It is Monday, October 2, 1978. As I wait for my flight to Pittsburgh, I watch Bucky Dent break the hearts of thousands of Boston baseball fans. I am on my way to play Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. The actor playing George is already in Pittsburgh because he is in the current production. The rest of the cast will arrive in a week, and in the meantime we will have a week to work on the Lennie-George scenes: “Where we going, George?” “Tell me about the rabbits, George.” Etc.
It is Monday, October 2, 1978. As I wait for my flight to Pittsburgh, I watch Bucky Dent break the hearts of thousands of Boston baseball fans.
“Of Mice and Men” has exactly one female character: Curly’s Wife, and in this pre-Google era, I am waiting for the arrival of the rest of the cast to learn about this actress Beth McDonald. The out of town actors are housed in an old Victorian mansion that has been broken up into six apartments, and when I learn on Sunday that the newly-arrived Ms. McDonald doesn’t have enough light in her basement duplex, I grab a standing lamp and head downstairs.
I knock on the door and say “Lamp Man!” A remarkably beautiful curly-haired brunette opens the door, thanks me for the lamp and offers me some tea. I accept and we chat for an hour or so before I return to my apartment. Two days later we have our first read-through and the theater’s photographer is there to take some setup shots and some candids of the cast. He takes exactly two individual candid photos: one of me and one of Beth. In mine, I am watching her read, clearly smitten. In hers, she is watching me read with evident admiration. Two days later, I move in to her basement duplex; and thirty-eight years later, I still celebrate Lamp Man Day every October 8th.