I’ll tell you what, Growler. I myself am on my way to Bremen; there I shall become a town musician. It occurs to me that you can come along with me. I shall play the lute and you can beat the kettledrum.
I spoke those lines on the high school stage 35 years ago.
While wearing donkey ears.
I played an ass.
My fellow thespians played a dog, a cat and a cock in the stage production of Story Theatre: From the Stories in the Grimm Brothers’ Collection and Aesop’s Fables.
My notes in the script (which for some reason I’m still carrying around among my papers) reveal my true feelings: “Dumb?” Or, possibly I was making notes on how to play an ass because elsewhere I note that Venus, the Goddess of Love, should be played “sexy-sly.” I needed to write that down?
I recall hating the part of the ass. I played it in the most self-conscious judging way possible, as if viewers would just me to be an ass because I played an ass. I loved being on stage and the center of attention, but I was not a good actress. I remember being impressed with the curly-hair guy who played the dog with confident goofiness. Now that I think about it, he was probably channeling Goofy, but good on him: He was acting. Well.
My diary only records this about my performance: “Opening night was fine. I didn’t screw up or anything.” Then I go on for pages about the soap opera of my love life, which was falling apart around me at the time (I was more ass than Venus in that relationship at the time.)
Story Theatre, indeed.
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If taking a peek into a teenager’s diary is interesting to you, you might like my novel, Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982.