Painting the Town Red

Esther loves musical productions.  Surprisingly, she wasn’t much interested in seeing plays while she was here.  That’s because English is her fifth language and she was worried she’d have trouble understanding.

You heard right.  She speaks five languages: (1) Swiss German (in Berne dialect), as well as (2) High German, (3) French, (4) as much Italian as I speak, and also (5) English.

Esther used to take in exchange students like me as a way of building her skills in English.  I was the  first in a long line of American exchange students to frequent her Ferenberg home.

And while she was here we painted the town red!  We soaked in all these musical performances during her one-week stay in Dublin:

  • The musical An American Idiot which, like so many musicals these days, has a plot contrived as a way to package a band’s album into a Broadway show. Wikapedia explains “American Idiot is the seventh studio album by the American punk rock band Green Day.”  Although the plot is understandably disappointing, Green Day’s “punk” music is actually quite festive.  The performance concluded with the whole company singing “It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you have the time of your life!”  I’d been looking for an opportunity to visit the theater building itself, because it was designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind (the firm that designed the building to replace the World Trade Towers), and so I was perfectly happy that Esther actually asked to spend an evening immersed in American idiot-ry.  The theater is quite beautiful. However the knee-room was lacking where I sat and I determined once and for all that nose-bleed seats and traveling Broadway shows don’t mix.  The sound balance is often poor in the far upper corner when the show hits a new space.
  • Arlington Hotels Traditional Live Irish Music and Irish Dancing dinner show. The musicians sang “take me home country roads” (which is a favorite drinking song in Switzerland and pub song in Ireland). They also dedicated a song to Esther and me that was quite fitting.  Something about friends and traveling, if I recall correctly after this whirl-wind week. I was the only one in the place getting the host’s jokes. (He used to be a city planner, so perhaps we share some mental wiring?)
  • Gavin and his brother playing with other musicians at Hughes Pub. One of the guys in the band recognized the faces in Glen McClure’s photos from Achill Island (see my posts Leader of the Band and Drummer Girl).
  • The opera Hansel and Gretel, performed in the beautiful Gaiety Theater. I enjoyed this production more than any other opera I’ve ever seen. So I wasn’t too opposed when Esther asked to go see Disney on Ice for her last night in town. (It wasn’t my own top choice for the evening, but I gave in!)
  • Esther had never attended an ice-skating show in person and throughly enjoyed seeing Disney on Ice’s Passport to Adventure held at the Royal Dublin Society last night.
  • Two back-to-back visits to The Cobblestone pub. Thursday night we visited with Fulbright scholar Bob Trumble, his lovely wife Ann, and Ann’s her sister and brother-in-law.  When we’re in Virginia, Bob and Ann live in Williamsburg–just up the road from Dave and  me. On Thursday Tom gave Esther a copy of his CD.  She glowed with happiness.  Her eyes sparkled with excitement.  She’s so lovable!  We visited the pub again last night and got to hear Tom’s brother Neil (and Neil’s son) play.

Esther has just left for the airport, and things are now quiet and still. I’ve got mounds of work to do and yet hundreds of memories of this past week that I still want to share with you.  I hope to find time to post more for you in the coming days.

Gavin (far left) and his brother, Aidan, are among the musicians who play at Hughes Pub on Monday nights. Esther (far right) was soaking in the melodies.

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