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(These stories of the road are the humorous incidents that keep spirits alive. But there are plenty of discouraging times too -- bad food, long drives, even longer waits stranded in airports, even (sad-to-say) ill-prepared theater mangers. What keeps us going is not just the on-the-road funnies; it's the audience. Laura Cutler, who worked as house manager at Ivoryton Playhouse, our home-base theater, caught it best.)

Ivoryton, CT - Laura puts in long hours in a factory during the day, and often comes directly from work to begin setting the theater up for a show. She is here all night, taking tickets, watching over the audience (and the lights, and the heat, and us) during the performance, helping to clean up afterwards. I ask her why she keeps coming. It certainly isn't the money.

"Oh," she says, "I love it here. I get energy from the audience. They come in here, like tonight. It's Friday. They're exhausted; you can tell they're angry about something, maybe about everything. Their faces are set in stone. The men, especially, don't want to be here. They don't know what is going to happen, but whatever it is, they're pretty sure they're not going to like it.

Then the show starts. There's that first laugh when you start talking about "teleeveesion." And then the "Tunnel of Time" comes on the screen, and they're swept away.

By the time they leave, they're different people. They're laughing, talking with each other. They're alive again.

It's magic. That's why I come. Because I'm in the audience too. I feel alive again."

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Last Update: June 29, 2004
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