twenty-nine – a night at the theatre

I love many things about theatre.

The lights, the music, the camaraderie, the set design, the choreography, the props, the costuming, the audience–even the countless rehearsals and late nights, if I’m involved with a show’s production.

I also have a running mental list of moments I want to remember forever: climbing the holly tree with my brother when we lived in Virginia, belting Let it Go with my sister for no reason in particular, Meghan’s surprise when she found the cherry limeade I’d left her on our porch, helping Becky get her stuff to the car in the pouring rain, dinner with my parents before leaving for another summer in North Carolina, the taste of fresh strawberries in Galway, the awe that comes from staring at the Alps.

Theatre, though–there’s something about particular moments in theatre that resonate so completely with me, moments that make me understand how the Greeks used theatre so adeptly for catharsis. Of course, that’s not always the case, but sometimes–


Sometimes, there are moments in theatre that make you feel utterly, impossibly alive.

Last year, I saw Les Miserables on stage about a month after I’d seen the movie. The story had completely inundated me. Let’s be real: a story whose central moving force is grace extended, grace accepted, grace transforming and who has a character death centered around the fact that he simply could not accept grace? I was sold from the get-go.

As much as I love the movie, though, the theatre production goes above and beyond what a film could ever do. In the production I saw, the final scene closed with these two set pieces sliding apart. The entire stage is swathed in darkness until the golden backlight fades in, silhouetting all of those who died as they move slowly through the fog towards Valjean, singing.


Also, tears. Pretty sure Emalyn and I sobbed our way through that finale.

Well, a few weeks ago, Basia and I joined some other friends and people from our building to see Phantom of the Opera when it was in Philly.


Both of us have a deep and abiding love for this play, so we were pretty excited.

In the production we saw, the prologue concludes (as always) with the auction of Lot #666–the repaired chandelier, originally covered in canvas and hanging somewhere above rows J and K. As the auctioneer cued the spotlights towards it, the canvas was sucked into the chandelier and, as the lights sparked off of the set piece, it began to move.

You know the song. Basia and I practically wept our way through the rest of the play.

Some people, I realize, are not huge fans of theatre (my best friend among them). While I don’t completely understand that, I do understand what draws people in to theatre. Whether we’re working backstage, reciting lines, or watching from the audience, theatre is about contributing towards a story.

And there’s something about a good story–whatever the narrative and its form–that inherently captivates us, reminds us that there is purpose in life and that our lives can be part of the most magnificent story ever told, that everyone around us carries their own stories, too, and sometimes those of others–

that we can always be learning; that we are always works are always works in progress; and that we are always, always full of possibility.

You don’t have to love books or theatre to enjoy good story. You just have to be human.


twenty-eight – adventure is out there

When I left for Dublin at the end of last summer, I thought a lot about the idea of leaving and coming back. I spent hours imagining what adventures awaited me in Ireland. Everything became an adventure, whether I was walking on the Giant’s Causeway or walking across campus with my laundry in tow. Ordinary tasks became extraordinary ones because I was in Ireland.

My friends and I would often take a moment on our trips–Galway, Cashel, Dublin, Belfast, wherever we were–to pause, look at each other, smile really big, and just say, “Guys. We’re in Ireland.

This typically led to all of us grinning rather goofily and jumping up and down at least once or twice.



Anyway, going home has been, while relaxing… a bit dull. Not because I wasn’t standing next to Lis on the Cliffs of Moher, or because my letters are addressed with Forever stamps instead of International stamps–more because of the small things, I think. Laundry isn’t an annoying adventure that takes me across a 400 year old campus, trains don’t drop me at Howth for hiking and seafood chowder.  In short, ordinary tasks became ordinary again.

And that is one of the reasons I jumped at the chance to spend spring break of my senior year on a road trip with the lovely Meryl. Other reasons included: Meryl is the best, road trips are awesome, and Ithaca is gorges.


Hi, Meryl!

Yes, we did use that pun at least ten times a day while we were there. No, we did not get bored of it. We were still using it when we hit Michigan.

The decision to go on a road trip went something like this. Continue reading

twenty-six – three french hens

I have been staring at this little box for over an hour now. I woke up at 4:30 — yay jet lag! — and while my eyes aren’t bleary and heavy with sleeplessness at the moment, I know that will come back, too. Like I did.

Photo (14)

Yes, that sign does say “Welcome home, (girl) Connor! … yes, that is HER name!” Apparently I confuse people with that name of mine.

Well. As mother would say, I don’t appreciate being pigeonholed.

Continue reading