Meg Roe, A Fenómeno Of The Penelopiad @ The StanleyWednesday, November 16, 2011
Looking back at those rosier periods of my life I find that even those extremely boring commencement speeches I had to suffer through both as a student and as a teacher now seem less boring. These speeches always included two words, two very important words, excellence and passion. In those times past I could hear our own ears shutting loudly like a slammed door at the mere utterance of either of those words. Every once in a while a third word was added, one that still makes me cringe, responsibility.
When Rosemary, our two daughters and I came to Canada in 1975 we missed the bright colours of the Mexico we had left. We missed the passion and the outward manifestation of feelings of its inhabitants. We found Canadians as cold as Vancouver tap water.
But by the late 70s I had found that passion and excellence did exist if one knew where to look. I found it in the guitar playing, and singing of Art Bergmann and in an unforgettable performance as Richard III by Christopher Gaze. Slowly I saw glimpses of it in our local dance community. And when I saw Evelyn Hart for the first time I equated her performance with that of Mexican and Basque jai-alai players I had seen in Mexico City’s frontón or in the bullfighting of such luminaries as Paco Camino and Don Álvaro Domecq. In Spanish this kind of brilliant, passionate excellence can only ooze out from fenómenos. Fenomenos and their talent have no rational explanation. This word defines those, one-of a-kinds who are above most of us. We can aspire to try to be like them but in most cases we can only glory and be humbled at having experienced them in a performance, and, better still, thrill, if we are so lucky, at actually having met them in person.
That is but an overture for the real theme of today’s blog which is about Meg Roe's role in that play The Penelopiad that is on until the 20th (this Sunday) at the Stanley. The play, adapted by Margaret Atwood from her novella by the same name is an excellent play. It is a play all should see before it closes. I could go on and on, to no avail of persuading any who might read this to see and experience it.
But if like me you are tired of the middling mediocrity of our time, of concert pianists, violinists and cellists with crazy hair that all play the same, with great skill, but with no apparent (to me) passion, I have the right ticket for you.
Go to experience (and it is an experience) the virtuoso performance of Meg Roe who in what appears to be an effortless performance (she is far prettier but what Spencer Tracy used to do comes to mind) that quickly made me almost ignore the 10 other women on stage (all good actresses in their own right).
The Penelopiad should be savoured as a one woman show which proves why it is that I go to the theatre in Vancouver. More often than not, I will find excellence and passion and my ears will be wide open for punishment and glad of it.
As for Meg Roe there is only one word, fenómeno.
A catharsis at the Miracle Worker