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The shirt that dressed Yale

posted by Amy Bobeda on Thu, Mar 22, 2012
in General theatre talk , Our shows

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Only Les Waters goes to New Haven an Obie-winning director and comes back a male model.

Allow me to extrapolate. Our story begins in the August of 2010, my first day at Berkeley Rep, and my first encounter with a staff member, who just happened to be the Les Waters. Knowing nothing about Les at the time, other than his working relationship with Sarah Ruhl, I will never forget the day we met. What he said in conversation may contain a few too many four-letter words to write here — though if you follow my personal blog, the quote can be found. From that day forward, I knew Les would be my favorite member of the Reptile family.

I soon learned that Les and I have common loves for expensive sweaters, orange snack foods, vintage clothing, vulgarity, and this industry that we refer to as “playing pretend.” Therefore, we have spent most of our time at work talking about man sweaters he can’t afford, and man sweaters I dream of my fictitious future husband wearing. Perhaps our best clothing conversation occurred in the fall, the day after his return from restaging Sarah Ruhl's Three Sisters at Yale Rep.

One night in New Haven, Les was at dinner with his wife Annie and Sarah Ruhl, when a gentleman approached their table asking if Les was a professor at Yale.

He replied in his charming accent, “No.”

The man thought that was unfortunate because Les had “just the look he was looking for.”

After further conversation where Les revealed he was directing a show at Yale, he was, within minutes, booked for his first modeling gig.

The next day, he went to Gant clothing — a shi shi Connecticut-based clothier that was once the official clothier of Yale. Think Ralph Lauren meets Tommy Hilfiger, but four times the price. Les spent the day posing moodily in beautiful sweaters, and took home a stash of merch at the end of the day.

When he returned to Berkeley, he immediately told me the story in his witty dry accent as he revealed the outrageously expensive additions to his wardrobe.

Fast forward to February, and Les’ return to the Reptiles to direct Red after beginning his new life in Louisville. After a production meeting he pulls me aside, busts out his iPad, and reveals that his model shot has gone viral. There he is, the Les Waters, moody as ever, with a caption reading “the shirt that dressed Yale.”


My response?

“Wow. Your children must think you’re so cool now!”

Les disagreed, but within 24 hours, his daughter Maddie had blogged the photo. But, that, my dear readers, is part of Les’ charm that captivates the camera: he has no idea just how cool people, including his teenage daughter, think he is.

So, dearest Les, here is to your future as a male model, your life ahead of you in Louisville, and many more wonderfully overpriced sweaters that will undoubtedly find their way into your life.

And Happy Opening!



I always knew Les had it in him.

Kim | Thu, Mar 22, 2012

Love it! Cool director and model!

Joanne | Thu, Mar 22, 2012

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