The misadventures of a first time father

Tag Archives: theatre

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationBefore our son was born, my wife and I were very active in community theatre.

Heck, that’s even how we met, both cast in the same show many, many moons ago. We were both, whether separately or together, in usually two shows a year, but devoting a lot of our time to the theatre where we met in other ways – working on sets for other shows, helping directors with auditions, clean-up days. We both even served on the theatre board in different capacities over the course of several years as well.

I have seen that place in so many ways – as a refuge for those in need of a place to fit in, a historical heritage carried on by one successive generation after the next, a source of frustration (mostly during some of my time on the theatre board, which at times felt like a second job with the amount of time spent there), and as a social hub.

Most of all, though, it was a tradition, a sense of history. The particular theatre where my wife and I met was formed in the 1920s and has continuously put on multiple shows a year ever since. To walk through its rooms, hand-made posters dating back almost a century hanging on its walls, you can’t help but feel a sense of history as you stand there. When I would see a poster from a show Meg and I were in I’d think, ‘we’re a part of that history now.’ It’s a pretty darn neat thing.

We were actually in rehearsals for a show the night Meg found out she was pregnant. I came home to find her unique method of letting the cat out of the bag (notes with clues, tied to the collars of our actual cats) and we didn’t have much time before having to race out of the house to rehearsals for Arsenic and Old Lace, this completely new world of impending parenthood freshly dropped into our brains.

We had spent the better part of our lives on stage in some role or another, be it at that theatre or elsewhere. Soon after we found out we were expecting, though, we realized, this was not going to work as-is. So, as much as we loved it, we decided it was time to dim the lights on our theatre participation, at least until the little guy is old enough to come with us, or heck, possibly join us on stage if he wants.

It wasn’t easy. When something has been such a large part of your life, it’s hard to suddenly not have a show to be rehearsing for or not go to those monthly meetings and see everyone. At first it was weird, now it’s become even weirder to think about trying to get back into it at some point.

A lot of people will ask us “are you doing any theatre?” or “are you coming back to the theatre anytime soon?”

The real answer is, we don’t know. I’m sure we’d have fun. It’s in our blood. Heck, it seems to be in our little guy’s blood even at the age of one. Who knows, maybe we’ll get him up on stage one day and we’ll be a family of performers.

It’s one of those things, though, that I think only time will tell. I mean, come on, all theatre people, deep in their hearts, no matter how much they say they’re done, are just waiting for that right script or show for the “comeback performance.”

In the meantime, my stock answer for people is always “well, he’s our big production at the moment.”

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© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationThere is something that I find incredibly relaxing and peaceful about listening to an old radio program.

It could be the earlier (some clichés would say simpler) times evoked by radio, or maybe it’s the ‘theatre of the mind’ that I find so much more creative than having someone spell it out for us in a film or TV program.

Whatever it may be, it transports me to a time before every minute of our day was accounted for, before everyone was constantly ‘plugged in,’ when families would sit around the radio together for their news and their entertainment.

Yet, it is modern technology that allows me to take this step back in time. I downloaded two apps to my smartphone recently, one called Radio Spirits and the other, Vintage Radio Lite. Both were absolutely free.

Each day, Radio Spirits has two radio programs, sometimes a comedy, sometimes a mystery, you never know, from the Golden Age of radio. I love that randomness. It’s like when audiences tuned in and what was on that night was on. Some nights you’ll want to listen, some nights, it’s a show you’re just not interested in.

Vintage Radio Lite is more of an on-demand service. You can search through their catalog of hundreds, if not thousands of programs in a myriad of genres, cue one up, and listen away, complete with original commercials.

I’ve always been a fan of old radio shows, listening to radio dramas on my radio Walkman on public broadcasting Sunday night in elementary school, having stumbled upon them by accident. As a teen, I discovered old cassette tapes of The Shadow radio programs, and in recent years, I’ve often been found with a CD of The Shadow or old Superman broadcasts in my car for a dark, rainy car drive.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationWith these apps now on my phone, it’s actively created a new type of family time in our house. It’s not an everyday thing, but there’s plenty of times where we don’t feel like watching television, but would like something on in the background. So, we ‘tune in’ via the app, and as we eat our dinner, listen to the phone/radio and chuckle to the likes of Fibber McGee and Molly, Our Miss Brooks, or the Alan Young Show. I’m also quite partial to the Jack Benny Show, and, as I said, any time Orson Welles played The Shadow.

My sister-in-law sometimes jokes with us that our son will be confused as to what era he grew up in with our love of old movies and radio, etc, etc. While I don’t think it’ll be that bad, Meg and I hope that growing up around these things will give him an appreciation for what’s come before, and make him realize just how far things have come. It’s important to us not to lose the past, but preserve it and honor it, as we move forward to the future. We hope he will do the same.

A little modern technology, letting us appreciate and preserve the past. Pretty neat.


© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporationYou can take a lot for granted before you have a kid.

Before our son was born, I never thought of how easily we would come and go from the house, run an errand here and there, pick up some groceries, or grab a bite to eat, without giving it a second thought.

Now, going to the grocery store is like planning the storming of Normandy.

A date night? Well, they don’t even really come into play, at least not this early in our little guy’s career as a being on Earth.

However, the exception was this past week when, for the first time since he was born, my wife and I actually got a chance to go out and have a night of our own. While the little one spent some quality time with one of his grandmas, we went out to dinner, and then caught a performance of “A Chorus Line” on its tour stop in town.

It seemed a little weird, the whole night. At dinner, while we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal (we both ordered steak, so this MUST have been a big night) there was the occasional “you think he’s okay?” sprinkled throughout our conversations, the glancing at the phones to make sure there were no messages.

After dinner, we went to the theatre, she checked in via phone and things were going all right except for the usual fussiness, and then we enjoyed the show.

CHORUS LINEI had never seen “A Chorus Line.” Meg had caught it in NYC some years ago, but it was all new to me. At first, I was sort of skeptical, finding the opening number just a tad too long for my liking and leaving me wondering if I was going to make it through the whole story.

I like when I’m pleasantly surprised, though. Once the characters started revealing themselves and the story took shape, I really ended up having a great time and enjoying the show. Don’t judge a book by its cover…or a show by its opening tune, I suppose.

When the curtain fell, we walked back to the car and hit the road, wondering the whole ride if we had been out too late, if he was okay the rest of the night, and if he had driven grandma to drink.

Upon our arrival, he was asleep in bed and all was well with the world.

Before we became parents, it was nothing to say ‘I’m just going to run to the store’ or ‘let’s go grab some dinner.’ Heck, if you go back to when we were dating, we went out without a thought all the time.

During all those periods of life, you never give a thought to the amount of leeway and freedom you have in the decisions you make and can choose at a split second. Honestly, why would you back then?

Now, there’s a lot more planning, a lot more shifting of the to-do lists.

But, it certainly makes you enjoy those rare date nights a lot more when the chance arises.



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