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The Fantasticks

July 22, 2015
I used to be an actor.

I used to be an actor.

When I went to visit Gerry Roe to audition he was with Janie Rife in a back office looking for a form for me to fill out, telling my contact information and my willingness to play a part in “The Fantasticks.” I filled it, except for the line asking about my audition piece, because I didn’t have one, really. I brought my score for “La Traviata.”
We looked in a variety of back rooms and settled on a dressing room for boys for “Wizard of Oz.” I tried to sing the drinking song from La Traviata from memory but couldn’t remember the words, so I made some up. Then he asked me to sing “Try to Remember” from “Fantasticks,” but I didn’t know the words there either, so I made them up. Then he asked me to read a poetic monolog from the same show. Twice. “Isn’t that wonderful?” Gerry asked.
“Well,” I answered, “I suppose so. Well, it’s not what I would have said.”
“What would you have said?” he asked.
“I would have said, ‘This is about two young lovers who think nobody has ever experienced what they have, walking in the evening sunlight through weedy river banks along the Clark Fork.’” I said.
“And going like this!” he said, sucking through his pinched fingers as if smoking a joint, “Pfffffffffft.” Gerry knew about Missoula. I had the feeling he could see right through me.
“Exactly!” I answered, nervously.
We had a little laugh. “I’ve been there, too,” he said, as I nodded vigorously. I was thinking of my journalism professor, Nathaniel Blumberg, who chided our class in “History and Principles of Journalism,” when he told us we were exactly like every other pair of lovers who thought they were the first to watch a sunset. His news for us was that we were not.
In the end I told Gerry that I wished that he would get about 25 men to audition so that he could pick out some stars. He obviously had to settle for me, instead. However, in my day I have done some excellent work as an actor, so maybe he could tell that I was an old Thespian.
I learned I had been cast as the father of the boy in the story.
The musical play is wonderful, and my favorite line is, “Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”
I know just about everyone can identify with this.
I have also truly been hurt by love, for I have loved and lost more than only a few dear ones and the hurt burns within my breast. That’s how I know I will contribute greatly to this splendid production.

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