Sunday, May 28, 2006

Charleston, Post 5 - Pickles! and reviews

I neglected in my last post to mention the most important thing about the Spoleto Festival opening, namely - the Pickle Ceremony! Before opening night, the assistant electrician of every show rigs up a pickle with some wires and a power cord. The entire cast assembles in the green room about 10 minutes before curtain, and after the lights are turned off, everyone starts a slow chant of "Pi-ckle! Pi-ckle!" Then the assistant electrician throws the switch, and if the pickle glows, then that means good luck for the festival. Naturally, both pickles did indeed glow. There was one at Don Giovanni at the preview, and one at Romeo et Juliette on the actual festival opening night. (That pickle was artistically decorated with a white veil and a knife in its little pickle heart.)

Today was our first day off since the Festival started, meaning we finally had time to attend some of the other shows. (As a Spoleto Festival member, I can show my badge and get in free to any show that's not sold-out.) In the afternoon I saw the Paul Taylor dance company, which was just fabulous. It was beautiful, and one of my favorite things about it was that there was so much joy in some of the pieces. Often it feels like artists feel compelled to only present dark things, but the first piece of choreography especially, set to Handel, was just pure happiness. And the second piece, set to early American jazz, was very funny, with incredibly original ways of moving. I enjoyed the abstract pieces the most, because that was where I felt the choreography really explored shapes and new ways of moving.

In the evening I went with some other Westminster Choir folks to try and see Tristan and Yseult. Owing to being sold out, and some confusion with the ushers, we didn't get to see the first ten or fifteen minutes, but after my friend AG approached the house manager again to see if we could stand in the back, we finally got in. I was sorry to miss the beginning, but glad I decided to stick around and watch it anyways. It was wacky and funny and odd in parts, but it achieved some really heart-rending moments, and the whole show was original and well-done.

Tomorrow is one of the longest days we'll have - rehearsal at 10, call for opera at 1 pm, with the performance at 2, and then call for a different opera at 7:30 and performance at 8. Luckily there's another free day afterwards, which means more shows! I'm either in an opera or planning on watching a show every single night until we go home. Who knows when I'll be able to come back again, after all.

1 comment:

  1. That pickle thing is charmingly bizarre. :-)