Letters to Holly

Monday, March 31

Day 31: Last Show and Cast Party

I got up early to prepare a bacon bread dish and left it for the wife to bake while I was at the show. We had a block of seats reserved for a Lutheran Church, and this boggled my Baptist-raised mind. A show advertised to include adultery and murder and blackmail was getting church business? The cast was casual enough about the last show to the point that we found ourselves sitting on the stage while the audience trickled in to their chairs. This is usually a big no-no; the audience shouldn't see us until the curtain opens.

I handed out the magnets for the cast and crew who I could find before the show. The show ran fine. The audience, even the churchfolk, were into it. The cast was too. While we didn't whoop it up for our last show -- we stayed in character and on script -- we were determined to leave the stage on an entertaining note. We were professional. And speaking of professional and leaving the stage, let me brag on the director a second. He did something I've never seen before: As we took our curtain calls, he walked onstage and individually introduced the tech people and brought them out for applause. Classy. Classy classy classy.

I managed to beat the crowd to the house and played matire'd as the wife finished with the food. She held court in the kitchen as people came in handed me their jackets and started to nosh. Eventually we had 26 people hanging out and kibbitzing. It went smooth as silk and, my God, did these people pack away the wine. After about an hour, we assembled in the living room for the director's comments. He handed out certificates to all the show people and gave the cast pins of the drama/comedy masks. I was the last introduced from the cast, and, even though this was definitely an ensemble piece, I felt a bit like a leading man with his kind words. I presented him with the whiskey and congratulated him on a successful show. He took the giant bottle and said aloud "I have just the straw for this."

The party wound down, and the last to leave was the murderer, the kid we all think has a legit show of making a living at acting. We gave him bags of leftovers -- less for us to clean up or throw out. I think we surprised people with how well this worked. Some of the theatre members wanted to recoup our cost, but she told them to put it into their building fund. The mistress actress asked me about doing cover art for her CDs, and I may have finally convinced someone to let me do some official theatre art. Also, the director is trying to produce radio dramas over the summer, and asked if I would be interested (of course, absolutely).

So, yes, this was a success all around. The clean up went smoothly, and we ended the night gobbling the last of the sheet cake and finishing a bottle of chardonnay (both of which gave me a hangover his morning). I feel like I ran a marathon yesterday; I ache and move stiffly. But I feel like I worked on something better than I could have suspected and garnered more than I could have hoped. I'd work with that director anytime and the same goes for the cast. This was a solid experience, maybe the best I've had in my near-20 years of doing theatre. This was as good as it gets. But I have other things to work on now, and I look forward to trying something new.

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