Theater Notes: Broadway bound
There was no new play to review this week. But for your delight, here’s another one of the little plays I’ve written for my 16-year-old granddaughter, the soon to be famous Sophia Parker from Vergennes, Vermont. I hope you as a grandpa have a granddaughter who might put her cellphone down long enough to read this with you. It might even work for a grandson. And if you’re a grandma, try it.
Granddaughter: Grandpa, grandpa. So happy to talk with you. Did I hear right, you tried out for a play at the Community Theater?
Grandpa: Yep. You know how I’ve always loved Community Theater from way back. So when this chance came I decided to really support it. The roar of the crowd and the smell of the grease paint doesn’t die easily.
GD: I’m so proud of you, grampa. Does this mean you can’t be a vegetarian because of all the ham? Just kidding. OK, so what’s the part?
GP: It’s a great part, but I have to humbly confess there weren’t thundering hordes of men who showed up for auditions. They didn’t extend all the way out to Broadway. The play is called “Copenhagen” and we’re just doing a staged reading. I don’t really have to memorize too many lines, thank goodness.
GD: I think if you can just remember where the audience is, you’ll be OK. I’ve read enough of these phone dialogues to know you can read lines, beautifully.
GP: Wish you could be here to see us. There are three of us in the cast. Another guy and a woman who plays my wife. And we have a professional director pulling it all together. He’s good.
GD: OK, “Copenhagen.” Is it like a travel video where we get taken to all the castles and cathedrals?
GP: No, but the city is where all the action takes place. The time is 1941, Germany is at war with Britain. Denmark has been overrun, the Nazis are in control of most of Europe. America has been gearing up for its ultimate entry into the war.
GD: Oh, boy, I can feel the tension building up. I can guess which side you’re on, gramps.
GP: Well, you’re right about that. I hate wars, but I’m playing a world famous atomic physicist, a Dane named Neils Bohr. The other guy is a longtime student, almost a son to me, stretching over 20 years. His name is Werner Heisenberg. He comes to visit his old teacher and can’t quite say what he’s come for. Neils and his wife think it may be he’s come to try and get some information about what Bohr knows about making atom bombs. The Nazis are desperate.
The plot thickens. I’m learning so much about the war, for instance, the strain on people who aren’t soldiers, per se, just scientists. It gets very emotional. I’m learning so much. For instance when the Nazis gathered up all the Jews and made them wear a gold star, that day the King of Denmark came down the main street of the capital on a horse and he was wearing a gold star, too.
GD: Talk about courage and doing what you believe in.
GP: That’s why it’s such an honor to be in the play. Rehearsals are tricky. We carry the book in our hands, and I’m thinking I have to get a more powerful prescription so I can see the small print. Oh, and did I tell you, it’s just a one-night stand. Although, as we’ve all gotten more and more excited about the play, we’re looking for some other venues for us to do it in.
GD: You could have written some of the lines yourself, I bet. I know you, you playwright.
GP: I’ve written a publicity release for the play. And all three of us have been all over the island hanging up posters on any flat wall, and I got window posters for the three bookstores on the island.
GD: Well, I hope you get lots of people to come. I know it’s going to be a hit, gramps.
GP: Reminds me of an old Louis Armstrong quote. Louis said, “Most musicians drive themselves crazy looking out through the crack in the curtain, counting the house. Me, I don’t play no louder or any softer no matter how many are out there in that audience. I play for myself. That’s the only person I want to impress.”
GD: Well…on that note, I got to get some sleep, grampa.
GP: I sure hope we don’t put the audience to sleep. I don’t think so. But it does get sleepy at some rehearsals, when I haven’t had enough sleep the night before.
GD: So go brush your teeth and floss, and get the heck to sleep. I hear the curtain going up. I’d say “break a leg,” grampa, but it would ruin the heck out of your daily bike riding. So I’ll say just thanks for telling me about your exciting new adventure, sleep tight and don’t let the Nazis bite.