One of the reasons I love shows like Fame and Glee is that they remind me of the kids I hung out with when I went to high school.
Few people who know me now would guess that I was a teenaged drama geek, or that I ever took an acting class. I sucked at it, which is why I ended up a writer -- because when you fail as a writer, it's so much less public than falling on your face in front of an entire audience of critics. (The turning point came when I was at UCLA, when the blind girl in my method acting class complained about how much she hated my voice.)
My love of theater was something that came naturally: My dad had been an aspiring actor and I inherited his old books of play anthologies. I read these books for fun. By the time I was in sixth grade, I was familiar with the works of 20th century greats, like Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill and George S. Kaufman. I was also a big fan of George Bernard Shaw.
Yes, most people thought of me as something of a weirdo.
When I was growing up, my mom and dad often sprung for season tickets for the family at the Ahmanson and Schubert. I feel fortunate to have seen original West Coast productions of Follies, A Little Night Music, Annie, Evita and other 70's-era shows that are now considered classics.
I don't get out to the theater much any longer. It's expensive, and I don't have a lot of disposable income.
Perhaps that's why I responded to a pitch last month from Topanga's Theatricum Botanicum. I had always wanted to go, but wasn't sure how I'd get anyone to go with me. Fortunately, it's an easier sell when I've been given a couple of comps (and a paid assignment to write about it over at CBS LA).
Gareth and I went to the opening of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure." Neither of us is a huge Shakespeare fan, and Gareth was downright bored. However, when the show was finished, he admitted that having a date night and seeing a production under the stars was kind of fun -- and he even said he could be persuaded to go back. (Theatricum Botanicum is pretty inexpensive: The top rate for seating is $33).
This summer, they're also doing Shaw's Heartbreak House. I think we'll be there.