Sunday, September 12, 2010

"The Point of No Return"

The last park I visited this year was Iowa's Arnold's Park. Arnold's has withstood many a setback in its long, illustrious history, from storms to impending bulldozers. But it's valiantly faced them head on, helped in great part by its neighboring fans who demanded their park not be trifled with. So it's only fitting that at the top of the first dip of its roller coaster, "The Legend", you encounter an ominous sign with this foreboding phrase: The Point of No Return". Because that's exactly where you're at, where you're going, and there truly is no turning back now. It boldly declares that it's reached a point of bravura, almost of swagger. It's earned it.

What made me think of this sign at this moment in time? Well, today is the first day of production week for my play "The Drowsy Chaperone". From this point on, we can't turn back, we can only, as my character might say, "bumble our way through life's (or the play's) crazy labyrinth"(Oh, Arnold's has a labyrinth, too - I just remembered). But right now, as I'm strapped in, safety bar pulled down toward my lap, I'm curiously at ease, more so than at any time in my theatrical past. Maybe it's because theatre is part of my life now, but not the only part. These parks have also become a part of my landscape, an important piece of popular culture to champion. My book writing journey has filled out my horizons, so "points of no return" aren't as threatening; they're just another hill to climb to get to a place of discovery and play.

Interestingly, Arnold's Park withstood another storm in July. A few rides were closed down temporarily, but only a few things were lost. One of those things was the ubiquitous sign. Has it been replaced? Not sure -- but bring it on! I'm now more than up to the challenge.

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