la vie boheme

there is a video of a waiter, writing the last order he would take,

waving that slip of paper proudly at the camcorder,

celebrating the years of waiting finally rewarded.

 

jonathan larson died the day his show was to open.

 

his own autobiography included songs that were

supposed to be his inner thoughts, penned by a friend instead.

but when he sings “boho days,” that is his voice.

he himself is talking about the cramped living spaces,

without heat and electricity,

the romanticized poverty that came with chasing art.

 

there may have been a glimmer of hope that started to bloom too much

some dangling possibility of an audience,

an anticipation that could not coexist with his bohemia.

 

but RENT gave hordes of homeless a family,

it gave the wallflowers a priceless acceptance.

 

i guess jon larson had to die

to fulfill his own prophetic ideal

to become his own beautiful tragedy.

 

four friends sat in folding chairs around one keyboard

and sang narratives that traced the process of writing the show

in two weeks, they managed to create a full length musical

anything can happen when you stare at a blank page

and there is solace in being “nine people’s favorite thing”

rather than a hundred people’s favorite thing

 

seussical was a harvest of the reckless creativity forgotten from childhood.

matilda taught me how to uproot grounding cages.

spring awakening must have given me the power to rebel

escape became a permanent fixture in my mind with “run away with me,”

i became convinced that i had a “corner of the sky” waiting somewhere,

and i know that a poet is “who i’d be” given the chance to be anything

 

somehow i have been taught

empathy in the forms of songs

and lyrics to the rhythm of a lifestyle

to where one man’s injustice has become my melodic passion

i will sing and stomp and demand the right of life

in everything, i have been taught

the intersection of art with social change

 

and i’ll never forget the way that Hal Holbrook spoke

of actors as if they were deceased

when the “great and pitiful” thing that had happened

was of them abandoning theatre for Hollywood

 

theatre has an unparalleled way of being raw

there is a different kind of connection made with the audience

acting is less elevated

once you step up on the stage, you are there

you are here

with everyone else.

 

you cannot lie to the camera, yet

far away in Hollywood, the camera follows around

every facade on and behind the screen.

the actors never stop acting.

whereas on stage,

the fourth wall exists only in mind.

and the truth in acting lies within being yourself.

every character is formulated best

by being aware of what reality is.

 

the difference made clear by stage and film is that

we are so afraid of each other,

we stop listening,

we talk to be heard.

we keep acting for the hidden cameras

all the while forgetting

we’re sitting on a stage, and that the fourth wall is made of air.

 

we have forgotten the sacrifice of bohemia,

we have sold our souls for the cheap comedies,

we avoid tragedy as if it is eternal doom,

we fight art off as if it would drain too much of us,

we have forgotten how to be willing martyrs

for what we believe in.

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