David Nikolas, Actor portraying Maurice Mullins
Theatre is full of metaphors.
Remember the first time you were invited to dinner to meet your significant others’ family? That oh-so-pleasant moment when you realized you were going to meet people who’d be judging you and how appropriate you were to be with their loved one?
Not a comfortable feeling, right?
Nothing in the closet looked good on you, every shoe was too tight…and better not say much, in the hopes of letting them think you were a weirdo rather than opening your mouth and removing any doubt. It’s almost worth getting married the very next day then to risk ever having to go through that experience more than once.
Performers will never have it so lucky. Actors – especially ones like me, who are just branching out into new territory artistically and geographically – experience the tension of that first family dinner date every time they venture into a new theater.
We are always going on that first date: always meeting the parents: always on one blind date after another.
I confess it’s occasionally uncomfortable. There are theaters I have worked at more than once where I still feel like an outsider or where I feel I’m not worthy of being invited to the table.
So, when I arrived at Hedgerow for the table reading of A Murder Has Been Arranged – at the house, rather than the theater, driving the “dinner date” metaphor home with comical accuracy – I was ready for that tension. To my relief, I never got it.
This is a team that doesn’t judge the new guy.
I was welcomed as an equal – and for a group with this much talent and with this high a standard of performance that was about as great a compliment as an actor can get. We hit the ground running like I’d always been here – they pulled up a chair for me and we all got to work together, as a unit.
It’s only a few weeks later, but everything is comfortable and I feel like one of the family…hopefully I’m invited back to the table again!