From L to R, Director Kelli Bocock Natale, husband and
show mentor Joe Natale, Cast members Richard Lambert, Candice
Kogut, and blog author.
We closed BLACKBIRD last night.
The audiences were consistently enthusiastic and constant, although never a full house, there was rarely less than 30 patrons, more often as many as 40-45. The controversial subject of child molestation certainly kept some away.
From L to R in back, Kelli Bocock-Natale, Joe Natale, Richard Lambert, House Manager Tom Scahill, cast member Dolly Goodman, and Center, Candice Kogut.
At work, I put a flyer up on the company bulletin board advertising the play, and it was unceremoniously taken down after surviving there for several weeks. I suspect the well promoted theme of child molestation ruffled the feathers of the blue collar company I work for. Actually, I was surprised no one drew a rude mustache on the pic of Candice.
I always try to hustle people from work to come see a play I'm involved in. BLACKBIRD is the first time anyone actually showed up. How I wish I would have snapped a pic of my wonderful friend and co-worker Allison, and her three gorgeous daughters from Canissius College, who were dressed to the hilt, and came to Friday night's performance. They became emotionally and vocally involved in the show, just short of hissing the villainy of reformed child abductor, Peter.
The night before I could distinctly hear my brother in the audience mutter, "you bastard", when the drama of the play suggested the reformed child molester, was still molesting.
God bless my 79 year old mother who fawned over DUSTY SPRINGFIELD ... WITH YOU!, earlier this season, but was only disturbed by BLACKBIRD.
A lot of friends and relatives who would normally come to a show I'm with, declined the offer to watch a play concerning child molestation. It's understandable.
Only one scathing incident that I can account for during the production, aside from some minor cue flaws. Tom, the house manager and I were leaving the theatre in my car one night, I was backing out of a parking space, we were talking, when he suddenly started yelling and screaming. I'm thinking, "Why the hell are you screaming?" If he had verbalized his scream I would have understood I was about to hit a parked car.
Tom may argue that he clearly said "You are about to hit a parked car!".
Some minor damage. And some major damage. Certainly I didn't cause all that other damage to the door of the car!?? I took some pics and put a note on the car. Local residents came out of their boroughs and after asking if we were all right proceeded to take down my license plate number, and casually interrogate me. No I'm not drunk, oh civic duty, get back in your houses, can't you see I'm doing all I can about this?
So I'm worried all night and day that some opportunist is going to claim the damage was more severe than it was. In my worst paranoia, I pictured a minor evildoer making it a habit of parking his car exactly where it was, and certainly some a-hole from the theatre will back into it. That's where the other damage must have come from.
The next day, our lead actress, Candice said, "That was my car you hit." Thank god, I said.
Not to suggest Candice drives a greatly damaged car. But it was evident. My damage was a cute little bump by the headlight.
Our lead actor and Executive Director of The New Phoenix, Richard Lambert, and his partner Mark, threw us a party after the show at their place. They really know how to throw together a nice little romp, and I made it a point not to get so loaded I'd pass out on the floor of their bedroom, as I did at the last party. That time I was saved by their would be Saint Bernard, Buddy, who is actually a Basset Hound, who stubbornly licked me back to consciousness. No wooden keg of sherry to greet me, though. And, as it turned out, Joan, who I met at the last party, is not the sexy and gorgeous party girl that Richard and Mark hired to add flamboyance to any room she is in, but simply a neighbor of theirs. I would have wagered otherwise.
And gifts. Damn, I should have bought gifts. Richard gave me a very cool collectible mechanical wind-up robot, that now walks across my kitchen table. He said it was for my robotic-like skills at the boards, (Oh God, I wasn't fluid enough!). He couldn't possibly know that at age 6, I did NOT get the mechanical robot I had begged for at Christmas, and it has been a deep recessive psychosis in me ever since. And jeeze, our dear and talented juvenile actress Dolly Goodman, gave me a box of Antoinette's chocolates and a chocolate rose, that barely survived the ride home. Beer and chocolate, yummy!
And as I was walking out the door of the party, saying goodnight and waving goodbye, I then turned to go and walked directly into the bathroom. It reminded laughing Richard of an episode of the Norman Lear sitcom, MAUDE, (loved it), and that's when he told me Bea Arthur had just died.
God will get you for that, Walter.