Celtic Twilight

The Inside Out Theatre starts out with a romance, ends up with an autopsy

The song was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for Swing Time, maybe the last great film of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers partnership. Swing Time was made in 1936, and stars Astaire as a dancer who falls in love with Rogers, just as he's about to marry another woman. The movie is a paean to romanticism —the prosaic romanticism of starry-eyed new love and submission to the wild and irrational currents of human feeling. In Swing Time, the song appears during two major scenes. In the first, it is played jubilantly, almost off-handedly, with Fred Astaire seated at the piano while Ginger Rogers does her hair. It's a sweet gesture. Later, it's heavier. When the song appears suddenly on the heels of "Never Gonna Dance," Astaire and Rogers know that their affair is doomed, and the song is no longer a gesture at all: It is an exact catalogue of what the pair will be left with, when the music stops and at last they part ways.

St. Leon, Anthony, and Clement: Rather than providing sustenance, the memories turned vampiric.
St. Leon, Anthony, and Clement: Rather than providing sustenance, the memories turned vampiric.

Details

Through April 1st. Call 954-385-3060, or visit www.insideouttheatre.org.
Inside Out Theatre, One East Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 33301

In a way, The Faith Healer is a portrait of that same kind of pairing, extrapolated through many more years and hardships than the writers of Swing Time ever had to think about. Frank and Grace held on to a memory of a night, or of a thousand nights, when whole new lives of nobility and love seemed within reach or closer, before the marks went home and the magic dissipated. Rather than providing sustenance, the memories turned vampiric, draining every subsequent night of value and cheapening every moment that failed to live up to the half-articulated promise of some small healing in some tiny, anonymous town. In their sweetest memories of each other, Francis, Grace, and Teddy look like angels. Holding themselves to that standard — which may have only been the product of good booze and chicanery anyway — they withered, and retreated from their own betrayals. The last time the record player coughs to life and summons up "The Way You Look Tonight," they look nothing like angels. They look like corpses.

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