Stephen Adly Guirgis in Clarksville for THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on March 22, 2013

Faith is taken on and nurtured. Some have it only on Sundays; others carry theirs throughout the week. Sadly, some others have none whatsoever … which brings me to my point.

I’ve heard via the Clarksville grapevine that some nameless few have no faith in the new center for arts and education. This, of course, saddens me greatly.

They cannot but know (or they do not hear) what is said during this pre-Easter season of Lent — “and the word was made flesh.” That is true. And in a secular sense, it is also true. What you say, what you voice, what you put out into the universe comes back. In other words, there is much wisdom in the phrase “be careful what you wish for.”

As I was taught and believe with all my heart, all prayers are heard. And I know for certain all are answered … in time. God doesn’t use a watch; man made that for his own inconvenience.

Thirty years ago, how many pooh-poohed the idea of a museum? How long was it before Fort Defiance came to fruition? And let’s not forget the marina. Positive thoughts bring about positive actions, which bring about positive results.

This is not my pet project alone; it is a widely held belief that we as a city, a culture and a community need this new center for arts and education.

There will always be naysayers. There were in ’83. “They’ll never open,” “they’ll never last,” etc. But nevertheless, the invalid survives, grows and gains momentum with each new production, with each performance and with each child’s field trip to see professional theatre here on the corner of Franklin and First.

When I first met Stephen Adly Guirgis, he was in a body cast from his neck down to his waist. He was a student of mine at the Rhodes School.

Stephen first played Tom for me in The Glass Menagerie. He was just out of the body cast, so he understood and was in touch with Tom’s pain. With his coal-black hair, he looked swarthy and Mediterranean-ish. (I found out later he was part Egyptian and part Irish-American.)

His mother in that production was an African-American girl, Andrea Beckles. When she played the jonquil scene, it had a genuine pathos and a kind of whimsical fantasy all rolled into one.

Darnell Martin was Laura, lost and lonely. Darnell has gone on to direct television and film. She is of mixed race, like our Jaime Kirchner, and she has the same lithe beauty and grace.

The gentleman caller was a tall Nordic blond, Earl Ditterbrandt; so the cast was multiracial, causing it to touch each and every student in the school.

Guirgis went on to write plays, receive awards, and start a theatre group in New York. He is here in Clarksville now for his “play about a hat,” which has two final performances in theotherspace tonight and tomorrow at 8pm. Tickets are $15.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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