This weekend my boyfriend and I went to see the musical West Side Story. It was the first time for him and the second time for me (I saw the movie as well). This English language production all the way from Germany was oddly all the way up in Ilsan, a suburb (of no consequence in my never to be humble opinion!) northwest of Seoul. First we rode the subway up there and then got out and walked to the performance theatre. This weekend it suddenly got cold instead of the beautiful spring weather we've been having, so that factor plus not knowing where I was going, made the walk seem very VERY long. Where we got out there seemed to be no buildings, just a park on one side of the road and a Korean cemetary on the other. Then we got to a row of apartments but still nothing was looking promising. I have to admit this Nancy was getting "ancy" because a) showtime was quickly coming upon us and b) the cold tends to constrict certain things resulting in the dire need to visit the restroom! We turned the corner after what seemed like an eternity and there saw flights of stairs leading up to the theatre!
When we got in, AnTaek got tickets while I got coffee (Americano for him, green tea latte for myself- I like to pretend I'm healthy.) and then we took turns using the bathroom. Our seats were in the second row. Get this: They were actually cheaper because they were so close. Yeah that was new to me!
The show begins and I am reminded that this piece is much more modern in style all around than the musical Grease that we saw the previous weekend. Reading the program, I was surprised to learn that West Side Story came to be at the request of the closeted movie star Montgomery Clift (sidebar-YUM!). He asked his director friend Jerome Robbins (also gay) for help in interpreting Romeo from Romeo and Juliet in a new and fresh way. With other "family" members Stephen Sondheim writing the lyrics and Leonard Bernstein composing the music, it's rainbows all around. I mean, gangsters who break out into dance before the switchblade rumble? C'mon!
But then it happens. Maria and Tony start singing "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)" and I start tearing up. (I hate being cliche'!) The song states that just by holding each other's hand, half the journey to that utopia is completed. And it made me think of this past week and all our frustrations about not being in the place where we want to be and waiting for the news of that. And just like the song says, "there's a time for us."
It brings to mind this passage in the Bible rumoured to have been written by the wisest man in the world, King Solomon. Turned into a song written by Pete Seeger, it poetically states: There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven."
So the show ends, and I wipe my tears and we walk out into the crisp March air and the real world. As we walk, we dissect the musical, our likes and dislikes. (AnTaek liked the plot more than Grease but thought the music wasn't as fun.) Approaching the subway station to take us home, I remark with surprise that the return walk didn't seem to take as long as it did when we were going there. AnTaek turns to me and says "Sometimes the way seems longer when you don't know where you're going or how long it will take."
And buried within that statement lies the gem of perspective I was searching for all along.
All in all it was a pretty great afternoon. :)