Friday, January 14, 2005

Fan's Account of Seeing Stefanie's TKAI Performance in Detroit, MI

Hi, (This is going to be long.)

I saw the play on Wednesday night, but I'm only just returned to Earth long enough to write about it. It was a fantastic experience, to say the least.

I'd seen the play before with Yul Brynner many years back, and I'd been to several amateur versions since. I've always enjoyed the story, so I was looking forward to what was going to be done with it this time. I wasn't disappointed.

By design, I went by myself. I flew into Detroit from Atlanta on Tuesday night, just in case there were any delays with the weather or anything. There weren't any.

At the theatre it was just me and my journal. I had a seat on the main floor, third row, right, and there were empty seats on either side of me. I could hear every sound, I could see every movement, and every facial nuance without distraction. I took notes throughout the performance, even writing in the dark so that I wouldn't forget a thing.

Stefanie was absolutely gorgeous in her period costumes. She has the stature, poise, elegance, and the hint of playfulness required for Anna's character. Her English accent was consistent throughout the play, and her diction is simply awesome. I was most impressed when she sang with the accent. Her singing voice, in person, was beautiful; moving, so strong and quite expressive, especially on "Hello Young Lovers" and "Shall we Dance". There is one place in the scene with "Shall We Dance" where she's remembering dancing with a lover, the look on her face as she dances by herself while she imagines him, just works at your heart.

When she danced with the king, I found myself swaying with them in my seat. Their movements were so graceful, and they seemed to enjoy themselves so much that I found myself moving with them. I hope nobody saw me.

After the play, I started to chicken out of meeting her. I wasn't sure if I wanted to, I was certain she had to be tired, and quite frankly, I was scared to death. At the last minute, I steeled myself, sought out the correct parties, and went with it. I am so glad that I did.

She was as gracious and hospitable as everyone has said. And she is so physically fit. Toned and enviably slim in her fitted gray sweater and slacks. In the room, there were some couples who were of other nationalities. I watched as she effortlessly switched from English to Spanish to Polish and back to English without missing a breath.

I was too shy to approach her, so I stood near the door and let everyone else go to her while I watched her interact with them. The next thing I knew, she was coming at me. I was wearing this brightly colored jacket, but what she noticed was the small gray ribbon I was wearing on it. After introducing myself, when she asked me about it, I was so grateful. It gave me something to say because I was brain dead at that point. The ribbon was to celebrate the week of the Exceptional Child earlier this year, and I continue to wear it in memory of my nephew who passed away that week in his sleep at age nine from complications of cerebral palsy.

When I told her about that and about how I almost didn't come up because I was too shy, but that I was glad I did because meeting her
was something I'd been wanting to do for a long time, she hugged me for following through. I wasn't expecting that at all. So not only did I meet her, but I got a hug, too!

All in all, it was a great night. I'll remember it for a long, long time.

I'm still writing about it in my journal. :-)


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