the original kStyle blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

All the World's a Stage
Twice yesterday I found myself thinking, This seems like a play. It doesn't seem quite real, but it is.

The first time was at the company softball game. Granted, it was sweltering hot and too humid even to swelter properly, and I was getting a little mushy headed from being out in the sun. (Side note: The third and final time I went up to bat, I was so dazed that it took me a moment to figure out which side of homeplate was which. I had briefly considered declining my turn at bat, but, reassured by the presence of 3 EMT's on my team, I pressed my luck. So I might faint; in what better company could I do so?)  At one point in the game, my teammates began talking like people in a baseball play right before the musical number. Those familiar with 42nd Street should read this in the same cadence as the dialogue before the opening number, the audition scene. You know, "Julian Marsh is doin' a show!" "Hey Frances, didja hear? Julian Marsh is doin' a show!" "Foist audition comin' up tamarrow!" Cue tap dancing.

At the softball game, it went something like this.
"Step back from the plate!"
"Ya call that a pitch?"
"Hey, look at her hit!"
"Here comes Bill--he's a Southpaw!"
"Watch out!"
"Ooh, fly ball!"

The second theater moment occurred at an old hippie dance space a friend brought me to. For the last 36 years, this community has been gathering in a church hall to crate a "safe movement space". As someone who loves dancing but hates personal space invasion, this was right up my alley. The hall was illuminated by Christmas lights stretched across the floor at the room's perimeter. Artwork from a display at the hall was pressed up against two walls, satirical statues of our president eerily staring at us while we danced. The center of the room had a sacred-feeling centerpiece: beautiful dark pink roses in a large glass vase surrounded by bowls of grapes and white candles arranged atop a light blue cloth. The deejay spinned a mix of Latin, Celtic, pop, techno, and Afro-inspired tunes. And the people were right out of central casting. Earthy probable hippies commingled with young ravers and skinny white men in African costume-- people from across several age groups and races and ethnicities. The dance ranged from hip club-style dance to "contact improv" (you know, people rolling over each other in that modern dance way) to ballroom to gymnastic to tap and Afro-inspired (uh, okay, that last one was me). Halfway through we sat in a circle, turned the music off and the lights on, and the facilitator, a fit African-American man, talked about the community, invited us new folks to introduce ourselves, and called for announcements. This was the part that felt almost scripted. There is a free world folk festival in Lowell this weekend, one man announced. A young woman was selling her car. One of the Caucasians dressed in African cloth announced an African drumming festival. Another man invited us to see the Hugging Mother in Rhode Island this weekend. The facilitator told us that a couple of dance regulars just had a baby. Then we got up and did a group circle dance holding hands, lights still on, before the lights went off again and we returned to our individual dance worlds.

Julian Marsh is doin' a show!



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