About a dozen years ago, I starred as the ogre in Plato Karafelis and Rob Hugh's children's musical Stone Soup at the Park Road Playhouse in West Hartford, CT.
Tonight the roles were reversed, and I had the pleasure of watching middle schoolers perform the musical while I was sitting in the audience alongside Elysha Dicks and our overly verbal, mistakenly participatory children.
At one point during the show, the ogre rhetorically asks why nobody likes her.
Charlie shouted out, "I love you!"
What a wonderful trip down memory lane to the many, many nights of rehearsals and weekends of shows that brought a small band of actors together for a short but unforgettable moment in my life.
More than a decade later, I could still sing all the songs, including my solo, and I remembered most of the lines. Had the girl playing the ogre been sick, I could've filled in admirably.
Sadly, I was made to be an ogre.
In fact, during our first performance way back when, I broke the third wall as I was directed me to during the first scene, running up to audience members and roaring my disapproval. But I was apparently too frightening, sending Plato backstage between scenes to calm me down.
"Kids are crying! A couple of them already left!"
I loved that. I still do. I loved all of it.
For a few months, the cast of Stone Soup were like family. That is one of the many beauties of the theater. Human beings comes together, relying wholly and completely on one another to do something hard and wonderful, and through that process, experience a trust and a harmony rarely seen outside the walls of a theater.
Thanks so much to my former cast mate Sara Demos Avery for getting me to the show tonight. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.