Christmas Carol Chronicles, Part XII
I'm as light as a father, as happy as an angel, as merry as a school boy, as giddy as a drunken man.
That line from A Christmas Carol describes how I felt climbing the mountain of the second act last night, especially when Mrs. Dilber arrived on Christmas morning. I was delirious, almost dizzy. Well, actually I was a little unsteady on my feet after having spun her around a couple of times. The lines were far from perfect, as reflected in Steph's amazing and prolific line notes (I have no idea how she writes so fast), but I made it through to the end of the show without falling into the pit of memory despair.
It is 6 am. I got up before the rest of my family to pack for our trip to Saskatchewan. We leave in about an hour. It's a long journey, probably 8 to 10 hours today, another 3 or 4 tomorrow morning, to get to Kamsack. A small community near the Manitoba border, it is the home of my youth. All six kids and our respective families are heading home from Ottawa, Sherwood Park, Watrous, Saskatoon and Yorkton to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Ben and I are both grateful to Jacqueline, Steph and the production team for allowing us leave to attend this special event.
While Scrooge has less-than-pleasant memories of his school days, the memories I carry of my school are incredibly rich. I was only a short walk away from both my elementary and high schools. The junior high was on the other end of town, but still close compared to what young Scrooge had to endure.
I draw on the whispers of those memories and feelings from my distant past as I flow through the past, present and future of the story. The benefit of having lived a full and varied life is that I have lots of fodder to feed the actor.
The greatest gift of being in this experience is having the permission to step into a completely different and fascinating world. When director Jacqueline Russell was talking about following our instincts, trusting the process, practicing instant forgiveness and "more, more, more", I wanted to say that for me, the allure of this process is all about making "more" discoveries. Each time we do scene work, or run the show in rehearsal, and eventually when we perform in front of an audience, I step anew into the moment and always, always, always discover something new. For me, this is all about the journey, not the destination.
I was rather emotional at the end of last night's run of Act Two, though I did my best to suck it in and hide it. The generosity of the cast, the multiple gifts they gave as performers, and their sincere patience and forgiveness with my line foibles was moving. I was, and still am, grateful.
But, the time has come to put away the computer, finish my packing and wake up the family. Rest assured that I'll be spend the many miles to come cementing the lines in my mind and heart.