Bud, Not Buddy – the play

I awoke Sunday to see this text from my daughter who currently lives 12 hours ahead of me in France:

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Usually on a Sunday, I would be spending a few hours doing homework  and therefore taking time to see a play at the spur of the moment wouldn’t enter my mind. But Monday’s a holiday, I thought (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) so I went to the Kennedy Center website to get more information. I discovered the last show was today at 4:30pm and a balcony seat was just $20. I was in!

Once at the Kennedy Center, I stood in a short line and purchased the last balcony seat. “It’s in the last row, center seat. In the Eisenhower Theater, that is still a great seat,” the box office man told me. “I just want to be in the room so I’ll take it!” And I handed him a twenty dollar bill.

The show wouldn’t start for 30 minutes, so I walked out onto the terrace to enjoy the view of the Potomac River.  While wandering, I saw this quote carved on the building, a building honoring the great President who was the President the year I was born-John F. Kennedy.

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I read it again and thought about what is happening in just 5 days on Inauguration Day, just blocks from here. Somehow it doesn’t feel to me like my country is even being recognized for its strength right now, let alone its culture. I wondered if we can still be a civil society.

Once seated, I had to agree with the box office – I loved my seat!

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Bud, Not Buddy is a novel I had started a few times and never finished. Then a few summer’s ago, it was given to me again while I attended a Summer Reading Institute at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I was to read it in a week and daily have a book club discussion with my partners. This workshop emphasized reading and thinking and jotting down those thoughts to bring to my club meetings and discuss.

I recall vividly while reading it closely that summer that I realized who Herman was before the main character, Bud did. I then wondered, how? What clues had Christopher Paul Curtis given me? I reread and jotted down all the places where he left clues. I shared these with my club members, proudly showing that I was a careful reader who felt the light bulb going on, even before it did for Bud. I came to love this book. Thinking back, I think it is mostly because it symbolized for me a book that I worked hard at to really get.

At the Kennedy Center, I saw the cast of a play, read the play before it gets blocked. Along with the reading with a full Jazz Orchestra played and only the only set I saw was the one in the picture above. However, I still truly enjoyed the hour of this story told as a play. Now I wonder how one could read this book without hearing the music. Jazz is such a huge part of the story that a play almost seems like the natural way to enjoy the story fully.

I few of my favorite lines:

  • “Whhhoooossshhh….the sound of the door opening!”
  • “Always remember, no matter how bad things look to you, when one door closes, another door opens.”
  • “This was where I was suppose to be.”
  • “I can see why this band has six exclamation points behind its name.”
  • “French always makes things sound classy – we will call you Sleepy Le Bone.”
  • “I carry everything I need inside.”

Sunday I saw the play Bud, Not Buddy! I am glad my daughter clued me in from miles aways. I am glad I was spontaneous and went to see the play. I am glad I have books in my life that I can read closely to understand how to live better. I am even trying to be glad/hopefully that as another great President passes the baton this coming Friday, our nation will still strive for all that President Kennedy demands.

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