I can’t help it. Because Fitchburg State University is my alma mater. And the Falcon Players, the student-run theatre group that’s mounting 44 Plays for 44 Presidents as part of this Festival, also produced my very first play back in 1996.
I make it sound like my play was approved by a committee back then but what really happened is my group of friends, led by Randy Meech and Shane Desmond, resurrected the Falcon Players after several decades of nonexistence. Then, we just did stuff. And one year, we did my show. Because we could. I stacked it with my friends and cajoled a pretty girl to audition because I was into her. (And she was really good! She made me look honest. Hi, Jen.)
Anyway, the Falcon Players still exist!
And you’re welcome…
They’ve chosen my stuff again, but this time they’re all grown up and so put me through the ringer. Five months of back-and-forth emails tell me it’s not as easy as it used to be to mount shows on campus…I’m happy they’ve evolved beyond a benevolent dictatorship, though. They’re new mission: supportive, welcoming, engaging, accessible student theatre. I like it.
So for the video project, The Falcon Players have chosen one of my favorite scenes from the show: the Millard Fillmore play. Awesome.
My wife wrote that play.
But enough about me. No forget it. I’m going to keep indulging….I saw my wife for the first time when I was a student at Fitchburg State and she was in a staged reading of a play with Richard McElvain–theatre professor, adviser to the Falcon Players, and one of my personal heroes. I remember thinking the woman who played the maid was hot. I had no idea that 10 years later, I’d marry her after meeting her in Chicago and writing this play with her.
That was in Percival Hall…which is where my first play was produced…and where the Falcon Players will be be mounting their version of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents this fall. Can you blame me for indulging?
I would certainly say that I owe my theatre career to the existence of the Falcon Players, and since this Festival owes its existence to two of my absurd ideas…I think it’s fair to say it all starts with the Falcon Players.
So…yeah…The Fitchburg State University Falcon Players. Totally student run. That’s how they roll. Said hero Richard McElvain will be helping to direct some of the show…and I hesitate to mention…no, I don’t….he helped us a little with my first play, too! It’s how I met him.
I applaud your pluck, guys. Because 44 Plays for 44 Presidents is a BEAST. But don’t worry! You will nail it. I have no doubt.
When I visit, I expect to drink a Smithwicks at Slattery’s and eat General Tso’s Chicken from the Fitchburg Jade. I hope you can all join me.