On Monday, April 4th, I flew in to Burbank and Sheryl picked me up. Those who live in states or countries with lots of rain and green grass and trees should feel lucky. I live in the desert of New Mexico and am surrounded by brown most of the time, so driving the streets of California filled with roses, bougainvillea, palm trees and so much green almost made me cry it was so beautiful. A quick stop at In & Out Burger, some wine, a little bit of hot tub, then we watched "Tides of War" ending a great evening.
Tuesday morning, April 5th, more Adrian's Angels….Dina (from Boston), Elaine (from Illinois) and Maria (from Virginia).. all flew into Burbank airport. No time to relax at the hotel, we dressed for dinner and off to a wonderful Mexican restaurant. Satiated, we headed to the Odyssey Theater. The theater was not as I expected..instead it was a bright blue metal building, very industrial looking. I know our feet barely hit the ground as we found other HL/Adrian fans in the lobby. MaryKay, Jubie, Nora, Patty, Diane, Uschi, Lani and several others gathered around as we waited in anticipation.
We entered the theater and found it to be very intimate. The stage was about 8" high, so you were literally the same height as the actors. We took our seats eagerly, and from our front row seats Elaine and I were about 10 feet or less from actors most of the play! The others filled the rows behind us and there were perhaps 40 people that first night..Julie Osburn, the writer/director, walked onto the stage to thank us for coming and to invite everyone to a small gathering after the play.
The theater went dark...the throbbing music enveloped us with it's hot, frantic beat. (The 2nd night it became clear what the music represented. The first night..it was almost too much to take in.) Mopsy, in an elegant sequined gown takes the stage as a presenter at the Tenth Annual Harry Mosely Foundation's Children's Television Award Banquet. She is to present the award for writing in a children's program It becomes apparent that her husband Harry was deceased and she misses him greatly. She reminisces of how they met, their love story and sang a song.. As her spotlight fades her last enigmatic comment was…. "Things Just Change." Though she acted a bit tipsy, she only had a bottle of water to drink. Later, at the after-party I suggested to Marianne Ferrari (Mopsey) that perhaps she ought to have a drink in hand since her character had appeared somewhat inebriated. She was enthusiastic about that idea.
Our attention was then drawn to the tiny, darkened living room. A small sofa, a little kitchenette, and to the right a big black door with 6 locks on it loomed. Prominently displayed on the countertop was an 8x10 photo of a young boy on his father's lap. Many of us recognized the photo as one featured in Images of a Young Adrian Paul. At the rear of the tiny room was an sheer white room divider through which you could see a tussled bed.
It's 3:30am as Jennifer (Jessica Pennington), rises from the bed in her bra and thong and attempts to quietly sneak into the living room. She gathers her strewn clothing, but inadvertently knocks over a large Mickey Mouse alarm clock. Tinny music screeches from the clock and awakens Peter (Adrian Paul) who rises from the bed, quickly donning his briefs and a pair of gray sweatpants. Barefooted and confused, he pads into the living room to confront Jennifer who is frantically trying to quiet the clock. Therein begins the 2nd act
Peter attempts to persuade Jennifer to stay the night, but from her reaction it's plain that things had not gone as she expected earlier in the bedroom. Peter woos, coos and attempts to seduce her once again even going so far as to prance around with panties on his head. Jennifer is determined to flee. Peter is a writer for a children's show and had been nominated for an award that he did not win earlier that evening. As a couple they'd been dating for 5 months with no sex and this night was "the night." At one point he says he'd been on the "semen retention program" He thinks it went well....she doesn't. They realize they are in love, but both are frightened of how this will change their relationship. Over the course of the play Peter displays so many varied emotions. His mood changes are swift….from amorous to defensive; intense to comical; paranoid to compulsive; playful to heartbroken.
A visit by the hysterically funny, overtly gay Jesus/Joey gives comic relief but creates questions about Peter's sexuality with his animated comments and seemingly familiar pinch of Peter's buttocks. While Jennifer enjoys the "girlfriend" conversation with Jesus/Joey, Peter is repeatedly urging him to leave. (The first night of the play, Adrian accidentally set the pizza box lid on fire. The audience was unsure of whether this was intentional…but good sense prevails and several of us whispered and pointed to the smoking pizza box lid. Adrian quickly grabbed the box and prevented a fire) We sighed in relief. Whew!
As the tale progresses we get a small treat with Peter belting out a few lines of "It Had to be You" and then imitating his children's show host. Clad in tight leather pants, white T-shirt tied up under his breasts, red bandanna around his neck, and large water bottle stuffed down his front pants leg, the audience was in stitches. But soon the play turned very dark and serious as things came to a head between the two lovers. The tension becomes palpable as Jennifer admits that she feels she was raped…while Peter cannot comprehend how his fervent passion was misunderstood. Storming to the small kitchenette he grabs a gun and shoves it towards her in an attempt to force Jennifer to shoot him. He's incredulous at the accusation and it fuels his anger as he tells her "No man should ever do that to a woman and live." He pleads with her to end his life.
As I sat there in that darkened room and watched this final scene unfold, I too, was incredulous. Peter and Jennifer argue over the gun…he pushes, she begs him to stop. (The 2nd night of the play, both actors were so incredibly immersed in their characters that during this struggle Jessica Pennington fell back and struck her head on a nearby chair. It seemed that Adrian broke out of his character for just an instant and acknowledged the accident.)
Back in character, Peter snaps the gun abruptly to his temple with every intention of ending his life. Stunned, Jennifer lowers her voice and calmly attempts to reason with him. At this point, as I focused on the actors, I realized that both of them were trembling with raw emotion. Peter's clothing quivered, but his hand remained steady. Slowly, you could see the violence and intent drain out of his body. He stands with head and shoulders slumped in defeat and acceptance. Never once raising his eyes to look at Jennifer again, he slowly turns and goes to place the gun on a nearby table, covering it with a cloth, as if covering it would make it disappear forever. He seems ashamed as he wearily shuffles to the black door and one by one, unlocks the many locks and holds it open. As Jennifer walks hesitantly towards the door, the lights fade. The End.
We all were left sitting in the darkness in total shock. Then the lights blazed and the actors came out for their bows. Mopsy.....Jesus, Jennifer and then Adrian. He looked befuddled and unclear as if he was still in character. It was plain that he had been so immersed into the Peter that he could not quite get back to normal in such a brief time.
Then Julie came to escort us out to the courtyard. Twinkling lights in trees, wine on a picnic table and a lovely evening to enjoy. The actors came out (except Adrian) and we all chatted with them offering kudos for their performances. Every single one of them welcomed us, made us feel special and accepted. About a half hour later, Adrian entered in a white shirt with a black dragon/oriental pattern. He looked tired, but smiled and began to work his way around the courtyard
So there were we...excited and giddy. We sipped our wine as one by one we chatted with the actors. At first perhaps there were maybe 30 people were in the courtyard, but as the hour passed only about 15 people remained and it seemed more intimate. I know that several of the ladies spoke with Adrian on their own, and I cannot begin to tell you their stories. Rest assured...we did not drool or misbehave, as much as we wanted too!
Adrian graciously signed several "Adrian's Angels" T-shirts that we will be auctioning off soon and all proceeds will go towards his Tsunami Relief effort. The courtyard gradually thinned even more and we felt it was time to leave. Adrian was picking up cups from the table and helping to clean up. We packed into the car and headed home...not a minute of silence for any of us since we all were so excited by the night's events.
Wednesday, April 6th, we got up early (after a really late exhausting night!) and headed off to Hollywood. We did the tourist thing and visited Graumman's Chinese theater, looked at the footprints and handprints of stars, visited souvenir shops, walked the Walk of Fame with all the stars and then headed west to the beaches at Santa Monica. We parked on the boardwalk, inhaled the ocean air and trotted through hot sand to the water. Then, back we went to the hotel to prepare for the play that night. The theater was much fuller this night, maybe 60-70 people, but only about 30 went to the courtyard after the play.
In the audience that night were Richard Yearwood (Nestov) and fellow Tracker alumni Geraint Wyn Davies (Zin in Tracker and Michael Moore in HL) who attended with his daughter. Richard told me, "If you want to see Adrian Paul in all aspects, see this play. He is powerful!" His admiration and respect for Adrian and his acting abilities were very apparent. We spoke about his television show on HGTV and upcoming projects. Later, while several of us stood talking with Geraint I asked him to put into words his reaction to the play. With a grin he said, "Wicked and wild!" He too talked about upcoming and current projects.
Sadly, we said our good-byes to everyone and headed back to the hotel to chatter the night away. Early the next day we all flew off to our respective homes. To reflect, to remember, to revel in private memories. After all the words it seems that Alexandra, Adrian's longtime girlfriend, said it best…."He was stunning!"