Cloud 9

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

Cloud 9 was one of two theatrical senior projects going down in the Spring of 1997. Those who caught the first show were pretty much blown away by how good it was. It rivaled the main-stage productions in terms of quality, both in the acting and the directing. Those who caught the first show would talk about it for years. Those who had planned on seeing the second show would never get their chance. You see, something bad happend the morning before the second show.

Bradford’s Denworth Hall had two theaters. One was a classic, big auditiorium with a proscenium arch and everything. That was upstairs. The other was a black-box with a thrust stage. There was a middle floor with some offices and a wood shop. And, there was a trap door that led from the proscenium stage down into that wood shop.

There were auditions for an upcoming film project to be produced on campus. Those were being held in the black box theater downstairs. I was auditioning when I heard all the commotion going on upstairs. We quickly learned that someone who had been working on the proscenium stage had fallen through the trap door and landed in the wood shop.

Jason was one of the leads in Cloud 9. He had just acted in The Zoo Story under my direction. He was one of the original Neon Gummi Squiggle People, my first group of friend at Bradford. And, he was the one who fell through the hole.

Needless to say, the rest of the auditions were shot. Scott, who was helping out with them, quickly left to attend to Jason. He was a registered nurse after all.

God, I think I’m remembering this wrong, but the long and short of it is, Jason was okay but the show that night was cancelled and some say Jason was never the same again.

In the aftermath, I was nervous and I approached Scott and started talking about some completely unimportant subject. Changing the subject… avoiding things… that was how I coped. Scott was a bit short with me, and I don’t blame him. He’d just had to see one of his own students lying in a heap on the floor. To this day, when I think of that moment with Scott in that hallway, I cringe. I can’t believe I was so fucking stupid to bring up whatever I brought up in the middle of that situation.