Dear Phantom Regiment alumni and friends:
By now I’m sure you know, Phantom Regiment’s 2008 production is Spartacus. It’s a show theme that the corps has used before — more than 25 years ago. Those shows back in 1981 and 1982 defined the corps’ image for many years; some would say they still do. For years, fans have encouraged us to do a 21st century version of Spartacus and, finally, that time has arrived.
And, oh, what a show it is. There are chains, shields, swords and slave costumes. There’s violence and anger and love and passion, but most of all there’s friendship and loyalty. It’s a spectacle from the time this great corps enters the stadium until it leaves the field.
I’m so proud to have been a part of Phantom Regiment nearly every year since 1993. I’ve been a part of some damn good shows — shows that have gone down in history and are still talked about today. This, however, is the first time I’ve been a part of an epic. This show is tremendous. If it was a movie, it would be a blockbuster with 150 stars. I’m so proud of all of our productions, but this one is special.
During our planning of Spartacus this past winter, we wanted our fans to get into the show. I didn’t know how much this was possible until I watched the show in Denver. I got so caught up in the “I Am Spartacus” shouts late in the show that I was overwhelmed and became very emotional.
Allow me to explain what was going through my head.
In the story after the Romans defeated the slave army led by Spartacus, the hundreds of survivors (including Spartacus) were rounded up and a Roman general spoke to them. He said they would all be crucified — unless they identified Spartacus.
You know the scene I’m talking about.
Spartacus began to stand to identify himself, but before he could, the slave next to him stood and said, “I’m Spartacus.” Then the slave next to him did the same. And then another and another. Soon the entire slave army was on its feet shouting, “I am Spartacus.” It was a moving show of loyalty to the leader they cared about so much. They were willing to die for him.
The story continues with all of the slaves being crucified, but many of the Roman soldiers felt empathy for Spartacus, who is killed last by the Romans. In Phantom Regiment’s telling of the story, eventually even all the Romans shout, “I am Spartacus!”
When we reached that point in the show in Denver something clicked for me. I felt the need to stand from my seat in the audience, and I shouted “I’M SPARTACUS.” I didn’t realize this at the time, but it was almost as if I was saying “I’m Regiment.” It was a show of love and loyalty to the corps I care so much about.
The moral of this story is that we can all relate to Spartacus. In some way, we all are Spartacus.
The purpose of this long-winded e-mail, though, is to ask all of you — our alumni and fans — to help emphasize this great story at whatever shows you attend.
Late in the show, after Spartacus is killed and the short requiem section, you’ll hear a color guard member shout, “I am Spartacus.” Let the moment take you away and remember how much this corps means to you. Anytime after this, show your loyalty by joining me and stand up and shout, “I am Spartacus” — the whole color guard will also shout it as will the baritones — and join in again in unison at the company front when the whole corps shouts, “I AM SPARTACUS!”
Soon the audience at every show will be on their feet shouting, “I am Spartacus.” And we will know what they are really saying is:
“I AM REGIMENT”
Thanks for listening, and I hope to hear you at a show yet this summer.