I wonder if I’m obsessed with the play Jake’s Women. I guess the answer is yes. Until Wednesday at 7:29 pm, I had watched Jake do his thing six times – three in Belleville, Ontario and three in London, Ontario. I want to be Jake. As of 7:30, however, make that seven. I bipped down to Bellingham, Washington, just south of Vancouver, to sit in the gorgeous Mount Baker Theatre and dream of February, 2016 in St. Thomas, Ontario, when hopefully theatregoers will be watching me do my thing.
I auditioned for the part of Jake just before I left for the west. How completely strange that I wasn’t nervous. Before I was called into the inner sanctum, I talked to some kids in the lobby of the Princess Avenue Playhouse. They were making puppets in a drama workshop. One of the girls was playing Little Red Riding Hood in a few days. Her name was Maddie. Nice human being.
A bit later, I was ushered into a room where a man and a girl were sitting at a table. It was Ross (the director) and … Maddie. She was trying out for the part of Molly, Jake’s 12-year-old daughter. Ross had us read from the script, especially scenes where Molly and I were together. I’m sure he was watching for the chemistry between us. No worries, Ross. I really liked Maddie and she liked me. At the end of the audition, Ross said that we had both done well.
Back in the lobby, I told Maddie that I hoped she gets the part, and she said the same to me. We smiled and shook hands. It was a great moment.
Okay, back to Wednesday. Mount Baker was a very small theatre. The set was square and the audience inclined upwards on all sides. Jake sometimes was just a few feet from me. I almost jumped up and said, “I want to be Jake too!” Somehow I restrained myself. Jake was dynamic – sometimes tender, subtle, pissed off, and – for ten minutes or so with his new girlfriend Sheila – crazy. I watched him like a hawk, including when other actors were speaking. So many facial expressions. Pauses that worked beautifully. Real.
After the stage faded to black, I gave the actors a standing ovation. Every single one of them deserved it. I soon realized that I was the only person standing. Oh well. I stayed up. As Jake left the stage, he smiled at me. Jake to Jake, I do believe, but Ross may have other ideas. We’ll see.
Since I’m essentially a conservative person, I’m going to resist with all my being the idea of showing up at the Mount Baker Theatre tomorrow night to see Jake’s Women again. I mean, there is such a thing as too much. Wouldn’t you agree? (8!)
Jake was really on Day Sixteen but Mr. Redbird was definitely Day Seventeen. I headed off to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary to see the feathered ones. I’d been once before, about 40 years ago, and I had this great memory of thousands of white seabirds soaring through the air, just like in a National Geographic TV show. But it was not to be. No clouds of moving white. Instead, as I wandered the gravel paths, I had company … strings of Canada geese and ducks, waddling along as calm as you please. As long as I moved slowly and predictably, they just passed me. Some of them smiled.
At the edge of one large pond, a woman told me that there were four great blue herons sitting in a tree across the way. I saw one on the dead branches. But the grey of the wood soon morphed into three other splotches of bird life. Farther away, three more herons were perched on snags. Then a lady or gentleman swooped down near by and took up a fish-seeking position only about 25 metres from me. (8!)
I spent some time up the observation tower, watching swallows swoop over the marshes. That was fun. When I got down, I saw a young woman sitting with a girl who appeared to have Down Syndrome. The woman was holding out her hand and a red-winged blackbird was perched on it, eating seeds. “Do you want to try?” “Yes, thank you.” She gave me a handful of a sunflower seed/millet mixture and I practiced being perfectly still. Seems I know a bit about doing that. In less than a minute, Mr. Redbird came to say hello. Oh my. He pecked away so industriously. He hardly weighed anything. And his black claws dug into my fingers just a wee bit. Plus we made eye contact. For at least fifteen minutes, we had good quality time. One time, a second red one alit on my wrist. They took turns pecking at the seeds. Very courteous. Only once did they have a spat, but then returned quickly to their “After you” rhythm. Thank you, birdies. I had a fine time.