04 September, 2011

Letting it go...

Did you know that Sophie is a derivative of Sophia - derived from σοφία, the Greek word (and philosophical concept) for "Wisdom?" Well. There are no coincidences. Oh Soph, how your wisdom took me, took all of us, in fact, by surprise...

Sophie DePalma has been in my life since November of 2009. Believe it. I just checked through my emails. I first heard and learned "Ah, Non Credea" on a trip back from London when I was still under the impression that I lived there and would be "right back."

Remember that?

And remember when I was late for the audition because I accidentally locked myself in the utility closet? And remember singing "What's The Use of Wonderin'?" followed by the aria, all for Terrence and Stephen and the rest of the Kennedy Center team, and then, in a rush of nerves and nerdiness admitting that you learned the thing from YouTube?

And do you recall walking out of the audition and wanting it so badly but knowing that you had just locked yourself IN A CLOSET and that things were looking a little grim?

And how you met with Kevin Emrick (portentously outside of Manhattan Theatre Club) when you found out that you had, in fact, as if by magic, somehow gotten the job and you celebrated with pickles and matzoh ball soup because suddenly the next few months of your life made some sense?

That was before Washington.
Before the Terrence McNally Triptych.
Before I had really come to grips with "what had happened in London."
Before the first time I fell on my knees with Tyne, Jeremy, and Stephen, rehearsing the aria ... 
Before singing at Terrence and Tom's wedding.
Before staying in Tyne's apartment.
Before committing to making New York City my home.
Before Broadway.
Before I, or perhaps anyone else, even knew that Sophie was going to mean, to be, far more than simply fun.

The day we meet Sophie, she has a great deal to prove--to the Juilliard faculty. To her classmates. To that ex-boyfriend we know nothing (and everything) about. To the girl he walked away with. 
But today, all of that is secondary. Today Sophie has everything to prove to herself
And when I first met Sophie, so did I.

I believe that every one of us, no matter what we do, or how well we seemingly do it; no matter our status, security, the number or depth of relationships-- every single one of us fears that we are Not Enough.

And so, in a series of attempts to be "enough" we add to ourselves--  we wear the wrong thing, talk too much, give too much, are too much, because we don't realize that the only way to be? Is to simply Be.

And there Sophie is-- emotionally poverty-stricken and in the wrong outfit. She is overly solicitous, eager and cute, and full of inappropriate one-liners, all in attempt to beg for a scrap of love. . . Sound familiar?

That said, I also believe this: we all possesses a kind of greatness inside of us. Something-- no matter how miniscule it may seem with our own judgmental gaze upon ourselves, it is there. It may be locked away-- tied up with chains inside a cage of self-doubt, imprisoned in anxieties and crushed by fears. But it is there: waiting, surging with a kind of ancient longing. It is holding on for the day you find the courage to burst through.

The truth is, so few of us ever do. That is okay. That is allowed. But when it happens, it is a trans-formative, deeply miraculous thing. 

The day we meet Sophie? She does it.
It happens.
That miracle.

Callas demands "juice, passion," Self from Sophie. Callas' techniques may be clumsy, violent, harsh, oddly caring and sensitive, definitely unpredictable, and probably accidental, but it doesn't matter. What they find together touches upon the wisdom derived from that ancient longing. Sophie gets it. And both are transformed. Or shall I say, all are transformed? Yes. I think that is accurate, for we all take that journey with them. I know that I shall never be the same myself.

Perhaps that is why I love Sophie DePalma so much-- hers is a tiny story, but one as old as the world. A story of hope.

"They should teach us a lot of things they don't."

Life is ephemeral. So is the theatre. We cannot hold it in our hands. We all love that which vanishes. The play must end. The company shall disband, life will march on.

So here's to you, Sophie, and all others like you.
It has been my honor to tell your story.

Remember the links.
Remember a pencil,
and above all, remember,

"It's all there, Sophie. These composers knew the human heart. All we have to do is listen..."

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

  -  Mary Oliver



  1. A beautiful closing fitting for a beautiful character.

  2. Dear Alexandra:
    What a touching post. I see Sophie in a whole new light now. And here I thought she was just there for comic relief:).
    Master Class means so much to me for a number of reasons. It was the first play I saw on Broadway, on my first trip to New York, and of course Tyne's performance, which I know I shall never forget. A fringe benefit of seeing the play has been discovering you through your blog and twitter. I think you are such an intelligent, funny and beautiful person. I look forward to following your career and wish you luck. I hope our paths will cross again at another stage door in the future.

  3. Dear {awesomeness,hilarious,gorgeous & talented} Al :)

    Where to start? Well I feel so incredibly lucky to have this amazing cast during it's amazing run! Sophie means so much to me because we are so incredibly alike it's ridiculous! As I was sitting there during the first act all I could think of was damn! This sounds oddly familiar. I totally get all you said about wanting to be "enough" & wanting to burst through. I'm still trying to find that courage for myself. Sophie is so beautiful & I want to be just like her!
    I am stilllll completely blown away that I actually met you.Sometimes I'm like,"Waaaaiiiiittt did that really happen?....Oh I guess it did!" I will love you blog forever & always,& your tweets make me laugh. I have my script (which I've read 5 times) that you so wonderfully signed for me on display in my dorm room & I probably say 'MasterClassy' once a day. :)

    You are for reals officially one of my main inspirations now! Hooray, confetti & gold stars for Al!!

    Best of luck in the next act of life & always keep it MasterClassy. (even though I know you will!)

    And for the record I'll always be looking up to you <3 XxXx

  4. brava, my friend. and congratulations on the completion of your first broadway run - how special! can't wait to see what's next in store... you amaze me!

  5. lovely, darling.xxx

  6. Wish I'd been able to see this version. I know you were marvelous.

  7. Congratulations on a great run. You are beautiful inside and out and "Master Class" was all the better to have you in it. xo



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