An idea brought to mind – or, more accurately, brought back to mind – while learning a particular song on the piano.
The “house” goes dark in the cavernous O’Keefe Centre in Toronto, where a touring company is about to perform the musical Carnival. (A theatrical “re-imagining” of the film Lily.)
A teenaged Earlo is ensconced in an “Orchestra” aisle seat, next to my mother who sits next to my sister-in-law who sits next to my brother.
The curtain begins “up.”
The stage is totally empty.
I am acutely familiar with Carnival, having played the “Original Cast” album again and again. I am primed and ready for what is about to unfold.
Which is this.
To the background of a solo “wind instrument” (I cannot accurately identify “wind instruments”; a flute or an oboe, or something) playing the signature “Love Makes The World Go ‘Round” (which I am studying on the piano), with its waltz-tempoed,
We slowly catch sight of a ragtag traveling circus reaching its arranged “destination” tackling the hectic routine of setting up for the evening’s performance.
Roustabouts. Jugglers. Acrobats. Animal trainers. Clowns. Dancers, limbering for their delicate routines, every participant, studiously readying for the show.
As the troupe’s practiced preparations materialize before our very eyes, while the “Ringmaster” bellowingly intones
“Direct from Vienna
For seven days only
At popular prices
These wonders of wonders…”
My observant sister-in-law nudges her proximate Mother-in-Law, “head-gesturing” towards a mesmerized Earlo sitting in rapt attention, his eyes riveted to the stage, his face alit with an incandescent glow.
This was my “Burning Bush” moment.
I was receiving “The Call.”
On the recent, televised Tony Awards ceremony I watched numerous winning recipients, during their acceptance speeches, reveal variations on paralleling “Awakenings”, signaling this was the tribal community they were destined to join.
My “Beckoning Message” was equally loud and indisputably clear.
And I didn’t listen to it.
“Thud”, goes the heretofore inspirational narrative.
Sure, I’d been in show biz. And I had written for television, which is close.
But it wasn’t the theater.
And it never engendered that “Glow.”
Well, hmm. And hmm again.
If were inspired and invigorated by my experienced epiphany, why then did I not go into the theater?
Ready to take a quick look at this?
Let’s do it!
Reasons I Never Went Into The Theater (A tentative list, in no particular order of importance.)
Television offered me a job. (And then another one.)
I had no elevating “connections” in theater.
Television was familiar terrain.
I had a (respected) reputation in television.
In the theater, “television writers”, at least those starting out, are dismissingly stigmatized as “television writers.”
(Overall), television writers make more money.
Executing a theatrical production seemed hard. (Because they are.)
The odds of theatrical success are not promising. (And then what?)
I did not want to live in New York.
Who’s going to invest good money on a neophyte playwright?
I was not sure I was good enough to sustain an audience’s attention for two-and-a-half hours, minus “Intermission.”
I am not inordinately courageous.
So there’s thatassembled litany of reasons. (More to come, when my mind thinks of them.) Which is all well and good. These reasons explain things well enough, and may actually be correct. But this process raises an intriguing question. (To me, though not necessarily to others.)
Why exactly do we need “reasons” at all?
Spoiler Alert: I have no definitive answer.
But it is a question I am curious to examine.
Though it will not be today.
Tune in tomorrow.
If you care.
Or if you dare.
---------------------------------------------------------I think I fixed the "Comments" thing. Give it a try and see if it works. I could use the company. Thanks.