Sunday, November 11, 2007

"The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe" by St. Mark's Players

This weekend and next (November 16-18), the St. Mark's Players are performing a play that is based on the book, "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis.

The play is performed in the worship space of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, and the Players are not affiliated with the church (although there are folks who overlap in both groups).

Producer Sherri Haddad and Director Joe Angel Babb have done a tremendous job in coordinating the cast and crew. Tonight was opening night, and the full house enjoyed the performance. Two-thirds of the cast are children. They spoke with English accents and effectively portrayed Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter, the children who walk through an old wardrobe into the magical and frozen land of Narnia. Other actors, young and old, protrayed fauns, centaurs and other magical creatures. Aslan and the snow queen were captivating as well.

One of the most charming aspects of the performance was its setting. The parish is 134 years old, and the red-bricked "Victorian eclectic" interior, with its painted iron columns, brick arches, wood floors and stained glass windows, is breathtaking. The play is acted, "in the round," with the stage in the center of the space and audience seated around it. The whole place has an intimate, ethereal feel. When the fauns are frolicking and centaurs emerge from the fog, it's magic.

Warmest congratulations to the St. Mark's Players on a great Opening Night!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Troubled Texan and the Test of Tears

This entry is a response to a recent note by Grits in the City on an email that we both received from a mutual friend, TxDem. She's been through at least four significant "life losses" this year, and just when she has seemed to hit the bottom, something else goes wrong in her life. It's like she has fallen into a well, and she's drowning, and the escape gets farther and farther away.

She is in despair and has been so for months. Many of her friends have walked away from the drama, intensity and sadness of it all. It has been sad, intensely dramatic at times, and frustrating to be near her. She acknowledges it, but she just doesn't have the energy to be able to do anything about it right now. She's low.

She sent a blind list of friends an email acknowledging her situation and earnestly thanking them for being friends. It was a big move, and it demonstrated great strength. My heart goes out to her.

In my life, there have been some significant relationships that I've let go because they got to a point where they just weren't good for me. And even though my friendship with TxDem lately has been more "give" than "take," I'm not keeping score because it feels good to be able to serve her. I believe in karma and Christ's example.

She's a special friend worth the sacrifice: passionate, gifted, intelligent and genuine. That combination is rare and cherished by me. Her friendship and loyalty are as steady as the promise of Bluebells in the spring.

Her email talked about the value of letting go. Letting go of baggage, of unhealthy relationships, of grudges, and even of friends who aren't meant for the long term.

I won't let TxDem go - because I know that, before long, one day she'll begin feeling much better. She'll be back to her old self and, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, she'll have a maturity and seasoning forged from fire.

Folks who have experienced and conquered this depth of grief are great folks to know, for they have a wisdom from experience, a reality of living that provides a rock-solid, sometimes sobering perspective. In some ways, I can identify with the depths she's in - but only in my rear-view mirror.

I know that she'll be okay. This is one instance in which I'll choose not to let go.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dupont Circle Drag Race

Last Tuesday night was the annual high heel race in Dupont Circle, and it was mighty impressive. There were Ladies with bright red poinsettias, a quartet of blow-up puffy ballerinas, the classic femmes fatales, a Senator on a toilet, a JFK-Jackie-Monroe threesome, a Washington Monument, and all manner of debauchery, glitz and silliness one could imagine.

And of course, there were the onlookers. "Just-Folks," like me, who came out by the thousands to witness the pageantry. This year, the weather was perfect: crisp as an autumn pear; dry; chilly; definitively autumn.

One thing that I love about DC, is that for all of the suit-stuffiness and pompous parading of Congressional pins and Executive-this-or-that business cards, some parts of the city aren't too politically correct to let their collective hot pink hair down and shimmy in a feather boa. I love the anti-culture of zaniness and liberalism, and the way that it sharply contrasts sometimes with the careful political strategizing that occurs during the day.

Long live the Dupont Circle Drag Race!