“I told you so!”

Nov 19, 2012 | 3 comments

I can hear my mother’s admonishing voice saying, “When you speak, speak the truth but don’t always speak.”  I’m quite sure that she would consider any thoughts following the words “I told you so” right up there with what should remain unsaid.  But… I always was a ‘handful’ when it came to following good advice.  And, having long since passed the three-quarters of a century mark, I’m tired of ‘sucking it up’ and ‘moving on’ and all those other well-meaning but totally inane bits of advice.

On this morning following our second and last (certainly for me) performance of “Shoalwater Shenanigans,” I feel compelled to say that the venue at Fort Columbia, as I predicted way last  Spring, was a huge mistake for this show.  My argument was that the show “belonged” in Oysterville because 1) it is based on the words of Willard Espy, Oysterville’s most famous native son;  2) the subject matter was centered on pioneers mostly buried at the Oysterville Cemetery;  and 3) the performance was designed for the Oysterville Church.

My voice was overruled by the Director and the PAPA people who have a vested interest in the theater at Fort Columbia.  The main argument seemed to be that it would give an opportunity for people (hoards, it seemed) from the south end of the peninsula to attend.  Hmmm.  At the three performances at the 120-seat Oysterville Church we played to capacity audiences.

Sunday’s performance at the 75-seat Fort Columbia had 35 audience members by one count, 25 by another.  Of those I knew in the audience, at least four had come from the north end of the peninsula because they’d been otherwise occupied on Saturday and couldn’t attend in Oysterville. Another five or six were ‘worker bees’ who were at both shows, anyway.  Several were relatives of the cast members and had also been at both performances.  One woman was a friend of mine from Astoria.  That didn’t leave a very big “hoard” from the south end of the peninsula.

Granted, the weather was nasty and the parking at the Fort is not only a considerable distance from the theater, but is up quite a steep hill – not user friendly for actors or audience.  Fortunately, because of Nyel’s bad leg and cane, we were allowed to park fairly nearby in the handicapped space, but even so…

Still, I don’t think I would have complained (out loud and in print, I mean) if it hadn’t been for my personal blue light fiasco.  Actors were asked to be in their places, costumed and made up, two hours before curtain time so that the lighting man and the director could give us our lighting cues.  (I have to say here that in the 100 plus performances of other shows I’ve done in several dozen venues from the Seattle Folk Festival to Cannon Beach’s Coaster Theater, this last minute lighting direction was a first.)

For one of my bits – the one where the Reverend and Mrs. Crouch approach center stage together in the second act – I was to ‘find’ the blue light.  A piece of masking tape was placed on the floor to assist me.  Okay.  However, when the time came – after intermission and a set change—a table covered my tape and, in order to “find” my light, I would have had to stand on the table.

Nyel told me later that I delivered my Sarah Crouch speech in the dark.  “Well, there was a little blue light on your right shoulder, but otherwise you were probably invisible.”  Oh well… at least I can’t be faulted for seeking the limelight – or in this case any light at all.

I went home with a sour taste in my mouth for which I am very sorry.  As I put my copy of Willard’s “Skulduggery on Shoalwater Bay” back on the shelf, I wondered how long it would be before I was tempted to re-read any of it.  A long time I fear…  I also wondered (briefly) if anyone would have the grace to say (publicly and in print) “you were right.”


  1. Christl

    and yet, you sounded and looked marvelous! (from where I was sitting) It was such a treat to hear you both once more with such excellent delivery. ( I suppose I was among the folks who place the table over your mark, though unknowingly)

    • sydney

      If only I were younger and more agile, I could have leaped atop that table and been in the light as directed! But, not to worry. Those are the sorts of glitches that happen when the lighting rehearsal takes place an hour before curtain! The amazing part is that we all pulled it off as well as we did!

  2. Caroline Miller

    Well, you know you were right and have said so in print. Ah the power of the blog. I’m convinced by your argument. Anyway, I’m also passed the three quarters of a century mark, and I support you’re right to scratch if you itch.


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