“The Show Must Go On!”

By , March 28, 2016

I’m cast in a local production of Michael Hollinger’s play, Incorruptible: A dark comedy about the Dark Ages.

I learned that the high school Drama, Debate, and Forensics coach planned to direct the play this spring while we were on the state meet trip to Anchorage in February (see Frugal Generosity: Time Vs. Money and Karma Crash). She loaned me the script, I read it, and really enjoyed it. I did my best not to make the whole trip a running audition, but looked forward to trying out when the time came.

The play, set in the Dark Ages, is a comedy about trafficking in holy relics.
An impoverished monastery is barely getting by taking in offerings to a set of saintly remains. They hope to boost interest in the relics through a Papal visit, but learn that the Pope has instead gone to a nearby nunnery, where the remains of the same saint are reportedly displayed. Word is, the remains were brought there by one of the monastery’s monks, a man with one eye.

Shortly afterward, a minstrel shows up at the monastery, with one eye and a bad attitude toward the church. A confrontation occurs, a deal is struck, some rather unholy lessons are taught and learned. Hilarity, as they so often said in the Dark Ages, ensues….

It’s really funny, extremely irreverent, sure to make a lot of people unhappy, particularly in this small town. Ultimately, though, it’s a story of redemption, reconciliation, even miracles.

I will play Charles, the monastery’s Abbott, gentle, well meaning and forthright, but with a tortured past and very inconvenient family relationships within the church structure.

I’ve met most of the cast (as I write this, some roles are still being cast) and they’re a fun group. The first read through was hilarious, not only because of the excellent script.

One may rightly question the wisdom of a heavy time commitment during one of our busiest seasons. We’re getting the garden ready; this is prime firewood harvesting time (see Fish or Cut . . . Wood); the fish will arrive soon, both herring and Dolly Varden char, with salmon on the way soon after (see Homestead Multitasking). This is generally one of the dry periods of our year, when outdoor construction and chores can progress unhampered by rain. And yet, I’m heading to town about the time I usually settle in for the night, staying there long, and coming home late. This is not my normal style.

But, I can’t resist! I made precautions: I asked that I hear of any cancelled practices before I go to town, I arranged for housing with friends in town if needed, I even scoped out the theater’s green room for places to roll out a sleeping bag if necessary. I’ll make it work.

I’ve always loved acting. Technically, my first stage role came when I was 2 months old—I played the baby Jesus in the Fairbanks Native church’s Nativity play, in full Inupiaq parka, pants and mukluks. I performed in plays throughout elementary and high school, and did a little theater in college. The last time I acted in a production was almost 20 years ago, in Juneau. I’ve missed it! I feel ready to get back into it, no matter what it takes. The show, as Shakespeare said, must go on!

2 Responses to ““The Show Must Go On!””

  1. Eva says:

    Good for you Mark! There are always chores and work to be done but you’ll have a blast having some fun with the play. Enjoy! I was in my high school play and i remember what great fun we had…that was over 35 years ago. Being involved in a community theatre is on my retirement bucket list!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Eva, based on my experience with this play, don’t wait! They could be looking for you to fill a role right now!

    Thanks for the encouragement. No regrets so far!

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