A CELEBRATION OF UNIONSHIP BY ADAM NELSON
Happy 100th Birthday Actor's Equity Association. I lucked into my card in 1991 through the Philadelphia Drama Guild's production of Macbeth at the cavernous Annenberg Center. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer "The title role played by a black actor is a fact that made the show somewhat of a landmark in Philadelphia's theatrical history". Directed by Mary B. Robinson and starting Andre Braugher (Glory), I played a series of small, spear holding roles. But in Act V, Scene 5, through the haze of a bright white spotlight I was cloaked in the role of Seyton; a combination butler / military officer. Seyton doesn't have much character but his name sounds like "Satan". He also gets to utter the tragic news that "The Queen, my lord, is dead" setting up one of the world's most profound statements of mortality ever recorded:
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
Happy Birthday, great union. For protecting the rights, sounds and stages of our American theater.