The role of The Visitor in “Spitfire Grill” at Mill Mountain Theatre, October 2008

Natalie Newman and Dwayne Yancey as the sun comes up. Photo by Ayme Gierchak

I have never counted myself an actor.

So I was shocked when, in the fall of 2008, the artistic director at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va. called me to ask if I’d play a non-speaking part in the upcoming production of “Spitfire Grill.”

Sure, I’d be honored.

What I didn’t realize was this was a BIG non-speaking part — that of “The Visitor,” the long-lost son of the grill’s owner who went AWOL during Vietnam and has been living in the woods ever since.

There were actions to learn! Heck, I even had to learn to enter on a musical cue.

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