Feb 13, 2012

The Blue Bear, the Play, the Book, the Man.

I saw a play Saturday night based on the book, The Blue Bear [by Lynn Schooler, (c)2002, Harper Collins] written by Luan Schooler, the author's sister. Lynn Schooler has been a guide based in Juneau, Alaska, for many years; the story is of his friendship with Michio Hoshino, a wildlife photographer.

Wow. Amazing. Well done. Evocative. Emotional.

I teared up about a third of the way in, when the photographer gave the guide the first book.

The way early lines tied with later ones gave a visceral, organic feel; I knew stuff was coming, like the spirit of death, but I thought it was about Michio, until Lynn described waving to Kelly on the dock: when the name “Robert Hansen” was typed across above, I vocalized NO but everyone in the audience was physically disturbed (you could see people bend forward, protecting their guts, it was like a wave) I mean he lived here among us and his friends lied for him so he didn’t get caught right away and he had met up with Kelly at the dock where she waved goodbye to the young man.

If I hadn’t met Lynn just before the play would I have felt it so deeply? I don’t know. When I met him, when he shook my hand, he held it for a long moment. I could tell then that he felt more than he speaks.

The thorough elocution of the actor playing Michio speaking his essays both in Japanese and in English was outstanding, deep and broad. His physical command of the stage elements conveyed how people here live outdoors strong – I mean, there is so much uncertainty in boats and water and wilderness – it is so completely unforgiving here. The cubes could not possibly have been stable to jump on but he was fearless.

The actor playing Lynn did well showing the goofy kid maturing into the man. I think his best scene was driving the boat through the crashing waves.

My daughter speaks Japanese but I knew the expression of Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-Sabi covers the concept of the play, but recognizing it covers the courage and heart of the man who wrote about it.


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