I truly never thought I would actually pursue an actor down the block as they left the theater without seeing that I was waiting, but it happened.
I went to NYC for the day just to see "Venus in Fur" (which had announced a closing date, but was then extended; making my mad dash to the city to see it a bit unnecessarily dramatic, but oh well...). It was a Wednesday matinee and the show was sold out; but, as is often the case with mid-week matinees, the crowd skewed heavily older; not the demographic that waits at the stage door for the actors. And it's not as much of a certainty that actors will come out to sign on a two-show day (it's tiring for them, and they may have to contend with heavy stage makeup).
That's how it came to be just me standing by my lonesome at the stage door barricade, waiting forlornly with my Playbill and marker at the ready. Frankly, my train wasn't for another couple of hours, and I had nowhere else to be, so I figured why not wait. And wait I did. A number of random folks went in and out. This was only a two actor play, so it was not going to be difficult to spot either of the leads (Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda), but there was no sign of them for quite a while.
I started feeling a tad self-conscious, so I tried to look nonchalant; as if I was merely waiting for my very late (imaginary) companion to show up and wisk me off to drinks and dinner. And it was because I was trying to so hard to look inconspicuous that, before I knew it, and just as I was about to give up and head for Penn Station, the door flew open and Hugh and Nina shot out and down the block without ever seeing me or me seeing them until they were out and away. I hesitated only a second; they were going the way I needed to go anyway, so I race-walked after them and prayed for a red light at the corner. Fate granted me the red light and my tendency to walk much faster than most people, allowed me to catch up with them at the corner. I worked up my courage, apologized for bothering them (and said I knew they were on their way to dinner, so I'd only take a minute) and asked if they would sign my Playbill, while telling them how much I loved the play. They were so gracious and appreciative and we got to talk a bit about why I liked the show!! And I got the unique experience of a one-on-one interaction with them. Totally worth it!
My lesson learned? Don't over think...I followed my instincts to try and catch them, and it worked out! The possibility certainly existed that they would be annoyed and rude about it; but that has so rarely happened in my experiences with the actors in these situations, that I know the more likely scenario is that they will be grateful for the positive feedback and compliments :).
Stage Door Tales
Every stage door has a story.