Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ovations for Romeos and Homers

The back of the giveaway t-shirt commemorating the No-han. The front's less graphically appealing. 
The good news
Looks like Johan's okay, two starts after his no hitter, as he led the Mets to a 5-0 win over the Orioles last night at Citi Field. If the game wasn't perfect, the weather was—still spring-cool on the summer solstice and longest daylight day of the year, in advance of a smothering heat wave. Not a full house by any means, there were still enough of us on hand to shower Lucas Duda with ovations as he circled the bases during his home run trot while banking 3 runs. 

Even better news
The Mets' two wins over the Os, dominant in their AL division, continued this season's baffling feast-or-famine streakiness, after getting swept by the Yanks, sweeping the Rays, and getting swept by the Reds. Just another chapter in a season that began if not in gloom then with indifference, but that has blossomed into a fascinating story, not the least of which is the tale of RA Dickey and his knuckleball. A mysterious pitch at the heart of a mystical and mystery-filled 2012 season, which is nearly halfway done, sadly.

Some icing on the cake
Will Dickey start the All-Star Game? Normally I pay little attention to the ritual, as much marketing vehicle as recognition for accomplishments. But with odds on Dickey to start, as well as team leader David Wright at third, I may just have to watch.

Romeos and Juliets
Speaking of ovations, on Monday I saw ABT's Romeo and Juliet, starring Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg. These two have been getting a lot of buzz, and it's obvious why: they both leap like springboks, have heartachingly beautiful lines, limitless extensions, and a charming chemistry. But a season full of similarly dazzling talent (Gomes and Vishneva on Friday were just as moving, in a more mature and grounded way) can present one curtain call and bouquet after another, in a sort of numbing repetition. 

Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg in their command,
post-act 1 curtain call. Photo: Ardani Artists
Ovation as remote control
But after the first act curtain came down on Monday, the applause didn't fade as it normally does after a minute or so. It lulled, then built again, and the stage manager had the good sense to round up David and Natalia and usher them onstage in front of the pulled-back curtain for an impromptu bow. It was something I'd never seen, and reassurance that the audience does indeed play an active part in performances. And it reminded me of a post-home run curtain call that fans demand of sluggers.

Ballet fans answer to practically no one
This is more obvious at the ballpark, where fans are goaded by means of ear-splitting synthetic music and beats to clap and yell as loud as possible. Well, the team has either earned it or not, in my book: a crazy video and loudspeakers aren't going to make me put my hands together otherwise. At the ballet, it's simply earned or not. Even if there were slips and bobbles (speaking of, how about bobble head ballet dancers?), if the dancers poured their hearts into it, they'll be rewarded with ovations. Some ballet fans are as fervent as Mets fans. And some of us are both.

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