Archive | September, 2014

Dear Rita…

20 Sep

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This is the last day we get to hang out. 

…Which is weird, cuz somehow I feel like you’ve always been there…inside me…waiting to be born. But since you have been fleshed out in full human form, you can’t just go back to “that place” anymore.  You’ve come too far for that. 

The last day of performing a bucket-list role, like you, changes so many things.  Forever.  The fact I once had you, in my grasp…someone I have wanted to meet for all of my artistic life, it’s like spending three months with your favorite celebrity or a rock star, on the road.  You get not only this fucking FANTASTIC high and joy of being in their direct presence and learning from them, but you also get to know them on a personal level.  You learn their little isms and irks and habits and sense of humor…and they become MORE than just your “idol”…they become a mentor, a friend, a part of your family.  I know things about you that no one does, because you’ve trusted me enough to tell me.  And the same truths have been granted to you, from MY inner-most parts.

…What I’m saying is, sometimes a role isn’t just a role.  A character isn’t a “character.”  You’ve looked up to them too long. You’ve built a career goal around one day not only meeting them, but getting to spend that time on the road of discovery with them, side-by-side.  And bucket-lists being what they are: that unlimited dream-list of desire, with zero editing with all your biggest wishes and dreams…getting the opportunity to actually touch, let alone embrace a role off that list is Lotto-breaking odds for actors.  It’s our pinnicle.  It’s all the reasons we became actors to begin with.  It’s what we strive to better ourselves for…to one day, maybe, somehow, get a chance to say, “I’ve always wanted to do that part, and now: I am.”

…Course what they don’t tell you ’bout all this is that even (on the giant odds) that you DO get to work with a giant desire role like you, there is always that sinking-gut realization that in a specified amount of time: it will all end.  The dress will turn back to rags, the coach to a pumpkin, and the horses to little white mice.  I may have (by utterly astonishing odds) got to go to the ball after all, but the ball will end…at the stroke of midnight.

…And that’s where I’m at today. It is 11:55 and I know I only get one more dance…one more whirl around the floor, one more moment to be in this costume, with this hair, the monster you-shoes clonking around under me. I get one more time to spend with all those 26 monologues, which tell the story of who you are, where you come from…to share your simple wisdoms, and get frustrated with your mountainous journey “to know…everything.”

It isn’t just the loss of a placeholder on a list somewhere. It is so, so, so very much more than that. It’s sense of accomplishment, yes…but it’s also putting to bed, a hope and dream…it’s achieving an Everest climb that you’ve wanted and trained for (in some ways) all of your artistic life. And it’s done now. There are other mountains to climb, of course, but not this one. Not anymore.

Dearest Rita, it has been a voraciously joyous pleasure to finally meet you…to join in your groupie crowd, study by your side, talk literature and politics and hair extensions with you. It’s been wonderful to get to know your heart and how strong your spirit is, despite the self doubts. You are, in many ways, so much smarter than I am…you see things in ways that so trump the over-complicated that it is like watching someone win a game of chess in two moves, flat. I love your acceptance of the past, your hope in the future, your humor and wonder and wit. I understand your bad days and frustrations…I’ve seen you at your worst, as you have seen me. But we’ve also been there for the best bits too. And they surpassed everything I loved and THOUGHT I knew about you, which put you on the “list of people I wanted to meet most in my career,” to begin with.

…You are so much more.

You’re a good teacher.

Today, I have to say goodbye to you, and we’ve only just started. I don’t want to let you go. Cuz now that I really know you, I get that it’s not just crossing a name off a list tonight. It’s losing a friend…and as anyone whose done that knows, it leaves one hell of a hole behind.

…So what say, we meet after the show and cry into a whiskey or two…my treat?

Love-Love-Love,

(And super grateful)

~D

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Tag-Teaming Murder & Education

8 Sep

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Dearest “Rita” is alive and well, warbling her free-association wisdoms at-will (and speed), and having a great time playing with her Professor…which ends our first weekend of performances, and ushers in today’s first rehearsal of the next gig.

From Liverpool to London, back to Liverpool again…and London…I’ll be splitting time for the next two week’s ‘tween our enthusiastically educating Scouser and a London society-dame, fighting to survive murder, Hitchcock-style. While we are on the same island, there is a good sixty-year era-difference, not to mention sizable pocketbook increase…which’ll be fun to bounce around between…cuz who the hell doesn’t love Noir and 50’s fashions, mixed with sailor-mouthed, punk, fuck-me shoes?

Yes to it all!

…And so with today’s first table-read, we pack away the Chekhov, Ibsen, and Forster et al (Sunday nights thru Wednesday), and bring out some epic Noir film-festing to put some meat on these ingénue bones facing me in print. 

Famously portrayed by Grace Kelly, in her typical perfect-looking-yet-boring-as-hell-to-watch fashion, the plan is to make our Margot in Dial “M”, more than that.  Something with smarts, bite, and maybe even some (god-forbid) sex…seeing as she’s blackmailed for schtooping who she shouldn’t, and all.  Which means I’ll be forced (dammit) to dig out all my Stanwyck’s, Tierney’s, Astor’s, Bacall’s, Davis & Crawfords…Turner’s, Hayworth’s, and Gardner’s (woe is me) to settle in for some one-on-one refresher courses, (hee hee) on how to be bad-girl-awesome…in general.

…Working against iconic interpretation is always a “thing” when tackling something like a “Hitchcock”…which is 50% fixed in this case by not casting a blonde, really.  The moment lights rise in scene one, I’m automatically given more freedom to fight against the character-as-played in pre-conceived expectation, by physical presence alone.  The other 50% is taking dated text and infusing new life into it…figuring out how to leverage a more realistic, suspicious, sexual, “human” being from a white-toast sort of role, as usually played. 

…I’m going mining for more in there…and it’ll be fun panning to find it 😉

~D

Joan Crawford, You Bitch

2 Sep

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It’s like she knows…she knows the timing most ill to arrive and fuck with you…am I right, ladies?

…She even tag-teams the really important times with the most bitch- version of her personality. Because opening a giant show isn’t enough, nor is month-end…following a major Holiday weekend sale. No, no, hell no! We need you all drugged and water-logged as well, with aching everything’s…and that super special sensation of wanting to barf every time you open your mouth to talk.

….This really coincides well with two pages of customer bookings and a dress rehearsal where you talk at high speed for about two hours, virtually non-stop.

…Which is all to say: the dame’s been dead for decades now, but Joan Crawford is still the biggest bitch around. Let it be known.

Meanwhile, nerves decided to hit me this weekend like a ton of bricks. Which has only ever happened in one other show ever, that I can recall.

…Nerves belong on Opening Night…and maybe a few seconds after “places” call. Nerves don’t have any form or function this early in tech week. Because there’s just too much shit to do still, frankly, and the adrenaline rush helps you zero-much right now.

There’s sort of a lot riding on this role and this show…personally, professionally…it’s opening a theatre season, there’s a giantly talented team who helped to get us here, and this is a bucket list role. I really don’t like screwing up anytime, but I would REALLY hate it in this instance. And I’m afraid that the roughly eight hours of sleep I’ve gotten this weekend from obsessing about it, isn’t helping.

…Ye olde friend Anxiety has been whispering tales to me, and as we know, that bastard is a hard one to shut up. Which means a lot of added concentrated energy I already don’t have at the moment has been aimed in that direction this weekend. Until today. Because I’m too damn busy (outside of this sandwich break) to pay it any attention.

….Which I suppose is the only good thing about how freaking busy it’s been in here this morning.

So, winning?

…I’ll call it a “win.” I could use one to get a leg up on what comes after this.

I know, I know this show. I know I’ve done the work to support it. I know I know my path and what it takes and feels like to follow it from beginning to end.

I trust my team.

…I just need to freaking breathe…

…And trust “me.”

~D

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