I almost cried. I’m not ashamed to say it.
We staged the opening of Act II tonight; and I was a bit nervous. I’d come up with gestural movement for this very stately number, but not the same movement for everyone. Unison movement is much easier to teach (and learn) — folks can easily be distracted or misled when those around them aren’t doing the same thing. To make matters even more difficult, I’d placed the cast in random order. So, not men together and women together, but men and women haphazardly interspersed in an abstract arrangement.
The men sing the opening passage so they have one set of gestures while the silent women do something completely different and a bit more fluid. Then the women sing with a flurry of dramatic new gestures. When the men and women eventually sing together they sometimes do the same gestures and sometimes not. And sometimes in unison, sometimes not.
I wrote recently about my love for synchronized movement — either in unison or in canon. Well, we had a moment tonight which blew me away with it’s sheer and earnest simplicity.
After the initial sequence of non-unison gestures, the chorus executes three gestures in unison. That’s a bit of a suprise and quite lovely. Then they take hands and simply stand there as they sing two phrases. And then, as the music subtly shifts in tone, the four lines, still holding hands, move quietly, softly in opposite directions.
I got chills. I had tingles down my spine. And I almost cried at the unassuming beauty of the moment.