Outside the Black Box
with David Romankow
What is your connection to the Chatham Community Players?
I have acted in three shows at CCP:
“Moon Over Buffalo” (George Hay) in 2017
“Other Desert Cities” (Lyman Wyeth) in 2018
"The Importance of Being Earnest” (Rev. Canon Chasuble) in 2019
What do you/did you do for a living?
I am currently a Senior Technical Writer for a software company, but I have worked as an advertising copywriter, television production assistant, and graphic designer over the past 30 years. And I was Captain of the Safety Patrol in 6 the Grade (true story), so I am especially skilled at folding and unfolding florescent orange triangular belts.
What do love the most about theater?
My biggest thrill comes from being onstage and eliciting reactions – especially laughter – from audience members. There is nothing like landing a punch line at just the right moment and having the entire audience roar with laughter. Talk about a rush!
Other than that, I love how theater allows me to work with creative and talented people in extraordinarily enriching, soul-fulfilling adventures that culminate in public performances. It’s quite bizarre if you think about it: a group of people (many of us strangers) get together during our free time to work on scenes, build and paint sets, design lights, design costumes, do publicity, etc., all towards a common goal of entertaining audiences for a few short weekends. Then we all go our own ways and look for our next shows to work on. We love theater. It’s just what we do.
One of your most memorable productions/roles/experiences?
I absolutely loved each of my three shows at Chatham Playhouse, especially “Moon Over Buffalo.” In the middle of the second act, I had to sprint through the entire backstage area dressed in my full Cyrano de Bergerac outfit, including my giant prosthetic rubber nose, so I could get to my entrance on the other side of the stage in time. While doing so, my nose would bounce up and down like a phallic diving board. A few of my fellow actors would stand backstage each night to watch the shenanigans, all of us giggling like fools.
How are you coping with the current social environment?
Lots and lots of bags of Doritos (original recipe) and vodka tonics. Other than that, I have been cooking a lot (recent dishes include freshly made pierogies, pork Milanese, and homemade bread). Speaking of which, I can’t find any yeast in the grocery stores! Stop hoarding the yeast!
What are your biggest fears in this situation?
To be honest, I am not concerned about contracting the virus anymore, since I am 99.999% sure that I already had it back in March. My wife and I went to London just before the crisis exploded, and she and I were very sick with COVID-19 symptoms for about 10 days after we returned home. Thankfully, we never developed breathing problems. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that we don’t have a vaccine yet, and probably won’t for another year. That scares the heck out of me. Hence, the Doritos and vodka tonics.
What are you most looking forward to once we no longer need to practice social distancing?
Well, I was cast in “Arsenic and Old Lace” at Trilogy Repertory Theater earlier this year, but we had to cancel the production after the virus reared its ugly head. We hope to produce it this November instead, but at this point we really don’t know if things will be back to normal by then. Let’s hope! Also, I’m really looking forward to going to a bar or restaurant for a meal (and a vodka tonic)!
If you could convey one thought or idea and were guaranteed that all people would hear and understand your message, what would you want to say?
I have been growing out my grey hair and beard since the quarantine began, and I am now really starting to look like the late Jerry Garcia in the 1990's. So for that reason, I would like everyone to remember this line from the Grateful Dead song “Touch of Grey” (Garcia/Hunter):
We will get by.
We will survive.