Tag Archives: rehearsal

While We’re Cheating, Know: I Miss You

8 Feb

Cecil and The Theatre Husband, are rehearsing “Gypsy, ” just down the street. They open two weeks before I do (45 minutes, just South.) 

…Together: they are teamed up as Louise and Herbie…in the strange only-theatre-way that one can, directly after playing man and wife, (with me, as their  oversexed –or under, depending on how you look at it– neighbor),  in “The Underpants. ”

It kills me, that I’m not there, partaking of their awesomeness and swimming in the absolute ease and delight that it is to work with them.

…But I’m also kind of super exhausted from our first first act work/run-thru, on my only third day of blocking into “Bountiful,” with like an 80% new-people-to-me team. 

…And: we kick total ass.

For custody battles, we’re splitting other former loves-of-the-past. I get my “Arcadian” arch nemisis, and fellow-actor-turned-Director…they get my “Black Coffee,” Ingenu. 

…It’s like an acting key-party of people swapping, and we’re all getting really good sex, but it’s still kinda like: “…But, I like how you just know to do that one thing. ” and,  “I’m jealous of this,” and,  “I sincerely cannot wait for you all to kick ass but: I’m a little pissed I can’t be part of it too.”

…So it goes…with greedy, creative, bastards, like us.

It’s not about “greener pastures.” It’s about “having any fun at all without me.” 

…And it’s also the pride in one another. And the fact that our shows are staggered so we will all get the chance (ultimately) to bask in the creative, ridiculously talented glow of one another.*

(*We’re super humble, too…) 

 …But meanwhile: it makes, “How was rehearsal tonight? ” a kind of super-loaded question. 

…The kind where you’re like, “Good sex. Different. Learned a lot. Miss that ‘thing’ you do. ”

…And the other guy goes:

 “Yeah. Me too. ”

~D

Win-Losses & Trannies

4 Feb

I am pacing every room I inhabit with a bright yellow script -highlighted all to hell- as my companion. 

The script is fast becoming mutilated. They always do.

…I fuck up a line, cuz I forget which tense she’s in now, or which version of name-dropping she’s on, or where the hell that one line even comes from -which is why I keep forgetting it. So: I let a string of expletives burst out from self-frustration, and start again. 

…I’ve been doing this for hours, every day. Since Monday. 

…And I am very, very happy. 

This is the kind of thing that makes theatre people look like freaks. I know that. As much as I know that fighting with that yellow script over words, is an awesomely frustrating and gratifying kind of brain-foreplay right now. And my escape. 

I used to hate this part: getting off-book. I’ve decided that I don’t now…and maybe never really did. I wanted the words right away so I could get to work. Only, that was part of the work. The agonizing over every word choice and its place,  just as much as the playwright once did…this is where the relationship work starts

…Why can’t she stick to a goddamn topic even within any three sentences in any one monologue?!  She’s like a bee,  flitting from flower to flower without any structure whatsoever. And then all of a sudden: she’ll bounce back to that one flower over there again, or that one over there, with no transition of thought, and no complete communication on any story she starts, at any time. 

…My God, she is frustrating to track. 

…And that’s gotta be exhausting as hell to live like,  you would think. Always amped up about something, always chattering away about another, always splitting focus as many ways as possible, so she ultimately doesn’t say much of anything, until all at once: she explodes for what seems like a totally superficial reason. 

…Trying to track and learn her words, I feel more empathy for her fellow characters than herself. 

…Sitting down to book-work of WHY she is like this –in between line sessions — I’ve become her insider-champion. 

…In between: I’ve got a lot of damn work to do. Which is fucking amazingly lucky. And so this weekend, I will continue to pace and recite and yell at myself and her and Horton Foote, as the bastards we all are for putting me in this situation. 

…But in all the good ways. 

…Which is the only solace I’ve got at the moment with a fucked-up car transmission and no money to pay for it. 

I work ten minutes from home. I can borrow a car for rehearsal commutes. Mine hasn’t totally blown up. As yet. But it will. There’s nothing I can do about that. Which helps me mentally: not at all. 

…My brain this past week has been pulled from here to there, with worries,  frustrations, anger, hyperventilations and total fears …absolutely just as erratically as Jessie Mae in this script has. 

So: from where I sit now, here’s two things I know–

1. If I keep myself busy enough to not think about it as much as I can, maybe I can delay the inevitable from sucking the absolute life out of me, in the mean time. 

2. Horton Foote might be a fucking genius. 

~D

All The Whys

6 Sep


Omg, who is in charge of Retrogrades, and why are they acting like such an asshole!?! 

… This day has been predictably dickish  (coming back from a 3-day sales weekend),  but even more than necessary. To be gross and inappropriate  (because it’s my fucking blog and I can),  today has been a hung-like-a-Clydesdale-mid-f***,  kind of day. 

… Everyone (including myself)  has been an asshole to deal with, rail was late, trucks and builders were no-show, everyone is screaming at and about someone else, on multiple lines, and the urgency of getting a goddamn shed constructed this absolute second,  is on par with a heart or kidney transplant …and that is without exaggeration in the least. 

What the fuck is wrong with people?! 

The only break from insanity I received, was when Cecil stopped by at 1:30 to deliver a coffee and take me outside to breathe and not answer a phone for 20 minutes. Which helped for the 20 minutes, but not enough to really recharge to a necessary level required for Asshole #47 who wanted to go into his independent financials on how he could buy and sell our company ten times over if he wanted,  and if  I knew what was good for me,  I’d find a way to magic the rail delivery to before Thursday, “or else.” 

… It wasn’t enough to help with Bitchface #52 who needed me to know that I personally was totally ruining her daughter’s wedding because I couldn’t move our build lead-time to this Saturday. Or Asshat #29 that it doesn’t matter how much “extra cash”  you tell me you can throw at the deal, I can’t manufacture a builder from a stack of Jacksons, when they are already booked two months in advance.

I already don’t like people. Days like this launch me into festering-turd-hatred of them. 

… And tonight,I need to spend hours making dick jokes at rehearsal…trying to make them funny… when really, it’s just an autobiography of my retail working life, minus the sex. And also, nothing is funny right now!

Not even my go-to “This is fine”  Flaming cartoon:

… Or the fact that my sidewalk is growing tomatoes :

NOTHING!! 
WHY?!?! 

~D

Nominal Fever Ravings

5 Feb

image

I need a break from this Chekhov.

…Am stress dreaming about it at this point, because with almost no rehearsal other than talking about it, we open in 9 days.

….And while “concept” is great and all, I need to “do” the fuck out of a thing in order to actually build a tangible reality. One cannot just “theory” a show into existence. But we are having to…because we don’t have time together without giant gaps in between, and schedules are so harried from everyone’s conflicts, that there is no like “panic meet-up time” where one can get private scene partner work slipped in, or try every which way to do a scene, or…well…

…Anyway…I’m toasted. Have been reaming this script alone for days and hours and trying to make choices, hoping they won’t interfere with scene partner’s choices (who I’ve never worked with before), but having to stake out like three or four levels of options here so I can alter or try to connect my stuff to his stuff, for tomorrow morning…when we next meet up.

4 more rehearsals to figure it all out.

…God. You know you’re stressed when Stoppard is the easier, happy place you wish you could fall back into.

…Meanwhile…

The required post-show crash hit, was obtained and nursed for half this week, on my couch. A lot of sleeping. A lot of first generation X-Files-watching (which I had never seen the first time ’round.) I happen to think it’s fun, badass, and slightly terrifying…whilst simultaneously worrying about my cold being a deadly alien variety which has no earthly cure, and/or becoming abducted.

…I wish I was joking about that. But: I am not.

…I induced it even further into my Psyche by watching some episodes across hours of fever sleeping…so now I feel inevitably doomed, in a very deep marrow-of-my-bones way…but have to keep viewing, as like a “How To” mental log of how to combat them, when they do eventually come for me.

…The truth is out there. And so are “they.” Cuz there’s no fucking way that the buck stops at humanity. Microscopic animals take us down, for gods sake. Lets get real, here.

…Anyway…

…No X-Files after dark, is the rule mandate. That’s reserved for script stress, and inevitable alcohol consuming. Mostly with Cecil. Who I gave the cold back to. Cuz I’m an awesome, sharing, sister-friend that way.

…So.

…It’s Friday night. Rent is due, therefor: I’m broke. No Arcadia to go play in. Too distracted about tomorrow morning’s rehearsal to go see that other show I was going to, tonight…even as a PWYC. Which is prob’ly better anyway. Am still not back to even 80% ungross-feeling, across any length of time.

…Oh, and Mrs. Johnson dropped in…about three hours ago…to mix it up a little.

Oh, what a wicked cocktail of life, I do breed…

~D

Stoppard Stasis

11 Dec

image

You know how Hamlet is this doomed Prince? And you know how he had these semi insignificant University pals who show up a couple of times to cock his life up further? And you know how Stoppard took those dudes and wrote an entire play about what happens to them, during their “off stage” down-time? And you know how it’s patterned after “Waiting For Godot,” and nothing “real” ever happens per sey, you just watch two idiots waste time and space, waiting for life to “happen” to them, instead of going out and actually verbing “life” into an active state of achieved fulfillment?

…And you know how fucking confusing that show is, with it’s death and life, in boxes? But you still kinda love it anyway? Because somehow, the “watching life pass” bit, and the “waiting” bit, and the, “what is our purpose” bit, and the “fucking shit up despite all your best intentions” bit, sorta rings home…but at least now it’s happening to someone else, so it’s easier to laugh at it?

Stoppard has a way of freeze-framing characters and time and events into crazy broken shards of life, then piecing them back together with bits of string and Scotch tape, so you can chart their journey (often in screwed up time or perspective) to one another AND a variety of themes, spider-webbing to, from, through, and across each other like one of those theory boards made of stick pins and yarn that obsessive detectives always use in complicated murder mysteries.

….The bastard is SO smart, though, he ups the stakes by making sure you can’t find all the answers and connect on just a 2D charting field. He takes that shit sideways, and at diagnals, so you have to mentally pop the whole thing out into 3D to even begin to get to the bottom of things. Character relationships across 300 years of time and space, theories spun from the Greeks, then thrown into math algorithms. Clever word-play, comparing the change of meaning in language over time, class, education…and yet (much like Shakespeare), with all that fancy head play, can still cover the essentials of human existence on desire, sex, jealousy, hate, and frustration enough to satisfy even the most unread, lazy, gutter-thinker in the audience.

…In other words: Stoppard is fucking magical.

This is my second show of his I’ve worked on– “Arcadia,” far in my preference to “R&G.” Maybe because I sincerely click with this character, and the cast, and the three or four particular themes we’ve (thus far), uncovered in our massive 3D pin board of string-followings.

…I love History. I love hard work, and research and investigating. I love books and theories and lives who’ve come before us, paving our way. I love the basics of proof-searching, of accountability and the infection of wanting to know more. I completely understand learning-obsession, talent-crushing, head-against-brickwall-beating, and a sense of there always being more and more and more to know…about EVERYTHING.

…So…I “get” Hannah. However, being as she is a Stoppard character, I know there will always be more layers to dig under in more directions, than I would be able to exhaust in even a full six months of playing her. Because I already get this, my plan of attack at grid-reliefing her in excavation, (like an archaeologist), is my best bet to chasing her down. Which, even she would approve of.

…”This” finding, which leads us to “that,” connects “here,” and at last you have: why she writes instead of teaches. “This” piece, followed by “that,” minus a very distinctly missing other bit, explains why she has no significant other in her life. Control issues. Distrust. Obsession. Sex-antagonism. Anti-Romanticism. Science vs Faith. She’s left more broken shards of her-pieces buried all throughout this show, to keep me digging for ages. I’ll never find it all. But with each new piece I uncover and try to plug into that chart of her-theories, the more I understand not only what a hell of a job I’ve got ahead of me each rehearsal and performance, but also an affirmation of what I already knew before…and yet, am still surprisingly gobsmacked over…

Which is:

No matter how much I learn, there is more to find, regardless of how many hundred times I pluck through this script which never changes and yet with each new discovery, somehow seems to.

…And also:

Fucking sonofabitch, Stoppard is a goddamn brilliant playwright.

~D

A Wish For The Having Of Funness

8 Sep

image

This is a formal request I am putting in.

….Because apparently everyone else in the world considers doing a musical as a hella good time, while my anxiety-brain has been a little-lot in Hell for the last three days in prep for both the first read yesterday, and tonight’s first music work.

I want to have a good time. I want to be excited and challenged, in the good and positive, “learn lots and get gooder” way, instead of the “truly gut-wrenching, terrifying, I haven’t slept in x-days,” way. Wish there was a damn switch to make that happen.

….Also, though am touched at the like inherent confidence everyone seems to have in me, I wish just one time when I voice my total abject terror at the moment, people would stop saying, “Pffft, you’ve got this.”

….Because, yuh know what? I really don’t. And saying that is just making me feel worse…belittling the actual real terror I am feeling.

….Cuz there is: ” going outside comfort zones,” and there’s, “facing past memories of the last time this went down,” that are flashing back with only the horrible parts, pretty much constantly.

What I want, is to super-real-time enjoy this super fun role, with these totally fun nerds, in this hilarious show. But my entire being is so fucking destroyed by the very real knowledge that this could completely be a set-up lesson in humility so righteous, that self-humiliation is only a tiny part of the possible after-effect.

…What I’m explaining here is: this isn’t just learning lines and choreography. This is playing a musical fucking instrument. My voice. A thing not played, or trained…it can’t even read the notes of what it’s trying to do, and the last time it had to “hold a part” in anything was ten years ago, as part of a giant chorus. Now I’m supposed to jump up and magically figure out how to tight-harmony as one of four, in frankly a super complicated “not your average 50’s musical” structure.

…I literally cannot think of a single goddamn thing more terrifying to me right now.

…I’d rather spread-eagle, naked, in front of an audience in a show-and-tell gynecological exam, than face even tonight’s first musical rehearsal.

Seriously.

No. Fucking: seriously.

This, is a whole new “overwhelm.” It’s the six-feet- under kind.

….And what I WANT, is for that not to be. What I WANT is to be free to embrace the laughter from last night’s read, and the screw-ups we all made in first pass at the music. I want to know, to TRUST that my team can trust me. I’m very big on that. And I cannot say, with any self-faith at all, that “I’ve got this.”

…So, maybe like just saying it in print, will help a little, in dispelling the puking-bad-horror I am feeling right now.

…Cuz even singing literal songs about just that, ain’t cuttin’ it.

…Type-casting has just never been more ironic than this. Like, ever.

~D

Weird Shit You Do…

31 Mar

image

…When You’re Prepping For A Show.

This usually means, “homework.” Not that we don’t do plenty of weird shit on stage as well…but right now I’m talking specifically about the alien feeling of being totally outside in the real world, alone, while attempting to get your brain prepped to be inside the show world.

…Because we, as theatre people, do crap that seems straight up insane to any normal person, on a continual basis, and our “safety in numbers” bit only works when surrounded by other theatre people, or marching through somewhere like Comic-Con, the Vegas Strip, or Times Square. Anywhere else, an individual talking to themselves in different accents while on a walk, just isn’t normal. And even in the free-style  Pac-NW, you get strange looks wearing 19th century hair with a tank top and jeans, while eating at Applebees. Explaining all those bruises gets long-winded, and from total outsiders may even include an embarrassing hand clutch and serious -faced, “I’m here, when you’re ready to talk or need anything”…when, “No, seriously! A 12-year-old kid did this to me!” Is all that comes flying out. Because: it’s the damn truth.

…Morning work days come where you constantly look like shit, because of staying up till all hours learning 15 more pages of text. You lack ability to talk about anything at all other than the specific time period/character type/production in general, that you are working on. You lose sleep running best prop usage scenarios through your head…over, and over, and over again, so that in three weeks when you pick up that fucking cigarette, light it, and inhale on this beat, it will look totally “natural.” Who the hell else does this kinda shit?

No one.

…Only maybe prostitutes will buy the super-sized, box of condoms every week from the same small-town retailer and keep the receipt for “work expenses,” which I did for an entire summer as an SM at age 18…because: mic packs.

…Only five-year-olds spend more time building artistic masterpieces out of scraps, play dough, macaroni, cardboard, food coloring, dollar-store items, and paint than a props person does.

…Thrift stores only exist because theatre costumers come through and regularly buy out all their estate-sale stock of 1960’s sequin “this’s,” 1950’s “that’s,” and 1940’s holy-crap-we-so-needed-these’s.

…Only a ten-year-old boy and a sound designer will listen to endless farting and snoring and blow-up noises for hours on end, to find just the “right” one.

…”Do: face-crotch hit,” “It goes: fondle, fondle, fondle, kiss,” “Grab her boob,” “Is there any way to make him more sexually uncomfortable? “ “Go at it all the way, and we’ll pull back later if we have to”…says every Director to their employees, in any comedy, ever. Fuck all the appropriate work-conduct laws in the land!

Yes.  Theatre people are freaks. We make out with strangers, get more excited about (retro) hand-me-down clothes, than a pair of Jimmy Choos, because: “that’s so my character!”…we spend days and days committing vast amounts of text and traffic control patterns in our heads, only to close a show and never use them again. Ever. Too many hours are spent on “bits” which maybe only 1% of people will even notice, and even if they do, will prob’ly never “get.” Instead of just really not liking the chick in the next cubicle at work, in our world, you still have to have a fake affair with her and sell it to 200 people a night, across two months or whatever. That sleazy creeper WILL slip his tongue in your mouth mid-performance, because there is nothing you can fucking do about it, and he knows it, and that’s just the way it’ll have to be for like the rest of the goddamn run. Until you knee him in the balls one night. None of which gets any kind of legal repercussion or write up because: we are the theatre.

…You can smoke in our workplace. You can drink there. You can even have actual sex every night, on stage.  With your significant other watching from the audience.

…Children will be awake and running blocking at 11pm on a school night during tech week because: we are the theatre.  Grown men will have total melt downs over having to wear a shirt they hate, because: we are the theatre. 

…Epic cat-battles one night, will become besties the next…real-life Soap Opera situations when “he” cheats on “her” with that other girl in a wayward “showmance”, will bring pounds of drama and gossip all-around…the props WILL break, which is possibly the only time ever that a single pencil can ruin an entire enterprise of something (certainly the best joke, anyway)…and sadly, it is often the case, that when an employee turns up lit, or high as a kite, not only aren’t they fired, they are encouraged to go speak in front of hundreds of people as a company representative…no matter how fucking sloshed they are…due entirely to the fact of: we have no understudy.

….Because: THIS IS THE THEATRE!

I have actually seen and/or been a part of ALL of those things. And I will be obliged to see and/or be a part of them all again, forty or fifty more times in my career.  Cuz it’s just the rules of the game as you play them in our fucked up little world…

…Which I’m really so used to now, that it only rarely occurs to me to be out of the excepted norm to everyone else.

…Until I go home from rehearsal, (after a long-ass day-from-hell-at-work), pour out some gin, and spend the rest of the evening  (11:00pm to whenever-on) youtubing Gypsy Rose Lee glove removal strips, S&M and tantric torture ideas involving said removed gloves, and segue (naturally) to how to keep play dough stiffer while building and manipulating phallic prop “bread dough.”

…And then try to think where to start in answer to WHS Pimp’s, “What’d you do last night?” The following morning.

…So, that was my Monday.

…Which for me is pretty normal, I guess.

…And you’ve gotta admit: that’s freakin’ weird.

~D

%d bloggers like this: