At the end of a long, stressful week, Friday nights beckon me to come home, kick the shoes off and take a long easy road to nowhere. That is how I imagine what a Friday night should be, but for me it is rarely the case. When you work in the performing arts, Friday nights are routinely curtain nights. You are in the theater and the curtain goes up and your week is finally over when it comes down again sometime in the late evening. If you are in a performance run, you usually do it again on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, and then you are back to work bright and early Monday morning to start the work week like everyone else.
Tonight, it could have been one of those easy nights (opening night is tomorrow), but a fellow colleague offered me tickets to the new Disney musical of Aladdin being premiered at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre, and I was surprised when my daughter was eager to go. I thought at 15, she might think Aladdin as too amateurish. So I rushed home to pick her up, we drove back into the city, had dinner and made it to the theatre before I could think about how heavy my eyelids felt. The lights went down and the band blared on the conductor’s downbeat, and it was a stark reminder that the subtlety I’m used to in the opera house with non-amplified sound, was drowned out by sound being blasted throughout the theater. There would be no dozing off at this show. I have a theory that most sound techs have hearing loss, an occupational hazard, so they over produce and punch up the volume so you can barely hear yourself think. Perhaps that is the goal. Don’t think, just watch.
The show was cute, true to the Disney film with a few recent colloquialisms thrown in (i.e the Genie referring to Aladdin as his new BFF), and had a good pace. The best part was seeing my daughter totally enjoy herself. The music was familiar, she laughed at all the jokes – the ones aimed at the kids in the audience as well as those aimed at the adults – and she actually grabbed my arm and rested her head on my shoulder a few times making me feel like perhaps I wasn’t banished to the teenage corner after all. I reminisced about how she wasn’t that into dressing up as a little girl, but she would do it anyway if she had a friend that was gaga about the latest Disney princess (Jasmine, Pocohantas, Belle, Cinderella, etc.). She would watch certain videos over and over again especially if it had an animal in it, always more attracted to Dumbo, Bambi, and in Aladdin, the monkey. She always had a sophisticated taste for humor. I remember reading somewhere that signs of an early sense of humor was a sign of intelligence. Curiously, I’ve discovered that watching my daughter laugh makes me want to laugh; seeing her bright smile, makes me smile. Isn’t it amazing how it takes a simple evening out, a loud boisterous show, and a teenage daughter to show me that there are early signs of intelligent life left in me. Yes, I must say, it’s a whole new world.