Revelations: The King and I

October 1, 2015

Last night, I saw "The King and I" at Lincoln Center and multiple revelations ensued.

Here are some that can be transcribed into a single sentence:

1) Kelly O'Hara is exquisite.

2) Hoon Lee is effortlessly funny.

3) There is an undeniable warmth throughout the duration of this play. (Joyous scenes with children, regal (ha!) red and orange tones, and the ever-humane act of teaching)

 

Some takeaways larger than sheer enjoyment:

Lately, my literary interests have been about the creative pursuit itself over fiction, and the process of various successful creators upon developing their work. I take what's useful, and adjust my own rituals when I can. What always seems to be most fascinating to me is the element of inspiration. A mere phrase in a book or a curve in a painting can inspire an entire creative piece into fruition. 

There is a scene in "The King and I" where TupTim requests to read "Uncle Tom's Cabin." She later makes her own rendition of the classic tale, using spoken word to narrate, traditional dance, percussive undertones, an ode to Buddha, and a transgressing physical role performed by XiaoChuan Xie, an insular powerhouse and former principal with Martha Graham.

Most fascinating to me about Tuptim's piece was imagining Hammerstein's inspiration to incorporate the relevant story of slavery in the United States and relate it to the tale of classist society in Siam. A small link in research, a bulletpoint from a shortlist on a legal pad, evolves into an entire self-created sphere.

Lesson? Take your ideas and run with them. Do not give doubt a voice when creating your work. The discrepancy betweeen your initial inspiration and your imagined outcome might seem overwhelming, but it will ultimately be celebrated if it is truly good work.

Lastly, LINCTIX. I am a member with Linctix for a while now, and am really grateful to witness theater of high caliber for such a low price. (If you are under 30, become a member!) For some reason, tickets are always available in the first rows, and that is where I frequently choose to sit for many reasons. Firstly, there is an intimate immersion into the world of the piece. If I've had a taxing week work-wise, I often find engaging in fiction much more difficult, because some how I have been thefted of my capacity to believe. Sitting up close gives me no choice but to believe. Secondly, Sweat. Pores. Heavy breathing. Actors' habits. Bobby pins. Tape. Witnessing these things in such a close proximity normalizes acting, and makes the craft approachable to me. It confirms that the efforts of the process, auditioning, believing, staying inspired, working, will breed opportunities.

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