The Living and the Dead

Last weekend was an interesting mix of the melancholy and the celebratory.

First, on Friday, I’d bought a ticket to see Alaska Thunderf*ck’s “Red 4 Filth” tour. But I found out that the ticket I bought didn’t actually guarantee me a seat (standing room unless I showed up early enough) and I’d had a busy week going out with Carol and I was safely and snugly at home and I decided just not to go. That was a shame, but the right call.

A few weeks earlier, I’d received a letter from St. Joan of Arc, the local Catholic church where C’s funeral had been, inviting me to an All Soul’s Day remembrance mass celebrating ‘the departed of our parish’, including Charles. I thought that was a lovely thing to do, and the mass was on Saturday at 1:30, so I dressed up a little bit and went. It wasn’t heavily attended, but it was a lovely service, in English and Spanish. They had the list of names in the program and also printed out and up on an easel by the Pascal candle, and when they read the names, they tolled the bells. Loved ones were invited to come up when ‘your’ name was called, and get a flower (I was handed two, for some reason).

Afterward, they had a little reception and I went and had some pastry and sat and talked with a whole family who’d just lost their son/brother/husband from cancer just a couple of months ago, leaving four kids behind. They were holding up OK, but how sad. And I talked to the organist, who’d played C’s funeral (I reminded him about O Magnum Mysterium and told the table about how the funeral home guy had mistakenly told him I was bringing in my own singer, which is bad news for an organist, usually). And to Sister Mary, who runs bereavement groups there, and she got my info for one that will probably happen next spring.

So that was nice, even though (as always in a church) I feel like a fraud when I’m there, since I’m not a believer. They were very welcoming and it was a nice thing to do.

The next day was the first Sunday of the month, which is my default day to go to the cemetery, so I did. I don’t know if this was another All Souls Day thing, but there were far more visitors to the mausoleum than I usually see. In fact, C’s resting place is down a little dead-end hallway, and when I came up, saw someone else was mourning his own loved one across the way… so rather than barging in, I just waited in the larger part of the floor for him to finish up, which took a while.

When I visit, I usually talk to him out loud, which I did, but again, there ended up being other families wandering around the floor, so I wasn’t really able to go full out like I normally do. Not really a problem, I know perfectly well I can talk to him any time, anywhere (and I do). But it was … I don’t know… not as effective a visit as it usually is. Did my usual post-visit breakfast at the diner, then headed home.

That afternoon, I went to see Blue Hill Troupe’s production of The Addams Family. Of course, that would be a ‘fun’ presentation of death and creepy things, and while normally I’d love that sort of stuff, I wasn’t sure how it would be colored by my current state. I figured I’d have a good time, anyway – the show was directed by one of my favorite directors, and the cast was all stellar.

I showed up a little early and made the time to chat with people – a lot of BHTers had not seen me since The Thing, and it was a good chance to get caught up. Many many condolences, everyone was very sweet. It was cathartic, very nice and necessary.

The show itself was delightfully presented, but I didn’t think it was a good show – that is, the work itself. Not awful, but not a lot of there there. I’d seen it on Broadway years ago, but didn’t remember much about it except the joke about the grandmother, which remains funny. (“I thought she was your mother.”) I knew they’d rewritten it for the tour after Broadway – the only change I noticed is there was no giant squid in Act 2.

All my friends were excellent in their roles, and I was very happy to see that the chorus of ghostly ancestors (shades of Ruddigore here) all had a lot to do too. My buddy Erik was Uncle Fester, and he was excellent – his love song/dance to the moon was the best thing in the show. (and I couldn’t help fondly noticing the resonance with the Moon Maidens scene from “Mame”, which I’d conducted with the same group in the same theater.)

My buddy Marisa, who I’m working with closely on Ruddigore, managed to make it in from Princeton and we went out together to the bar where the cast was going after the matinee, so I got to chat with a lot more people. (also took a call from Vikki’s husband, heartbreaking, but got details about her upcoming services)

And that was that for that. It sounds like it was really gloomy, but all three of these events were leavened with joy, and it was a nice weekend.

And Addams Family is still running, so you should go see it before it closes this weekend!

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