Posts Tagged With: theater

A Romantic Interlude

There are a lot of people writing about the romance of Paris, and London, and Rome, but there are few people writing about the romance of Frankfurt, Germany, so if you’ll allow me, I would like to take a moment and step into that gap.

Frankfurt is a big city with all the charms of a small village. Life starts at 6am, when I can hear the bicycles and cars rushing past my window. Which I leave open because it is August and heat rises, so you can imagine, being four stories up, that I am kept nice and warm in the heat wave they call summer. The commuters of Frankfurt start the day, probably with a pastry, which can be found in any of the hundreds of bakeries on every corner, definitely with a cup of coffee, and perhaps even with a beer depending on how seriously they live by the, “5 o’clock somewhere” rule. The buses begin to fill with people on their way to work, or school, or just to run errands. Perhaps they are off to the market in Konstablewache square that brings fresh produce, flowers, and Bratwurst each Thursday. Perhaps they are going to the river to stroll by the water, or sit with a friend and talk in the cool of the early morning.

As the day progresses, and the sun gets higher in the sky, hundreds of people walk the streets, or ride down them in search of french fries, or curry, or more bread which seems to be a main staple here. They may take a stroll along the lock bridge where hundreds of locks with the names of hundreds of lovers are hanging from it’s metal siding. Or they may take their lunch to the old part of town and eat surrounded by buildings that could only be found in fairytales of old, inhabited by child eating witches, and little pigs.They pass the fountain with the lions heads, and the statue of David atop the severed limbs of Goliath. They meet each other, (one is always running into people they know on the streets of Frankfurt) and they stop to chat, seemly forgetting where they were headed in the first place, as if they had always full intended to meet this person and have this conversation.

After a long day the people pile back into the trains on their way back to their families. Or to Friedburger Platz where on Friday people gather with their friends, beers, and cigarettes, to sit, stand, and lean until someone finally says enough and goes home. Or maybe to the street lined with cafes filled with people drinking wine, where on the corner there is an ice cream shop that people travel from all around the city to eat Mango Sorbet and laugh at some joke I’m, unfortunately, too American to understand. As the sun begins to set, I sit in my windowsill and listen to the bells that ring out and seem to hover on the still, hot air like an angelic chorus. And finally by 10pm the sun has gone to bed and the stars have taken its place. The people have retired tot heir homes and just one or two stragglers wander the streets on their way to their own little flats on their own little streets.

I live with the awareness that I have never been to Paris, or London, or Rome, but that I do live in Frankfurt, if only for a little while, and it seems so wonderful I can’t imagine a place I could possible like better.

I began to feel a bit sad today when I thought of all my friends starting school again without me. And I’ll admit it does hurt a little bit every time I see a post about term starting up in a few weeks. Although it doesn’t hurt as much as the posts from old flames about new girls while I sit alone in my apartment and watch Netflix. And it’s not a real hurt, just a dull ache to think of my life back home and of time gone by. But then, as I began to pity myself I looked around. I realized that I am in Europe, living alone, serving the Kingdom, making new friends and new memories. Why on earth am I thinking about silly things like school starting up and old boes I don’t even have feelings for anymore? If I were there I would be wishing I was here, but I’m here and perfectly happy that I am. So the world can take its fall semesters and new romances and stuff it in a box. I will think about such things when I get home. I will start studying books when I stop studying architecture, history, and language. I will fall in love with a man when I stop falling in love with travel, and new friends, and God’s creation. And it will be a very long time before that happens. In the movie Sabrina one of the repeated lines is, “I found myself in Paris” well perhaps I am going through the process of “finding myself” in Frankfurt, if I believed in such a thing. I am becoming increasingly aware of my own independence, and more importantly of my own ability to thrive in such conditions. I no longer fear the unknown or the terrifying silence of being on my own. I embrace and welcome it as a chance to know myself better.

Advertisements
Categories: Germany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becoming A Star…Maker-Abingdon Virginia 

Since I was fifteen I have been dreaming about performing on The Barter stage. I had dreams of being an actor there, of singing and dancing on main stage. Of acting my heart out on stage two, so when one of my dear friends told me that she was hired to work tech for their production of Mary Poppins, I jumped at the chance to work on a Barter show. My friend’s father is a part-time actor there, and she often works on shows when she’s in town. I had driven up for a visit, and ended up with a two-day job, which was absolutely fine by me.

In my time there I set up lighting in their summer tent, painted a set piece, made stars that lit up the nursery in one of the numbers, and helped adjust some lighting. Over all it made me realize A) how much I miss being involved in theatre full-time, and B) how much I still love The Barter after all these years.

After all the work was done we were able to attend the preview of Mary Poppins, and oh wow was it great. Even at a preview where everything was not completely polished the show was wonderful. It’s bright and beautiful, and fun. The dancing in incredible and the singing is great, and of course the acting is top-notch. If you are anywhere near Abingdon this summer I suggest you buy yourself a ticket and indulge in some childhood Disney Magic.

Later that night we attended the premier of the two person play, Mary’s Wedding, playing on stage two. It is a beautiful play about a WWI solider and the girl he left at home. Portrayed as a dream that Mary is having the night before her wedding, you follow the couple from their first meeting and through their love, as they are separated by family, war, and their own pride. It was a beautiful show that left us all in tears. The two actors who play Mary and Charlie are brilliant, I highly recommend the show.

Now let’s talk food, because we all know that food is a big part of my life. First afternoon there we went to Caprese which is this hole in the wall Greek/Italian joint. I had the garlic knot and the Spanakopita, and both were delicious. It was a bit hot because I don’t think their air conditioning worked, but the man who worked there was incredibly nice and the food was good. The next morning we woke up and went to Zazzy’z for coffee. This place has maybe the best coffee (Although oh my cow their dirty Chai is even more amazing) I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot because there are some dang good coffee places in JC. If you are ever in Arlington, if you do nothing else get coffee at Zazzy’z. For lunch we went to an oldy but a goody, Pop Ellis’. Pop’s is someplace I’ve been going to since I was fourteen, it is the one place I make sure to stop by when I’m in town. They have a great staff, delicious food, and amazing milkshakes. Definitely a staple in the Arlington community, in my opinion. That night we went to Bonfire for BBQ, and holy guacamole I don’t know if I’ve ever had better pulled pork, and their corn bread was to die for, not to mention they have a BBQ sauce bar so everyone can have what they want. After dinner we went to a place called Anthony’s for desert. I had a cherry cheesecake and it was delicious. I returned here a second time and got some Strawberry Sorbet which was also amazing. There is no shortage of delicious food in Abingdon.

The long and short of it is that Abingdon Virginia is one of those places you could see yourself retiring…or just living there forever. I am very sad to see it in my rear view mirror. But I’ll be back soon.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxiety, Underwear, and Edward Albee

This is a post all about being uncomfortable. It is all about that heavy, nasty, sickening feeling of being just downright uncomfortable in a situation. This took form in three ways in my life today; anxiety, underwear, and Edward Albee.

I have anxiety. In fact, I have so much anxiety that I’m almost positive I will be diagnosed with an ulcer any year now from the amount of acid reflux my emotions cause me. Most of the time I handle it very well. I know when I need to make a time out and stop back, and while I have medication, it is only for when I am out of control and that hasn’t happened since this time last year. But as I near the end of the semester with stress levels high, and no free time to be had (though I forced myself to sit down long enough to write this), and my coffee pot working overtime, I have found myself more and more anxious lately. In fact, I haven’t gone to bed before 3am in two weeks because as soon as I fall into bed my head keeps swirling with all the things I need to get done and I can’t fall asleep, and when I do fall asleep I have stress dreams about the things I have to do when I wake up. It’s a vicious cycle of sleep depravation and anxiousness. The week before finals is always stressful, but it has been made more so this week by the fact that, somehow, I have a performance every single night. Oh, and did I mention that I’m terribly ill? Yes, of all the weeks I could have gotten sick, of course it was this one. But enough whining, I digress. The point is I’m a little stressed this week.

Earlier in the day I got into an argument with a friend who was simply being unreasonable and rude just to push my buttons, and that in itself set my teeth on edge. Then, while I was outside, waiting for the stage manager for the show I’m in to show up to work on costumes, I was approached by a friend of a friend who, long story short, very nicely but directly requested that I keep my mouth shut about a certain piece of information I have, as well as make sure my group of friends keeps quite as well. It was a reasonable request, but stressed me out because I started to wonder what my friend had said to his friend and if he thought we were all talking bad about him or something, and then it made me wonder if maybe that’s why he wasn’t texting me back all day, and frankly I began to spiral into a dark pit or inescapable doom that made me feel like I was going to vomit.

Well my stage manager finally showed up, ten minutes later than I thought she would, and I was already late for work, and then she tells me we are going to have to wait longer because she doesn’t have the keys she needs and the person with the keys is busy. At this point I was on the edge of tears and I basically told her that I was sorry, but that I had to get to work, and I left. And then of course I felt bad because it wasn’t her fault I was having a horrible day, it was just, simply, the day I was having.

After work I called my mother and had a very long chat about how everyone in the world seemed hell bent on making me crazy when all I wanted to do was curl up with a box of tissues and sleep until I could breathe again. She very calmly explained to me that I was being too sensitive and that everything was going to be alright, and I felt a lot better. But I still felt queasy.

Every Tuesday I have a night class, and on this particular night I got to class and realized I had forgotten my backpack which had all of my notes, and my homework, and everything in it. I sat there, trying to be calm and trying to just focus on the lecture, but I realized that I felt nauseous, and that I was having trouble breathing, and that the world was starting to a little blurry. My friend next to me, who also has anxiety look over concerned. I texted her;

“I think I’m about to have an anxiety attack, but I don’t want to just leave…”

“Ok, what can I do? Do you want me to walk out with you?”

“No, I’m just going to go outside, and if it doesn’t pass, can you bring my things?”

She graciously agreed and I tried to leave as unobtrusively as possible. I stepped outside and started hyperventilating so hard I felt dizzy and had to sit down. I pulled out my phone and called my mother again, needing someone to just talk to me to distract me from the painful weight in my chest. We hung up and realizing I had no more medication, I mad my way to my car and texted my friend to come rescue me, and I just started to cry. I cried because I was overwhelmed, I cried because I was sick and tired, I cried because I was embarrassed that I had to walk out in the middle of class, but mostly I cried because in that moment I felt so broken. I felt so incredibly worthless, like a watch with no hands. I just started to think about how if I couldn’t even handle a week of responsibilities, how am I ever going to be a wife, or a mother, or an employee? How am I ever going to actually have a productive life when I couldn’t even control my emotions enough to sit through a two hour lecture?

Finally my friend arrived and she just held me as I cried and told me it was going to be alright. She told me about her day and distracted me and never once asked me why I was the way I was as most people do. Se just accepted the fact that I was having a rough day and let me be, in that moment, whatever I needed to be, which was vulnerable and weak. And trust me when I say those are two adjectives I very rarely let myself be. I finally pulled myself together enough to drive my car up to our dorm and brave a room full of woman who were gathered to have a lingerie shower for a dear dear friend. Here is where the second part of my story begins.

The thing about my engaged friend is that she is kind of a prude. Not in a bad way, just in the sense that she gets uncomfortable very easily when people make jokes about sex. She had requested that her shower be kept high brow and that the jokes and references be kept to a minimum. We did just that and had a lovely evening. It did, however make me start thinking about what makes other people uncomfortable. For me, I would love to have a night of my friends celebrating me and the fact that, after twenty something years I was finally going to sleep with my husband. (It’s quite an event when you live in celibacy). I would think it was hilarious if my friends made jokes and we played slightly raunchy games, that’s just how I am. I also would be more than willing to show the gifts I got to everyone in the room, where as my friend was not. I am not saying anything about this friend because I think it is totally acceptable for her to feel that way, that just isn’t how I feel. Sexuality is one of those things that I find so fascinating, and that I think, as a culture, we take to the extreme far too much. We either view sex and sexuality as a sinful, dirty thing, or we make light of it to the point where we openly talk about things that really should probably be kept private. I think embracing and being comfortable in one’s sexuality, and being able to be mature about it is a beautiful wonderful thing. I also, however, have a lot of respect for woman who can be comfortable in themselves, but also have some class and keep to themselves what should be kept to ones self.

My third, and final story was inspired by the play Zoo Story, by Edward Albee. If you have never seen this show (and you probably haven’t) it is a beautiful one act that can make an audience cringe, cry, and laugh all in one sitting. The first thing I should say before I continue is that I go to a Christian College. If you’re not sure why that’s relevant, you’re about to find out. I have a friend who directed Zoo Story for our annual One Act Festival. Now Zoo Story is not family friendly, in fact, I’m not sure I would even take a teenager younger than 16 to it just as a matter of principle, but I also think it is a masterpiece. The way the show is written there is some harsh and vulgar imagery, and some topics that are far from kosher, but it is intended to make everyone uncomfortable, including one of the two character onstage. Because it makes the audience uncomfortable, it is able to have more of an impact later on in the show. Because I had class tonight I had to see the show earlier this week and so I was very excited to see what everyone else had to say after tonights performance, since I had loved it so much. When I returned to my room this evening my roommate, who in many ways is much more conservative than myself, asked me what I thought of the show. I told her I loved it and her only response was, “Really?” She proceeded to tell me about how offensive she found it and unnecessary and vulgar. I just listened, and tried to explain where I thought it reasonable to, but I soon realized that she had been so offended by the show, that she had missed the point. She had done what so many people do when they disagree with something, and stopped listening, and stopped looking for the value and redemption in the show. She didn’t see that everything Edward Albee wrote was intentional, She missed the heartbreaking beauty because she was too focused on whether or not it was appropriate for a Christian College. She said it wasn’t because it talked about pornography and sex and homosexuality. I say that it is the perfect place to talk about all of those things. I think the fact that a room full of Christians watched that show was a triumph. I hope that everyone who saw it walked away thinking about how they could look at the show from a Christian perspective. I also hope that not everyone stopped listening when they heard the word erection. After she left I simply texted the cast of the show and congratulated them on a beautiful piece of art that offended people. Because if their offended, it means they had a reaction. And f they had a reaction, it means they were forced, for 50 minutes to think about something that made them uncomfortable, and that deserves a little praise.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.