Thursday, November 7, 2013

Behind Shadows

The summer before Kyle and I graduated from college, he started writing a play. It was a tale of love, loss, and time travel (of course). He worked on it for months; excitedly filling me in on plot developments and reading dialogue each evening when I stopped by his apartment after my summer job selling tee-shirts. Although he had no prospects of getting it published or produced, he poured his heart and soul into his writing. While the script was eventually finished near the beginning of the fall semester, it would sit in a file on his computer gathering cyber dust for the next few years.

Fast forward to the first weeks of 2012. Kyle and I had both graduated, gotten married, and were living downtown. In an effort to combat the winter blues, I decided to participate in an event at the public library called History Detectives. There were a variety of presentations throughout the day, each regarding notable historical people, places, and events in the Grand Rapids area. One such presentation touched on the Sanford House, a beautiful mansion at the end of our street in Heritage Hill. As it turns out, this house that we walked our dog past every day had quite the history--famous owners, mysterious fires, rumors of hauntings. When I offhandedly mentioned to Kyle what I'd learned, he inexplicably became a man obsessed. He spent hours in the library archives, scouring the Internet, and talking with Heritage Hill historians, researching the house, its former occupants and all he could about their lives. 

Eventually, Kyle pulled out his old play and completely reworked it. While keeping true to the original tale of love, loss, and time travel, the script was completely transformed with his research into the Sanford and historical Grand Rapids. The final result was Shadows at the Sanford, the story of newlyweds Alan and Eliza Callaway who time travel to turn-of-the-century Grand Rapids and meet prominent residents of the Sanford, John and Katherine Blake. With multiple rewrites over the next year and a half, he was finally satisfied with the play. And this time, it was going to see the stage. 

Through our involvement with The University Wits, Kyle was given the opportunity to not only see his play staged, but also to direct it himself. It has certainly  been a collaborative effort. Our friends, family, and the local theatre scene have worked so hard to get this show off the ground. I'm so, so proud of everyone. But I'm especially proud of Kyle. His passion for this show and the story it tells is unwavering. In some ways, Shadows at the Sanford is the story of Kyle and I: the life we live together, and the life we hope to. 

Tonight is Opening Night, and I'm so excited to be there at Kyle's side. 

If you're in the Grand Rapids area this weekend, we would love to see you at the show. Shadows at the Sanford runs November 7-9 at 8:00 p.m. and November 10 at 3:00 p.m. at Dog Story Theater downtown. Visit the Dog Story Theater website for details and ticket information. 

Break legs tonight, cast and crew! And thank you. You're making dreams come true. 


  1. Congrats! That is so cool! You aren't by chance recording the performance, are you? I would love to buy a copy. Just let me know.

    Emily Maheu

    1. We did! I'm not sure when it will be edited and available for viewing. (It will probably be awhile.) When we have a copy, I'll let you know! XOXO