I discovered the American Shakespeare Center a few years ago. Having grown up in a DuPont family in Waynesboro, it was interesting to see how Staunton had changed. It was not just the city where the Court House, the Doll Hospital and another Leggett’s store were located, as I remembered. Having lived in Europe and several other states, I finally settled in northern Virginia. I do not need much of an excuse to escape the traffic and general hubbub and come back to the valley. I was happy to discover the Stonewall Jackson Hotel is a great place to stay. I have done so enough times now that the front desk staff and the wait staff know me by name.
Several times a year I do what I refer to as a “theater weekend”. I normally leave work early on Friday afternoon to be able to see the Friday evening performance. Depending on what is playing, I can see four plays in a weekend and have done so a number of times. Three is sometimes better depending on what else I plan to do, but four is definitely do-able. I love the pre-show and after intermission music. I love the fact that some of the actors will say, “I’ve talked to you before, haven’t I?” I have won the raffle twice, (a poster and a tee shirt), so I am a dedicated raffle ticket buyer!
Although I have enjoyed everything I have attended, some performances really do stand out. The funniest performance ever still remains Ben Curns’ complete abandonment to the character of Costard in Love’s Labour’s Lost several years ago. I laughed so hard during his “re-mun-er-a-tion” speech I was afraid I would fall out of my seat, totally embarrassing myself! Even Nathan Lane’s portrayal in the PBS production doesn’t begin to hold a candle to Ben’s interpretation as far as I am concerned! Although Titus Andronicus is a very dark play – I chose to sit in the balcony since I knew there was going to be a bloodbath at the end – I still wonder how that false leg didn’t show under the King’s robe until he was hacked up right before our very eyes. (“Doing it with the lights on” had to make that even more of a challenge!)
All of the Christmas productions are favorites! I can’t wait for my grandsons to be old enough to come with me to see A Christmas Carol. I haven’t seen The Santaland Diaries in several years, so I am planning to come in 2013. I loved Ginna Hoben in The Twelve Dates of Christmas and look forward to seeing Allison Glenzer in that role this year!
Finally, I must admit that if the picture in the playbill is any indication, Ben Curns may be even better as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet than he was as Costard. I can’t wait to see him as well as the others in this production.
My father and grandmother were fond of saying, “Always find something to look forward to!” Thank you, ASC, for giving me and so many others something to look forward to!
– Elma Allen