Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Madame Butterfly

It was determined last week that my theater costume & make-up class would take a field trip to Baltimore to see a production of Mme. Butterfly in lieu of class. I knew neither the premise nor the details of the play, but I enjoy theater, field trips and the occasional change of class location and activities, so I was pleased. It was arranged that we would meet our professor at the school where it was being performed (he was a professor at this school as well), so needless to say by the end we were all confused, a quarter of the class didn't realize we were actually doing the field trip, and those of us who did make it were an hour late. It also involved a six-person group in a five-person capacity vehicle and me driving on a beltway again.... with eight and a half months' licensed driving experience and three and a half hours of sleep. I'm not sure I'm fond of this trend. At least it was the Baltimore beltway this time.

We finally arrive after a very cramped drive at intermission. We find our professor, who is understanding of the complications we encountered, and everything at last seems settled. The second row is unoccupied, so we seat ourselves there and wait for the show to begin. To fill me in, one of my friends who is reading the play for another class tells me what turns out to be the surprise ending (she was only reading the end for class and didn't realize it was a surprise). For those familiar with the play, this information was in itself somewhat perplexing. But I shrugged and waited to see how it would be handled.

The show begins and from the start multiple references to the first act are made, but I'm able to piece it together. The script had humorous lines and the actor who played Mme. Butterfly was highly skilled, tackling the challenge with apparent ease and finesse. Although the date was repeatedly mentioned, my mind kept reverting back to the perception of it as being set in the nineteenth century. It was startling every time, forcing me to rework my interpretation. Eventually I just gave up and pretended it was in the nineteenth century.

In the end, I wish I had seen the entire production. But as an alternative to class, I was still happy with the opportunity and to be able to have an amusing and eventful adventure with my friends (it involved an emergency McDonald's stop - how could the trip be anything but worthwhile?)... seven hours and 45 minutes long. Phew.

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