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Behold My Shorts
There I sat, three feet in front of center stage: 10 days before a play’s world-premiere; to my left, Sue Riedel – an imminently respected director with more than 40 years of theater experience; to my right, Robert (Bob) Byrne – author, TV personality, and world-class billiards champion. How did I get to be so lucky?
Luckily I Said Yes!
I had spent the morning and afternoon working on a couple of newsletters and a play I have been noodling, when I got a call from Joe Scherrman. He wanted to know if I was interested in joining Tim Connery and himself at a dress rehearsal for Robert Byrne’s play, Behold My Shorts, which has its world-premiere at the Bell Tower Theater here in Dubuque, on March 23, 2012.
The guys were going to scout shots for a national marketing video they are doing for the show. As the third member of the DreamCatcher Productions team, I was there to observe with the writer/fan’s eye what was going on in case they missed something while moving cameras.
When I arrived, Tim was already capturing some great outside shots of the lovely spring evening and the beautiful façade of the theater. Joe, Tim, and I made a game plan and went in, once Bob arrived.
The March 13th shoot was a truly remarkable experience. I was listening to a rehearsal of a first-run play before it was ready to have an audience, while the playwright (who just happens to have more than 20 widely-published books to his credit) sat to my right. He shared a running commentary on the show as we sat shoulder to shoulder. At times, he would lean over and comment on how pleased he was with the actors delivering his lines. Sometimes he would smile in anticipation of a punch line and grin when they popped. He even shared his favorite line in the play and laughed out-loud when completed.
Not many people are fortunate enough to sit next to an author while they are watching that author witness their own play, and have the ability to recall when the author had told those stories first-hand.
I have had the privilege of working with Bob before. In fact, the first on-set film I worked on was a biopic about Bob. On that project, I had heard many of the stories that are in the autobiographical sections of the comedy. While I was watching the performance, and observing Bob’s reactions, I was also reflecting on the way Bob had told those stories on that blustery April, nearly three years before.
How did I get to be so lucky? Some days you just have to answer the phone, drop all your plans, and say yes – especially, if it is Joe Scherrman on the other end of the line. Whatever he is up to, you know it will be interesting and creative.