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Freshman Orientation

So, I started a new job last week. Or, more accurately, a new position – along with Arya Kashyap, I’m one of the Creative Directors of the Tuesdays at Nine cold reading series run by the Naked Angels theater company. For twenty eight years, they’ve – excuse me, we’ve – been putting up new work in various stages of development, providing a lab space for countless actors, writers, and other unclassifiable theater artists. I’m honored that I’ve been entrusted with maintaining this tradition.

September being September, the first day of school – or of our season, or of my new position, or however you want to reckon it – arrived on Tuesday last, and I made my way to our home at Theater 80. (It’s on the corner of 1st Avenue and St. Mark’s Place, for any of you out-of-towners looking to come for a visit.) I arrived early, and was given the customary introductory tour of the theater space, the backstage, all the personnel – everything I’d need to know in order to make this space my home.

Which is really weird, if you think about it, because this has been my home for six years.

I started attending Tuesdays at Nine on a regular basis after about a year or so of focusing playwriting – so, if my math is correct, six years. Each year comprising about thirty four weeks of Tuesday evening presentations, give or take (we take the summers off). So taking into account hiatuses, conflicts, and the like, that’s – between one hundred fifty and one hundred eighty times I’ve attended this.

I know this theater space. I know the people who work there. I know my favorite drink at the adjoining bar. The people at the bar know my favorite drink. Actually, they know my two favorite drinks and can accurately judge when I’m going to switch over from one to another based on the seasons of the year. (They make a terrific hot cider, you see, which I’ll order when the weather turns colder.)

Now, most of us regulars don’t venture backstage – for liability reasons it’s officially off-limits to anybody not a formal part of the Tuesdays organization, or not working on a show in the theater. But I’ve performed in this theater – this is where we put up the NEC revival of Day of Absence. I’ve rehearsed in this theater, left, and then turned right around to re-enter for a Tuesdays at Nine installment. (Note that I didn’t just stay in the theater between the two separate events – some of us play by the rules, dammit!)

So I know the ins and outs of Theater 80. And yet, there I was, receiving the guided tour, and receiving handshake introductions from people I’ve known for years.

It’s strange to think how a change in responsibilities, or simply in title, can create these kinds of ripple effects. Fortunately, they don’t seem to have affected anything major – my Tuesdays friends are still my friends (and seem to think I’m doing a good job in this new position of mine – go figure). And as a nice bonus, I’ve finally been entrusted to the secret code to the door that connects the bar to the backstage area.

The world’s my oyster, I tells ya.

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