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      FIRE AND SPIRIT by Noyes Lawton

      It certainly has been an intriguing last few months. I will try to recall, but it has been a blur. We started rehearsing for Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” at the end of January and also at this time Hamilton-Gibson had auditions for “Blithe Spirit.” I auditioned for “Blithe Spirit” not necessarily thinking about the implications of doing two shows so close together. I received the part of Charles Condomine in “Blithe Spirit” and the rehearsals started immediately all the while rehearsing for “Ring of Fire”. There were a few nights of overlap leaving from one rehearsal and straight to another, to quote Madame Arcati, “my brain was fairly seething.” There were many wonderful things that came from this experience; from developing two characters, to the relationships formed during this period of time, and for the opportunity to further develop friendships with people I already knew.

      Though the “character” I portrayed in “Ring of Fire” was much just who I am personified. I still felt that in the “Ring of Fire” show it was truly a character, for those who have seen the show yes the cowboy boots and crazy snake shirt are both mine. I rarely if ever get the opportunity to wear these things in public. So it was great fun to pull these things out of my closet and play this carefree guy singing on stage. It was very interesting to move from this character, to Charles Condomine in “Blithe Spirit” who is very proper in his manner and speech. To be able to compartmentalize these characters and bring them out in the proper rehearsal was both fun and a challenge. Character development has always been my favorite part of theater and having the opportunity to develop two characters at the same time was a great experience.
      One of the wonderful experiences for me that has happened with Hamilton-Gibson is the relationships I have been a part of as a result of theater. For me it is a two-fold experience. Not only do I get to act and be a character and see how this character relates to those around him, but the personal relationships that I have built because of theater are just as rewarding. For both “Ring of Fire” and “Blithe Spirit,” I had the chance to work with people I had never worked and people I had worked with. Not only that but the first time that I had worked with Clare Ritter as a director. Though there is always some apprehension for me when working with new people both of these shows were not a disappointment. I had the chance to work with people that took these shows very seriously and made these shows very enriching. It is truly a joy to see people put so much time and effort into bringing a show to life.
      For those that know me I also went through an appearance change from “Ring of Fire” to “Blithe Spirit”. Gone were the long hair and crazy beard that I adorned for “Ring of Fire” to clean shaven and short groomed hair for “Blithe Spirit”. All I will say is not to worry the beard will be back until I am asked to shave it for the next show!

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