So, yesterday afternoon, another show came to a close.
I don’t feel let down, and I don’t feel sad. That said, I am really pleased with the whole thing.
It’s rare to walk into an audition totally cold, do sides in front of a stranger, have them ask you back a few days later, do more sides, and then get cast in a role. Especially coming off of four years of school (albeit four years… two years ago). Usually you know the director, so you get an audition. You have an “in.” But this? I walked in in February with a bad Belgian accent and walked out in March with a great one.
I did get my good notices, by the way– including something from the New York Times that I can pull. Audiences genuinely liked it, and I felt good about my work. Not 100% all the time good, like it was easy (which sometimes it is), but a solid-member-of-an-ensemble kind of good, where I feel like I’m doing my job up to snuff.
Yesterday afternoon, after the show, as on all previous Sunday afternoons, we had a talkback. Usually folks who stick around say things like, “Well, who really WAS the hero?” — it’s a play called THE HERO– and “I think the ending was too pat and easy,” and “I think it was a feminist play and reminded me of Ibsen.” So we had our share of those, and when the director called for the last comment, a man in the back row raised his hand and began to speak.
“I just got off a plane from Europe yesterday, and I had a choice. I could go see my friends (Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart) close their show WAITING FOR GODOT this afternoon, or I could have come to see you. I am so very glad I chose to come here. The performances were beautifully rendered and the play was astounding. You have a wonderful little theatre here, and I am so grateful to you for producing such fine work.”
We all laughed and gasped– Sir Ian and Sir Patrick’s friend!– but then, with some hugs, all went our own ways into the rain. I chalked it up to a wonderful final moment of a wonderful run.
It turns out, the man was Vernon Dobtcheff, so literally SIR IAN’S FRIEND and a talented actor in his own right across the pond. Not only did he come see our little show, but he stayed for the talkback, and he shared his experience. What a remarkable, magical moment. I couldn’t be more grateful.
From Rupert Everett’s memoir: