Jon Adam Ross, Founding Company Member
University of Pittsburgh Hillel
I got off the bus from the Pittsburgh airport about 3 blocks from my hotel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. I knew I wasn't wearing green and though I doubted random strangers would pinch me, I didn't think it'd be the worst idea to find something green to wear. It just so happened that there was a merchant selling St Patrick's day themed clothing on the street outside my hotel and would you believe it, he was selling a three cornered hat! A green three cornered hat! 2 days before Purim! Did he know I was coming? Probably not. But there was only one 3 cornered hat, and I have no doubt there was only one Jewish actor coming to the Pitt campus to play Haman in a Purimshpiel on St. Patrick's Day. It was meant to be.
That evening I had a great pizza dinner with the student Hillel board (all of whom read megillah and played parts in the show later that night) and I had such a great time getting to know the Pitt gang. It might be the friendliest group of people I've ever had pizza with. Honest. Then we walked over to the student center, did a photo shoot with a panther (see photo above) and made our way inside to set up the space for our show. It was a grand ballroom, and we spiced it up with groggers and mardi gras necklaces and random Purim extravagance. I went upstairs to don my 3 piece suit (and vashti wig - which i wore, of course, under my new Haman hat) and when I came back downstairs, the students had arrived! LOTS of them! Jewish students, members of the Catholic group on campus, people of all different faiths and colors. It was awesome. A vision of Shushan for the modern times.
And boy did we have fun. A dude won the beauty pageant to become the new Queen Esther. That was fun. I lost my wig and my hat at one point causing one of the students to gasp in surprise at my baldness (i guess she thought the wig was real?). That was fun. And in the end, we had a conversation/debrief about the story itself that got into some hairy, but quite interesting theological conversation about the end of the Megillah and the uncomfortable, violent conclusion. Violent conclusions are always fun! And after the show, a buddy of mine who works at Pitt took me out for green beer. A perfect end to a perfect night. Go Panthers!