Friday, 15 February 2008

I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry 15/2/08

“I don’t know why, I don’t know, but I see a dolphin and it makes me cry”, well actually it doesn’t, but for Martyn Joseph in his early nineties hit single it most certainly did. However, whilst I am rarely moved by aquatic mammals I am often moved by the arts of course. I have stood in front of a great painting and felt it with every inch of my being. I have listened to a song that touched my soul. However, I have never been in a flood of tears at the theatre.

My friend Alun who works at The Criterion sobs at the drop of a hat. I remember him telling me that he wept buckets at “Oklahoma”. And that was just at the overture! I witnessed one of these outpourings myself when I went to see “Rent” with him some years back. It was really quite spectacular. I however don’t cry in public. It’s something I am quite incapable of, with the sad exception of funerals! Oh, I almost cry believe me. I can remember several occasions that I have almost cried at the theatre. When the cast sang “Sunday” at the end of “Sunday In The Park With George” it almost happened. The choreography in “Billy Elliot” almost had the same effect. Bizarrely I almost cried at “Fame” too – but that had more to do with me not liking it in truth! I almost wish I could cry to be honest. It’s quite a tense sensation when you feel like crying yet no water comes out. I think the only time it happened was seeing “Finding Neverland” at the pictures when I was shocked to discover one lonely tear trickling down my cheek. I am not really sure if one tear really can really be classified as crying so I do choose to ignore this!

Now put me (alone) in front of a television set at home with a dvd and it’s a different story. With “Steel Magnolias” I am a silly wet mess from the moment Julia Roberts collapses until the funeral, and don’t even mention “Terms Of Endearment”. For pity’s sake I even wept buckets when Kerry Mangel was shot in a bog, while protesting at duck shooting, in “Neighbours”. I really am quite pathetic. We all have our emotional buttons I guess. Well that’s my excuse. There is possibly one thing that moves me to tears more than anything else though. And it’s kind of strange – perhaps even other worldly.

I don’t know why, I don’t know why, but “Doctor Who” it makes me cry. OK so it also makes me laugh, smile and puts me in a pretty good mood but week in week out I cry. For so many reasons. Firstly I suspect it’s because of the emotional connection I feel for this show that was such a big part of my childhood for a few years. So I cried just because it had come back. I cried to see the Daleks and the Cybermen. As for Sarah Jane Smith returning in “School Reunion” I was positively haemorrhaging tears. Most embarrassingly of all when the theme tune came on my mp3 player at the gym (embarrassing in itself) a couple of weeks ago I was nearly weeping on the cross trainer. I guess I could have pretended my eyes were sweating. It’s strange though, I used to like “Charlie’s Angels” and “Noggin The Nog” too but they somehow don’t have the same effect.

Of course it’s also the great strength of the show’s writing that has resulted in me feeling moved so often since its 2005 return. Because of my own life experience parent/child relationships are prone to set me off so the relationship between Rose and her sometimes dead father turned me into a soggy state in minutes. The end of “The Family Of Blood” when the Doctor and Martha visit the old soldier at the war memorial was equally emotional, and as for Rose’s departure let’s not even go there. Seeing people, and indeed planets, in peril also does it for me. The emotion of seeing people clinging onto, and fighting for, their lives is definitely a big trigger for me. Last Christmas’s “Voyage Of The Damned” delivered this in abundance with it’s Poseidonesque disaster movie feel. Thankfully though, the trauma passed as I laughed at the cameo by the Queen and smiled when Astrid was turned into stardust. Let’s face it, given the actress playing the role, was there really any other way for her to go?

I am sure when the series returns around Easter I am to face three further months of weeping on Saturday evenings. I predict tears for the Sontarans as well as the returns of Martha and Rose. The rumoured cameo of Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah is also a foregone conclusion. Who knows what other developments will conjure my woe?

So what else tipped me over the edge in recent months? Well Vera Duckworth died didn’t she? That last episode of “Cranford” had almost a dozen moments that had me all scrunchy eyed and silly. The finale of “Spooks”, with Jo’s death at the hands of Adam. It’s never ending! I should learn not to watch these things really.

It’s only fitting that I end with theatre though, and indeed I did have two “nearly” moments last year. Firstly was actually seeing the happy show that is “Joseph”. God knows what made me want to blub in that instance! I suspect that it was because the show was such a memorable part of my childhood. The other instance was seeing the Sam Mendes production of “Cabaret” in Paris. I would like to think that my almost tears were as a result of the powerful ending of this piece as it illustrated the decimation of the Jews in wartime Berlin. However there is a distinct possibility that it was just because of my dismal understanding of French!

So on that note I will say goodbye for now, and I hope that you have a theatrical experience soon that persuades you to emote in public – discreetly though please! Can anyone pass me a handkerchief?

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