A few years ago and for a couple years running we gave the boys Legos Star Wars Advent calendars. No fuss, no muss – just pop open each day from December 1 to Christmas and a new nifty Lego character springs forth each day. But then as we unpacked holiday stuff this year Nicole said we should do family experiences for our Advent calendar, things as simple as hot chocolate or the Santa train, done together and with a sense of purpose and gratitude. And so it began.
For each day of this holiday season we do an intentional thing each day associated with the holiday season. It might be family ice-skating at Centennial or a first run movie, it might be a Christmas flick at home or baking cookies. And while each and every instance is a remarkable opportunity for us to catch up and reset as a family last night’s Advent occurrence was singular.
Single syllable words with the elasticity of butter melting on a warm pancake come to mind as I mull over the magnificence of the show. “Wow!”
Like a new friend who feels like an old friend whose visit you don’t want to end, that’s what “Hamilton” is. A full-throated spectacle set on a spartan stage that delivers us to a realm perhaps imagined but seldom visited via voices and lyrics, cadence and dancing, and the characters behind it all. The characters behind it, intertwining in the way that art and performance do, stitching together a tapestry that stands as beauty on its own and melds and mulls within us all to individually steep and brew and become altered and transformed.
It was simply magical as the four of us sat transfixed, at the edge of our seats alternating between laughter and tears, jaws taut with joyous grins of conspiracy, each of us participating in something remarkable and brutally beautiful.
We’ve all heard of this phenomenon called “Hamilton” and the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda. And surely this is what brought us to the old Schubert Theater last night like moths to the flame. And while I don’t know what I expected, I don’t think I expected to be propelled into orbit by the wonder of this amazing play that clicks to a syncopated beat of rapping founding fathers full of bluster, bravado and humanity.
Art, I think, works at multiple levels. Topically we are impacted by the sheer appearance of the thing, the visible and discernible beauty of it. This veneer can capture our attention and in and of itself impact us. But when this somewhat superficial occurrence deepens to the visceral by some orchestrated reminder of our universal commonality then a depth or gravitas is gained that shifts the trajectory of the art to a deeper realm and we are not only impacted, but, likely, we are altered.
When it comes to “Hamilton” I’d say the trajectory occurs at such a profound velocity that it transfixes and transforms us. Come to think about it that’s not a bad place to be. And as we prep for today’s Advent occurrence with a couple of the boys’ friends in tow I feel a simple but deep sense of gratitude for it all. I suppose, after all, that’s the point of these Advent occurrences and the Holiday season in general.