Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Striking the Trees.

When I went to the opening night of the Singing Christmas Trees, Aradhana, the director, told me that the lighting would not be at its best since the performance was being done for the TV cameras. I was told that if I wanted to see the show with Jeff's amazing lighting, I should come back one more time. I finally made it back on closing night. I greeted Jeff when I arrived. I was informed that the house was sold out. Seating was assigned so I decided to sit up in the balcony. He had a framed sketch I had done of him leaning up against his lighting console. The director had given him the sketch that night as a present.
People kept filing in even as the show was getting started. I texted the director to let her know I was seeing the show one last time. The pastor joked with the audience saying that on the final night the cast would most certainly get it right. When the music grew louder and the Kabuki curtain dropped I could hear the couple next to me whisper to each other, WOW! Huge snowflake animations on the walls of the worship center bought a similar reaction just as if they were watching fireworks.
Though I loved the show, my reactions were more subdued than the first time. I recognized this quiet, somber, feeling. I suspect I always feel this way on a shows closing night. It is like Christmas came and went to early for me. Having sketched the cast for so long, I identify with their sometimes unsure hearts bolstered by faith. I didn't want it all to end. I also felt that I might have missed many sketching opportunities. This diamond had so many facets. My humble observations seem to have only scratched the surface of this huge production.
When the show was over a small army of men and women began to crawl all over the Trees like ants, stripping them of their banners and ornaments. The orchestra pit disappeared just as quickly. A few children ran around the huge Worship Center weaving in amongst the pews shouting and laughing. Large wooden storage boxes were rolled down the isles and the trees were quickly disassembled before my eyes. The huge space was filled with the sounds of people yelling orders and the rush of activity. When I finished this sketch I found Jeff again and we talked for a while. The budget for this show had been cut drastically. The director had wanted artificial snow and because of the cuts she didn't get it. It is possible that the Trees might not go up again next year. The arts are hurting everywhere.
When I got into my truck to leave, I saw a slip of paper shoved into my windshield wiper. Annoyed I stepped out of my truck to get it. It wasn't an ad but a note that said "The Singing Menorah was here!" I laughed out loud and suddenly felt happy knowing the arts will always shine bright.

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