Thursday, October 14, 2010

Show #55 "The Cider House Rules: Part Two" at Book-It Repertory Theatre

As my son Tim said last evening as we watched Part Two of "The Cider House Rules," it isn't like we were watching another play. We were actually watching one continuous play from our previous viewing of "The Cider House Rules: Part One." Sort of like seeing a 7 hour play with a 3 month-long intermission.

But, I couldn't help but see it as another play. Yes, it had most of the same characters in it, and it picked up where the other left off. But I liked this Part Two even a bit more than I liked Part One. And that's saying a lot, because I really liked Part One back when I saw it last July.

Part Two of "The Cider House Rules" is my favorite part of the story. Homer Wells' life developments and the poignant story of his fellow cider house-ers (the Black itinerant farm workers) is the part that moved me the most. Not to say that other storylines were not moving, but there are just certain themes that touch me more than others.

Take the theme of parent-child relationships. In Part Two, Homer's transition into fatherhood and even painful relationships such as Mr. Rose's with his daughter Rose were powerful themes for me.

Dr. Larch's "honorary" father-son relationship with Homer is summed up so nicely in his statement, "You are my work of art, Homer. Everything else has been just a job." That utterance so eloquently put into words how I feel about my own beloved sons. Nothing else I ever do in my life will compare in importance to raising Tim and David.

And the theme of class, race and privilege was an intriguing thread in the story that was played out in the orchard and in the cider house. Again, this is a theme that I constantly deal with in my own life.

I have no real commonality with the characters in this story, either in regards to race, geography or general family/lack of family background. But this story amazingly spoke the story of my life. Perhaps indirectly, but the thoughts and feelings were still there.

Theatre has that power. People from completely disparate places in life find that what is in their hearts are similar to the other. Their stories are totally different, but at the same time, they are the same.

I guess I've experienced this same phenomenon while watching movies and TV shows, but (if you hadn't already guessed) I prefer to experience this live and in person at the theater. It is somehow more potent when seen with live actors on stage in front of you.

Why? It's because there is also an unspoken relationship between actors and audience. This relationship cannot really happen with a filmed performance.

So...I liked Part Two a bit more than Part One. Oh yes, Part Two had one other thing going for it: it gave us a sense of closure, while still saying "to be continued." LIfe is like that as well.

Photography courtesy of Book-It Repertory Theatre

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