I haven't been my normally happy and confident self for the last few weeks. I've felt as though I were huddled up in a ratty old bumper car stalled on the bumper-car floor and thus an easy target for all the other bumper-car drivers to ram. You feel pretty lonely and vulnerable in that position.
In spite of my despair and air of hopelessness, we went ahead and opened our production of The Glass Menagerie last night, and it lit into my depression like a hard, wet slap across the face.
At 8:00 PM, the curtains parted, and that perennial sack of guilt, Tom Wingfield, wobbled across the stage in a sideways shaft of light to sit at a little barroom table where he unscrewed a half-drunk bottle of cheap rum, downed another shot, and began to tell his story one more time. As the lights began to rise on our tawdry set in a gimcrack venue, my shame at not having been able to provide better for my actors was itself shamed by their passionate conviction and their simple belief in the text.
I saw music in the stage pictures we had made: rhythms and tempos, repeated motifs, sardonic riffs, and tearful melodies.
I may have let them down with my attention to my own inadequacies, but they had tricks in their pockets and things up their sleeves. They turned water into wine, then to beer, then to whiskey - Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Magic.
I could only sit there in wonder, tears wetting my cheeks.
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