MS unpredictability still amazes me after all these years. A week ago Patti napped for 4 out of 6 hours of a visit. Yesterday she could have been the Energizer Rabbit going for over 8 hours and never considering a nap.
Anchoring the day we attended a matinee performance of “West Side Story” at our daughter’s high school. Performing arts are challenging for Patti to see unlike the mega screens of the film arts. However Megan’s high school productions are more off-Broadway in spirit. Action is designed to spill into the seating creating an opportuity for Patti.
The able bodied avoid wing seats because they are not center view. The angle of view doesn’t matter at all to Patti proximity is the only issue. When action does spill into the audience it will come off stage right and left; therefore wing seating will be nearly interactive.
Outside of the unforgettable Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim music, Patti’s MS symptom of visual impairment restricts her to the blur of colored lighting when the production was on stage only. Fortunately, most of the big numbers involved action both on and off stage. It was fun to watch her stare, slowly process what was happening, and erupt in mega smiles as Sharks and Jets rolled around the floor fighting at her feet and beside her chair, even tucking her feet under to avoid taking sides <grin>. I had transferred Patti into the stage right, front row, aisle seat and as the stage right aisle was an alternate exit and entrance she had cast around her her for much of the play, ending with Officer Krupke looming directly over her for closing curtain bows.
Accessibility is more than the little blue and white logo. “Living with MS” we have learned to know what probably will work and try to create the best of possible situations. Broadway is not going to work for Patti. Amateur productions are more ‘user friendly’.
Theatre is about catharsis. We all need it. Was it a catalyst in her extraordinarily successful day? Who knows? All that is known is that the hours, days, and weeks of hard work and effort by the cast and crew of this one production of "West Side Story" enabled one person to escape Multiple Sclerosis for a few hours one Sunday afternoon. That is priceless.