I found myself at the opening night performance after a particularly difficult week of work in the city. Yet, from its hushed first few moments to its raucously joyful finale, The Driftwood Bridge invited me to set aside my ‘hectic mad rush of busyness’ to ‘wonder, ponder and observe’* through the well-remembered experiences of David and Tom. The show appeals to everyone at any age. Their original songs and stories introduced us to a child who received loving support from a teacher, a young adult who lost himself in intellectual pursuits, two dear friends who provided ballast in turbulent times, a dying father who finally saw his son, and others, including our two guides, Tom and David, who found their way to each other and fell in love.
The performance has an intentionality that is a refreshing antidote to my usually frenetic distracted daily tumble. The driftwood on the stage had not been scattered by the surf. Rather, as we began to realize as the show unfolded, each piece had been placed with great care and was used for a specific purpose to tell the story. Similarly, David and Tom fully shared their many talents in the telling of the story of The Driftwood Bridge. They harmonized, swapped off on the piano, and tickled our funny bones. Tom delighted with magic, and David sang heart-wrenching tributes to his parents. The fullness and intentionality of the show seem to reflect the fullness and intentionality with which David and Tom live their lives.
By the end of the show, still clutching my soggy tissue, I was on my feet clapping and cheering with the rest of the audience for the joyful final anthem. And weeks later, I still find myself returning to The Driftwood Bridge to wonder and ponder. In the show, we learned that eight-year-old David was called a “fem-boy” at school. It had been over 40 years since I thought about the young boy in my own grade school who had been tormented for speaking softly and befriending girls, but now I wonder what his journey has been. Now I wonder how I can be more like David’s teacher/mentor/friend/collaborator, Marie. Now I wonder about the bridges that I need to build and step across with the great care demonstrated by Tom and David.
The Driftwood Bridge is a truly engaging and entertaining respite from the hectic mad rush. The show is authentically and insistently focused on love – love between parents and children, friends, collaborators, and life partners. In this era of grand-scale bullying and incivility, Tom and David’s heartfelt songs and stories are like a soothing salve. But, beware, The Driftwood Bridge may also inspire you to live a bit more fully and intentionally.
*“Instead of the hectic mad rush of busyness we intended a quiet pace, with time to wonder, ponder and observe. We hoped to replace worry, fear, and hate with serenity, purpose, and at-one-ness.”
Helen Nearing, from The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living