Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Give Us More to See

One of the silver linings to all of this is that the Broadway performers I've grown to love, but who I've only been able to see in person is less than a handful, have made themselves very accessible in order to raise funds for a variety of causes. This past weekend was a tribute concert for Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday, an event that I might have known of in passing, maybe seen a couple of clips in the haze of normal life. Instead I've had time to watch it in its entirety and to revisit several portions of it in the last 48 hours.

My favorite Sondheim show is "Sunday in the Park with George," based on Seurat's painting, and his imagined legacy. Somewhere during high school, the 1984 production was shown on PBS, and I remember watching it on the little TV we had next to our kitchen table. I'd recorded it on our VCR, watching it on (low) volume setting 12, because others were around and I couldn't bother them (probably my father working at the dining room table one room away). I knew "Putting it Together" from Streisand and my mother, a song I think I sang for some audition that I probably didn't get. But the rest of the show was new to me, and I remember feeling like it was some precious gift to have all for myself. No one else I knew would have cared to watch it with me. Which was fine. I was fine treasuring it on my own.

And so I was extremely moved by Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford's rendition of "Move On" during the tribute concert (around 2:03:00). As I've experienced seeing RENT some twenty-odd years later too, I see it now from an adult's point of view. The character is struggling with what to say, how to stay relevant, and it's something I've struggled with in this space for a long time now, letting it lie dormant for the most part. He is urged by his partner that even though things may have already been said, they have not been said by him, and not to worry if they're new. She suggests that he move on.
"Anything you do
Let it come from you
Then it will be new
Give us more to see"
Give us more to see. It's been ringing in my ears. How lucky to have that kind of encouragement, and precise insight into what needed to be said and heard (how lucky to have the benefit of scripted words in such a moment).

Something about this moment we're in has made a crack in me, and it's made me want to write again. I could analyze the reasons why, but I think there are many. Instead, I will just try to keep moving on, and give you more to see.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I started sharing more of my work/self-in-progress lately and encouraging others to do the same-- rather than waiting for some elusive polished product or non-existent finish line.