Originally Posted by Drew Moerlein, a Marketing Intern at Signature Theatre Company Thursday, June 21, 2007. A senior acting major at Syracuse University, Drew joins Signature for the summer, and takes a break from fishing and landscaping in New Hampshire, his home state.
Signature's Playwright-in-Residence, Charles Mee came to have lunch with the staff and share his wisdom over Thai food. Signature's Playwrights in Residence have close contact with each staff member throughout the year, so the annual staff lunch is a great way for Chuck to get familiar with the staff and vice versa.
"Ummm, I guess your name, where you were born, and ummm, let's see… the name of your prom date!" What an ice-breaker that was! If anyone was nervous about speaking in front of Chuck Mee during the first lunch where he was to meet the staff of Signature, it was quickly zapped when a staff member opened the introductions with, "Well my prom date was my high school sweet-heart, and her dad made her break-up with me because I was two years older than her. But the real kicker is - Just after starting college she dropped out and now lives in Florida with her 30-year-old boyfriend and his 10-year-old son… Yes, an actual child. But I guess I can see how I was a little old for her…"
After that, every staff member splurged, taking his or her sweet time to tell a humorous blurb about their high school years or favorite date story. It wasn't until Chuck "took the podium" that things took quite a dirty turn. Chuck sat back in his seat, placed his fork down on the half-eaten plate of Thai food, adopted a quite serious demeanor, and with his wedding-banded hands clasped, he launched into his prom date story - "It's very funny you should mention that topic, because my high school prom date just called me, and surprisingly enough, she told me to meet her in Colorado Springs, in that same parking-lot, because her husband wasn't going to be home for a while…" You should have seen the conference room. Every mouth stopped munching, all eyes stopped moving, and undoubtedly, everyone's impression of Chuck changed in an instant. But just about as fast as that happened, his look melted into glee, and the room erupted in laughter. It was obvious that he had a humorous vein, because the next sentence that came out of his mouth was about his travels with his wife.
The divine Thai platters were ignored completely while Chuck spoke. This man is incredible to listen to. I can't wait for the talk-backs and all of the other opportunities I will have to hear him speak. His articulation, his insight, his breadth of knowledge, and the tumultuous journey that is Chuck Mee's life, are rather daunting to me. It's interesting, because, although he is a very witty man, much of his humor comes from how downright honest he is about his life and his own faults. I must say, it was quite the change from my average lunch break! If you get a chance, sit down and chat it up with Chuck at some point in your life!