We were invited to go see the 24th Street Theatre’s production of Walking The Tightrope at a beautiful space in the middle of the city. I mean it, just beautiful. The building they use for their performing arts was once a carriage house for the neighborhood. It was an outdoor structure where the locals would store their horse pulled carriages. I could not stop staring at the ceiling…the exposed wood with the strings of lights made me feel like I was at an outdoor party in the middle of a field in the country, while standing in Downtown LA. It was lovely, and clearly a lot of design and gentle hands have worked very hard to accomplish this.
I almost…almost didn’t go last night. Our school week and Saturday morning was so busy that I just felt like getting in my pajamas and turning in for the night early.
I surprised my daughter with this night and asked my brother and his wife to put the other two to bed for me. My daughter and I were excited! I often try to get alone time with each of my three children…the best I can anyway, and this was to serve as our date night for the month.
The 24th Street Theatre does a wonderful job of producing sophisticated performances neglecting neither the children nor the adults. They do amazing things with the youth program they have and all of the people manning the parking lot and concessions were teenagers who have been through the program at the theatre.
Let me tell you about the show.
In the hour long play, we watch as Esme tries to wrap her head around the fact that Nanna cant be found, while Grandad is clearly struggling with the grief he’s trying to protect her from…or protect himself from, rather.
Mark Bramhall, as Grandad Stan, took my breath away with his genuine portrayal of a man who’s lost his lifelong partner. Grandad did his absolute best to try to keep things the same for Esme, but she knew something was wrong.
My daughter kept looking at me placing her head on my arm as she noticed my tears never stopped.
She turned as whispered to me about halfway through, “Mom? Is the grandma dead?”
I nodded and said softly, “Yes, love.”
Don’t get me wrong, loss is not something that is easily understood or explained. Even now, grief still exists and occasional confusion of emotion still lingers. However, I definitely don’t shy away from answering any of my children’s questions about death, when it happens to the young or the old.
There is one very important character that never speaks, and is never actually fully engaged by the other two characters.
When the lights went up, the children, and there were many, were smiling and happy and the adults…well, many were like me, unable to move out of her seat…wiping her wet eyes with her scarf.
My daughter was ready to get up and go, but I actually asked her to give me a minute.
Walking The Tightrope is a brilliantly written play, perfect, actually. It speaks to everyone of any age. It was just so lovely. You have to see this performance while you can….and take the kids!
I say bravo to the 24th Street Theater for putting this performance on, for placing a subject matter in front of our children that should never be hidden from them and doing it brilliantly, at that. Bravo!
Walking The Tightrope plays through March 30th at The 24th Street Theatre.
1117 West 24th ST. Los Angeles, CA 90007.
The suggested age is 4 and older.
For tickets and showtimes, please visit www.24thstreet.org.