Ken and Nichole had been boyfriend/girlfriend for four years. Nichole was getting a little annoyed that the relationship wasn’t going to the next level, but Ken was stubborn. “Marriage is just a legality,” he would say, “It’s just a piece of paper. Why do I need to put on a big show to prove to the world that I love you? I committed myself to you long ago and I have four years under my belt to prove it.”
But his song and dance around marriage was getting old, and he knew it. She was his everything. But after all these years of being unabashedly “anti-marriage”, how could he propose to her in a believable and special enough way? He knew that if he was going to do it, he had to do it BIG.
Fortunately for him, he was a painter. Even more fortunately, he painted sets for the world famous Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The theater would provide for him the ultimate venue to produce the big event. That falls Shakespeare production was OLoves Labours Lost.O The set was a gorgeous, multi-level Victorian church motif with beautiful murals that mechanically scrolled through all four seasons. The OSpringO setting was a perfect backdrop for romance. Another interesting thing about that set was the custom-built elevator that lifted several different statues up to stage level from below the deck.
As Ken watched the OLoves Labours LostO set come together, an idea started to form in his head that would change his and Nicholes lives forever. It took him three months to organize, but on October 16, 2000 he was poised to attempt the scariest performance of his life. It happened like this:
For several weeks before the big night Nichole was led to believe that she and Ken would be attending a performance of Shakespeares OLoves Labours LostO. Meanwhile, Ken had scripted an entirely different event to take place. On the big night, friends, family and co-workers of the couple invited by Ken came early and filled the seats of the theater to be the special audience. As Ken pretended to be running late for the play, friends subtly coerced Nichole to the theatre and ushered her into a designated seat. As soon as Nichole was where they wanted her, the running crew, who all had volunteered to help Ken, dimmed the house lights and began to play special music over the speakers.
As the show lights faded up Ken, wearing a tuxedo, was lifted up through the stage floor on a hidden elevator. Until this point, Nichole still had no idea that anything was out of place, and even when she saw Ken literally rise up out of the stage floor dressed to nines she thought, OWhat is Ken doing in this play?O It was only when Ken stepped off the elevator and began to speak that Nichole was hit with what was really going on. The first word out of Kens mouth was, OLove.O He paused, and then repeated, OLove. What can you do? For some people it happens in a flash, but for people like me D people who you might say are cautious . . .okay, scared. For people like me, Love has to move on tiptoes and catch you bit by bit. It can be a slow process, but it happens. It definitely happens.O
He went on to perform a short speech that he had written about the simple moments that lead to love, the small things about Nichole that had captured his heart, and then called Nichole up onto the stage. This was the part he had been most worried about. He was worried she might be so shocked that shed just run out of the building, but in a daze she left her seat and joined him on stage. Ken took her hand and said a few words, but when he reached the point where he was supposed to ask Othe big questionO he pretended to forget his line. In the great old theatrical fashion he called offstage, OLine!O and sign was flown in from above that read, OWill you marry me, Nichole?O
Ken then got to his knees, produced the ring (a beautiful marquis-cut diamond) and asked her the question on the sign. Her answer was an immediate OYes!O and flower petals showered down from a computer-operated machine above the stage. As they embraced under the bright lights, the special audience gave them a heartfelt standing ovation. It was perfect.
Ken and Nichole Fisher,
San Diego, CA