Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thrilling Adventures of the Theater Goer

Off for a joyful jaunt, dinner and the theater, thinking we are prepared in our dusters and bonnet, but these days you are never prepared for the hazards that pop up.

Two weeks ago we went out to dinner at Barnabas in Aston. It was a Tuesday, not our usual eating out night, and if only we had stuck to that.

The sky was darkening some by the time we arrived, but what's a little rain. We were safely within the restaurant walls in our favorite cozy corner booth, who cared what the weather was outside. Our drinks had been served, I having Iced Tea that eve and then our orders were. It was Taco night and I had looked forward to a nice large Taco Salad in its edible bowl. The soup was Tomato Florentine and I ordered that to come out first; and so it did come out first along with the first clap of thunder, and with that the place went dark, very dark. The emergency lighting seemed pretty sparse where we sat; should I say non-existent, except for a distant yellow Exit Sign. We weren't dining by candlelight; we were dining by the glow of people's cell phones. Our waiter even gallantly offered to leave his phone on our booth table, but I declined and sipped my soup in the shadows.

Outside the wind was raging and the rain was not drops. It appeared like a thick curtain hung from the eves of the eating deck just outside our windows and the traffic on Rt. 452 had slowed to more of a inching along than its usual evening crawl.  Soon after the waiter returned to inform us they wouldn't allow the kitchen to cook, did we wish to settle up. We did so, but I wasn't venturing out into that monsoon.

It didn't last long, perhaps twenty minutes, but what a furious third of an hour it was.

We left and noted traffic going north was not moving at all. I remarked how glad I was we were going
south, then I went around a bend and it wasn't so good. From there through Aston were many trees down, lying like crushed warriors half across the road. It was now one lane here and then here and then here, narrow passages around the wreckage, a grim game of in and out the windows. Considering how badly Delaware County, PA was hit that night we were fortunate to make it home. If those trees had been a bit taller we may have found ourselves trapped at Barnabys for the night; they would have this road cleared for a while.

But yesterday, just over two weeks later and on a Thursday, we were back to Barnabys again for dinner, despite forecasts that violent weather was coming our way. We had tickets for a play at the Hedgerow Theater in Media. This very old playhouse sets off a country road and only a quarter hour from Barnabys, which made eating there very convenient. And it was very pleasant yesterday, no repeat of the previous episode of Lights Out! I had the soul, which was beef vegetable this time, plus a Bronx Burger with fries. We could eat leisurely, for I had insisted we leave at twenty to five, since the curtain time for the play was 7:30. All was fine.

However, it didn't take us as long to eat as I anticipated and we were out of there by 6:15. Lois had taken the remains of her meal in a doggy bag (actually a box) and I was concern about it sitting for several hours in the high humidity and near 90 degree temperature. But we had time to kill, so let's go home, put your food in the fridge, hit the bath room briefly and then return up 452 and the roads to Hedgerow. Plenty of time to do this without rushing, or so I believed.

As we near our turn off on to Knowlton Road we could see the sky getting darker. I hoped we would be inside the theater before any storm hit and this seems certain since it was only about ten minutes from where we turned. The time was now about five to seven. All signs were pointing to success...except this sign along side the road ahead. It said Detour: Bridge Out: Road Closed.

Oh how delightful, a detour on roads I didn't know with a deadline staring me in the face.

At first it seemed not horrid. The detour was marked by bright orange markers, until we came to a fork in the road and I wasn't certain which way to go. The detour seemed to point left and so I went left, but all detour signs ended as we were deposited on some main highway that I did not recognize, and of course, this being Pennsylvania, there were no Route markers or street signs. What do we do, time is ticking.

I did a U-turn, somewhat illegal in that state, but I kind of fudged in at the mouth of a side street. I returned back to the fork and decided to continue on the right fork, something called Creek Road.

I hadn't a clue where I was going.

We came to a crossroad and there was a young fellow on a skateboard crossing. "Excuse me," I called, "do you know where the Hedgerow Theater is?"  His expression didn't give me slip hope and when he couldn't repeat the theater name properly, "Hedgewood? Hedgehog? Hodgepodge?"

A pickup pulled up behind us and the skateboarder approached that driver inquiring where Hedge something-or-other might be. I got out and walked back and the man told me to turn left, go to the highway ahead, make another left and then go five traffic lights for another left and it is down the hill."

Thank you, thank you, and we headed up to that next intersection, but cars weren't moving for some reason, especially on the left fork, for it was split turn lanes there. Two things became quickly evident. First, there had been an accident and the fellow at the front of the left turn fork was not going anywhere, for his hood was up. The second was he must have hit the light or something for the red light was stuck on red. Traffic behind us was heavy and a steady line kept going up the right fork, but somehow I managed to slip in this flow, go up and make my left out of that right.

Now we counted traffic lights and they seemed to come far apart and time is now close to twenty
after seven. I buzz by the fourth light when Lois yells "Hedgerow, left turn." Okay so the guy was off one light, this was the fourth and I was by it. I had to find a crossroad and turn about, then down that road, which turned out to be Rose Valley and one-half mile down it stood the theater.

Just past the building was the parking lot, which startled me being so filled. When we last came here in June there was barely a car (or an audience) when we arrived and I park right next to the entrance walk. This time two men were there directing me where to park.

They greeted me as Lois and I left the car and crossed toward them. I mentioned having been lost because of the detour. But we were there. I recognized the one man. He is on the left in the photo at the beginning of this post, in a duster and goggles. That photo was a scene from the previous play, "Poste Haste", about Emily Post's cross country car trip many decades ago. His name is Brock Vickers and he played her son in that play, she being Emily Post and the other passenger in that top photo as played by actress Penelope Reed. Penelope was the stage manager for this nights performance and Brock would appear as a Police Superintendent and a Delivery Man. As it were, the other man directing parking was also in this play as Mr. Bromhead, a bank executive. The actor's name is Zoran Kovcik, and besides parking attendant, he was also tripling as Set Designer. The Hedgerow is obviously one of those theaters were the actors play many rolls, not all on the stage. Penelope and Brock and a couple others would play another offstage roll this night as we will see.

We had made it on time. We had the same seats as previously, Row B, seats 6 and 7, which put us down front and center with the stage. There is a Row A, but these are chairs placed below the risers so that they can accommodate those who can't manage the steps up to the main seats or are in wheelchairs, as was one women attending with her husband who sat just below us. My photo on the left shows we are pretty close to the action with no obstructions before us.

And so the show began, with Penelope Reed giving a brief welcome and introduction and then cue the music, raise the curtain (there was no curtain), action. The action opened with a kitchen pass through, that you can see between the chair and sofa suddenly going up revealing a nearly nude woman entwined about a business suited young man. Husband and wife and the soon to be victims of this farce. The play is called, "No Sex Please, We're British."

The action takes place in the late 1950s or early '60s when Britain had very strict obscenity laws. A
package arrives containing "dirty postcards" instead of the glassware the young wife had ordered and it gets more complicated from there and very hilarious. On the right are the three main characters played by Meredith beck (nice name), Mark Swift and Carl nathaniel Smith.

I do recommend if at all possible you should go see this show. I don't think you'll be disappointed nor able to keep from laughing continuously.

So other than my concern about how I would find my way home after this was over, since the road that was closed was the only way I knew how to come and go to the Hedgerow, what could go wrong.

Well, the storm hit. Oh, you could hear it a booming and the rain pelting and the wind choosing even about the players. Two or three times the lights flickered and we had visions of fallen trees blocking even more these back roads I didn't know...and it would now be dark. Then I glanced down to the chairs below us and what do I see?

A river rising, sweeping across beneath those chairs.

At intermission there was Penelope Reed with towels and bare feet trying to stem the tide, another gentlemen manning a mop and bucket and then another actress, who would appear in Act Two as one of the call girls, also barefoot, with a
roll of paper towels lending a hand. Ah entertainment with the intermission.

At any rate, the show went on without a further hitch. The only thing now was how to get home.

My silent prayers were all answered that night; why should I have ever feared. We had met a stranger in a pickup on a backroad who knew the way, the lights stayed on during the storm and when I left into the dark of night I went straight out and hit Baltimore Pike. We were home in twenty minutes.

I love the adventure of live theater.

So, go to the Hedgerow and see "No Sex Please, We're British" during its run.

I really like this intimate theater. You get to mingle and speak to the performers and it is very laid back and warm and family like.

1 comment:

Ron said...

I never got the live theater thing. I think the only time I saw a live theater show was in Philadelphia, "Over There" with Patti Andrews. John Travolta was one of the chorus boys. A critic friend of mine invited me to go along with him. This was back in the 70's. The only concert I ever saw was Brasil 66 at the Academy of music. That was in 1966. Nothing since. I am a dull guy.