Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: The path I didn’t take
Vail, CO, Colorado
When I was growing up, I wanted to be an actress.
Not an actor, as female thespians now call themselves in the post-feminist, gender-neutral, politically correct era. Feminism had not reached my small Oregon coast town and I wanted to be an actress, a starlet.
Now those who know me might stop at this point and think, “Oh, I can actually see that.”
I am, you might say, quite animated when I speak. I am fairly expressive and emotionful, but not emotional, as that term has acquired a bad connotation. I enjoy being the center of attention. Give me the spotlight, dang it!
So in pursuit of this dream, my sister, our neighbor Debbie and I put on some mean plays in our garage. They would pull in kids from all over the neighborhood. We may have even charged them admission. As the youngest but boldest, I usually got the lead role. It was my first taste of stardom.
School plays followed. But in retrospect, think I may have peaked too early. In fourth grade, I now realize, I was at the apex of my acting career. I got the plum role of Mrs. Claus in the Christmas play, followed by the role of the ultimate villain, The Witch, in “Hansel and Gretel.”
I have a clear recollection of developing my wicked, crackling evil voice and even though in the big performance I missed Hansel with the lasso so he picked up the rope and put it around himself, I don’t think I broke character. Or I may have giggled. I was 10, after all.
As the years passed, my fascination with all things acting continued. I had my subscription to Tiger Beat magazine to follow the news of Hollywood, but honestly, that may have had more to do with Scott Baio and Sean Cassidy than acting.
My family went to the annual musical at the Little Theater on the Bay, our community theater, and watched friends and neighbors work the stage in everything from “Cabaret” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” to “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” I sat in the darkened theater, imagining myself on that stage.
But eventually, there was a decision to be made. Sports came into my life and I had to choose between after-school athletics or the school play. The teams won out.
My freshman year of high school, I took acting class as an elective, but by that time, the ultra-self-conscious adolescent years had set in and I couldn’t get past setting myself aside to become the characters. I always admired my classmates who could; they seemed to have a sense of freedom, not caught in the trap of what other people thought of them, as I was.
So my dreams of acting got pushed aside, and life ensued.
Last week, an article in the Vail Daily caught my eye. It seems the Vail Valley Theater Company was performing Steve Martin’s play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” but there was a twist.
The play is a conversation about genius and talent between a young Pablo Picasso and a young Albert Einstein, both on the precipice of career changing discovery and creativity.
The entire play takes place in the bar of the title, and rather than staging the performance at the high school or the Vilar Performing Art Center, the Vail Valley Theater Company was actually going to do the production in a bar.
Talk about genius! This I had to see!
Opening night was sold out. Fortunately, my friends and I had purchased tickets earlier in the day and found seats off to the side of the “stage” shortly before “curtain time.”
The Vail Valley Theater Company did an amazing job staging the play. The company nailed the lighting and effects. The actors were great, engaging the audience at times, breaking the fourth wall to include us in the story. They took us out of Montanas in Avon and let us eavesdrop on this group at the Lapine Agile in Paris, circa 1904.
The whole experience made me appreciate our community theater and the people who give their time to make it possible. It helped me remember an old dream, not with regret, but somehow with a sense of peace, realizing that letting go of childhood dreams to pursue others is OK.
There’s no need to wonder “if.” But I will have a lifelong admiration for those who chase theirs.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through email@example.com