Thursday, March 12, 2009


My past and my present collided full-force on Sunday. It was our final performance, so I suppose I should announce that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is dead. I have to say I am sorry to see its demise. After experiencing some frustration with playwright Tom Stoppard's intricate wordplay ("too smart for the room," as some comedians might complain), our company emerged with an engaging, entertaining and even endearing piece. The houses were good, for the most part, with only one or two quiet ones; I can't tell if the odd newspaper review we received (I mentioned it here) affected our crowds or not. But the audiences seemed to follow the show easily enough, and even my folks had fun. (My father's enjoyment had a bit to do with the fact that I had composed a Cheat Sheet for him in advance; though he actually saw me in a full production of Hamlet, he didn't remember a thing about it, and Stoppard's play is better enjoyed by those familiar with Shakespeare's play).

My old high school buddy Randi enjoyed it, too. I have not seen her in...well...let's just say, it's been SEVERAL decades. She found me on Facebook and discovered, by reading my extremely colorful Status Updates, that I was working in Asheville. Turns out she moved here about three years ago, so she snagged tickets for herself and her husband and came to our closing performance. This picture of Randy (she's on the right) is blurred, but my memories of her are not. Back in the Day, she was part of the crowd which included the drama kids and the gang involved in the school's chorus. My very first full-length show, in fact, was Our Town (just like everybody else's, I suspect), in which I played the Stagemanager, and Randi played the hero's kid sister. Ah, memories....

When Randi approached me after the show on Sunday, I could have sworn I had gone back in time. Her bubbly, cheerfully sardonic personality was fully intact, and physically, she had changed very little. It's amazing that I have such clear memories of those days, but cannot remember where I parked my car an hour ago. We had a lovely chat for half an hour or so, and promised to meet again for a longer catch-up. I had to cut our reunion short in order to pop out to our director's house for a low-keyed BBQ with the cast and crew.

It was only then that I began to feel the usual letdown which comes with the closing of a show. Admittedly, my responsibilities in this particular production were not huge, but I had a lovely time with this crowd from NC Stage, and I hope to work with them again. (I wrote a bit about them here). I think they are doing things right, growing at the right pace (not that I'm such an expert about such things), and most importantly, seem to be able to keep the high stress factor which always accompanies theatrical endeavors from affecting their work, or their lives. Not an easy feat.