Saturday, April 16, 2005

Footprints Across the Heart

Latigo Flint has just returned from an incredible evening at the opera. Latigo Flint is the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known, not a reviewer of theater, but the production I saw tonight is most worthy of mention.

The opera, Footprints Across the Heart, tells the powerful and emotional tale of Gary, a lifelong Sasquatch seeker. It was perfection, start to finish, but some of the particular highlights include the high-energy opening number: Daddy Got a Promotion and it's in the Pacific Northwest, which mostly consists of the child actor playing Young Gary stomping around the stage shrilly singing: "Daddy Got a Promotion?!" To which his parents cheerfully answer in tandem: "And it's in the Pacific Northwest!"

This is followed by the sad, quiet duet with Young Gary and Mother titled: Don't Worry, You'll Make New Friends.

Who Goes There? Is a tense solo a bit later on, in which the adolescent Gary first begins to suspect something large and mysterious stalks the woods behind his home. What begins as curiosity for Gary slowly becomes an obsession.

The last song before intermission is the emotionally charged, We're to be Married Tomorrow and You're Going Camping Tonight? In which Gary tries to convince his beautiful bride-to-be that his bachelor party is actually being held in a remote section of the Wenatchee National Park, deep in the Cascades. ("And so then where are all your Groom's Men?" "My love, they'll meet me there.")

Gary's lie hung ominously in the air as we wordlessly shuffled to the restrooms and the snack bar. Every seat was re-filled several minutes before the act two warning lights flickered in the lobby.

Grief, heartbreak and despair spanning four decades awaited us in the second half. One man's life, and all its opportunity was slowly and systematically bashed against the mossy pines and dark fern glens of mid/northern Washington. Every dew-covered dawn brought with it the possibility for ultimate triumph. Every disappointed dusk raised the cost until at last the debt became so large it could only be paid by tomorrow's triumph.

Gary's unapologetic crossing of the point of no return was eloquently expressed in the duet he sung with his daughter titled: I Left my Reading Glasses at the Base of Glacier Peak What Time Today is Your High School Graduation Oh I'll Definitely Make it Back by Then.

The climatic multipart number found the elderly Gary sitting beside a campfire, reflecting on his wasted life. A woman loved him once, she's long remarried now. His children call him 'Gary', when they call at all.

This section was accompanied by inner-thought narration over the theater loudspeakers. A bold choice for opera but I thought it worked very well in this case.

Gary stared at his small blaze. He'd watched literally thousands of campfires die, and now this one gets to return the favor.

With dreadful acceptance, Gary exhaled raggedly and slumped over. Minutes ticked by and an electric expectation began to swell in the audience - something was coming, we could feel it. We weren't disappointed. Our eyes locked onto a slow movement in the shadows, stage right. We gasped when an old Sasquatch stepped out and moved with majestic sorrow to Gary's body. It knelt and gently caressed his face.

Trembling violins lead a slow-building orchestral surge. The Sasquatch sat cross-legged and started to gnaw its own foot off. The woodwind section joined the violins - "something incredible is happening," the oboes murmured. A battery powered pump somewhere in the furry suit leg started spraying red dyed corn syrup all over the first five rows. Grunting with pain and determination the Sasquatch continued to savage its ankle. The brass section joined in with a heart stopping charge. Then finally came a kettle drum roll punctuated by sharp timpani blasts, and with a triumphant scream the Sasquatch ripped through the last tendons and held the dripping foot high above its coned head.

In great pain, Sasquatch inched closer to Gary, placed his large, severed foot in the center of Gary's chest and wrapped Gary's limp arms around it. Every member of the orchestra was gasping for air at this point. Sweat and salvia streamed from their frenetic limbs and/or mouths. The Sasquatch raised its face to the heavens and in a guttural harmony, shrieked:

"Friend, here is your proooooooooooooooof!!!!!!!"

Then Sasquatch stood and solemnly hopped off stage.

The place just erupted. My dizziness yet remains. I won't even try to seek the adjectives to describe the feeling, I'm still much too overwhelmed.

If Footprints Across the Heart comes to an opera hall in your town, you must drop everything and see it, Latigo Flint implores you.

I only hope in my enthusiasm I haven't given too much away.


At 6:15 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

That was brilliant.

Now the questions.

Was it a real Sasquatch?

Did it really bite its foot off? If so, was there a 2nd show?

Was it the one from the 6 million dollar man?

Was your date Kid Relish?

At 9:55 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I don't know if you know this, but that opera is based on a true story. One name was changed to protect the innocent: Sasquatch's real name is Bigfoot.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

If you get any funnier, I'm going to have to get an abdominal transplant from laughing so hard.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

'tis a good thing gun metal doesn't rust - else the tears of one Latigo Flint would have by now rendered his firearms incapable of their intended service during his next slapping-of-the-thigh.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Velvet Marauder said...

That sounds better than Starlight Express by a long shot, mi compadre.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

Am I the only one who sees the parallels here? It seems to me that Gary and his fruitless pursuit of the Sasquatch is eerily similar to Latigo Flint and his pursuit of one cute Starbucks girl. Let's hope the ending isn't the same.

It would be a shame if that cute girl had to maim herself standing over a dead Latigo Flint outside a Starbucks in Belize in 40 years time.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger amandapants said...

I think I missed the point, since I got stuck on the thought of a Sasquatch bent over gnawing his foot while sitting indian-style. Really, can you imagine how limber he would have to be? Even just to sit cross legged. And he speaks english? I had no idea. Where have I been, man? This whole bigfoot thing has just opened up for me. God bless you, LF.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A battery powered pump somewhere in the furry suit leg started spraying red dyed corn syrup all over the first five rows."

I don't think the Opera company actually has a real Sastquatch.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

Damn, and to think I wasted all that money on tickets for the musical, Rent.

By the by, Bigfoot is real.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger scribe called steff said...

If only there was duck-hunting.

With duck-hunting, it would be a masterpiece.

Has anyone here ever seen the Kokanee beer commercials? It's a Canadian beer. All the commercials have the Sasquatch on them.

The commercials are a matter of national pride.

And no one snowboards like the Sasquatch, man.

He da bomb.


At 8:17 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

It sounds beautiful. It reminds me of when I was a theater student in London:

"Be a tree."

"Well, which tree?"

"Any tree. Now morph, damn you."

"I'm a little hungover, what's my motivation. Prof? Sir?"

"The A, Scoop. The A."


And morph I did.

It would've worked with endangered, possibly imaginary forest critters too.

I bet this show was better than "Cats". I bet you see it again and again.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

When it played in Snohomish, WA, they had a real Sasquatch, but he didn't actually chew off his foot.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Ari said...

Seems like poor Gary could have avoided a lot of heartache had he merely known that Tenacious D has already established that Sasquatch is real.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I'm so impressed with you right now. I'd propose but cowboys are lonesome and blue and make the ladies so sad. I know this because Lyle told me.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Ho. No, it was an actor in a suit. (Jeff Goldblum as a matter of fact, but he's trying to be low key about it.) So then finishing up: No, yes, no, maybe.

Most operas are to some degree or another Old Hoss. As you shrewdly noticed, this one more than most.

Thank you Wulfenjarl. I was trying to move and awe, but we take what we can get I suppose.

We don't cry Dave, yeah, not so much with the crying. (Trail dust sometimes gets in our eyes, that's all.)

Thank you Velvet. (And Starlight Express... I should sure hope so, right?)

D.Mor, you are perhaps a little too observant for your own good. And no, I don't think that'd be a shame at all. I think on many levels that would be one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

And you know what else Amandapants? He's also got a big heart.

You get an "A" in reading comprehension Anonymous.

Oh, my old Grubly Cad - I haven't forgotten. I often think back to that night you had out there.

Steff, but wouldn't Roland T. Flakfizer sue somebody if it had duck hunting in it?

They still have trees in London Amandarama? That is a very nice story anyway. I was once a little schoolgirl in Calcutta, but that was a very long time ago, and during my crack rock days.

Yes, Ghost Dog, I've heard they're thick as flies up there in Snohomish. It's all a big joke to the residents that the rest of America still debates their existence.

Down with the D, Ari? Nice. Yes, the opera's author recognizes certain similarities. He actually has witness though who can support his claim that he had his opera's concept some time before he even knew who Jack Black was. (Oddly enough, it was originally going to be a rock opera.)

Ah Cindy-Lou, yes, so you've heard the news then? Well, tell you what, when I die you can cover me over with clay.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I saw a topless production of Footprints in Las Vegas. Not bad after the 2-drink minimum.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Lance Manion said...

I'm still waiting for "And So They Fall Beneath the bluh-GIN-ry: The Musical"

But I'm only going on souvenir titanium pimpstick night.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger kenju said...

You sure made me want to see it! Good writing and I'll be back to read more later.


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