Measured Extravagance

2001-06-20 - 7:32 a.m.

[Continued from part 1 and part 2.]

Saturday morning, I zippered up all of my belongings and betook myself to South Station, where I climbed into the 8 a.m. bus to Newburyport. I don't believe I can improve upon Phelps' account of our reunion [1], other than to note that I really enjoyed browsing through Olivia (her recommendation); that I adore the notion of blue streaks in my hair (but my mother would kill me); and that we have so very much more to talk about that didn't get talked about (we didn't even touch upon our mutual love of theatre or Bach or upon our sad histories of rooting for doomed Sox teams...). 2:15 p.m. descended much too soon upon us.

I'm now thinking that I'll schedule a non-business-prompted trip to New England one of these years - it might be fun taking in the Head of the Charles if I know Dichroic's participating, and such a trip would put me back within busing distance of Maine and the Back Bay T-stop turnstiles. When Kale coolly observed that it had taken me ten years to reconnect with him, I refrained from pointing out that I considered him equally responsible for failing to maintain contact with me. Instead:

Mechaieh: Do you have a spare futon?
Kale: I have a very nice queen-sized sofabed, in fact.
Mechaieh: Then I will come to Boston again and stay with you sometime within the next three years.
Kale: Anytime. Just give me at least three days' warning so I can clean the apartment.
So you see, there's more than whimsy involved in this now - the man basically handed me a freakin' challenge. Which I wouldn't have deigned to answer if I didn't find his presence a stimulant and a delight, of course, or if he hadn't made it clear that he found my company agreeable.

In fact, I'd taken pains to phrase my initial emails such that he could have declined politely if he'd wished, given that I'd dated one of his best friends for 5 years - I'd already lost touch with Kale before the less than amicable split, so I wasn't at all confident about where I stood when I asked a mutual friend last fall if Kale still lived in Boston. Moreover, I'd often felt out of my depth with Kale during our undergraduate days - even during this past week, there were several instances where I tried to formulate a responding point or a concept and found myself thinking, "Mechaieh, you are a blithering, inarticulate intellectual fraud." Fortunately, most of the time I was actually thinking, "This is really amusing/engaging/comfortable and how I wish it could go on. . ." and since Kale was the one who proposed spending all of Sunday afternoon together (as opposed to just dinner), I felt reassured that, in spite of my occasional descents into incoherent blithering, Kale was enjoying himself as well.

I got back to Boston about 90 minutes before I was due to show up at the theatre - not enough time to get to the hotel and check in. So I sat on the sidewalk in front of Finagle Bagel, drinking the remains of my Orangina and wrestling with my copy of The Boston Globe, which was flapping about in the breeze, until it was time to check in.

The production of Thésée was lavish and brightly lit, and full of excellent singers with good acting skills (especially Laura Pudwell, who played Medée - she conveyed the character's intensity and duplicity superbly - for instance, in a scene featuring her romantic rival and the object of her affections, her face effortlessly changed expression as she regarded one captive and then the other and back again), and a raft of dancers. I'm a sucker for elegant finales, too, and it was so, so lovely watching Arcas and Cleone twine broad royal blue ribbons around each vignette on the stage - as if sealing the characters and their stories into portraits - and then positioning themselves within the last group of actors before closing the ribbon around them, as golden-haired Apollo danced up and down the stage and indicated the story had come to an end:

Quel dommage
Si l'on ne ménage,
Les moments heureux!
Formons d'aimables noeuds;
Faisons un doux usage
Du tems où les Jeux
Suivent partout nos Voeux.
Quel dommage
Si l'on ne ménage,
Les moments heureux!

What a pity
If one does not savor
The happy moments!
Let us form loving bonds;
And put to sweet use
The times when the game
Goes just as we wish.
What a pity
If one does not savor
The happy moments!

- from the closing duet of Thésée, by Philippe Quinault (trs. Rémy-Michel Trotier and Christopher Greenleaf)

[Continued in the next entry.]

[1] No longer available online - sorry. :-(

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