Thursday, November 16, 2006

Greetings from Shepherdstown, West Virginia! I don't want to sound like a travel advertisement but this town is like a fine wine. It is the oldest town in West Virginia founded in the Eighteenth Century but some of the buildings look to date from the 1650s. A very appropriate place for Jane Austen and Aphra Behn. I was here a few years ago doing Love Arm'd and Dr. Shurbutt of the Shepherd English Department brought me back to do Jane. Last night, in her intro to the audience, Dr. S. compared me to Emma Thompson saying that I made Jane's words come to life in the same way that Emma Thompson did in "Sense & Sensibility"! Good Lord! It was hard to go on after an introduction like that! Had to use all my concentrative powers to focus on all the characters I had to play and not worry about whether I was good enough! In addition, Mr. Ed Herendeen of CATF was kind enough to come to the performance and I was honored to have him there and anxious to please him. I kept telling myself to stay focused on the characters, the mind can play funny tricks in performance, but I feel myself getting stronger with the text and more flexible about improvising within the context of what I've set up for myself. The first time you do it, you are paralyzed with fear that you might go down and forget Jane Austen's words and these are words people know! Not like Aphra where most people just meet her for the first time. But I ramble. I can't say enough about the bucolic nature of this area, peaceful, colored in brown, gold and yellow fall hues, the Shepherd Campus a magnificent combination of old and new buildings. The time here is too short and I return home today.