Friday, August 21, 2015

Antigona: One final bow


One final bow

Back from Dublin in time to walk in the doors of the church for the final bows for the final performance of Antigona. The applause is thunderous. Even from the balcony. After turning away dozens for each of the final weekend performances, the balcony was opened for special friends.  The cast absorbs the applause, the oles and bravos and bravas, looking at the audience but also at each other with a sense of wonder at what had been accomplished.

I see my friends Pete and Peggy, part of the balcony audience. Pete a noted preservationist and community historian, long on the side of West-Park in its many struggles. Speechless and amazed at what had happened here. The cast mingles with friends on the street, exchanging hugs. And Martin gathers the crew to begin the disassembling of the stage. Dion at the center of the crew, he had in his own unique way become part of the family.
Dion and Luli
Hard working, open and caring and authentic, he understood what this was al about and befriended the cast and crew members alike knowing he was part of what made it work.

I think back to other summer residencies, like Woodshed and the Tenant, the Representatives and their unique take on Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, Bazarov, last summer’s Texas Trilogy. And the winter residency of Bread and Puppet. How a company moves in, slowly builds up to the opening, becoming part of the daily rhythm of the place, the daily preshow build ups, the crowds in and out and then the eventual, inevitable end and teardown until the place is quiet again. Only this time, Noche remains. 

Martin and Pastor Bob
I reflect on the history from Martin’s first mention, to his various draft scripts, searching the Internet for Jewish prayers of lament, Muslim calls to prayer. The frustration when traditional dance houses shied away from opening their doors to this production fearing their audience wouldn’t get it to Martin’s what if  and our decision to go for it. Turning the sanctuary into a full on stage. Taking the gamble, the risk and then seeing the results as the city caught on to what was going on. It was not only West-Park’s event of the summer, Antigona had become the must see arts event for the city this summer.

As cast members look in and see the stage being dismantled, many burst into tears.
The stage begins to come down
They know what they have experienced, what they have accomplished. Master singers, guitar players, dancers; they have been at the top of their profession but have never done anything like this before. For Martin and Soledad, this is the pinnacle of their creative career so far. And possibly for us as well. How do we move on from here? Build on this momentum? The building is living out what it supposed to be, any other use would somehow violate some cosmic principle. And what does any of this have to do with building an ongoing community of celebration and witness?

We all go to Mc Alpin to toast, to celebrate this experience.
Carlos and Leila
I try to say to the cast what it has meant to me, from the bottom of my heart. How what they have done remains, is woven into the fabric of the place. There is food from Flor de Mayo and Luli’s deviled eggs and hors d’oeuvres. There is music. Flamenco dancers rocking to Motown, r&b and soul. Soli dancing freely smiling radiantly. And even a raucous game of musical chairs among singers and dancers who are the best at what they do. There is laughter.

I am tired from my cross Atlantic flight today. But happy.

The deconstruction of the stage continues. The celebration will go on.

Flamenco master singers
I am tired from my cross Atlantic flight today. But happy.

The deconstruction of the stage continues. The celebration will go on.

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