There are Giants in the sky
There are big, tall, terrible, awesome, scary, wonderful
Giants in the sky
So sings Jack in Stephen Sondeim's Into The Woods. Jack makes a trip up the beanstalk and glimpses a world that changes the way he sees the old, mundane world to which he returns. His experience has changed his outlook, he now sees somehow more even when looking at the same things. I can identify with that.
My experience in theatre has been that sort of revelation. I think it's been more noticeable and perhaps pronounced because I wasn't brought up around the performing arts (except as an audience member). I sort of climbed that beanstalk all at once and took in a new world and it's changed the way I look at things when I go back to being that simple audience member.
This past weekend, the lovely Lisa and I returned to the wonderful Durham Performing Arts Center and saw Book of Mormon. The show is outstanding and hilarious and just so, so very WRONG. We loved it. I would have loved it 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, I'm sure I would have. But I saw it through different eyes than I would have then.
Later in the show is a song that is in part about dysentery. Yep. It's actually got really catchy lyrics, but they are less then safe for work. Anyhow, the dancers during this rather educational segment use a long roll of cloth and sticks with different colored tassels to represent a river and, ahem, several bodily fluids. It's set to a tribal beat and moves along faster and faster as the song (and the unfortunate ailment) progresses. Watching this, I couldn't help but picture the poor choreographer on the first day of learning this bit. Sure they are professional actors, but come on, it's a hilarious song and the movements (hee hee) are not only hilarious as well, but physically tricky. I'm sitting there picturing our crew trying to pick this up and laughing that much harder because of it.
Those are just a couple examples, I could go on and on, but I don't want to spoil the show for anyone who hasn't seen it. My point is that our experiences aren't only about the joy and learning we receive while they are happening. The real magic of life-long learning, of every once in a while just climbing that beanstalk just because it's there, is a richer life -- happily ever after.