Let me say this up front: I really love watching my husband Randy on stage.
Now, let me also say this: I really don't like it when he has to grow a beard as part of a role he is playing on the stage (he's so much more handsome clean-shaven). I'm also not a real big fan of smearing white make-up in your hair in order to look older and grayer (I also had to do that for my last role on stage), but alas....some things must be endured for the sake of art.
Last night, the Tacoma Little Theatre opened the delightful comedy "Over the River & Through the Woods" to an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd. At intermission and after the show, I heard such comments as, "I haven't had a show tug at my heart strings like that in a long time!"
The audience was right. This is a show that will have you laughing 'til you cry, and will move your heart 'til you cry. Believe me, there was a whole lot of crying going on. And I mean that in a good way.
"Over the River" is a story about a young Italian-American man, Nick, who has Sunday dinner every week with both sets of grandparents. The audience roared with laughter as everyone recognized their own family squabbles within the story ("Why haven't you gotten married yet, Nick?"). Watching the four grandparents hover over their grandson probably conjured up memories of their own family...or gave them a glimpse into their own future.
A glimpse into my own future....ah yes. That is what tore up my heart more than anything else. Here was my bearded husband, all made-up to look like a man in his late seventies. I painfully watched him as he laboriously shuffled about the stage, saw him rise from the living room sofa with great effort, and witnessed his physical weakness and growing infirmity. Yes, I saw a glimpse of the man he will become one day, and the elderly wife I will soon be.
Thus explains my aversion to white beards and to white special effects make up smeared into the hair. During the show I was in last year, "The Theory of Everything," I stole a look at myself as an old woman. Last night, I saw Old Age in Randy.
It amused me, it moved me, but it also frightened me a bit. But, guess what? It really wasn't a "downer" at all. It was beautiful.
I look forward to growing old with Randy. I look forward to the day I can say that we've had a good, long life together with no regrets. I looked at Randy, and the actress who played his wife, the wonderful Syra Beth Puett, and I saw a beautiful future for us both. Instead of fearing old age, I felt I could welcome it one day.
Wow...can seeing live theatre be that powerful? Can it do all that for my heart?
Yes, it can.