The location was a Catholic School on Cleaver Street in Chicago. As we pulled up to the roundabout in front there was a simple folding chair with a balloon indicating the direction inside. The building itself had Polish writing etched in stone above the entrance. The building had half blue windows as was the norm back in the day. The building numbers were slightly askew and in need of a little TLC. We parked the car and stepped onto an uneven cement sidewalk. It was a beautiful evening , and was about to become unforgettable.
We walked in the doors and entered the building. The box office was to the left, and a big staircase with a band at the top of stairs on the landing. The music was good and reverberating off of the high ceiling and cement walls. The were an eclectic group, called Gravy Train I think.
As we stood at the bottom of the stairs, I spied a tall thin woman with dark hair gingerly coming down the steps, to greet my guy, an old friend from years gone by. It was lovely to witness such enduring friendship.
After we got our tickets we waited in a smallish area for seating to begin for the ” Passion of the Matchstick Girl”, the performance we had driven 3 hours to see. At promptly 750 we were let into the performance room, we were shown to our seats and instantly I began to absorb the scene.
This was my first time at a performance like this, I was beyond excited. As the production begun, they transformed the cement floors into the forest, artfully pulling us into the performance, it was all around us. The actors were powerful in their intensity, laser focused on each individual object. I could not take my eyes off the “chestnut girl’ or ” the blue lipped woman with the pout”. This was the overture to the production.
The performance that followed was unique, beautiful, soulful, bewitching and enthralling. Trying to follow was an exercise of love. There were so many unusual nuances to this performance and overflowing creativity. Voices that sounded as if they were directly from Heaven or some other non earthly plane. The diligent butcher, the raucous New Years Eve Party (that we only get a fleeting glimpse of ), the clear terrifying masks of the angelic yet intense characters and the continual darkness and light of the human plight.
The only symbolism I could garner from the performance ( as I was too entwined in it to analyze or search for meaning) was that for me the butcher and the subsequent meat could symbolize the rawness of death and loss while the cooking of the meat and serving it to the guests could be a demonstration that even from something as sad as death comes goodness and nourishment.
Thank you to Shawna Franks and Dado for bringing this to life, Thank you for allowing us to share in your magic.
For those of you who didn’t get to see, you missed out. For those of us who did, we were honored.
Until Next Time,