Friday morning I opened the A&E section of my morning Oregonian and read about a local Portland documentary filmmaker who is having a CD release party to fund her current project, “Rock N Roll Mamas,” about women balancing motherhood with their careers as musicians. Her name, Jackie Weissman, struck me as familiar, and when I looked at the photo above the article, it hit me—twenty years ago and three-thousand miles away, holy crap, we were in a high school play together.
The play was a flighty, updated version of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, with pop culture references and so forth. With only two males in the play and about a dozen females, the battle-of-the-sexes theme proved challenging. I played “Magistrate, Commissioner of Public Safety” and, by necessity, half of the soldiers of the Peloponnesian War. Todd P____ played the other half. Talk about stretching your thespic muscles—I was a cast of thousands! I don’t know what role Jackie played, but I suppose it was only one character. Pfft! You call that acting?
I recall little about the whole affair, especially why in the holy name of Cap’n Jesus Crunch a loner like me signed on in the first place. Surely I must have known all that rehearsing would cut grievously into my precious sleeping and Super Mario Brothers time. Although doing the play gave me the unexpected honor of meeting Rupert Holmes, it would be my only foray into extra-curricular theatrics. The December after high school ended, however, I was typecast as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Pius Players’ production of A Christmas Carol. My performance is still reverently spoken of in New England Catholic amateur stage production circles, particularly that closing night when, lost in the reverie of the part, I completely blanked during the pivotal reformation speech and could only conjure lines from an episode of F-Troop I had seen once in 1974. No one in the audience quite understood why Scrooge was bellowing “It is BALLOOOOOOON!!!!,” but it brought down the house nonetheless.
Anyway, I sent Jackie an email and she soon responded, and we exchanged nebulous memories of the play and our not-so-fondly-remembered hometown. She was kind enough to invite me and the wife to her shindig, but, as avid Non-Paraders know, I am reluctant to leave the house except in the event of fire (and even then it must be one that could respectfully be described as “raging”). So we’ll see.
Please do check out Jackie’s website (that’s www.rockmamafilms.com), and her myspace blog, too. You can enjoy the trailer for Windows Media here, or the Quicktime trailer here. And here’s the article from the Oregonian.If you happen to be a local type, the CD release and benefit party is May 20th at the Bettie Ford Lounge, 1135 SW Washington Street, from 7 to 10 p.m. $25 gets you in and nets you a CD to boot. (21 and over, natch.) Tickets are available at the door, or call 971-327-6920, or order online at www.rockmamafilms.com. Good luck you crazy kid!