My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Tony Awards and Why I Love Them

here mama... I help you fold clothes...

It's rainy and unseasonably cold here in the mountains. It's been a quiet weekend and I haven't done much but I did pack a box or two yesterday. Austin has been at his married friend's house since Friday evening. I could protest but it makes little difference. So me and the fur-boys have been enjoying life in our pjs.

We have one of those free preview weekends where we have Cinemax and HBO so I've watched a few movies but I couldn't tell you what I've watched. It's just noise.

My "i" key is sticking on my laptop. I've been fortunate that this thing has held up so well. We've replaced the battery and I've replaced the power cord three times. I've been missing a backspace key forever and the shift key on the right. It still works, that's what matters.

The Tony Awards are on tv tonight. It's my one opportunity to really gleek it out for the year. I, first of all, love Neil Patrick Harris, who is hosting. If I could pick ONE gay man to be best friends with besides Purple Michael, it would be NPH. I love him with a completely unromantic yet totally obsessive love. If I were in high school I would doodle, "HNG & NPH" artistically intertwining his H and mine on my notebooks. I love him muchly.

And, of course, as you all know if you've read my blog for more than a minute, I love passionate people and theatre people are the most over-the-top, no holds barred, put it all out there for their craft type people that you will ever meet. Few people do theatre for the money for there are truly precious few who are making it rich on the stage. There is this consistent thread that I've seen in all true theatre people, it's the need to create, to perform, to make something tangible out of words on page. It far exceeds their need for financial reward. It's magical. I've always considered myself more of a voyeur to the process than a real participant. Yes, I could name a few credits that I earned over the years, producing this, costuming that, assisting with something else but the truth is that I just wanted to bear witness to the magic. Few things in our cynical world are as doggedly optimistic as theatre.

I was thinking the other day, while I was waiting to meet with potential employer number two, that I so desperately HATE rejection. It's exhausting. Yet theatre folks are rarely in the same exact job for more than a few months at a time. And in between jobs they expose themselves, their looks, their talent, their abilities time and time again and they get more "no's" than "yes's". I'm not strong enough to face rejection like that. But I will tell you this... my experience has been that performers are so hungry for acceptance that it doesn't take much in the way of affirmation and consistency to win them over for life. You just have to love 'em, reassure 'em and every now and then, feed 'em.

I also have learned that more brilliant the genius of the artist, the more likely they are to have a flawed character. They are able to easily assume the mask of a character other than their own, often, because they are more comfortable being someone - anyone - other than themselves. Maybe it's all the rejection involved in the process. Maybe it's the scrutiny of others. I'm not sure. But I do know that if you can get this flawed genius to let you see behind their mask, you better buckle your seat belt! You're going to be in for a really wild ride!

Anyways... so when I watch the Tony's, I'm not seeing the best of the best... I'm seeing every vulnerable kid who didn't fit in anywhere else except on stage. I'm seeing the hundreds of auditions for roles they didn't get. I'm seeing the parents who drove them back and forth to rehearsals. I'm seeing the thousands of "show friendships" they've made along the way - intensive, deep, draining drama backstage that is usually far more dramatic than anything that happens on stage - and then, all of a sudden, on closing night, it's over. I'm seeing every little girl who ever sang into a hairbrush in front of a mirror. I'm seeing people who kept going no matter what it cost them. There are probably a couple of hundred of those kind of people I've crossed paths with in my life... and I'm so glad to have seen the world through their eyes.

Hope you're having a great weekend!