So tonight was Shakespeare in the Park.
We were in Addison, which means nothing to you, but was significant to me, as I've never really spent anytime there. The park is really just this large grassy field with multi-leveled rowhouses on three side of the perimeter. I was immediately teleported back in time to my years in Holland, with the lush green fields and narrow homes dotted with skinny balconies. It was surreal, living in two moments at once, right down to the cobblestone walkways.
By the time we got there, the crowd was large, people spread out on blankets or sitting in lawnchairs. We took our place to the side of the smallish outdoor theatre, spreading out a blanket of our own and opening a bottle or two of wine. I sat watching the view, nibbling on grapes and strawberries as the perfect half disc of a moon stared down at us, winking in and out of existence as clouds drifted lazily across the sky.
The play was The Twelfth Night, though before it began we were treated to a little show entitled Boy Throws Girl, which was delightful. Dressed in bright costumes, two performers flew threw the air with the help of a trapeze set to a lovely jazzy number. It was enchanting, watching the colors fly in time to the music, listening to the crowd's reaction and merely being for a while without worry of anything.
During intermission, upbeat jazz tunes sang out across the field and mothers got up and swung their daughters around while couples cuddled in the darkness and old and young alike danced to the music. Suddenly, it was as if just by being there we all became momentary friends.
I watched as brothers chased sisters through the crowd, laughing as they darted past us. Little girls pranced like fairies through the crowd, bejeweled with glowing necklaces and bracelets of pink and green and purple. The wind picked up, lifting our hair from our faces and carrying the sound of laughter and hushed conversations over the tiny area. The stars twinkled above us, winking as if to say that yes, they to were enjoying the evening.
And then Act II began, and the crowd became still as one, captivated by the actors on the stage. They carried us through the rest of the play with hushed amazement, and I found myself falling in love over and over again; riding the rolling waves of an ocean of enjoyment as tears mixed with laughter and I realized that I never wanted the moment to end.
But of course, it did. And I was more than willing to take this perfect evening, captured in my mind and unspoiled, and return home. But when with a group, I suppose you have to give some, and I found myself on the way to a local bar, the hard wooden soles of my sandals clacking noisily against the cobblestone walkways, much like the clanging of a tin cup against the rungs of a jailcell.
And the bar was small. Crowded. Noisy. There was giggling and music and dizziness. Glances were met and there were eyes upon me and smiles given and received. Drinks were passed around like candy, being consumed and disposed of quickly. The band played, all trumpets and saxophones and vocalists and drums and keyboards and 80's cover songs, and I danced because I didn't care, it didn't matter, I'm a chameleon and be it Shakespeare or Prince, I'll adapt.
Then home again, the silence of the car, scenery shifting in the shadows as we passed by, tearing down the freeway ... and the moon was still watching, the perfect full mouthed smile of humour watching as we sped away through the night. People on a mission with no cause.
And now in the darkness of home, my music playing, the comfort of the keys beneath my fingers, the Twelfth Night playbook in my view, and I can close my eyes and recall the children laughing, the oddly dressed actors in bright blues and greens and yellows, and smile once more.
There are some moments that I wish I could capture forever, locked up in a snowglobe to shake and watch over and over again, smiling into a memory that I never want to forget.