As I sit typing these words, my most recent theatrical production, THE DEATH OF THE ROOK, has just finished its run. Audience turnout was good, and the response from those who saw the show was overwhelmingly positive. I’d mark this one down as a definite win. Throughout the run, however, I kept hoping that my Rook tulpa would put in an appearance. He never did. Or did he?
During our next-to-last performance on Saturday night, some heavy thunderstorms were moving into the area. They hadn’t arrived yet, or so we believed. The show began, and we were about halfway through the first act when a bolt of lightning hit the 200-year-old magnolia tree that stands in the front yard of The Historic Lowry House in Huntsville, not more than 15 feet from the front door. The blast was so powerful that, according to my stage manager, who saw it happen, it lit the tree up like a glowstick for some 3 seconds.
Then, as if in slow motion, the bark slid from the trunk as if it were melting. The lightning peeled the tree like a giant banana! During our intermission, everyone had to go outside to inspect the victim. The trunk of the tree when I touched it was as smooth as silk—and still hot to the touch.
I grew up in the country. I’ve seen trees hit by lighting before, but never anything like this. No one had ever seen anything like it. It was so rare a sight, in fact, that the local news station came out and did a story on it. They mentioned my theatrical company and my show by name.
Was The Rook unhappy that I’d (allegedly) killed him off? Or was he just trying to get us some extra publicity?