Boston, MA - This is a big one. I have an
"audition" at the Coolidge Theater, an old movie house that specializes
in art films, and that now contains two theaters of 300 and 600
seats. I'm hoping I can get a booking, and open up the cinema circuit.
The Coolidge is interested in us because they know
that the magic-lantern show is the great grandfather of today's
movies. The Director takes me around, trailed by his faithful dog,
a huge Labrador named "Volcano." I treat him with respect.
Upstairs, in the administrative offices, Volcano
is left outside while I set up a mini-show in the Director's office.
I darken the windows, and set up my lantern. His whole staff, including
a young lady who has just arrived for an interview, pile in to watch.
I shut the door and start.
I'm showing them a section of our Halloween show--The
Specter Pig (by Oliver Wendell Holmes of Boston)--about a butchered
pig that returns from the dead to haunt it's butcher. I'm into my
stage-whispered rendition of the climactic scene when the pig enters
the butcher's house. I've got my audience hooked: I can see their
eyes big and shining. Then I flash up the bedroom scene -- the pig
straddles the butcher's bed, he flings out his arms in terror--
and I belt out:
"AWAKE! AWAKE! DOS'T THOU YET FEAR TO CLASP A SPECTER'S
Suddenly, the door to the office bursts open. Volcano
charges in, eyes wild, fangs bared, ready to defend his master.
He looks around, sees no danger, and sheepishly
drops into frantic tail wagging. The audience roars. I get my booking.
And get invited back the next year.
Thanks Volcano. I owe you one.