BWW Review: THE STORY OF MY LIFE at BAEKAM ART HALL, 'The Butterfly Effect'
"They say that every time, this butterfly flaps. It causes a tiny ripple in the air that can spread out and grow and change wind currents and weather patterns. They call it the butterfly effect." 14-year-old Alvin Kelby mentioned to his friend Thomas Weaver, as he pointed to the beautiful blue butterfly. Meanwhile, Thomas looked at his friend with a questioning face and said "It's a bug. A stupid, squishable bug." The lifelong friendship of these two opposites, Alvin Kelby and Thomas Weaver is the backbone of the musical, THE STORY OF MY LIFE. Bringing many to tears every production, THE STORY OF MY LIFE had its opening show for the 5th production on November 27th.
THE STORY OF MY LIFE is about two men, Alvin Kelby, and Thomas Weaver, who have been friends for 29 years. The show starts off with Thomas Weaver saying, "We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby," as he fumbles looking for a pen. The mood is serious as the first song 'Write What You Know' begins. Though at first, the audience is put into confusion as they do not have a clear picture of what is actually happening, as the song goes on, they realize that Thomas is writing a eulogy for Alvin. However, he has the difficulty of forming words and that is when he visits the ghost of Alvin and trace back memories with him until he finds the perfect story.
The songs of THE STORY OF MY LIFE trace back to the numerous anecdotes that Alvin and Thomas have made, starting from their first time they met, at the age of six. When Alvin is the only student who recognizes that Thomas was dressed as Clarence from the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, they become friends and begin to spend more time with one another. They have many precious memories such as the time when Alvin gave Thomas a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which eventually led him to dream about being a writer. Also, they go to their first-grade teacher's funeral and make a promise that whoever is left writes a eulogy for the other person. On top of that, they make a cute Christmas tradition of their own which is to go out and make snow angels and come back home to watch the holiday special, It's a Wonderful Life. However, as all good things do not last eternally, changes began to happen between the inseparable friendship of Alvin and Thomas.
The set is designed to look like a bookstore, specifically the bookstore of Alvin's father, which later becomes Alvin. There are shelves filled with books and loose papers which the actors constantly use during the show. The stage is raked to the back, having a small slope where Alvin would run around, finding anecdotes to pitch in for the eulogy, Thomas is writing. There is a white curtain that is only used twice in the show because it is meant to distinguish reality and Thomas's imagination, where he is talking with the ghost of Alvin.
Some interesting aspect of the show was how they had a particular idea that was prominent in every scene. The movie, It's a Wonderful Life plays an important part in THE STORY OF MY LIFE, not only because it was the reason why Alvin and Thomas became friends but because it has a big significance in the death of Alvin. Also, though the show had a common contrasting character type, it was different in that the audience can clearly see how each of them affected each other. Therefore, even though there is "death" in the show, rather than being just sad, it makes the audience think about why Alvin died and what his death meant to Thomas.
THE STORY OF MY LIFE is a beautiful story that reminds everybody about friendship and the little moments we don't put much significance on. The people we meet, the conversations we had, and the memories that we have with them don't just end in the past but it could be of much more importance. Watching Alvin's pure and somewhat childlike personality and how Thomas gives up on his friend to be what he calls "normal," made me think about whether I had been like Thomas.
The lovely story of Alvin and Thomas, THE STORY OF MY LIFE performs at Baekam Art Hall until February 17th. Tickets start at 44,000 KRW and can be purchased at www.interparkglobal.com or at the box office. Check the homepage for discount information.
For more information, please visit www.interparkglobal.com.
Photo Credit: OD COMPANY