Everyone You Meet, They're Jamming In The Street All Night Long
Well, it's probably a given, but the birthday bash was an unequivocable success. Although there were a few folk I was hoping would turn up who were unable to, nevertheless, there were still a fair number who came out of the woodwork to give the event a definite aura of "encompassing the generations" as it were, from one original founding member, through people from the eary 4th Avenue days, right up to some of our newest company members in attendance.
Ed Hawkins, a long-time company member, current board member, and official company historian put together an amazingly detailed timeline of every single show we've produced in two-plus decades; I think the official count reached something like 390 some-odd shows, an amazingly large percentage of which were World Premieres. In addition, there were lots of photos, show posters, programs, little factoids spread all over the theater, along with enough food and drink to sate a small army.
It was great to see all these different times in the company's history come together; at several points, someone would come up with the intent of saying their "goodbyes" for the evening, and thirty minutes later, you'd see them in a corner engaged in some sort of lively conversation - people just didn't want to leave, and by the time things reached their peak at around 1:00 p.m. or so, our little "open house" had swelled to a full-blown party of around 250 or so, by my rough estimate.
I think in many ways it was even better than the last one of these we did back in 2001 when we moved out of our old space on 4th Avenue, where we'd been producing since 1988; that was an ending, and frankly nobody knew what was going to happen to the company once we became an itinerant producing organization. This, on the other hand, was a celebration of not only survival, but of rededicated purpose, in a new venue, and with a sense of moving forward, as much as reflecting on past accomplishments.
It was, in short, everything those of us who planned the party could have wished for
In addition, there were a couple of presentations, one of which I am almost embarrassed to say, directly involved me. Someone (Brandon H.) decided, after seeing me writhing in agony on the floor during our invitation addressing party a couple of weeks back, that I needed some additional adjustment, and the entire company pitched in to buy me a couple of gift certificates to a local Russian day spa, which were then presented to me in front of the assembled guests. Although the thought was certainly appreciated, it was a bit of a humbling experience nevertheless; we pride ourselves on our dedication to collective effort and will, and rarely do we make a point of singling out individuals for special attention. EVERYONE works so hard to keep this little theatre company afloat, and there are certainly other particular individuals who have done just as much - if not more - on behalf of the organization, and who are (in my opinion) equally deserving of public recognition for their efforts. But, what are you going to do? You take the envelope, say, "thank you", give a (mercifully brief) little speech, and then move on.
But really, I do appreciate it. And so does my back.
I managed to make it until about 3:00 a.m., at which point things were definitely winding down, but after a full day of doing taxes, plus the prep for the party, I was completely beat. I had wanted to stick around to help clean up, but my guess is, things probably ran on for another hour or so after I left, and I just simply ran out of gas. I think I'll be forgiven.
At some point our intrepid house photographer, and new Marketing Director, will have plenty of action snaps up on the web site, and in a few days I'm sure the nice folks from The Seattle Channel, our local government affairs channel, will edit down the several hours worth of footage they shot (it helps that one of their producers is yet another Annex alumni!) into a nice little segment on the theatre, the party, and so-forth. I'll keep an eye out and let you know when that's available on-line; I'm sure it will give you a good idea as to the breadth and scope of our little shin-dig, and at least some small inkling as to why we've managed to keep this little theatre company chugging along for the past 21 years.
on 9:39 PM