Thursday, August 7, 2008

Illusions of Age

Every year I go back to my undergrad alma-mater, Washington & Jefferson College, and participate in a children's play written and directed by my friend Dan Shaw. The play is presented by the college as part of their annual summer Children's Festival. I've known Dan for over 20 years, going back to my college theater days when I spent many, many hours working with him building sets, stage-managing shows, and just hanging out. So being part of his summer Children's Show kind of gives me a chance to revisit my college theater days, and I come away from the show feeling rejuvenated, energized, and recognizing how much I miss doing theater. The bulk of the cast is generally comprised of recent college grads - though I view them as peers, they have tended to view me as the outsider. And not just any outsider - I am a single guy in his 40's. Ack. It's a strange thing - it doesn't seem that long ago to me that I was in the place they are now, recent graduates, looking for jobs, planning for the future. But I guess when you are in your mid-20's, being 40 seems like a lifetime away. I think that maybe some of that outsider status has gone away this year - I've now had multiple shows with the current cast group, and have had other opportunities to interact with them on a social basis, and I am pleased with this because they are a great group of folks, and my list of friends within driving distance of Washington D.C. is not large. But I was reminded this evening that my outsider status will never totally go away. 40 year olds just aren't allowed to join in on certain jokes of 20 year olds. I've never had to segregate friends by age before. It has me depressed.

1 comment:

Rachel Shaw said...

On behalf of my parents, I would like to say that you are not alone. My mom and dad feel like they are no longer "friends" anymore, but rather just "mentors." My dad had very little help getting the show together, and my mom felt excluded from everything. As for me, I felt like an outsider for being "too young to be funny" and "just Dan's kid" even though I am only 3 years younger than some of them.