SC Children’s Theatre Executive Director Debbie Bell thanked me for submitting my script & score for her consideration, but alas, her patrons dislike departures from the familiar, as she’d warned me from the beginning. It follows, therefore, and she confirmed the fact on Friday last, that a 45-minute musical about a grumpy, middle-aged Rudolph living in a trailerpark on the outskirts of the North Pole does not qualify as a bankable SCCT commodity.
Humble pie. A dish best served with marijuana.
Down but not out, I trundled off to Hilton Head to audition on Sunday for a production of The Clean House. The shave, the freshly drycleaned dress clothes, the monologue prepared especially for the occasion … things we do as due diligence, and must do from time to time if for no reason other than to stay in practice.
I’d preceded the audition with a side trip to Savannah, staying at the Bay Street Hyatt the night before, eating dinner at the Chart House, then breakfast at the Bohemian on the morning of. When a homeless man asked me for money as I was walking back to the hotel after breakfast, I offered to buy him a meal instead. He accepted.
So there I sat in my $1,000 Rush Wilson suit, making small talk with a cadaverous vagrant (“Come here often?”) while we waited for the waitress to bring us the check. She seemed none too happy about her involvement in my charitable impulse.
After paying, I left the homeless man to receive his gift alone. He’d ordered carryout, which is common, and our conversation had dwindled to one, long, predictably awkward pause. I was reminded of a quote I’d read in Ted Conover’s book, Rolling Nowhere: “A man receiving charity always hates his benefactor — it is a fixed characteristic of human nature.” George Orwell.
“I’ve been looking for work,” the homeless man said, maybe to reassure me that I hadn’t wasted my money, “but it’s hard to find anything.” He wouldn’t look at me. He wouldn’t even face me straight on. “Good luck,” I said. A handshake and goodbye. Sideways. Like a couple of fiddler crabs.
Erase, erase, erase.
On Monday, I’ll drive to Sanford to begin rehearsals for Dial “M”. Good times ahead. And Jay Spivey has enthusiastically approved my contribution to the October issue of fête. Plus, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the nights are cool again and the days are getting cooler.