Saturday, September 22, 2012


My suspicion is that no one will post until someone starts it up, so at the risk of being a minor character who is taking up too much space, I’ll begin some memories that might trip the switch in other hearts and heads.  Mine will be mostly about the practical stuff, since I stayed at the Lodge most of the time.  It seems logical to begin with the buildings.
The actual Playhouse was a converted barn where the bats were only mildly annoyed by stagelights at night.  Sometimes they were stunned and fell to the stage where some actors were more concerned than others.  I seem to remember Russell Lunday, who was a big guy from Montana, not liking bats one bit.  They are, of course, occasionally rabid.  One wants fans to be rabid, but not the theatre livestock.
Behind the building was a wilderness.  Some said a swamp.  There were occasions when the set configuration meant that there was only one way to get from one side of the stage to the other -- go outside.  A risky business.  On the other hand, I seem to recall some people using that tangle as a sort of wilderness experience in order to find the spine of their character.
The next most important building was the old lodge where we roomed.  For some reason I had the downstairs bedroom next to the front door which meant that I was the unofficial welcoming committee for people who arrived travel-hypnotized in the middle of the night.  My roommate was Sarajane, who deserted me in favor of a bigger, warmer person.  Then Janet Lee Parker, whom I knew from high school in Portland and who was our “Blanche” for “Streetcar” was my roomie.  There was an intervening bathroom and two people on the other side of it, but I can’t remember who they were.  I do remember that the sink drain made a ghastly sucking noise which could be pretty alarming in the middle of the night.
From my point of view, the best thing about this bedroom was that it was only a few feet away from the stone church next door where a string chamber music ensemble practiced.  I enjoyed that very much.  I never attended any church services there and am not even sure they happened.
The kitchen featured a huge black woodstove named Othello.  The oven door was busted.  Lucy and I tried to fix it with plastic metal, but it didn’t work.  At the beginning of the summer we had a very small not-too-sharp black female cook with a drinking problem.  (The pay was almost nonexistent.)  At some point the guys had the brilliant idea of using sound effects to produce the illusion of a locomotive roaring down the hall.  She quit.
There was a hungry gap during which people ate at the Sweet Shop next door -- if they had the money.  Jerry Zeismer, who could solve any problem. took on the cooking and made one kettle of beans last for a week by spicing them so intensely that a couple of tablespoons were all most people could eat.
Then there was a second cook, an efficient woman who intended to convert us all to Christianity, not realizing that most people were Jewish.  She held classes on the front porch and people attended out of courtesy and curiousity.  At the end of the season I had no where to go and no money at all, so I went home with her in return for canning all her tomatoes.  She lived not far from Gettysburg and I had good rambles over there, sometimes chasing a resident 
My costume shop was the old ice house.  Until I began to google Eaglesmere, I didn’t realize how crucial to the town the ice from the lake was.  The costumes were mostly fabulous beaded chiffon evening wear suitable for a luxury resort life in the Thirties.  Since there were not many plays in that period, they were not terribly useful.  But I did find a gorgeous white fox muff that became cuffs for Penny Fuller’s white dress in “Mary Queen of Stuarts.”  She was also supposed to have a black dress but I had no black material.  I dyed her dress over and over but never got it darker than purple.  I hung it above “Othello” the kitchen stove to dry, half-hoping it would get smoked darker.  There was plenty of smoke.
Then there was a shed with a flat roof great for sun-bathing that we were not EVER supposed to get on because that made it leak.  And the little cottage where AK and Lucy lived.  I think I was only in it once or twice.

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