised him. You do what you can to make things work. But sometimes it just won’t work.

We got reviewed by various newspapers. But I never read any of them until the run was over. We didn’t get rave reviews on the whole. There was one review that I am proud of personally because it was done by the Providence Journal critic, William K Gale, who had panned Elizabeth Taylor who had been playing in Boston in Love Letters near the time. I never saw Ms. Taylor in this play, but I know she is a talent. Because we weren’t really that good as an ensemble, I was willing to take any thing close to good words on my performance. Mr. Gale saw the Table Manners show, where Ruth has it out with Sarah. “. . . (My name) . . . is properly bitchy as the uptight Ruth and she is touching when Norman turns his attentions to her and finds something no one thought existed, a soft side.”

I always got noticed in my efforts to add to a character or scene. I never felt any director I ever had directed. And my experience is not prolific but I am so grateful for it. I loved being on the stage and I loved moving the audience. You could feel it, and it would be quietly audible at times. And the best was delivering a line that brought some form of humor.

Started with the beauty of movement and ended with personal acting experiences. It’s all the same passion for me. I love theatre. And we live theatre every day. Life really is a stage. And we are each the star in our own lives. Or should be anyway. Break a leg.

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