The Naked Truth
September 11, 2015
UpStage, Charlotte. NC
River Nuri opened the show, which is to say she was the first performer. From my point of view the show begins shortly before the audience enters the venue. The building, the stairwell … even getting ready and driving over are part of the whole experience, so I tease them via social media. I post backstage pictures and short stories.
Anyway … River, cradling her viola, took the stage shortly after 10 PM. She chose ‘The Butterfly Slip Jig’ and she owned the audience from the first note. She plays with intensity, concentration and grace. She followed up with ‘Child’s Grove’ and finally ‘The Swallowtail Jig’. There’s a nostalgic feeling (to me, at least) in her art. I was raised with families playing instruments or singing or just tapping their feet and smiling in between the notes. Interspersed with the songs, she recited verses of her poem “I Speak in Two Languages”: a soul-fused narrative of the voices from her head and heart. Simply lovely. She radiates. Even backstage, where she loaned me the use of a hedgehog (shout-out to Rupert!) to ease my anxiety and worry.
Megan sky followed up with a stirring narrative. In spoken word, bordering on poetry, she relived the pain and hurt of one particular story from her teaching years. It was bleak, and cold and dark. She balanced this by relating her feelings for River and a special bond they shared that River was unaware of. To quote:
“I’m sorry I haven’t told you this before, River, but it’s true – every weekend day, with his accusations still ringing in my mind and bruises on my arms, I would walk up the hill and see my friend the fiddler, and every time she saw me, no matter what time, no matter what else was going on, she would smile for me and play me Swallow Tail Jig. God, I love that tune. You have seen me, River, on some of the darkest days of my life. And you have shone the sun on me when I needed it most, with your music and your gentle friendship.
I’ll never lose that tune. It is a memory and a feeling I can recall no matter what, at the drop of a hat, embedded so deep into me that it’s a part of who I am.”
Dark heaviness and silver memories. Love and art and music and .. joy.
These amazing women, these incredible artists opened my show. They seeded joy and anticipation and shone bright lights on their hearts for us.
And the Magician is grateful for people like this in his life.