Happy second weekend of [title of show]! I’m really looking forward to digging back into this beautiful sandbox of creativity. But before that happens, I’d like to share some of the bits of this show (and playing the part of Jeff in particular) that mean a lot to me personally.
- You Have a Story to Tell
Two parts in particular call to one of my deeply held desires. The foremost is the lyric right after the heaviest part of the song “Die Vampire, Die,” which through its quirky metaphor truly has one of the best messages of this show–don’t listen to your doubts (vampires). Instead, kill them by letting your creative expression shine. And right after Susan lays it all on the line, I sound off with “You have a story to tell, pull your novel out of that sock drawer!” At that moment, I feel like I’m speaking as much to myself as anyone else. Similarly, Hunter’s line in Scene 5 poses the question:
Hunter: I mean can you imagine if we got to make our living just writing? Actually making money doing what we love?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I truly feel like journalism and specifically being a news anchor is a dream job. But there is a part of me that’s always wanted to write–a part that I once let loose during the month of November 2012. As part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short) challenge, I wrote a 50,000+ word story that’s been sitting on a flash drive, unedited, ever since. I’ve also got a few ideas bouncing around the back of my brain for another historical fiction story. I know I’ve got a long road ahead, but whether or not anything comes of it, I think this is the spark I need to say to myself, “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to try anyway.” Stay tuned.
- Jeff the Web-designing, Gaming Nerd
Hey! I’ve got a website (you’re here now–welcome, enjoy). While I feel that its fitting that Jeff works as a web-designer–this is the line that really spoke to my inner-techie:
Hunter: Hey. Did I wake you?
Jeff: No, I’m playing “RollerCoaster Tycoon 3.” I have to build a log flume that has a thrill rating of at least 4.
So, it’s not the third edition of this computer classic, but…
…yeah. The mere 16 hours is only due to the fact that I recently rediscovered it on Steam. My parents could likely attest to the hours (days?) I spent on our old Compaq as a theme-park Tycoon. Ah, nostalgia. And in case you’re wondering, the original still holds its own in my book. Keep your Fortnite. I’ll take my RollerCoaster Tycoon any day of the week.
- Jeff the Grammar Gestapo
The sign at my desk that reads “I am silently correcting your grammar” really says it all. So, when I first read this exchange…
Jeff: That’s redundant.
Jeff: The ‘M’ already stands for “machine.” It’s like you’re saying “Automated Teller Machine Machine.”
Hunter: Well, anyway I went to the ATM and I forgot my pin number and the…
Jeff: That’s redundant too. Personal Identification Number Number.
Hunter: Okay, so anyway I forgot my PIN… totally forgot it, and I was gonna say the irony is, it didn’t matter ’cause there was no money in my account anyway.
Jeff: That’s not really ironic, that just sucks. It would be ironic if…
Hunter: Oh my god, I’m gonna kill you!
…I felt like I was reading my inner-monologue! Sorry, not sorry friends–I strive for mastery of the English language. Also, while I agree it’s less of an offense to do so, I do also enjoy the part in the dream sequence when Jeff suggests “flying around that preposition at the end of your sentence.” This character speaks to me.
- Parents, amirite?
Though she doesn’t win flat screen TVs at bingo, my mom has been known to do pretty well at the casino from time to time. But the most important parental reference to me is in “Montage (Part One) – September Song” (and it’s not the one you might be thinking). Simply:
Hunter: Has your mom come to every show?
Jeff: Every one.
Also simply: I can’t thank my parents enough for their continued love and support. I don’t always have space to put it in the program bio, but I want them to know that it truly means the world to me to have them in the audience as much as they are (even with such a risque show as this). It also serves as an example that I fully intend to pay forward with my own little guys. Mom & Dad, you’re the best.
- Finding a Way Back to Then
The denouement of the show begins with Heidi’s powerful, gorgeous song “A Way Back to Then” and I know it hits all of us in the cast. For me, it’s two-fold.
The “opportunity [that] walks through the door” in my life is my lovely and talented wife. Five years ago now, she prodded me to take a chance and audition for La Crosse Community Theatre’s production of Noises Off. After wavering, I relented on the day of auditions and haven’t looked back since. Through this wonderful local theatre community, I’ve connected “with the thing that [I] forgot that [I’ve] been looking for.” Now, here I am, doing what I love–creating art with the “craziest of company” and “having a kick-ass time” doing it. And I couldn’t do it without the love and support of my partner in this life. To her, I dedicate this performance.
It’s also got me thinking ahead, though. I watch my sons “in the backyard dancing” and think of the dreams they’ll have and the lives that lie ahead. This affirms my vow of support to them. While not wishing time away, I cannot wait to see what they can do.
So, that about sums it up. If you haven’t yet had a chance to see [title of show] and find your own meanings in its message, please don’t miss your chance. Four more nights: July 27 & 28, August 3 & 4 at the Weber Center. Get tickets online or at the door, and I hope to see you there! We’ll have some fun.
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