My leaving for Boulder is less than a week away now, and I'll start rehearsals in ten days. Messages are flying back and forth between here and Boulder as we work out travel plans, make living arrangements and begin to construct rehearsal schedules. I think I'm going to drive via highway 50 across Nevada, famed as "the loneliest road in America"-- I've driven it a couple of times before, most recently in April of 2005 en route to Kansas City for ACT's co-production of The Voysey Inheritance. Driving cross-country has always been one of my favorite aspects of working out of town; I prefer to have my car with me where I'm working, but maybe the real reason I drive is to take scenic routes across the West and see things I've never seen before. If there's time on this trip, I'd like to take a swing through Aspen, a town I've never seen. But with gas prices up over $4.00 a gallon, it's going to be an expensive proposition. I know it will take me at least four tanks of gas to get there, by even the most direct route; I'll be lucky if I can make the drive for under $200 in gas alone, which will eat up a big hunk of my travel allowance. But my wife Jannie will be flying out at the beginning of August to see the shows, and having the car will let us take a bit of a vacation after the season ends. We hope to drive back via Wyoming, and maybe spend two or three days in the Grand Tetons before heading home.
Mark Collins, a feature writer for the Boulder Daily Camera, called a couple of days ago to conduct a phone interview for the paper. I'm somewhat surprised myself how vivid my memories are of my first summer in Boulder, in 1966; it doesn't hurt that I recently rediscovered a journal I kept the first few weeks of that summer (in tiny, crabbed handwriting-- how insecure I must have been!) and had reread the wide-eyed, self-obsessed musings of the 19-year-old baby actor I was. The company in those days was all non-Equity and had no roles precast-- all three shows were cast in a three-day, almost round-the-clock, very intense series of auditions and callbacks, and by the third day I was a wreck. I'd come with a very inflated idea of my own talents and prospects, and had fantasized about taking the place by storm. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by a lot of older, better actors, who knew their way around a stage a lot better than I did, and I went in 48 hours from expecting to play leads to wondering if I was going to get any kind of speaking part at all. And the summer might have been a real washout, if Jim Sandoe, who was directing Merry Wives of Windsor, hadn't seen something in me and given me Dr. Caius, the French physician-- based probably more than anything else on my being able to do the accent (I was semifluent in French). Anyway, it saved my summer; I felt I could hold my head up among all these brilliant, talented people I'd somehow fallen in with-- and I started to learn. I sat in the Mary Rippon Theatre for hours on end that summer, drinking in rehearsal after rehearsal-- whether they were scenes I was in or not-- and by season's end I really was starting to understand something about performing Shakespeare.
The interview will appear in the Sunday paper on June 1-- the day I arrive in Boulder.