Tag Archives: inspire

THE WORLD IS (ROUND) WIDE ENOUGH

 

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Honestly if I hadn’t seen Hamilton last night there possibly could have been an unconscious cloud-shaped vapor lingering over me the rest of my life. Honestly as a person-of-the-theatre or even just as a New York pedestrian I was starting to feel like something was gravely wrong – and it was – I was totally missing out.

 

Good news is that this little New York ant (me) is now one of the many masses who rounded onto West 46th street in order to SEE HAMILTON! When I was in line I really felt like part of a super-organism or something…

 

First thing you should know about this rendition of events is that I am a lottery cynic. Know that this arises from a history of lottery losses. The last time I was enlisted to buy lotto tickets, on behalf of a brother, I reported back that I’d self-checked them at the convenience store machine. Instead of ‘success!’ I’d regurgitated the “You Are Not A Winner” that had streamed through my consciousness 15 times. Needless to say I don’t like revisiting that sensation – yoga mantras are more highly recommended!

 

So as I was mulling over some new headshots and planning a night of reading plays and potential monologue finding/learning and maybe even some non-dairy ice cream devouring… I got a text from a, now proven loyal, friend named D’ariel Barnard

 

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Dear D’ariel had played the online Hamilton lottery a steady 6 weeks before finally arriving at the 2 tickets that got us in the door yesterday evening.

 

As I tracked the leader’s footsteps towards our seats I was in a bit of eerily silent shock due to the marching to Broadway on such short notice having not expected to be ‘in the room where it happens’. As soon as I breathed in the space, however, I began to realize what a pleasure this was going to be. The set is simple, yet intricate with its warm brick walls, strong wooden beams, connecting ropes and mysterious entranceways along its parameters. “Such a large, mobile cast must require this,” I thought before seeing any action.

 

I turned off my cell phone… YES to turning off cell phones in theatres people…

 

The action began and what struck me most, apart from the obvious talent on stage, was the revealing of these historical figures as flesh and blood before my very eyes. The strength of the relationships the Hamilton cast creates on stage is really astounding. Each human interaction stands on it’s own very specific terms. In that sense I began to see what might have been in the hearts and imaginings of the daunting faces that I might normally only glance at when forking over United States’ minted paper for some groceries at my local bodega…

 

What unexpectedly touched me most, I think, in this well-oiled musical has to be the vulnerability of the antagonist Aaron Burr (Sydney James Harcourt). In the intermission I found myself confessing that Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) was so easy to root for. I was with him every step of the way as he climbed the ladder and got Washington in his pocket. I rooted for his relationships to resolve themselves peacefully. I empathized with his conflicting emotions at every turn in his life. It is odd, however, that the character whose actions I couldn’t forgive (he antagonizes Alexander Hamilton the most) turned out to be the character I felt the most compassion for – Aaron Burr. Isn’t that odd?

 

I thought about why and I now know that it has to do with what Burr discovered through his grave mistakes. It’s interesting. Burr discovers something Hamilton inherently knew, something the other characters grappled with but overcame… that the world is wide enough. Any actor in an audition room shuffles through it, any young professional intern in a boardroom meeting seethes through it, any little New York ant waiting in the box office line knows it – it’s an oh so familiar competition with people placed in a similar position and often striving for a similar widget…

 

The play reminded me to strive for what Burr longed for in his ‘private moments made public’… to choose love more. I’m sure it’s hiding within those uniquely competitive relationships where I least expected it. It got me wondering along with Burr – what if he’d thrived on harnessing those competitive relationships?

 

Hamilton’s got me feeling small, or rather, unexpanded. New York theatre and acting teachers have harnessed my ability to live in curiosity about the people around me – to take in all of it and carve out windows for the shoes and souls of others. In my voice class today with Julia Lenardon I had a fellow actor’s hands supporting my back so I could experience the expansion of my ribs when I breathe. What if I thought of the world more like that – good and bad resistance & healthy competition – all of it is something to push against, or release into?

 

THE WORLD IS (ROUND) WIDE ENOUGH.

 

Maybe I can incorporate that?

 

At the very least I did touch the gold paint on the wall of the Richard Rodgers Theatre before I left the front row of House Left to ground myself in reality – I was there – with a fellow little New York ant (THANKS D’ARIEL)!

 

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SILENT CLOWNS

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Taking a closer look at the roots and origins of things allows me to understand the world better. In New York I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon great opportunities to delve further into theatre and film history. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center has a Silent Clown Film Series – for FREE – and I wandered in this weekend. There was a crowd of regulars – this impressed me and they were very welcoming.

In seeing the words ‘clown’ and ‘silent’ and ‘film’ I was curious because, thanks to my teachers, I’ve discovered that clowns can blast open a tragic moment, trait or aspect of a person or of life to reveal real vulnerability, to share it, and make it okay for others to laugh at it. The Silent Clown Film Series presented a few famous clown ‘stars’ from the early 1900’s (Toto, Paul Parrott, Will Rogers, Marie Mosquini, Arthur Stone, Clyde Cook etc…) within Hal Roach silent short films accompanied by live piano compositions courtesy of Ben Model.

Inspiring?

Yes – but the reason why surprised me. I saw the value of the artist – the value of collaboration – I saw the value of humor – I saw that time is relative – I saw the value of an audience. I was one of the audience members taking a closer look at the origin of film and early film actors and filmmakers. There is one moment that I did not expect after a lot of silly moments that I did presume would occur in some form. It was one of those singular moments in your life where you’re presented with an image when you least expect it and can’t avoid considering its power. An image that is still relevant today – especially given our ability to glance back at history.

In the midst of a world war four soldiers walk into a tree (which fronts for a telephone in the battlefield). The opposition, ‘clowns’ featured in the film, escape some harm that backfires on the tree by fluke. The tree vanishes into thin air and four unharmed men scramble out of the roots and scatter off. The few millimeters of film begged a pause in my own reality and I considered the fact that physical conflict is one thing and communication/ knowledge can be larger things.

This really funny film, Somewhere is Somewhere, was made in a world that knew of World War I and was blasting its tragedy up to reveal the vulnerability people felt in it. It allowed the audience to make light of tragedy, loss, and mass physical conflict. Yet to make light just enough to face the relevance of what it was. Physical conflict rooted in world conflicts of communication and knowledge. On the flip side is peace – non-physical conflict – where communication occurs and knowledge of the roots of the conflict are understood. It was just a few millimeters of film, tucked away at the Library of Congress, brought to the public for free in the middle of many millimeters of laughter… and it inspired me.

It inspired me to laugh more, to be brave enough to ‘know’ more, to communicate more, to listen more, to use my knowledge and communication to build strength allowing me to seek peace more.

Artists have value. An old world’s ‘silent’ film’s relevance spoke in this new world because there are audiences who listen and who seek knowledge. I must admit I was having a bad day (my friends would find this amusing because I’m generally unusually content – especially when learning about film & theatre) but this film series really picked up what was a bad day. I’m carrying the experience with me because it made the work I seek to do as an actor, sometimes painter, maybe a singer, valuable – priceless – relevant. Being conscious of the effect of my future work on the world seems a very important thing to me now – no matter the scale.

The live piano accompaniment didn’t hurt!

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“If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.” – Napoleon Hill 

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EXAMINING GRACE a.k.a. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.

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Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Questions to risk posing include when does the ‘sweet sound’ of grace become necessary… useful… inevitable… and why? How can it be ‘heard’ or ‘herded’ by people? When is it rejected… and how… and why? Where does grace come from? How is it generated? Who possesses it and can it be transferred to another? Does grace have the capacity to ‘find’, ‘unblind’ or ‘save’ another? Can grace inspire social change? These questions arise and are outlined by the famous Amazing Grace song, which is funnelled into Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron’s new musical, Amazing Grace, on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

One manner in which grace seems to be transferred to another is through sound. I first experienced, was teased, with Chuck Cooper’s musical gifts in snippets of him singing to demonstrate a sound, an experience or a manner of singing when he taught me in my conservatory. Chuck helped me to realize (although he doesn’t know it) that singing is a valuable thing. A thing that can release and express my true voice and can connect me for better or worse to others. The problem with having been in a class with Chuck is that you don’t get to hear him sing nearly as much as one might hope for. At the risk of being biased he is the reason that I was inspired to buy a [rush!] ticket, to tell a friend, and make my way to this musical. In my pursuit I was not let down – not only is his singing superb – his storytelling is on another level – graceful – the kind that brings forth the belief that people are equal regardless of the color of their skin. Enough about Chuck – what about his character (a highlight of the musical for me)?

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It is not just sound that inspires grace in this musical… it is what the sound carries within it. It can carry unconditional love – which in the context of this musical about slavery and the subjugation of one race under another is very difficult to allow. Chuck’s character is introduced as Thomas, a slave charged with looking after the every need of John Newton (Josh Young), a rebellious, young slave trader who regularly disappoints his father Captain Newton (Tom Hewitt) and childhood love Mary Catlett (Erin Mackey).

It is not Thomas, or John’s father or Mary’s love that inspires him to use his resources and privilege to correct societal wrongs on behalf of other people. It is when he is challenged to grow beyond his own difficulties and prejudices and to face his own actions that he decides to free slaves and to look at equality among races. A true understanding of love enlightens John when Thomas forces him to confront the fact that John’s spinelessness allowed him to betray one of the only people that showed him unconditional love – to torture Thomas and abandon him. It is Pakuteh who demands John’s respect and finds it in himself to forgive John despite all odds.

What struck me most was the efficiency of resource that Pakuteh, and the other slaves, possess throughout the play as compared to the more privileged characters learning how to utilize their resources more efficiently – especially in the arena of social change. Even in the face of his own daily survival and in the face of utter cruelty Pakuteh chooses to protect, to love, to keep safe, to have dignity, to educate, to see a larger picture at every turn. Simultaneously I witnessed Mary’s Nanna (Laiona Michelle) discover that she could help the willing Mary advocate racial equality despite all fear. The stakes are so high (life or death).

Pakuteh and Nanna, when backed into a corner, choose to allow and wield their meager resources towards a long road of racial equality. It spurred the utilization of John Newton’s abundant resources and influence to begin affecting racial equality and social change. In real life John eventually joined with others in campaigning to abolish the slave trade leading towards the Slave Trade Act 1807. He also wrote the song Amazing Grace, which has been tied to anti-slavery sentiments ever since. It seemed that somewhere along the line he began to believe that grace saved a wretch like him.

It still makes me pretty upset – to trace the mistreatment of people, to glimpse at both sides of prejudice, to understand what a tool forgiveness might be in the face of ignorance – but studying the evolution of social change while enjoying a musical on Broadway is definitely my cup of tea. I was educated and enlightened too.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home…

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

This famed song, this musical, all demand a belief in a higher power. At the very least an interest in examining where grace comes from – be that a Creator (God) or a confronting of prejudices and classes. What sort of resources are actually necessary to achieve joy and peace? Who gets to judge whose misery (be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual) is more worthy to counter a ‘life of joy and peace’?

We’ve all got our takes on what that looks like post-mortality? Watch Pakuteh and he’s got a convincing point of view towards the belief in eternal life and light. A belief that may have been transferred to John Newton – a ‘resource’/ a young person that Pakuteh chose to protect and to forgive. He forces him to remove the ‘brand’ of Thomas the slave and, not only to look at him as a human being, but also to reciprocate his consistent and powerful love.

This musical is an example of the culmination of many experiences and influences that led to the conversion of one man, John Newton, towards the belief that redeeming his wrongs on earth will lead him towards an eternal resting place, a ‘home’. The cold hard facts are that this belief led him towards action, to a feeling of grace… to affecting social change leading towards the abolition of slavery and racial equality within a system that he happened to hold privilege in. It became irrelevant that he had been convinced for a certain period of time that he had more of a right to be considered a human being than the other people surrounding him.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Some people, and some music, just has that way about them/it that lets one unknowingly shift the light on different areas of one’s life and others’ lives – regardless of how one’s belief system or socio-economic class causes one to interact with the world.

How relevant indeed…

Oh and this was the line… OY!

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THE TEMPEST in the PARK – Such Stuff As [My] Dreams Are Made On

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“[T]he sky it seemed would pour down”, not “stinking pitch”, but rather light rain on a New York Thursday evening at Shakespeare in the Park. The production was The Tempest and the rain was very fitting to an evening among Prospero’s conjuring schemes. Especially since this is a play that opens on a rather extraordinary day involving, not just a storm, but a tempest; a.k.a. a violent commotion, uproar, or disturbance.

Years spent banished on an island, and will to create an enchanted life for his daughter, have afforded the usurped Duke, Prospero (Sam Waterston), time and motivation to master a new set of laws. The sorcerous power that he has acquired allows him to manipulate an airy spirit Ariel (Chris Perfetti) to create the tempest. I found the intelligence and gentleness that Perfetti afforded the spirit to be interesting – hard not to love – like breathing air – taken for granted most of the time until there is a realization of the need to breathe.

Actual fireflies lit up here and there unexpectedly setting an appropriate otherworldly ambiance as Prospero made his way across the stage. The personalization and belief in what he was saying made Waterston’s Prospero clear and heart-felt in his words and sentiments. However, in this day and age it is difficult not to question whether his manipulations are fair and paternalism appropriate?

As Prospero’s shipwrecked royal relatives and crew make their way onto the island we get a sense that their jewelled crowns, ornamented coats and imperial protocols are out of place. Ariel’s soft music, the shifting winds and Prospero’s influence trump the swords & treasures from afar setting their bearers into induced sleeping states.

The more fitting presence on the island is Caliban’s (Louis Cancelmi). Cancelmi’s Caliban was very light on his feet, yet grounded and it was fun to watch how responsive he was to the people around him. The physical mangling of his body gave him an obvious obstacle to battle as he peered out of his ‘otherness’ at the beings around him testing and discovering how they fit into his life.

Prince Ferdinand (Rodney Richardson) finds that he is wandering alone (as a young prince rarely does) and is compelled to set his eyes upon the “peerless” Miranda (Francesca Carpanini). At the same time, Miranda, a youth who is used to being alone and has ignorantly learned to find joy without friendship discovers the first male peer that she’s ever seen… and been attracted to! Supervising this union is a happy father, Prospero, who knows their marriage will also tie his daughter back to her homeland and provide for her when he’s gone. Early on in the play he explains to Miranda,

O, a cherubim

Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile.

Infused with a fortitude from heaven,

When I have deck’d the sea with drops full salt,

Under my burthen groan’d; which raised in me

An undergoing stomach, to bear up

Against what should ensue.

Good ‘Ol Bill and the power of his language. I found myself getting emotional listening to Prospero’s reasons as to why he’s wielded every type of power he could – mastering the slave Caliban, conjuring spirits, and manipulating people. Being a female in my twenties – I can’t say I can speak for men in their later years… but I am human, I have received parental love and have felt protective over younger family members and children. It was in his parental sentiments towards his ‘cherubim’ that I heard the justification for his actions. I could feel him playing the love. If he could find a way to have his daughter taken care of – then he would forgive his brother, set slaves free, give up his own mysterious powers.

So are Prospero’s manipulations fair – NO – but maybe that is not the point of this story. History shows us life has been unfair for many. The Tempest magnifies the distribution of light and shade in Prospero’s character. It is compelling to watch a story about what people do when life has been unfair, how they perceive their power, how they interact with others around them and to wonder about why? The justification for Prospero’s wielding powers is the restoration of peace amongst his homeland by the uniting of his daughter, Miranda, and Prince Ferdinand. After all – it is a Shakespeare comedy. By the time Prospero offers his epilogue the storm was struck down making way for the stage lights to meet trees as a backdrop.

The actors in this production set an example for me to be inspired by:

Work from the self.

Find the obstacles.

Play the love.

Mine for the truth.

Personalize the text.

Connect to what the other players have to offer.

Tell the story.

Witnessing a story unfold about universal powers and themes (love & family) unfold in Central Park surrounded by earthly elements definitely is “such stuff as [my] dreams are made on”.

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“TO HAVE FAITH, IS TO HAVE WINGS”

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As I ventured under the New York raindrops last night, to see Finding Neverland, I spared myself too much anticipation. I worried that a play relating to a famous movie, or the historic Peter Pan fairy tale might influence me to imagine a spectacle too unlike what unfolded before me in real life (running the risk of disappointment). I found the contrary. I was not disappointed. I was rather inspired!

With a line in the first Act, “to have FAITH, is to have WINGS”, I began to enjoy the story itself. The delivery of this line was quite perfect from the Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, played by Laura Michelle Kelly, to J.M. (James) Barrie, played by Matthew Morrison. Sylvia’s character is so full of life, which I’m sure is a requirement of raising four boys, and her presence is a necessary force in a play dealing with themes such as loss, grief, sickness and the death of parents.

It seems strange to include dark themes into a musical meant for children and families to enjoy… but all fairy tales do contain dark elements and lessons for living life. Finding Neverland is no exception – and it extends its lessons to adults as well.

Faith demands imagination regardless of the age of the person engaging with it. It is not exclusive to religion. Faith involves a belief in something greater than the individual, connection to a force causing a fair balance of light to compensate for life becoming dark. It’s generally effortless for a child to achieve this symphonic balance. For Peter Llewelyn Davies (Aiden Gemme), however, it proves to be more difficult to deal with life after the loss of his father than his three brothers Jack (Christopher Paul Richards), George (Sawyer Nunes) and Michael (Alex Dreier).

It is heartbreaking to discover, and even more disturbing to be able to relate to, the denial of imagination and faith that takes place in Peter’s life. It is disturbing because the loss mirrors the degradation of a person’s imagination slowly being denied as part of growing up causing a separation of the reality of our lives from the possibilities for our lives. The uplifting contrast by the end of Act II is watching Peter experience the ability to trust the people around him and to discover that his writing can act as an outlet to sort through things like grief/pain, but also love/joy!

The power that children have struck me as I watched Peter’s journey because even though he is a child… the difficult process of bravely reclaiming his imagination, faith and connection to life inspires his acclaimed playwright and step-father, James, to cease a long-standing writers block and create a play about Peter Pan and a whole world of fairies. This world goes on to capture the imaginations of children through future centuries of bedtime stories! It even goes on to inspire adults like me with a beautiful, maternal line that “to have faith, is to have wings”. It rings in my mind like the golden fairy dust that Tinkerbell uses to fly. It seems to transfer that ability that I had to believe that maybe, maybe pixie dust could make me fly in my room as a kid to the faith that maybe, maybe my dreams could come true if I have the type of courage that Peter has to reach out and inspire the people around me.

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A NIGHT OF SeriousFun :)

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I’ll admit it straight out… my night was completely made possible by my actor-idolization-slash-obsession and dream of seeing Meryl Streep live in New York City! To my pleasant surprise my inspiration was expanded to a group of artists and child performers that Streep introduced to the audience tonight for An Evening of SeriousFun Celebrating the Legacy of Paul Newman at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

The child performers were campers with SeriousFun Children’s Network and all had one very important thing in common, which was that they all live with medical conditions or serious illness and wanted to share how their camps have helped them to discover joy, confidence and friendships free of charge. The children showcased some serious talent tonight by singing songs and playing instruments. They joined a history of performers who have graced New York stages through the ages and allowed us to escape through laughter and tears – which is really an act of giving. Most importantly, their mothers were behind them and paying tribute to Paul Newman’s generosity in founding this organization.

There is something to be said about watching skilled female singers like Natalie Cole, Renee Fleming and Carole King performing for a cause like SeriousFun. There is no mistaking how talented these ladies are, but when I watched them donate their performances to a cause they believe in I really became a fan of, not only their work, but of them as people. They were having so much fun on that stage with a live orchestra!

I also must mention Aloe Blacc because he had me in the palm of his hand, that he literally held out symbolically, as he sang about the journey of a child and mother. In the program he’s quoted as saying, “What it comes down to in my songwriting is trying to tell the story of the underdog and all the obstacles they have to overcome in this life”. His statement rang true tonight as he dedicated his performance to the SeriousFun children and their mothers. In the words of Tom Hanks, who was quite tearful while reading aloud a letter from a child’s mother who benefited from the camps, “Oh I’m a sap!”

In the end I’m happy to report that, sitting in a box on the third tier of Avery Fisher Hall, I also found use for my fancy opera binoculars gifted to me over the holidays by my friend who knows me well… a theatre goer with poor natural eyesight!

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In all seriousness, this is a really great cause and I couldn’t go to sleep without passing the message along so consider this blog post my virtual version of that ol’ camp game of ‘telephone’. However, it’s my hope that the message stays in tact that the SeriousFun Children’s Network is a worthwhile cause to support!

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LITTLE DANCER

National Gallery of Art, "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" original by Edgar Degas

National Gallery of Art, “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” original by Edgar Degas

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A musical that opens inside a gold picture frame instantly makes me curious. The lure of checking out the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was also calling my name so I took a bus to Washington, D.C. to see the new musical Little Dancer starring Boyd Gaines (as the painter Edgar Degas), Rebecca Luker (adult Marie) and Tiler Peck (as the ‘little dancer’ Marie). The musical is based on Lynn Ahrens book and directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. The story centers around the world of Marie van Goethem, the model for Degas’ sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen”.

The original sculpture is also on display at the National Gallery of Art. In taking a close look I was reminded of the popular description of the statue, which is that Marie embodies a mixture of elegance and toughness. I can agree that there is an innocent defiance in the jutting out of her chin as she strikes a pose gifted to her through her difficult ballet training at the Paris Opera Ballet. She was posing for an artist, Degas, who was inspired by an essence in her that he had to capture. The beauty of this relationship is extrapolated knowing that this teenager would have been called a ‘rat’. A ‘rat’ was the description given to the poverty-stricken child dancers preparing to be ballerinas at the Paris Opera House. I got the sense that an experienced Degas caused the young Marie to be still for a few moments in a world that constantly demanded her to keep moving forward despite all odds.

It is not stillness, but carefully choreographed movement that opens the musical as Marie is brought to life. Peck is a beautiful, seamless dancer. What is interesting to me as an actor in watching her dance is how she communicates the story through her movement. I got a sense of Marie off the top, before she ever speaks, before she ever has to overcome any scripted obstacles… I saw in her movement the story of a young girl who found strength and purpose in dancing ballet.

Looking back and narrating the story is Marie as an adult. We learn what happened in her own eyes as Luker shadows young Marie. The contrast of young and adult Marie allowed me to see what moved Marie through a reflection of the events by the one person that can fully understand what it all meant. Adult Marie now understands what was right and what was wrong, what was fair and not fair, and what was truly beautiful in herself and her actions as a young girl that she didn’t even realize at the time.

The true beauty in Marie’s actions was her unquestioned fight to support her family. Marie introduces us to her little sister, Charlotte, by pointing out a secret spot inside their bedroom wall where they store money to save up for Charlotte’s future ballet lessons. Knowing the harsh realities of their world first hand, Marie protects her sister from them and tries to find a way to help her become a ballerina too. It must be noted how angelic it is when Charlotte sings. I am now looking forward to watching Sophia Anne Caruso as she grows up in the theatre. Every time she sings it made me want to cry – and as an actor I thank her for the vulnerability she allowed herself to bring to the character of Charlotte.

There are more women than men in this story. Marie’s single mother, sisters, ballerina classmates, teachers and friends and they all played the love and found the humor. The men in this story often act as obstacles that Marie faces as she learns that men ‘sponsors’ at the Paris Opera House often have malicious intentions when handling what they viewed as a ‘rat’. By contrast there were bright stars in Marie’s life and some of them were men. The musician Christian, played by Kyle Harris, journeys through what starts as flirtation with Marie into the beginnings of a strong friendship and sweet young romance based on trust. The other bright star in Marie’s life was Degas who befriended Marie and promoted her career. Gaines’ truthful performance allowed me to reflect on the focus that Degas held in his work.  It was this focus that did not let him realize his strong point of view in displaying Marie alongside criminals would became an action that influenced the demise of Marie’s livelihood and dance career. The painful truth is that his display was also his act of love.

The main idea that I left with after watching this musical is that different art forms and artists, and people in general, can influence each other to inspire great stories and work. A ballerina (Marie) inspired a sculpture/painter (Degas).

At the Kennedy Center there are John F. Kennedy quotes engraved in the walls, which led me to look up more. It seems fitting to the “Little Dancer” story to say, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Degas used his hands to immortalize the essence of a beautiful ballerina. To look only at the harsh changes to Marie’s career that became of the sculpture’s display would be to miss the effect it has had on the future. The sculpture, Marie’s essence captured in time, has become accessible and continues to inspire people and artists today.

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