Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Saturday night, after six exciting weeks of performances (and seemingly as many months of rehearsal), the cast of Pan took their final bows before an appreciative standing-room-only audience. Much revelry followed, during which a couple of newly retired nymphs compelled me to dance to Shake Your Booty, a fate which I had somehow managed to avoid until now. It was slightly less embarrassing than my karaoke rendition of Rocket Man the previous night. I'll miss seeing the other cast members regularly, but I won't miss the beard, which fell in bits into my bathroom sink before the sun came up the next day. I didn't really have a choice, as I had to audition for a part as a nerdy accountant (as opposed to the stereotypical action-hero accountant you see in so many movies) and then go play a doctor in a commercial -- except they had changed up the shooting schedule and when I got there they turned me into a patient. No big thing, as in this case they paid the same. I was a little disturbed that they were taking pains not to show my newly shaven face, until they explained I was too young and healthy looking. I could accept that. I still get paid, right? Monday and today were largely devoted to copyediting and site-building. Still found time to apply for more of those doctor and lawyer-type roles though. I may not be a highly paid professional, but I can play one on TV.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Almost as soon as I was cast in Pan, I decided not to invite my born-again Christian father. Although I've tried to approach the character of Jesus respectfully, the content and overall themes of the play mean it's not likely to become a favorite among Sunday-school teachers any time soon. But when one of the cast members said there was an older gentleman downstairs who looked a lot like me, I got a sinking feeling. When the stage manager asked me if I knew who the man in the cowboy hat was, my fears were confirmed. Well, family issues or not, the show must go on. If anything, my performance was edgier than usual. When I went downstairs after the play to face the music, my father surprised me by telling me how much he liked the show. And I'm pretty sure he meant it because he didn't use words like "interesting" or "different." He seemed to enjoy it more than my secular-humanist mother, in fact. Afterward we hung out with the cast, and he shared a story of seeing an out-of-town tryout of "Oklahoma." It turns out my father is a theater buff from way back!
Saturday, August 20, 2005
It's been a long day. I had an early call time out in Agoura Hills, where I worked on a public service announcement about stopping financial abuse of seniors. In this case, work consisted largely of lying on my back drinking beer, as I was playing a ne'er-do-well son stealing from his elderly father. I felt good about the work and it was for a good cause, but I may not let my parents see this one. I don't want them to get the wrong idea about me. Tonight was another performance of Pan. The audience tonight was very enthusiastic and receptive, and several of the performers seemed to find something new. It amazes me that after so many nights of rehearsal and performance, there are still discoveries to be made.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Last night some of the cast of Pan saw a rousing Henry V, presented as part of the 7th annual Long Beach Shakespeare Festival. Ron Elwell in the title role delivered the trademark speeches ("Once more into the breach..." and "We few, we happy few...") stirringly, Laura Kaplan was enchanting as Katherine of France despite speaking only a few words of English, and Stephen Wood as the Chorus and Exeter spoke with authority and clarity. I put together a photo album (pictures by Kristin Autry) at lbshakespeare.com/gallery. It plays one more weekend at the Long Beach Aquarium. Call 562-997-1494 for more info.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
After weeks of internalizing and projecting someone else's words and ideas, it was both challenging and refreshing to be asked to write my own lines on the fly again. This week I returned to Second City LA, now a student in the conservatory program. Out of the 13 Immersion Workshop students with whom I auditioned, three are in the class with me. I had naively expected just to pick up where I left off six weeks ago, but now in place of all that existing trust and camaraderie I have new classmates and a new teacher, and it's been a while since I stretched those improv muscles. I think I laid an egg in the chicken sketch (ouch). But a few things seemed to click, and I'm confident by the end of session I'll have picked up a few new skills and hopefully some new friends as well.