MY LAST ACTING ROLE IN "DR. SMARTY AND THE NEW NORMAL"
I’ve been acting on stage throughout my life, most particularly doing live theater steadily since I retired from full time law teaching in 2006. The parts have ranged from huge (Lear in “King Lear”) to small (Mysterious Man in “Into the Woods”), plus I’ve directed a number of shows at five different theater companies here in Columbus.
|As Lear, after the show, with family|
However, with the exception that is the chief subject of this blog post, I believe my acting days are now over. As I settle into my late 70s it’s become clear that good parts for a man my age are scarce, and now is the right time to rest on my slender laurels, relax, and watch others display their terrific talents.
But I’m going out having played one of the two wonderful parts in a terrific new Zoom play being produced by Evolution Theatre Company. It is entitled “Dr. Smarty and the New Normal,” written by Andy Reynolds and directed by my husband, David Allen Vargo—to be made available to the world soon on the internet (see below).
“Dr. Smarty” is an actual play created especially for a Zoom format, not merely a reading of a script intended for a live stage. My co-star Lane Schlicher and I memorized the lines and rehearsed for weeks before the show was finally taped over a two day period. The story is a quite funny and moving tale of an 82 year old man, trapped alone during the pandemic, who slowly becomes a friend of the young nutritionist who is counseling him about his battle with diabetes.
I’ve been in a couple of plays on stage with my husband David, I directed him in “The Temperamentals” in 2015, and then he directed my play “The Turkey Men” last year and made it a success. But this is the first time David’s directed me. Everyone who’s worked with him told me that David is a fantastic director, and, having seen a number of his shows, I believed it. But once he started directing Lane and me in “Dr. Smarty” my admiration for his talents skyrocketed to a new level. David has a way of asking questions that makes an actor rethink completely what the lines mean, and he certainly knows how to spark enthusiasm in his actors. At one point in the rehearsals process Lane and I were too sluggish rehearsing the very first scene of the play, and David stopped us to say this:
If you don’t catch the attention of your audience in the first thirty seconds they’re going to switch to watch something else. So that’s what you’ve got: thirty seconds to make them want to see more. Let’s try it again with that in mind.
Lane and I looked at each other, suddenly terrified, and then performed the first scene as if a fire were raging under us. As rehearsals went on David massaged our characters so that they seamlessly metamorphosized from strangers at the start to being good friends by the terrific ending of Mr. Reynold’s wonderful play.
Evolution Theatre Company sent out this information about viewing the play and then an extra discussion with the playwright, director and actors:
A BLACK FRIDAY VIRTUAL THEATRE SPECIAL...but purchase today! Launching Friday November 27, only $10. But if you pay $15 you will be invited to a ZOOM talk-back session with the Playwright, the Director and the Actors, 6:30 - 7:30 on Tuesday December 1st. And Evolution will honor these deals for the foreseeable future even after the original air dates. Purchase at www.evolutiontheatre.org
|Lane as Peter; Me as Henry|
So, blog readers, I invite you to enjoy this fascinating play, and also witness the conclusion of my acting career.
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog”; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html
“My Play ‘The Turkey Men’ Is a Hit, October 22, 2019; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2019/10/my-play-turkey-men-is-hit.html
“My Husband, the Actor,” May 31, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-husband-actor_31.html
“Singing and Dancing in Sondheim’s Roman Farce with My
Husband (Again),” April 13, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/04/singing-and-dancing-in-sondheims-roman.html