IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
PAY IT FORWARD
25 March 2007
The setting was familiar. A theatre filled with props and pieces of furniture and lighting equipment and a director's table in the middle of the audience, filled with notes, a dictionary, a script, food, water, and a couple of cell phones, among the rest of the detritus that accumulates on flat surfaces.
The director himself was in the front row of the theatre, feet resting on the stage, watching the actors rehearse a scene and calling out suggestions from time to time.
I had come to observe. I'm writing a feature article about Sacramento's "Capital Stage," which performs on the Delta King, a paddle-wheeler which floats on the Sacramento River at the edge of Old Sacramento.
Their upcoming production is of Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain, probably known to few people. For those who do know it, they probably know it because Julia Roberts did the revival on Broadway (not to very good reviews, I might add. Apparently Julia was great at being Julia, and not very good at being "Nan," her character in this play.)
Rehearsal started at 6 and I told the director I'd be there around 7 and then, due to a traffic accident which caused me to take the long way there and then having to stop to take pictures of myself for "365 Days," I ended up being about 15 minutes late--not that I was on any timetable, of course. I just let myself in the back of the theatre and sat down behind the director, who was at that time sitting at his director's table.
I watched the rehearsal for awhile, trying to figure out what was going on in the story, getting the rhythm of the thing, and marveling at how things built on the director's suggestions.
At one point, the stage manager, who was sitting in the front row keeping track of the notes, calling out missed lines, and doing something--I'm not sure what--on the laptop computer at her side, got up to lock the back door of the theatre. Apparently I was not the only one who had wandered into the theatre, though at least my arrival had been anticipated. They wanted to keep out the distractions of having people wandering around the boat itself from interrupting the rehearsal.
When the stage director went to lock the door, action on stage halted for a few minutes and the director called out... "Oh yeah, this is Bev Sykes (pointing in my direction). She's doing a story on the show...."
The actors waved and then Megan Smith, playing the Julia Roberts role in the play, called out "Are you one of the Davis Sykeses?"
"Guilty as charged," I laughed.
She said she thought she had recognized me when she saw me enter the theatre, and then she turned to her fellow actor and explained that our kids had all done theatre in Davis and that, in fact, they were part of the reason why she had decided to become an actor.
When I got home, I checked an article that writer Jeff Hudson (a "real" critic, not a faux critic like me) had sent me about Megan in preparation for my own spotlight feature. She graduated from Davis High School in 1994, so she would not have gone to school with our kids, but she was involved in Acme, as they were, and probably saw Lawsuit in concert (since Lawsuit didn't end until 1996).
Since I started this journal, since it began having some sort of a small following, and especially since Google has made it so easy to find just about anything you want anywhere in the world, I am periodically contacted by people who were fans of Lawsuit or who remember seeing Paul in performance.
I am always surprised and touched when they tell me what the band meant to them or how moved they were by one of Paul's monologues or, like Megan Smith, how our children were in part responsible for their own career choices.
I guess it's that sense of "paying it forward"...paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to other people.
In our lives there was Ms. lin McElroy, about whom I wrote way back in 2001. lin [sic] is the reason why our kids are in theatre today. Her crazy notions that kids could put on shows, could learn lighting, set and costume design, could do anything that adults could do, her faith in them, and her enthusiasm set them on that path. Then along came Dick Brunelle and Dave Burmester, who built on that foundation that lin laid.
And now we have Ned working in radio for most of his career, and Jeri still doing music and theatre and even Tom rocking out on his guitar now and then....and we have Megan Smith, telling me that they were part of her inspiration in her choice of careers.
We've paid it forward, and that's really a very nice feeling.
Calling all Davis Area People!
It's time to register for the 2007 SPCA Doggone Walk-a-Thon, May 12th. Spend a couple of hours in the park with your two and four-legged friends and raise money to help the SPCA save cute little dogs like the ones that you've seen in my journal the past couple of years. Check the SPCA Web site for details. Registration is being taken now.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This did NOT make the cut for photo of the day for 365 days,
This is entry #2551