Over the past three weeks, I have seen Theatre Tallahassee’s production of La Cage aux Folles four times, including opening night and the closing performance. And I am happy to announce that I have finally figured out how to pronounce the title!
That’s enough, right? Goodbye.
I don’t know how I missed watching The Birdcage in my lifetime. Because I had not seen the Birdcage, the storyline and music were all pretty much “new” to me. I found myself repeating to people “I didn’t know there was so much life wisdom in La Cage aux Folles/The Birdcage.” It’s really not that complex:
RESPECT (Look Over There)
There is a point where Jean-Michel is explaining to his father the many disappointments of life with Albin as his other parent: the school shirt request that resulted in a blouse, the beatings from those who looked down on his parents’ lifestyle, the “lack of respect.” How many of us can look back at a time in our lives when we felt disrespected by someone who actually had only our best interests at heart?
How often is someone concerned
With the tiniest thread of your life?
Concerned with whatever you feel
And whatever you touch?
The only thing I would change is: I saw a lot of guts (not just a little) displayed over the course of this show. Actors who brought everything they had (and more) to the stage. Legions of people behind the scenes who brought the show to life. A storyline that reminds us that it takes courage to stand up for being exactly who each of us is meant to be.
We face life though it’s sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter;
Face life, with a little guts and lots of glitter.
THE BEST OF TIMES IS NOW
Admittedly, I have been struggling with embracing that this is “the best of times.” The demands of parenting, caretaking for an elderly relative, finding myself at a professional crossroads, and life in general have threatened to erode my usual optimistic outlook. All I can say is that four 2.5 hour shows gave me a total ten hours of powerful reminder that I am indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to keep forging ahead, and to remember that “now” is not something to take for granted. It is, for all its imperfections, “the best of times.”
Because the best of times is now,
Is now, is now.
Now, not some forgotten yesterday.
Now, tomorrow is too far away.
So hold this moment fast,
And live and love
As hard as you know how.
And make this moment last,
Because the best of times is now, is now.
I AM WHAT I AM
If there is just one thing I want my children to take away from a lifetime of being raised by me, it is to be happy with who they are, and to respect who everyone else is. These lyrics speak for themselves ….
I am what I am
I am my own special creation.
There’s one life, and there’s no return and no deposit;
One life, so it’s time to open up your closet.
Life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say,
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
Lyric hopping aside, a few more thoughts:
There may be other “show must go on” moments that I was not privy to, but I give the maddest of props to J. Brown, the actor who took over as Jean-Michel on less than 8 hours notice for the closing weekend. I know that can’t have been easy, but he pulled it off well. And displayed why it always is a good idea to be prepared to learn something on very short notice — you never know when your perfect opportunity may present itself.
Lastly, I am so thrilled that Tenley (my daughter) had the opportunity to work with this phenomenal cast, and the opportunity to hone her acting skills in the company of these people. The minute amount of acting I have done has convinced me that being in the company of others doing what they are passionate about is an energizing and affirming place to be. I have to admit that try as hard as I could to keep my mouth shut when I was seated next to someone I didn’t know, I usually couldn’t resist sharing “that’s my daughter.” Mom’s prerogative, right? Just proud and happy, that is all!
Kudos to Director Naomi Rose-Mock, and all the cast and crew for a wonderful run. It may be a while before I can get this earworm out of my head … and that’s just fine with me!