Friday, November 29, 2019

Panto Tonight

It’s F’en freezing still, but bright and sunny. I wore pajama bottoms under my pants on the dog walk, as well as my polar down jacket and down hood.
Tonight is the pantomime. I’m going with Jay. One of the leads and one bit player are people with whom I walk Sheba regularly. They are lovely people with great heart and I like them both very much, so seeing them will be fun.
They think I’ll hate it because of my background in professional theatre, but they are wrong. I deeply love the art form and have since I was four years old when we moved to West Vancouver and I saw our new garage., I knew right away how well it would serve as a theatre—its draw-down door, a unique curtain.
My first professional work was the inaugural season at the Arts Club Theatre  (in Vancouver). That season we snuck a play called Creeps  between two season offerings for a brief run; it was a hard-hitting play and our boss didn’t want to offend subscribers. The actors portrayed institutionalized people living with severe symptoms of Cerebral Palsy (CP). It was set in a men’s washroom and there was a lot of swearing; this was in 1975. 
Creeps  was a monster hit; it showed me the social power that a piece of theatre can have. It was overwhelming. People with CP came from as far away as Alberta to see it and we did it, and them, proud. 
Later in my life, I helped a man with severe symptoms of CP go to the bathroom in a place where there were insufficient services for people in wheelchairs. I had to open a complete strangers fly and hold his penis to help him pee into a waxed paper coffee cup I found nearby. I believe I handled myself well; his gratitude was palpable. I believe he did not see my anxiety and embarrassment. My composure and all I did. I learned from working on Creeps.
So when I go to the panto tonight, I’m going for what I experience at everything I do here: I feel more a part of my community and to see so many members of my community working together to make life fun for all of us islanders. I’m not going for Broadway or to be critical. I’m going to see my favourite creative medium bring people together to laugh and feel good together.

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