Entering the building, you’re greeted by a familiar outfit of friendly volunteers and friends. You pay for your ticket and, stopping by, the food table, you make your way to the welcoming red carpets at the front of the room. Over the past several months, you’ve become accustomed to this routine. You welcome it. For a moment, in that comfort, you forget what the Red Room is: an experiment. So, when Ping stands up to make his usual announcements, you don’t suspect he might have something else to announce. “I met a new friend today,” he tells us with a glint in his eyes that suggests he is party to an exciting secret. “I saw Billy Chang ( 張逸軍) and asked him to come perform for us. Here he is!”
He gestures to the back of the room. You, and a hundred other Red Roomers, follow his hand curiously. A man emerges from the divider, fluidly weaving between tables and bystanders. Suddenly, he nimbly jumps on a table; everyone gasps. He begins moving around us, creating long lines, wrapping himself around lanterns like they were beloved moons, jumping, flipping, and spinning so quickly that his outfit whirls around him. You’re enthralled. In that moment, you’re reminded that Stage Time & Wine is not meant to be routine and, in the moments when you least expect it, something you never could have predicted happens. How fitting that Ping would bring a little magic to us during the month of Halloween.
During October’s Stage Time & Wine, audience members listened to an elf play the piano and a devil strum a song. In the back, one listener sat with sketchbook out, recording the life of the room, another sat with a notebook, scribbling quotes, and notes, and questions. Later in the evening, Trevor Tortomasi took the stage to share a coming of age story about a surprising relationship between unicycles and freedom. To the left a group of friends laughed at the unexpected ending to his tale as they continued to pass a communal bottle of wine between them.
What the array of performances, words and exchanges emblematizes is the diversity of the Red Room community. At the end of the night, Red Roomers shared notes from the well of words. True to the rest of the night, a variety of notes were shared with the performers and listeners of Red Room ranging from intimate notes, to encouragement to silly phrases. Most memorably, one listener wrote a simple, encouraging statement: “Performing takes a heart of courage”. Each performer and each listener chose to give freely and speak openly about their opinions, abilities and lives. After attending several months a pattern may appear to emerge from these gatherings; yet, tonight was reminder for all of us that with openness, acceptance, and a little magic, so many more things are possible than you could ever realize.
Editor for the Red Room E-news