Love can change our lives in an instant. Suddenly our view of the world, of ourselves, of what’s behind us, and what’s ahead of us shifts. It stays with us even after the faces and circumstances change. Love endures. That’s the message of the musical Once—that love can open doors where there were only walls. It can chart new beginnings and reawaken what we thought was long since dead.
For two and a half hours I sat in the Eisenhower Theater completely enthralled by the dexterity of the cast, expertly led by Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal. With inventive staging, soaring music, raucous dancing, and raw emotion, they constantly shuttled me between despair and elation, and I didn’t mind that rollercoaster ride one bit. The journey reminded me of that beautiful quote by Rilke:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue…the point is, to live everything…perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Once doesn’t have any answers about the many conundrums of love nor how to resolve all of the complex questions that live deep within the layers of our hearts. What it does show us is that we must allow ourselves to feel everything, and be both glad and grateful for all of it.
Once runs through August 16th in Washington D.C. at The Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater.