Past Memories Essay

(Or: There Are No Small Theaters/Theatres, Only Little Theaters/Theatres)

This is a difficult world no? Everyone just wants a piece of you, a piece of the action. There you are, throwing yourself out there to all those people, your public, and you never really know what any of it all means do you? I mean, does anyone really?

From the time I was a small boy, I knew I wanted to join the world of theatrics! I was a bit of a light bulb hound and boy oh boy, did I know where to find the light bulbs! If I wasn’t in one dramatic scrape, I was in another. Ha! Need I say more?

Like so many before me, I found myself knocking at the New York Theater/Theatre Doorstep. Knock Knock. Is Art home?

Nothing worth doing is easy. I found that out the hard way when I started asking: How do I get involved with this New York Theater/Theatre Thing? First I checked with all my new friends from Scene Study but no one seemed to know anything about the Real Capital A—Audience! That’s when I moved on to the true professionals—you know—the people who come out the backstage door night after night, grease paint on their faces and sweaty with the sheer love of it all. I said: "Let me at it! I want a piece of that pie please!"

The people I started to meet in the Theater/Theatre have become just like the people in my family. We all have such a good time together. We go out at night and drink and drink and laugh and laugh and laugh. One night, one girl laughed so hard she fell back in her chair and cracked her head on the floor! She forgot her name for the rest of the night and some of the people we were with had to take her to the Emergency Room in a cab.

But before any of that happened, I sat down in a fever and started to write my first play. I locked myself up in my one-room studio and let it all come piling out—everything I saw around me, everyone wrong with the world. I called my play: TOUGH SLIDE ON A MOONBEAM. After three days (and ten cups of coffee), I punched those fateful words on my computer keys: THE END.

I just took that computer disk out of the slot, popped it in my pocket and walked around—walked and walked and walked all night long. I walked from Battery Park up to Harlem and then back down across the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked until I saw the sunrise and then I walked some more. When I got home the next morning, I sent out thirty copies of TOUGH SLIDE ON A MOONBEAM and I set out to find a troupe of players.

Art is, indeed, home.

MOONBEAM went into rehearsal almost immediately with a famous older actress. She was quite a character and that was good because in my play, MOONBEAM, she portrayed a character [Note: In plays, characters in the story, or "plot," are referred to as "roles."] She was fantastic in that role. We went out every night during the run of MOONBEAM and we toasted to each other over and over again. It seemed like champagne just poured down from the sky and the famous older actress liked to stand on a chair above me and pour it down my throat. Like I said, these people had become my family. I no longer knew any life but the life of the theater/theatre.

But then, all of that was a long time ago now wasn’t it? I’ll just lose my head going off like this. When all the glory has passed and there is only the golden dust of a MOONBEAM, that’s the moment you know that the best memories are those in the past. (Not including those yet to come!)

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"American Childhood"by Anne Dillard is a good example of using chronological organization. In this story, Dillard tells a memory from her childhood one winter morning when she was 7 years old and got in trouble for throwing snowballs at cars, being chased down an ally by an adult.

Introduction: Dillard uses a frame story to explain the other characters, setting and scene. She explains that at 7, she was used to playing sports with boys and that taught her how to fling herself at something. She then finishes the introduction by telling the reader "I got in trouble throwing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since".

Body: In the body of the paper, Dillard tells the story chronologically, in the order that it happened:

  1. Waiting on the street with the boys in the snow.
  2. Watching the cars.
  3. Making iceballs.
  4. Throwing the iceball and having it hit the windshield of a car, breaking it.
  5. The car pulling over and stopping.
  6. A man getting out of the car and chasing them.
  7. The kids running for their lives.
  8. The man chasing her and Mikey around the neighborhood, block after block.
  9. The pounding and the straining of the chase.
  10. The man catching them when they could not get away.
  11. The man's frustration and "You stupid kids" speech.

Conclusion: Dillard returns to the idea that this was her supreme moment of happiness and says if the driver would have cut off their heads, she would have "died happy because nothing has required so much of me since as being chased all over Pittsburg in the middle of winter--running terrified, exhausted--by this sainted, skinny, furious redheaded man who wished to have a word with us." She ends the piece with an ironic comment "I don't know how he found his way back to his car."

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