Wednesday morning I hopped online and saw that All Classical was having a contest. The winner would receive a pair of tickets to see the Portland Revels' Christmas show, "The King and the Fool." I had no idea who this group was, but when I saw the words "medieval," "music" and "merry," I decided to go for it.
Jamie and I had planned to go together, but he was still getting over the flu. So I zeroed in on Bethie. After a very brief gym class, we hauled ourselves downtown. (This, by the way, is no small matter. I do not enjoy navigating the streets of Portland, especially at night. And it proved to be rather unfortunate that I didn't pay attention to whether the streets said SW or NW. Apparently there's a difference.)
Thankfully a nice couple whipped out their iPhones and looked up the address for us. We scurried ourselves back across the 405 and found the right spot. By this time we were running late and parking was limited. We finally found a spot in a nearby garage (also not my favorite thing to do), and prayed and ran to the theater. We looked ridiculous.
Upon reaching the theater, the jovial, holly-haloed ushers informed us that we weren't really that late. They led us to our seats and we finally collapsed with relief. The show had already started, but it didn't take long for us to be whisked into the delights of a king's palace in Medieval England. The costumes were delightful, the songs and instruments authentic and the "fool," absolutely hilarious. (Think Danny Kaye.)
I love taking Bethie to the theater. She sits on the edge of her seat, mouth parted just slightly as if she's literally taking in the whole scene. Our eyes sparkled and our feet tapped as the musicians, singers and dancers entertained in the king's court.
I was especially delighted when the audience was invited to join in song. I had tears in my eyes as we joined together:
"Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.
But it got even better. Suddenly, the players spilled from the stage and began to dance throughout the theater, inviting their guests to join in. I looked at Bethie and wiggled my eyebrows. She hesitated. And I spoke truth to this girl (and her mother): "You'll be glad that you did." We jumped up, grabbed hands with the nearest merry-makers and danced.
Part two held more thrills and delights. We especially enjoyed singing "Dona Nobis Pacem" (Give us Peace) in a round with our fellow theater-goers. It was familiar from a Latin CD we used a few years ago, so we enjoyed the sense of ownership and awe that it inspired.
I could have sat there all night with my girl. But after more chants and carols, dances and anthems, St. George finally battled the dragon, symbolizing the death of the old year that the new may spring to life.
We parted, of course, in song,
God bless the Master of this house
With happiness beside;
Where e'er his body rides or walks,
His God must be his guide.
Although there was plenty of the traditional medieval superstition and "danse macabre" throughout the show, I was heartened by the number of references to the Lord in song. He was not removed for the purpose of putting on a "Winter Wonderland" show. No, He was there. And He was with Bethie and me, no doubt smiling as we pranced and flitted about the aisles. After all, He is the Lord of the Dance. Huzzah!