so, where was i?
yes, my pal and i had consoled ourselves post “audition” by wrapping up plans for a once in a lifetime-not to be missed-better catch it while you can-road trip south. the purpose? to tread happily into the world of branson, missouri…to see, “live and in person”: the inimitable andy williams.
i’m not kidding.
to set the mood and savor the anticipation eileen and i were feeling, here’s a transcript from an email, outlining the itinerary and accommodations for our one night only stay (and we were both trying not to think about the 9 hour each way drive…come on: it’s andy williams!)
“just hung up with branson…ladonna was real helpful and recommended staying across the street from the theatre since we’re going to have a long drive that day…$75.66 each for ticket and lodging and the hotel comes with a nice breakfast…now, the theatre has some stairs so she wanted to make sure we were ok with that…and she recommends eating at the moon river restaurant next to the property…andy williams owns it and it’s not a chain restaurant…it’s a little upscale but has very good food…ladonna’s office is open until 9 pm…they like to make sure everyone gets settled in after the shows so nobody is stranded. i knew that was going to be a great phone call…”
back to real life (not that we were absent from it for more than an hour and a half), i was at the beauty parlor (i don’t really call it that, but to match the andy williams prep mood, i thought a kitschy handle suited my story) getting fresh highlights so i’d look my best for andy, the phone rang. since i never answer if i don’t recognize the caller, i waited a few minutes and then listened to the voicemail.
i got the part!
again, not really a “part”, well, certainly not a speaking one, but this fellow was breathlessly explaining that they wanted me to come to the shoot to be a teacher, in no doubt, a pivotal scene. i clutched a chair to remain steady, this was hollywood calling! (well, actually, some casting dude in the north side of chicago, but still…) the adrenaline was on high gear, when suddenly i felt my heart drop. the day he mentioned, the day i’d sketched to memory due to it’s kookie significance, was exactly the day of the andy williams christmas show in branson.
i called eileen immediately to discuss the pickle.
she had been offered a part as well (the principal, my my), but had gently let the man know that she was unable to be on the shoot that day, that she had other plans, but thank you anyway.
i was silent. eileen sensed a simmering unease, and said, gently, “you’d rather go to the shoot, wouldn’t you?”
what? could i lie? how to choose? this was like the story of solomon or whoever it was that suggested those people slice their baby in half: how on earth could i pick one, and why couldn’t i have both??
i thought, for a millisecond (i think really fast, in vivid color, too), and said, “yes.”
she laughed, told me that the deposit to branson was 10.00 and that if i could wrangle both of our parts back from casting man, she’d happily embrace hollywood and save andy for another year (which, we both knew, was a risky venture).
i called the man back, he and i had a laugh over the issue at hand, “well, seeing andy williams would be sort of cool…”, and he moved mountains (probably looked briefly at his clipboard), and said that yes, we could both be at the shoot, that eileen’s part was still available, and then went on to give me a top secret phone number which, when called, would reveal the date, locale, wardrobe instructions, et al, for the day of on the set with matt damon! omg!
we were on!
and now, i really have to stop short, again. a busy day here in my crazy life compels me to leave, but i promise i’ll get to the heart of the matter when i have time. it’s sure to be the stuff of metro goldwyn mayer, after all: doesn’t art imitate life, or is it the other way around?