Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who didn't feel like Angela Chase?

[Cue voiceover: a stilted, moody, somewhat melodramatic teen girl. One gets the sense she'd make a good Juliet some day.]

You know how sometimes... it's the little things that make you proud of a place? Like when the weather's been bad? And you're not really sure what you're doing here? And you miss all the people you left behind when you came here? And then something really small makes you suddenly feel like you... belong? Like you need to be here. Like things are happening, and maybe you want to be part of this place that's changing?

Things like IdeaFestival and Waterfront Wednesday do that for me. Forecastle Fest and Good Folk Fest. Stuff like that. Places you can go and feel like this city is full of really amazing people thinking and doing and creating really amazing things. And it's like you're not in Kentucky after all, not the Kentucky that you've been warned about. It's like you're someplace... else. Someplace better.

So tonight? Tonight I went to see My So-Called So-Called Life at the Kentucky Center and it was like that. I'm not really even sure I liked it or understood it, but I was, like, wow. This is dark; this is surreal. There are real-live teenagers on that stage, like, grappling with some seriously twisted and difficult stuff. There are, like, real-live teen girls on that stage... making out! And nobody's walking out. Nobody's flinching. More importantly, there had to be tons of real-live adults behind that production who decided that it was okay, that this is theater, that this is art. And that in the real world, real-live teenagers grapple with their identities and with all kinds of pain every single day.

And it, like, made me proud, you know? It made me proud to know that there's a place in this city like Walden Theater where they're not afraid to tackle these sort of issues. And where they, you know, honor the humanity of teenagers.

It's weird. It's like you go to the theater to be entertained, and you come away... struck.

My apologies to Angela Chase...

There's only two more shows of My So-Called So-Called Life. And, you know, I'm not sure I really liked it. It was dark; it was weird. Some of it felt vaguely awkward. But, man, you can't help but be thrilled for them: for Walden, for the parents, for everyone behind that production. Because if nothing else, it pushed....

If you've been weighing whether or not to go, I implore you to go see it. Not because it's great theater-- although the young woman who played Pearl was stunning-- but because the house was less than half full tonight. And it would be really nice to send a message to Walden.

And that message would be: Thanks. Thanks for crossing some pretty forcefully defended teen theater lines. Those kids who grapple, who are grappling... I'm sure they're wicked grateful. And so are the adults who support them.

4 comments:

hank said...

that feeling? that's great art. kudos to the cast and director

hank said...

oh, and tho i did the lights, i'm not lying when i say, you totally got it. and beautiful post. truly. amazing writing.

Michelle said...

This is kind of awesome. Can we turn this into an entry for "One Thing I Love About Louisville" for Consuming Louisville? Please, pretty please?

Maureen said...

My So-Called So-Called Life was gutsy. I'm a therapist and I deal with kids who have these kind of struggles and no where to deal with them....I wish I had a video of it to share with some of my adolescent clients. Hooray for the cast and staff of the Walden.

Maureen