Welcome to 2019: Looking Back and Moving Forward

It’s my first MidLifeLit post of the new year, and it’s a bit late because holidays.

In reviewing 2018, I realized I’d seen a whopping 18 live plays and musicals: Hamilton (San Diego Civic), Shrek (Patrick Henry High School), Bring It On (Horton Grand), Charles III (Coronado Playhouse), American Mariachi (The Old Globe), Amadeus (The Ent Centre in Colorado Springs), Madeline, The Musical (my kids’ original collaboration, PHHS), Les Miserables (SDC), The King and I (SDC), The Tempest (TOG), Much Ado About Nothing (TOG), Phantom of the Opera (SDC), Fun Home (Lyceum), Macbeth (CPH), Julius Caesar (TOG MFA), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe for All), Waitress (SDC), and A Christmas Carol (Glendale Centre Theatre).

Part of the reason for this incredible good fortune, was the previous year, as a family Christmas present, we’d bought season tickets to the San Diego Civic Theatre so we could all see Hamilton when it came to town. Les Mis and Phantom were add-ons to the Civic season. I saw Bring It On because my son was working spotlight for the production, and Amadeus was a stroke of luck during my son’s college registration weekend at UCCS. Waitress was a group buy with my wife’s co-workers.

One show from the Civic season that might’ve been on my list but isn’t is On Your Feet, which my wife saw with a friend. And we missed Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera. We had tickets as part of our season package, but a family emergency intervened and we never went.

Looking ahead to 2019, I doubt we’ll make it to 18 plays. With a kid in college and me still figuring out my personal Act 2, season tickets would be an indulgence too far. But, we’ll still see single shows as opportunity and budget allow, and there are at least two free Shakespeare productions coming, one by Globe For All and the other by Coronado Playhouse.

The big development for me for the new year is I’m enrolled in a college class for credit: Study of Filmed Plays at San Diego City College, starting online this Spring. It’s just a 100-level class so it won’t count toward a graduate program, but the subject is interesting and potentially useful. Moreover, it’s a first step testing whether I can still cut it in an actual college class. Unlike FutureLearn and EdX, we have real skin in the game because it cost about $160 after course fees, registration fees, and student fees, not counting books.

If it works out, I’ll start seriously looking at grad programs and funding, because we certainly can’t afford three of the family in college. I submitted a FAFSA for myself last year for Spring, but that was more of a trial run than an actual effort.

I’m really looking forward to the course though. Two of the plays will be Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie. I’ve never seen either live, but have fairly recently streamed Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and am eager to see it again with guidance.

Other filmed plays I’m looking forward to, are King Lear (with Anthony Hopkins) and An Inspector Calls (with David Thewlis), now on Amazon Prime, and That Day We Sang (with Imelda Staunton), now on BritBox. And, I’m still working my way through a box set of Shakespeare’s Age of Kings, the 15-part 1960 BBC-TV adaptation of the history plays from Richard II through Richard III.

I’m also thinking about setting up a YouTube channel where I can explore further the topic of mid-life reinvention and the rediscovery of literature. I don’t think there’s a huge audience for such a channel, but I would subscribe if it existed, which it doesn’t, so I may have to get out there and create it myself, another interesting challenge.

So, there’ll be lots going on in 2019 – stay tuned!

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