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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

a Mary Poppins life lesson

After so many years of reviewing and seeing theater it is a constant battle to keep from becoming jaded.   The musical "Mary Poppins" would make one very susceptible for such cynicism. 

So for the Tuesday opening of the production that runs at Proctors 'till Sunday, I decided to go armed with protection.  I brought Zack, the 10 year old son of my daughter's best friend, who is like another daughter to me.  I thought if I could see the show through the innocent eyes of Zack maybe all the sentimentality that I expected would be viewed from a new perspective.

I didn't need to bother.   The musical won me over on its own terms.  It is exciting and at times even touching. Of course it is somewhat manipulative - come on - it's "Mary Poppins" - but at the same time the universal family values of love, respect and taking responsibility for those you love are stated without too much sentimentality. 

However, I am glad I brought Zack.  It was his first exposure to Broadway calibre musical theater and it blew his mind.  The sets and scenery in the show are spectacular and on the ride home he was asking questions about how they did certain things - often answering the questions himself.

What he didn't need to ask were questions about the emotional issues in the work.  A ten year old is very much aware of the family dynamics and when he is at a work that emotionally satisfies the audience it is a comforting experience - one that needs no elaboration.

Actually our conversation on the ride home was more about the difference between movies and stage.   Zack decided theater was "better" because it permitted you to use your imagination more.  In the show Mary Poppins flys, statues come to life and Bert dances up the wall of the stage and across the top and a banker has compassion for the individual.   Not much of these things do you encounter in real life.  But we accepted and enjoyed.  We were united by our imagination which permitted us to accept the impossible.

Mary Poppins has taught another life lesson..


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