When The Leading Player’s shadow filled the curtain that separated the audience from the magic that we were about to witness, my only thought was “this is going to be good”. It’s such an insignificant thing, and yet it can say so much about where the show will take you.
The curtains were snatched away and the overwhelming sight of contortion and color was revealed like a jump in a brisk pool. You are given about sixty seconds to imagine what may lie behind the velour barriers. I was awestruck by the beauteous choreography and vibrant hues and patterns that brimmed the stage. My eyes veered from acrobats winding around poles to spinning, flying hula hoops and bodies. It’s the kind of sight that brings you back to your ever curious adolescence.
Sasha Allen’s voice has such a friendly, warm tone to it. She has such an overpowering control when she opens her mouth. When she talked, you knew just who had the power in the conversation. She was chosen to lead the show, instead she lead the whole building.
The magic and illusions had me so intrigued, I forgot that I was tired. I didn’t care how late it was because I was so lost in my thoughts trying to figure out how on earth so many miraculous events could be happening right in front of me. From torso-less legs to floating, disappearing bodies, I was completely mesmerized. I felt like a child in a toy store watching everything unfold before me.
If there is one thing in theatre that I extol, it is a story with a strong spirited message. Like Pippin, the audience gets caught up in the literal images we see and we forget the metaphorical and allegorical significance of the characters and events in the show. As we journey with Pippin, we learn about finding ourselves, never giving up, and every other cliche themes, but something makes Pippin different. He doesn’t just settle down and say “I guess this is where I belong, the end”. He struggles with finding himself which tells the viewers that it’s okay to not know where you’re going next, and it’s okay to feel lost. He juggles with the thought that maybe he will have done something great if he leaves the earth in a fantastic manner. Pippin isn’t saying suicide is okay, Pippin is saying it is normal to feel like that is the end, but assures the audience that it’s not. Extravagancy does not mean fulfillment, happiness and belonging is.
Pippin’s impulsive ways advised us that nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and all we can do is learn and grow from them. This show represented so many things that we see in our lives every day. Choices were faced with, regrets we have to live with, and goals we strive for are all seen in Pippin. He is a representation of the imperfect patchy humans we are, and that is why this musical is so moving. We cheer on the underdog because we see ourselves in them, and all we want is for them to finish the race.
In the final act the viewers are reminded that the whole occurrence was in fact, a circus act. We become so absorbed with Pippin and his excursion to find what part of the puzzle he fits in, that we forget that it was all an act. To make an audience forget that it’s all an illusion, is something that should be sanctioned as magic. Once you’ve enraptured an audience to the point of forgetfulness, your job has been well done.
Pippin reminded me of the importance to take that extra step and to never settle for less than the world because we deserve it.