'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Wednesday, September 10, 2003 ]

"So Rob's final Broom Street show closed and we don't get a single comment from him. The hell?"

Yeah, I'm a bad, bad boy.

So here are some general thoughts:

Obviously, it was bittersweet. I was happy that the closing night went as well as it did--we had a lot of people (41 paid, I'm told), and luckily, Scott Feiner was taping the show. (People who are owed tapes, I will be contacting you when I get one. Promise.)

Alex Peterson, who ran sound for most of the run, seemed the most melancholy about it. He told me that his first experience seeing a show was one of mine, and his first experience working on a show was also one of mine. He was sad, but was also glad that his last Broom Street show should be with me, too. (Alex is going to be going off to college.)

Tara Randl, who ran lights for about 5/6 of the run, asked me if I'd ever come back. I told her I honestly didn't know if I could--if I'd have the inclination to return, or if (and I'll be honest) I would be allowed to. Time may tell, I told her, but the big thing now is that I need a break. Make the situation right to be able to do this full time. "Joel, I bet, secretly hates seeing you go," she told me, "I bet he really wants you to come back."

Time will tell on that too, I told her.

I talked to Colin Gagnon, my one fan, as well, who saw Psychos probably at least seven times. He gave me a cd that he and his string quartet did (which I really liked) and I told him that, yes, this was my final show for Broom Street, after which he asked the question that everyone asks me:

"Well, what are you going to do now?"

That's still a question I'm never sure how to answer. I mean, I'm still writing, and even have a couple of plays I want to do (one is "Welcome To The Terror Dome," which if you've been reading this weblog from the beginning, you already sort of know about), but nothing is set in stone or anything. I'm working on a screenplay (my first in a while), and someday, praise be to all, I'll finish my novel, Fat Scrumping or finish another chapter of a web story Potch and I are doing called Killer High.

But right now, I'm chilling out.

Last weekend was my first weekend in a long time that didn't have some form of theatre in it. I'm still unsure how it felt.

My wife Betsy kept asking me on closing night how I was doing. I told her I just didn't know.

Broom Street has meant so much to me--good and bad--at so many different times in my life, I'm just not sure how to feel.

At strike, I was sort of in a daze. Different directors said goodbye to me, like Callen Harty and Brian Wild, who both hugged me and wished me well.

John Sable didn't come and see the show during the run, but that didn't stop him from telling one of my cast members "good show" afterwards. Well, I guess it's the thought that counts. Come to think of it, it's not like I went to see "Candyland, You Slut," so I really don't have a leg to stand on.

After shaking hands with Ron (and letting him get on with his strike), I wandered around the theater pretending to look for any stuff I was leaving in the theater, but really I wanted to take a last look at the place from this perspective. Looking around, I found the big poster for "Yoshi's Heroes," my first Broom Street show. Two of the cast members from that show, Molly Vanderlin and Tracy Grzybowski leaned over, saying "awwwww," as I cut the poster from the frame with a razor, rolled it up, and took it away.

Yeah, that show was in 1998, which to me, these days, seems like forever. We all seemed so different then. I was different then. I thought about how the 1998 me wouldn't believe the 2003 me was deciding to leave the place.

Well, the previous night, the Saturday before closing, I talked to my friend Bob Moccerro, whose banning from Broom Street by Joel had helped to spur on my decision to leave. Again, the operative word is melancholy.

Both of us were stunned at how different Broom Street is to us, now. Maybe it hasn't really changed, or maybe we have, but we both agreed we missed the days when it seemed like BST was our home, and our family. I also honestly told Bob that I didn't think my leaving Broom Street would spur on too much change, there--some have suggested that my leaving will be felt deeply at the theater. Considering all that Broom Street has survived, I think my quitting the place isn't going to leave them licking their wounds. Already, they've got two new directors in Matt and Tracy Grzbowski, as well as Callen, and Brian, and Ron, and Queue (if she does another show), and John, and, of course, Joel himself. It's not like I'm leaving a skeleton crew behind.

And hell, I'm still gonna see shows there. (Admittedly, perhaps, not all of them, but...)

(Oh, it's a damn joke.)

Joel Gersmann could not come to the strike--he was out of town. And he and I basically said our goodbyes anyway. (Or at least as much as we're going to say them.

After I packed all my stuff in the car, some of the cast and I went to a bar to..."celebrate," I guess.

We all talked for a while. I even found a few subjects about Broom Street that I was still quite passionate about--like:

I'll be honest. I don't like that Broom Street will be shut down when Joel either passes or retires. I really don't. I think that it's an insult to everyone who works there, especially the directors there who bust their asses to put up their shows.

Again, that's my opinion. And I know, I know, I'm not there anymore, I don't have to worry about that, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda...

But I admit it--it hurts my heart to think that Joel will take the place down with him. I think it shows a lack of faith in the other directors, and I think it's a mistake. Broom Street shouldn't die with Joel. If anything, it should immortalize him.

So, after yelling on that subject for an hour, I still felt weird inside. I mean, I left the place--how can I still care about this stuff.

I dunno. I just do.

God, what am I gonna complain about now that I won't have Broom Street, right?


That kinda poured out of me.

Anyway, that's how closing went.

By the way, this Friday is the opening of Frankenstein! Schmankenstein! I'm Makin' A Friggin' Monster! Go, go, enjoy, enjoy.

posted by Rob on 11:19 PM | link



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