Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 10, 2010

Anne Keefe
Playhouse Artistic Advisor

I’m excited to be writing this blog.  But I warn you, you will need patience.  I’m easily distracted and my mind shoots off in all directions.
I’m sitting in my office here at the Playhouse, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about the Script in Hand series.  I thought I’d start the entry with “I’m sitting in my office…” but that made me think about all the offices I have inhabited during my almost 10 year tenure at the Playhouse.  Joanne Woodward and I started in Jim McKenzie’s old office in the barn you see before you encounter the Playhouse itself when you enter our campus. At the time, it was the building that housed the scene shop and the prop shop, and on the second floor, 4 offices housed the entire Playhouse staff in the winter and summer during Jim’s run (of 40 years!) at the Playhouse. There was a terrifying propane heater that kept our space cozy-ish and the few other people had space heaters and electric mats on the floor that when plugged in, kept our feet almost warm.  Pre-renovation there was not only no insulation, there was no bathroom in the building, so we shared the job of shoveling our way to the Playhouse dressing room area where we kept the pipes wrapped and the water running to the two toilets in the downstairs of the Playhouse.  I’m sure I didn’t drink nearly as much coffee in those early days!
As the staff began to grow and the need for offices expanded, some of us moved to rented offices on Myrtle Avenue, with a hodge-podge of tables and old desks and only a short uphill walk to the campus. During the renovation summer, when we did our plays at the Ridgefield Playhouse, we lodged in the back room of what is now the Dressing Room restaurant, which featured a great bar for at least part of the time.  We ultimately tore it out to accommodate a conference table.  In the renovation winter, we moved to 319 Post Rd. E, at the head of the Playhouse driveway where we lived in a rabbit warren of small rooms with big desks. It allowed us to watch over the construction project first hand.
Once the renovation was complete, Joanne and I shared a big office in the basement for a bit but because of the growing staff, we subsequently moved back to what is now the rehearsal barn.  Over the years, I have quite literally inhabited every office in this building - and a few more downstairs in the Playhouse building as well (after all, it has been almost 10 years). At least now, I only have to go down a flight of stairs to reach a bathroom, and there is plenty of insulation.
My current office might well be my favorite.  It is – prepare yourself – 5 feet long by 4 feet wide!  It might accurately be called a closet. But it has both a door (to close it I have to move my chair to the wall…) and a window! (!), a small desk, a computer, a phone and a file cabinet. It has all one needs to do business, and I sit in the artistic hub of the theatre.  I’m in heaven!  Any regrets?  Only that Joanne isn’t sharing it with me.
So… while “I’m sitting in my office…” the Script in Hand part of the blog will have to wait ‘til next time.
But – so you’ll know exactly what I’m writing about – you should go to the website now and buy tickets to A SONG AT TWILIGHT by Noel Coward on November 15th at 7:00 pm, don’t you think?!


Ann said...

I love hearing about your history with the Playhouse! You should link your Facebook page to the's a perspective that no one else has...

K Parrella said...

Annie: This was fascinating to read and really demonstrates all you and Joann have done to make the Playhouse the great success it is. I loved the behind the scenes look at the before--and it makes me appreciate so much more what you, Joann, Paul, and all the people involved in donating, as well as raising money to renovate the Playhouse, have accomplished.
YOU ROCK! What a great story. thanks for sharing. I'm just sorry it took me so long to find your blog. K Parrella