Waterfront: July 2007 - Unbearable Stage Fright.; Drought Relief

Unbearable Stage Fright.

Nope. Hebert’s acting debut was a flawless performance. 

A stage production of a film featuring one of cinema's most memorable swimming pool scenes had some added authenticity when pool professional Ted Hebert starred as Mr. Braddock in the Majestic Theater's presentation of the The Graduate .

Hebert, who owns Teddy Bear Pools & Spas in Chicopee, Mass., has for the past 11 years sponsored the West Springfield theater, which has been nominated as one of the top 10 community theaters in the United States. When Hebert learned The Graduate , one of his favorite movies, was scheduled to be produced, he asked the theater's producing director, Danny Eaton, if he could have a very small part. When he found out he was cast with a major role as Mr. Braddock, he was less than excited.

"I said to Danny, 'I don't act, I can't be Mr. Braddock,'" says Hebert. "He said, 'No, you're Mr. Braddock. You'll be fine.' Well, I got sick to my stomach when I got the contract saying I was officially cast as Mr. Braddock. I was beside myself. But we just had opening night and everything went well.

The anxiety is almost gone. For me, this is quite a thrill, and as a kid I never believed I would ever do anything like this. To have this opportunity in a movie/play that I love is quite an honor. I'm really humbled by the whole experience."

This stage version skips the film's iconic scene that features Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, floating in the family pool, pondering his future. But there is a reference to pools. In the scene, Benjamin, Hebert's stage son who has recently graduated from college, wants to escape the uppercrust lifestyle he has grown up with. He expresses his frustration by saying, "I want simple people. I want simple, honest people that can't even read or write their own name. I want to spend my life with that sort of people: farmers, truck drivers, ordinary people who don't have big houses, who don't have swimming pools." In response, Hebert/Mr. Braddock says, "Don't get carried away now son."

Drought Relief

Pool water slakes thirsty lake.

Since 2003, much of Australia has been in the grips of a devastating and historically unprecedented drought. It's been so bad, in fact, that last fall the government declared it the continent's worst drought in 1,000 years. That's not a typo. We're talking a thousand years, people. In response, the government placed restrictions on water usage, limiting things such as lawn sprinkling and, predictably, pool refilling. But this story's not about pool filling. In fact, it's about the exact opposite.

In April, after the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, the government paid $100,000 AD to treat and transfer 6.8 million liters (think 3.4 million 2-liter bottles, American readers) from the arena's temporary pools to an ornamental lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, raising the level by about half a foot. In addition, it used some of the water to hydrate the city's thirsty elm tree population. The pumping project took about 30 hours.

OK, so the water didn't save any lives or serve a higher purpose than to top off a little lake and give some trees a little water. But what do you usually do with the water you drain from pools. Think about it.

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