Queen Milli of Galt closed last night. And as with most closings, there was a nagging wish in everyone to hold on to the magic just a little longer. Performers left the stage after playing a scene, noting they would never play that scene again. The Stage Manager called the intricate lighting and sound cues for the very last time. Costumes were hung up, props carried off the stage and the set went back to the shop where it was so carefully created. Actors, Stage Managers and friends gathered at our house to ease out the rest of the evening - a bit like a wake where family and friends gather to hold on the story of a life for a little while longer. And like a good Irish wake, the house was filled with conversation and laughter and the thankfulness that comes from having lived out something glorious together.
It seems the moments that matter never last forever.
There are so many moments in Queen Milli of Galt that still hold me captive: Heather Pattengale as Milli in the moment that I dubbed “The Fish Ballet” swimming towards Prince Edward’s astonished face; Karl Sine as Prince Edward saluting a little boy in the classroom; Heather Pattengale as Milli and Alysa Van Haastert as Mona laughing themselves silly as only best friends do; Steve Waldschmidt as Godfrey trying to calm Edward down in most every scene; Emma Cobb as the journalist taking a bold step into Milli’s garden; and of course, Marie Russell as Mrs. Milroy in the moment where she realizes she will be the Queen Mother!
These moments live in memory now, aided by photographs, just like most of real life does. A play performed live is the most complete, elegant and authentic expression of life. It is impulsive, communal, funny, sad and inspiring. And it comes to an end, just like all the most significant moments in a life. And I love the theatre for that, hard as it is to see something beautiful like Queen Milli of Galt come to an end.
And, of course, as in real life, there is always a new story waiting in the wings. The Gifts of the Magi is about to be born in just under two weeks. And it too has the promise of glory!