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Curtain Call Envy

Curtain Call Envy

I was wondering about curtain-call envy. Went with my folks and brother to see “Anything Goes” on Drury Lane last night.

Usually a bit bored at those tap-dancing jamborees. Though the sight of a stage full of people dancing in sync is one of those things – like a rug of pigeons taking off against an evening sky – that always reduces me to tears. And – in fact – I was completely sucked up into the performance from the first cheesy bar.

I think it has something to do with my TV-less state. The less frequently I watch the box or see a movie, the more potent it becomes for me. It reminds me of that wonderful article by Ajahn Amaro, The Happy Monk where he’s asked about missing music:

“I used to be a big music fan and listened to it all the time. Now that I don’t deliberately listen to it, I find that when I do happen to hear music, it’s as if I’m hearing it for the first time. Music used to be such a constant presence in my life that it had lost its power. If I hear it now, it has an astonishing quality of freshness. I am with every note, every phrase.”

Anyway… back to curtain call envy. There was a time in my life when any live show I went to I had this crushing urge to be up there on stage with the performers taking the call. It sometimes swamped my enjoyment of the show. Now I can handle it a little better. Buddhism has a highly prized quality called mudita which is usually translated as sympathetic joy. Basically, it’s allowing one to enjoy the joy of others. So it ceases to generate a sense of loss – a “why can’t I be doing that/having that” – and creates as sense of pleasure: “how wonderful that there is that in the world”.

Still, I would have loved to be up there in that red sequined number with the ostrich feathers beaming up at a full Drury Lane audience.

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