Last night, I sat in my man chair and watched my obsession continue to unfold. Why not find reviews of Jake’s Women on the Internet? And it was cool. I found all sorts of amateur productions of the play, and what the reviewers thought of each actor and actress. Mostly, the Jake’s of this world were doing a bang-up job with the character.
I also looked on Amazon to see what books have been published about Neil Simon. And guess what? There’s a volume of monologues from Neil’s plays, including Jake, so I did what any skewed human would do in the circumstances – I snatched it up. A used copy set me back $ .01 (CAD) plus $6.49 for shipping and handling. Bargoon!
After such an achievement, I sat some more and wondered what the next expression of my fanaticism would be. After all, I’d already bought the script and was starting to memorize Jake’s words. How could I possibly top that?
As I continued to look for reviews, I came upon the official site of Samuel French, the publisher of Neil’s plays. There was a long list of his creations. I clicked Jake’s Women and up came a map of North America, with seven green, upside down teardrops scattered over the surface. It took me a few seconds to absorb what I was looking at … places where the play was being performed, or would be soon.
I know my Great Lakes, and towards the easterly end of Lake Ontario, on the north shore, was a little green blob. I stared, and then clicked … The Pinnacle Playhouse in Belleville, Ontario; April 7-25, 2015. Belleville is a city of 50,000 souls, two hours east of Toronto. And I’m only 2 1/2 hours west of T.O.
On to the site of the Belleville Theatre Guild. I could see the evening performance on Thursday, April 23. I could take the train. I could find a B&B.
“Well, you can’t just go for one night. See Friday’s production too!”
“Isn’t that a bit excessive?”
“No, excessive would be watching Saturday’s finale as well.”
“Okay, I’ll do it.”
You’ll be happy to know that I have done it, sitting in the front row each evening – seats A3, A12 and A9 (that one right in the middle). I get to study Jake, Julie, Maggie, Molly (ages 12 and 21), Karen, Edith and Sheila … up close and personal.
I leave on VIA Rail from London at 11:00 am on Thursday, April 23 and arrive in Belleville at 5:00 pm, giving me lots of time to detrain (15 minutes), walk to the Place Victoria Place Bed and Breakfast (30 minutes), drop my stuff (15 minutes), walk downtown (20 minutes), eat at a groovy restaurant (60 minutes) and stroll over to the Pinnacle Playhouse like I own the place, all set for the 8:00 pm curtain.
Oh, what a good boy am I!
Daytime on Friday – move and groove in Belleville. Same for Saturday. Lots of parks, riverside walks and funky stores to explore. Benches to sit on as I pour over Neil’s script. Thoughts to roam in and out of my lovely head.
A leisurely Sunday morning leads naturally to a rendezvous with a train at 3:25 pm. Gaze out at lots of Ontario from my window seat. Back in London at 9:00 pm and home in my trundle by 10:00. A perfectly sane way to spend four days, I’d say.
I wonder what the actors will think when they see me front and centre three nights in a row? “He must really like the play.”
Indeed I do