Draws Well that Pens Well

Tonight, my thespian friend Emily Clare Zempel treated me and my husband to a performance of All's Well that Ends Well from Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater has a policy of no cell phones and no photography, so as my daily schedule centers around communication and images (social media and technology), I furtively dug in my bag for my smallest point-and-shoot, watching the ushers for them to stop watching.  (But yes, that's what they do.) As I was digging, I pulled out my sketchbook and was reminded of another friend's recent note about sermon sketches: "As an artist, a sketch can encapsulate an event in a way that is much more powerful than a photo." Confirmed, I pulled out my pen and dared the attendants to skife my sketchbook. With the first faint lines set on my page and spoken on stage, it was now going to be a glorious evening with the sun's rays gently replaced by spotlights, and the apricot curtain of rose-tinted clouds drawing around the theater.

But the curtain of clouds drew darker until a sheet of rain pelted down onto the audience. In the middle of Act I, the King - still in character - called for a servant to bring him an umbrella as the audience fled the precipitation. We huddled together, making light of it all, hoping for an intermission in the weather to finish the evening's play. But the rain finally tapered off and a fully-soaking house settled in to enjoy the rest of the performance.

Dodging raindrops, I finished a glorious sketch of the scenery, and can recall the detail with clarity.

On the way home, along with the post-performance throng, my husband and I waited for a late-night train. As we sat, a person approached us and asked to look at our subway map. She was cheerful and engaged us in a conversation about the play. As it turns out, she was newly relocated from Switzerland and had worked at the local newspaper in the town, the Thurgauer Zeitung in Frauenfeld, where I had spent a year as an exchange student. We exchanged contact information and enjoyed chatting a while.

Transferring to another train, I brought out my notebook again and filled in some of the details I remembered from the play. As I finished up, there was still more time on the subway before our stop and I decided to test my memory - to see if I could draw her to actually look like her. A pretty decent likeness, but yes, considerably less detail. Nevertheless, we had traded emails and hopefully I'll see her again (to fill in the details)!

1 comment:

  1. Even though it taxes you, the drawing does you good. It also offers something for the rest of us. Drawing from memory is an interesting idea. Perhaps this allows more time for the poetry of a person to sink in. Thanks for the sketches.


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