Oh, how your opal aura would have warmed
that hollow seat beside mine at the Registry
Theatre. This playhouse holds subtle charms,
contradictions mingle here so comfortably.
It is intimate, this communion between stage
and audience, somewhat confessional,
love freely expressed in each line, as ageless
as sisterhood, poetry, all things natural.
There is soul, an emotional cast to Falling:
A Wake. The actors project a thousand stars.
Seen, misted eyes, for what was lost is calling,
a celestial trail of hope climbing each stair
of dark. Heard, a heart's voice, unrehearsed,
resounding like ovations for purest verse.
About the Registry Theatre/ Falling: A Wake by Gary Kirkham
Built in the 1930s, the theatre originally served as the Waterloo County Registry for close to forty years. It is an art deco building, heritage designated. The inside of the theatre is quite tight, seating is simple and the audience's knees usually touch. The performances there seem to resonate, perhaps because of this intimacy. Everything is painted black, the walls, floors, ceiling... full focus is on what is happening on the stage.
The Lost and Found Theatre Group performs at the Registry. The plays they choose to perform are layered and the audience knows they can expect to laugh through tears.
The premise of Falling: A Wake is that one starry night a couple, living on a farm, hears a horrific sound. They go outside to investigate and discover the body of young man, still strapped into his airplane seat on their property. Elsie, the wife, refuses to leave the man, chooses to keep a vigil of sorts as they wait for someone to retrieve the victim of the crash.
Piece by piece, Harold, the husband, moves their home outdoors, chairs and lamps, things of comfort. We learn that they had lost a son... are still grieving and that they moved to this farm to escape the pain of the loss. They feel for the parents of this man... and are acting as stand in parents. The play, despite its theme, is a tragicomedy for it is not only moving, but truly funny at times. The play is also a love story, the love between man and wife, parents and child, and even the love the best of us give to total strangers
I am still haunted by some scenes, the texture of this tale...The play is a success, has been produced far from home
The airplane seat is turned away from the audience. Never once do we see the crash victim's face... only the back of the seat. The effect is startling.
The entire play is done under an array of 'twinkling stars.' The peaceful scene contradicts with the anguish that this couple has refused to face, to accept, the loss of a child.
Nette is one of those people who is grounded, able to share the most painful of memories in seamless verse. She can be lighthearted, fun and boisterous, too. There seems to be a thousand sides to her, each dimension of her is poetry itself.
Senses so often come to play in her work. Movement is a favourite theme.
Her voice is distinct. I remember my first reading of her; I remember a sense of falling into lines, becoming completely spellbound. Her language had me rereading lines repeatedly. Her intent is clear. Her language, though figurative and intricately woven, does not obstruct clarity. Metaphor is rich, detailed. Modifiers are as they should be, not too few, not too many.
Much of what Nette writes is set outside, in the natural world..(hey, don't get ahead of me! LOL!)
About the Sonnet
I know that Nette would love this play, so I took her there. The central theme of love, the psychology of the human spirit, the power of release, the healing of closure... all these things I knew she'd like.
Now, lol, her liking the theatre was another thing. It's dark. Tight. Not a single embellishment. No chandelier, no velvet seat, no jazz nor symphonic delights. Just a black box theatre. Yet, Nette is a poet who appreciates contraction, sharp contrasts and subtle ironies.
A play that is set entirely in a wide open space staged in a small enclosed space.
As far as writing the poem, I wanted to ensure that there was a fair amount of figurative language. Metaphor would be predominant and the word choice had to feel 'Netted'
I aimed for fresh.
When I wrote this I was very aware of where I wanted certain lines, Many of the end words in lines I associate with Nette.
Line 1: opals are jewels that shimmer with hidden depths. Opal aura: euphony.
Line 4: I have long loved how Nette uses contradiction in her verses
Line 5: intimate and communion. Words to describe her distinct voice.
Line 6: confessional. Many of her poems lay it all on the table, tell of her most personal and painful experiences. I am a fan of confessional poems, beat poetry. Truth or bust!!!
Line 7: I see this as a constant in her work, a central theme.
Line 8: There is nothing pretencious or overworked about a Nette poem. All feels natural, despite the way words appear unexpectedly, side by side, and you see something in a brand new way.
Line 9: 'There is soul, an emotional cast to Falling:' This line is my most worked, most crafted. Nette is my soul-sister. Her writing is emotional. I am emotional reading it. I feel great emotion for her.
Now the word CAST I specifically chose for its many meanings. A 'net' is cast, to collect bounty. Metal is cast, becomes something strong and enduring. Shadows are cast, sometimes for effect. Then, we are speaking of a PLAY. Plays have a CAST. Also, the play is about loss, old and new. We 'cast about' looking for something. When something is too hard to bear, shatters our minds, we 'cast it aside'(the couple retreat from reality for a while)... so, I chose one word very very intentionally.
About the break in the play's title... Falling.... A: Wake..... and then the last word on the following line is stars... so it is an eye trick, Falling, stars. All intentional. Falling, again, has a great deal of personal meaning. Don't all poets fall into poetry, fall for our favourite poets? Fall into writing, that mindful surrender that almost feels like possession? AND the play is about, literally, someone falling. The victim fell to the earth. This is THE play I wish I COULD see with Nette.
Line 10 : Wakes are a celebration of life for someone who has passed away, and I have read poems of Nette's that are truly wakes.. tributes for those she has lost.
Line 12: Celestial is something I associate with nette, as is hope. The play focuses quite a bit on the nature of hope and stars are the backdrop of the play.
Lines 13 and 14: again I use ambiguity. Now, if you've read this far, I'm touched, thankyouthankyou, and I expect you know exactly what I'm getting at with my summary. Heart and verse YUPPERS
I ponder where to 'take' my soup friends. In a dream, I DID bring Nette to the Registry, return to a few hours in time that were deeply moving for me.
Love to my Soul-Sister always.
Tomorrow I will be bloggin' about Linda Marie's Sonnet.