I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne

30 12 2010

The hills are quiet.

Agathe von Trapp, eldest daughter of George Ritter von Trapp, stepdaughter to Maria Augusta Kutschera, older sister to 9 siblings, companion to  Mary Louise Kane, died Tuesday at the age of 97.

Her alter ego, of course, was Liesl, memorably played by Charmian Carr from the 1965 version of The Sound of Music.

Here’s her signature scene from the movie (skip ahead to the :30 mark)

I never liked Rolf, even before I knew what Nazis were—he was a smug prig. And, of course, a Nazi. (I don’t even much like this scene—those lyrics!—but it would be a cheat not to show this.)

Agathe was not Liesl, and The Sound of Music was not a documentary; it also just possible that life was not as idyllic for the von Trapp children as was suggested by the movie.

I don’t care.

I love The Sound of Music. Love love love.

I saw it for the first time when I was around 6; it was playing at a cinema in Sheboygan, and my mom and grandma took my sister and me to see it. I was opposed going in—a musical? where they’ll be singing the whole time? how awful!—but boy oh boy was I a convert coming out.

Mountains! Singing! Adventure! A lake in the backyard! Julie Andrews! Bad guys! Escape from bad guys! Mountains!

Really, what’s not to love?

What cemented this adoration, however, was my role in my high school’s production of the musical. K. was Maria, M. was the Baroness, and I (eek!), I got my first speaking role as Brigitta, the daughter who makes her entrance reading a book.

(This matters because one night F. (Liesl) and T. (Louisa) and I went out for a little pre-rehearsal nip. By the time we made it to the auditorium, we we all roaring drunk—F., the driver, the drunkest of all. I was lucky in not having to march and march and march and hold the line, but even when I did finally make my entrance and take my place in line, I had difficulty (as did F. and T.) remaining erect. Some time later (and while rehearsing a different scene) F. was ordered off the stage by the D.-the-director, and when she refused to leave—screaming “I”m not drunk!”—D. high-heeled her way up to the stage and threw her off. T. and I thought it best to leave the auditorium at this point.)

I had a ball in this play, and not just because of the drinking. Play rehearsal was 6-10 MTTh, and after school until 6 on Wednesdays; as the opening approached, we had Friday night and Saturday rehearsals as well. All that time together, on stage and down front and in the green room and the wings and hallways and on the catwalk and in the way back of the auditorium, it was cozy and liberating all at the same time. The whole place was ours.

M. and I were already friends, but K. and I became quite close, as I did with F. and T. Since all of them were older than me, we didn’t have much to do with one another during the school-day, but the intimacy of the shared work remained. Almost all of us in the cast were theatre kids, weird, slightly disreputable (well, except for K., who was unimpeachable), and if we didn’t swagger like jocks, we did delight in our performing selves.

It was a wonderful time. Not perfect (see: F. getting tossed from the stage), and not without the drama of both adolescence and the high school theatre scene, but oh, we were all so alive, so willing to give ourselves wholly over to this production, and to one another.

I can’t live like that, not all the time, and maybe, now, not at all. But I’m glad I was there, I’m glad that it’s all still with me.

So Agathe, even though The Sound of Music was only barely your story, still, thank you, and rest in peace.


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10 responses

2 01 2011
geekhiker

I don’t think I’ve seen that movie since I was six years old! LOL Perhaps I should add it to the ‘ol Netflix queue…

3 01 2011
absurdbeats

I recommend viewing it with a friend who was in the show, or, at the very least, schnaaps.

(I saw an interview in which Julie Andrews mentioned the schnaaps-drinking in between takes of the do-re-me mountain scene. Good enough for Julie, good enough for the rest of us.)

10 04 2011
It was twenty years ago today « AbsurdBeats

[...] (I’ve mentioned K. once before: She was Maria in our high school’s production of The Sound of Music, and she’s one of the reasons that I hang on to that memory.) [...]

9 09 2011
BJ

GOD – write a HUNDRED of these stories. If you have more in you, get them out. They are influencial and touching and publishable. OK, you’re a pro, I get that. I write for a living too, but not like this. Political science is your main area of interest, check. But this story, the family farm, the homecoming…they are great reads and digestible (I would think) by the masses.

If Tucker Max can write a best seller of his sophomoric pursuits, you can publish these life viewpoints/observations.

Just do it!

And, BTW, DW retired at the end of last school year. Heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who…Haven’t spoken to her since she quit where I knew her. But, it’s still sad somehow. I think it was just from school, so the key-throwing and heel-stomping may still continue.

cya
BJ

10 09 2011
absurdbeats

Y’know, BJ, I was thinking, “Whaaatttt? DW?” Maybe BJ is thinking I’m someone else.

Then it hit me: DW! Omigod! You knew D? So I know you? Or not?

I’m so confused. But happily so!

And as for D, well, she deserves a few posts of her own. Complicated memories. . . .

11 09 2011
BJ

Jesus…we bumped into each other once or twice…ya saved me about a thousand bucks working the food service…oh, and there was that show we did together…Big Rock? Candy? Clarence? Am I being too transparent…

Trying to keep you semi-anonymous. Let me know if you need few more hints.

11 09 2011
absurdbeats

Ha, I thought so.

Please forgive my confusion, but I had thought you were another BJ (BJonthegrid) from another blog I frequent—which is also why I didn’t get the comment from awhile back on saving you money on food).

And then with the DW tip, I thought, “No, wait,THAT BJ? Yeah, the age is about right (when did you get so old?), and yeah, we did hang out, didn’t we. . . .” And this latest comment just confirms it.

So hello, BJ! I hope all is well with you, and I look forward to more conversations; I do enjoy hearing from old friends.

12 03 2013
Don

I absolutely, potilivesy adore Stowe. My boyfriend (also a Kevin!) and I make at least 1 or 2 trips up there a year and when we most recently visited earlier this summer, we went up to the Von Trapp lodge to walk around. It is so beautiful! We also contemplated a meal at Crop, which we skipped but will have to revisit next time we are there. It’s such a wonderful little getaway.

12 05 2013
Listen to the music: I live by the river | AbsurdBeats

[…] of a song, “My Favorite Things”, into a classic, fer pete’s sake, which, even given my love for all things Sound of Music, is a helluva thing to have […]

28 07 2013
Springtime for Hitler | AbsurdBeats

[…] bar/restaurant in Minneapolis that served Austrian food, and I have fond memories of my time in The Sound of Music—but somethin’ about the place sets me […]

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