Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"Once" Again and Again and Again

Last night, as I typically do, I went to the NPR website to survey the day's stories and add them to my playlist.  I switch them around in order of importance, hit play, and try to fall asleep.  The monotone tenor and the interest of the stories usually serve well enough to distract me from the pain and enable me to slip into some slumber.

But last night, I was incredulous to see this story "Once" and Again: A Love Story Gets A Second Life that aired yesterday morning on Morning Edition.  It's actually a third life, but more on that in a second.

When the film was out on DVD, in 2007, a friend I have loved and admired for over twenty years told me I had to see the film, Once.   I did of course and I did like it.  But I didn't quite understand his deep affection for the film.

Edna Walsh, the Dublin playwright adapting the film for the stage said this in the NPR interview:
Her character sort of barely existed on-screen, but for me [she] was all about the light — was all about someone who could change your world and change your life, immediately," Walsh says. "There's this sort of maelstrom of sort of emotion that goes on with her."When he was called for this project, he confesses, Walsh had never seen the movie."I watched it and I thought, 'Oh right, this is It's A Wonderful Life, effectively.' You know, the story of a guy who's sort of given up on stuff, and this sort of angel arrives and casts a light over his life somehow, and the people around him."
Well, now I do understand.  And agree.

It's strange because I've been thinking of my friend a lot lately and things connected to him have been popping up all over.  In a theater, to watch a film last week, while the previews were being shown much to my surprise there was a preview for a film I'd not even heard of (rare for me) - The Swell Season.   It's a documentary about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and that's the second life.   I had read they had broken up; the cynic in me wasn't surprised.  But here, years later, was a non-fiction film about their lives, on tour, in the aftermath of Once's popularity.   I was surprised, heartened and pleased to tears.   I have not yet seen The Swell Season but I plan too.  Maybe later today I will go do that.

Here is the preview:

And then last night the NPR story, which illuminated for me other aspects of the appeal of the story.  I am keen to see the play in NYC.  And so then I google for the New York Times review of the Off Broadway production and to read and find out more, and here is the fourth life for the story - Even Before Off Broadway Opening Once Announces A Move To Broadway.   Was posted on the Arts Blog last night around 7 pm.
Just as the musical “Once” was about to open at New York Theater Workshop Tuesday night, the show’s commercial producers announced that it would go directly to Broadway after the Off Broadway run.Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “Once” will begin previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Feb. 28, with opening night set for March 18.
Well, I can't wait to see it - off Broadway or on.  I very much hope I can - sometime, somehow, do so with my long and lost friend.

I remember seeing this 35 minute Tiny Desk Concert a few years back, in 2009.  Here's the description:
Fans of the musical Once will recognize its stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, in this enormously charming Tiny Desk Concert straight from NPR Music, in which they showed off six new songs before finishing up with "When Your Mind's Made Up." It's impossible to convey how lovely — how warm and genuine — this performance was in person, but seeing the video, which really does show them sitting behind Bob Boilen's real desk surrounded by Bob Boilen's real stuff, is really stunning. 
I agree.

And here is the video:

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