(These stories of the road are the humorous incidents
that keep spirits alive. But there are plenty of discouraging times too
-- bad food, long drives, even longer waits stranded in airports, even
(sad-to-say) ill-prepared theater mangers. What keeps us going is not
just the on-the-road funnies; it's the audience. Laura Cutler, who worked
as house manager at Ivoryton Playhouse, our home-base theater, caught
Ivoryton, CT - Laura puts in long hours in a factory
during the day, and often comes directly from work to begin setting the
theater up for a show. She is here all night, taking tickets, watching
over the audience (and the lights, and the heat, and us) during the performance,
helping to clean up afterwards. I ask her why she keeps coming. It certainly
isn't the money.
"Oh," she says, "I love it here. I get energy from the
audience. They come in here, like tonight. It's Friday. They're exhausted;
you can tell they're angry about something, maybe about everything. Their
faces are set in stone. The men, especially, don't want to be here. They
don't know what is going to happen, but whatever it is, they're pretty
sure they're not going to like it.
Then the show starts. There's that first laugh when you
start talking about "teleeveesion." And then the "Tunnel of Time"
comes on the screen, and they're swept away.
By the time they leave, they're different people. They're
laughing, talking with each other. They're alive again.
It's magic. That's why I come. Because I'm in the audience
too. I feel alive again."