Friday, January 02, 2009

My Favorite Color

This New Year's Eve I decided to do something different to celebrate the passing of the old year. It was a good year that seemed to deserve something better than staying home to watch other people experience some tired, old ball dropping in a town square thousands of miles away. So, in celebration of the infinite potential of 2009 (and also my recent promotion), I splurged and bought theater tickets to The Color Purple for myself and guest.

It all came about in a spontaneous way. As I was shopping for birthday tickets to see Wicked in March, I happened to notice that there were still New Year's tickets available for The Color Purple. What better way for a theater lover to spend the last few hours of a year than seeing a musical? Besides, I'd read Alice Walker's book and seen the movie and liked them both. As it turned out, while I had some slight misgivings about how domestic violence and molestation could be turned into a musical, I had forgotten how apropos Celie's story is to new years, new lives and new beginnings.

Set in rural George between 1909 and 1949, Purple is the coming of age story about a meek, young woman who has had hammered into her by both the men in her life and by society that she is ugly and worthless. When we first meet her she is a sexually abused young girl of 14 or 15, whose step- (though we don't learn that until later) father molests her, then cruelly rips away any resulting babies. Things get even worse for our heroine, when Daddy convinces another abusive tryant to take her off his hands in exchange for the bonus gift of a free cow.

I know! It doesn't exactly scream dance number! And, honestly, for the first 10 or 15 minutes, my thoughts were more along of the lines of "maybe some stories just aren't meant to be musicals" than "Somebody give me more jazz hand! What that beating needs is jazz hands!". In the end, however, it is such a beautiful, triumphant story of overcoming that I am so glad I rode out my few moments of misgiving and allowed myself to be swept away by the music, the story and the fabulous sequined dress Shug Avery wears in her juke joint act. Even if the opening scenes are nothing to celebrate, by the end of the show, thanks to the love and influence of the strong women around her, Celie has evolved into a woman of confidence and independence. Purple is such a powerful, human story about friendship, transformation (even the evil, abusive huband reforms by the end!) and transcendence that it really contains the perfect themes to consider when the year is fresh, new and full of hope. And that is uplifting!

P.s. The performances were amazing! So much talent on that stage! I have no idea what the status of remaining tickets is, but the show is in Portland through the 4th and I absolutely recommend it!


Chris said...

<< ... also my recent promotion >>

Really? I don't think you've mentioned this before.

Martina said...

Yup! My company did yet anothre realignment. I was one of the lucky people who not only got to keep her job, but also got promoted. I am excited about the change, but it has also been a little tainted by knowing that other people lost their livelihoods just before the holidays. I start my new job on Monday.

Chris said...


Hmm. I wonder if your subordinates have web logs on which they complain about their boss...