I get a lot of messages—by voice mail and other methods that have me cursing modern technology—that aren't what you'd call real "pick-me-ups" at the workplace: the occasional hope for my painful death; "I'm sorry, but you won't be able to talk to Ann- Margret"; Carrot Top's people. Then, every now and again, I get to hear something that restores my faith in the possibility of being genuine in a disingenuous world.
Prefaced by a plea from Christopher, our editorial assistant—"If you're a good person, you'll do this"—a message was forwarded to me concerning a presentation of Othello by the Kentwood Players, from a student in Rebecca Lloyd's drama department at Kentwood Senior High School in Covington. This is PR boiled down to its purest essence:
"Hi, this is Kevin from the Kentwood Theater again, and I was wondering—well, actually I was going to tell you that our theater department isn't really like your typical high-school theater, you know. It's professional theater, I'd say, with high-school actors. And we would be really, really thankful if you could write a little bit on it 'cause, I believe, this play is gonna be really excellent, and it's just gonna be really, really good. And we've developed a name for ourselves, and people from Seattle and people from all around us travel to come see our plays. And I was just wondering what it would take to be in the paper or to get an advertisement. If you would like to call us back, please do. Well, thank you very much."
Covington, population 13,783, is about a half-hour or so from here. I admit I had no idea that Covington had any theater, or even, frankly, that Covington was, until I made a few phone calls; the nice woman who answered at the high school told me it was "south of Seattle, east of Kent," an area that doesn't exactly inspire visions of the Bard, let's face it. You'd think a fine-tuned phrase like "a professional theater with high-school actors" could only come to you after years of spin doctoring, so, I don't know, to coin it in Covington makes it sound like the real deal to me.
When I start feeling like a softie, I just have to go with it. So write this down: Othello, Kentwood Performing Arts Center, at the corner of 164th S.E. and 256th in Covington. Tickets $7. Opens Wed., May 15. Call 253-373-7680 for more info.
It's just gonna be really, really good.