A Christmas Story - A First Time, AgainFriday, December 08, 2006
Listening to a relatively obscure Beethoven bagatelle on the radio some years ago while driving made me stop the car and I had to park it. I had never heard it before. It was exquisite. I found the need to call someone who understood. I called my VSO pianist friend Linda Lee Thomas. Her husband, Vancouver Chamber Orchestra director, Jon Washburn (below left, Linda Lee right) answered the phone. So I told him of my sonic "on my way to Damascus" adventure. He commented:
"Ah, Alex, I envy you for being able to listen to something for the first time."
What he said really did not hit home until my attendance this Wednesday with my granddaughter Rebecca (9) of the Arts Club Theatre Company's presentation of A Christmas Story.
My connection with the Arts Club began around 28 years ago when Vancouver Magazine editor Malcolm Parry told me, "We are working on a story on the movers and the shakers of culture in Vancouver. Go and photograph the venues and the players." Linda Lee Thomas and John Washburn were a couple of them. Another player was a new man in town who had a vision of starting a new theatre on Granville Island that would replace the aging converted gospel hall at Seymour and Davie. That's how I met Bill Millerd (the current Artistic Managing Director) and photographed him (above, left) in front of the soon-to-be-converted building that was to become the Granville Island Stage of the company.
In July 2002 I photographed director Katrina Dunn (top, right) at the Bard on the Beach. Perhaps the little smile of the picture was a hint then, that she could not only direct a Shakespeare play but also direct to please children.
Rebecca (below) went to her first opera, Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, when she was 5, but somehow I never managed to take her to a play until this Wednesday. It was the right play. Her smiles, her giggles, her laughs made me experience going to the theatre for the first time.
Perhaps I could teach Jon Washburn a few things about listening or seeing something for the first time, through the eyes of a child.
A Christmas Story