Or, a love letter to the ASC.
Though I'm not officially on summer break until mid-May, it feels like it's the end of the year, because it is, kind of. Spring term is over on April 17th, and after that, people start leaving. One in my cohort is leaving for good, two are taking gap years, one is working through the degree on a many-year plan and won't be in classes with us next year, one is probably leaving for good, one is skipping May Term and won't be back in Staunton full-time until next January. Whether we like it or not, we're starting to say goodbye to people next week.
And while that's just a little bit sad, I have had just THE BEST year here. The only thing that could have made it better is if Tim had been able to live with me and share my experiences. I have made some incredible friends here, friends who I now cannot imagine my life without. I feel like I've had the kind of year that people always tell you you're going to have in college, one of those "it'll be the best time of your life" kind of years. I feel incredibly loved, supported, lucky, and blessed to know and love the people in my cohort. I am learning all kinds of things, about Shakespeare, yes, but also (and perhaps more importantly) about myself.
Last Sunday afternoon, the ASC closed the incredible, beautiful, wonderful, magical Actors' Renaissance Season, and in the evening, they held a riotous, rollicking, rambunctious benefit concert. It was absolutely wonderful. I danced/bounced/sang along in the upper gallery sandwiched between Jordan and Marshall, happy as a clam. Overflowing with joy. It was a magnificent evening.
But as the ARS ended, we had to say goodbye to some of the actors, maybe for good. Some won't be back at all next year, some are moving to the touring troupe. Congratulations to them; I'm sure they're all off to bigger and better things, but these people (who have no idea who I am) have become a part of my Staunton family, and they hold a place in my heart, and saying goodbye to them feels like an ending. How do you say thank you to people who don't know you? How do you express all the things they meant to you? (Erotema.) I don't have an answer. I only have love.
Tim, why do you have so much soul? Where do you keep it all? Why are you leaving me for the tour? Why can't you stay and do a one-man As You Like It? Why are you so cosmically wonderful and talented?
Andrew. Your Corin. I just...it gave me feelings. You were so sweet, so lovelorn, so pure. I know the tour is a good gig, but I wish you were staying here, because you're so delightful.
Josh, I just need to tell you that the mustache/hair combo you had going on this season was so intensely sexy. Also, your Apemantus was so dry and cynical and perfect. You were so well-cast this season, and I just fell in love with you. I need you and your sweet, soulful, sensual cello playing in my life.
Chris, you are a perfect, wonderful, talented surfer-dude kind of guy. Don't ever leave me.
Jonathan (aka Beardy McNewGuy), I'm sorry it took me so long to learn your name. I plead distraction--your shoulders are too perfect for words and I couldn't stop staring. But aside from your physical beauty, your talent is blinding. Your Jacques was melancholy and cynical, your Alcibiades was deliciously acerbic, and your King in Maid's Tragedy (who I'm sure had a name) was greasy and skeezy and wonderful. I hope you're staying for the summer. Also, can you just play the piano soulfully forever? Because yowza.
Alli, can you please just be my best friend? I think that everything you do is magical. You're ever so incredibly talented, you're beautiful, you're genuine, and you're kind. Of all my ASC-actor-interactions this year, the one I had with you was my favorite. So...pedicures? I promise you'll like me. I'm kind of rad.
Rene, your performance as Timon gave me chills absolutely every time I saw it. You were beyond superb. It was riveting, it was compelling, it was raw. If it were in my power to give you every single major award for it, I would, because that's how good you were. I wish we could extend the run, and I wish more people were open to seeing such a little-known play. You were just brilliant. You ARE just brilliant. I adore you.
Greg. Gregory. Darling, wonderful, handsome Gregory. You are so talented, and I feel so lucky to be able to witness your power on the stage. You clearly love what you're doing, you love the audience, and we love you right back. You pour all of yourself into every performance, which is so brave of you, and so gratifying to witness. I love that you give yourself over to the craft completely whether you're rehearsing, performing, or just singing a sweet, sad song with a friend. I'm not looking forward to the day I leave Staunton for good, and can't find your gorgeous face and incredible talent at the playhouse whenever I like. I don't have the words to express what you mean to me.
ASC, thank you. Thank you for being part of the best year of my life. Thank you for sharing your talent with me. Thank you for helping me figure out that I don't love Troilus & Cressida, but that I do love Timon of Athens.
Now then. I'm leaving Staunton in 2016. Can you please, please, please do Two Gents, The Importance of Being Earnest, Midsummer, and King John before I go?