Pick up Suffolk Living magazine

Published 7:46 pm Monday, November 23, 2009

By the time you read my next column, you will have had the opportunity to check out the newest Suffolk-centered publication, the Suffolk Living magazine.

The magazine hits the streets of Suffolk Dec. 1. It will be available free at doctor’s offices, stores and other locations throughout the city.

When we first started talking and planning for this magazine, I learned that reporter Lauren Wicks was going to go skydiving for an assignment and write an article about it.

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I have to say, I was envious. I’ve always imagined how much fun it would be to fall through the clouds at maximum velocity, screaming my head off.

Deep inside, though, I knew that not only would I have a stroke, but also that I would get to the door of the plane and grip the sides for dear life, unable to jump out and making a fool of myself.

Despite my envy, I knew my day was coming. The experience I got for my magazine assignment was not quite so exhilarating, but was very enlightening.

I was assigned to do a story on what things are like backstage at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts during a performance. I chose “FDR,” which featured Ed Asner of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” fame in a one-man portrayal of the president who took office in the throes of the Great Depression.

I arrived at the SCCA about five hours before the performance, just in time for light and sound check. The stage technicians had been there for about three hours before I arrived, setting up props just right on stage. I was amazed at the amount of work that went into a single one-man show — I can’t imagine what it would be like if it were a more-involved show with many actors, costume changes and so on.

Though the light and sound check were interesting, the best part was sitting backstage with Asner’s performance manager and watching him direct light and sound cues through a headset. I read along on the script as Asner talked, and I was amused to find that not even seasoned actors can remember all of the words, in all of the lines, all of the time. He even left out entire paragraphs and ad-libbed others in their place. However, Asner was good enough at covering it up that I’ll bet nobody in the audience noticed.

If you want to read about my entire experience at the cultural arts center (and about Lauren’s experience skydiving, and about one of Suffolk’s best chefs, and about the changing face of farming in the city, and a fantastic story about the oldest churches in Suffolk), make sure to pick up a copy of Suffolk Living magazine next week. Trust me, it’s worth it.