Monday, July 09, 2007

My Dad called at eight this morning to tell me he liked the pages of the musical which I had sent him. It meant a lot to me, as I am on that artist's see-saw right now of giddiness with how easily the process is coming, balanced by the sobriety of knowing how much I don't know about how to write a musical. Plus, the subject matter.

C and I are researching as fast and as hard as our middle-aged brains can stand, watching DVDs of musicals, reading musical theatre, and in his case, finding soldier's blogs and videos on the Internet and looking into song-writing software. There's so much to this project it's mind-boggling.

I took a walk in the redwoods today and prayed continuously, "Dear God, help me be present, help me be present, let me be present." I feel so speedy and a little heady with all that needs to be done before leaving for the East Coast and then Malawi in two weeks--and there's some demon spirit in me that keeps wanting to pile on more, even while I know that the best thing would be to go to the ocean and take deep breaths.

We saw La Vie en Rose, the Edith Piaf movie today. The performance of the lead actress Marion Cotillard was incredible. I've never seen such a complete physical and psychic transformation except perhaps, Charlize Theron in Monster. Usually, with other actors, some bits of separate ego shone through. In this case, I felt like the actress completely disappeared into the part, and I understood the core of what she was giving us: Piaf--someone so raw, so essential and childlike and damaged that you could only respond to her with full humanity.

C liked the script better than I did--for me it was about half a dozen flashbacks too many, all the jump cutting made me feel confused as to time and place and era and trauma, but he found himself completely engaged throughout. It opened up a discussion between us about flashbacks in general, just as watching Rent last night opened up a discussion about the uses of counterpoint and themes and when songs do and don't advance the narrative. I feel like we're in an intensive two-person self-designed tutorial about musical theatre, where we are attempting to teach ourselves and each other by absorbing and discussing as much curriculum as we can stand.

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