Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ridi pagliacco

I am a sad clown. After weeks of long, tiring, but satisfying rehearsals with a terrific cast and director, the excitement building as opening day grew closer, everything's come to a halt. The streets of Messina are empty, Dogberry is speechless, and there's no ado about anything. The permit still hasn't been issued, and instead of coming together for our third performance this Saturday, we'll be be assembling for what could be our last cast meeting. With all the anxiety that precedes an opening you'd think there'd be a corresponding sense of relief when it's canceled, but it doesn't work that way. There's disappointment, of course, but it's more than that - loss, regret, disorientation. On the other hand, we could find a way to put on a show after all and salvage some of the run. A lot of good, talented people put effort and resources into making this a great show, some much more than I, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Maybe we'll find another space, or get an 11th-hour reprieve or something. We just want to make people laugh. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Much Ado About... Nothing?

In the fine tradition of Elizabethan theatre, the Los Angeles County Master of Revels has banned this weekend's performance on account of lewdness or the plague or something. OK, actually it has to do with a conditional use permit that wasn't processed correctly, I think. I'll keep you all posted. In the meantime, here's my chin with a couple of friends, Meegs and Wendibus, whom I met long ago at the Second City Immersion Workshop. Meegs is now in the conservatory program in Chicago, improv capital of the universe (with apologies to the fine improvisators of Alpha Centauri), and was visiting li'l ol' L.A. for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Much Ado About Dogberry

Truly, I've been much adoing and not much blogging lately. Last week I was in two student films, one of which answered the question, "What would Jesus smoke?" I played a cigarrete-puffing, sunglasses-wearing Messiah in a film that dealt with the Second Coming, and the director asked me what brand I wanted. Naturally, I chose Camels. (Kids: Jesus probably wouldn't want you to smoke.) But mostly I've been thinking about my upcoming role in Much Ado About Nothing. Now, I tend to view myself as the princely or at least lordly type, but for some reason the director seemed to see me as the clown, so who am I to disagree? Besides, I really wanted to be in this production, so I agreed even though I had reservations about the part. One of the first people I told about this said, "You lucky bastard! That's one of Shakespeare's best roles!" I might still choose Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago, or a number of others, if anyone were offering, but I've come to respect the Dog a bit more than I did. Early on, Verges and I were running lines and drinking Margaritas at Abuelita's when a guy at another table started speaking my part. I asked him when he had played the master constable and he said he hadn't but he'd always wanted to. Instead, he had played Benedick—the male romantic lead. One friend, whom I told that I hadn't pictured myself as this character before, said I'd make a great Dogberry (uh... thanks?), although I could never top Michael Keaton (thanks again). Where would we be without our friends? But I have to try not to think about M.K., or William Kemp or any of the thousands upon thousands of other Dogberrys before me, and just go out there and be my own ass—the biggest, baddest, loudest ass I can be. Yes, the director encouraged me to go over the top, so I've been pushing a little further with each rehearsal, expecting him eventually to ask me to tone it down a notch. Hasn't happened yet.

"Do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass."

Time: Saturday & Sunday @ 1 p.m.
Place: Los Angeles Shakespeare Co., 1909 Topanga Cyn Blvd., Topanga, Calif.