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Thursday, May 9, 2002

What began as a most prosaic day ended with soaring flights of poetry. I don't have the words to describe the feeling of being transported to another world by actors on a stage. It's the costumes, the sets, the music, the acting — but most of all it's the words. I'm not a poet. I can't even tell stories. But I'm a great audience.

The mundane part of the day is hardly worth description. This is one of those times of the year when everything seems to be happening at once, and as usual it's all happening to me, me, me.

The state of California, despite its claims of economic hardship, has a pot of money to spend between now and June 30, the end of the fiscal year. The various state departments all want their slice of the pizza, so they're offering projects for contractors like us to bid on. They've had all year, but most of the activity will be in the next month and a half.

Since all state jobs have different requirements, I get to read the contract boilerplate and make sure our bid offers comply. Each agency uses its own version of the contract, and this gets to be tedious work which, as I mentioned before I started talking about it, isn't worth talking about. But that's how most of my day went.

Ah, but the poetry was still to come. With the junior college's school year having only a week to go, the Theatre Art Department saved its best show for last. All the elements I mentioned — sets, costumes, acting — were outstanding, and the play they chose is one of the funniest, most tragic and most romantic ever written for the world stage. If it's done right, that is.

For their production of Cyrano de Bergerac, they brought in a ringer. The demanding title role was played not by a student but by Tony Amendola, whom you might know as Bra'tac on Stargate SG-1. But Cyrano is the role he was meant to play, if tonight's performance is any indication.

It's a majestic, lyrical play, filled with crashing swords and tender moments. The language is cleverly devised to illuminate the characters, and most of the words belong to Cyrano. The entire play depends on the actor playing that part, who has to overcome the indignity of wearing a prosthetic nose to reveal the nobility of the man whose words are all he has to express what's in his heart.

It was a wonderful way to end the junior college theater season. On a Thursday night, a week before classes ended, it brought a large crowd of patrons young and old to the Burbank Auditorium. We were enthusiastic throughout, even though there were some inappropriate giggles.

Or maybe they weren't inappropriate. Just because I thought a scene was full of pathos doesn't mean that's how everyone had to see it. It takes a dedicated and talented company to penetrate the farce and the sarcasm and expose the soul of a man who is in love but doesn't believe he can be loved in return. Whatever anyone else saw on that stage tonight, that's what I saw.

yellow iris

The first yellow iris.

Before Mom and I left for the theater, we looked over the San Francisco Best of Broadway series that will be presented over the next two years. We couldn't come up with any shows we didn't want to see, so we're paying a sizable deposit to reserve tickets to all of them. We're doing this even though most of the dates and prices haven't been determined yet. It's an act of faith that we'll either come up with the money or get our deposit back. Come 2004, we might just have some Lion King tickets we have to unload.

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