I actually haven’t posted in a few days. How about that? I let Halloween go right by without so much as a joke. In case you’re wondering, I was a fat, lazy, alcoholic Harry Potter who works at the DMV now and is quite disgruntled with his job. I wish I took a picture, but I didn’t. If I happen to come across one from anyone who was at the party, I’ll be sure to post it.
But the other day I was talking with someone when I got onto the subject of a play I was in back in college. I’m not sure how it really came up in the first place, but I hadn’t thought about it in awhile and the memories of it amused me. I had no idea how awful the play was going to be at first, but it was actually one of the most enjoyable non-sexual things I did in college. We had rehearsals for like four months and only three performances.
It was called Seasons of Solace. It was about a young college kid who contracts HIV through a blood transfusion and has to deal with the stigma of being a straight male with AIDS. This was in like 1993-94 mind you, so it was still a bit more of an issue.
But the goddamn play was four hours long.
I had three or four roles in the play. The best role being that of a ten year old. I played that one really well. The girl that wrote the play, Ari Meehan, also starred in it, directed it, produced it, sang in it, did the program art in it, and basically went crazy by the time it was all finished. Although depending on who you ask, she was pretty crazy to start with. (I have a feeling she probably starts her day by Googling her own name, so I put her full name in here. If you’re reading this, Ari, I’m not making fun of you, per se, but rather, that whole time in our lives.)
But it did make me a lot of close friends that I could probably run into on the street and end up getting drunk with for a weekend while talking about all the crap that went on for the four months we did that stupid thing. We regularly went to Denny’s after rehearsal and made fun of people; namely Ari.
The only reason I really ended up getting into it in the first place was because I’d joined the Coe Alliance (the Gay and Lesbian Awareness group on campus). I actually joined because I had a crush on the president, Sarah. (I was later asked if this was the reason I joined by my gay friend Chad, but I lied, telling him that I believed in the cause and that my crush on Sarah came afterwards.) But don’t get me wrong, I actually probably would have joined anyway because I do believe it’s a good cause. I just wouldn’t have joined so quickly. But anyway, a bunch of people from the Alliance were in the play so there became this awesome mix of gay/straight people that all bonded in defiance against Ari.
A side note about the Coe Alliance. I was active in this group and was proud to be a memeber of it despite being a straight man. But part of me also liked the fact that people like my dad would get uncomfotable when I wore the Coe Alliance t-shirt out in public. We were in Arizona to watch spring training baseball one year and I wore the shirt to a ballgame. My dad was more concerned that the people behind us were going to taunt me for wearing the shirt (the group’s gay and lesbian awareness credo was clearly written on the back) than he was with the ballgame. And this wasn’t because he was worried that I might be gay or anything, but I think more because he was less trusting of the behavior of others who may not agree with everything my t-shirt might discuss. But wasn’t that the point of joining the group in the first place? Anyway, sorry dad, and don’t worry Uncle Bobby, I’m not gay.
But back to the play. Let me tell you, those times were something. My friends Mike Loehr, Eric Lea, and I would hide under the stage after rehearsal sometimes, and we’d wait until everyone cleared out and locked up. Then we’d climb up into the tower of Sinclair Auditorium. One time we hung our socks out the window and the next day they happened to be taking pictures of the campus for one of their admissions brochures. In a brilliant twist of serendipity, you can see our socks hanging out there. It’s the little things that really satisfy a guy, know what I mean?
As much of a disaster as the play turned out to be, Ari’s vision was noble and I’ve always admired her for being able to put such a piece together. It was just horribly unorganized, poorly managed, and the script was in massive need of an editor. But otherwise, it was really a lot of fun.
On the final night of the play, there’s a scene where Ari’s character gets slapped in the midst of an argument. The actress doing the slapping had threatened to really hit her on the final night. None of us actually thought she would. Sure enough, the scene comes up and Ari and Mimi are going at it, bickering brilliantly in their staged argument. Scott Cambell and I are standing to the side as observers who want to stay close in case they have to break something up, but far enough away so as not to get dragged into it. The time comes for the big slap and sure enough, WHAP, Mimi practically slugs Ari. Scott turns and looks at me upstage with his eyes wide and his teeth clenched on his lips so he won’t laugh out loud. I put my hand over my face as if to say, “oh my, I can not believe this argurment has taken such a nasty turn.” But in fact I’m crying tears of laughter. Ari manages to recover as Mimi stands stoically above her and the scene progresses nicely. I guess it’s not as fun a story for those who weren’t on stage.
But then again, if you weren’t on stage, there was nothing fun about that play. I apologize to those of you who had to watch it.