I haven’t met very may celebrities in my life. There are several who live in Austin, but somehow I’ve never bumped into one. I did, however, get to meet one of my favorite (albeit obscure) actors when I went to New York a few years ago.
The story begins a few days before I graduated high school. I knew I was going to New York, and my drama teacher who was taking the group had JUST found out that we got tickets to Once. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s a huge shame because it won 8 Tony awards and looks and sounds absolutely stunning. I was already over the moon about seeing such an amazing show – and then I found out Arthur Darville currently was playing the lead.
If you’re not a nerd you’re probably lost at this point. Even if you are a nerd you might still be lost. But if you absolutely love Doctor Who as I do, you know exactly who Rory Williams is – the Roman Centurion who fought for his wife for thousands of years. And rescued the world a few times. As my favorite Doctor Who companion, I could not believe my luck that I was getting to see Arthur Darville in real life.
Fast forward a few days and we arrived at the Jacobs Theatre, all eleven of us giddy with excitement (the Whovians a little extra giddy). We stood in line, waiting to go into the theatre, and when we finally got to the front our drama teacher came up behind us and whispered “I have a surprise for you.” She gently pushed us down the rows, closer and closer to the stage, until finally she pointed to our seats in the second row. “Happy graduation,” she said with a smile.
I’ve had a lot of magical moments in my life, but this one goes on the top 10.
We arranged ourselves in our seats, slouching down so we could see the stage which was almost above us, and the second the show started and Arthur came out and began playing the guitar half of us started crying. This post should probably mostly be about the actual meeting of Arthur Darville, but guys. This. Musical. Was. AMAZING. It’s set in Ireland, and all the music has an Irish folk sound to it. All of the actors on stage actually played their instruments. The orchestra was part of the cast and danced – yes, danced!! – with their instruments. Guitars, violins, cellos, can you dance with those? I can’t.
Not only was the staging beautiful, but the story was phenomenal. The two main characters weren’t named; simply, they were “Guy” and “Girl” with the intent that this love story could happen to anyone. It’s about a musician who almost leaves behind all of his dreams because he is so heartbroken over his ex. He’s about to put down his guitar and never pick it up again, when suddenly “Girl” comes along and convinces him to do otherwise. She reminds him that his music is worth something, and helps him find the inspiration he was missing. It’s a lovely story of which I won’t spoil the ending, but I still tear up every time I hear the final song.
Tears in our eyes, our drama group headed out to stand at the backstage entrance and wait for the actors to sign our autographs. Every person who walked by and signed our posters was so friendly, and we were thrilled that they recognized us as “the group in the second row who was really really into the show.” Being recognized by a Broadway actor is a big deal, y’all. At long last, Arthur Darville in all of his glory came out and began signing autographs, taking his time and letting each audience member take a photograph with him. Meeting him was honestly a blur, and I’m not entirely sure what all was said, but it is one of my favorite memories of all time.
Arthur Darville and the various character’s he’s played have had such an impact on me, and meeting the man behind the characters was such an honor. Honestly, my entire trip to New York was one of the most special times in my life, as was seeing Once, and Arthur was just icing on the cake. But I’m grateful for that icing. It’s one of my favorite stories to tell, and it made for a night I’ll definitely remember forever.