It's funny how "bucket list" stuff changes with our experience. Back then, the idea of going to see a community theater production in Thalian Hall never really occurred to us. We were new to town, and only lived in Wilmington for one year, and just never connected to that world. Our first visit inside Thalian was for a showing of Gone With The Wind, and while it was a great experience and a perfect place to see that particular film, we didn't experience Thalian as a live theater venue until late last year.
Our friend Jen was stage managing the Thalian Association's production of Peter Pan and it was a chance to see a real live show inside this piece of history. We had lots of reasons to be excited for this one-- Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, the show involves tricky backstage fly work to fly the characters around, and we had several friends in the cast, including Jen's son Max as Slightly Soiled the Lost Boy. AND we finally got to see Thalian's stage put to use.
|All old theaters have ghosts, why not skeletons?|
So my bucket list entry had changed from getting a look inside Thalian to seeing a show there. But then it changed again. After working backstage on a few shows, I was interested in more than the audience section of the hall. I asked Jen if, after the show, she could show us around backstage. That never would have occurred to me 20 years ago. I mean, if offered, I'd have gladly gone and loved it and appreciated it, but I would never have thought to seek it out.
We loved our backstage tour, the place is everything you would want it to be. There's the historic to appreciate and the modern to be jealous of. I'm glad I didn't get the tour until recently as I had the experience to see things and understand things that I never would have at 25. Getting "backstage" anywhere is a fun thing, and we felt really cool and special to be walking around behind the scenes at such a grand old place. It was a check this off the bucket list moment and I truly felt my Thalian Hall fascination was satisfied.
Sometimes our bucket lists change as we add new knowledge and open new doors. Sometimes, though, those who know us well can add to our list in ways we'd not have presumed to. A few months ago, Jen told me she was stage managing a charity event at Thalian Hall and asked if I'd like to serve as stage hand. The idea of WORKING a show at Thalian Hall had honestly not really seemed like a serious possibility. It's usually a two-three week commitment and my schedule and distance from Wilmington made it not something I ever considered, and besides, that's a REAL theatre and I'm, well, me. But this was something I could do. Except that I couldn't. We were scheduled to go to to a wedding in Pennsylvania that weekend. But I've learned that once a door is opened, if you really want to, you can find a way to walk through. This particular chance wasn't going to pan out, but another item had just been added to the bucket list.
Then our PA plans changed and we decided to sit out the wedding because of work and time concerns, and ones brought up by Lisa out of consideration for me, which touched my heart. It took me a little while, but it finally dawned on me that if I was going to be home, maybe Jen's offer still stood. It did, and came to include the boy as well. He, too, has been dying to see something in Thalian Hall and when I told Jen he wanted to come see the event we were working (a lip sync contest), she asked if he'd like to see it from backstage as she had one stagehand slot open. Uhhh, yes please!
|There are some big names on that wall.|
Jen has been opening new doors for us a lot the last few years. Without getting all sappy, let me just say that the experiences my family has enjoyed because of the influence and love of her and her extended family have been positively life-changing.
|John wants one or two of these for Shrek this summer|
|Oh yeah, we got to work with Dolly Parton, too :-)|