Last week, I caught Isis Productions’ rendition of Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, in no small part to say hello to my friend Bill McKinlay (who directed my play, Snowglobe, and was working the sound and light boards for Isis), but also because I’d heard that Kateland Goldsborough (AKA Goose) was stage managing.
Now, Goose has stage-managed two of my shows in the past, to wit, Exit Corpse and Concrete Dinosaur. And she managed them with a mighty hand, starkly turning between warm helpfulness and iron-fisted brutality. She also managed the bar at Plays and Players called Quig’s (on closing night of Concrete Dinosaur, Goose somehow manipulated my wife into a profound, alcohol-fueled state of altered consciousness which the word “drunk” does not entirely describe).
Shortly after working on my shows, Goose stopped managing Quig’s and then stopped stage-managing theater. The why’s were never made clear to me, but in the years that followed, I heard stories. From no less than three sources, I heard that Goose had nearly burned down Quig’s, but when I pressed for details, they seemed ambiguous, shady, or entirely nonexistent. Sure, I could have looked her up, asked her out for a couple of beers, and gotten the full poop, but it seemed like cheating.
I have a copy of the works of James Thurber, and in the introduction by E.B. White, White describes his first encounter with Thurber: “The skiff had hardly grounded when Thurber stepped ashore, carrying a volume of Henry James and leading a honey bear by a small chain.” He then goes on to describe a number of stories he heard secondhand before working with the man, adventures than including accidentally cooking with stump powder and blowing up part of a galley, getting into a tussle with a Filipino in Manila over his lovely niece, and helping a fisherman untangle a line in a hotel room for three hours before disappearing in silence. It doesn’t matter if any of the stories are true or partly-true-but-embellished, or White completely made them up, they added to the mystique that was Thurber.
I regarded Goose in much the same manner.
So, after going out for a couple of beers after the show, I can report that the story of Goose burning down Quig’s is, at best, inaccurate. She had merely ignited one of the patrons who proved to be a bad loser after he had lost to her in an arm-wrestling match involving tarantulas.