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From "The Memoirs, Chapter Two" -
Dale followed the Christmas
production of “Shepherd’s Play” with Samuel Becket’s “Happy Days” in
January, with Rhoda Eland in the lead. The title is ironic; it is a grim
play. A single character, Winnie, sits buried to her waist in a garbage heap reminiscing
about her life as her husband, Willie, crawls through the muck and
picks his nose..
I always loved Rhoda and she was brilliant in the role. I did the set and Dale directed a superb production.
We got a good little bit of publicity in the local press
but the audiences stayed away in droves.
It is not a pretty sight, a long,
heavy play, night after night, playing to dwindling houses in the
cold rain of Seattle’s winter. The play took only Dale and me to
run and with only two in the cast, suddenly gone were the hoards of
actors stage-hands and dressers and parents and dogs and hangers-on
from the previous show. There was nothing to do, hour after hour,
but sit backstage and listen to Winnie’s sad story and wait for the
play to end. “Get through the day, Winnie, get through the day,”
called Rhoda plaintively as Dale and I whispered together in the
It was then he first mentioned
closing the theater. He was bearing the weight of the organization
and its financing. I was a carefree worker with none of those
problems and I felt I couldn’t contradict him. He wanted and needed
my support, I thought, and I did not withhold it. Thought I loved
our little theater and my life here, I would stand with him whatever
But I couldn’t help thinking that,
after the successes of the fall, this winter slump was an aberration
and if we could just hang on a little longer, things would turn
around and we could pull through. It was not to be.
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...NEXT: Billy King's BIRTH OF A CHEVY