A few years ago, my husband, known to regular readers as The Big Guy (he’s 6’6″), was a walking healthcare nightmare. A cut on a leg turned gangrenous a few months before a torn retina claimed the vision in one of his eyes after months of doctors’s visits and bed rest.
So when a friend stopped by his job to recruit him for a small role in a community theatre production of ‘Incorruptible’, a dark comedy about medieval monks promoting the contents of their graveyard as holy relics, I supported the idea whole-heartedly. Accumulating medical bills and long, involuntary weeks in bed had taken their toll on his psyche, and, while in public he was still usually his perpetually cheerful and cheering self, at home he was becoming increasingly quiet and withdrawn. The promise of a creative and engaging distraction was just what he needed, and so, despite his own misgivings about his acting ability, he signed on for his first production at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY and changed all our lives.
A brown-trimmed yellow Victorian opera house in the center of the bustling village of Cambridge, Hubbard Hall is a community arts and education center offering visual and performing arts workshops to students of all ages and walks of life. And, when the directors at Hubbard Hall are not busy helping the community engage in art, they are creating it onstage, offering the surrounding rural communities a rare,intimate opportunity to enjoy world class music, opera and theatre that has even attracted the attention of New York Times’ columnists.
For my husband, the opportunity to help create that experience for others became a vital outlet. He quickly surprised all of us – most of all himself – with his comedic acting ability. We aren’t turning away calls from Hollywood casting agents (yet), but the first part lead to others, and before I knew it, I was a Theatre Widow.
It isn’t always fun and games during theatre season on Minister Hill. During rehearsals, I may see him for five minutes a day on any given week, and getting two kids fed, homeworked, and into bed alone four and five nights a week does begin to lose its charm by the time the performances start. But for all Hubbard Hall asks of us during those rehearsal weeks, it gives back tenfold.
I’ve had a pleasant reminder of those rewards this last month. The Big Guy is currently rehearsing for his biggest role yet in the upcoming production of ‘You Can’t Take It With You’, and we are in our third or fourth week of late nights and crazy schedules. And I am in my fourth week of watching my husband come home at ten o’clock at night, energized and excited about the play and about the talented people he’s working with.
So when one of the staff at this magical place called an asked if I would create the poster for the upcoming show, my answer was an enthusiastic ‘YES’. The query was the result of another post and drawing on this site, and it presented the perfect opportunity to help shamelessly plug a play for the Big Guy. But it also gave me the chance to do something to thank this little theatre with the big heart for all it has done for our family. I wasn’t just honored, I was grateful.