Sunday, January 16, 2011

Suspension of Disbelief

"Billy Elliot" (see previous blog post) did not disappoint. A show as good as this encourages the audience to practice something, write, compose, choreograph or whatever else one might wish to pursue or perfect. It also brings to life the "suspension of disbelief." For three hours, we're asked to believe -- that in a town where everyone sings and dances, its striking coal miners have no other talents for making money if the mine closes, and two of them think their son and brother should not waste time on ballet. I'm mostly kidding; no, we're asked to believe, for a few hours, in the fiction presented by actors for our enjoyment. We know we've entered suspension when a man sitting behind us sobs into his handkerchief and our own cheeks are damp.

Then the curtain falls, the house lights turn on, and we're reluctant to return to disbelief. Our toes try to point uncomfortably. Our mouths attempt to form British accents. Teachers from long ago float in the peripheries of minds. For moments, we regret canceling lessons and maybe we think about writing a check to a local arts organization.

By the next day, life has almost returned to normal.

"Pure silliness," says Virginia.

No, it wasn't silly at all. Maybe a thousand people joined to applaud a cast of talent, to invest an afternoon in something other than routine.

"I mean," says Virginia. "It's silly to leave it all behind. Dream a little, will you?"


  1. Like I said to you, makes you wish you could dance, no?
    I wish I could have said that in the same dialect the coal miners used.
    I'm still singing in my head, "Solidarity forever".

  2. mary pannabecker steinerJanuary 19, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I came across our copy of the movie last, not DVD. Got a VCR? Want to borrow?