Wednesday, July 4, 2012

IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS

I'm memorizing the lyrics to this song from "Man of La Mancha."

My husband, John Cullum, played Don Quixote, the leading role. He performed the matinees for Richard Kiley, then replaced Kiley in the New York City production in the ANTA Washington Square Theater on West 4th Street in Greenwich village.

At night, instead of counting sheep, I repeat the words.

I love the words and the tune -- singing it in my mind is a way of blotting out worrisome thoughts about what I've worked on during my day.

The posts I'm writing for my blog echo at night. All the things we're hearing over and over -- what's wrong, what we can't do, should do -- about wars, the environment, what's not happening in Congress about voter's rights, taxes, paying off the debt, health care ... on and on goes the list of all the things that are blowing in the wind. I try very hard NOT to think about candidates, polls, election news -- I can't, won't want to write about them.

There's too much talk, too many opinions, blogs, interviews, blanket statements -- like advertising, it's selling a point of view. My point of view is just another point of view.

Nowadays, I write about "me" things -- daily doings, thoughts, happenings in my own personal life that relate to other people, but mostly it's thoughts about hopes and dreams.

Years ago, my husband and I used to walk downtown on Fifth avenue and sit in Washington Square Park and toss dreams at each other like pop corn.

I wanted a theater, a home-base for my Dance Drama Company. I wanted to do something in New York that would make me an important name in dance. John, who was auditioning in those days, hoping for a job on Broadway, thought about specifics -- the roles he wanted to play -- Hamlet, Macbeth, and there were rumblings in his soul about directing. I never heard John Cullum speak about being famous.

I was, at that time, working with other choreographers -- recovering from my ballerina dreams, and from the offer I got that disappeared. It was an offer I got from Lincoln Kirstein and the master himself, George Balanchine -- an offer to appear with the NYC Ballet. It didn't happen.

One day, after devouring more popcorn about theaters, I bought a notebook and started making a list about my home-base theater dream. I started putting down on paper what would be involved: A building, some source of money to help me create the actual theater -- a stage, stage-lights, box office, dressing rooms, seats for an audience.

What I didn't have was the ballets, the actual choreographies or dance-dramas my company would perform there.

We looked at buildings all around our neighborhood and Greenwich Village, and put down names of backers we knew, and names -- lots of things to do and try.

Hey, I did get a building. A well-known producer more or less offered to back me. We got connected to a fund-raiser, met VIP people. Meanwhile, John was ascending. He got a first job, then another and another. Yes, I got a great building, however things didn't turn out the way they'd been shaped and colored in my thoughts.

Even so, from that dream, came other dreams and specifics happened for the Dance Drama Company as well as for my "fame name" -- things that filled my head night and day. It still sits in my memory as WOWS -- wonderful happenings.

But win some, lose some, some rained out.

Do I have big dreams like that now? Well ... yes and no. Do you? It's a precious, sweet, wonderful time of your life. But I've been there, and I know the weather changes.

Anyhow, at night, instead of reviewing things that I've thought about during the day, I've been chanting "Dream the Impossible Dream." It lifts me, buoys me. I don't know the last verse yet by heart. I get to the third verse --
"... To fight for what's right without question of pause.
"... To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause --"

Then, I fumble around with the last verses that I can't seem to memorize. Then I go back to the beginning and start with the first verse again.

I keep reaching, I love the idea ... I love the feeling of reaching for the unreachable star.

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