March 22, 2006

Theater Reunion

A few months ago, a friend forwarded me an email about my old Parkview High School Theater this past weekend. The school was moving the theater to a new building and converting the existing theater into classrooms. So people were planning a Parkview Theater Reunion luncheon for alumni. Kristina and Jim (both PHS Theater alumni) sent it to me, and I forwarded it to as many in the old class as I could remember, including the Pattersons and the Hagleys. Todd is probably not still at that address, but it was worth a shot.

Mel and the kid were down sick, and it was just as well. Kris and Jim were the only ones there that I knew, and we were the oldest people there. Like any potluck lunch for under-50 people in the south, the spread was mainly stuff from Publix (my fried chicken included). They had pictures and videos of the theater classes from about 1993 onwards (the year after I left), since that was the tenure of the current Drama teacher. The only people I recognized were the then-freshmen from the Intro to Theater class I co-taught in my senior year.

So it was Me, Kris, Jim, their son Ian, and Kris' little sister Keren just hanging out, watching the little whipper-snappers socialize. They had video montages from the Year-End Drama banquets. WTF? We never had Year-end Banquets! Or even cheesy photo montages set to horribly over-used songs ("My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, "The Time of Your Life" by Green Day, "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan, etc.). Why were there no pictures of us? "Cameras weren't invented back then," offered Jim. "Yeah, it was all woodcut portraits, and we had to burn those for heat back in the blizzard of '92," I finished. All I found was some old pics of UGA Accidentals buddy Josh Head (now Josh Davis) from their production of "The 15-minute Hamlet".

I eventually met the Drama teacher, and she said she heard my name a lot, attached to various things. "But I'm SURE we met," she insisted. I didn't think we did. I quit theater Spring of 1992, partly because I had my a cappella group, B Natural. Also partly because I had to work nights at the Stone Mountain Festival Cinemas to pay for the bumper I smashed on the '86 Accord hatchback that we called "Lurch".

But an hour later, I remembered what it was.
"You directed "Antigone" in the fall of 1992, didn't you?" I asked.
"Yes! That was my first full production," she replied.
"Pete Mitchell was working the lights for that show."
"Right! Yes, he was."
"Well, I came back to visit him, and we were hanging out in the lighting booth during the show. You also had a girl named Jennifer 'Zoe' Loyless as your Stage Manager, right?"
"Yes, that was her."
"Well, halfway through the production, she decided to leave the stage and come flirt with Pete in the Lighting Booth. After a while, Pete said he needed someone on the stage headset, so I went and did it. I was your Acting Stage Manager for that show."

Her smile widened as she suddenly remembered it. And how she came into the lighting booth, saw her Stage manager there and threw a fit. Pete told her not to worry, that Chris Kern was on the headset, giving people cues. "But who the heck is HE?" Interesting evening, that was.

I couldn't make their final production in the theater, a matinee of "Bye Bye Birdy", but I wished them all to break legs. I'll remember my theater days fondly. There was a time that I wanted to be an actor. After discovering that I was a terrible actor, even by High School standards, I briefly thought of being a Drama Teacher. Briefly. Glad I got over that quickly.

2 comments:

  1. It was my '84 honda hatchback you drove into that tree. Lurch was your '85 honda.

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  2. I didn't realize that had already come and gone. Yow. Nothing like hanging out at PHS to make you feel really old. Part of me wishes that I'd gone, but not all. I miss those days, and I miss the people, and I miss the sense of utter irresponsibility that used to just waft through the air in that place.

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