Sunday, August 13, 2017

When I saw Come From Away .. and became an Awaynic

My sister Jen and I Rushed Come from Away. We got to the line at 5 am and were number 2 and 3 in line. We chose to rush because the tickets are $38 and because it's something that we enjoy doing. ((38 planes landed, rush seats are $38, I only wish I got that significance earlier, duh)
Of course I was knitting on the line. I was working on the last of my hats for the cast of the show. Everyone seemed to find it rather entertaining that not only was a knitting, but that I was knitting for the cast.

We got our tickets and I went to work for the morning.
I had been listening to the Soundtrack since the day it was released. Since the first song I knew it was something special. So many lyrics hit me. From the lines "I don't know what to do 'cause I can't watch the news anymore" to "Something's gone" . . . I knew it was a show that would not only receive a lot of playtime, but that would be with me for a long time.

The Come From Away cast is made up of a cast of 12 actors. Each actor portrays multiple characters to tell the stories of the thousands of people that were stranded in Gander and the town that welcomed them. Each character touched my heart, but some certainly stood out.

Bob, portrayed in the original company by Rodney Hicks was just wonderful. I had the pleasure of seeing Rodney in the Original case of Rent, and seeing him again was a true gift. At so many moments his character brought me from tears to immediate laughter. I won't give away my favorite moments of his character, you just have to be there.Being able to meet Rodney after the show and thank him for being a pat of two productions that have truly shaped my life was Something that I will always cherish.

Bonnie Harris, portrayed by native Newfoundlander Petrina Bromley Is a character that will always be close to my heart. In the town of Gander, Bonnie runs the SPCA ( believe she still does). All of the citizens of Gander and surrounding communities welcomed the stranded passengers. Bonnie was a voice for the voiceless, the animals that were traveling on the planes that day. After seeing the show I found myself doing a lot more research on Gander, and of course even looking at flights so that I can visit. I discovered Bonnie's facebook profile and in true "awaynic" fandom mode, I sent her a message. I thanked her not only for sharing her story, but for speaking for the voiceless. This was her response.

I could talk about every single character in this show. I could talk about how I hope that every girl growing up can see Jenn Colella portray Beverly Bass and know that they can truly achieve the dreams that they have when they are 8. I could talk about how I was touched by Buella (portrayed by Astrid Van Wieren) Never left Hannah's side and how her practical "get it done" nature is one that I can relate to on a daily basis .. I could talk about how my own fear on 9/11 when I saw the first destroyed firetruck came back to me eveytime Hannah spoke. I could talk about how when Kendra Kassenbaum, portraying the flight attendant, showed the fear that we all had. The paralyzing fear of not knowing what, o who, to be afraid of. I could say a lot, but then I would be rambling (and I already am) I haven't even started on the Kevins, Oz, Or the Mayor Claude...
Through all of this fear this production reminds us that there is hope. There is kindness. There are still safe places where we can be welcomed. Seeing this show once and still having these feelings just goes to prove it's impact.

Irene Sankoff and David Hein have given us a gift. The opportunity to see this week in the life. My eyes of truly been re-opened to the importance of sharing our stories. When I lost my grandfather 2 years ago I felt as if part of my own history was lost forever. What didn't I ask him, what didn't I know, how can I learn more about his past and more importantly our family's past?

Someone that has shared his story is Kevin Teureff (the Real Kevin T). Kevin has published a book called "Channel of Peace" which I highly recommend reading.