Working Title: The Space Between Middletown and Transcendence

This week Will Leschber talks Custom Made Theater’s Middletown and all the things in between…

How often do we find ourselves in the middle? In between two points in our lives; in between birthdays; in between doing what we want to do and what we have to do to pay the bills; in between this step and the next; the first step and the last. It seems you could say that about every boring mundane transitional moment of our lives. Our life is the middle. Our days are the Oreo filling of our lives.

oreo-art-Edvard-Munch-The-Scream

Will Eno’s award winning play Middletown, which recently opened at Custom Made Theater, concerns itself with the stuff in between: the unremarkable; the quiet moments of insignificance that add up to a lifetime; life as it’s unexpectedly cut short; life as it opens anew; life as seen from the distant view of the stars. In all the stories, in all the towns, in all of time, is anyone different or special? Or are we all special just like everyone else?

Middletown

I wanted to discuss the odd headspace that Middletown exists in with someone who was a bit more familiar with the show. At times the play feels like it moves in the ether between manifest divinity, exuberant mundanity, boring miraculousness and everyday normality. What film or other entertainment entity could possibly get me in this same headspace?!

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett Collection / Rex Features ( 716635a ) 'Wings of Desire', (aka 'Der Himmel Uber Berlin'), Bruno Ganz 'Wings of Desire' film - 1987


Everett Collection / Rex Features ( 716635a )
Bruno Ganz in Wings of Desire (Der Himmel Uber Berlin), 1987

I had the pleasure of speaking to Bay Area actress, Jean Forsman, after seeing her perfectly cast performance as the town librarian in Custom Made Theatre’s current production of Middletown. Librarians are the gatekeepers to the bound ages of knowledge. So I figured, I’d pick her brain about the perfect film pairing to prepare you for the mindset of Middletown living. Here’s what she had to say:

“In consideration of your question, I keep coming back to Wim Winders’ Wings of Desire. The angels moving throughout the earth, detached from earth, are able to observe us with clarity and compassion and delight in our humanity (watching someone lower her umbrella to feel the rain on her face). Like the astronaut in Middletown, the Angel appreciates the miracle of existence once he is detached from our atmosphere and chooses to live with us, warts and all.”

A classic of World cinema, the 1987 film makes a perfect match for Middletown.

A classic of World cinema, the 1987 film makes a perfect match for Middletown.

Living just on the outside, in the middle between one significant place and another, our slanted perspective may just turn the light of mundane life bright enough so we can peek at the wonder floating around us all the time. The point is not to arrive at a place where you only see the awe-inspiring miracles that pervade our lives. Maybe the point is to take a moment every once in awhile to reflect on the touches of transcendence, and when that moment is felt fully and passed, to then continue moving forward down the great current with everyone else. We are the river and you can never step in the same point of a river twice.

Wings of desire life pic

See Middletown. Spend some time with yourself and everyone else. It runs until it ends…April 23, unless it extends…life has a way of extending.

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2 comments on “Working Title: The Space Between Middletown and Transcendence

  1. C. C. C. says:

    I’m always thrilled to read another great article from Will L. – a great break from my work day! Good imagery, and strong creative abilities. A real up and comer!

    • wleschber says:

      Awww thanks C.C.C! I’m happy to hear my rampant thoughts and rough recommendations can provide a needed break from your work. Don’t work too hard! Cheers!

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