I have never wanted to be famous. Wealthy? Yes. Respected? Yes. Famous? No. It has never been a goal for me…until Saturday night. If I could have been a famous person on Saturday night, I would have signed on the dotted line.
I went to see In Paris starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Sinyakina on Saturday night at The Broad in Santa Monica. It's an interesting play—very avant garde, with clever staging and dialogue done in Russian and French with English subtitles. While I've seen Baryshnikov dance many times on stage, this was the first straight production I've ever seen him do (it may actually be the first play he's done it outside of workshops). He is actually on stage far longer than most of the audience realizes: He is stationed on the set taking in the audience as they reach their seats close to curtain time. It certainly sets a tone!
As it turns out, Kenneth Branagh was sitting a couple of rows behind us. We saw Emily Mortimer in the lobby. By all appearances, they were going back to meet Baryshnikov after the play concluded. They get to do that. I did not get to do that. They are famous people, and, in this one instance, I really wished I was.
I feel like I've been fascinated by Baryshnikov's story since I was a little kid. As a cold war child, I remember the talk about his defection (though I was five when he actually did it). I remember the event made out of his first performance as a citizen of the U.S. in the mid-1980s, and White Nights was a sensation. I didn't see the Oscar nominated film The Turning Point until I was older, but I made a point of seeing every stage performance I could. There was even a poster that belonged to my roommate in our senior year college apartment, and I gave the Kirov a special nod as I passed by one day.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I think he's one of the few famous people I would really like to meet (despite my reluctance to ever speak to strangers). I have no idea what I'd say to the man. I'm not sure I have anything specific in mind. Knowing my luck, I'd be struck speechless. Still, as wishes go…