Monday, October 3, 2011

Closing night

Saturday morning I go to the church to open the door for Jeremy. He’s bringing his choir from the Sacred Center to West-Park for the day for a retreat. He has now become the official music director for Jane at the Center.   As I struggle to get all the lights on, his singers arrive with bagels and baked goods, fruit and juice. Jerermy plugs in the coffee  maker which of course breaka a circuit  and requires flipping switches until all the lights come on again. 
Outside, Amsterdam Avenue is being shut down. Latinos from many countries, all dressed in white, are gathering for the annual Marian parade. Floats are being prepared. Flags of various Latin American countries being unfurled. Women’s auxilaries in white dresses and accompanying little girls in white are getting ready. It’s an annual celebration not only of devotion to the Virgin Mary but also of national and cultural pride. They’ll march north from 86th for over a mile until they reach my friend Father Dufell’s church, Ascension, at 107th.
Another choice to make.  Last nght’s Yankee-Tiger suspended playoff game will be resumed tonight at 8:30 instead of tomorrow as had originally been announced. But it’s also closing night and party for Woodshed and the Tenant.  Not really a choice. I’ve been with them through this journey. Need to see it through. 
And so one last time I wait in the basement bar for the show to begin. Feeling sad that this is the end. The entends! (understandings!) flashing on the video screens in French with literal English translations, fractured and amusing. One last time. Tonight I see some of the few scenes I’ve missed,  Nan the Concierge’s soliloquies, the fight in the cafe, a game of Russian roulette,the final scene between Msgr. and Madame Z....filling in gaps.  
The party’s a time for final thanks and conversations. Where will different actors go next? Some have projects they’d like to pursue. One will be in the Public’s King Lear. There are at least two yoga teachers.Others beginning to want to exlore thier spirituality. I meet two actors and a friend from Pittsburgh and we talk about neighborhoods, schools, and of course the Steelers. I look up and see Jeremy and his wife have come in. He began and ended his day here. 
There is a deep sense of appreciation for what the church made possible for them.  That a church could be open and accepting not just as a consequence of  what has happened to it but as a statement of value, commitment and vision. I tell them that what they do remains part of the spirit of the building. Changing it by their presence.  And I point out the Center tag line on the scaffolding outside:  Dream. Real. Hard. I invite them, If you have a dream, bring it here, that’s what we’re here for. 
The company and friends continue to dance. Talk. Laugh. For me, it’s time to go home. Get ready for tomorrow.

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