FLIGHTS OF FANCY
13 April 2003
"It's all hyperbole for the sake of publicity," she said.
"I know," I responded. "I've done lots of publicity myself. I know how it
I was reading the weekend section of the Sonora, California Union Democrat. Sonora is a small
gold mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It has a population of about 5,000
people. And it is home to no less than four theatres. One of those theatres, Stage 3, was
going to present a play, Flights of Fancy, by playwright Suzanne Wingrove, a
woman I knew from an e-mail discussion group.
When I learned that Suzanne would be flying out from her Connecticut home for
the premier and that some other members of our group were also going to attend, I knew I
had to go. I didn't know what to expect but the Sonora paper was telling me that Flights
of Fancy was "a display of comedic virtuosity by a rising new star of American
theatre, Suzanne Wingrove--the only two-time winner of Stage 3's prestigious Festival of
New Plays." (That's Suzanne on the left--I circled her name on the poster about her play, to show how large the letters are!)
Well. Hyperbole or not, this sounded promising!
I'm not quite sure why I keep doing these things. For someone who professes to be shy and
retiring, I certainly seem to keep putting myself in situations where I'm forced to meet
and interact with total strangers I know only from the Internet. So far my record is
pretty good--two CompuServe groups, Steve, Peggy, and a few other odd folks here and
there. Now I had driven 2-1/2 hours through beautiful countryside to this little town to
meet a playwright I didn't know and a group of people who had also come to meet her and
attend the show.
There were 9 of us at dinner, including Suzanne's parents. The dress rehearsal had not
gone well, and Suzanne was worried about opening night. But we had a wonderful time over
crab enchiladas (for me--I'm not sure what everyone else had) and then walked to the
theatre, where Suzanne was greeted like visiting royalty.
(The 88-seat theatre is in a small art gallery. They were
having a display of children's art, from kindergarten to high school--some of it
terrific!--and I was amused to discover that they displayed a lot of the drawings on
I'm not sure why she was worried...I'm not sure why I
was hoping that it would be good, hoping it wouldn't be embarrassing. It's brilliant. I
haven't laughed at much in a show in a long time. It's intellectually funny--great lines
without being slapsticky (which I don't usually like), a very novel situation, beautifully
executed--and the cast was all terrific as well. The whole thing was just a delight and
I'm so glad that I decided to go to see it.
But the play was only the first course. The whole trip was just great. I met some
wonderful women and as the time wore on and we had the chance to just hang out together, I
came to feel very close to them.
Following the play, there was a reception at a nearby
hotel. Suzanne, her friend Charmaine and I closed the place down (I was the driver). When
we got back to the hotel (at midnight) I went out looking for the advertised exercise room
(can you believe that?) I never did find it, so I got some sleep, but woke up at 6. Our
plan had been to meet at 9:30 for breakfast, so I had a lot of time to kill. I walked
around a bit and took some pictures, then I ran into Suzanne's parents and helped them
finish off their in-room coffee and got them on the road for their mid-morning flight.
Since there were still a couple of hours before we were meeting for breakfast, I drove up
to the theatre again, parked the car and walked the length of town up a hill to a church
at the top.
Now stop. Read that again. Since there were still a couple of hours before we were
meeting for breakfast, I drove up to the theatre again, parked the car and walked the
length of town up a hill to a church at the top. A year ago, I would have stayed in
the hotel room, surfed the internet, read, and tried to find a dumb movie on TV. I got out
and walked for an hour, taking pictures along the way. Had a marvelous time.
By the time I got back, people had started to congregate in the little breakfast room. We
comandeered it for two hours while we laughed, chatted, shared histories, and began to
know each other much better, on a less "formal" basis than while waiting to see
if the play was going to be good.
Margy, one of the women, who reads palms gave us each a
reading. She doesn't know me from Adam, but told me that she sees a very strong need to
write (so naturally, I think she's brilliant!).
Some of the group had to leave, but the rest of us decided to drive to a winery that
someone else in the breakfast room had recommended because of some great tulip displays.
This would have been the weekend I would have flown to Seattle, but I decided to skip that
trip this year, but it appears that the gods were going to give me my tulip display after
all. It was glorious. Not nearly as extensive as the Skagitt Valley festival, of course,
but some pretty colorful flowers.
I bought a bottle of wine to bring home to Walt and, as it was starting to rain, left the rest of the group in the tasting room so I could start the drive home. It poured
rain all the way, and the CD player is broken in the car again, but I had nice
memories to keep me company on the trip.
It was a wonderful decision to go to the show....and the article wasn't just hyperbole