The show begins with Thomas (who has become a famous writer) trying to write Alvin's eulogy... as successful a writer as he has become, he is unable to come up with the appropriate words to pay tribute to Alvin's life and the friendship that they shared since the first grade. Alvin later appears and advises him to "Write What He Knows" and the show bursts into a montage of stories that allow the audience to understand their friendship, and both their lives.
The individual stories are beautiful and really draw the audience in to the two characters, most notably are "Mrs. Remington" the story of how the two met each other in the first grade, and "The Butterfly" about how sometimes the littlest actions have such huge impact on others in our lives. The show was heartfelt and touching without appearing maudlin or morbid. It seemed to have just the right amount of humor and sensitivity to deal with issues such as death and losing a loved one.
Chad Borden was incredible as Alvin and gave the character a quirkiness so endearing that the audience was immediately attached to him. As I later told Chad, I never cry during sad moments in shows, I tend mostly to cry during touching moments,... so the moment that I was in tears was during the end of "Mrs. Remington" (lyrics HERE if you're interested) - which was the story of how the two met in 1st grade. To my surprise, Chad mentioned that he had the same reaction when he first read the script, but that as he played the role, he had to look at it differently because, to Alvin, this was a happy time for him... it was when he met his best friend - he wouldn't be sad. The song was probably one of the most touching moments of the show and probably one of the most touching moments I'd seen on stage in a long time and the fact that Chad sang the song with such an innocent joy made the song even more poignant.
Another song that totally brought me to tears was "People Carry On" a song Alvin sings about his Mother and how her robe always kept her close to him... There's a line in the song, "I knew my Mother's robe, but somehow I'd forgotten her..." The day that I saw the show, Chad's lip quivered as he sang that line and I completely lost it... because though it had been a while, I thought about my Dad and how we tend to hold on to objects of theirs to feel close to them (after my Dad passed away, I took the tape of his answering machine message from his office...) but how, even those things sometimes are not enough to keep them from fading in your memories... And as I mentioned in an earlier post, in two years my Dad will have been gone from my life as long as he was in it. As time passes, the sad truth is that more of my memories are of times that don't include him than the memories that do. The song and especially that one line hit an extremely familiar chord with me and that, combined with Chad's incredible performance completely brought me to tears.
The performances, as I'd mentioned earlier were just phenomenal. Chad and Robert are just SO talented and Nick, who was one of the main reasons I went to see the show - is just brilliant. The tiny, intimate theatre space of the Lillian was the perfect venue for the show, any place bigger and the intimacy of the piece would probably get lost. There are really not enough great things I can say about the show, it's an extremely beautiful piece that really deserves to be seen.
With that, I'll end this REALLY long post with a photo that was taken that evening. Aside from their amazing portrayals and their incredible talents, Chad and Robert have to be two of the nicest, sweetest people around and spending some time speaking with them after the show was one of the nicest moments of my weekend.
With the incredibly talented Chad Borden & Robert J Townsend!
If you are anywhere in the LA area, I really urge you to see this show.