Friday is here, and it’s time to plan the weekend. After a long, tough rehearsal time, the show my hubster is in, “Parallel Realities” opens tonight. The show is being mounted by TAG – The Actors Group, a community theater here in Honolulu. The show was written by John Wythe White, along with his lovely wife Victoria Gail White, have been dedicated TAG supporters.John is also part of a new website, Hitting the Stage. A place to find out about EVERYTHING theatrical in Hawaii. There is a great interview with John about his new work.
Theater is one of my first loves, I discovered it when I was in High School. I was one of those weird kids who never fit in anywhere. I wasn’t in band, I wasn’t on the math team or in the chess club. I wasn’t a brainiac, but some how I got signed up for Beginning Acting with an amazing teacher, Jim Nakamoto. He was an Language Arts teacher, but his true love was theater. He ran the now famous, McKinley Theater Group, which became a home away from home for all us misfits who always felt like they were stuck on the outside looking in. Over about a twenty year run, the McKinley Theater Group mounted amazing productions at a very high level for a bunch of high school kids. Everything from “West Side Story” to “Jesus Christ Superstar” and many more in between.
Jim would always travel to New York city every summer, and in the fall he’d regale us with stories about all the great shows he saw. From the original productions of “Sweeney Todd,” “Evita,” and “Dracula,” I have vivid memories of thinking that New York was the place for me. I wanted to be part of the excitement.
But more than that, Mr. Nakamoto taught me to get my act together. I had stage fright like you wouldn’t believe so I never auditioned for any shows (I know, a big mouth like me?) But I wanted to be in the middle of it all so I’d volunteer to be the Stage Manager. And I can tell you, that is where my education really began. That’s where I learned time management, diplomacy, record keeping and somehow managed to keep the shows running on time and all of the high school actors in line (sort of)
I’ve been really lucky that over the years, Mr. Nak (as we often called him) has become a treasured friend and I have had the opportunity to thank him for being such a wonderful, beneficent mentor, and for helping to shape who I am today. He has slowed down over the years, but he still has a sparkle in his eye whenever you bring up the subject of theater and the dramatic arts. We get together as often as we can for a friendly lunch and the chance to catch up.
When I met the hubster, I discovered he was a long time theater patron, who subscribes to most of our local community theaters, so I have been lucky to be able to dive back into the theater scene after a long absence. No, I won’t tell you which part hubby plays in the show, he is featured in the photo, but I won’t tell you who it is. Any guesses?
So, won’t you help me wish him all the best with a “break a leg” from the team? Are there any amateur dramatists out there? Any Drama Queens lurking who want to shine? Do you have any special teachers that plucked you from obscurity, and helped you understand that you were something special. I love hearing from you and look forward to catching up with all of you.