My oldest son's newest drama production opened this past weekend: Look Homeward, Angel. The play is based on the book by Thomas Wolfe, which is considered a masterpiece of American literature. The play ran on Broadway for nearly 600 shows and won several awards. Most importantly, though, this was my son's first lead role.
He was in the role of 17-year-old Eugene Gant, a boy desperately wanting out from under his mother's controlling thumb but unsure of how to do that. That is until 23-year-old Laura James shows up at his family's boarding house. Without meaning to, my son completely channeled Jimmy Stewart for this role, and it was impressive. There's this one scene where Eugene is telling Laura the kinds of things you can feel and see by laying your hand on a train, the places you get pieces of, and it could have been that scene from It's a Wonderful Life where Stewart is talking about how he's going to see the world. Mostly, though, he takes that stammer and transforms it into a boy who is unsure of himself and how to get what he wants out of life. He was really quite good.
The rest of the cast was good, too, just mostly not as good. The girl who played Eugene's mother was probably as good, though I found her to get better as she moved through the play, which leads me to think that her performance in the first act may have been a little weak. The boy that played Eugene's father had moments where I thought Jim Carrey had stepped in for him.
Overall, I just continue to be impressed and more impressed with the drama department at my son's high school. They do good work and, most impressively, they do most of it themselves. They have a teacher there, but he seems to be there mostly to supervise and to prompt them to work it out for themselves. Whatever he does, he gets good stuff from the students.
Shadow Spinner News
Every year, the school my younger kids go to has an auction fund raising event. It's kind of a big deal as it accounts for the bulk of the school's funds every year. This year, I decided to donate one of my proof copies of Shadow Spinner to the auction. After all, I had an extra one, since no one won it back during the Greatest Chocolate in the World contest. Just to be clear, only three of these books exist: the one I'm using as my editing copy (that's got red marks all in it), the one my younger son stole from me, and the one I donated (signed). There will be no other proof copies like this as next time I order proofs, there will be cover art on the book.
I was kind of unsure about donating the book. I mean, although I have fans at the school, it's not a kid event, so it made me a bit uneasy. What if it just sat there and no one bid on it at all, you know? That would be, like, the height of embarrassment to have them bring it back to me after the auction with a "sorry, no one wanted it." But! I took it up and donated it anyway. I mean, even if someone paid $5.00 for it, that would be $5.00, right?
I had to fill in a retail value of the book on the donation form, so I put $12.00, because I think that's what it's going to be priced at in physical form. I think. The woman taking the book from me, though, told me I should point out on the form that it was a proof copy and not something you could actually buy, so I wrote that in.
Now, I didn't go to the auction (because it was the same night as my son's opening performance in Look Homeward, Angel), so I'm not sure if that information was available to the public or not. I have no idea how the items were displayed and what information was included or anything (it was a silent auction), but I imagine it just sat on a table somewhere with a sheet of paper next to it for people to write their bids on. Just a plain gray book with no cover art sitting on a table.
And it went for $30.00. I'm pretty pleased with that. I hope it turns out to be a worthwhile investment for the family that got it.