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(T)hat (W)as (T)he (Y)ear (T)hat (W)as and (W)ill (B)e

 

2017 hit me like a ton of bricks, and kept piling up until I squeaked through into 2018. The year started with simultaneous rehearsals of Clayton’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE and Midnight’s Irish romp LITTLE THING BIG THING. LTBT played first, and it was a wonder. Great, as expected, direction from Ellie Schwetye and collaboration onstage from Rachel Tibbett's (each of us playing a batch of characters, with Rachel handling a batch of accents.) Michael Perkins did amazing work with projections and video, and live music from Jason and Will Bonifiglio (and Amy Greenhalgh sitting in one night for Will), all displayed on the sweep of Avatar Studios soundstage made for a stunning evening.

From there segued right into direction and final prep for VIEW. Right then, everything exploded with the drug overdose of my son, Travis. Somehow made it through VIEW, and somewhere on the other side of the tragedy faced the year ahead.

It was non-work, but I needed every bit of it. The damage to my soul was somewhat filled with constant writing - a short political fairy tale take with (T)RUMPLESTILTSKIN for Fringe’s Five Fifths fundraiser, a new play for the Theatre Crawl, and a longer piece for The Fringe. All were successful and satisfying…including Donna Weinsting’s brazen Trump for the fairy tale, Emily Leidenfrost’s performance in our Crawl piece, and the entire gang of girls for Fringe, with THE EVEREST GAME. Travis was present throughout that piece - he understood and appreciated the game, and I wish he could have seen it.

Trav was also there in the Midnight show dedicated to his memory in July - Will Eno’s magical TITLE AND DEED. Set again at Avatar, this show enjoyed Bess Moynihan’s scenic magic that set the mystical stage for this amazing script. Did the show again a couple times after the run - a performance at private home, and as followup for the Faust Park ALIVE series in Grand Center. All of the shows felt like personal, private performances, but all of them felt wonderful.

Had a short break, then went into two shows back-to-back - acting in SATE’s OF MICE AND MEN and directing R-S Theatrics’ THE FLICK. The shows featured two of the closest knit, most congenial casts I’ve ever been associated with. There was a common purpose for MICE, as everyone strove, within their roles, to tell this classic story. And for THE FLICK, the three primary actors formed a team that worked constantly, setting aside time outside of rehearsals and performances for line bashes and brush-ups. The comfort and joy working with these people made the hard work a little less hard.

As 2018 blooms, there’s some things lined up that form the foundation of an interesting year. In April, 2018, Midnight will present a big one, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG at The Missouri History Museum. It’s a play close to my heart - both for its dramatic impact and its political message - and I have high hopes for it. At this point, director Ellie Schwetye and I have almost assembled the entirety of the large cast and crew necessary, and I eagerly look forward to it.

In late June, there will be another Crawl, and another new script is underway. Excited about his one, too…the writing and exhilaration of the back-to-back Crawl performances.

And in September, as part of a loose Festival happening this year, there will be a revival of two classic Midnight shows and a reunion with a classic Midnight actor.

My hope, if not my resolution, is that this year will be as full of the theatrical excitement, adventures and blooming relationships as 2017 was. But without the pain. Here’s hoping.

 


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