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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oklahoma!

Well I just slung my cowboy hat back on the shelf and placed my boots back in the closet. I turned my song and script book back in and as a result sometimes upon placing my head upon my pillow at night a low soft murmuring will resonate and out of my mouth will pour forth those wild, melodious, and beloved words, "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!..." Yes, I just played the part in one prairie-staged play of rambling starstruck cowboys and musically-trained farm women. My character's name was Mike, I think. Not a big part, put nevertheless one cactus-hurdlin', stirrup-kickin', yippy-ty-yi-yayyin', rootin-tootin' son of a rambling jack cowhand this side of the Mississippi (which is the wrong side, actually...The show taking place out in the hills of Tennessee.)

Though, still...I was part of one rifle-pack posse no matter how far east we actually performed. My lines, were simple...though complex and believe it or not, vital. I think the sum total of them numbered 5. I even got to sing one of them. I think it wasn't until the last week of rehearsals that I finally had them memorized. That's not to discredit my ability...but to credit my lines which had to be delivered delicately and with utmost precision. Take for instance my longest line and, ..."Yeah, that's right (a necessary pause is needed here accompanied with a slight look of curiousity with concealed mischeviousness) Hey Ado Annie, (all the while one must grip one's belt like a confidant cowboy) you got that same sweet-petater pie (one must say "pie" as though you indulge in the idea of it) like last yer?" (the word "year" must be pronounced like was written and the actor must grin really big as though he is showing off his tobacco). You see how techical this all can be? It took me weeks before I could find the correct expression for "Yeah, that's right". Okay, so maybe I wasn't a big talker. But my presence was felt. I danced. Probably more awkwardly than most thespians do, though probably a bit better than a real cowboy would dance if one should do so. But my favorite was this real cool fight scene. That was my key motivation through out all the rehearsals upon rehearsals.

However, my main theme in writing is not to write about the play. But to write about what went on behind the scenes. For it is the drama within a drama that makes people clap and applaud at the end of the show amazed that this whole assembly of people could even sing 3 lines together. I must bring it to your attention that the show was cursed from the begining, but we all didn't notice this until almost nearly the end. The first disaster that was thrown at us was the lead actress who played Laurie dropped out. She was a married young woman and had no qualms about the kissing scene with Curly to begin with. But then as the kissing scene was developed more...to get a whoop and a holler from the audience...this particular Laurie decided that she was tired of the spotlights. Maybe pressured from her husband..Maybe she felt really bad, but nevertheless, a new Laurie, who was less reserved about her lips, was found within a week before the opening night.

Then after the opening night our beloved Aunt Eller, a talented woman of over 70, began to have very minor heart problems. She wanted to proceed in the following performances but her doctor strictly forbade it. Our new Aunt Eller came in the form of our director. She was the only woman that knew those lines and had even dreamed about playing them one day...though didn't realize that that day would come so soon. Both her and the new Laurie caught on amazingly.

There were a few other disturbances...the main choreographer's baby got a very high fever and had to be hospitilized one night, our villian Jud would occassionally bruise himself in his death scene, I accidentally knocked over a row of corn when exiting the stage, and then there was the cowboy that was kicked out of the other choreographer's apartment one night. Tempers flared and lines were severed. Never to be repaired. But oh well...what did they expect? Now the cowboy rides west, and the choreographer...heck, if I know or if I care.

The whole theme throughout the play Oklahoma is the belief in the positive. At the very begining of the musical, the main character Curly enters the stage singing "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day...I've got a beautiful feeling...Everything's going my way." The play ends with the entire cast singing those same words. Everything in between is the conflict between this positive outlook with its negative opposite. Symbolically, the protagonist Curly and the villian Jud are both one and the same person. They are both characters that represent the battle within man for that man to be able to hold his head up and be called a man. The loathsome Jud is all within us that is unloveable, despising, and vengeful. Therefore he lives in a dark shed "a-festerin' in a hole". We attempt to hide Jud but he doesn't want to be hid. He comes around stalking those grounds and areas in our lives that we see as most beautiful and good which is represented by Laurie. Then we have Curly, our happy-go-lucky side that attempts to believe in ideal possibilities and dreams that may not even exist just yet like "surreys with fringes on top" and "snow-white horses". The fight breaks out between which will overtake this huge ground of love and self-development and which force will basically run our lives. So all the huge setbacks that were present throughout our performances displayed marvellously this struggle. The play ran wonderfully well. But it doesn't end there. Throughout the first and last song of our lives, it may be that we suffer from poor health, it may be that a change occurs that we are not used to, it may even be that very ones we loved and trusted turned out to be not what they seemed, but the show goes on and one must choose between focusing on the hurt, the anger, the blame, the pride, the hatred even and every dark thing that hides within our corruptible flesh, or we can choose to focus on the light, found within the soft beams of forgiveness, the striving for what's right, the greatness of God's creation, the traces of faithfulness from those who give a kind word in a distressed time so that we may look off at the horizon and think what other unnamed and unfathomable blessings God has in store for each of us and sing back to Him, "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day...I've got a beautiful feeling...Everything's going my way."





4 Comments:

Blogger Rizzle said...

Do you feel better now Brian?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

...As you can see, I decided to change the ending a little bit. Thanks for your words however few they were.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Pizzle said...

I like the new ending. I think it's focus is more on what you desire for your future rather than how the hurts of your past affect you today. I also think that the new ending is more fitting because it puts the burden on you to make right decision and to choose who you're going to be rather than resting the burden of blame on another.
Grace is a beautiful messy thing.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Oklahoma is one of my all-time favorite movies. :-)

8:53 PM  

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