There’s an actor and director named David I worked with a lot when I was a stage manager. I’ve seen him (and stage-managed him) playing everything from a 1950’s theatrical producer to a colonial-era Governor to Claudio in a production of Hamlet to a reformed White-supremacist. We always took kind of a shine to each other; David was that perfect mix of dedicated, diligent and professional, seasoned with just enough lively and impish to liven things up. He took great delight in calling me “Kimmy” every so often, to tease me; and I let him get away with it because it was the kind of teasing born of affection and long familiarity.
I think I met Barry sometime during the cast party for our first show. He and Barry had been together for a long while before then already, and he and Barry were still together, living in the apartment Barry was able to get through his stint as a dresser on Broadway. David thanked Barry in all of his bios, Barry came to all of David’s shows. I started using them as an example whenever I was in a conversation about marriage equality, because if any two people were a committed and loving couple, they were.
Sometime in the early 2000’s, David and Barry decided to register for civil partnership. David shared with some of us (during a break in whatever rehearsal we were in) the conversation they had to decide that – one of them had been in the shower and the other said “hey, by the way, should we do this”, with the same blase attitude that you’d ask your spouse whether they thought you should both join a gym or something. The other said sure, and then suddenly they both gasped – “Wait, was that just a proposal? Holy cow!” …Well, legally it wasn’t quite a proposal yet. But it was good enough for David, and he started referring to Barry as “my husband” immediately.
I’d already started phasing away from theater in 2011, so I didn’t get David’s immediate reaction to New York State legalizing marriage equality then. But David posted a video on his web site – the cast members of Barry’s show coordinated what they called a “flash mob wedding” one night after the show, securing a justice of the peace to come by and buying up some flowers and then gathering on the stage with David and Barry to have them marry right there. Someone posted the video on Youtube for friends to see. David spoke before the service, talking about each of the different steps he and Barry had had to go through to get the state to legalize their commitment; however, when he was younger, he said, if you’d asked him what he wanted out of a relationship, he said that all he’d wanted was to find someone that you could stay with so that years later, you could turn to them over the breakfast table and ask “remember when….?” And that person would remember. “And what you’re doing for us now is probably one of the best ‘remember-when’s’ we’ll be talking about,” he said.
This morning I woke up to a reminder on Facebook that it was David’s birthday. I was late to work; I made a note to wish him a happy birthday when I had some down time today. And then two hours later – the Supreme Court ruled that David and Barry’s marriage was now legal throughout the entire country.
I don’t think I can top that. Happy Birthday, David.