It’s gonna be a tough week for Sister Krissie. Our lovely theater has been coopted and destroyed. No, I’m not being overly dramatic. Here’s the deal:
Ten or so years ago an actress and director bought a summer house in Greensboro. One of the first things she did was hold a meeting, inviting everyone, on ways to bring more of the arts to out town. Over the years she started with staged readings in a barn all the way up to our very professional productions in a tent on the town green, complete with a Tony-nominee actress for the musicals. (Jill came up on her Harley to see Hamlet – she can attest to how good the plays are). She kept looking for a patron to help us build a permanent theater.
Along comes a billionaire who wants to do something for the town. He buys us a new tent (we rented before) and pledges 15 million to build a new theater.
Joy abounds. Sabra and company hire an architect, begin the incredibly contentious and arduous process of getting zoning approval. The people who were against it were vicious, as they had been for Circus Smirkus and are for any proposed change, but eventually the zoning went through, all the appeals against it were shot down, and we broke ground.
And then our billionaire started getting twitchy. He suddenly renamed the theater and took it over, slowly but surely pushing Sabra out. He would only talk with her through lawyers (and you can imagine what that did to an arts organization who depended on donations to survive). The building, originally based on the Globe Theater, has about 27 offices in it. Sabra asked if they could have one – the Axis of Evil said yes, then no.
In our usual summer we start rehearsals mid to late June, open in the middle of July and go through the middle of August. The Evil Ones said they would give us a contract – 4 weeks, no rehearsal time in this huge facility, one day load in and one day out.
We tried to negotiate, but the more we did, the tighter their restrictions got. Now they’ve signed a contract with a theater group from 90 miles away, one who plans to take over Sabra’s mission – to get Shakespeare into the schools, to involve local people, etc.
And on top of that, he took the tent.
No My Fair Lady and Amadeus this summer. No staged readings (our step-down plan). We’ve been destroyed. I keep thinking of “Fire and Rain” – “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.” (Flying Machine was the name of James Taylor’s group before he went into treatment).
So I’ll have a free summer. A summer back to my usual isolation, just like my winters. My short-lived theatrical career is done – I have no intention of going anywhere near the new theater and the Axis of Evil, and I was just starting to get good.
I need to cool my anger. I need to grieve and let go. I just gotta put that creative energy back into writing, though I think the theater added richness to my writing. The more creative endeavors you involve yourself in, the more creativity you have.
So right now I’m grieving.
Tomorrow – revenge!