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Friday, November 28, 2008

Memorable Moments in the Theater


My introduction to the theater perhaps should go unmentioned. But I'll throw political correctness aside to share a very innocent little boy's first appearance on the stage. I think I was in the second grade at Mountain View Elementary in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. (That's the lily white suburb I previously wrote about.) The year would have been around 1955. If I recall correctly I was playing an orphan at Christmas. I remember the play took place at Christmas because Santa was the main character and he was played by an adult.

My part required intensive practice on my dialect. I'm not sure who taught me the phraseology, and I cannot remember the line. I think I had only one line. But it brought down the house as I recall.

I also remember one of the teachers taking the time to apply my makeup. Yep, an eight year old boy wearing makeup.

The play took place right after school and the audience was filled with kids from each grade along with their parents. The play was short. My part was shorter. The teacher had applied burnt cork all over my hands, neck, and face. I was supposed to be a little black boy. I got my line out and the audience roared.

Key West has a very active theater crowd. There is always something going on at The Red Barn Theater, The Waterfront Playhouse, or The Tennessee Williams Theater. And there are occasional performances at The San Carlos Institute and the Key West High School. I just received a pamphlet in the mail announcing the 2008-2009 schedule at The Tennessee Williams Theater and was reminded of another memorable moment in the theater.

Like most towns and cities that have active theaters, The Nutcracker is a annual tradition in Key West. I remember a very special performance that will never fade from my memory. What I write is true. You can't make up a performance like this. It was 1994 or 1995 as I recall. The performance was the first night at The Tennessee Williams Theater and the Founders' Society party took place afterward. The Nutcracker's production company was from Miami.

The music began, the curtain went up, and several ballerina maids with feather dusters started "dusting" a sofa in the middle of the stage. They dusted and dusted for eons and eons. Tedium set they dusted so long. Finally, some other character appeared on the stage and the performance got started. But after a few minutes the music started to roll out as if in slow motion. You see, the music was on tape. And the tape recorder was not playing properly. The music eventually stopped and someone wearing a suit walked onto the stage and announced there was a mechanical malfunction that would require some time to repair. There was a break of maybe fifteen minutes or so.

The tape was repaired and the performance started anew, right from the very tedious beginning with all that feather dusting. Everything went like clockwork for the rest of the performance. That is until the very end. In the last scene the handsome prince lifts the principal ballerina up above his head. Well, he did. But he was standing on a piece of her costume. It ripped. And that brought down the house. It was like something in the movies, except it was not scripted or intended. It was just a most excellent end to a mediocre production of a Christmas tradition.

This has absolutely nothing to do with real estate other than the fact that if you live in Key West you can see great community theater and some wonderful road shows at The Tennessee Williams Theater all year long. CLICK HERE to see what's happening in Key West this season.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.