Tag Archives: Mary Washington College amphitheater

“Sunrise Over Cadillac Mountain” (photo)

Let’s see if I understand the story here … if you reach the top of Maine’s Cadillac Mountain during autumn or winter, you can see the sun rise over the United States for the first time that day?  Hot damn if that isn’t a great excuse for a road trip.  I’ve been hoping  to take a long journey to Maine with a couple of buddies of mine in New York — this would be a perfect destination.

Mount Desert Island, where the mountain is situated, is so far north that I figure it must be easy to just hop on a boat and hit Nova Scotia.  That’s a place I’ve always wanted to see, ever since we studied it in Geography 101 at Mary Washington College.  I might have gotten a “D” in that class, but Nova Scotia’s beauty was still not lost on me.



Photo credit:  By Bandan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

Me. With my fly open. Go ahead and laugh.

This photograph is 25 years old, so I figure I’ll survive the ignominy of people seeing me (apparently) with my fly open.  (I actually am inclined to think that is just my shirt corner sticking up past my belt, but whatever.)

It’s partly water under the bridge anyway, as Mary Washington College alumna Anna Martin has already posted this on Facebook.  (Thanks, Pal.)  Anna is the pretty lass at right in the photo.  The camera used here actually had no flash — that’s Anna’s smile lighting up the place.

I’ve mentioned the 1990 MWC Theater Department’s production of Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” here at the blog before; Anna and I are in costume.  And this is after dark in the Amphiteater.  I am HOPING that my fly is zipped.  If it isn’t, then I am HOPING that this is not just after a performance.

The play was actually a student director project — our capable leader was a really cool African-American girl named Tonya.  I don’t remember Tonya’s last name.  She would have been a senior, I think, which would make her Class of 1991.  One of our co-stars was named John-Eric.  I believe he was Class of 1994, with Anna and me.  If any alums read this and know Tonya or John-Eric, please pass along this link and see if they remember.


Throwback Thursday: Mary Washington College Theater posters!

It’s just wild what you can locate in the new digital archives for the college — here are posters from two theater productions in 1990, “Twelfth Night” and “The Blood Knot.”

I wasn’t in either of these shows.  (I don’t think I was ever in a major production; I was only in the smaller Theater Workshop productions.)  I couldn’t find any posters for the smaller plays that I appeared in.

But I attended and enjoyed both of these.

Actor Alums — you can check out the entire poster archive right here:


[Edit: I just noticed that the poster for “The Blood Knot” lists its venue as “Studio 13” — this was the slightly less than opulent stage better known as “The Black Box!”  I had a hand-scrawled poster for it — I gave it to Russell Morgan when he graduated.]



“Lying Close,” by Eric Robert Nolan

Lying Close

Lying with her,
Lying close,
Lying while her past escapes in silver whispers.

Lying with her,
Lying close,
Lying while the unspoken
Is a rough coal in my own throat.

Her soft voice is as that
Of the single quail at dusk —
Easy and artless.

My silence fails to announce
The purposeful, leaning
Turn of the falcon’s arc.

Lying with her,
Lying close,
Lying by omission.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2013

First published by Dead Snakes, May 2013:



“Coturnix Novaezelandiae (New Zealand Quail),” Charles Joseph Hullmandel, “The Zoology of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Erebus & Terror,” 1844

“She drained me like a fevered moon.”

Celebrate National Poetry Month — here is “Fletcher McGee,” from Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.”

Below it are two photos of Mary Washington College’s outdoor amphitheater.  (Alum Janet Walbroehl Winston took the photos; Russell Morgan is pictured.)  Many, many moons ago, I was cast in an outdoor production of “Spoon River” as a Freshman.  “Fletcher McGee” was one of the roles I portrayed.  I was not Laurence Olivier.  After our first performance, one classmate advised me, “Stop overacting.”  You kinda don’t get much more candid than that, or concise.

Oh, well.  I still had fun.  I have wonderful memories of early Autumn evenings, eating cafeteria cheeseburgers and fish sandwiches, wearing vintage costumes and rehearsing lines with the other 19-year-old kids.  And that amphitheater was a beautiful place among those tall, overarching Fall trees, even if it was in a state of disrepair even then.

After I die, if I wind up speaking like the ghosts in Masters’ “Spoon River,” maybe that’ll be the place I will choose to haunt.

“Fletcher McGee”

She took my strength by minutes,
She took my life by hours,
She drained me like a fevered moon
That saps the spinning world.
The days went by like shadows,
The minutes wheeled like stars.
She took the pity from my heart,
And made it into smiles.
She was a hunk of sculptor's clay,
My secret thoughts were fingers:
They flew behind her pensive brow
And lined it deep with pain.
They set the lips, and sagged the cheeks,
And drooped the eye with sorrow.
My soul had entered in the clay,
Fighting like seven devils.
It was not mine, it was not hers;
She held it, but its struggles
Modeled a face she hated,
And a face I feared to see.
I beat the windows, shook the bolts.
I hid me in a corner
And then she died and haunted me,
And hunted me for life.



Great news about Mary Washington College’s amphitheater!!!

If memory serves, this was the site of my first stage performance at Mary Washington College.  I played multiple roles in Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” as a college freshman.  The term “amateurish” was probably too kind to describe my performance.