we had a really lovely 4 days away romping around beantown. (beanygetsablog in beantown?!) it was my first time up there since i was in high school and my sister attended wheelock (so that was a really really really long time ago). and all i remembered from that visit were the train tracks, her college cafeteria and the frat party i was allowed to attend at m.i.t. where her then-boyfriend (since husband) attended. with my sister-in-law teaching at university there, we had a chance to leave brooklyn and have a few days away.
my sister-in-law teaches educational theater and had the foresight to get us tickets to see ‘best of both worlds’ at the american repertory theater in cambridge. i highly recommend it. it is a gospel retelling of ‘a winter’s tale’ – a shakespearean play that is a little stilted and stumbly (well, as far as i’m concerned). she had come with us and our teenage daughter last year to see ‘a winter’s tale’ performed by ‘the bridge project’ at bam. so this was a chance for her (and us) to see the same play done very differently. the director is diane paulus – she directed the current production of ‘hair’ on bway. her husband was the lyricist. it was just the kind of theater i love – minimal sets and actors who can sing very very well and don’t flail about as a way of putting a song across. she brought the audience into the play and it was really a delightful afternoon.
sitting on the front side row was a man in a wheelchair. he was obviously not able to move his own body and his head was held in place also. i surmised that the older couple sitting next to him were his parents. i’d guess them to be about 70-75 and he was in his 50’s. i’d glance over occasionally and think that i could see him making some eye contact with the actors but it could have been wishful thinking on my part.
the last number was a big choir-backed hallelujah raise-the-rafters, get up, and clap your hands finale. it melded together as we, the audience, had gone on the journey with the cast and we were all clapping with each other to see this play to the end. i looked over and saw that the man’s mother was up on her feet like all of us. but his father (i presume) was sitting with him. he had taken his son’s hand and was holding it with one hand and clapping on his arm in rhythm with the other. he must have known that his son could somehow experience this joyful experience as part of the whole audience. it was so immeasurably touching. it’s hard to get through the days that we live and the little things can mean all the difference to hold us through the worst of times.