Jim Amidon — The other day I was flipping around to various radio stations and stumbled on the Bob and Tom Show. They were just starting one of their live “adver-mercials” when I tuned in. You know what I mean: they occasionally pretend to just sit around and talk about the neatest, latest, greatest product to come on the market. And after every person chimes in about how great it is, Tom Griswold usually makes the final sales pitch and gives you an 800 number or web address.

They started the “adver-mercial” that I heard by saying, “Okay, guys. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we know that it’s just another chance for you to screw up.”

They proceeded to talk about how guys could simply pick up the phone, give somebody a credit card number, and be “off the hook” for Valentine’s Day. They were selling mail order roses, I guess, and the deal was that a guy wouldn’t have to put in any effort and still be able to shower his significant other with a couple dozen fresh roses.

I have a better idea. But guys (and gals), it will require a little effort and it does involve Wabash College. Call it “Cheap Date Night” or “Dinner and a Show” or just “Amidon’s Crazy Idea,” I don’t care.

On Monday, February 13, and Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, Wabash will host The Acting Company, a highly regarded, traveling theater troupe that has been honored with a Tony Award for excellence in theater. We’re talking seriously good theater!

On Monday, the company will present Shakespeare’s Macbeth. On Tuesday, they’ll perform an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Both shows begin at 8:00 p.m. in Ball Theater in the Wabash Fine Arts Center.

So here’s your plan (and imagine that like Bob and Tom, I’m just sitting in your living room giving you this great idea): Get a dinner reservation at one of our terrific local restaurants for, say, 6:00 p.m. Have a wonderful meal and make your way over to Wabash about 7:45. Pick up your tickets to the show and enjoy a couple hours of incredible theater. Go home for dessert and a glass of your favorite wine and you’ll have the perfect evening.

Whether you choose Monday or Tuesday, your date will be blown over by your romantic plan.

I call it “Cheap Date Night” because if you were to catch The Acting Company in Chicago it would cost you about $50 per ticket. At Wabash, both shows —†Macbeth and The Three Musketeers —†are absolutely free.

You do, however, have to reserve your free tickets. Give Eileen Bowen a call over at the Box Office (361-6411) to reserve your free seats. You can also email her at boxoffice@wabash.edu. If you don’t pick up your tickets in advance, get there a little early. All unclaimed tickets are released to the public about 10 minutes prior to curtain.

So, for the cost of your dinner out, you can have a lovely, memorable Valentine’s Day (or Pre-Valentine’s Day) evening.

Now, the cynical reader might question a show like Macbeth. I’ll admit that it isn’t exactly what I’d call a romantic show, but it is my favorite of Shakespeare’s works because of the dark complexities of the characters. As for The Three Musketeers, just imagine a bunch of good-looking, well-trained actors and their thrusting sword fights.

You can’t go wrong, whichever play you choose.

If you think about it, “Cheap Date Night” really does beat mail order roses, right?