Another Opening Night

Filed under:General — eric @ 2:10 am

So, I guess I’ve neglected to mention that I’ve been working three jobs during the last six weeks. It’s kept me a bit busy lately, and this last week is pushing things to my max.

Of course you know about my main job. It’s “Annual User’s Meeting” time again, so I’m busy preparing for that. Next week, I’ll be teaching four classes and giving two presentations. Also, demonstrating software which is only now being written. Consequently, little time at work to write here, much less find interesting sites to comment on later.

And then there’s the farm. The summer crops are fading away (though the “Indian Summer” harvest is just a week or two away),and the fall crops are coming in. Chris planted three hundred brassica plants that I bought last week and never found time to plant. They’re mostly broccoli, with a few savoy cabbage, cauliflower, and collards thrown in. The greens are coming in well, and the root crops are starting to form their roots. Meanwhile, we finally (only seven or so months later than I’d hoped) got the chicken pasture fenced off and the barn livable. The pasture is a mix of rye grass, clover, turnips, and the native pasture grasses and weeds, and the chickens love it. So we’re combining the twenty older chickens with the fifty younger ones, ten each day. By the end of the week, all of them will be roaming the pasture by day and sleeping in the barn by night, just as we planned oh-so-long ago. We’ve got capacity for twenty five more or so, but we’ll probably wait until early spring to get them.

And the third job? Directing Larry Shue’s The Foreigner for the Cold Sassy Players in Commerce, Georgia. I just realized that I never updated the spot in the side bar on this page specially designed for announcing what my current theater project is, and here it is opening night already. It’s been quite the process getting this show ready. For several reasons, we had less time to rehearse than customary, and many actors had difficulty with lines up until the very end. As often happens, though, it’s all worked out and last night’s dress rehearsal should be a sign of a great run ahead.

Commerce is about a half-hour from Athens, where I work in the day, and then about a half-hour from home. So my days lately have consisted of waking up early (usually a half-hour later than I really wanted), going to work, going to rehearsal, and then getting home at eleven at night or so, where some amount of farm work needs attention. Throw in designing a set for Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues, including building a set of trick bunk-beds in our shop, and all my waking hours were accounted for, and then some. So I’ve not been able to write about such things as making spur-of-the-moment tamales from leftover roast lamb and freshly milled stone-ground corn meal in a cabin in the North Carolina Mountains (yes, lamb is great in tamales and yes, you can use good corn meal in place of limed masa meal). Or about seeing the river higher than it’s been all year after receiving over a foot of rain in one week. Or about one of our cats losing her fight against feline leukemia. All the things that this space is supposed to capture to help me remember them some time from now.

I’ll try not to get so carried away with work in the future. I must remember I’m not in college anymore. On the plus side, the pay from directing will pay for two 12×48 foot greenhouses so we can start our own seeds and extend the growing season as well as covering most of the tuition for a months-long series of classes on herbalism Chris is taking from a world-renouned herbalist. So that’s something.

To make this entry even longer, here’s my director’s notes from The Foreigner’s program:

The Foreigner is one of two comedy gems written by Larry Shue before he was tragically lost in a commuter plane crash in 1985 at the age of 39. Both explore mistaken and assumed identities. The other, The Nerd, revolves around possibly the world’s worst house-guest with each scene more outrageously funny than the last. I think this script is even better, though it does land a little close to home.

The setting is a fishing lodge in southwest Georgia, not too far from Roosevelt’s “Little White House.” The time is about 25 years ago, just before Atlanta became the fastest growing settlement in human history. Two British nationals arrive for a few days, one on a military training exercise and the other, painfully shy and more than a little dull, trying to get away from it all. While doing so, he somehow manages to become someone else entirely — delighting a few locals and angering a few others. That anger ignites a series of events leading to a serious (yet hysterical) test of character.

It can be quite fun to become someone else for a while. Doing so The Foreigner’s way could get a bit stressful. Luckily, there is community theater. These people performing for you tonight have chosen to become someone else for a few hours a night for the last seven weeks. Other people, too, have become temporary carpenters, painters, electricians, sound engineers, seamstresses, and salesmen to make this show happen. Their names are here in the program, and they are likely people you know. When you see them around in their normal guises of students, teachers, laborers, office workers, farmers, engineers, clerks — truly community members all — be sure to thank them for their part in turning this theater into a fishing lodge in Tilghem County, Georgia. They all have been wonderful to work and have fun with. Another show will be happening soon, so if the idea of becoming someone else for a while appeals to you, please come by!


  1. Wowee! You sure are busy, ya big success, ya! Sorry about the long hours. Maybe someday you could quit (or drastically curtail) your day job, what with all the work you’re putting into the farm. I’m pulling for you!

    The “Cold Sassy Players”! *snort, bwaaa-ha-ha-ha* What a clever name! And I love “The Foreigner”! I didn’t know it was written so recently. I thought it was of the same vintage as “Our Town.” In the director’s notes you mention “Roosevelts ‘Little White House.’” I was always under the impression that R’s LWH was in Maryland, was refurbished by Eisenhower, and then renamed by Ike after his grandson: “Camp David.” Is there another of FDR’s fishing logdes in GA, or is this one of Teddy’s LWH’s? Just wondering…

    Comment by Matt — 10/3/2002 @ 9:20 am

  2. FDR’s “Little White House” was located in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he used the therapeutic waters to ease his polio. This is where he died in 1945. Today, a very nice state park covers much of the grounds, and the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation is located on the remainder.

    The Cold Sassy Players takes their name form the book Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Burns. This book, a classic that I’d never heard of until I moved here, is set in the fictional town of Cold Sassy, which is really Commerce, Georgia. The name was changed, but very little else was, apparently.

    Comment by eric — 10/3/2002 @ 10:26 am

  3. Cold Sassy Tree, eh? I’ll look into it… Oh, and also I forgot to ask last time. What does Chris want to be when she grows up? A fully growed herbalist? Does she need any pharmacy training? A liscence? Just curious…

    Comment by Anonymous — 10/4/2002 @ 9:20 am

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