The other day I took mom, Paul, and Rose into the city for an evening out. We started off at the office - they wanted a tour and they received the full hour-long version. Easy to do when the office is closed and there are no distractions.
We had a good dinner at il Fornello (although I wasn't able to eat most of mine thanks to the lasting effects of this damn flu).
Then we saw the musical Come From Away - an improbable musical about the days after 9-11. Imagine - a musical about 9-11. The very thought is almost a repugnant insult.
Except this story is not really a tale of mayhem and death rather it latches onto the better sides of the human psyche . . . hope, helpfulness, and looking out for one another.
The show tells the tale of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed almost 7,000 grounded travelers and the crews from 38 planes which were redirected to the town airport in the hours after the 9-11 terrorist attacks after the US closed its airspace. I had read rave reviews of the show as it was developed over the past few years - first as a part of the Sheridan College theatre incubation project and then as it was refined in studio in La Jolla, Seattle, and Washington DC. The Toronto show is the last stop before the play opens on Broadway.
The underlying theme to the play is the extraordinary efforts ordinary people can take when they see a need and the lasting impacts of these efforts. In the scary and uncertain times following 9-11 the citizens of Gander and the surrounding towns welcomed the stranded passengers from those 38 grounded planes and transformed them. The true Canadian spirit - optimistic helpers who get things done against seemingly insurmountable odds - was the central theme to this play. It is a role we find joy in and play on the world stage.
Lately this is something I have reflected upon a fair bit.
Service to others.
It is a significant part of my familial DNA. Always in the background, quiet . . . but ever present. We do not run for office - that would be too much, but we do join in if necessary or even work independently to try and get things done. This service can present itself in odd ways at times. It has been the source of laughter, stress, and considerable comfort over the years.
I find as I grow older (something I plan on writing about in the future as I have been reflecting a lot on age for some weird reason) it is people being kind to one another in unplanned and unexpected ways that elicits a strong emotional response in me. When I read a new story about a stranger helping out a stranded family when they were in desperate need I can be moved to tears.
This is one of the key trickles of glue which holds us together as a global tribe. It is one of the things we will need to nurture, celebrate, and encourage over the coming years as the world seems to be moving down a dark and mean path.
Now back to that play . . .
The show was fabulous. One of the best theatre productions I have ever seen . . . and I have seen many. I would say 'go and see it' but the reality is it closes in a week and if you did not buy tickets back in October you are SOL.
If you're able I'd suggest go to Broadway and see it.
Now that brings up an interesting thought - how will a play which is as sweet as Canadian Grade A Maple Syrup play in New York? It has been suggested that Broadway might be a bit to cynical for this tale of infinite goodness. Then again, given the mood growing in the US right now it could be just the thing to remind New Yorkers of their shining moments of togetherness where their collective good made a difference when faced with great evil.