Once upon a time, I started college as a Freshman at California State University, Chico. Being a theatre geek from the get-go, I went to the first audition I had the opportunity to go to – for a production of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” – directed by the late, great Donna Breed. I got the small but pivotal role of the Abbess (I was tall and had a loud voice, despite my youth).
The costume designer on that marvelous piece of theatre (this was the early 80’s by the way, just to date myself) was a lady named Gail Holbrook. The costume I wore in that show included a large hat that looked fairly – well, medieval, for lack of a better word – with a large round circle on the top of my head. Later on, I came to find out that the technicians on that show, over the headsets, would, upon my deus-ex-machina-like entrance at the end of the production, refer to me as “toilet-bowl head.” An auspicious beginning to college theatre.
But it was the beginning of a long friendship with Gail Holbrook. There were many productions over the next few years in Chico, usually her directing and me acting: Blue Window, Steel Magnolias, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, to name a few. And there were many parties (many parties – it was Chico in the 80’s, after all), road trips, and laughter. And many other friends in common – many now keeping in touch via Facebook.
More recently, Clint met Gail through his affiliation with the American College Theatre Festival – both as frequent adjudicators of college productions.
Clint and I have been talking to Gail for several years about coming “over to the coast” to work with us at Redwood Curtain. Although the desire has been there – the time to do so was not. But now that she is officially retired from her Professorship at Chico State, the time has come.
And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Firstly, because she is an experienced and professional director to add to our talented pool of theatre artists. And secondly, for me personally, when we’ve had the time during her stay, we drink wine and reminisce (and gossip) about the “good old days.” I’m sure there are a few Chico State Theatre alumni from those years whose ears have been burning lately.
This is one of the things I love about theatre – the friendships and bonds that we accumulate.