In order to go forward with my story, I’ll first have to back up a bit:
I moved back to Florida in the early summer of 2008. On the week that I arrived home, I discovered, through the Showtime section of the Sun-Sentinel, that there existed a magical entity called the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival and that it was holding auditions for Comedy of Errors.
Through some force of magic, I managed to be cast as the Abbess (a character probably about 50 years my senior–but I wasn’t complaining). I spent my summer commuting to West Palm Beach for rehearsals–and had the time of my life. As it turns out, PB Shakes is like a little community, filled with Shakespeare scholars and theatre nerds, college students and professors, professional actors and amateurs alike. The plays are performed each summer in an open air theater (almost always in Jupiter, Fl, with the exception of the outlier performance in Boca Raton in 2008), and they are always performed with utmost care for the intricate relationship between actor, text, and concept. It’s truly an incredible institution, and if you live in Florida, I encourage you to go check it out. (They’re doing their last performances of this year’s Twelfth Night this weekend!)
The following spring, I got a phone call from the artistic director asking me if I would be interested in a small part in their spring production of Sara Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cellphone. It would begin rehearsing the moment that I finished directing my high school’s musical. Too excited to worry about exhaustion, I said, “Hell yes!”
It was hard, teaching all day and commuting to West Palm at night. I had to bring my broccoli slaw dinners in tupperware and eat it in the car while sitting in traffic or else rely on Clif Bars to carry me through. I would come home after 10–or later–and wolf down my cereal before collapsing into bed. I made up excuses not to go out with my fellow cast mates because I was afraid that I would have to share an appetizer with them at a bar (and so use up my allotted cereal calories) or be asked if I wanted anything to drink (again, too many empty calories to be worth the social interaction). I was constantly tired and complaining, even though I actually really enjoyed being a part of the show. I don’t have any idea how they put up with me.
I also auditioned at Florida Atlantic University at the behest of my friend Ana for their summer production of Sondheim’s Company. I hadn’t done a musical in years, so even though I’d have to pay to register for a non-matriculating class if I was cast, I tried out anyway. I got a part.
But after Cellphone, my fellow Shakespeareans were on me to audition for the summer production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was torn. A musical or Shakespeare? I couldn’t decide, so I figured I might just audition for Midsummer and see if I even got a part. I was cast as Hermia. Shakespeare it was.
Now, here’s the thing: I met the man who would become my boyfriend at the Shakespeare audition. (We played opposite one another during the callback…and I’m guessing, but I think we were cast because our chemistry in person carried over onto the stage.) Why is this important, and why do I bother explaining any of this on a blog about food? Because the choices that I made–not taking the FAU part, dating my Lysander, etc.–would define how the next year would go, and would prove to be disastrous when ED got involved, however perfect things seemed in the short term.
And things really did seem perfect. I loved the Shakespeare festival, I loved dating Lysander, I loved that I was just a few short months away from moving back to New York City to be a dramaturg. My only problem was that I lived an hour south of our theatre (and of my boyfriend), so I was going through massive amounts of gas in order to commute (and to go on dates). The only logical answer, it seemed, was to move in with my boyfriend.
And this, my friends, is where I made the horrible mistake of letting ED back into my life.