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A Short Essay on Memories I Have And Still Remember of My Time in the Big Theater/Theatre

(Or: There Are No Small Theaters/Theatres, Only Little Theaters/Theatres)

This is a difficult world no? Everyone just wants a piece of you, a piece of the action. There you are, throwing yourself out there to all those people, your public, and you never really know what any of it all means do you? I mean, does anyone really?

From the time I was a small boy, I knew I wanted to join the world of theatrics! I was a bit of a light bulb hound and boy oh boy, did I know where to find the light bulbs! If I wasn’t in one dramatic scrape, I was in another. Ha! Need I say more?

Like so many before me, I found myself knocking at the New York Theater/Theatre Doorstep. Knock Knock. Is Art home?

Nothing worth doing is easy. I found that out the hard way when I started asking: How do I get involved with this New York Theater/Theatre Thing? First I checked with all my new friends from Scene Study but no one seemed to know anything about the Real Capital A—Audience! That’s when I moved on to the true professionals—you know—the people who come out the backstage door night after night, grease paint on their faces and sweaty with the sheer love of it all. I said: "Let me at it! I want a piece of that pie please!"

The people I started to meet in the Theater/Theatre have become just like the people in my family. We all have such a good time together. We go out at night and drink and drink and laugh and laugh and laugh. One night, one girl laughed so hard she fell back in her chair and cracked her head on the floor! She forgot her name for the rest of the night and some of the people we were with had to take her to the Emergency Room in a cab.

But before any of that happened, I sat down in a fever and started to write my first play. I locked myself up in my one-room studio and let it all come piling out—everything I saw around me, everyone wrong with the world. I called my play: TOUGH SLIDE ON A MOONBEAM. After three days (and ten cups of coffee), I punched those fateful words on my computer keys: THE END.

I just took that computer disk out of the slot, popped it in my pocket and walked around—walked and walked and walked all night long. I walked from Battery Park up to Harlem and then back down across the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked until I saw the sunrise and then I walked some more. When I got home the next morning, I sent out thirty copies of TOUGH SLIDE ON A MOONBEAM and I set out to find a troupe of players.

Art is, indeed, home.

MOONBEAM went into rehearsal almost immediately with a famous older actress. She was quite a character and that was good because in my play, MOONBEAM, she portrayed a character [Note: In plays, characters in the story, or "plot," are referred to as "roles."] She was fantastic in that role. We went out every night during the run of MOONBEAM and we toasted to each other over and over again. It seemed like champagne just poured down from the sky and the famous older actress liked to stand on a chair above me and pour it down my throat. Like I said, these people had become my family. I no longer knew any life but the life of the theater/theatre.

But then, all of that was a long time ago now wasn’t it? I’ll just lose my head going off like this. When all the glory has passed and there is only the golden dust of a MOONBEAM, that’s the moment you know that the best memories are those in the past. (Not including those yet to come!)


Pinky Harris


The Brooklyn Rail

JUN-JUL 2003

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