Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Princess Bride and other sundries!!


Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” It seems as if everything I do these days is theatre oriented whether it is attending or participating or just dreaming. Let’s go ahead and take a look at theatre in northern Indiana!

A few weeks ago, I had a call from Carolyn. She had an extra ticket to go to the Honeywell Center in Wabash to see “The Princess Bride” with Elten’s daughter and son-in-law. “Sure,” I said. She added that there were a few other events on that night, but she wasn’t sure what, but it would be great fun. I rarely turn down an adventure with Carolyn! The offer included a night at the Charlie Creek Inn in Wabash. Of course, Wabash has been my go-to for the past few years as I have painstakingly researched, written and performed the stories of the Charlie Creek Inn and the Eagles Theatre right across the street. As we pulled into the parking lot, I remembered all the stories! We quickly made our way to our room, and barely got settled when it was time to meet Carrie and Dave in the lobby for the short walk to the Honeywell Center.

I have spent many happy hours in the Honeywell for concerts and once for the Madrigal Dinner at Christmas. This was, however, the first time I was able to see a film in the huge auditorium. We had really great seats in the third row and there must have been almost a thousand seats in that auditorium, and all of them were full! It was great fun seeing “The Princess Bride” so such a huge screen with a big crowd. There were lots of cheers when the movie ended. I thought our night was over, but oh no, I was wrong. In a few moments (to an even bigger cheer) Cary Elwes, Westley, came out from behind a curtain with a moderator and gave a lovely chat about filming the movie and answering audience questions. His stories were just wonderful. I always love to hear the behind-the-scenes stories, and he had many of those! Finally, at 11:00, this was over, and I started to put on my coat, but the evening was not over, no, not yet. The moderator asked everyone to leave unless they had a VIP ticket which included the 300 or so of us in the front several rows. When we were the only ones left, the moderator asked us to leave everything in our seats when our row was called to have our photo taken with Cary and receive an autographed copy of his book, “As You Wish.” What? I asked Carolyn if she knew about this, but she didn’t. Within the hour, our row was called.

Now I do like meeting actors and movie stars, I do! I was greatly surprised by Cary. First of all, he looked really great after all these years, and I did tell him so. He asked all of our names, shook hands, and we smiled for our photo. Each of us received his autographed book, and we were finally on our way back to the Charlie Creek Inn. It was a marvelous evening full of surprises.

More theatre was in the works for me as I attended “Yazoo Mississippi” written by Jean Ciami at the Tibbits Opera House. Again, a fun evening with friends and a wonderful show put on by the Branch County Community Theatre. The following night I traveled to Kendallville to the attend Neil Simon’s “Rumors” put on by Gaslight Playhouse. This also was just wonderful. I loved each of these shows, and it was so fun for me to know cast members.

As if all of that was enough, it definitely was not. Each night I gather my playbook and head over to The Furth for rehearsal on our “Matchmaker.” This is a delightfully funny show written by Thornton Wilder. I love working with these students…usually! Of course, there are fraternity and sorority meetings, choir, band, sports and all of the delightful activities by college students. I have learned over the past two years to work around their schedules. I guess what I love most is the enthusiasm and the fun they all bring to the theatre. Directing these shows has fulfilled a life-long dream for me.

Theatre. Shakespeare said it best, “They have their exits and their entrances: and one man in his time plays many parts.”

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  The Trine University Theatre Company on closing night of The Matchmaker.