One line in a response pushed me to write this post. I don’t think I’ve written about it before, but I remember telling a friend or two, so if you’ve heard it before, just be patient with me.
Way back in 1997, somebody asked me for suggestions on shows for the play house to do. I was a rank newbie to the theater, but I gave a suggestion or two. The play at the top of my list was “Harvey”. It seems that the playhouse did this show before, and they were not ready to do it again. Year after year, I suggested that show. Finally, after a lot of persuasion, and maybe just to shut me up, the show was scheduled for some time in 2006. I tried out for the show and was given the lead role of Elwood Dowd. A dream come true for me. I would have done anything on that show just to be able to watch it, but I was able to be in it. I was thrilled.
One thing did put a damper on that. My lovely wife died in 2003 and would not be by my side during the rehearsals and production of this show. This was a bit of a stress for me during the early rehearsals of the show. Finally something changed. I needed some props for the show. One was the cards that Elwood was so fond of passing out, another a notebook of his favorite watering holes. And the third an billfold with some cash and other peoples calling cards. The little notebook, and many of the ‘calling’ cards belonged to my late wife. From that time on, I had a little bit of her on stage with me.
Then came my largest discovery. I was able to think of Harvey as my lovely wife standing on the footstool in the kitchen. This would have put her at the exact height needed for Harvey. So from the time of that thought, until the end of the run, every time I looked at Harvey on stage, I was peering into the eyes of my wife.
Many times she said she never wanted to be on stage. She never wanted any recognition for anything she did for the theater. She wanted to remain anonymous. Well except for in my eyes, she was never on the stage. Her name was not listed in the bios, but she was on stage with me for every performance. I gave my all to that show. I pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could. And every night I looked into the eyes of my wife, shared a drink or two and was finally able to say “Where have you been, I’ve been looking all over for you.”
No matter what comes after that show, all things pale when in that light.