Monday, July 21, 2003

"All the world's a stage..."

Last night, we went to see The Sound of Music at Wolf Trap, "the national park for the performing arts." It was the closing performance of a run of several days. It was the first musical I had seen in years, and I was quite taken with the performance.

I was a child in 1965 when the movie came out, starring Julie Andrews. The songs of that musical were a staple of Catholic school music classes, highlighting a true story of a Catholic family who escaped Fascism for the freedom of (where else?) America. They eventually established a ski lodge in Stowe VT, which the family still operates to this day.

I have found a number of accounts on the internet, including this historical archive, which gives "the story behind the story." Sometimes the truth is a lot more interesting, especially when reading this Biography Channel segment. As with families large and small, theirs was not always a fairy tale.

Seeing the musical performance also took me back to my days in high school, when I had parts in the annual spring musical. My hometown was some distance away from the school, and I was also active in scouting through much of adolescence, so I didn't exactly pile on the extracurricular activities. But the musical was different; here I could shine in front of over thousands in one weekend near the end of the school year. Our senior year performance was Brigadoon, and I played the part of Archie Beaton, the father of Harry, whose love for the heroine of the story was unrequited. It was a supporting role, but I was also an understudy for one of the leads, and the choreographer, Miss Ruf, later wrote me to say that "among all the students, your performance has been the most consistantly excellent." It meant a lot to an awkward teenager, struggling with depression and at a loss for what to expect after high school.

But time has marched on, I'm not nervous in front of a crowd anymore, and even though I never had Miss Ruf for a class, she was one of a select few who taught me the most. To this day, the world is a stage.

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