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A Lensic ride on the Orient Express

SANTA FE, N.M. — “People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

– St. Augustine

And so, perhaps, it is with our delight at performers and performances. Watching, trying to experience the extravagant rejoicing of the dancer, the exultance of singing it out from the heart, the total immersion of actors into their characters – people putting themselves out there in front of us, sharing themselves openly – makes us feel good.

And the watcher in a darkened theatre is transported for a frame of time into other spaces of himself – feeling a range of emotions, a visit to one’s depths. In the theatre, one is in wonder about people and therefore maybe oneself. Sometimes life-changing moments, but often life-examining and life-enriching ones, take place at the theatre.

Right downtown on San Francisco Street, the Lensic is a worthy place to have a theatre experience, just here off Hollywood Boulevard, in the Clara Bow/Douglas Fairbanks ambiance, hand-painted with vintage geometrics on the walls and little box balconies, with a heavy velvet curtain, and lots of wings, and lights and gels, and special effects … and voila! It’s a wonder.

Here, you can contemplate deep topics (and, admittedly, shallow ones, depending on the playwright or poet) or just have some blood-cleansing laughs. You can hear music from the Blind Boys of Alabama to a symphony, see circuses and listen to lectures, watch all kinds of dance and drama.

Sometimes you can even go to a party on stage!

Recently, 200 benefactors in black tie did just that for the Lensic’s annual Patron Fundraiser Dinner and Auction in a scene decorated as dining car tables on the Orient Express. These lovers of the Lensic came to pretend they were going from Paris to Istanbul (any time frame) to raise funds for general operations and in support of the Lensic’s educational programs so children can have experiences – both as observers and as participants – at the theatre.

The Lensic’s Educational Programs are extensive, attempting to offer all children in the community a taste of the theatre, and they’re free, thanks in part to the good patrons of the Orient Express. Ticket sales, along with extravagant auction items and exuberant bidding, brought the evening’s tally to $235,000!

It does not take Hercule Poirot to figure out what a great ride this was.

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

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