Friday, September 14, 2012

We tell the story this way: PART 1

We tell the story this way:

It was in my home town of Ithaca, NY. 1980 or so.

I had already been "out and back" - which means just that: I graduated high school and moved out.  I went to college and went to work.  I moved to Syracuse; moved to Boston; moved to Fort Lauderdale; moved to Lansing, Michigan; moved to New York City and then I moved back home again to live with my parents to review my situation.  Voila: "Out and Back".

Along the way in my American Walkabout, I had developed a hankering to be on stage portraying characters other people have created.  I enacted scenarios of dramatic import for the entertainment of groups of patrons who would suspend their realities for measured lengths of time.  I stumbled, bumbled, mumbled and grumbled under the guise of art.

I believe the word "Acting" serves as an omnibus label in all the above pursuits.

Following that vein, I was appearing in a play called “The Runner Stumbles” by Milan Stitt at The Central Casting Theatre; a light hearted romp about a Catholic priest on trial in rural 1911 Michigan for the murder of a nun with whom he is also alleged to have been romantically involved.  Like I said: a total fluff piece.

I played the priest:  Dark, brooding, unsympathetic.... and those were the good reviews.

A couple of the other characters were acted by students from Ithaca College's famous Television and Theatre department.  One of them counted as one of his friends, a Sophomore in Fine Arts - Acting... a student named Susan.

We did not meet that night.

Months passed.

She was stage managing a production of “Mame” for the Ithaca Theatre Company and she needed someone to play an older, stuffed‐shirted, stick‐in‐the‐mud, non-singing, party‐pooper in the show.  None of her friends filled the bill, but then she remembered me and my dark, brooding, etc. performance in the play she had come to see months earlier.  She called Central Casting and got the phone number I had given them. It was my parent’s house where, as I have mentioned, I was living at the time.

The next day, I received a message left from my father at the school bus facility where I was performing daily as a "School Bus Driver".  No, really, I was driving a school bus for a living.  Maybe I'll relay some sappy stories from that episode later on. The message, in my father's shorthand delivery, was: "Some girl called to find out if you want to try out for a play.  Do you want her number?"

I did.  He gave it to me.  I called her.  I showed up.  She gave me the part.  Things began to change.

That's how we tell the story of how we met: Girl sees Boy in play.  Girl hires Boy for another play.  Girl and Boy get married and live happily ever after.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I leave out part of the story?

Well then, tune in for another installment of "We tell the story this way" coming soon to a blog near you!

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