We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I love it when old friends visit. We can share memories as I show them around and explain my new life. It consists of acting classes, auditions, memorizing lines, and rehearsals. Then there are the glorious performances that create a more rich life. There are not that many so when they happen, I relish the time spent on stage. If someone can come from home and see me perform, I am in heaven. I had a girlfriend from the past crash with me when she was in town for her own audition. We share the acting ambition in common. It was fun to go on a tryout with someone else. We were and still are great friends but we hadn’t seen each other in a while. After her turn before the director of a new off Broadway play, we went and had coffee in a nearby restaurant. We sat for hours reminiscing about doing summer stock together. Those really were memorable times.

We have come a long way, baby since those trial years. You were lucky if you could join a small theater company and learn the ropes. We did everything ourselves. We studied stage movement, singing, dancing, playwriting, and the history of the theater. During breaks in our education, we built sets and painted vast expanses of sky. Those with talent filled in the details like cityscapes, trees and fields, or roads and bridges. If you could built something, you got special privileges which included making archways, doors and windows, custom furniture and staircases. The theater did have a storage unit filled with odds and ends, but sometimes they were lacking just the right set part for the chosen summer play. We would practice like mad and had a strict rehearsal schedule. Then everyone would go out for drinks in the local bar, the director included. We waited patiently for performance week at the end of the summer. That’s how summer stock works.

As the time drew near, it was time to do the publicity for our show. An artist among us would design posters and small flyers. The former would be posted throughout town using a heavy duty, industrial staple gun. It was easy to cover the small territory if we all went out as a group. My girlfriend and I were assigned to find any local bulletin boards such as those that proliferate in schools and retail stores like markets. We would take thumbtacks, of if that didn’t work we came back with a staple gun. We wanted to make sure those flyers never fell to the ground. We needed and audience and worked hard to acquire it. The townspeople, of course, know about the theater and all the young adults that flock into town to participate. It is part of their lives and they all buy tickets. Usually, the house is sold out for the entire week of the performance. We even get reviews from the local paper. Our reminiscing brought it all back to life. It was a wonderful, special time.