On Friendship, Clowning and Waiting for Godot

Nat Warren-White is a longtime friend of The Theater Project - he was here at the very beginning, in fact! Here he shares some thoughts on getting together with old friends to put on a theater classic....


Ahhhhhhh, the "early days" days in South Paris were magical! Tony Montanaro was a brilliant teacher with a magician's touch and we were all his "kids". I met Al around the same time in the early 70's. He'd created the YPT (Young People's Theater) just before I moved back to Maine and we became good friends and clowning partners. I was fortunate to be included in the YPT merry band of roaming thespians directing a number of shows, touring in the van from one end of Maine to the other and loving every minute of it.

Eventually Al, Christine Cantwell, and I formed a trio of clowns (*CLOWNS*) and we toured Maine schools together having a ball entertaining kids and leading workshops with adults and children alike.

Al & I attended one of Tony's summer intensive mime workshops bunking at the Celebration Barn, eating locally grown food, lolling about in the fields, and falling in love with the crew of itinerant fools who'd migrated to South Paris under Tony's loving touch. I eventually joined Tony's production of "Pinocchio" which toured the east coast from New Orleans to New Jersey in an old blue Ford station wagon. A year or two later a couple of spots opened-up in the Celebration Mime Ensemble and I was lucky enough to be assigned a green unitard and romp with Tony's larger troupe of happy players. Fateh Azzam (then known only as "Victor") was already a member of "the company" and we became good pals, haunting Minnie's Bar-B-Q in Market Square, South Paris when while living in town and rehearsing at The Barn. Minnie was our god-mother and Tony was our later god-father. It was a creative and joyous time and we developed some wonderful material and lasting friendships under Tony's deft direction.

About the same time I met Fateh I also met Elizabeth Warren (no not the senator but the amazing early childhood teacher) when our clown troupe performed at her school in Harpswell. We got married in 1977 and shortly thereafter took a hands-on building class at the Shelter Institute in Woolwich. Christopher Price was our inspired teacher there and quickly became our good friend too. We never built our dream home but did manage to shanghai Chris into becoming an actor at the Summer Theater Project which was formed under Al's fearless leadership in the Brunswick U-U church in the late 70's. Several of the old Celebration folks joined us for those early hot and crazy summers and the circle closed. In the years since Al, Chris, Fateh and I have stayed in-touch and occasionally found time to work and play together in various theatrical endeavors....but never all together in one place or the same piece. We've all dreamed about and plotted to revisit GODOT after each of us had discovered it earlier in our lives. Now we are the right age to understand it in the way Beckett intended it (if we can only remember the words!)

Thanks to Al's vision and Davis Robinson's (another ex-Celebration bandit) insightful and empathic direction, we've all found our way together again 40 years later at the Theater Project....amazing, scary, thrilling, humbling.

Thank you Al and thank you David, Fateh, Chris, Nick (our "Boy") and, of course, Sammy B!

Love, GoGo