A Tale of Two Theaters

After my orientation on Tuesday for my seasonal job, and my long and boring training on Wednesday, I got to enter my world again on Thursday and Friday–the world of theater, of movies, of art.

Thursday I joined the SRO (Seattle Repertory Organization) annual meeting.  They are a volunteer organization that helps out at the Seattle Repertory Theater.  Mostly composed of older members of society (the youngest members of the SRO are about double my age), they were a fun group to spend a morning with, and I was introduced around by one of its members, who works (volunteers?) in the HR department.  After the meeting, I also got to meet Fran Kao (pronounced “Gao”), the Public Programs Manager, who had mentioned this meeting to me on the phone.  So now we have faces to go with our voices.

At the meeting, I got to sit with some “fellow Italians” (funny how they can pick me out in a crowd).  Most of the agenda covered business as usual, including an introduction of guests brought to the meeting (though I brought myself, I was introduced by the same woman who had personally introduced me to others in the group).  What was different about the meeting was, at times, the humor projected into it.  Nothing so represented this humor as when the Operations Manager, Johnny Mac (John R. McNamara), came into the meeting speaking with a British accent and dressed like someone from Shakespeare’s time.  Many references to his codpiece and what was underneath it, as he passed around his “satchel” for donations, which would go to the interns.  These people were whipping out tens and twenties, whereas if I had given money, it would have been a couple ones.  As I didn’t know what it was for (until afterwards), and as I hadn’t brought much money with me, I did not contribute.  This may also be because I am the most frugal person on the planet, though I always give money to the Salvation Army.

The only other noteworthy thing about the meeting was an announcement that one member of the theater staff (Daniel Sullivan, perhaps, since he’s the artistic consultant?) was hoping to implement a program that would allow the theater to work closely with up and coming playwrights.  Oh really?  I’ll have to keep my eyes open and my ear close to the ground on that one.

Anyway, once the meeting was adjourned, there was a little break before three actors from the show “Opus” joined us to talk about the play.  They were introduced by one of the interns, who had worked with them on this play, before introducing themselves.  When one of them said he was originally from Connecticut, the ladies to either side of me nudged me with their elbows.

Together, these two actors (and one actress) were a riot.  Very lively, with some very funny stories.  Afterwards, two of them sat amongst us (the third one left), but unfortunately, not at my table.  If I hadn’t gone to the bathroom right after they were done, I would’ve had a chance to introduce myself while they were still sitting at the front of the room.  Oh well.

After waiting a long time, I got to talk to Fran Kao after the meeting was over (this was our first face-to-face, mentioned earlier).  I mainly wanted to ask her about another program I had heard about, called the crew, who had pre- and post-show parties, seeing the play in between.  She told me that the crew was mainly for subscribers, though I could buy individual tickets for each event, too, and directed me to the box office.  The woman there was very helpful and told me what my best options were (too bad I wasn’t under 25–monster discounts!).  After thinking it over and checking the website, I decided not to join the crew or get a subscription until I have a more regular job, as I imagine that most of the crew events are on Friday and Saturday nights, when I might be working.  Still, it depends on my hours after Christmas–whether I get hired for regular store hours, or I find a job elsewhere.  Might be best to get in with the fringe theaters, where I can volunteer on stage painting and such, instead of front office monetary issues (though I wouldn’t mind working the gift shop).

On Friday, I went to the second theater in this title–a movie theater.  Called the Egyptian Theatre, it originally was a Masonic Temple.  Now it shows movies on a large screen in a spacious auditorium (I felt like I was outside–that’s how high the ceilings are).  Ever better, the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) is shown there (not to be confused with the year-round SIFF cinema).  So, now I can see art films, something I could not easily see at movie theaters near my home in Connecticut (well, I could’ve seen them in Hartford, but I never felt good about driving through Hartford at night).

Friday night, I saw An Education, which was a very good film, though I wondered, as I left the theater, what the message of the movie was supposed to be.  Maybe there wasn’t one.  Maybe it was just a case of the heroine having lived through an experience and grown as a result.  Not that it mattered much, as the acting by Carey Mulligan and Alfred Molina (as her father) were great.  In fact, the acting all around was good, but those two stood out.  You can read a review here.

What impressed me the most, though (besides the beauty of the theater–I wish there were pictures online of its interior!) was the audience reaction.  I saw a matinee, so the crowd was small.  Even so, I noticed that when the previews began, some people were whispering, but I could hardly hear them.  Yes, they were actually whispering so as not to be heard by their neighbors.  Then, when the film began, a smattering of laughter at appropriate moments, but no talking.  Even more impressive, when the film ended and the credits began to role, people didn’t pop out of their seats and head for the exits.  They actually sat for a while and watched, and while not everyone stayed until the end, I didn’t feel that there was a mad dash to leave the theater.  And, since this movie attracted the young, the old, and those in between, having such a respectful audience bodes well for my future cinematic adventures in this city.

After the movie, as I took the bus home, I saw, for the first time, Seattle lit up at night, and as the bus passed downtown, I observed, with childlike joy, the trees adorned with lights for the upcoming Christmas season.


Author: Greg Salvatore

Writer. Voice Actor. Humanist. Feminist.

3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Theaters”

  1. …"fellow Italians" (funny how they can pick me out in a crowd)…They are always able to do that. Someone should create a movie in which the cop uses this fact.I envy you your theatre. I don't have anything of the sort.

  2. In India, it's hard to find a good humanities university. Everyone here is either science or commerce, and only science gets the universities, and there are precious few of the (massive) type you get in the US.However, I've just found that there may be an arthouse theatre in this city, but it remains to be seen whether it's better than my earphones.

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