Sunday, December 13, 2009
Porter has been on stage performing a number of small parts in the upper school musical. As a sixth-grader, he's gone from big kid in the lower school to young kid in the upper school, and he looked young amid the seventh, eight and ninth-graders. He likes it, I think, and looks comfortable on stage - though in this one he had no individual speaking or singing part. In some ways, it seems that Nico is more the natural actor, because he is so inextricably in tune with narrative and with audience and with effects upon that audience. For Porter I think the play is more simple and contained -- lines and movements to be mastered and practiced. He does it well, but I suspect that for him the audience is an afterthought. For Nico it never is and maybe he'll stay too self-conscious to put himself into the spotlight. Each of them will grow into performance in their own ways, I suppose.
I dropped him off at the school to do whatever preparations they do and went into Stonington Borough to kill the time. I had no money in my pocket for a bowl of soup, so I went for walk. The borough is on a spit of land reachable only by an ugly modern bridge that passes over the railroad tracks. On a normal night, it is a charming town with well-preserved, beautiful colonial buildings, both grand and modern, and a main street of shops, boutiques and restaurants. Tonight though, a brutally cold wind was whining in off the Sound and the streets were mostly deserted and dark. It seemed like I was walking in an older, starker, more enduring Stonington -- along these buildings that had withstood centuries of winds like this and ones even colder and wilder. Not that there was anything false or inauthentic about the New England Charm that could draw in the tourists -- this was just the latest source of livelihood and prosperity that sustains people on this headrock on the sea. But the boutiques and the fresh paint were a thin veneer upon something that would outlast, and this night, with that pitiless wind, the town felt to me like a huge and able creature that had laid down for the moment its efforts to charm, and was gamely and contentedly surviving.