I’ve become a familiar face at the Blackfriars Playhouse since January 2009, but believe it or not, I was not a fan of Shakespeare or theatre before my first visit. My wife has been a fan of both for years, and we had gone to several plays by other companies– you know the stale, stodgy types. We had even seen a Shenandoah Shakespeare Express show (The Knight of the Burning Pestle) at UNC Greensboro. I didn’t have a good time mostly because I didn’t feel well and it was about 90 degrees in the theater.
Anyway, on every trip we made north we would pass Staunton and see the sign for the ASC and I would always say,
“Yep, we’ll make it there one day.”
In 2008 I finally relented and agreed to go see Richard II, but we were in Pennsylvania and contracted food poisoning and were unable to make it. We exchanged the tickets for a performance of Henry VI, Part 1. I was expecting the same stale stuff, but I’d done a bit of research about the space and style, read up on the play, and went in with a good attitude and open mind. Needless to say, I was hooked immediately.
As soon as I saw the opening music and Thomas Keegan come out for the pre-show I was hooked. I was enthralled by Miriam Donald’s Joan, delighted by John Harrell’s Dauphin, inspired by Chris Seiler’s Talbot and mesmerized by the tension between Benjamin Curns (Humphrey), Thomas Keegan (Cardinal), and René Thornton, Jr (York).
After the show we met Sarah Fallon (Margaret) and told her how great a time we had. I was really pumped from the show and after a meal and driving back to NC, I shamelessly sent out a bunch of Facebook friend requests to some of the actors. Little did I know how many wonderful relationships in my life would occur because of attending that performance.
I’ve made dear friends with actors, staff, and fellow patrons mainly because the ASC has such a family feel. We have not missed a single production since that first visit and in many ways we plan our lives around the happenings at the ASC.
The ASC holds a special place in my heart and I’m proud to share my Shakestory.
– Adrian Whicker, ASC Enthusiast and The Mid-Atlantic Traveler