Why should I be nervous about things?

Years ago Dave and I worked on a show with Theatre Double Rep in Philly, Dennis Moritz’s Just the Boys directed by Michael Leland. The show is a great show, vibrant and sexy, really exploring what it means to be alive and obsolete in America. It’s the story of a mechanic and his sexual exploits, his pals, his women, their fears. Dave played a pal, I played tech and was generally glad to be on the team. It was a pretty stellar team actually, although it morphed and changed as the show moved its course that is the winding valley of venues, dates, and chances. Sheila mar, Peter Patrikios, Shelita Birchett, Wharton Tract. The guy who played sax, Elliot, I think, had a long braid down his back and wore either a beret or a little cap. Elliot Levin could be right. Really pulled your heart right out of your chest and made it dance right in front of you, that’s what this show did when it was at its best.

It was one of those shows whose lines work their way indelibly into your life. I remember so distinctly Sheila’s sizzle at the beginning of the show, Michael’s solid but playful direction, Wharton’s real-man strength, both in spirit and in his arms, Shelita’s power on stage, her stare as mesmerizing as a loaded gun, Dave’s real live smile that broke with honesty every night as he played opposite the mechanic. I don’t think he played opposite Peter, I think Peter was in LA or someplace and couldn’t do that incarnation of the show, but when I think of the play that’s who I see, that group.

In the scene, Peter and Dave are at the garage, and it goes like this (I don’t know if this punctuation is mine or Dennis’):

Nervous about things?

Why should I be nervous about things?

Nervous about things.

Why, should I be nervous about thing?

Nervous… about things.

Why should I be nervous about things!

Well that’s all I could think about this morning when I saw this guy sitting opposite me on the R train as I made my way to work

4 thoughts on “Why should I be nervous about things?

  1. Thanks for this piece. I was googling around tonight and I found Michael Leland. I did an incarnation of “Just the Boys” in 1998. I played Evelyn with the core cast you speak of… Did you play Evelyn also? I Michael and Theatre Double when I did Jason & Medea with them at the Nyorican Poets Cafe in 1995. Thank you for the walk down memory lane. Cheers.

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