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From Dream to Reality

The Cleveland Play House; The Bolton Theatre - Cleveland, OH
Saturday, August 31, 2002 - 8:00 p.m.

2002
(many thanks to my cousin for her assistance with some of the details and for being my beta reader)

Enamoured. That's me after seeing Kate Mulgrew in Tea at Five. A dream come true-seeing Kate live on stage. What I never imagined was to be sitting in front row, practically center.

I am not a person who gets really excited long before an event-even if it is Kate Mulgrew-because the disappointment would be too great. And it was the same on the night I saw Kate Mulgrew in the play Tea at Five at the Cleveland PlayHouse. My cousin and I spent the afternoon at the Rock and Roll hall of Fame. A fun but exhausting afternoon. So, if my excitement at going to the play that evening was there, the Rock & Roll Hall of fame successfully distracted me. But as soon as we left, I slowly started to get a familiar feeling--Nervous. I have been fortunate to see Kate on two previous occasions and each time I get majorly star struck and very nervous. I don't know why I consistently get nervous when I'm about to see Kate. I've met other celebrities and have been sufficiently and characteristically shy, but with Kate it's something else, something more. I've tried to figure out what it is about her that affects me that way, but I have yet to put my finger on the reason.

But I didn't allow the reality that I really was going to see Kate perform live and in person did not hit me until I actually saw the Cleveland Playhouse. We arrived about 40 minutes before the start of the play. I passed the time taking pictures and spent money in the gift shop. I was too nervous to sit down in the lobby. I got butterflies in my stomach when the lights went down to indicate that the Bolton Theatre doors were open. Once we were inside the theatre, the ushers insisted that they escort us to our seats, which I found to be slightly annoying. I mean, it's not that hard to find the front row. By the time I sat down (Row A, seat 5, orchestra left) the butterflies in the stomach were doing a chorus line and my heart was trying to beat it's way out of my chest. My cousin was chuckling at me, but I couldn't help it.

I was a little concerned about the authentic cigarette smoking in the Act I, but I could hardly smell it, even though I was in the front row. Before the 1st Act even started, my cousin commented that she smelled smoke. She deduced that Kate was backstage getting a cigarette in before the play started and it wasn't fair that Kate wasn't sharing with her.

The set in the first act was impressive. The furniture was white with a patter of red roses. An ottoman was placed stage right, at the edge of the stage (and practically in front of me) -- In the middle was a sofa with a sturdy, dark wood coffee table in front of it (that Kate occasionally sat on). On stage left was an overstuffed chair and beside that was a basket that held magazines, some of which included an old copy of LIFE magazine and Better Homes. In front of that, and closer to the edge of the stage rested some tennis balls and a couple of tennis racquets. There was a table behind the couch that initially held the old rotary phone, but it didn't stay there since Kate moved it from place to place throughout the whole first Act. In the background the were pictures on a wall at the back of stage left, a fireplace slightly off-center towards stage left. It that had a mantelpiece that also held pictures. What was interesting was the window stage right of the fireplace and behind the couch. At the start of the play it showed a beach and a blue sky, but when it started raining later on in Act 1 it was gray and dark and raindrops were falling 'outside' and onto the window. With Act II came snow. Each change went very will with the mood throughout the play.

Five
Cleveland, OH