My husband and I were fortunate to see Porgy and Bess on Saturday night. I still have chills from Audra McDonald‘s performance. This Porgy and Bess is elemental, the tragedy of Bess is felt in a very personal way. I physically ached for her, the way we ache for Anna Karenina or Lily Bart — women trapped by making bad choices in a supremely unforgiving world. Though ultimately Joe Nocera isn’t a fan of this production, his Op-Ed in the New York Time’s was illuminating on the history of the opera and is a must read whether you see the production or not, like the production or not. I recommend you see it. In most of our lifetimes we won’t have this chance again, to be moved indelibly by the power Porgy and his Bess, Bess and her Porgy, by the power of their story and music.
Gone With the Wind
As young girl watching the Million Dollar Movie with my sisters, I met Scarlett O’Hara and fell in love. Her dark curls and green eyes, her swishing hoop dress–determined and strong and brave, Scarlett did as she pleased, both good and bad. My sisters and I rooted for her as she stole boyfriends, married men she didn’t love, helped Melanie birth her baby, escaped a burning Atlanta, tore curtains from windows to make a gown so she could look like a queen for Rhett, kneeled in Tara’s garden and vowed, “If I have to lie, cheat, or kill, as God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” She did kill, she did cheat, she did lie, and she was never hungry again. My sisters and I were good girls who already understood that girls were expected to behave well and be quiet. Scarlett struck us with awe. In tough times, my sisters and I would say to each other, “Pretend you’re Scarlett and push through.” I watched the movie many times until I was old enough to read the book. I learned through Scarlett that characters could be as real as living people. She infused me with courage and taught me what a freedom it would be to live life as she did, by her own rules, unburdened by the opinions of others.