After the first of the year, I joined the cast of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth," produced at the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine, Florida. This is a homecoming of sorts, being reunited with director Gary Cadwallader, who also directed me in William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part One" with the Atlantic Shakespeare Company at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in the summer of 1998, and John Pope, with whom I have performed at the Orange Park Community Theatre and the Murder Mystery Players.
That summer of 1998 will forever be "burned" into my memory. That was the year that 5,000 fires burned 500,000 acres of land throughout Florida. The situation was so tense that, since the amphitheatre was 35 miles from my apartment, I kept most of my beloved belongings, a few changes of clothes, photographs and vital documents in the trunk of my car...in case winds swept the wildfires towards my home while I was away.
Smoke lingered in the air throughout the summer, that you got used to smelling like you just sat by a campfire. Visibility on roads and out office windows would often be less than a quarter-of-a-mile, and I remember during one performance at the amphitheatre, the smoke was so thick, I couldn't see the last row of seats from the stage. Keeping hydrated, and soothing the throat with lemon and honey was a daily, all-day routine.
...and I loved every single performance.
Now, I get to perform for the first time on Limelight's stage with a spectacular cast. I especially appreciate the accelerated rehearsal period. That was something that really challenged the performers with the ASC, bringing a production to performance level in a minimum amount of time, and yielded remarkable results.
I look forward to seeing the results of our efforts for this show. You can, too. "Sweet Bird of Youth" cast on stage Jan. 23 through Feb. 15 on the Matuza Main Stage of the Limelight Theatre. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. This Tennessee Williams drama is directed by Gary Cadwallader. For reservations, call 904-825-1164 or purchase online at www.Limelight-Theatre.org.