102793 A Hell of a Mess (et al), Ottawa, ON

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On October 27th, 1993 I attended a play entitled A Hell of a Mess, which was staged by my future alma mater’s campus acting troupe Sock & Buskin.  This stands as a rather momentous occasion as it marked the debut performance of my very good friend and oft-roommate Eric Seifert, who launched his acting career in this play with his riveting portrayal of “First Man”.

(I would come to learn that credits are everything amongst the young unpaid thespian crowd.)

In my personal role as “Supportive Friend” I actually attended two showings of this play (a practise that soon became a habit).  In fact this ticket stub is from the performance two days later; I kept both, of course, but this one is in better condition.  If I may, I believe I might have seen Rico (as we old friends still call him, after dispensing with his earlier and much sillier nickname “Hippie” which – even when shortened to “Hip” – remained very in-apropos* despite his long, meticulously brushed Joni Mitchell-like golden hair) in every single one of his roles, and if I may even further: I wouldn’t be surprised one bir (sic)** if I saw more onstage acting Eric-ing than anyone else.  Here is the long-and-short of Rico’s career-cum-hobby as I saw it, a list I include here a) to better illustrate my Oscar-worthy performance as Best Supportive Friend and b) to remain thorough in my ticket storying whilst saving myself an awful lot of typing:

-A Hell of a Mess, as explained above; October 27th and 29th, 1993

-Mother Courage and Her Children, which I saw on November 9th, 10th, and 12th, 1994

-As You Like It, (Shakespeare no less!) seen on February 9th and 10th, 1995

-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, (off-Shakespeare?) which I was privileged to see but once (and after Rico’s two-year acting hiatus), on February 8th, 1997

-Cymbaline, (more Shakespeare, which illustrates how little money independent theatre has for such frivolous expenses as “royalties”) which I saw on an unknown date, likely in the Autumn of our discontent…er, I mean Fall, 1997

-Artemis O’Hara, a play written and directed by CBC’s own Alan Neal, and one that starred Rico’s then-girlfriend Jen in an Alanis Morissette kind of role, one that I prepared her for with weeks of intensive and extremely focussed guitar lessons, for which I was granted a free pass on August 29th, 1998, the only time I saw it

-The Ends of the Earth, another one that I saw only once, on October 14th, 1998

-Tony ’n Tina’s Wedding, a rather well-known 1990’s interactive phenomenon that took place not on a stage but in an actual restaurant – in this case at Ottawa’s Villa Marconi – and I believe might have been Eric’s one and only paid role, one that I took in on August 15th, 1999, with dinner

-and finally A Clockwork Orange, which completes the cycle and shows how my support for my friend had waned with my fifth straight one-timer, on November 25th, 2000 (just a day before Rico’s 28th birthday)

I’m happy to report that my friendship with the wonderful Eric Seifert is ongoing, even if his thespian bug died long ago.  Never mind that his acting fell to the wayside as his humour, creativity, and all-around super-humanness were always his stronger points, as they continue to be.  It was a good run though, one that saw me tag along to plenty of fun wrap parties as well as a bunch of cramped and very strange one-act studio plays, both places where I met lots of great weirdos (amateur actors can be so flamboyant) and even led me to getting involved in Sock & Buskin myself, as music director and pit band member for nine-show runs of Chess, Little Shop Of Horrors, and I believe there might have been a third one I’m forgetting…

*Though the even older and even sillier nickname – bestowed upon him by his still older and somehow sillier father – of “Ingdong-dingdong-schtingle-dibimps-demuchdemuch-da-hoobindooble” remains very apropos.

**I think Rico will get this joke, my apologies to the rest of you.

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