Almost 60 years ago, in a quiet neighborhood on the north side of Richmond, a group of neighborhood friends had a Mickey and Judy moment and said “Hey, let’s put on a show.”
And thus, with the production of Tennessee Williams’ “You Touched Me!” Chamberlayne Actors Theatre was born. For the next fifty-six years, CAT would produce theatre in a small community association building. Around twenty years ago, CAT went from amateur to professional.
I made my first professional appearance on the stage there in 2013 with a small part in Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” I still get grief from my castmates for not bringing the boat back on time.
Seven years later, I serve on the Board of Directors and am now the Managing Director of the theatre.
In a story that will be written elsewhere, the facility on the north side of Richmond will no longer be our home as of September 30.
It’s a move that’s been a long time coming. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get varying reasons for the
The short version is that it’s a matter of survival. Thanks to COVID-19 we could keep paying rent on a building we can’t use, thus depleting our bank account or, we could walk away with funds in the bank that will allow us to reopen in a new, and improved, location in a post-pandemic world.
You can figure out the choice we made. We think it was the right one.
It’s just another one of those things you can attribute to 2020. Although in fairness, this had been building for a while.
I’m not sure what things will be like in a post-pandemic world.
I can hope well be nicer. I can hope we’ll be better at appreciating the small things, the simple things.
I can hope.
Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. We raised our flags, donated blood, filled our churches.
We said we would never forget. We said we would never be the same.
And then, once we got used to the white zones being for loading and unloading only, we went back to our lives as usual.
Not everyone, of course. We went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and thousands of lives were disrupted with questionable results. You’ll have to look elsewhere for that commentary.
I think what I’m getting at is that we think about those things that will “change us forever.”
The War to end all Wars…
The Second War to end all Wars…
The assassination of a President.
And now, COVID.
Each different in their own manner. Each causing years of argument and speculation about what went wrong and what went right.
And at the very core, we’re still the same people.
Flawed. In need of redemption.
And in need of being a little nicer to one another.
I have long thought that the Interwebz were both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because we can do amazing things that we never could before. Earlier this summer we held a virtual college class reunion and our classmate who currently lives in Singapore was able to join us when making the trip back to Kentucky for the weekend would have been next to impossible.
A curse because we’re likely to say things from behind a keyboard that we may or may not say to someone’s face. I can type an argument with the best of them. And, before the Interwebz, I played some hardball politics in DC.
So, it’s a matter of what we do with the tools and information we have.
For the theater it was a matter of considering resources at hand. We made choice.
For each of us we can look at the good or damage we can do online. We can share that meme, or we can scroll on by.
Scrolling is highly recommended.
But, when we come out of this, and we will, let’s not have wasted this time.
Let’s use it to think about what is really important. Let’s use it to build, not tear down, relationships.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to value people for who they are and not dismiss them because of their politics, their religion, or heaven forbid, their preference in music.
A boy can dream. When he has time.
Right how he has to go move a theater.