“The usual….perfessor”…asked the bartender.
“Not tonight Sam….celebrating….gonna hike it up a notch”….”Something from a bottle this time”.
“Maybe a PBR” he laughed, “…instead of the usual…draft PBR…bottle….”.
“On it’s way”….”why the upgrade”…”…it’s a whole twenty five cents more on the tab” laughed the bartender.
“Tonight, my dear sir, Tonight….was the opening of the school play…and I survived…barely….but, I survived..and I’m here to tell the tale”…”so….Tonight….we splurge!”.
“I forgot” said Ted, the barkeep. “I knew it was coming up….but, well…you are here…and not cowering in a corner somewhere, curled up in the fetal position…so, I am assuming that this year went better than last years version of “Death of a Salesman”.?”
“Better? it would not have been to tough to be better than that catastrophe…it was the best…THE BEST….out of all of the previous school plays…I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out…..**** it..PBR and a chaser…it was that freaking good!”
“Really? In all of the years you’ve been teaching at the school you have never…NEVER come in here this happy about how the show went. I can’t believe it!”
“Don’t…It was crap. What I just did was acting. What they did, was crap. You know we did “Death of A Salesman”. Classic play. Great play. It’s been done by some of the best actors in the industry. Then, there was our version. It should have been called “Death of A Theater Arts Program”.
“Sorry to hear that Professor, two more?”
“**** right, and keep them coming.”
“I was a working actor for years before I took this gig. I wasn’t great, but, I got by. These kids, I just don’t know, I just don’t get it.
The lights went up and they just lost it, it was more Monty Python than Arthur Miller. I mean, he must be spinning in his grave at some incredible speed right now. These kids made my brain hurt”
“It couldn’t have been that bad Professor, I mean, they did all right in rehearsal, didn’t they?”
“Sure, no family watching, no pressure at all…they did fine. But, once those lights went on and the curtains went up, it was every man for himself, total deer in the headlights on stage. And through it all, I couldn’t do a **** thing except stand stage left thinking, “So, this is what the Captain of the Titanic felt like that fateful night”.
At this point in the conversation, the door opens and a man walks in. He hangs up his overcoat and joins the men at the bar.
“****…what are you doing here?”
“You two friends?” asks the bartender
“Principal Paul Jackson” says the newcomer. “From…”
“Let me guess” said the bartender, “from the same school The Professor teaches at?”
“Two more…and one for him” says the teacher.
“Yes, that school. The Professor, I like that, I can get on board with that”.
“So, what brings you here? I mean, the play is over, the kids ******, and let me guess…oh, maybe you are here to dump on me, and give me my walking papers in private”
“******, I wouldn’t go that far Professor, I can call you that can’t I? It wasn’t great, but, I must say, after what we’ve had before, it was okay. I mean they tried, they were engaged, and nobody cried on stage like they did when we did Little Women”.
“Were you watching the same thing I was? They called ***** Loman “Wally”, eleven times….ELEVEN times!!! Engaged? they were so far off script, there was no way in the world we could get back. I mean, I tried, I really tried, and I thought we had it down. But, tonight, those lights went up and it was total deer in the headlights on stage, for each and every kid”.
The drinks arrive, and the bartender leaves the men alone.
“*****, Wally, what does it matter?” They winged it, and got through. I mean, it could have been worse, but, they forged ahead”.
“Forged ahead…Washington forged ahead crossing the Potomac, these kids, wrote a whole new play on stage in real time. Nothing made sense. It was hard to watch. I was waiting for the audience to leave, which, I think…may have happened, had they been given a
chance with an intermission”.
“See…right there, nobody left. That is a plus. You have to admit that is a win right there…nobody left, and that sir is a winning program. They had to see where it went, what happened and Professor, what comes next?”
“You can’t be serious? or are you just being facetious? “, said the Professor.
“Oh, I am serious, deadly serious. You weren’t expected to put on an award winning play, just to entertain those who attended and most important, to be able to put on the play. Most times, it never sees the light of day, teachers quit the production, students quit, hell, I quit…twice. The goal was to put on a production and you did. It wasn’t great, hell, it wasn’t even good, but, it was entertaining in the way people drive slowly by a fire or a train wreck sort of way, and you did it.”
“Bartender, two more beers, make that three….one for you and more shots” yelled the Professor.
“Start picking next year’s show and no matter what happens…save these seats for the after party”.