Sunday, March 17, 2013

"An Evening With Patrick Stewart" in Orlando

For great coverage of Patrick Stewart's Orlando Shakespeare appearance, here's a great article about him describing his biggest onstage flub and more. This post is more about how I got to go to that show. 

To put things in perspective, I first heard the name Jean Luc Picard more than 25 years ago. I was at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, attending a panel about the then-dubious Star Trek revival. David Gerrold was a guest, and he sketched out the characters on the new Enterprise including the planned French captain. That was a good while before we had to join Star Trek: The Next Generation in progress when college football ran over.

So flash forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I browsed a catalog for Megacon that Jennie Jarvis had left on Roland Mann's desk and noticed Patrick Stewart was a guest. I thought that was interesting, but it's been a busy year with a move and beginning teaching and the like, and I've been to a lot of cons.

I mentioned it to Christine, who discovered The Next Generation through me and Patrick Stewart because of that and is not generally a science fiction fan. She came to appreciate and respect TNG and  we watched while we were dating.

So, I'm thinking, it's been a busy year, and I've been to a lot of cons in my life, maybe I'll just pass on attending a con even though it would be a lot of fun.

Then Christine noticed Patrick Stewart would be appearing at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater with Megacon's blessings.

Say,  I thought, that'd be a little different. Figured we'd never get tickets.

I didn't realize quite how big a Patrick Stewart fan Christine still is. When the second hand clicked past 11:59 a.m. on the day tickets went on sale, she was dialing the box office. Calls before noon would not be honored.

She got an all circuits are busy tone.

She redialed and got it again.

She dialed again and got that Close Encounters of the Third Kind-sounding tone that says the number you're calling is in an alternate universe.

She dialed again and it started ringing.

She got cut off before there was an answer.

Not gonna happen, I figured.

She kept dialing. I went back to reading student writing assignments.

Again, again, again with the re-dial. Then she got an answering machine and left a message.

"Guess we don't get anything," she said, walking back into the den, dejectedly.

"Shouldn't get our hopes up," she said.

We began to get back to the daily routine.

Then the phone rang. Christine took the call and I listened to garbled speech in the next room for a while. Figured it was the "So sorry, we can't accommodate you" call

Until she came bounding into the room, jumped up and down about as many times as she'd hit redial and told me we had front row seats. Wow.

Proved to be a fun evening. The house was packed. Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis slipped in, and Sir Patrick answered questions and discussed his career in The Royal Shakespeare Company, his realized dream of playing Othello as a white mercenary and what a hottie Helen Mirren was in the Royal Shakespeare days. He also discussed his biggest stage mistake, which he made twice in same-day performances of King Lear.

We got a mention of David Suchet, who Christine idolizes as much as Sir Patrick for his portrayal of Poirot, and some tales of X-Men, TNG and working with Ian McKellan.

It was worth the effort and it was a great introduction to Orlando Shakespeare. I  hope to go back, especially for their planned performance of Dracula.


Charles Gramlich said...

Front row seats even! Pretty cool.

Sidney said...

Yeah, I couldn't believe we'd nab front row. We were right in front of him and the theater's creative director.

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