Thursday, December 03, 2015

Of Human Warmth and Kindness

Image from The Seattle Times.

Joined the friends for Seattle Repertory Theatre's musical 'Come From Away'. I normally can't sit through musicals. Neither can I tahan the singing. Same for this, but it was a night out and thankfully, the musical isn't as cheesy as I feared. It did say 'rock-inspired'. Hahaha. Folk music more like it lah. And I could do with a dose of optimism celebrating the strength and warmth of the human spirit, even though it's US-centric.

Based on a true story, the play is set in Gander, Newfoundland on 11 September 2011. The small community of 9000 found itself a hive of activity when US airspace closed and 38 passenger jets were diverted there. The stage set was kept simple. 12 chairs denoted the various homes/locations within the town. We see how the community welcomed and hosted the 6500-plus international multi-ethnicity passengers in a time of tragedy and confusion. (Reviews here, here and here.)

The music and lyrics are composed by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, directed by Christopher Ashley, and presented in association with La Jolla Playhouse. I love it that the composers (also husband and wife) spent a month in Gander to collect material and find inspiration for the music. Fiddles, accordions, acoustic guitars, homemade instruments and all. Like an evening after dinner at someone's sitting room. Good beats and melodies. Newfoundland folk music rang loudly through the show. It was beautiful.

Found myself humming strains of the songs as we left the theater to get beers. Arms linked, we strolled down the streets on a not-so-cold night. Wondered if we're seeing the beginnings of World War III. I've no words for America's raging debate on gun control and the Second Amendment, incredible idiocy and deep tragedy. A feel-good Christmas musical? I'll take it.

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