I like movies. I like the special effects, I like the acting, I like seeing the faces and expressions of the actors right up front. I like being able to hear what the actors are saying and, if that doesn't work, on my DVD player there's always subtitles.
And then my son took me to Phantom of the Opera. We had good seats - first balcony quarter way up - with no one sitting in front of us. I had taken binoculars. I knew, from watching movies of people watching opera, that the tiny binoculars my husband uses for spotting deer, moose and coyotes were just perfect for the Opera, dahling.
I was prepared for a good time. I was dressed up in my Christy Award Banquet dress and my son wore a snazzy suit. But as the curtain rose I had to confess I was a little disappointed that I couldn't see the actors faces like I could on television. I'd heard that the effects were amazing and was wondering how a live play could compete with Lord of the Rings. I knew most of the lines were sung, not spoken and I wondered if I was going to enjoy it a lot.
But at the point in the play when the theme music swelled from the orchestra and the lit chandelier rose from the stage and was drawn up and over the audience I was hooked. How to describe something so amazing and so compelling. All my concerns disappeared. The binoculars were fun to use but not entirely necessary. And as the play progressed and I was drawn into this opera I understood why The Phantom of the Opera is the longest playing production on Broadway. I didn't need subtitles, the special effects were truly heart-stopping and amazing. I'm a writer and I'm still trying to find the right words to wrap around this event, this spectacular event.
All I know is that if I saw it on television it would lose too much in translation and I'd find myself fast-forwarding.
But live? No comparison. I'd see it again.