Monday, October 10, 2011

Plaza Suite

In high school I was cast as the secretary in Plaza Suite. I wasn't much of an actress. Our drama adviser told me to be more alluring. Not quite understanding what she meant, I became even more unsure of myself. Perhaps I never read the whole play, nor learned my lines. Even during rehearsals, when the audience was cast and crew, stage fright stole my words.

After opening night, a friend of my mother's loaned me a red blazer. I'm not sure that helped.

Today as I read the synopsis, apparently my character doesn't warrant a name...

In [the first act], a relentlessly chirpy wife indulges in a scatter- brained fit of sentimental nostalgia. She revisits the scene of her honeymoon—but was it 23, or 24 years ago? —with secret hopes of reigniting the ardors of early love. Her husband is a taut rather than tired businessman who has kept his eye on his weight and his secretary. The wife has suspected as much: "You were working three nights a week—we weren't getting any richer." She seems put out that her husband had no more enterprise than to pick his secretary as bedmate. Along with the jesting banter and bitchiness of the much married comes a feeling of poignancy for two people who find that love, like the sand in a thousand breakfast egg timers, has run out.

... and I am intrigued.

Not by the lack of a name for the character, but by the relative innocence from which I approached her, a single layer in a theme of innocence in my life today. In the third week of May, a man I greatly respect spoke into the messy story of my earthly life the idea of innocence.

" as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

... and I am intrigued.

At first it seemed far-fetched that a woman with nearly five decades of life behind her could maintain innocence. Yet, I look back and see a pattern, places in life where for whatever reason when evil visited, I held on to innocence.

Exposure to pornography while babysitting, a high school teacher sharing inappropriate jokes, the scuffles with promiscuity in the summer of my 23rd year... all held vast potential for harm. In journaling this fall, I discover 34 separate conversations and events, moments where innocence was assaulted. A dozen are accounts shared with me by others, detailed stories of evil told to me by random strangers and close friends.

In the verse given me by the man I greatly respect, there are two gifts. I am innocent. I am shrewd.

God is using both these gift in me ...

... and I am intrigued.


Plaza Suite by Neil Simon 1968
A Heart Not Big Enough 2011

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