Maple and Vine

When the 2014 opera season was announced, I was disappointed: there wasn’t a single performance I wanted to see. Part of that was a lingering feeling from last last season, which wasn’t that good either. Ever since then, I’ve been looking for a theatrical package. Groupon to the rescue!

I found a two-for-one deal for a theatre company I’ve always enjoyed. There were three plays to choose from, but two sung out my name.

I went to the first one yesterday afternoon: Maple and Vine.

Maple and Vine

When I first read the description, I knew I had to go:

Katha and Ryu have become allergic to their 21st century lives. After they meet a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they forsake cell phones and sushi for cigarettes and Tupperware parties. In this compulsively authentic world, Katha and Ryu are surprised by what their new neighbors – and they themselves – are willing to sacrifice for happiness.

These are the issues going on in my life right now – 1950s nostalgia (even though I wasn’t alive then) and the search for happiness – all in one play!

The overall theme of the play was the “now what?” question! The main characters are successful, but miserable. They are looking for meaning, and they decide to seek it in the simpler life provided by this 1950s community.  It resonated so much in me. I was ready to move there as well!

With the catch line of “What would you sacrifice for happiness?”, it was fascinating watching these characters attempt to answer this question for themselves. Was leaving behind all modern technology and assuming very prescriptive lives going to be liberating?

There was a lot more depth to the story than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. It was the final of the preview performances, and the cast did a remarkable job. They were so believable. The rotating stage popped me back into reality from time to time, otherwise I was completely absorbed.

I left trying to figure out how I could find my own little world like that. I’ve been overwhelmed lately by life and the thought of being able to escape to a predefined role is incredibly appealing, although unrealistic.

What was the last play you attended? or What would you sacrifice for happiness?

6 thoughts on “Maple and Vine”

  1. We saw “The tallest tree in the Forest” (about Paul Robeson) which was a one man show written and performed by Daniel Beaty. It was truly entertaining, masterfully performed, and enlightening! One remarkable event was when this actor (who was in and out of multiple characters) paused to simply ask a woman in the front row to put away her cell phone due to the intense distraction of the light! He immediately switched back into character to continue this great show!
    Also we have seen “the Good, the bad, and the I-5”. Improv at it’s best! Samples of the madness of Bob Filner injected into the show was hilarious!
    The last one we saw was “sideshow” – a true story of life’s difficulties for conjoined twins. Their life’s options, and making the best of what would seem to be an impossible situation.
    This form of entertainment is as educational as it is fun. I was never a fan of stage performances other than music when I was younger and was disappointed to the point of walking out a few times but now I really look forward to this kind of art!

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    1. Wow! What a collection of plays you’ve been going to, especially for someone who didn’t use to like them! I think it is wonderful that the actor stepped out of character to chastise an audience member on a cell phone. Hopefully he received applause for that. I would have cheered him.

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  2. Took Kidzilla to see a Shakespeare for Kids adaptation of Taming of the Shrew – she was fascinated. There was a second we took her to this summer, but the title is escaping me…OH! Beauty and the Beast – not the Disney version. It was great fun. Can’t wait to take her to more.

    As for the grownups…I’m afraid we haven’t seen much lately. So I guess the last thing I saw was an abridged presentation of Macbeth that we brought to our high school in the fall with a touring production company. It was fantastic. I don’t usually love modernized adaptations of Shakespeare – leave the poor guy in his own century for crying out loud! But this was sort of a post-apocalyptic spin and I really loved the scenery and costuming. The full production will be at our local summer Shakespeare festival this year and I’m curious to see if the utilize the same setting.

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    1. It’s wonderful that you are introducing your daughter to live performances early. I’m glad that there are kid-friendly options for you.

      A post apocalyptic MacBeth. Interesting! It is so dark anyway. Hopefully the full performance does maintain that spin.

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  3. This sounds really interesting – I am a theater lover, though not encouraged by my family. We see far more sporting events (blah) then plays than I’d like to. But what a great concept – glad you liked it! Hmmm… I think I already live a prescriptive kind of life, although I have to say that sometimes I think I’d like a life where I didn’t think about things like technology’s influence on kids and how bad cigarettes are for your health.

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    1. I hadn’t thought of how prescriptive life is already. That idea hadn’t even dawned on me, but you are so right.

      Being able to be without the technology sounds so good at times … and exceedingly frightening at others!

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