Gracie arrives on stage, breathless, her arms full with a lovely bouquet.
GEORGE: “I like your flowers.”
GRACIE: “Thanks, they were your idea.”
GEORGE: “What do you mean?”
GRACIE: “Well, I went to the hospital today to visit Aunt Alice and you told me to take her flowers. So, when she wasn’t looking, I did.”
* * *
If you don’t already know, the “George and Gracie” featured in this dialogue were actual people: comedy duo and real-life couple, George Burns and Gracie Allen who were American entertainment stars of Vaudeville, Radio and early Television. Their partnership on-stage and off ran successfully for more than 40 years until Gracie’s untimely death from a heart attack in 1964.
George’s witty and droll set-ups and Gracie’s illogical and loveable punch-lines made the couple’s routines legendary. If you’ve never seen them before, they live on – on YouTube.
Their brand of humor was so funny and endearing it served as the starting point when my husband Scotty Walsh began preparing his final performance required to wrap up his Master of Fine Arts program here in Tuscany. (It’s this program that brought us to Italy, in case you didn’t know.)
So! Scotty conceptualized, wrote, directed and starred in a one-hour comedy magic show he titled, “MEET THE SILVERSTONES” – and, in a moment of inspiration or impulsiveness, he cast me as his on-stage partner!
Although we’ve been married for many years, this became the first time we ever actually worked together toward a performance.
It wasn’t always easy.
My husband is an artist. A perfectionist. He looks at a draft of a script and sees a million different directions it can take. He examines a prop or a bit of business and considers a myriad of subtleties.
Maybe because I worked for so many years in the fast-paced, deadline-driven world of TV News, but I am a quintessential “thin-slicer.” I go with my gut. I make quick decisions and never look back.
Needless to say, these two working styles sometimes resulted in the teensiest bits of tension during the two months that we worked together.
But last night’s first performance here in Arezzo before a standing-room only crowd, culminated in a wonderful evening. The audience laughed in all the right places and the applause was heart-felt.
Tonight we have our second show and I think I can safely say, that while we may never become the next Burns and Allen (although we did adapt their adorable “flowers” bit), we managed to work through our differences and create something to be proud of.
Thank you, Scotty, for this opportunity. Another lesson that most things in life –take work. And a little love and patience, too.
Have you ever worked with your spouse or partner? How did it go? Would you do it again? Do you still work with your spouse or partner? How is it going? What do you do to make it work? And it isn’t just working with loved ones that may prove challenging, is it?
Every work environment presents different styles, personalities and approaches. What must you do to help make your next project a success?
And P.S. When we get the video of the show back from our photographer, I’ll definitely post it for you!