I saw Ms. Stritch do a performance of AT LIBERTY about five years ago. It seemed rambling as she careened around the stage wearing a silk blouse, black tights and high heels. She told some humorous stories about her past and sang some Sondheim in a gravelly voice.
What she was saying is:” Look at my legs in my old age, look where I can be, dishevelled and unable to carry a tune….I have survived.”
Ofcourse, no one survives. She had moxie , but she went out of the party in the end. And the band played on as it does for the next performer to try to outperform time and circumstance. I give her credit for the courage to spit in fate’s eye.
I give fate credit for being able to spit right back again. I found that evening rather an embarassment. At that point she wasn’t drinking…but at the end she felt the joy of a drink before the final call.
I don’t think most of the audience felt as I did. They were there to honor what she had been. Now I will honor her. I hope wherever she’s performing in another reality there is a better costume she’s wearing, a better voice she’s singing in, and a lot of gracious party guests.