Sunday, August 12, 2001

Had a rather wonderful "small world" experience last night. My parents took me to see a hilarious, laugh-a-second performance of the Reduced Shakespeare Company at the Kennedy Center. This "other RSC" (not to be confused with the better-known and much less funny Royal Shakespeare Company) is on a US tour through December, and will pick up again in April. If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing this show. Knowledge of the Bard is optional; in fact, you'll be surprised by how much Shakespeare you didn't know you knew as you sit there and laugh your ass off.

When one of the performers, David Razowsky, was introduced, he was identified as a graduate of Northern Illinois University, my alma mater. Although such luminaries as Dan "Homer Simpson" Castellaneta, three-time Academy AwardŽ nominated actress Joan Allen, Academy AwardŽ winning director Robert Zemeckis, and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert have passed through its cinderblock halls, NIU isn't exactly a household name. Intrigued, I wanted to find out if Mr. Razowsky's status as a fellow Husky (no, not those Huskies; or those) was true or simply an obscure joke.

Luckily, David and his excellent stage colleagues Karl and Reed were waiting in the lobby to greet the public, sign autographs, and sell some RSC swag. When I asked David about NIU, he confirmed that he had gone there, getting a degree in photojournalism in the 80's. As I didn't arrive there until the fall of 1990, we missed sharing those halls of academe by several years. Still, we recognized all the same DeKalb-area landmarks, and we clearly held a common understanding about the dorms.

But that wasn't all. In further conversation, he revealed that he'd grown up in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Rogers Park is the most recent ancestral home of my father's side of the family. It's where I spent the first five years of my life, and an aunt of mine still holds down the fort for us there. My father, David and I reminisced about the old stomping grounds, including the Dairy Queen, where my dad may or may not have served young David an ice cream cone at some point, and the Fish Keg on Howard Street, source of many tasty meals for us all.

David echoed my own thoughts as we strolled the down the twin Memory Lanes of Ridge Avenue and Normal Road, eager for return visits to both places. Perhaps I'll make a pilgrimage out that way soon. I might even time it to coincide with that quintessential DeKalb event, CornFest. Here's hoping David can swing his own homecomings in the not-to-distant future as well.
Posted @ 1:43 PM


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