Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sound of Music Brings Tears to My Eyes

This afternoon Mike, Chris, Kieran, and I attended a wonderful singalong production of "The Sound of Music" at Jesuit High School. Last year we saw Jesuit's version of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It's very clear, watching their drama productions, that this is a school with A LOT of money. They also have serious talent.

Today's production was a benefit for the Children's Cancer Association, which is near and dear to our hearts because we vaguely know the couple who founded it in honor of their daughter Alexandra, who died of cancer as a child. It has grown in 15 years or so to be an amazing, far-reaching organization that ministers to sick children in wonderful, meaningful ways, especially through music.

Before the play started, they showed a video with background piano music from "The Sound of Music," with images and video of sick children in the hospital listening to music volunteers or creating music themselves. So the tears started early. I was just IMing with my friend Karina tonight (another 24-weeker mom) and we both agreed that although we were emotional before the NICU experience, now we are complete emotional wrecks when we see anything touching. And sick children always make the tears flow immediately and profusely.

Then the play began. I have often found myself moved to tears during plays, or even at the end of plays when the audience is applauding the cast. I'm not sure why. I guess I find theater emotionally moving, even if it's not a sad or touching story.

But I found myself frequently moved to tears today. First of all, it was an exceptional production for a high school. Second, it occurred to me how much I have always loved "The Sound of Music."

Maria is similar to Marie, and I always found I could relate to Maria when I was younger. (In fact, when I was in third grade I wanted to change my name to Maria!) And I would have a horrible nun!

I love the elements of nature and music, how they touch Maria's soul, and how they heal the children's and the father's grief.

I love the fact that the poor, less-exotic woman gets the man instead of the rich, snooty, yet beautiful one.

I love the political themes and the way Captain Von Trapp lives out his values by escaping Austria. (In the play, this is even stronger--as this is the reason he and the baroness break off their engagement, because she is apolitical and doesn't believe in fighting the Nazi invasion.)

I love the mischievous nuns--my favorite scene in the movie is the one when the nuns steal the parts from the Nazis' cars. This movie actually makes the Catholic church (or at least the nuns!) look good (which is probably why Jesuit chose to do it during this, the 50th anniversary, of the play). In reality, many in the Catholic church reportedly consorted with the Nazis.

People were invited to attend in costume, and Kieran went dressed as "Kurt." He proudly stood when all in the audience in costume were invited to (during the intermission) and received a button for his efforts. I'm glad Kieran decided to go along with us...because when I bought tickets and told him it was a singalong, he said he was not going to go. For weeks!

I think it might be connected to his initial trauma when he watched the film; he was scared by the scene in the abbey with the Nazis. It brought him to another type of tears: angry ones! I think he just complained about the singalong version because he wasn't sure if he wanted to see the play. But in the end, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

And I cried frequently--because I love this story, and I love the power of music. And it's very hard to sing when I'm crying!

Tomorrow is "The Importance of Being Earnest" at Portland Center Stage. Who's betting I cry then? :)

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