[Singapore. Botanic Gardens, Shaw Foundation Theatre]
I came in from not quite the correct side-the main gate, white swathes guarding the green within. Coming to a place where one has not been for years, where the last never quite left, the mind naturally feels out lingering strands. Walking deeper into the gardens to meet Natt was a ten-minute exercise in remembering and reflecting, on both past and present.
Past: it is past. The grass has grown and died a thousand times.
Present: it was Natt’s formal last hurrah, with us anyway. Nicely for her, it turned out to contain both italian pizza and pianist. We were free in the fresh air, and i think each of us slaked on this.
The piano was a surprise, the performance and crowds unexpected. A Tale of Two Expats- Chopin and Gargiulo. Julian Gargiulo gave such a splendid narrative linking piece to piece, mix of italian romanticism and new york straightforwardness so charmingly delivered i wondered if he had planned them in advance like a standup comedian, or talkshow host. Except Gargiulo’s subjects were of Chopin (and others) and thoughtful entendres.
Each of us were different manners of expats, in uneven levels of connections with one another. The mix of conversing about nothing in particular and yet everything important at the same time was invigorating. Sometimes one side serves to illuminate the other. And i realise again, how important honest words and positive actions are.
The clouds built, hanging heavy. They finally released big wet drops halfway into the performance. The winds, lightning framing the pavilion under the rapidly darkening evening sky must have been what triggered an undercurrent of panic. Food disappeared back into their containers; umbrellas swooshed open. Bodies getting up, seeking shelter. The green patches of green looked too empty without their spots of audience. The pianist played on. Those who were still watching would have been enthralled. Sky and music in their natural element.
After the piece, the pianist took the few steps to the front, looked around and said, “now i know who my real friends are.”