(Hopefully that title gets people's attention.)
As one of the newer members of EMU theater, I thought I'd offer some insight as to what made me decide to join. In a nutshell, I've known Andy for over 15 years (believe it or not). Not that I've known him well, mind you. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Andy has been around for some very significant moments in my life.
I met him in the Fall of '93 when we both attended Wichita State University. It was my second year of college, and I only agreed to go to WSU because a close friend of mine twisted my arm (some of you may know her; Andrea Wipf a.k.a. Rhea Wolf) She and Andy became fast friends, and she soon introduced me to him.
To be honest, I didn't know what to make of him. I grew up in small town Kansas, and I'd never seen anyone like him before. Let me explain; I walked into my dorm room one day, and Andrea was talking to this guy with scraggly facial hair, dreads down to the middle of his back, a wide (kinda goofy) grin, and drawling speech. Needless to say, he left an impression on me.
I remember...well, I'm not sure I should say too much about what I remember of Andy from back then lest I incriminate anyone.
We came to Lawrence at, roughly, the same time. For years, I knew he was around, and occasionally, we'd run into each other. In the spring of 1999, Andrea came back to town for an extended stay (conveniently enough, right around the time I divorced my first husband). She insisted a cleansing ritual needed to be performed, so we trekked over to Andy's house. I grabbed a couple of things from the trunk of my car that belonged to my soon-to-be ex, including a sock soaked in various automoblie fluids. We, naturally, assumed it would go up in flames, immediately. We went to the back yard, and dug a hole in the ground. We placed the objects in the hole. Everyone wrote well wishes for me on small pieces of paper, to be burned, and placed in with the other objects. When it came time to light the sock, the damn thing would not light, and once it did catch would not stay lit. We decided to bury the whole mess, and be done with it. I spent the rest of the afternoon dozing in the hammock in Andy's back yard.
There have been a few other instances like that over the years, and what I've realized is this: Andy has always been welcoming, genuine, and there when I needed a friend (and, let's face it, he's a damn fine actor! How could I not want to join in?)