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Today we begin the closing weekend of Frankenstein with five final performances. It’s been a ton of fun to watch this show get to its feet and learn to run.
I’m at Lipscomb University this morning, about to walk in and talk to a group of students about theater, and as I do so, I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am that I get to do this kind of work. The experience of writing a story and then seeing it incarnated in three dimensions on a stage is surreal.
It’s scary, but it’s also exhilarating.
There’s a community of dozens of people who have all brought their various crafts to bear on the story and the result is something we all own collectively. I’m thankful for that because it means the lights and the set and the costumes and the makeup and the performances all carry my work when the words alone aren’t enough. That’s the exhilarating part. We carry one another.
We work on something so long and so hard that we can no longer be the best judge of it. At that point we have to trust those around us to tell us the truth.Pete Peterson
Last week, Jennifer and I were on the way to one of the final dress rehearsals and I was wringing my hands because I was concerned the show wasn’t ready and would be a disaster. She didn’t believe me and I told her in complete seriousness: “Do you have any idea what it’s like to create something and expect to love it, and then feel absolute terror when you realize it’s turned into something horrible and you can’t stop it?”
She immediately started laughing and asked me to think about what I’d just said. Then I was laughing too (and the ghost of Victor Frankenstein shook his head bemusedly).
But all irony aside, that is the scary part, isn’t it? We work on something so long and so hard that we can no longer be the best judge of it. At that point we have to trust those around us to tell us the truth. So I’m grateful for all the folks who have connected with the story and understood it and been moved by it. Thank you. Thank you for telling me, and thank you for passing the word on to others. I’m humbled by every single person who has given it their time and attention.
I don’t know if Frankenstein will have a life beyond this short run. But I’m deeply thankful for Matt Logan and Studio Tenn for trusting me with the story and incarnating it so beautifully. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve still got time, but tickets are going fast. Get thee to the theater.
Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.