“Welcome to Main Street Stage. Here’s a hammer. We own you now.”

Posted in history, Past Shows, The Redroom on June 3rd, 2009 by jturbin

I lurked backstage behind the curtain at the May 2008 Redroom intently listening in on the audience response to my short play, Job Interview with the Vampire Wannabee.  Written during a slow day at my then-dayjob as a substitute teacher it involved a vetting session for the new member of a high school goth clique.  The small yet vocal audience seemed to be lapping it up.  I had been involved with Main Street Stage only a matter of weeks and already I had begun acting, directing and writing for the company.

And it was all due to a matter of chance.

I was eating out with a friend (okay — it was a date) when a woman with way more energy than is advisable waltzed into the restaurant, dropped a quarter-sheet on the table, plugged the Redroom, and left.  Said friend looked at the card, observed “oh.  It’s right around the corner” and suggested we attend.  I had only been back in the country for a few weeks, let alone the city, and knew next to nothing about the art scene in North Adams (I had only a vague notion that a bunch of old mills had been converted into artist lofts and museums).  Little did I know that I was about to encounter an olde tyme cabaret/burlesque performance, a team of earnest and talented artists, and people who would become some of my closest friends.

The evening in question involved a local singer/songwriter (a “troubadour,” as my friend put it), a Dada performance piece, and a one-act about a woman harassed by her time-travelling, future groupies.  Afterward, over drinks at the bar, I struck up a conversation with a woman in striped tights.  Said conversation began with Paul Farmer and ended with me being handed the executive director’s email address.  Truth be told, I nearly threw it out; while I had done theatre as an undergrad, those days were behind me.  Or so I thought.  One month later, I attended my first executive committee meeting.  Shortly after that, Main Street Stage had claimed me.

It’s now little over a year since my first performance with the company.  Here I am dramaturging our summer production (Twelfth Night, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention) and helping manage our humble blog.  Main Street Stage has grown by leaps and bounds during my tenure, so I can only imagine how far it’s come since its founding.  If history is any judge, next year will be even bigger and better.