Just home from watching "This Wonderful Life". In watching you, Dan, I could always see two faces, hear two voices: the character you were portraying at the time, and your own. Sometimes the former was stronger, clearer; sometimes the latter. I know you could have made the characters (pre)dominate. But the interplay between the characters in the story and the story-teller himself was fascinating to watch; it drew me in and engaged me so that I was able to see my own face as well. I was able to identify with George more and better than when watching the movie. A fabulous, riveting, endearing, moving performance; it added depth and substance to a story which is pretty darn great in itself. Well done.
The movie ends and so does the play; but not George Bailey's wonderful life. The money in the basket is used up. Another baby is born (a colicky one at that). Mr. Potter doesn't die for some time. The kids grow up and get into trouble of one kind or another. Mary gets sick, seriously ill. Does that mean that George's life was only wonderful on that one memorable Christmas?
No, as Dan reminds us in the play: it's not about Christmas; it's about all the other days. And all those other days (past and future) make up George's wonderful life. Of course, he doesn't it think it's wonderful all the time. He may have learned an important lesson under Clarence's lovely tutelage. But there will be days when that lesson will have faded, will be forgotten.
Our lives are wonderful not when and because we think they are wonderful. They are wonderful. Period. And it's not because we are stupid or fallen that we don't usually acknowledge that fundamental, mysterious truth. It's simply because we are human and limited. The weather changes; the sun doesn't always shine; time cycles through the seasons. To everything there is a season - including the recognition and the celebration that life is wonderful and beautiful.
Rudi Krause is a Pacific Theatre subscriber and a poet. I've read a couple of his pieces at Christmas Presence, unforeseen and one way