An evening spent remembering—and reliving.
By Hannah Wallace
“If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.” Counting Crows, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”
Well, for today’s entry you almost got a pretty ridiculous collection of quotes that I like to call, “Things CCB Says.” But that’s going to have to wait, since inspiration hit me Wednesday night, and I now I’m going to get all muse-y about memories and things. Sorry. Blame the Asolo.
Or, come to think of it, blame the Broadway. Before going to Asolo Rep’s Inventing Van Gogh, CCB, Mrs. Harrible and I met up at the ol’ (new) Broadway Bar. And yeah, it’s not the same in a shiny new building, but I have to say, the spirit of the place is alive and well—maybe it lives in the tiny multi-colored tiles by the front door. Or in that bizarre old rotating Budweiser display over the bar.

As a kid, coming back from the Church of the Redeemer on Sundays, I used to look at the old Broadway’s barred windows and package liquor door and think, “Wow. That’s one of those scary places for scary people.” Years later, Little J once met us there by riding his unicycle from Gillespie Park. Things change.

The Broadway: old and new.

In fact I’m pretty sure it was Little J—inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—who described something scientific he’d read about memories: that they’re not just filed away in one place in the mind; that every time you remember something, you season it with whatever’s going on now and file it away in a new place. Even the act of remembering something creates a whole new memory.

Right about now you’re wishing I’d gone with the CCB quotes, right?
Anyway, the new Broadway has a picture of the old building depicted on its glasses, just in case we weren’t already swapping stories about closing night parties and conservatory graduations. And then on top of all that reminiscing, in walked an old family friend and theaterperson I haven’t seen in years. It’s sort of…incestuous, maybe? To remember old things while living them anew. Or maybe this season of Lost is eating my brain.
Then we saw Inventing Van Gogh, a play about people desperate to wrench the past into their present lives. The best parts involve the present-day characters’ conversations with Van Gogh himself. Talking with ghosts.
Plus, the theater’s mezzanine lobby now has a photographic retrospective of the Asolo’s 50-year history, including lots of pictures I’ve seen before—pictures of Dad, pictures of stories I remember, of people I remember from 20 years ago, and people I only ever heard about, over and over again. I dunno, I guess these physical reminders kind of compress long periods of time so it can all be jam-packed into right now, which is very satisfying. Even the smell of the lobby reminded me of teenage years, walking down the darkened mezzanine hallway, from the backstage stairwell to my mother’s stage manager booth, 300 silent people right on the other side of the curtain, muffled voices from the stage, sudden eruptions of laughter.
I guess this sort of stuff is bound to happen when you spend 30 years in one town. Sometimes you look right past stuff, and sometimes it jumps out and grabs you.
Anyway, enough of that crap; it’s Friday, dammit, so back to your regularly scheduled snark: I almost had an incident at the theater with the woman behind us, who was eating Good & Plenties aaaaallll through the second act. Seriously? A box of those things is a frigging maraca. Why not throw some Pop Rocks into that maw while you’re at it. God.