Volume 2 Book 8 Part 1 of "Living In The Bonus Round"
The Online Diary of Steve Schalchlin

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[ Book 7 ] -- [ Part 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] -- [ Book 9 ]

July 2001.
Cincinnati, OH
Pictured: the front of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati features tall multi-colored pillars and a large bank-like logo chiseled in stone across the top.
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati

July 1-5, 2001.
Superman in Cincinnati.
Showing are the big multi-colored pillars outside the Ensemble Theatre.When I woke up at 4am to get to the airport in time for my flight to Cincinnati I had no idea I'd be pushing myself past my AIDS-infected limit. You see, the truth is, reader, I still think I'm Superman no matter how much I've been through. So what did I do? I told Buz (with-one-z) the stage manager, "Of COURSE I can rehearse on the same day I fly in. What's the big deal?"

So I flew all morning long, arrived in the early afternoon, was picked up my Martha and Gary, ate a sandwich at Arby's and went right to the theatre, camera in hand.

I found my hotel down the street from the Ensemble Theatre and at 5 made my way to the multi-colored pillars outside the building.

It was so lovely, the reception I was given. For instance, here is a woman giving me the finger. All I could think of was "What a nice place this must be!"

Actually, the story behind this photo is pretty funny. I had already been running around taking shots of cast members and staffers when this lady came into the rehearsal. Terry LaBolt, the director (standing next to her), turned to me and made a gesture like a person snapping a photo.

I thought this meant he wanted me to take her picture -- he was actually signaling me that she was the production photographer. So I grabbed my camera, pointed it at her and immediately she shot me the finger! What was THAT all about, I asked myself. Then later, as she was shooting us in various poses, we sang a little bit of "Preacher And The Nurse." She was quite taken aback and said, "Wow. That was really good. Who wrote this score?"

I couldn't help myself, of course. With a huge grin on my face I said, "I DID! The person you flipped off!"

Immediately she blushed beet red and said, "Oh..."

I couldn't have loved it more. (The reason Terry signaled to me about "photo" was because SHE was the PHOTOGRAPHER. He wasn't signaling to me to take a shot. I just misunderstood the sign language.)

Buz (with one z) showed me around backstage. Here he is pointing to my mailbox where I get news, letters, notices and other goodies.

Already, Todd Almond who is playing Buddy had arrived -- he was in the bathroom -- so we waited outside and I snapped him just as he came out. I have no shame. The first thing I noticed was THIS BOY IS TALL. In fact, he's about three or four inches taller than I am, which is very strange for Buddy who I'm used to seeing as a little guy. This'll be interesting.

Slowly the others arrived but because the stage area was dark, the individual photos didn't come out very well. But I did get a couple group shots that look pretty good.

Todd Almond, Deb Girdler as Vicki in the middle, Spring Star Pillow as Tryshia
Our rehearsal went well. Mostly, it was just blocking but after several hours, my stomach started hurting really badly. So I asked Buz-with-one-Z if they had any food. Perhaps, I thought, I just needed to get some nourishment. He found a frozen dinner which tasted good but along about 11pm, I was in a lot of pain.

Two shots inside the theatre. The seating is raked high above the stage.
The stage is a platform below situated on the floor.
We finished for the night and Todd drove me back to my hotel. By that time I was really hurting and I could tell I was getting a raging fever. Terry was good enough to go to a grocery store and pick up some groceries. He came in about midnight, took one look at me and knew I was in trouble. He said later my skin was really hot but he didn't want to intrude or say anything.

So I bundled up and shivered all night long. The next morning I could tell the fever had broken but I still had a lot of stomach upset. I was so happy we had the day off. So I spent all day in bed, going out only to eat and to a drug store where I found Immodium and Gas-X, the two greatest inventions of mankind.

Finally, on the 4th, I was back to normal, whatever that is. We had our second rehearsal and I had a chance to get more shots. I still haven't gotten really good ones of the cast, but I will.

I guess I'm not Superman after all. No, I'm WOLVERINE. I might get sick but baby, I can bounce back with the best of them. (And watch out for my claws.c
July 6 - 9, 2001.
Rehearsals. Rehearsals.

Beware these people!

I feel in the public interest I need to warn people that there is a hidden evil in Cincinnati in form of two desperate killers. Yes, Gary and Martha Lare may LOOK like your average normal folk, innocent and harmless but look out! On three occasions now they have tried to kill me and I felt I needed to speak out.

First, remember I told you how sick I was on the first day? Well, I figured out it was a from a sandwich I ate on the way in from the airport. And who got me that sandwich?

Gary and Martha Lare.

Then this past weekend they "offered" to take me to lunch. Not a bad idea except there we were on a freeway turn-off and suddenly Martha GRABS the wheel and steers us directly into oncoming traffic on a one-way street! At the last minute, I leaped out of the back seat, grabbed the wheel, steered us across three lanes of traffic, jumped a divide, drove down an incline -- all the while holding Martha with one hand while keeping Gary at bay with my foot.

When they realized they couldn't kill me using these wily methods, they decided to use the lowest blow of all:


First they drove me down to the river (probably to better be able to get rid of my body).

The Ohio River.
We pulled up to a huge building.

Looked like some kind death trap for sure. Out front was a big pink pig wearing a uniform. Obviously some kind of foreign miliary plot. Either that or...


I mean look at Gary's evil face as he watches me down all the ribs. As he sits there hoping I'll die of a heart attack.

See the malicious grin???

After our lunch, they took me to a grocery store where Gary tried to turn an entire stack of bottled water on me but luckily, due to my quick reflexes, I survived. And yes, I'm pleased to report that I made it back to my hotel in one piece despite these wackos. Just remember, if you see them in the streets avoid them at ALL COSTS!!

Meanwhile back at the Ensemble Theatre, we are working long, long days. I was holding up pretty well. Only had one day where I thought I was losing it. But what a great cast.

I tried to take more pics on the set but the lighting wasn't strong enough and the only pic that came out was one I caught of Todd Almond wearing his "Friendly Fire" army helmet. I also had to refill my bill tray back at the hotel and realized I've never taken a picture of my pills, speaking of Friendly Fire.

L: Todd Almond as Buddy singing "Friendly Fire"
R: What it takes to keep Steve alive.

Anyway, this is the update. Tomorrow, Tuesday we begin our dress rehearsal in the afternoon followed by a benefit performance for AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati.

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 7 ] -- [ Part 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] -- [ Book 9 ]

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© 2001 by Steve Schalchlin.
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