Monday, December 13, 2010

#7 - The Blue Flower (Cambridge): TWickie Trek To T Town

Now, I titled this The Blue Flower (Cambridge), because I fully expect this show to move on to other places and the different cities may be important in the future.
Poster in Harvard Yard

Monumental weekend, on so many levels. Jacqueline and Chris were here to trek to Boston (tea town, get it?) We started off bright and early Saturday (before even the garbage men were out and about), to get the 6:30AM bus to Boston. 4 hours of snoozing were welcomed. It's hard to get a full night's sleep when a journey is about to commence, and we were all pumped up; Jacqueline being the Founding Mother of the TWickies and Chris, a stalwart member, we were going to check out the new offering of The Blue Flower at The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, a Tony winning company of great reputation. Now, I love a new musical, and I equally love the time in History this show is predominantly set: Europe Pre WWI Paris, Berlin & Zurich, and LOVE the artists of German Expressionism, so that would be enough for me, but just so that I make full disclosure....we were there to see Teal Wicks!
Teal portrays Maria, a VERY LOOSLY drawn version of Marie Curie. Also in the mix are Franz Marc, Max Beckmann and Hannah Hoch, the 2 men, painters who have extensive representation in the best galleries and museums of Modern Art and Hannah, influential in the art of photomontage/collage and DADA. Google all this, I can't stop for ArtHistory 101 (although I'd like to).
The show is about the love between the characters, the values of the times and war. It is a complicated and multi-layered work. I will admit to really seeing all the full depth of the piece only after several viewings. So much happens and the visuals are constantly shifting, much like the madness DADA emulates. There are actors moving furniture, putting up paintings, changing clothes, climbing ladders, knocking over chairs, jumping in and out of trenches, rape, puppets, movies and marvelous mayhem. Oh, I should say that the musicians are stellar and were part of the action.
I don't want to give too much away as to plot. Hopefully, you will see this wonder someday, but it should come as no surprise to Teal lovers that she plays the love interest to both men, and her love for Franz is pivotal to the emotion of the story. She sings a song titled Eiffel Tower, and is so poignant and sad, that at each time I heard it, I cried. I never cry in the theater (movies, yes, buckets, but something about the distance of the actors in the theater keeps me from tears...but not when she sings this song). It has such beautiful lyrics (read them here: The crystal quality of Teal's voice sets them off just perfectly. She acts each word, but still manages to soar vocally. How does a young person convey such sadness? I don't know how she does it. There is a moment where she is just so overwhelmingly sad and leans into a column. She has no strength to stand, and if possible she would like to melt into the wood and vanish, like her lost lover. She sings of the closeness they shared, of looking over the roof tops of Paris, and when she speaks of angels you can't help think that she knows the angels have him and she doesn't. The end of the song and the act finds her high above the stage, not flying, but definitely illuminated and soaring above all of us, and she sings "things will never be the same", and she is right. This woman should sing on Broadway. If all goes well, she will.
See how I get hung up on that song...I rambled on, didn't I?
Well, Jacqueline and I saw the show twice on Saturday and then again Sunday Matinee. Chris had to get back to NYC, 'cuz I told her she couldn't miss the Scottsboro Boys (I already told you 'bout that show). The best part of seeing shows several times is to see the nuance and progressions of the acting. This proved to be such a wise choice. So much is revealed with multiple viewings. We also got to spend some quality time after the show with the actors at a "talk back" on Saturday and got to schmooz them in the lobby(no Stage Door there). They recognized us after a while. We represented the Left Coast well. One of the leads even said Teal had told him about the TWickies. We felt most proud. Of course, talking with Teal after the show was wonderful. She remains the same delightful person we knew in SF. She looks great (no duh), and we had the pleasure of talking with her dad who was there on Saturday. Talk about proud, well, we all had that in common.
Oh, I forgot to say that Teal does a crazy Texas wild is that?
Speaking of wild, the ride back was wet and hair raising. There was lots of rain, and I don't think the Massachusetts roads have the same size lanes we do in California. I was sure we were  going to sideswipe quite a few vehicles. Lousy weather, but a wonderful weekend. I'm going back on January 8th for the closing show. There will be more tears, for lots of reasons.
Tonight the Broadway South Africa many delightful people will be singing...and there is free booze.


  1. Oh, Bettie... you described the goings-on during the show so perfectly that coupled with the pictures in the A.R.T. website, I can definitely imagine it and have an appreciation even though I haven't seen it. When you mentioned crying during Eiffel Tower and how Teal can evoke so much sadness, I wanted to cry, too! What a great review! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the report of your Blue Flower trip. I'm glad it proved so worthwhile.