The infamous door
The latest MasterWorks periodical ran an article I was asked to write about one of my most embarrassing stage moments. Here's the article:
I was once performing my play about Jonah in a semi-rural Quaker (Friends) meeting. The pastor is a friend I've known since junior high. That’s probably the only reason I got invited back after a fellow actor's post-performance comment was broadcast through his still-live lapel mic. They didn’t clap after our performance, so Sean Gaffney (former MWF theatre department director) said, "I don't think they get that it's over,” at which point they clapped. So there I was again, and I wanted to win back my friend's confidence. Now, when a church has a balcony I often sprint up there to yell, “Repent!” from above the main congregation as my character is calling down fire and brimstone on Nineveh. In this meeting house there was a door to the lobby, where the staircase to the balcony began. I noticed the face of a woman peering through the little window in that door, so I just figured I wouldn’t run into the balcony. Since Quakers tend toward stillness and silence as compared to running and shouting that might have been the better choice anyway. But in that moment of the play I looked up and her face was gone. I leapt off the stage, planning to yell, “Repeeeennnnntttt!” with one breath all the way up. I hit the swinging door at full speed. There was a loud thump as I realized that the woman had not fully cleared the trajectory of the door. So it sounded something like, “Repeeeeee...” THUMP, “Oh! I’m so sorry!!! ...eeeeeeent!” Thankfully the woman was fine and laughing about it after the show. My vanity, however, was smacked into a bruised lump of mush in the corner.
While performing at that church a few weeks ago (Can you believe they invited me back!?) the woman was good-natured enough to pose for this photo through that infamous door.