PHIL IN THE BLANK: Closing time

The curtain has fallen (or more like slid across the stage) on the Clarkston Village Players show I’ve been working with, “Morning’s At Seven.”
It’s my fourth production so far, all with CVP within the last couple years. Its closing leaves me with the same bittersweet sense of accomplishment and loss I’ve felt with the others.
No more lining up for make up, sneaking behind a curtain to get into position stage-right for an entrance, walking on stage near the end of Act I to trigger the main plot, or Debbie Kramer’s awesome chocolate chip cookies, which she made for us a couple times.
My role was relatively small but my character, David, liked to lecture Jim Pike’s character, Carl, so I had some sizable passages to learn.
Only after getting the lines down, almost two months, did I realize what they were saying.
David spent most of his scenes on stage trying to help Carl with his “where-am-I spells.” He would wander around, wondering who he was, saying he should have been a dentist.
Sort of like Hermey the elf in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” television special. Being a dentist was just one of those things back then, I suppose.
The other characters thought he just needed to calm down, but David decided he was having where-am-I-in-life existential crises.
I told him he would have those thoughts no matter if he was a builder, which he was, or a dentist. Pretty deep, David.
It was also near the end of rehearsals just before opening night before I realized what David was doing in his last scene with Esther, my stage wife played by Kay Lewis.
I thought he was being defensive, with lines like “we’ve kept our lives clear and intelligent” and “we’ve kept ourselves to ourselves,” but then decided he was actually trying to explain himself and his actions to his wife.
She takes him back. “You see, I’ve always had you, David,” she would say.
I would say “thank you,” and rub my head abashedly. That got at least one “aww” from the audience.
That was cool. I’ll remember that one.

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