Ciera gave me the possibility of hats.

I was never someone who wore hats.  Growing up in the Midwest, baseball hats were standard issue, part of the uniform.  Yet I always looked somehow ridiculous in baseball caps, like an impostor, like someone who was wearing a bad disguise.  I could probably count on one hand the times I wore hats before reaching my mid-20s: Little League baseball, the Halloween I dressed up as Life Savers, and high school graduation.  When I worked on the program staff of Camp Arcadia with Dave Beck, I did get a hat as a gift from a guest named Bob Becker.  He owns a company that specializes in commercial and residential demolition, and the hat he gave me was a white baseball cap that said “Becker the Wrecker.”  I wore it all summer.

I met Ciera Wells in grad school at NYU.  She is an extremely talented costume designer.  She dressed me in exquisitely beautiful drag for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and styled me as a hipster prince for Winter’s Tale.  She designed the costumes for the first play I wrote (These Northern Stars) and I’ve promised her that if and when home, sweet gets produced, she’ll be the first person I ask.  Her designs are idiosyncratic and beautiful, but most importantly specific to both the character and the actor.  I remember the first time I saw her sketches for Winter’s Tale, how much her drawings of Florizel actually looked like me, how it helped shape the character I created.  She has a way of making you feel beautiful in the clothes she has given you, which having worked in the theater for awhile now, is not always the case.  I loved my costumes for Winter’s Tale, so much so that when the show closed, I bought many of the individual pieces.  As Florizel, the young prince of Bohemia, she gave me a fantastic and stylish hat to wear.

Ciera and I also dated, and her portrait (“Keys That Don’t Open Locks”) tells the story of a vacation we took together to the Florida Keys.  When we were in Key West, I stopped on the street to admire this navy blue hat that seemed to be made of straw (though in fact it was made of paper).  I tried it on, and not only did it look good, it also fit me, which is rare.  She took the hat from out of my hands and immediately walked over to the counter and bought it for me.  She told me that sometimes you just need to buy the things that not only make you look good, but make you feel good about yourself.  About a year later for the opening of My Ohio, the musical I just did in Vermont, I bought myself a hat that I wore on opening night, something I never would have done if I hadn’t met Ciera.

Ciera gave me the possibility of hats.

I wore that blue hat you bought for me of paper

You told me of Belgian boys who had no fathers

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