Now my friend Ron guffawed when I posted to Facebook that I was going to be an honorary geezer tonight...and I can see where his guffaw came from, but the "honorary geezer" had nothing to do with my being old, which I admit to being. I can be a geezer all on my own.
But there are a group of Lamplighter men who have decided to call themselves "the Geezers," (because they all are). They go out to dinner once a month...or whenever anybody remembers to arrange something. They recently invited Walt, who may be the oldest of them all, to join them, which he was happy to do.
The first Geezer event took place tonight, and included dinner at Chevy's and then seeing Pirates of Penzance for the umpteenth time. Since this evening included a show, women were invited to come along, hence, I and three other women were honorary Geezers.
Traffic was horrendous driving to the City. We were bumper to bumper for about half an hour while we saw emergency vehicles (which seemed to all be fire engines), but no smoke anywhere. And then, as those sorts of things so often do, when we reached a certain point, the log jam broke and it was clear sailing. We never did figure out what the hold up was, and all the emergency equipment had disappeared.
Things were fine until we got to a bit before Berkeley, when the freeway became a parking lot. I was sure that we were going to miss dinner, and angry with myself for forgetting to bring my cell phone, which had Will's phone number in it. Walt had his phone, but he didn't know Will's cell phone number. We really are geezers!
Dinner was lovely and it was fun sitting at the end of the table with two people I rarely get to visit with, since I'm usually at the other end of the table. We shared traveling stories, since I'd been to Russia, Roger had been to Switzerland and Gil had been to Germany.
And then after dinner we walked across the street to the theatre for Pirates. Seeing Gilbert & Sullivan for the umpteenth time isn't the same as seeing, say, Annie or Sound of Music for the 6th or 7th time and having to review it yet again. Seeing Gilbert & Sullivan at the Lamplighters is something we do on compulsion. Yes, we've seen the shows dozens, if not hundreds of times before, but it's part of our lives and so we go, yet again. Even to Pirates or Pinafore. But I admit that my attention did wander at times.
When I see a Lamplighter show now, since I know almost nobody in the cast any more, I think back on the Lamplighter actors who have defined certain roles for me over the years. This train of thought started in Act 2, when Frederick and Mabel are saying goodbye to each other, singing "Ah leave me not to pine..." The actors tonight were fine, but I have never seen anybody in the Lamplighters get as much out of that scene as Robert Wood and Rosemary Bock. There was something absolutely magical about the scene whenever they played it togther. Despite the fact that nobody in my entire life has ever hurt me as cruelly and as deliberately as Woody did a few years later, I have to give the devil his due. He was a damn good actor. On the stage.
He returned for one Lamplighters show a few years ago. I uncharitably admit to being pleased to see he was now chubby and that the bald spot he tried so hard to cover up for so many years, was now definitely a bald spot. Walt talked with him after the show. I couldn't. I snuck out the back door and went to the car and cried. Old hurts, I've discovered, never die.
We were fortunate to see many definitive Lamplighter performances. I thought that nobody could ever do Bunthorne in Patience as well as Orva Hoskinson, the co-founder of the company, until many years later when Lawrence Ewing came along, another long, tall drink of water with a body that could droop poetically. It's high praise to say that Lawrence is the only person in the role who can hold a candle to Orva's performance.
But though there were many women I loved as Jane, also in Patience, nobody ever quite gave her the heft of June Wilkins, who even played the cello--just badly enough that is was perfect for the role. June was an amazing talent and surprisingly humble when I interviewed her when we wrote Book 1. She seemed surprised that anybody would care what she had to say.
And of course there was only one Ko-Ko for me in The Mikado. It was Gilbert's best role and I'm sorry that there was never a really good video of him at his best. There is a video of his last performance, but he was tired of performing by then and even he didn't feel it was his best. Still better than most, but not up to the standards of the previous time he did it. The ideal Lamplighters Mikado would have had Gilbert as KoKo, John Ziaja as the Mikado, and Jean Ziaja or June Wilkins as Katisha. The rest of the cast didn't matter. If you had those you had the best.
We got home around 11:30 and as we were driving up the block to our house, I had Walt stop because there was a raccoon by the sidewalk. By the time I got my camera out and the window down, he had slipped down into the water drain, but I did get this picture
I was pleased to find Buttercup asleep in the cage when we got home. Last night at 2 a.m. she managed to get out of the cage and got herself caught under Walt's chair (her body is so fat and so solid she can't squeeze under anything). Her whining and Bella's leaping up and down woke me up. I was afraid all day that something like that would happen while we were gone today, but it didn't. Everybody seems to have survived the day unscathed.
So it's 1 a.m. and this geezer (honorary or not) is heading off to sleep for the night, hoping that we have no disasters until morning. Besides, Polly has learned that when she wants me to go to sleep, all she has to do is run outside and start barking.