This afternoon, we went with keshwyn and company out to see Corteo, the new show from Cirque de Soleil. It was the best of the Cirque shows I've seen to date, built around the theme of death but walking the thin line between that and dreams. It excelled in all the ways I expect from a good Cirque show, smoothly blending acrobatics, opera, comedy and the just plain strange. A number of acts were particularly striking, including the trampoline beds, the Trapeze Act without a Trapeze, and the Participatory Midget Flinging.
But really, the "story" of this show really got me. It's explicitly about death, but not even slightly mournful. It's strange and surreal, dreamlike and touching. It takes the notion of death as a passage quite literally -- the stage runs from one end of the circular tent to the other, with people constantly moving through it. The result is joyous, and more than a little childlike. I found it delightful, and much more sincere than the often thin plots of most Cirque shows.
From there, we proceeded to the party celebrating Patri. This was a curious affair, and I wasn't wholly sure that it was going to work as desired. Patri was diagnosed with cancer not long ago, and is making the best of what time he has left; this party was to honor and celebrate his life, getting folks together to tell stories and enjoy the day.
In fact, it went better than I had expected. We got there quite late (probably the last people to show up, a bit before 8pm), but the party was still going strong. Patri was holding court in the Buttery's living room, quite hale and hearty, telling stories and having people tell stories about him. The tone was anything but somber -- everyone was having real fun swapping tales of days gone by. We were slightly disconcerted to find that we were among the younger people there (I believe that Myndroh was the only person in the living room with us who had started in the SCA less than ten years ago); however, the flip side of that was that we got to see a lot of folks who we haven't encountered in years. Of particular note was getting to meet Doug White's family: it sounds like we may get them to come out to Falling Leaves.
All in all, it was a slightly melancholy day, but by no means a sad one. While mortality may have been the story, it was told in terms of life, and that's a tale worth telling...