I’m done. I have acted my last. I’ve completed my last run in the Studio Theater. I never have to act for Dr. Kuhns again. That might sound a little harsh, but for those who have worked with Dr. Kuhns on a play, you can understand my relief. I, like all those involved in our latest production, The Odyssey, have poured out my being for the past two months and now we are finally done. I’m done.
But the end is a bitter-sweet achievement. I will never get the chance to act at Geneva again, and that is a very sad thing to me. I have loved very nearly every minute of my time in the theater, working especially with Mindy in every play I’ve been in, save the one acts last year. I wouldn’t even be in the theater if it weren’t for Mindy.
Of course I’m going to tell you my story. Coming to Geneva my first year was a theatrical flop. I tried out for Alice the first semester and was passed over for every part. Going to see the show was like watching a party I wasn’t invited to. The second semester I auditioned for She Stoops and got to read only once, which I would come to learn was a typical Kuhns audition for someone he doesn’t know. I didn’t know about the one acts until they were out.
I’m a little surprised with myself for trying out Junior year. I’m going to say it was Mindy again who drew me back. The theme of this post is pretty much going to be “Mindy is my favorite.” As disappointed as I was not to be part of Alice I really enjoyed the audition process and while I had very few expectations going in I wasn’t disappointed when it came to reading for it. It’s nice to be handed a script and treated as though you’re worth listening to. The Little Prince was my first Geneva play. I was in the ensemble and I had four whole lines. I got to be an apple tree, and a dessert flower.
Midsummer was my first Kuhns play, but again, I wasn’t in it because he wanted me. Mindy was in charge of the fairies and so a fairy I became. The first thing I was told about my part; “You’re the purple fairy, of course.” I was also the only fairy to wear pants. It was a good time. The only time I actually worked with Dr. Kuhns. I got to climb in and out of a fabulous tree from which I could watch the rest of the show. We did henna and wore bindis in our Colonial India Midsummer. It was beautiful.
One acts came and I found myself with my first major speaking role. Four weeks later we put on our little Overtones with a rather rough beginning, but by the end we were a definite crowd favorite.
Spoon River marked the beginning of my last year of acting and my last Mindy play. It was dramatic, tragic and a little funny at times. Mostly it was emotional and I loved it. I didn’t care that it didn’t have the comedy some of the guys were looking for, I was thrilled to be doing something different, something with weight. And it was beautiful. I can still recite Theodore the Poet, though I have to use a Scottish accent or I can’t remember the words.
And then there was the Odyssey. Oh Dr. Kuhns, you and your over ambition. It probably sounds like I really don’t like Dr. Kuhns right now. This is not the case, I assure you. He’s a good director and his plays are always fantastic in the end… just not until then. I’m once again convinced that I wouldn’t be in the Odyssey if Mindy weren’t co-directing, and really, let’s be honest, that’s why I wanted to be in the Odyssey in the first place. I was tired after Spoon River, we all were. And I remembered Midsummer all too well. And I knew poli sci was imminent and taking on a Kuhns play was crazy while taking poli sci. But I wanted to work with Mindy. I wanted one last play with her, so I tried out.
My casting as Nausicaa will always be a sort of puzzle to me. I wasn’t called back for the princess; I didn’t even read for her. But I got a call telling me I was going to play the island princess and I took it. It didn’t feel real at first. Our rehearsals were very disjointed. It wasn’t until the last three weeks when we put it all together that it sort of felt like a real play. Again, Mindy was amazing, making nine ensemble dresses plus four character dresses all on her own, and they were all gorgeous. I’m not sure we would have been ready for opening night if Mindy hadn’t been running the last two weeks of rehearsals. Again, love Dr. Kuhns, but acting with him takes forever. He also roars. I will always appreciate Mindy’s calm, even when she’s irritated. I will also always laugh at Kuhns’s way of demanding we go faster and then telling us to slow down.
But it’s over now. We have finished the Odyssey, survived for the most part and now we can rest… well, mostly. One acts are in four weeks and I’m sure we’ve got lots to do, but I’m not in them, so I don’t have to worry so much. I will get to watch my words take shape, though, as my script is performed by the best cast I could have asked for. Seriously, we got everyone we wanted; the perfect group. I can’t wait to see what they, and my lovely director, do with it.
And we’ll see if I can get through it with tearing up. Not the play, there’s no hope of that from what I hear. Didn’t got to see the auditions, but I hear they were beautiful. It’s the end of the year that I’m worried about. I’m prone to weeping as it is and leaving the theater for good will likely be more than I can handle. I was promised no sentiment at the end of the Odyssey, almost got out okay and then Martha… and Mindy… and several others. Dang it, girl’s dressing room. Luckily we were all so tired it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There will be no escape at the banquet, though. I’ll just have to make sure I have all the tissues.