Was it Newton who said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?
And does that apply to people?
And does it apply to our silly endeavors, our vain attempts to, as Dylan Thomas suggested, "rage against the dying of the light"?
Is there a comic subplot for every tragedy? A giggle waiting in the wings for every tear shed? A comic mask for every tragedian's guise?
Do good and evil balance themselves out on the tightrope of our experience?
I hope so.
Forgive me, readers, for waxing philosophical, but our experience this summer with The Tempest brings it out in me. Let me give you the scoop:
Along with the joy of performing what is arguably one of Shakespeare's must brilliant creations there have been some dark clouds too. One of our courageous Sprites, William Brown, is in the hospital with a condition I don't fully understand. He has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and though he and we expect a full recovery, our hearts go out to this young man. A few words about Will: from the very beginning of rehearsal he has been a pure delight. Enthusiastic, full of energy and fun to be around. He also happens to be very talented. The unofficial "Dance Captain" of the show, he is both an athletic and graceful performer and all of us at Calshakes wish him a speedy recovery.
But The Show Must Go On.
So Devin, our ever resourceful deck manager is now making his Theatrical debut, taking over some of Will's duties and other sprites are picking up the slack.
Speaking of Sprites, the lovely Lyndsey Barnes did a great job taking over for Mhari Sandoval, our Ariel, for two performances last week when Mhari was stricken with a bad case of food poisoning. There have been studies made comparing the heart rate and adrenalin fluctuations that jet fighter pilots on manuevers experience and actors go through during performance. It seems both jobs require the similar focus, concentration and "grace under pressure".
I guarantee Lyndsey was flying her own personal F-16 on the Bruns stage and no one was the wiser. Bravo Lyndsey.
So while wars are waged in distant deserts and bodies are found floating in bayou backwaters and the highrises turn into graveyards in Kashmir, here in Orinda we try to prove Newton's theory: That for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And what could be more opposite from those tragedies than sharing this remarkable piece of art to a sold out house under a sky littered with stars. We've been blessed with warm night breezes and red Mars has blazed hotly just above stage left.
And then there's the Moon.
There's something about being able, when you have a line, as I do, like: "I was the man in the moon when time was" to refer, with a gesture, to the actual moon.
Try that in a theatre with a ceiling.
So there we are, actors, crew and audience alike raging against all the negative in the world with the simple positive act of making theatre. Creating that equal and opposite reaction out under the stars...
And gesturing to the Moon.