October 18, 2012 —
Clearly, none of us are getting any younger. Still smarting from the reality check that was my 40th high school reunion, I’ve been forced to take a good look in the mirror and assess the situation. “I’ve looked better,” I rasped, as I prepared to make my way to the North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL) in Highland Lake.
Aware that the NACL presents theatre that is new and unusual, I took a peek at their website (www.nacl.org ) and read that I was about to experience an evening of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” turned upside down by a theatrical troupe out of New York called “Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant.” Intrigued, I investigated further and learned that “Conni’s is not a locale but an elite group of adventurous theatrical performers. Our events mix the ingredients of fine food, drink, song, dance, text, spectacle, and most importantly: you.” (www.avantgarderestaurant.com )
Back aching and feeling a bit creaky, I heaved myself out of the truck and put on a happy face, knowing that (if nothing else) I was in for a wild ride. Sure enough, Conni’s crew delivered. In the old days, a production like this might have been called “theatre of the absurd” and the promise of “song, dance and spectacle” was pretty much spot-on. Suffice it to say that the show was memorable. Between the meal (bread, borscht and beer), Conni’s colorful cast of characters (say that three times!) and enthusiastic audience participation, the promise of an evening where “artists rule and fascinating people come together to celebrate life, food and all that is good” was fulfilled.
On Sunday, October 21, I’ll be on stage (uh oh) at the NACL, hosting “True Confessions: The Game Show,” an interactive story telling experience that involves local “yarnslingers,” some of whom will share true stories taken from the pages of their lives, while others will be lying. It’s up to the audience to ferret out the real from the imagined, and Dharma the wonder dog will be handing out prizes as my trusty canine sidekick. Will the audience be entertained? I’ll get back to you on that.
Prior to my pre-holiday meeting to help organize Santa’s Village (www.facebook.com/santas-village ), which helps to make children’s Christmas wishes come true, I decided to hang draperies from the ceiling of my bedroom in an effort to create a canopy effect, in keeping with my “Green Acres” decor. Huffing and puffing, I stapled and nailed, all the while thinking about St. Nick’s workshop and the scores of elves needed to accomplish the goals set forth by head elf Dave Dunlap and the cadre of volunteers who join him every year to collect “Toys for Tots” donations in addition to assisting kids in the local chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates (www.casa4kidsinc.org ).
Contorting my old bones into positions better left to the younger set, I did a little twist and emitted a muffled shout as my back gave out and I went down for the count. Unwilling to cancel my plans, I took a moment and pressed on, thinking more about the kids than myself (imagine that!), understanding that before long, the holidays will be upon us and that it’s all in the planning. Moaning and groaning (Attorneys at Law), I got to the meeting and signed on to participate in the fifth year of the event, which will take place on December 14 and 15 at Dave and Corrinne’s Hilltop Home near Monticello, NY. Country star Jimmy Wayne will kick off the event on November 17 at Sullivan County Community College with the Thunder 102 team (www.thunder102.com ), and there will be additional events and surprises all around the Upper Delaware Valley in conjunction with the Dunlap’s winter wonderland.
I understand that the Santa Express (www.facebook.com/santaexpress ) also will be making its way to a town near you, spreading more goodwill toward all as the snow flurries.
So I’m taking to my canopied bed for a bit of rest before the merriment begins in earnest. Taking a brief respite seems prudent (IMHO), considering my reflection and the new wrinkles that appear daily. Feeling a little wobbly and far from young, I’ll try to keep you posted on upcoming events, even though Halloween still looms on the horizon. Will I be able to stand up straight and join the other tin soldiers come Christmas? I’ll get back to you on that.