H4L Day 28: The “Spirit” of Theater (celebrating new work in historic spaces)

This past weekend, my husband and I had the intense joy of watching our son perform in a new, immersive show called FREAKS DON’T CRY (a production of Linked Dance Theatre) on Coney Island.

Billed as a fusion of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” and the history of Coney Island’s sideshow, we watched, white-knuckling our seats, as drinks in the bar changed from clear to deep purple right in front of our eyes, as characters walked (and lay!) on glass, and as knives spun in a tantalizing game of Russian roulette and flew through the air. Dance wove both the story and the colorful characters together.

Freaks Steve on glass

(Photo Credit: Brooklyn Daily)

What’s more, this show is performed on the actual freak sideshow stage, which is now over 100 years old. We couldn’t help but think of all those who had performed before them, their spirits lingering, watching, enjoying the show.

Freaks Don't Cry stage shot

And oh, the inspiration for the young adult novel I’m currently writing. There’s something so special about an old theater! I felt the same way years ago when Steve and I performed as part of the cast of The Christmas Carol in the old Garman Opera House in Bellefonte, PA, which had hosted the brilliant minds and talents of George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Houdini, among so many others. There’s a certain feeling of awe, of respect, of fascination that ripples through me. It’s almost as if you feel an extra surge of responsibility to live up to “their” expectations.

They were proud, Steve. They were proud.

And so are we. Always.

And now, I must write.

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