Monday, September 6, 2021

Weekly Margin 2021, W36: What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad

9/03/21: What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad
What: Hunter Theatre Project presents the final play in Richard Nelson's Rhinebeck Panorama as the Michaels and their friends gather in Angers, France on September 8, 2021, to mourn Rose and to witness the dance performances of her daughter and niece.
And? Last year, Richard Nelson's Apple Family plays found me at just the right time. His Zoom continuation plays for that family were one of the streaming-theater-hybrid highlights of 2020 for me. Although I haven't seen The Michaels, the predecessor to What Happened?, I knew I couldn't pass up the chance to see the final Rhinebeck play in person. I am sorry I hadn't seen any of the others live; I am so grateful I got to see this one. It's hard to describe a Rhinebeck play to someone and make it sound compelling: people prepare a meal, talk, eat the meal, and talk. At some point there is a pause to enjoy a work of art: poetry, choral music, dance. There is in Nelson's plays an appreciation for life, for the here and now. A gratitude and an awareness. That which Wilder warned us in Our Town is all too rare. This play, which takes place five days after I saw it, on the second day of Rosh Hashanah (September 8, 2021, its opening night), is grateful to be alive, while mourning the innumerable losses of this past year and a half. When the show ended I remained in my seat a few extra moments, to weep in gratitude that I was here, that I was home. 

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