Archive | April, 2013

On The Docket

30 Apr

image

Right.

…So, tomorrow is Wednesday.

I have to remind myself because I haven’t had a “normal” week in like two…”normal” not compared to other people, but just in junction with myself even.

I dunno if I’m coming or going, or really to where, or which county it is in.

This has been a problem since I first started the cold meds. 

…Work at home this day, into half of second, then office, then office again, airport run, south-end run, north-end triple runs: show – show – show, close. Mrs. Johnson pops up, birthday happenings…in another state…back home again, day off, think finally kicked cold, south-end again, half day work from home, airport run again, back to office, prep month-end, home to beat down rest of hangover and study for tomorrow, Ma’s to laundry, back home to blog.

…Is there any freakin’ wonder I’m a total mess right now?

Tomorrow is month-end, followed by about three hours of call-backs for “Importance of Being Earnest.”

…Called for Gwendolyn.

…Which means retracting the 40-something Jewish WWII mama, into a refined 20-something, posh, obsessive-compulsive, Edwardian, proposal-magnet.

Pffft!  I can totally do that on a dime! (She says, trying her best to state it without an inherent question mark at the end.)

…Which will only bring us to halfway through the week that already wouldn’t end. 

And this HUGE zit (which apparently has a cousin staying with Marty), just showed up yesterday.  Prime time for me to look my best, in times when it really matters.

…Meanwhile, I got m’first beautiful blue box of goodies from Tiffany’s in the mail, (c/o Aunty L), a new role offer from a theatre up north, (to keep me busy this fall), devoured this little lovely ditty (which I highly recommend for the equally obsessed) and now: I am off to bed.

Sleep.

…Guys, we ain’t even halfway through yet.

Oie.

Oops.

…I mean, “bugger.”

Shit.

I mean, “How very unfortunate that my current lifestyle is so fully without apparent rhyme nor reason,  when it comes to obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep and focus in order to successfully achieve one’s efforts, when one does try so hard to do ones best.”

(A little grindey on the gears there, friend.  Focus-up! it’s game-time!)

~D

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Hungry

29 Apr

image

Am eating classic BFF Fajitas…a major staple of our bestest kind of days…where we’d run to the market for fresh veg, a bottle of cheap red wine, and come home, setting on Swing or Samba or somethin’ equally sassy, and drink and cook until the light left the sky and we were well buzzed and comfy.

…I miss those days all the time.  But it’s even worse on “Big Days.” 

Yesterday was the first Birthday since I’ve known her that she wasn’t here to resume her place of festivity-planner.  Foods from here to kingdom come, delights in outtings, special specifically NOT “cheap red wine”…the works.

…That girl does it up!

But dammit if she didn’t manage a co-feat-wonder with The Fella, being all the way on the totally wrong-opposite coast of America at the time, or not.

This was my BD gift of wonder, delivered with epic joy and hugs by The Fella, and slobbered over by me after he had left:

image

…”So, what’s the big deal?” you might shrug to yourself, if you’re new to the blog, and it’s earlier epic drunken posts of foodage joy…in days when The BFF lived just there: at the end of the street, and would ramble over many times per week for our cooking sessions, punctuated with theatre debates and history talks and men worries and all the things that BFF’s always fill the space of time with.

Each food and drink and goodie, represents a very specific memory…a grin…and by the end of her little note tucked in the back, a mess of tears.

* A tiny watermelon. (In memory of the Gray Goose spiked one, that sat in my fridge all prepped for our naughty-secret of a picnic lunch, while we three watched Shakespeare in the Park, one summer.)

* Peppers & zuchinnis (Our oft-repeated BFF Fajita days, spread out over the entire coffee table, piled high with zillions of add-on sides n’ fixins.)

* An articoke. (The epic 100th BD of Julia Child, when we decided totally on a whim to tackle a full-course spread straight from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” while drunkenly blogging our exploits.)

* Garlic. (A BFF staple in every. single. dish. Probl’y even the dessert ones. “Stink and think of me,” the note said…)

* Cabbage. (My refrigerator staple, for Polish kielbasa and potato stew — where both foods of “our people” gather in happy harmony, like we do.

* Spinach. (The major base for every epic salad we ever invented.)

* Dubliner Cheese. (Only the best sharpness of delish, also nodding to her time in ye old Irish Capital, together with Medium Tillamook, to be included somehow in some way, in nearly every meal we ever made.)

* A bottle of red. (Pin-up style, WWII ex-airfield-grown, an obvious toss up to our forever scout of delightful new reds, My obsession with WWII, and The Fella’s delight of period warcraft…bringing us all together in one bottle of joy.)

* Gourmet chocolate-covered cherries. (As with all the fresh veg, reminders of endless trips to Tacoma Boys, and their expensive little treats sections, upon occasion, finally splurged on with combining of fundages ‘tween we two.)

* A duel mix-tape CD. (Our greatest hits, our sing-alongs, our late-night cooking sambas…songs that each — like the foods in the basket — represent something you can’t always put in words…though the lyrics certainly help.)

…The last: a package that guided me with giggles and weepies all the way to my final “Anne Frank” show, and back home again.

Good thoughts.

Good memories.

…Proving that you don’t need to be “present” to be present on a day, in a thought, to make a moment special.

The BFF is just that good.

🙂

…Off to go and tackle the dishes now.

KP was always my job…along with the sous chef-prepping.

Dear The BFF,

I don’t cook the big stuff, good as you do. But I’ll try my best! And think of you with every chop, and fry, and bake, and swig, and garlic-stink.

I promise!

Love you lots and lots,

The (now) Double-Three

image

~D

I Don’t Have To, Cuz It’s M’Birthday

28 Apr

image

I’m terribly busy with this glass of wine, reading my new books.

…Portland OR, and Powell’s are to blame, but I think it was in the end inevitable that I would want to blow off any real blogging for the day.

It’s my Birthday.  I don’t have to.

…So there.

More will be revealed later, when I feel ready to peel my eyeballs from my new toys.

Right now, I want to be selfish and just go back to playing.

…So I’m gonna.

…And it will be good, and informative, and funny, and dramatical, by turn…depending on whatever it is I am consumed in at the time.

…But right now, I’m consumed in washing my face, and brushing my teeth…so I can snuggle up in bed with glossy pages, and funny Brit accents, and Joss Whedon anecdotes, and Hedda Hopper bitchings, Nazi flounderings, Midwifery, and period English Drama in real, live, paper book form.

Birthdays are awesome.

…Even 33rd ones.

~D

Lost 13, Gained 1

27 Apr

image

At the completion of “Anne Frank” tonight, the Van Daan family disbanded, officially, after our last goodbyes to fur coats, and quarrels, and jokes, and suffocating Jewish mom-ing. 

…I no longer live in an attic, have a husband who goes toe-to-toe in every argument, flirt with everything in pants, sleep on a ply-board bed, and (literally) cry over spilled milk.

…I also lost 13 years in age, automatically.

…For about an hour and a half…

…Until it officially clicked over into my Birthday.

…And then I gained a year.

Our “Anne” (born on the same day), seated next to me, was watching the clock like a hawk.

I think the joy of turning 14 must far outweigh the joy of turning 33.  Either that, or I’m doing it wrong.

…I’m pro’bly just suuuuper tired. 

(For no twelve reasons I can think of at all.)

…So with a ta-ta to the casties, I snuggle into bed, hoping that morning brings better weather, a gooder feeling throat, and that Mrs. Johnson (who so generously waited until just now to arrive) will behave herself and let me get some sleep.

…We hope.

Also, would it have killed her to at least bring a card or bottle of alcohol?  Not that I remember sending her a BD invite to begin with. She’d only abuse it if I didi.

…You just can’t be nice to some people.

😉

~D

You Can’t Do That On Television

26 Apr

image

Tonight: The BFF’s fella and “Aunt Lily” from Children’s Hour were in the audience.

…The Fella was heard immediately, with his totally specific gufaw-laugh.

Post-show hang had us locked out of two pubs before we finally found a place still open that would eat and drink us.

(P.S. It’s Friday.  What fucking pub closes at 11pm on a FRIDAY?!!?!)

…So without other casties, we made due with cheese sticks, n sliders, n potato skins, n’ generously poured Long Islands.

Yummers.

…Naughty.

…So, even better.

Theatre, moving, house-pimping, Dr. Who, kids, food, and theatre again…were on the docket.

…Also this HIGHLY appropriate/inappropriate French condom commercial, that “Aunt Lil” pulled out, in show-and-tell. 

(Bless European non-sensor standards.)

We were HOWLING and talking back at the screen, non-freakin-stop.

…And you will too.

But first, I’d like to dedicate it to a missing family member tonight:

Dear Karen/(Marty),

Aunt Lily thought I should see this for educational purposes. 

If anything, it only salted the wound of irony. 

Here

…I thought you should have it.

Just because Joe’s gone forever, doesn’t mean you’ll die all alone: A spinster/virgin/nun.

…(But you prob’ly will anyway.)

…So hey, at least you have one less thing to worry about. 

…And until now, you had no idea that a dancing, possibly-diseased-penis, was something you needed to actually “worry about.”

So: you’re welcome.

Love (to my death),

Martha.

~D

Tie Her To The Bed

25 Apr

image

Roughly 7 hours into a 12-hour Sudafed, pinched from Mr. Van Dan when I got to the theatre. 

…Forgot my drugstore at home, thank God he travels with one as well.

The up side is: it got me through the show.  The down side is: I may never sleep again. 

It is currently 2 am.

…I could easily mentally run an Olympic stadium, 40, 50, a lot of times, right now…if my brain had legs.  Problem is, the body is fucking TOAST, beyond exhaustion..but can’t rest because I won’t shut up.  Actually, verbally, shut up.  My face hurts from talking so hard…just even in the car on the way home, with Ma (who had come to see the show tonight.)

…You know how sometimes, if you work in retail or something, your face can be tired at the end of the day from forcefully smiling so much? 

It’s like that. 

Only its my whole body. 

…Which, (because drugs at this level act mostly like glorified novocaine), I won’t know the full damage of until tomorrow, when I get the incredible come-down crash…roughly about when my alarm will be going off for work.

So that will be special.

…But I made it! Through the fever, and demonic amounts of unquenchable thirst, and all the yelling, and fighting, and crying, and big Jewish mama-ing. 

…And it was even fun.

Thanks Putti, for the “pick-me-up.”

…Off to tie myself to the bed now for my own good.

…At last, a chance to write some of these “extra curricular” bedroom props off, towards theatre!

“No, I swear! I used ’em as part of a post-show process in prep for tomorrow! Honest!”

Who am I kidding?

As if this would be the first time I doubled naughty props, and my theatre career.

*Pft*

(…TMI isn’t a thing with us here. 

And aren’t you glad?)

😉

~D

10,000 & A Day

24 Apr

image

As SWAL swiftly broaches her 10,000th read, I live out the rest of “day off,” which still technically had me working, only this time from home, in my pjs.

…I need to get a fulltime gig that allows me to do this, for reals.

Part one of the day had me awake and answering emails at 6am, and telling the necessary people that this would be the total extent of my working relationship with them for the day.

…WHS Pimp took it with silence, Boss took it to mean, “I’ll just transmit all the phone mssgs into text as they come in thru the day, and magically do close outs and reports, without a printer, via my phone.”

…So naturally, I told him where to get off, and that I was done fwding the first load of crap for the day, had been up since 4, and needed a nap and cold meds now, then signed off.

By 11, I was up and at it again, only this time made it all the way to the couch. A major feat. It’s as far as I got for the day.

…Until about 9pm, when I had to dye hairs.

…Then pick up Marty from rehearsal…

…Then back home to more cold meds, a hot toddy…and bed.

Bed.

I love you bed.

…And my pillow.

…And my readers.

(Which is you.)

~D

On Fire

23 Apr

image

I’m running a temperature so high, I could prob’ly burst combustible  things into flame within 3 feet of me. 

…And my throat hurts.

…And my nose is all stuffy.

This all happened within the last three hours or so.

Until now I have made it through half the castie colds, and people’s at work successfully.  Even the ones I mack on and share sweat with, on stage.

I am on my 3rd Airborn before finally going to bed.

I refuse to have a cold on my fucking birthday.

…Or the entire final week of  the show.

…Or the auditions for the next one.

But I will admit, that at the moment, I feel like total crud.

…Which will be magically fixed by morning.

…Because I say so.

My skin hurts.

I want my pillow.

…At least the Airborn is the orange kind.

Like Tang.

…So I can be like a famous space-exploring astronaut.

…In my cold-med, drug-induced dreams.

So, suck it: cold!

I’ll be all moon walking in a minute! And you can’t come!

~D

Locked Out

22 Apr

image

I’ve fantasized about being locked out of work before.  Many times.  It’s a frequent “happy place memory” that I go to, in fact.  But in the fantasy, I can’t get in and don’t want to.

…I guess you have to be specific with these things.

I had just finished pulling the front door closed, and was going to lock the final door in the upper warehouse when I realized that my keys were still on my desk inside.

…My keys to my car, my apartment, the campus gate…the works.

So, that sucked.

…But then, we always hide an ER key somewhere in the yard, for just this purpose…

…Only there was no ER key in any of the ER places…

…Which was confirmed with the WHS Pimp, over the phone, who was at that point about 35 minutes away, picking his kids up from school.

…And I had about the same amount of time to get to my Landlord’s, where I was (ironically) meeting to pay and get a duplicate of the only key that opens my front door, currently resting all peaceful right now, on my fucking desk.

…But (I bet you guessed already), they were already closed by the time I got there.

…And not by my own car (still locked in the yard) but via Boss’s, who I forced to come and try all his keys to open the damn door. 

…But then, he lost all the ones that actually open the doors, so after however long of trying to break into the shop (another thing he isn’t good at)…I talked him into dropping me by my Landlord’s, hopefully to still meet and get the key…which still didn’t work out. 

…So then I wandered, homeless and carless, to Ma’s .  Who let me in.  Cuz she has to.  Cuz she’s my Ma.

…Followed by feeding me (another “Ma” thing), and then texts to the WHS Pimp, in hopes he returns sometime tonight to the WHS and will let me in, so I can sleep and shower and things like a grown up person, else I’ll be sleeping at Ma’s too, and she’ll have to get up and drive me to work in the morning at the butt crack of dawn, while wearing her PJ’s…like I’m 15 or something.

Alllll these damn complications, people! 

Just because I wasn’t “specific” when I said, “I wish I was locked outta that hell hole and could never get back in again.”

Stupid details.

~D

W.C Fields, (When He’s Right)

21 Apr

image

This guy was known for his one-liners and one of his finest, “Never work with children or animals,” was spawned by his loathsome hatred for both, and frequent forcing to work with them anyway.

…P.S., he was an actor. 

(In case you didn’t know.)

…A profession where people without patience or discipline are not long for the world. 

…Talent frequently has nothing to do with it.  So we won’t cloud the atmos with any of that right now.  Here, we are only talking basic mechanics.  Can you physically sit still, or stand, or recite on command, or change costumes, or move to where you are supposed to be, on a specific cue? And can you shut the hell up and behave, the rest of the time.

…That’s all.

These two species, frequently cannot. 

…They fidget, and steal focus, and play to the audience, or refuse to play at all, or act out when they aren’t supposed to, and don’t when they are. 

…And they are cuter than you.  So every fucking person in the audience is going to be ten times more intrigued with whatever it is they are doing on total accident (like picking their nose, or peeing in the corner) instead of you with all your months of dedicated hard work invested in this highly emotional scene.

This is why W.C. Fields is a genius. 

Because he said it: the truth, that no one wants to admit, but know is true…which if you do admit, makes you a giant asshole.

I am a giant asshole. 

…And I’m totally okay with that, frankly.

This is why you will never see me doing a show like, oh..”Annie” for instance. 

That would be like hell. 

…Unless I was Hannigan, in which case I getta hate all the children on purpose anyway.

…And you’ll never see me in a film like “101 Dalmations,” made up almost entirely with animilia of every size, breed, and type, each trained in doing one thing that they never do on cue, but will do any time  you like, when the camera isn’t on them.

I frankly super lucked out with “Oliver!”…only cuz it was a bucket-list role and totally worth all the pain, added to the fact that our kids were all freaks of talent, and really good, delightful human beings.

…This is not usually the case.

It sorta broke the mold.

…And in “Anne” our under-agers are serious-minded young artists, that attack the work as such, so I tend not to think of them as anything other than “peers,” outright…

…But the cat?

Ohhhhhh….the cat.

We have a live Mouchie. 

Peter’s cat is a “cat”…not a “something in a box they talk to from time to time”…and as such, lives with us in the first act, and back stage for the second. On a harness and leash, he exists primarily in Peter’s room, for a few spotlight moments, and isn’t thought of much again ever after. 

…But he is real. 

Legit. 

…A giant, Buddha-like tabby with slothful inclinations…which works perfect on a stage full of screaming hysteria (mostly sourcing from me) and much door slamming.  He is usually quite good to just smoke his little peace-pipe of hooka-catnip-hash and stone out for the act, then exit at intermission and be done with it.

…But not tonight.

Tonight, Tinker was a pissed-off individual, and by GOD everyone was gonna know it!!

…We didn’t know why, or how, what was different than the norm, what may have happened to spawn it, but it began not long after intermission with small vocal complaints (mostly only heard by cast on stage), magnified in the Anna/Peter date scene with a gigantic dump of uncovered poop that clogged the air with putrification…at almost gag levels…for the following scene and a half, then ended…at the most poignant of scenes…the second to the last…with Anne, gazing out the attic window speaking her most famous words…before the Nazis come storming in to collect us all…with a collection of yowlings that grew, and grew, and grew…until the audience was in absolute titters.

…After all that we had worked for…

…One FUCKING cat was completely ruining it all.

By the time it was carried, still yowling, and stowed away in the dressing rooms, more than a few pissed casties rallied the end of our strength and focus and worked to regain what was left of our dignity and solemnity in the moment. 

We rallied.

…Because it was our job.

…And a large number of them were FAR more forgiving of the fur-creature afterwards than I was. 

Again, that “cuteness” factor wins people over, all the time.

…But not the hard-asses.

I didn’t speak to that bastard on PURPOSE…even while everyone else baby-talked to it, and scratched behind it’s ears, and wondered over it’s emotional state, and what could have bothered it so to act out today, when it had never done so before.

Me, I just slapped it dirty looks whenever I could and silently threatened to kill it if it sprayed my bag of theatre crap, sitting beside in on the floor.

…Admittingly: I am not a cat person. 

I like dogs. 

…But I don’t care if it is Fido, a finch, a frog, a 30-hand-tall horse: you fuck with something I’ve worked two months and two-and-a-half hours to build: We are enemies, pal.

It’s ON, Tinker!

It. Is. ON.

~D

Whap!

20 Apr

image

Someone hit me with the tired stick, after the show tonight, and continued to beat me all the way home.

…By the time I was 20 minutes out, it was everything I could do to keep my eyeballs open, with the radio blasting house music in my ears.

A very disturbing drop-beat techno hybrid version of Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” gave me plenty of one, to shake my head and listen out of pure-pained wonder at how somewhere, people would be jumping up and down to the beat, and tossing back shots drunkenly to this totally inappropriately fucked with legit song. 

…As if there aren’t already 30-zillion other songs that are already made for getting your shit on in a club.

…Meanwhile, I finally got home, washed the things I needed to, and have fallen into bed. 

Ready to zonk.

A super late/early night/morning yesterday with Marty, post-show, is the culprit, I think.  Even sleeping in didn’t seem to prevent that lovely, 4am-shadow-under-eye look, I’ve been rocking all day…partly influenced by left-over show liner that takes two days of face-washing to get all the way off.  This morning I looked like Capt. Jack Sparrow, minus the dreads and facial hair.

Super hot, you guys.

(Epic yawn that splits head wide open.)

…Now is a good time to exit, I think.  But not before bragging about my hair dye. 

…I was peeing, the box was at eye-level, I actually read it for the first time since…oh…the first purchase of the same color and brand, about eight or so years ago.

Welcome to 2013, kids! 

…Even our hair dye de-wrinkles, and fat-plumps, for tighter looking, infant skin…

While covering grays!

…Which isn’t a confusing oxymoron at all!

image

~D

For The Go

19 Apr

image

A short one

…A small peek.

…Before the Attic comes prep.

One of the best parts of theatre: Arriving at call time, with a whole show of possiblities ahead of you 🙂

image

~D

Pick-Ups

18 Apr

image

Oie. I need a freakin’ break.

…No lunch, no time away from the computer screen, and tiny-tiny numbered reports.

So this is me: breathing for a bit. 

Back in the saddle for shows in our second weekend, starting tonight.  No pick-ups, and early Thursday performances, so we’re on our own to run lines…prob’ly while driving, or setting our hair…to make sure we remember what the hell we’re doing. 

Early Thursday shows make “sense,” but I still hate early call. 

…Because of it, I’m floored for time, and have not only none in excess, but less than average for eating, travel and prep to begin with…thus zero time at all to run scenes with people to iron out all the brain burps that being dark for three days can do.  And this ain’t exactly an easy show to just jump into, cold.

Living on stage the whole time means there isn’t a single moment to run and check your script to remind you of things that one sometimes needs their scripts to remind them of…like the exact word right there that you can’t seem to remember, only know begins with an “M”…or what follows the first night scene…or which props need to disappear at which time, in which blue-out, as we quick-change.

…Significant details.

Think I’ll just have cereal for dinner tonight so I won’t take up all that time cooking things. Like an egg. Which gives me an extra 90 seconds to actually review the script, live.  Or maybe I’ll skip the shaving my legs part (yay for dancer tights, and Europeans!) and just do the necessities…that’ll buy an easy 3 minutes right there…

…It’s all about time management, you see.  The infinitesimal kind.   

Where you have to multitask eating and burping simultaneously…just so you won’t waste all that optional line reciting time on breathing.

~D

Real People Lunching

17 Apr

image

Shh. I took a lunch today.  Like a person.

…Me n’ WHS Pimp busted out to Rock Pizza for their buffet.

…So I took a naughty lunch, at that.

Together with my applesauce donut of yesterday, I’ve prob’ly fallen off the wagon a bit.  But I weighed in and nothing moved, so I’m calling it a “freebee-plus cheat-day.”

…What? 

It’s a “thing.”

Am currently balancing the play structures on our open order report.  Thought I’d take a few minute’s break. 

(…Lunch AND a break? What is happening to the world, you guys?!?!)

I can only wrap my head around a small child being gifted a $2,000 swing set for so long. 

$2,000?! 

…It might as well be a million. 

In kid-dollars and people ones. 

I don’t have $2,000. 

Do you?!

Does anyone?! 

…But the parents of these children?!

When I was a kid, we played with refrigerator boxes and made mud pies.  And LIKED it! THAT was  our “playset.” 

…Kids these days have no IDEA what it is to be a “real” kid…or use their imaginations…or create things…because they don’t HAVE to.  Because mommy and daddy shell out $2,000 and a full day off work to have an entire theme park erected in their back yards for them.  So they can “play.”

…When did “playing” start costing something?

As a proud kid of a single mom in the 80’s, it sure as hell didn’t when I was a kid.

…And I’m pretty sure that me n’ the cousins had ten-times more fun on accident than kids these days have on total purpose, when it is bought for them.

So take THAT, Y2K’s!

…I should get back to my report now.

And coffee.

…But really, with pizza-insides, I just want a nap.

Oh, a nap.

Lovely.

…Off to feed the egos of small heiresses, I go.

~D

Errands, With Applesauce Donuts

16 Apr

image

Ma was craving cake donuts after work, “not those fake Krispy Kream kind,” so we motored towards Lakewood to the best shop I know. 

…I got a tiny applesauce one…even though I have no business eating any donuts at all, but reasoned it was the healthiest type…on account of the fruit involved, and being baked, not fried.

…Who am I kidding?

(No one.)

…Then it was onto Bed, Bath & Beyond to tinker with toys I can’t afford to actually buy…followed by Target, where I got one of  every cleaning supply, hygienic body care product and a box of hair dye.

My life is just a whirlwind of fascination, you guys.

Having tapped into Ma’s vein and addicted her to Call the Midwife, at last, there were more episodes of those to watch after, and now I’m back home again…fighting the cleaning product fumes, ready for bed.

Exhausted days keep adding up.

I suppose if there was a break in there anywhere…just one whole day and night off…it would ease up. 

But such is life.

…So we plug on.

~D

Rye Bread & Worcestershire

15 Apr

image

A helluva day. 55 contracts processed and assigned…first food at 5pm.

Am snockered.

…But I promised something from behind the curtain for today’s post, and I’m good for it.

Since my day was passed with nary a Cheerio to sooth my tummy, food was frequently on the brain, as I sifted from contract to contract and fed my tummy acids with more black coffee.

…So “food” will be today’s quick peek. Not a glamourous part of the job, but the more you know about theatre, the more you see there IS no “glamourous” part of the job. That’s all in the heads of the people watching from the seats.

…So are the gluttonous ravishings of practical prop foods, and beauty of the jewel-toned alcohols filling up snifters and downstage bars.

But food and drink are supremely important props. They fill an uncomfortable silence with scraping cutlery, and slurping of tea…while being a gigantic pain in the ass to stage hands, and actors alike.

…Because we rarely (if ever) eat and drink the actual foods supposedly represented, due to the fact that apparently since time first began, playwrights give an absolute shit about the mechanics of dinner scenes and food allergies and non-alcoholic booze, and the disgusting practice it takes to achieve them.

How do you keep ice cream from melting under stage lights for upwards of 45 minutes?

What does one do with gluten allergies for one quarter of a cast?

Is there anything more disgusting than watered-down, warm, flat Pepsi in a glass decanter?

…Yes there is.  It’s called “Worcestershire gravy.”

Citrus-spray to stave off browning of apples cut two hours ago.

Semi-frozen cakes to keep them from crumbling all over the place.

What does one sub in for cold milk, to a non dairy drinker, which has been housed in a non-working refrigerator on stage for an entire act?

What kind of meat do you serve in a diner when none of the cooking appliances are actually hooked up?

How many chews can you get it down in?

Does it phlegm or dry out your throat too much to speak and be understood?

Is it messy or sticky?

Is it awkward to skewer, stab, spoon or cut?

Does it spoil, curdle, or turn unseemly colors under hot lights?

…And: how mean can a techie team be, when they wanna slip in a slice or bit of something sinful, without your knowing until it is far too late?

Most of us have been there and seen that.

…But for those who haven’t: The subbing in and out of food is a natural necessity. 

Lights are hot, frequently the foods are in non-functioning appliances on stage, which only ups the temperature if anything. And actors are, by reputation, finicky eaters: famously on restrictive diets, non-dairy, and/or vegetarian, and now: gluten-free, while being allergic to everything under the sun.

…Which is why one of the first questions asked at the first rehearsal is: “what (if any) food allergies do you have?”  This ties in life-choice foods as well, of course, and from there: the SM and props department, will have to come up with the correct looking foods, refashioned and dressed up to look like totally other foods, which we actors will be presented with come tech week and told to eat and drink. 

Period.

…And we do.

…Which is sometimes a pleasant surprise. (ie: the bakery-donated gluten-free New Years cake we eat in “Anne Frank.”)

…And sometimes not. (ie: the time they ran out of powdered gravy mix and doused my rye bread “meatloaf” in Worcestershire sauce instead, forgetting to tell me, for “Murder at the Vicarage.”)

…If you count smoking as a prop of consumption, I’ve had my fill with that lot as well…from grass-tasting peat, to something resembling catnip, to vapours, to pepper herbals, cloves, and god knows what-all, so long as actual tobacco wasn’t part of it, thus a patron-consumed health risk.

I’ve eaten delicious Greek yogurt on white bowl-forms, masquerading as ice cream, a la mode with an actual slice of apple pie.

…I’ve had gallons of teas, juices and flat sodas as different liquors, combining in truly odd tastes to pass as cocktails.

…Spam burgers with skinned apple slices as fries.

…”Crimes of the Heart” put me off Lemon in any form, for upwards of five years, from doing that one damn lemonade-making scene over and over and over again.

…Stale challah bread.

…Plenty of raw veg.

…A glass of powered, lukewarm, milk.

…Brownie pieces in lieu of boxed chocolates (required, with not enough time to chew them properly.)

…Tic-Tac pills.

…Kool Aid cough syrups.

…Whipped cream mashed potatoes.

…The list goes on and on.

I keep waiting for the day when I’ll sit in front of a full Italian meal of meats and pastas stood in by  bleached Twizzler ropes and cake sprinkles topped with cookie-chunk meatballs and lumpy, iced-cake “lasagna.” 

….It’s only a matter of time.

…Especially when the only “food allergy” I ever put down on that form is “fish.” 

…Which even the evilest-minded SM would never in a MILLION YEARS attempt, under hot lights, with actors.

The End.

~D

 

Bed & A Book

14 Apr

image

Bed for me, and a book.

…It’s been like pulling teeth to get up the energy to blog this past week, and tonight is no different.

Tired.

Don’t wanna.

…I feel I’ve spent plenty of time being articulate on stage, frankly, and shouldn’t have to beat my head against a wall at the end of a long week to do it some more in type.

…Also, I have very little to contribute to your amusements at this point. 

Or maybe I have, and I need to sit and hatch ’em first. 

…Which means you’ll have something to look forward to, tomorrow.

We hope.

…Really engrossing things.

Like:

…What actors are really doing when they are s’posed to be sleeping, on stage.

…The kind of things we whisper, when we need silent filler talk.

…What real foods the fake foods are made of.

…How many tattoos Mr. Frank has under all that long underwear.

…How to cover: choking on prop food, fucking up a line, your wig falling off.

…The correct way to fight call: cutting a cake, killing off a cat, undertaking a tickle war, and stealing bread.

…What’s written on Miep’s shopping lists.

…Where props go to when they magically disappear.

…What to do when: the audience talks back, a cell phone goes off, your clothes aren’t set, the cat goes rogue.

…Blatant husband kissing.

…Scream-projecting for the Sunday crowds.

…Sweat-swapping.

…Ventriloquist-swearing.

…Zipper malfunctions and other clothing nightmares.

…How to go from spinster to claustrophobic Jewish mother, in one three-second hand-squeeze.

…And much, much more.

~D

Post- Op “Oh.”

13 Apr

image

This show has been an odd little animal from the beginning, but even more so when Opening night arrived, feeling all the world like your average Preview, and then, that completed, has already settled into what feels well into the run.

…By tomorrow, we will live where half-way through to the average production does.

…Explanations?

We have a short three week performance schedule. Which, to the show-brain means our Opening week , once complete tomorrow, would put us half done for the average run-of-show contract.  That is: two weeks from tomorrow, this show will close, and I’ve still not quite wrapped my brain ’round the fact that it’s actually open already to begin with.

This happens with busy-business shows. 

…I concentrate so hard on the specific details necessitated to get from point-A to point-Z, that before I know it, people are laughing and murmuring in the audience in response to things I’m doing, while I fixate on the fact that the next quick change will go much smoother if I do my shirt buttons first, then skirt, then shoes, and pre-set my handkerchief, mirror and unzip my nighty, for the scene following that.

Basically, I have little time to enjoy the moment of performance, because I’m spending so much time on the technicalities in order to achieve the performance, I don’t really have time to enjoy that I’m doing.

…A bit of a catch-22.  I know.

…But I tried tonight, to be more moment-aware.  This doesn’t mean I’ve been “clocking out” by any means.  I’m “in” it, I just don’t have the luxury to let go and swim in the realization of it. 

I have too many things to do, coming up. 

…There are a few touchtone moments that I do look forward to every night though…allowed in the span of breath to enjoy for it’s own sake.  And this keeps me eager, energized and going.  Like a mini battery charge of “yay.”

…Am imminently thankful for the role I was given: the provider of laughter, the outrageous flirt, the fireball of fury.  Though I may not get to pickle my fingers and toes in the satisfied waters of realization at every second, I DO appreciate the hell out of her range and realness in retrospect, after a long night of hard work has been completed.  And I have a feeling the run, in total, will be something like that for me. 

…A show I look back on, say two weeks after it’s closed…really able to see it from all angles and appreciate it’s every curve and detail. 

…When I have time to dedicate to that, versus the busy, bustling, current action of actually achieving it.

~D

Free Liquor, Love Amsterdam

12 Apr

image

Sitting in horrifying Friday 5:00 traffic, northbound.

…Face in ten pounds of stage makeup, hair set in curlers, with a hanky wrapped round to seal in the heat, and sitting in my PT Cruiser…from the neck up, I look like a period prostitute…which is all the car occupants beside me can see.

The double-takes are priceless.

…I may look like a stripper, mister so-and-so, but remember, I’m a Lady.

(Wink, wink)

***

(Later)

Early to theatre for passing out Opening Night tokens.

…I like to give shots, for small casts.

First: because I have expensive taste, and second: because after living through Hell Week, everyone deserves a slug of something good.

…And I like to theme them, per character, based on what mine would give them. For this reason it can take me an hour rambling through a liquor store talking to myself. A highly attractive sight, ‘specially as undertaken today, in no makeup and sweats.

…But the inside joke giggle I give myself, is totally worth it:

For Putti (Mr. VD): A Bushmill and a decent stogie…his finest desires now seen to.

Mr Frank: Hennessey, as brought as a present and presented on stage in act 1.

Mrs. Frank: Grey Goose. For the neat, quiet, near absence of any kick.

Margot (actual age, mid-20’s): Cake vodka, for her youth.

Mr. Kraler: 1800 Gold…and Meip: 1800 Silver…for all it costs to keep us there.

Our kilt-wearing Director: Glenfiddich, 12 year….and our SM: Chives Regal, 12 year…for all the years of time it feels like we’ve been rehearsing to get here tonight.

Mr. Dussel: Queens own Bombay Sapphire…cuz all he needs is a strong woman to straighten him out.

…For the minors in cast and crew, I scored unbelievably, with cookies and candies from Amsterdam…thanks to World Market.

***
(Later, later)

Marty and I, post show, drinkin’ vino, eatin’ chips, talkin’ shit, and wachin’ Vicar of Dibley.

…Sheer…Joy 🙂

…Missed the hell outta her.

…Tomorrow: greasey breakfast of champions.

Hooray for Openings, and friends 🙂

~D

A Preview

11 Apr

image

Tonight, is Preview.

…Some like to call it the “Final Dress,” which I have consistently thought is BS, for as long as I’ve been doing theatre. 

If there are people not associated with the production out there in the seats, and I am acting on a stage for them, that is called a “performance.” There is nothing “rehearsal” orientated  about it, unless as merely a formal nomenclature and sort of pacifier to the tech team.  It certainly isn’t one for the actors.  If all hell breaks loose during a Preview, we are just as far up shit-creek without a paddle, as if it was Opening or two weeks in. 

When eyes are watching you, eyes are watching you. 

…I would move to liken “Previews” to a “Soft Opening”…like retail stores and restaurants do.

…There is no compunction that you are open for business, and servicing the function you are supposed to be, but with the option that a few alterations of the performance might take place due to patron responses and feedback before hoisting onto the final blueprint mapped-out performance. 

…But make no mistake: we are still naked up there, acting, changing, fighting, crying…we are still 100% at the level we are at. 

Never, in all my years of theatre, in all the houses I have worked in, has a performance ever halted for a dropped line, a missed light cue, a sound mishap, a late entrance, a missing prop, on a Preview night.  This is what the safety net of a “Final Dress” is supposed to provide you, but I have never once seen the option picked up.  This isn’t to say the mistakes don’t happen, they do, and will, throughout the rest of the run.  It’s LIVE THEATRE, people.  That’s just part of game.

…Would the option be in actual use, I would back the “Final Dress” ideology, as much as the next guy.  But it ain’t. It doesn’t. It won’t be.

…Though it is (oddly enough) the absolutely essential final piece of the performance puzzle that we desperately need.

Before the Preview, a production has no idea how the show is going to actually be received.

What is funny?

…Frequently NOT the things you think, and other things it never occurred to you: are.  

What is the right timing?

…An inch here, a beat there…slight, slight alterations based on the audience response you have never had, are suddenly provided to you, requiring experimentation (improv) on your feet, in the moment.

What hits home?

…Reading the silence, the shifts in seats, the murmurs in the crowd, and using them to complete the circuit of emotion between you, your acting partners and the audience in the house.

It takes, on average, the bulk of your entire first week of performance to find and balance all of that information and get it working for you…which can make it awkward that reviewers frequently show up on Opening (or at the very least sometime within that week,) judging the entire performance run on a still growing muscle, before it has fully developed.

…Which is often not at all the fault of the performers, merely the lack of a full Preview tour on the road, like a Broadway Opening would get…taking the opportunity to test out material on the audience, and learn from them, before setting the performance into final form, educated and ready for it’s Gala Opening Night.

Instead, regional theatre’s get one day. 

One shot. 

…One single performance to learn all they can before critics, and the general public, arrive for champagne receptions and pencils posed above notepads in expectation. Ready for the sentence to be passed.

…Hows the show?

I can tell you one thing, that I know to be true: No matter how fine the performance and artists involved, the first performance will never be exactly like the last, or the second or the 12th. Theatre is a constantly changing organism, and if you are willing…you can every show learn something new, try something different, discover another truth. All of which enhance your performance, and the production as a whole, making tighter bonds with your cast and characters, and enlightening the message of the work to the unsuspecting audience in the house.

That is the awesome animal that is theatre: It’s ability to adapt, and evolve.

…But it is also, on days like today, our biggest challenge.

…As we all separately finish our “day jobs,” (the end of work-week still to come), and get to the theatre…make ready our hair, makeup, costumes, props, and go out on stage for the first time with fresh eyes oogling our every move…we will attempt a near impossible feat: evolving from caterpillars into butterflies, within the span of 24 hours…in one performance…just in time for Opening Night.

May the theatre Saints be with us.

…This’ll be a tough one.

~D

%d bloggers like this: