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Saturday
Jun232018

Sage advice takes center stage

I love the Tony Awards! I fantasize about being there someday to celebrate my own work or the work of my friends. And though I rarely get to see all the nominated shows, I try to see a few. This year I was lucky enough to see The Band's Visit and Three Tall Women, both of which won multiple awards. The acting inThree Tall Women was the best I have ever seen (!), and Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalfe very much deserved the honors they won. Sadly, this masterpiece of theatre closes Sunday, June 24th.

But musicals can live forever, which may be why they have a special place in my heart: Broadway cast albums last far longer than the original run of the show. So you can revisit the magic again and again, as I did last week when I listened to The Band's Visit.  I won't elaborate here on why this score by the amazing composer/lyricist David Yazbek is so special. I just want to direct your attention to two songs in Act Two. The first one is the show's comic number. In it, Papi, a teen who can't seem catch a break, describes the paralyzing nervousness he experiences when he tries to go on a date:

And my tongue gets big
And I can't move my knees
And my eyeballs freeze
And all I see's a tunnel
And there's cotton in my head
My legs are full of lead

And my brain goes deader than the Dead Sea
Dead, dead
Dead in the mind and I find that I kind of
Go into an infantile trance
I'm peeing in my - not literally - peeing in my -
But, you know, I may as well be - peeing in my ---

This is followed by a tutorial from Haled, one of the visiting musicians of the title, and a self-defined master of romance. He tells poor Papi that it is all about getting the focus off of yourself and your own nervousness. His advice? 

You melt the ice
You melt yourself
And soon you're all one puddle
You talk, she talks
It's not about the conversation
The words are like your lips, are reaching out
To kiss the ear

Both these songs about date-induced anxiety contain wisdom that extends beyond the realm of romance, to anything that causes nervousness and panic. Public speaking and presenting, for instance! It’s always about making that connection, the real connection that can only happen when you are not all wrapped up in your own head, your own doubts and fears. Find the soundtrack and listen to it. I'm pretty sure you'll be enchanted by the story it tells. And you might take something away that serves you in real life!

***Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy
From left, Rachel Prather, Etai Benson and Ari'el Stachel in The Band's Visit

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