This past Saturday, my family and I went to see Walking the Tightrope, by Mike Kenny at the 24th Street Theatre.
Walking the Tightrope is a highly theatrical, stylized production that utilizes poetic language, circus arts, live music and multimedia to explore themes of grief and loss.
When I read that it would be something my family would enjoy I was eager to attend the event. From the moment we entered the parking lot until we entered the door and were seated, we were greeted by someone with a kind word or much enthusiasm about the play. That just built up more excitement for us. I must admit, my excitement almost dissipated once I realized how straightforward the story line was. I say this because, I grew up in a time when certain things were not discussed with children or adults did not know how to approach a situation, so it was never discussed, especially grief and loss. Does anyone remember when some schools, pulled the Bambi story? This is what I recall, so I sat in my seat and peering over at my seven year old thinking, “How is going to receive this?”
It is funny how things turn out. After calming myself and realizing this is just what my family needed, I sat and enjoyed the play. Less than a month ago, my dear friend and my son’s godmother lost her battle to breast cancer. It has been a trying time for my son. I recall how difficult it was to tell him, she was gone. It literally took me a day to tell him. Because I watched him pray for her daily. I had to be very direct with him. I tried thinking of ways to console him. Oh, how I wish I could have taken him to see Walking the Tightrope that day or wish had seen it so we could have a reference. It did not matter that we saw it three weeks later. The next day after seeing the play, he asked many questions.
The story involves a young girl named, Esme, who visits her grandparents every summer at a seaside resort and is left to wonder why, this year, Nanna isn’t there. On a more complex, Tightrope explores the deep grief experienced by her grandfather over the death of his wife and his redemption through the innocence and inherent joy of a young child.
As I watched the play I would look over at my son, he was very focused on the play. My 18 year old, daughter cried through the entire play. She said, “I need to control my emotions.” The Tightrope play touched my two children. The stars of the play were great. Paige Lindsey White played the role of Esme in great fashion. I truly believed she was a child. Tony Duran delivered a great performance as the clown, the life he brought to the play was incredible. His body language said it all. I only had to explain to my son one time, what his role was and he understood. Mark Bramhall as the grandfather was good also, I could feel his loss and having to deal with a grandchild. There were times I felt the emotions of the grandfather and Esme. These actors did a great job!
I am happy my family had the opportunity to see Walking the Tightrope. It is appropriate for kids while maintaining the look and emotional depth of adult theater. My family was able to relate to this play on several levels. On the drive home we discussed our favorite scenes. Oh, do not let me fail to mention it is only 55 minutes long. We really enjoyed Walking the Tightrope.