I arrived in the nation's capitol a week ago today, which is to say Monday the 18th. It has already been a great ride, and I have the rest of the summer ahead of me.
As a reminder, I'm in D.C. to work on the remount of Bob Falls' KING LEAR starring Stacy Keach at the Shakespeare Theatre here. We did this show in 2006, and I remember working on the proofs of THE MASTER OF VERONA while backstage at that show, and arguing about the cover design. I'm one of ten original cast members invited to come along, though my invite has mostly to do with violence work in the show.
Off the bat let me say, Stacy looks great. You may have read about his stroke. Well, he's clearly embraced health and is fitter than he was three years ago. The cast as a whole is delighted to be back together, and I have the joy of working not only with Bob again, but with Rick Sordelet, fight director to the stars. My first real D.C. story has to do with Rick.
We were out to dinner after rehearsal at a little Italian place down the street from the rehearsal hall. I wanted Italian because I'm on the hunt for some Volpolicella wine (so far, no luck). It being a lovely night, we sat outdoors. Dinner was wonderful, and I introduced Rick to limoncello, which we were sipping daintilhy when a party sat at the next table over. I look up and see Representative Dennis Kucinich and his (dear god, lovely!) wife Elizabeth, as well as Representative Corrine Brown and her military legislative assistant. Dennis looked up as I noticed him, and I toasted him with my limoncello. He nods and toasts back. Then the conversation went something like this.
ME: Come see King Lear at the Shakespeare Theatre. It stars Stacy Keach, the best Lear you're ever going to see.
REPRESENTATIVE KUCINICH: Really?
ME: Yes. You'll like it. Our director, Bob Falls, has set it in Serbia, in the 1990s.
(All heads at the table turn towards me)
KUCINICH/BROWN: You're joking.
MRS. KUCINICH: You know what they did?
ME: Uh, no.
MRS. KUCINICH: They're the ones who flew into Sarajevo to negotiate the cease-fire.
ME: Really? Then the play will seem very familiar. Bob was looking for a modern setting where the whole world was falling apart. He even has us drinking slivovich. It's beautiful, but terribly bleak and haunting.
At which point cards were exchanged. Rick fielded the question of what we were doing in the show, and was kind enough to mention my novel. Then everyone settled back to their meals. But before Rick and I left, I went over to shake the representative's hand. He looked at my card and asked me what THE MASTER OF VERONA was about. I told him, and his (astonishingly gorgeous!) wife actually stood to shake my hand. It was a lovely end to the evening.
That's one of the D.C. stories so far. I have several more, including a fabulous (free) meal at a Belgian restaurant, and meeting Ernest Borgnine just this morning at the Navy Memorial down at the other end of E street. But I think I'll save those for another day.