So it turns out the ‘quiet’ weekend you wish for, the one when you are eventually entitled to have a significant number of hours dedicated to something other than feeding/changing/comforting/reprimanding/entertaining your kids, including -above all else- some uninterrupted sleep, can turn out to be a little underwhelming. I am not sure whether this is because I am so used to breathing their lives in and out that I’m perfectly happy with just three quarters of a day to catch up with friends and watch a show – all these extra hours to myself feeling a little empty and sore – or whether it’s because all the heavy clouds in one’s head come closing in once our brain is not constantly in full gear on that child-house-work management circus we run every second of every minute of every hour of a very large majority of days.
I’m studying Sondheim at the minute. Because I’ve done chores and stretches and knee exercises and I can’t really get into Game of Thrones just yet or summon enough energy to go out. Yesterday I took myself to London again and resolved to hide from my anxieties in the National Theatre. And witness the grandiosity of Follies on the last day of the short re-run of its 2017 production.
I’m not a critic. I don’t do reviews. But I’ll say that it was by far the most glamorous and complex (and rewarding) reflecting on life and age and regret I’ve ever done. In a beautifully crafted Russian doll of surprises with unpredictable changes of pace and unexpected depth and angles at every turn.
Maybe today’s sadness has got nothing to do with the kids. Maybe it’s just an almost reassuring comedown after curtain call. Well, the good news is that, thoughts on getting older and none the wiser aside, I still get excited about learning new stuff. So whilst I unsuccessfully attempt to solve the riddles of Sondheim’s impossible lyrics, I keep humming ‘I’m still here’ and dancing to the self-affirmation in its notes and in the few verses I can actually grasp the meaning of!
I might start a petition for theatres to operate discount schemes for second (and third) viewings, so that I can go back and nail every single line of the magic.
One thought on “I’m still here”
Thank you for your honesty. Your reflections help me to reflect. I recognise, now that you’ve identified it, the “tristesse” I’ve felt after being touched by a theatrical experience and it’s shone a light on my life. Sondheim’s particular schtik of ‘melancholy walking out in steel toe-capped winkle pickers’ is most conducive. You are indeed still here, and I for one are gladenned by that.
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