BWW Blog: Alex Urdiales - What IF?
"What if?" That's a question I often finding myself reflecting upon. There are a ton of times in my life where two roads were open and I could only go down one and I ask, "What road do I take? And what happens to the roads I didn't take?" Well, I would like to cite as reference, a song from the musical FOLLIES which of course was written by the legend and my personal hero Sondheim called "The Road You Didn't Take." At this point in the show an Older Ben is now is reflecting back upon his life is simply wondering The roads I didn't take would they really have changed much?
"You take one road, you try one door,
And there isn't time for any more.
One's life consists of either/or.
One has regrets which one forgets,
And as the years goes on.
The road you didn't take comes to mind, does it?"
So I'll move on Sondheim although I could talk about him for hours, but I'm still going to keep in mind the simple question of "what if?" So this past spring I saw this great show called IF/THEN. It's from the same minds that brought us NEXT TO NORMAL which was so moving that it brought my family to tears. This show was no different. The story takes the life of Elizabeth in different directions. From the start of the show, she's already made a big choice and that was her move to New York City which is something that I would like to see myself doing in the next few years (Elizabeth is played by Idina Menzel. I have had the biggest crush on her). Anyway, like I said before she just moved to the Big Apple and is looking around and taking stock on what her life has become.
"What if I always belonged in the city that moves me with people who thrill me?
The marriage, the mortgage, I left them behind me before they could kill me? My plan was just perfect, courageous and daring, to start my life new,
Now I look at this morning, it moves me to say, 'Oh my God, what the hell did I do?'
I can do this I know, I just need to take care be smart, self-sufficient, and hyper-aware 'Cause I'm flirting
With 40, there's no time to wait and I can't help but feel I'm already too late"
The story goes on and what was seemed like a simple choice at first turns into something life changing. I won't talk anymore of the plot because the show takes many twists and turns and it's something that you have to experience. Just know that by the end of the show, I left the theater with a life affirming meaning. It's always so great when you leave the theater having that feeling that comes so rarely that you love it when happens it doesn't last long but you know deep down you've been changed. And I wouldn't have had experienced it if so many things didn't just fall into place. So to the question of "What if?" well there's a lot of that in life and we can choose to wonder what could have been, but then you miss out on what the best part of life and that's living the last song in IF/THEN there is a lyric that really stuck with me:
"You stop and say hey to a stranger
And where will it lead, who can know
But you learn how to love the not knowing
So here I go"
So here I go on with whatever life has for me today. We don't know what will happen but we have to take courage to live our lives. That is something theater has taught me and there's a lot of life you could learn from theater. I hope to share what I've learned and I'd like to hear if you were taught something about life.