The Play Is the Thing

carol young george clooney guys on ice play sixth street theater Oct 25, 2022

By Paul Roberts

As I write this, opening night for the classic bit of theater that is Guys On Ice, being performed at the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace,  is only twelve days away. I have intentionally made it the primary focus of my day for the last several weeks, and will continue to do so until after the three shows of our first weekend are complete. After that, I get to move it down a notch or two in priority.

That decision has been a very conscious choice. This retirement thing hasn’t made me less busy, but it has made it possible to arrange my priorities in ways I haven’t always felt like I could do. Having a full time job as a teacher was a joy, but I always said it would take as much time as I was willing to give it. And I gave it a lot, along with the joys of being a husband and father.

I wonder, what would have happened if I had dedicated myself to a career in the theater? 

Actually, I don’t really think about that, but it gives me the chance to throw in a couple of lines from the show:  

Cubby: Did ya ever tink about leavin’ da factory for a career on da teevee?

Marvin: Well sure, Cubby…but what would da world do wid anudder George Clooney?

The most enjoyable part of those lines is that I get to play both characters. I get a whole page and a half of dialogue with myself. The theater just gives me a chance to…play. That’s part of the message Carol and I gave to the middle school kids who toured the theater this morning. Those kids had a chance to play and dream a little bit about what it would be like to perform under the lights of a “real” stage. And Carol and I just played along with them. 

We had another chance to play last Friday, in a completely different fashion. Thanks go out to our good friend Carol Young who allowed us to play with some of her toys at her house: metal grinders, welding torches, chop saws and the like. Carol has an amazing collection of tools and metal items that some people would call scrap, but she uses to make art. She plays with the metal like I play with words. She creates scenes that make people smile at the whimsy of it all, like I create scenes on stage. And Carol Young allowed my Carol and me to explore and play in her playground like the middle school kids played a bit in my playground up at Sixth Street.

Whatever your creative outlets, find the joy in them. Find the chance to play.

“There are people who like to work in chaos, and some people work better under that, and create that sort of chaos, but that makes a set not necessarily very fun. I like to work on sets that don’t have that.”

                                                                                                                                    ~ (George Clooney).

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Are there things you see as play, that others around you see only as work? Share some ideas with us.

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