Is this really worth spending your life on? That's what I was asking myself as the show began, the show Bryan took me to see over at the college this weekend. We would have loved to have taken the kids, but doing almost anything with all six of us is prohibitive. It was The Masked Marvel. It was Michael Cooper, a one man show, behind a wide variety of handmade masks. Masks made of brown paper grocery bags and Elmer's glue and a "little" paint. Michael Cooper made it sound so simple. In a hurting, hungry world, filled with Hollywood movies and 24 hour news is there a place for these simple pleasures? Is there a place for a $10 ticket to see one man's art? The very idea that I would ask myself that question is no doubt anathema to some of you. You can see, I'm not an artist nor a serious patron. Remember, I'm so very ordinary. But I reserved my judgment and in the end left delighted.
The first aspect of the show that delighted me is how very, very unexpected it was. As I was washing up lunch dishes before the marvel, Bryan asked if I was excited. "Well, I don't know. I don't know what to expect." Which really means I didn't know if I would like it, I didn't know what a masked man might do up on stage for an hour or two. I am the girl that finds a dish she likes at a restaurant and orders it the next 100 times I go there. It's boring, but I always know what I'm getting. (I don't cook like that though!) Even when the marvel began, you couldn't predict what would come next, a series a vignettes with music, humor and beauty all mixed together. Even movies get boring, plots are so predictable you almost know what's coming next. I've read they've done this to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, added seven swords and a green mist, to give it a plot and move the story on the big screen. Read the book! We've made it required reading for all members of the family before we go see the movie. The beauty of Narnia isn't just in the story lines, or even Lewis' theology, it's the whole package tied with a ribbon of words and finished with a bow. The Masked Marvel was unexpected, new, an expression of the artist himself.
The other genuine delight of the show was the joy. I'll grant that "joy" may not be the best word for it, it's not a lasting joy based on hope and eternity. It's a joy based on a spirit of friendship, kindness, humor and love of simple things. Is it worth giving your life to something that makes someone smile? That makes a dad come home and give himself over to playful silliness and non-sense with a four year old? That makes the whole family goof around in the living room, competing to see who can move their body without moving their head?
The Marvel said, "Buying things is good, but making them is ten thousand times better." There are many good things in the wide world, but there are some that are better. And it's not always what we expect.