Last Thursday evening at 6 p.m., I sat for a while in the lobby of our beautiful Center for the Arts listening to the enchanting musical talents of Jessica Peterson, playing a handmade Native American flute, and Ross Barrable, the artist who created wind harps, playing a harp. I was surrounded by works from talented artist Karina Silver, Andrea Lyle, Tyler Carpenter, Judy Robbins and Paula Jo Miller, as well as whimsical talent Andrei Engleman from Kyrgyzstan and charming clay figures by local Tanya Quinn.
I sat there for about 10 minutes soaking it in with other listeners until a thought occurred to me: “Where is everyone?” This is free. This hour of music and art is free. Four days a week we have musical talents ranging from Joe Gilbert to Johnny K and Natalie, to Paul Roberts to John Graves, from accordions to singers and piano accompaniment, from banjos to guitars to contemporary composers. And we have a bar. It occurred to me that this is a truly lovely place to meet a friend for a drink or a cup of coffee, even if you are not about to see that day’s live theatre production. Please come join us, we would love to have you enjoy our space with these talented artists. The live performers are ever changing and always a surprise. Music always plays for one hour before each of the Thingamajig Theatre Company’s productions. For the month of August the live music hours are from 6-7 p.m.on Thursdays and Fridays and from 1-2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, or sometimes sporadically throughout the day. And yes, we do have air conditioning.
Last Thursday evening at 7 p.m. I sat in the tech booth running lights and sound for the Thingamajig Theatre Company’s family friendly musical “A Year with Frog and Toad. “ From my spot in the tech booth, I spend most of the show watching the audience watching the show, partly due to the position of the tech booth behind a big black curtain and partly due to the warm fuzzy feelings that you get from watching children sit completely still with eyes widened in amazement or adults in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s laugh with joy when two grown men pretending to be a frog and toad crash their sled, fly a kite and devour cookies at an alarming rate. We have had, up to this point, seven showings of “A Year with Frog and Toad” and after each of those seven showings on every occasion I have had at least two separate parties come up to me and exclaim. “You have got to get more people to see this! Children would love this! Adults would love this!” We have received e-mails and phone calls from patrons telling us that seeing “Frog and Toad” was the highlight of their visit to Pagosa Springs and the best part of their entire summer and that they can’t believe that they have seen every show that the Thingamajig Theatre Company has put on and they just keep getting better. Better than “Sylvia”? Come see for yourself, if you agree!
Last Saturday, we had a particularly small house (that means a small number of audience members) and the volunteer that evening looked at me and said, “Don’t be discouraged, people will come.” I must have had a sad look on my face at the time, but I had to explain it. “I am not discouraged for our business. I just feel sad for the people who might miss this wonderful moment.”
It is one of my favorite things about theatre actually. It is not a piece of art that you can fall in love with and take home to hang on your wall. It isn’t a movie that if you miss while it is in the theatre’s you can rent at a later date. Theatre is live and happening and when it is over - it is really over. It is like a beautiful sunset. Or a shooting star or a whale jumping out of the ocean or a child being born or a mesmerizing thunder and lightning storm or a captivating lunar eclipse. They are all beautiful moments in life and when you miss them, you have missed them. You might see another sunset or a different child being born. But your chance for that singular moment has past. Good live theatre is like that, breathtakingly beautiful, fulfilling and fleeting. The script will remain the same but never will it be played by this combination of actors each with their own interpretation, in those gorgeous costumes on the set that was graced with many artists paint brushes in the cozy atmosphere of the Breaks Black Box. Maybe that is why I am so happy, so enthralled with life, because I continually surround myself with the music in the gallery and capture in my soul these beautiful fleeting moments on stage. Except of course when I think of those poor souls out there who are missing it all. As my beloved Auntie Mame said, “Live! Live! Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
“A Year with Frog and Toad” is a heartwarming musical for all ages now playing at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are highly recommended. To make a reservation call 731-7469 (SHOW) or visit our website www.pagosacenter.org. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Feel free to use the Promo Code TOAD to get $5 off per ticket or get a group of 10 or more together to get adult tickets for only $18 and kid tickets for $8. Get your Girl Scouts, 4-H, fellow homeschoolers, church members or neighbors together for a show to get the great deals on group rates. Get your last dose of summer fun in before school starts up again.