RETURN OF THE CAPTAIN
By Andrea Cagan
If you ever get the opportunity to see yourself during the sixties, cavorting, having sex and smoking pot on the big screen, I¹d highly recommend it. I recently had such an opportunity last weekend, when there was a revival of Captain Milkshake at MoPA in Balboa Park and I had a ball! The venue was beautiful, the architecture inspiring and I got to return the the lily pond opposite the museum and smile at good memories.
I was lucky enough to win the role of Melissa Hamilton some thirty-four years ago, a free-wheeling hippie girl who was the epitome of all things sixties. Fresh off the ballet stage in New York in 1969, I was able to embrace a whole new side of myself in the film, the part of me that truly WAS and still IS Melissa from her tears to her joy, from her blindness to the repercussions of her spontaneous actions and her commitment to stand up for what she believed. I believe and hope that if Melissa were my age now, she and I would still be one and the same.
Now that we are back at war once again, so many years later, I found the movie to be not only great fun and a blast from the past, but unfortunately, it was also relevant. The number of people who filled the seats for four showings and their reactions to the depth of the message was a testament to the film¹s relevancy, and it will remain so until the concept of war, as a method to solve differences and disputes, becomes obsolete. It is unthinkable to me that in a nation such as ours, with unequalled opportunities and free time for education, contemplation and manifestation, there are a dearth of elders and diplomats who carry the wisdom to find ways of creating peace. Surely there has to be a better way than putting on uniforms and gas masks and shooting the hell out of each other. How about some good, old-fashioned talking and listening and caring for our children and how their futures are being affected by our actions today?
Watching the movie was an extraordinary experience for me because after so many years, I was able to detach from being in it and view it like an observer. I was moved by the performances and the amount of effort that went into the making of the movie. I was thrilled to be reunited with Geoff Gage, the man who played Paul, with Mark Marchus, the co-producer and Richard Crawford, producer, director, writer and my good friend, and with Sally, his wife who became his Melissa in real life and a buddy for me to laugh with. But above all, I was uplifted by talking to the audiences, intelligent groups of movie goers who had questions and opinions that were interesting and provocative. It was encouraging to see the young crowd as well as the sixties die-hards, who were influenced by the film and wanted to discuss war and peace and everything in between.
I want to thank Richard, Sally and Melanie Bennett, assistant and coordinator who made it all happen with their passion and dedication. I see that rerunning the film during these warring times will give us perspective, new points of view and a blast of good fun, all in an hour and a half. Let¹s keep the screenings coming!