Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My First Drama Hound Experience

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. My great uncle Walt had gone to the local Jesuit college, and had helped raise money to build their then-new theatre. When I was six, my family took me to see a touring company there. The show was “King Lear” (just what every six year old wants to see). I don’t think I understood much of it, and I vaguely remember napping- it was way past my 8 o’clock bedtime. But the design was amazing. It was “Lear” set in the Great White North- all the actors wore Eskimo dress. In the scenes that weren’t brightly lit, they looked almost like bears. The set was a series of free-standing Gothic church windows, almost like six-foot shadow puppets- the frames were matte black and the panels were colored pieces of something translucent. The set was lit with a palette that suggested the aurora borealis. Even the movement of light suggested the aurora borealis. It wasn’t watching like tv, or going to the movies. It was this larger-than-life thing, and I was there watching it happen. Forty years later I still think about it.
I think that I keep going to the theatre because I want to be amazed again, the way I was when I was six.

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