When you have kids, you eventually reach the strange place where they are “adulting,” yet still raid your fridge for food and want you to make appointments for them. I have reached that place with my oldest, Caroline, 19, a second year at Williams (not a “sophomore,” a second year – very Hogwartsian, those Ephs). Caroline and I have always been very close. I knew her high school friends, who spent many hours here in our Snow-White’s-cottage-sized home. I knew her day-to-day life.
But then off she went to college, and all that changed. Suddenly, she was talking about people I had never met. She was making plans (“Oh, did I tell you the Ephlats were going to New York for our winter tour?”). As for her theater life, she continued making those decisions on her own, as she has for the past several years. My daughter, you see, plans on making it on Broadway. (I know, I know … that kid, says the mom, will play for the NFL someday … that other kid will be in the major leagues. But people other than I have said she actually has a shot.) To that end, she has decided what shows to audition for and which roles to accept since middle school. Even though I left her career in her hands, I still KNEW what was cooking.
College, however, drove her life at a new, hectic pace, and that’s saying something for an actor who has juggled multiple shows and school at once. This has meant much less day-to-day conversation, probably the hardest change I’ve endured, which then leaves me in the dark, or twilight anyway, about what she’s up to. A perfect example is her upcoming directorial debut at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield on Friday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
I was contacted before Thanksgiving by Monica Bliss, director of performing arts at the Whit. Monica and Caroline have appeared in shows together, most notably “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Ghent (N.Y.) Playhouse. Monica wanted to know if Caroline would be interested in doing a show at the Whit in January. I forwarded the info to Caroline and then put it in the back of my mind. I think I found out she was directing when I was once again pestering her with one of my annoying “I need your upcoming dates” conversations.
What I’ve gleaned about this show is fairly sparse. It’s titled “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens,” with book and lyrics by Bill Russel and music by Janet Hood. The Facebook event tells me it’s a “raucous and heartfelt celebration of the lives of those lost to AIDS told through free-verse monologues and an energetic blues and rock score.” Her music director is her classmate Jack Romans. That bit of info I found out from her when she arrived home recently with Jack and some other Ephs who were in town to check out the venue.
Just today, a scant five days away from the show, I discovered that the cast does not all come from Williams. Included among these college kids is Brianna Nicola, a junior at Pittsfield High, who is a member of Harrison Lang and Caitlin Teeley’s new GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company with Caroline. I do know that it’s going to be amazing, but if you should run into Caroline, maybe you can get more out of her than I have! Oh, and ask her for me if she needs toothpaste. Thanks!
To learn more about “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" and to get tickets go online to thewhit.org.
Judith Fairweather is a now-superfluous momager and a Grade 7 history teacher in Drury High School's 7/8 Academy.