Letters to Holly

Thursday, October 22

Wary and War and World

It's been busy.

It's homecoming week at the high school, and the staff are encouraged to join in the daily costume themes. So far, it's been superheroes, sports, and a day when groups of teachers dressed alike. Decreed frivolity becomes a chore before long. I offered her coworkers my comic shirts to wear that day and had no takers. That day always makes clear to me how much geek clothing I have. Yikes and yikes some more.

We're surrounded by the flu bug. Or pale imitators that spook everybody. One school lost 100 kids to sick beds, and the absences at Your Sister's school are noticeable. We have simple symptoms, but we attribute it to the seasonal swings in temperature and moving through structures with newly cranked heating. We're careful, and she's most susceptible as all bedraggled teachers are.

She might be even more so tonight: She's been drafted to play on the faculty dodgeball team.

We rendezvoused in Asheville last night to see a double-bill of radio plays performed onstage. We've seen the tours from the LA Theatre Works before. They mounted a show based on transcripts of a trial regarding the publication of Pentagon material on Vietnam and a show based on transcripts of the Scopes monkey trial. This year, they're doing adaptations of Lost World by Doyle and recreating Orson Welles's War of the Worlds. I've wanted to see the latter onstage for decades, and they delivered a show worth the wait.

It's a short script as the radio show was an hour long, and the people who believed the play was real way back when had to be irregular listeners to the Mercury Radio Theatre at best. Orson Welles voice is clearly identifiable, and he's all over the original broadcast. The majority of those tuning in had to have said "oh yeah, that's Orson Welles playing an astronomer." But the theatre tour set the stage (literally) by playing clips of Hitler beforehand to remind us that fears of war were heightened already, one year before Germany took Poland three full years before Pearl Harbor.

The Lost World was played broadly for simple laughs, and we kinda smirked through most of it. There was audience participation cued by signs and gestures. The group held a QnA session after. I noticed a few scripts had different colors of highlighter blocks and asked if they had a communal code. Nope, they said, it's up to the actor. One actor pointed out that he uses different blocks of color to separate the paragraphs.

I felt that pull, that magnetic allure of the stage calling me up, and I remind myself I won't go back just for that radioactive pile of frustration to beat me down again. I had another dose of it this week when the group president put me in a mass email saying I was a candidate for theatre board member. I succinctly told them I can't commit at this time. I would have preferred he verify his hope with me before announcing it to the entire theatre group.

Oh, and our usher last night was a fellow actor from the courtroom show. Small world. She hosted the wrap-up party. She keeps a very kosher house -- my first exposure to it -- and the food was fantastic.

As we always do, Your Sister and I hit a convenience store for candy to keep us awake as we drove home. She got mint 3 Musketeers because she has crazybrains.

Picture of the Day
Here's the group doing The Lost World. The actors are using scripts to pantomime paddling up the Amazon. Man, I wish I could have talked the local company to do a show this way.

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