It started when I was in high school. The late Teresa Sermons, my drama teacher, put in a DVD that would change my life (hyperbolic, yes, but true). In walks Reed Martin, shot in the round, at a theater I am not sure of, a Ringling clown. Then, Austin Tichner comes on stage, the pompous scholar. Lastly, Adam Long, the man-child, enters from the audience. From the moment this show began I was hooked.
As soon as the "movie of the play" was over, I walked back to Mrs. Sermons and said, "I want to do that play." Three months later, I, as Adam, and my friend Matthew Taylor (congrats on your wedding buddy), as Austin, and a teacher and friend Neil White, as Reed, took the stage. We were the first people to bring Shakespeare (sort of) to Bacon County. We sold out two shows and were invited to take the show on the road.
This show would pay for part of my college education as Mrs. Sermons took all the proceeds and created two scholarships for Matthew and I. The Reduced Shakespeare Company helped me (or maybe damned me) to the life I have today: a company member at Hedgerow Theatre currently playing a very bad dude (Julian), rehearsing another really bad dude (Poe), and starting the process for the greatest play ever written (arguably) Hamlet.
Now, six years later, I drive three hours to see Austin and Reed, as well as many of the current company members, in Reston, VA. Life moves in circles. Granted, this is a self-imposed circle, but, to see Austin and Reed onstage after seven years was like a breath of fresh air.
The show became irrelevant. The RSC was doing a week long extravaganza with numerous members of the company present to go through their complete works. The Lost Works was a break from the action and a peak behind the scenes. With seven company members present and Austin and Reed hosting the night, through clips and readings they took the audience through a night of B-material. And it was great.
After the show, I felt a bit nervous. Let me take that back for a second, because rarely do people make me nervous; but damnit, I got some butterflies, because this was not meeting Derek Jeter or Nicholas Cage, random celebrities who are successful at what they do. These are two men who had a profound impact on what I do. They changed the way I saw theatre and they gave me an insight into an entirely new world.
Of course, I never had a chance to truly be nervous because both Austin and Reed walked up to me, and shook my hand. I must of looked like a fangirl. They hopped off the stage, walked down to the people hanging out and started shaking hands: Austin hobbling on one leg, Reed making the rounds. After meeting the two men I recognize as the Reduced crew, I got to hang with a few of the other actors of the Company: Dominic Conty, Michael Faulkner, and Brent Tubbs.
What makes the RSC so great, is that it is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game that they play. Hell, they created the game that they play. There is something to be said about a group of actors who are in total enjoyment, total control of the world they are in. Sometimes, it result in jokes like The Mayflower Compact or an appearance on Jeopardy, but its all part of the game. Even Lebron James has appeared on the Not Top 10 before.
Honestly guys, thanks for the laughs over the years. Thanks to Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield for a wonderful gift they haven given to the world Thanks to Austin and Reed for carrying the torch, even if some of it resulted in Wagner Reduced.
Brock D. Vickers
This is the beginning of a new part of life: a habit: an idea: a routine to dig at what makes a man great.