Compiled by Jeremy van Meter
As a community, we have just come through the season of the year when we reflect on the past one and pick out those moments that stand out as special and are memorable for that reason. If you are a “Facebooker”, you are likely aware that that platform will do this automatically with pictures and status updates on your profile page. As a theatre company, we doubly reflect on the past year as we recall momentous occasions from our personal lives as well as our lives as theatre artists. In this edition of Curtain Up!, the Commonweal resident ensemble recalls the best, brightest, and most memorable moments from Season 24.
The performance of The 39 Steps when Scott fell off the chair in the train scene and I fell apart on stage and then everyone in the audience started laughing…might not have been my most “professional” moments but it sure was a lot of fun and made for a great memory.
The first preview of The Drawer Boy—I was supposed to be watching as a “producer,” taking notes on design details, acting notes, things like that. About 5 minutes in, I became completely lost in the story and was simply a member of the audience, laughing and crying along with everyone else. I had absolutely nothing to do with that production—and yet it’s one of which I am most proud.
- Rolling lefse and making over 200 hard boiled eggs for Ibsen Festival.
- Hal’s terrific direction of “crude, vulgar Lona” opposite Scott’s fierce Karsten Bernick in Pillars of Society.
- Seeing Carla’s face light up when her second act costume for Pillars was finished.
- Hearing Stef Dickens say “Maaaargret” in her lovely Scottish brogue, and laughing at Adrienne’s chief inspector every performance of The 39 Steps.
- The second act of The Philadelphia Story because champagne really flew—out of Daniel’s mouth into Gary’s face!
- Hearing David’s tribute to his father for his 100th birthday.
- Seeing Megan on stage TWICE.
- And watching my husband Jeremy transform himself every time he stepped on stage to play Scrooge.
Hal: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is how bloody PHYSICAL The 39 Steps was – probably the most physically demanding play I’ve ever performed – and with over 200 productions in my repertoire, that’s saying something.
Also, The Drawer Boy was one of the most emotionally satisfying roles I’ve ever done.
Daniel: This past year was my first year running the box office—having to
oversee all the ticketing & front of house duties for the year while
acting in 2 shows and designing a third was a huge challenge; but we
had yet another record breaking year, so I don’t have too much to
Also, in 2012 Megan and I bought a house. Where we live. Permanently.
Buying a home is a big deal for anyone, but for people who make their
lives in the arts, it’s a huge deal. While there have been many more
“projects” than we first anticipated, it’s an amazing thing to have a
space to call your own.
Stef: The dressing room during Pillars was some of the most fun I’ve had with the ladies (or as we called them, “ladles”) in a long time. Such a great group of delightfully witty and silly girls having a grand ol’ time with corsets, Norwegian Sea shanties, and grey hair spray! And then being onstage in The 39 Steps with 3 of my besties allowed for more fun, trust, and creativity than I’ve ever experienced on stage!
David: For me it was starting audio-description for the blind after two-plus years of planning and playing Morgan in The Drawer Boy after an eight-year wait. Set your alarms for three: we’re rotating the crops tomorrow!
Scott: I enjoyed 2012 immensely. I took on one of my most challenging roles to date in Karsten Bernick, spent all summer running up and down the British Isles with three of my best friends in The 39 Steps, and watched a team of talented artists bring to life my crazy vision for A Christmas Carol. How can I top this?
Megan: My 2012 highlights would have to include making my professional directorial debut with The Metal Children! It was a tremendous learning experience, and something I hope to have another crack at here at the Commonweal. Oh, and buying a house in Lanesboro—also a tremendous learning experience!
Jeremy: Firstly, the opportunity to perform with my wife Catherine—twice—in 2012 was the major highlight. There was a joy and ease in being onstage with her, primarily in The Philadelphia Story, that made those days and nights in the theatre quite extraordinary. And, of course, my first stab at Ebenezer Scrooge is something that will forever remain unforgettable. Yet, a vivid memory that I will always carry from that experience is that of jumping on the bed as Scrooge makes the realization that he has in fact been granted a second chance at life and how to live it.