I just became aware of a weird habit that may be unique to me but probably isn’t.
First, I should explain that when we attend plays and concerts, we usually buy cheap balcony tickets. Touring company actors and concert soloists are generally unfamiliar to me and also several miles away, so I have no idea what they really look like.
Too far away to see clearly, my vision muddled by foggy contacts, I involuntarily metamorphose each performer into someone familiar. I envision them as someone famous whom (I fancy) they resemble. I do this subconsciously.
For example, at Cosi Fan Tutte this week, we sat in the tippy-top seats of Severance Hall. Though we had brought both my grandmother’s little opera glasses and our whopping binoculars, I didn’t use them much. (Veering from the stage to the supertitles induces vertigo, I discovered).
So the little soprano playing Despina, the maid, became Sarah Jessica Parker in my eyes. She didn’t take on any other SJP qualities (except maybe a little spunkiness), so if you don’t like SJP, this transference had nothing to do with her really. The singer just seemed, at an immense distance, a similar body and facial type. In fact, as I discovered later looking at her photo, Martina Jankova looks nothing like Sarah Jessica Parker, but I had someone to visualize during the show. Invariably, when I look the headshots in the program, I see how far off I have been.
Tonight at a Cleveland State Orchestra concert, the tall handsome student-clarinet-soloist became a Ben Affleck sort of person.
I didn’t even know I was doing this until, after seeing the musical Young Frankenstein, I said to my husband that the actress playing Inga, the blonde bombshell, reminded me of Victoria Jackson, formerly of Saturday Night Live. I didn’t mention that I was actually picturing Victoria Jackson whenever Inga appeared on stage.
He looked at me blankly. “She didn’t look anything like Victoria Jackson,” he said. When I checked out the actress Anne Horak’s picture, I saw he was right. The two merely share blondeness, but the faulty image served me just fine in the performance.
Does anyone else do this?