A Song of Thanksgiving, Part 5: evidEnce room

Bart. Alicia. Jason. Ames. I remember what I thought after seeing my first evidEnce room show back in 1995, a production of Harry Kondeleon's The Houseguests: how do they do it?

Kirk. Dorie. Lauren. Rand, Colleen, Nick, Megan.

It was the same question I felt after seeing the next few shows: how do they do it? Find these great plays? Produce them like off-Broadway shows on no money? Get to work in this unbelievably cool space? Soon enough, it was replaced by another question: how can I do it with them?

John, Ann, Leo. Ignacia, Lori, Don, Katie, Burr, Sissy.

My friend, Tom, a longtime company member, called one day and said they were looking for an understudy to cover performances for the formidable Pamela Gordon, who had just been cast in a recurring role on Buddy Faro. The part, half of a wealthy couple quarantined in their London home duing the last great plague, was enormous and way beyond my capabilities at the time, but the dress was teeny-tiny and already rented for the run.

I was in...sort of. It took years of scrabbling along in tiny parts before I felt like I got any kind of a foothold. Even then, I would alternately burst with pride over being part of such a prestigious company and fester with fury over my lowly status within it. Why was I not front and center? Why were my career and stature not improving, clusters of awards not accumulating, sonnets not being written in my name?

Dylan, O-Lan, Tad. Ken. Johnny Z. Liz, Alex, Alain, Uma, Ryan.

But a funny thing happened somewhere along the way: these people who had started out as, let's be honest, the means to an end became the end, in and of themselves. I found myself caring less about being in the shows and more about being with the wonderful people who made them, both at the theater and outside of it. As a delightful and wholly unexpected bonus, the flyers I'd initially created semi-grudgingly as my contribution to the company somehow turned me into a graphic designer. A good one. A happy one. Jessica. Michael. Lisa.

The adage has it that you shouldn't be an actor unless you have to be. It seems like I don't need it like I used to, and, accordingly, am letting it go, bit by bit: the search for a theatrical agent; the hustling for TV and film work; the constant cycle of rehearsal/perform/repeat.

Toby. Barbara. Beth. Wendy, Justin, Travis, Tommy.

I know that the hardest thing to let go of is going to be the Evidence Room; I also know it's as inevitable as change itself that someday, I will.

With great sorrow. With a wee bit of wondering if I might have done things better.

But mostly, with a gratitude I never knew possible.

xxx c