Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Wire Fan

Here is the story about meeting Gbenga Akinnagbe, the fabulous actor who played Chris Partlow on The Wire and is currently playing Pastor Isaiah on The Good Wife.

The Intiman is one of our local equity theaters, and I did a review for Seattle's Child of their "Date Night" event, in which they provide some excellent child care, tix to a show, and a reception.  We also know some folks who work there, through connections with friends.  Anyway, we get their newsletters, and emails and such, and I got an email for their Wire Fan Contest.

Gbenga Akinnagbe is in town performing in the one man show The Thin Place, a collection of stories about different Seattle individuals and their relationship (or lack thereof) with God.  The contest prize was tickets to the show, a signed poster, invitation to the opening night gala, and a picture with the star.  All you had to do to enter was email in 100 words or less why you're the number 1 Wire fan and why you should win.

I won.

Well, one of the winners, anyway.  I don't know how many they chose.  Here's my entry.
We should get The Wire Fan treatment because David Simon’s work is art in a similar way to the Intiman’s work.  Daniels said to Carver in Season 1, “You show them it's about the work, it'll be about the work. You show them some other kinda game, then that's the game they'll play. Some of what happens then is hard as hell to live down. Comes a day you're gonna have to decide whether it's about you or about the work.”  Replace "work" with "art."  We support the Intiman, we support David Simon, and it’s about the art.
I entered because I thought I had at least half a chance--otherwise, why even do it, right?  I've watched the whole series, all 5 seasons, some more than once.  Plus I'm blogging David Simon's newest project, Treme, over at Watching Treme .  We do go to the Intiman when we get the chance.  So it's all true.  But I kinda forgot about it for a while, until I got the notification.  And holy carp was I excited.

The show was great.  80 minutes of Gbenga, and can he hold a stage.  I thought the work itself was great--terrific concept to take an idea as large as God and find the handles on it by relating to it in a specific place, like Seattle.

Then came the fun part.  We went out to the reception, and mingled with a few people we knew (mostly theater type folks whom I had acted with before).  There were a few speeches, and then Gbenga came out.  He was asked to say a few words, to which he promptly replied, "Didn't I just say a few words?"  He was gracious and thanked us all for coming.  He then greeted the individuals whose stories were represented in the play, and anybody else who came up to shake his hand.  Our "connects" at the Intiman said that he had been super involved with the show promotion, doing interviews for radio and TV, agreeing to continue a photo shoot that went on for hours, things like that.  He was just really nice and accommodating.  That's a lot of work, particularly when you're the only one in the show, and then therefore the only one promoting, and rehearsing, etc.

Finally our Intiman handler said it was time for our picture.  K-Ice went right up and shook Gbenga's hand and introduced himself, and then I was introduced as a Wire Winner.  (Others were calling me a "Gbenga Winner" which has a nice ring to it.)  He said, "I look really different, don't I?" Way to tackle the elephant in the room.  I said, "Yes, but you're an actor, and we're here to see what you're doing tonight, and you were AMAZING!"  I pretty much held on to my poise until the very end when I devolved into fangirldom.

As we were chatting, I noticed the photographer snapping away, and I don't exactly remember what I said.  I do remember that Gbenga said that it was interesting to tackle the concept of God in Seattle because we're a city that might tend to overintellectualize things.  Then we got to have our official picture, the results of which you see.  He must have been totally exhausted after all the work he'd put in, it was opening night after all.  But he was completely gracious and open and relaxed.

Gbenga Akinnagbe has a fan for life.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

I like the hair! (yours)