Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Orlando Cinderella Story

On the morning of Hannah Miller's wedding to Brian Feldman, a man she barely knows, I decided to go to Pinocchio's Marionette Theater to watch her work. She is shown in this sketch high up on the puppeteer platform with Jack Fields. Appropriately, I thought, they were performing Cinderella. Cinderella is, of course, unjustly oppressed and in the end offered a triumphant reward. Her hard work goes unrecognized, until one day she achieves recognition and notoriety, thanks to a handsome Prince.
Today, Hannah would marry a man she doesn't love to point out the absurdity of laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. In the Cinderella tale, the Prince invites all the young ladies in the land to a ball so he can choose a bride. Brian Feldman invited all the young ladies of Orlando, via Facebook, to the Orange County Courthouse so he could do the same. Hannah was picked to be Brian's bride thanks to the spinning of an Aquafina bottle which, if you think about it, really does resemble a glass slipper. As the bottle spun, the light from the dull florescent lights overhead in the marriage license office refracted and shimmered in the multiple facets of the bottle's tight-waisted form. After the bottle settled on Hannah, she took a sip from the bottle of Aquafina but then hesitated wondering if it might break the spell.
The evil stepmother and the vain and haughty daughters in this modern day fairy tale of course are the legislators and lawyers who allow a law to be on the books that would deny loving same-sex couples from being able to marry. I hope that Brian and Hannah's brave gesture will bring the issues of equal marriage rights to the all the people in the land.
After the performance of Cinderella was complete, I saw Hannah and Jack embrace for a long time in the dim light on the opposite side of the stage. This was actually the first time I realized they were a couple. Hannah came over and said hello and we talked for a while. She said she never actually manipulates the Cinderella puppet herself. She tends to work the "heavies", since she is one of the tallest puppeteers in the troupe. She told me all about the fabulous wedding dress she had made from a $12 thrift store purchase. She hot glued pearls and other exotic items to the dress to make it something that even her fairy godmother would have had trouble creating. The bouquet itself was a work of art with rainbow colored flowers emblazoned with colorful gems and a handle of pearls. After finishing my sketch, I thought I would go downtown to listen to Shakespeare's Sonnets being read. As I exited the Altamonte Mall, The Beatles were singing, "Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been, lives in a dream. Waits at a window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door, who is it for? All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people where do they all belong?"
Outside it was raining, gray, and cold. So, as I sat in my truck, I called Hannah from my cell phone, and asked if she would mind if I sketched her as she got ready for the wedding. She agreed, and I drove over to her place. I knocked on Hannah's door and her roommate, Caeley Batten, let me in. She apologized because the heating unit had broken and she was trying to keep the place warm by turning on the electric oven and leaving the door open. I stood by the oven and warmed my hands. When Hannah arrived she asked me to make myself comfortable while she took a shower. She didn't have much time to get ready, so when I got back to her room, I immediately got to work. I love the fact that she had a garland of hearts hanging from her air conditioning unit. She collects quirky creatures, and as she got dressed they seemed to be looking on in surprise and bewilderment. Hannah's roommate helped zip her into the dress. It was time to face the music.

4 comments:

Hannah said...

What a beautiful thing you did, documenting my... mahwidge. I love the intimacy of the drawing of me in my bathroom, ha, and how you drew just Jack and I on the bridge together in spite of not knowing of our relationship. I know I've said this before, but I really like how you echo the form of the marionette controllers throughout all the drawings you've done of Pinocchio's--crosses, seen at a great height--cathedral-like--and lines hatched perpendicular to one another throughout the scene. Just lovely!

Amoe said...

Thank you for another beautiful story.

Jessica said...

This is beautiful. You are blessed to see the world in all it's details and aliveness.

Thor said...

Thanks everybody.