I don’t like thinking that I’m selling tickets to my own show.

I am, of course, selling tickets to my own show, but I don’t like thinking that. It seems too self-absorbed, even for me.

Sure, we’re all self-absorbed, up to a point. But when that point is the point of selling tickets? Well, that’s pretty far gone in my book.

So I keep telling myself, "This whole show was my idea. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I must make sure that the rest of the cast sees a full enough house for each show. So I’d better sell some tickets."

Yes, I’m selling tickets. But it’s not for a celebration of me. It’s a loving and ethical effort to benefit the rest of the cast.

Yeah. Right. Sure.

I mean, really. I have friends and family coming across the country
to see this show. I didn’t ask them to come. It’s terribly inconvenient
for them.

And some folks are actually sponsoring the show. They reacted to my passive-aggressive solicitation by offering money. Egad.

I do appreciate their financial and geographic generosity, and — it’s true — I’d rather they come see Our Town
(June 26-29) than come, eventually, to my funeral (date TBD). After
all, we need the ticket revenue to pay for the extraordinary scenery.
And my life insurance should cover my funeral. (Note to survivors: no tickets for my funeral.)

What I’m Learning When I Sell Tickets
It’s said that my people are the people who can’t take "yes" for an answer. Well, I’m having trouble taking "yes" for an answer.

When someone says, "I’ll take one," or "I’ve already bought a ticket on the web," I have the same immediate silent reaction:

No. No! Don’t come to the show. Don’t call my bluff. I don’t know my lines well enough for you to actually come to the show.

Inconveniently, I’m not good at taking "no" for an answer either.

If they do not say, immediately, "I’ll take one," or "I’ve already bought a ticket on the web," I have the an equally inappropriate, immediate silent reaction:

What do you mean, you don’t want a ticket? What, are you too busy to come see this show? Are you not ready for theatre? Is that the evening you are sitting in a chair covered in tortilla chips watching NASCAR?

These reactions might be silent, but any readers of eyebrows will know my heart and mind at a glance.

These Tickets Must Go
So I’m selling.

Alisa and I went to a lovely dinner party last night. Beforehand, getting dressed, I filled my pockets with tickets and fliers and pens and money to make change.

I was a walking Box Office. How tacky.

I was a Home Box Office, but in someone else’s home. That ain’t right.

At the party, of course, talk often turned to the upcoming play. The publicity has been strong. I didn’t have to be the kind of bore that brings up his own play.

No, I am now merely the kind of bore that, once someone else mentions my play, I offer the tickets sticking out of my shirt pocket. And I tell the story of my motivation every time an additional person walks up.

I wasn’t at the party to sell tickets. I was there to be among friends and to say farewell to a beloved couple that is leaving Columbus.

But it’s frustrating to have people ask, "That sounds great. How do I buy tickets?" and all I can do is suggest they go to the website after they get home. I much prefer to say, "I have some tickets right here."

So I was packin.’

I sold 15 tickets at a party of 50 people. That’s a 30% yield. Pretty good, especially because half the people there had already bought tickets.

Ticket sales this strong make me wonder where I’m going to move my family when the show closes.

Or if I might enjoy running for mayor of Columbus.

A Question I’m Trying To Avoid
Fifteen days from now, on June 30th, a bright, sunny, summer morning, a good friend of mine will ask, "When is the show? I’m looking forward to seeing it."

I will look down at my shoes. The question will make me sad.

I will look up and say, "The show closed yesterday. Yesterday was our final show."

"Oh, I’m sorry I missed it," my friend will say. "How was it?"

I won’t want to answer. The answer will be too complex. I’ll probably say, "It was great. The cast and crew were excellent. The audiences were gracious. I’m sorry you weren’t there. It’s too hard to describe."

And, then, I will return to looking at my shoes.

It will be too late to sell a ticket.