Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington
    98109

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Flip Side

I finally broached the possibility of working part time with Human Resources here at Expedia. I was really nervous about it, because I like it here so much. It's bizarre. Five years ago the center of my life, what there was of it, was work. Now that is not the case, and I've progressed from calling it a day job as a joke, to where that is they way I really think of it. A lovely coincidence. This is unquestionably the best place I have worked. Having morphed into an artist was a surprise which spawned other surprises, such as increased effectiveness and enjoyment in my day job. I hate the idea of going back to contracting, even if it does pay better, because I am very happy here.

The Human Resources person called me. Why yes, part time positions are possible, just not common or advertised for the tech folks, and they'd need about two weeks to set it up after I worked it out with my manager. Assuming he supports it and my performance justifies it. She even suggested a trial period for a couple weeks to be sure it would work. Wow, I didn't think it was possible, nor did I think it could be set up so quickly. I'd even maintain basic benefits for a 32 hour schedule. I wouldn't even have to go through them for a flexible schedule.

I had my weekly meeting with my manager later in the day, and told him what I'd found out. He said he'd work with me to find the best solution too. I'm waiting for my alarm clock to break up everything. If ETI goes this year, and if I'm accepted I could realistically try working Monday-Thursday and Saturday to see if I can handle working 40 hours on a flexible schedule, and if it is too much for me to handle, we can then work on converting to part time for the rest of the academic year. It'll be incredibly busy, but if it is not overly so I should thrive.

I was worried that posing the question would mark me as an undesirable, even though I've never had any indication that would be the case. As long as the environment remains so damn good I'll work to hold on to my job. If I do get into an MFA program at some point I'll have to move on, but until then I'll try to live in both worlds. Especially since I'll need to augment my savings before becoming a full time student again.

I'm still thinking about my desire to start a theatre company every day. It is on hold until I'm done with ETI, either because I don't make the cut this year or a year from now when it concludes. I want the experience of working on another new theatre company, and one that is formed with the goal of extending the work I've been doing and getting time on the boards to solidify and enrich it. I want someplace to work with people with similar experience and training, or the same ethic. I have lots more thoughts on this, for another day.

May I See The Receipt?

Consumerism sucks the hind titties of the Hounds of Hell. Even the Supreme Court has been seduced.

Giant pharmaceuticals feel threatened by medical marijuana; the supreme court sides with them citing a need for federal control over local jurisdiction's autonomy.

Giant developers have subdued local governments to their whims, and use eminent domain to evict home owners; the supreme court sides with them citing the need for local jurisdictions to maintain autonomy.

Giant corporations and corrupt government officials feel threatened by confidential leaks about their wrong-doings and have reporters prosecuted; the supreme court implicitly sides with them by refusing to hear the case, allowing the convictions to stand.

Giant media companies (who have been penalized over and over and over for gouging the public) feel threatened by file sharing, and persuade small and big time prosecutors to go after services which support this; the supreme court once again sides with big money. File sharing -- the idiots don't even understand that sharing files is the backbone of the internet. When you are reading this tirade you are looking at a shared file. You can pass a file via http, ftp, etc. through any ISP. I suppose the vague verbiage intended to let MS, AOL, etc. off the hook for providing the same technology was the deciding factor. Time to dust off the old cassette recorder.

This is to be expected. There may be artificially erudite justifications for these decisions, but that doesn't change the bottom line. The faceless entities of big business have more rights and liberties than actual people, suckers like you and I, and the Supreme Court has told us so loud and clear.

The most cherished virtue in this country is not courage. It is not honesty. It is not loyalty. It is not compassion. It IS avarice. Anything is acceptable if it saves money or increases profits. Take a good look around, listen to how we run government, look at advertisements closely, watch network programming, etc. If you don't see the overwhelming worship of bargains and hoarding of riches portrayed as the penultimate virtue you are more toxic and dense than Uranium 238.

At one time "Made In U.S.A." was considered a guarantee of high quality. Now we are the land of "Good enough!" It's cheaper, buy it. For example, those payless shoes cost a third of what quality shoes cost, they cause intense foot pain even when sitting at a desk, and they last a tenth as long. They cost less, and that is the final arbiter for followers of consumerism. (Must all western religions be self-destructive?) Same with VCR's. They used to cost more, but the life expectancy was measured in decades, not several years. DVD players are even less durable -- take one apart and look at the ridiculously small micro-motor used to spin the disc.

We are building the new super power, while frittering away our status, politically, economically, and morally. We say, "Oh, that's not nice." when students are gunned down by tanks in Tiananmen Square. In a firm response we open our markets like the legs of a cheap whore to them, because we can save a few cents. Meanwhile we lose manufacturing capability for things like high quality optics and many kinds of precision machinery, both of which are absolutely critical to our military readiness. We justify it by saying, "Oh, they'll stop persecuting their own populace because we are making them rich and setting a good example[, instead of instituting even the mildest of sanctions]." If you believe that, I've this bridge for sale...

We are sitting on our hands and watching our leaders flush our way of life down the gutter, and all the mythical conservative majority has to say is, "What's wrong with you? The water here is fine!" The children the neo-cons (disingenuously) claim to be so concerned about won't be grateful when they realize this generation worked so hard to change the Horn of Plenty we hand down to them, into the Toilet-bowl of Emptiness.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Chekhov Connected

It's been a busy week, and I'm still pretty busy. Yawn.

No rehearsals, so in theory Monday to Wednesday were days of rest, but other things kept me busy, and work had no respite. I worked forty hours, but felt like it was 80 hours worth of tasks. Better than the other way round.

Wednesday I saw Three Sisters with Rachel. Theatre folk watching Chekhov. Sublime. Recently our schedules have meshed, so we've seen a couple shows the last two weeks. What a treat. About the time you starting thinking "I haven't seen so and so in a while, I'd sure like to," opportunities present themselves. Interesting concatenation. I met Rachel when she was the instructor for my early acting courses. The man who played Ferapont was an instructor for Rachel's beginning acting instructor. Does that make him my Great Great Great Instructor? More coincidence. Bart who directed this show at the Intiman taught a Director's Lab at Freehold several years ago which Rachel attended as a director, and I and several of her other students from Bellevue Community College attended as actors. I was cast as Ferapont in a scene from Three Sisters which was Rachel's project for the second half of the class. And for another coincidence, I'm making what I consider my professional theatre debut in The Cherry Orchard right now, and these are the first two complete Chekhov productions I've seen. All sorts of connections for us with this show.

I had a couple fun moments backstage this week. Sometimes the sink starts making a loud noise when the pipes somewhere else are draining. I'd assume it is the bathroom sink straight above it, but in a building this old you never know. Anyway, it started making the noise on Thursday or Friday, which sounds like a urinal being used, only much louder. So, I just stood in front of the sink with my back arched as though I were making use of the sink to relieve myself. It was about ten minutes before the show started, so muted laughter was still okay, but they wanted to laugh much harder. A lot of eyes were tearing, and I was smacked playfully.

The other fun moment was when I brought in chocolates. There is a little chocolatier in the neighborhood, which also hosts a small coffee house. I picked up 16 premium dark chocolates, and they were quite a hit. Especially with the female cast members. They all made a point of telling me they were calling them "Sex chocolates" or that they were better than sex. Wow, I need to remember that! Forget the champagne.

Our Thursday show was almost cancelled. Heather stumbled on the steps at her house a week ago Sunday, and got a concussion and nearly had her eye poked out by the flag on the back of her son's bicycle. Scary. She wrote us about it, and reading it made you cringe and squint your eye. She wasn't feeling any better by Thursday morning and went back for another CAT scan and testing. She got a clean bill of health and finally started feeling better in the afternoon. We were happy to see she was doing better, and had a good show.

Paula and my folks were planning to come Thursday, but the tentative scheduling allowed them to deal with other things, and they were able to come Friday. My original manager from work, who sold me the Ballet tickets at over $100 under face value also came on Friday with his wife. I had given him my comps in appreciation for the ballet tickets. I was surprised I didn't feel extra nervous. I've not had that many people come to a show in years. They felt like high stakes guests too. Jeff from work who used to be my manager, and someone I like and respect. Paula, one of my best friends ever who is a director, and one I've worked with to produce shows. My folks come to a lot of shows, and I still yearn to do well for them. I enjoyed the show as much as any other, and enjoyed chatting afterwards more. Jeff and my folks were very enthusiastic about the show. Joyce (my stepmum) wants to see our show again after watching Three Sisters at the Intiman yesterday, if they can work it into their schedule. They're on a Chekhov kick too.

My folks had to run shortly after the show, to catch the late ferry home. I saw them again briefly as they gave Paula a lift. She had taxied out because their car is being troublesome, and we were meeting to go get some food and socialize. I didn't have my insured bike, or an extra helmet so I couldn't offer her a ride. Paula, her soon to be brother-in-law Guido, and I went to Piecora's right near her place and got some salad, pizza, and a drink. Guido is staying with Steve and Paula for a few days while he does a shoot. He's a photographer and cameraman, and I think DP for this commercial. A little after we arrived Gregory joined us. It was a fun time, but I was too tired to hang out until Steve got done with his late gig with Jet City and joined us. I went home a bit after midnight, and when we were all hugging and saying farewells Paula gave me a wonderful compliment about the show. Perfect timing and content. The good feeling stayed with me for quite a long time. I can't quite recall exactly what she said, just that it was sincere and very affirming of my work and effort. Nice for all us confidence-challenged actors.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mmmonday!

A funny thing happened on the way to the boards. The funnest bit for me is the one that gets me the most nervy before I go out. Is it because it is the first bit where I've lines? Is it because it is the one where I have the most distinctly different character, with a voice placement I've never tried before this? Or is it because he is a nervous, fearful character? Something else? I'm just glad I get the nerves, as they are something I can grab onto as I prep, and falls away from consciousness like all the other prep when you first step on the boards.

I think we outnumbered the audience on Sunday, but it was still a good show. Sure we like bigger audiences, but with the cast and crew we have it was still a good show. Afterwards I went to see the Akropolis restaging of Dream of a Ridiculous Man at Seattle Center which Rachel mentioned. Rather, I should say I went to video the show, using my roommates mini dv camera. Many times better than my ancient VHS camera which I used for the last staging. Lucky for me, I ran out of tape five or ten minutes before the end. I was amazed and enjoying the show, and once I wasn't splitting my attention between the performance and trying to capture the essence in the best way, I experienced the essence more directly. Happily they had another camera rolling, so the whole show was captured. This week, I'll be loading my digital copy to the computer, then trading tapes so I can get both versions on dvd.

After the show I called my Dad, for our weekly chat and totally forgot it was Father's Day. "Thank you sir! May I have another!" Atonement will be a bitch. :) While we were chatting I saw the Lavy's and Holly (who did a wonderful, fun, ethereal piece in the Freehold Studio Series this year) walking my way. So, I wrapped up the chat with Dad to greet them and head home. It turns out they parked on the street right behind my motorcycle. Then...

They couldn't find their keys. Not a fun situation after an exhausting show, but it ended up being very nice for me. We sat on the little bulkhead outside Seattle Children's Theatre (SCT), and chatted while Joseph walked back to the space to search for the keys and after he returned and Holly headed home. A beautiful day edging towards sunset, and two to four actors sitting by the sidewalk, myself in bright yellow riding gear. Ultimately their babysitter drove out with Jennifer's set of keys. A little conversation with friends as Sunday drew to a close, the sun setting in front of us, the Space Needle and SCT behind us. I've mentioned before, my favorite conclusion to a weekend is sitting around with friends. After a busy weekend in and watching shows, pure gravy. And a little added bonus. Catherine rode out with the babysitter, so I got to say "Hi." Brief flash of recognition, and she was back in her five year old world -- a big and wondrous place. Talking to parents, while a happy child demands attention from one then the other, staying mostly out of sight but adding an energy of her own to the group.

Tonight I'll be meeting Gregory for dinner to talk about his experience in ETI and going on to the MFA program he is about to start. We'd originally planned to get together yesterday, but we were both kind of beat and put it off. Another bit of serendipity as I was able to hang for a bit with the Lavy's. That was quite a series of coincidences. Gregory and I both had tonight available, I just happened to be parked next to Jennifer and Joseph, happened to still be there as they got to the car, and then they found they mislaid the keys. All in all I'm sure I was the one most pleased by the concatenation of coincidences.

I rode home in an utterly peaceful place. Uncharacteristically, I was happy chugging along in the right lane with the Sunday drivers enjoying the early evening and the relaxed pace. I stopped at Kinko's to pick up the class pictures I'd made for the 4th graders I read to this year; more smiling kids. Smiling children are a curative. We without children get to enjoy those fleeting moments only occasionally -- parents need them to help maintain sanity, so I don't begrudge them the abundance. After all we can usually tune out, or walk away from children when they are not being little bundles of joy. Later, I relaxed with Aaron, chatting and watching some movie later than I'd expected. Got less sleep than I'd wanted, and woke more refreshed than I expected.

I'd say I'm in a pretty good place. Good. Now to start working on a couple monologue pieces for the ETI audition.

Injury Report:
Haven't had one of these in a while. The left leg which I broke in February still creates a twinge on every step -- mostly in the foot, but it is mild enough I can tune it out. I do focus on it lot by design though, concentrating on mimicking the movement and pushing of the good leg and foot to get past the slight limp.

Last week I had a bit of a start. During our Invited Dress rehearsal my knee went all wonky on the final scene change. The knee on the good leg. Shooting, sharp pain on the medial side of the knee. Didn't feel like anything was damaged, it just hurt like the dickens making me walk very tentatively so it wouldn't buckle. I was thinking it was not fair, as soon as I'm at a point where the recovery of the other leg was at a point where it wasn't the primary focus of my attention when moving. It was all better by the next night, but it is irritating to think I may be developing a trick knee. I'd call it a sneaky knee.

I had started walking all the stairs at work. My office is on the third floor, and the cafe is on the fifth floor of another building. I'm going to wait another day before resuming full stair climbing.

I continue getting strength back, and have nearly recovered full range of motion. The latter I judge by things like seeing how well I can sit on my heels or stand on tip toes and comparing to the other leg. I'm looking forward to being able to run in non-emergency situations. I can trot already, and I'm wondering of a full out run is simply a matter of giving it a go.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sweeg

Another good night. I even got home before 11 PM. Not straight to bed as would be smart, as I wanted to wash my sheets. I've only one pair of fitted sheets in good condition for the water bed, and don't like fussing with the others, though I may grab the old pair or a non-fitted one if I get too drowsy waiting. I am tired, but not feeling sleep deprived as the last few days. Got a good night's sleep, but my circadian rhythm is more disrupted than normal.

I think I'll crack a Fosters in a bit. One of the few mass produced pilsners I like, and it seems to taste better out of the larger can. I've tried the bottles, and the modest american 12 ounce cans. The larger cans are a touch more than two beers, 25 ounces, or a little more than a pint and a half. That is about all I like, and while it is only two american servings it seems very decadent to drink one. No problem having a couple beers, but both of them in one can seems slightly naughty. Maybe it would feel really naughty if I left it in the paper bag to drink it. Nah, I'll be a little classier and use a glass. Or not.

The show went well. My guess last night was very close, we had 35, maybe a few more and add the production staff that was watching we had forty people or more. Tonight was a little smaller, but much more enthusiastic. I thought it was a larger crowd until I got a good look at curtain call. Thirty maybe. With the audience response we've had I'm guessing a good buzz should be generated leading to progressively larger houses. Sunday matinee, opening weekend. There will probably be more cast and crew than audience tomorrow.

There were some muffs tonight, though I doubt the audience caught on. I double as crew, and on the scene change between Act III and IV I help strike a flight of stairs and set a chaise lounge and rolled carpet. Usually. Totally forgot the second part, and was thinking as I got to my mark for the top of the act where I enter from the lobby that I'd never been there that early. Shit. It was covered, and I owe Jennifer some chocolate. Props fell over, which should have been struck earlier, a cue was missed and brilliantly covered. Etc. If I'd thought about it earlier, I'd of guessed this would be them most daft night. People are pretty exhausted. Tomorrow will be a little better, and I am excited about Thursday once everybody has had a few days of good rest. Today there was a bit of a build over yesterday but fatigue was a factor.

I love it. Screw ups, and people cover and improvise. I generally enjoy covering for people, and feel bad when I screw up. With a cast this professional and talented it is all part of a day's work. People are grateful when they are rescued, and gracious when they are needed. There are a couple bitchers backstage, and I suspect it is due in part to the characters they are playing. They were some of the mellower folks during rehearsal. They are there when needed, like everyone else. There isn't a person in the cast or crew I do not trust, and that is a gift to be cherished. I would be happy to play bit parts or principal parts with any of them again.

My dinner is about done. It should have taken 30 minutes, but if you forget to turn the oven on it takes closer to 55 minutes. Salud and goodnight!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Walking With Katrina

An obscure 80's reference.

Wow. A great word. An exclamation. A description. I was wowed. And a palindrome to boot. May all opening nights be this good.

Tech week has been busy, as all you theatre folk can guess. Monday was cue to cue for setting lighting and sound cues. Didn't quite finish, so Tuesday was some more cue to cue, then a full run. Another run and the tech readjustments which have been going on since. Haven't gone to bed before midnight in a week.

As a show is getting ready to go up I wonder, "What will the audience think?" I don't believe I'm the only one, there is a palpable sense of anticipation. After the first few audience responses which reflect what you hoped to share with people, the show becomes alive as never before.

Relief isn't the right word to describe it for me. It is said there is more joy in giving, and when an audience accepts your offer, the joy is phenomenal. I can't conceive taking this for granted. It is the best opening night crowd I've seen for Exchange Theatre, but it was my first one in a year. I'd guess forty people or so, and I'm a horrible guesser. Given the audience response I'd be surprised if we didn't sell out all 165 seats a few nights. There were enough tonight that laughter built and there was a warm blanket of happy chatter floating all the way backstage before the show and during intermission.

I've found Friday night crowds, even big ones, tend to be stoic. People are tired after a long week, and want to watch in a comfy stupor. While they enjoy the show cast often frets because they aren't so voluble. This production has been billed as a comedy, and it is. Like Irish plays, Russian plays have a sense of despair that "bubbles up." I was commenting on that, and one of the other actors interjected "bubbles up" just as I was about to say it. I guess I'm not the only one who feels it. O'Neill, Friel, and Synge works were brought up in the chat as being that way. I was trying to remember Bulgakov's name, the other Russian write I'm familiar with, who writes that way in surrealism, but with the same dark humor.

Still, I was surprised at the amount of laughter and enjoyment coming from the house. I hadn't expected so much, and this was a Friday, early in the run while the show is building. It is exciting to think where we may go. The build through tech and dress rehearsals was tremendous, and there is a tittering of unspoken excitement amongst us about where we're going.

I've been to a number of opening nights for Exchange Theatre over the last four or five years, and I never appreciated how classy they were. Probably because I was not acting in the productions. Going to the lobby and mingling with the guests, having a glass of nice Merlot and raiding the cold cut tray was a treat indeed. This was a rough week. The rehearsals were good, but very late. There was a disaster at work yesterday, and even though I got home early after the preview(11PM), I ended up working until after 1 AM to catch up on things I wanted to get done but couldn't while working the emergency. My sleep patterns were screwed up even more, along with my eating cycle. To come out of a show after that kind of week to good conversation and eats was manna.

The nice comments from a number of theatre professionals, in addition to those from our own director and artistic director more than made up for the dissing last week. Lately, I'm pretty attuned to the searching compliment versus the sincere and meaningful. I feel recharged and hyper right now. I know once I finish my late night dinner in a little while I will fall asleep like I was administered a sharp blow from a blackjack.

Directors must go nuts. The show is cast, the rehearsals have progressed, and the final spark just isn't there. Paula goes crazy, and one my most important jobs in our shows is to relax her. Old Peter Pan spreading mellowness for all. Somehow this show really brought it home. Stuart told us Tuesday we were ready for an audience, and I didn't see it. Told us again Wednesday after the invited dress rehearsal, and after yesterday's preview. I saw a glimpse yesterday, not enough to convince me, and after today I think the man's a bloody genius. Every cast has a personality of it's own, and being able to see or sense what will appear with an audience is definitely an art and not a science.

This is the third professional production I have been in, my second paid gig. It is my first professional gig. Last year I was in Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Exchange. I wasn't paid for that one, and had no lines. The other paid gig was my first time on stage with no lines, and was more for my strong back, truck driving, and usually affable nature. The biggest payment for that was learning the power of audience energy, and what it did to me. It was that moment I knew I had to pursue professional level training. Tonight was my first professional appearance since making that commitment. More, baby, more.

Right now I love the whole freaking world. A transient, ethereal, and beautiful place to be. I'm going to indulge for a bit. Good night my friends!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Saving Up for the Curves

I think this will take several days to write. Heck, it has taken several just to start. Things are busy at the moment. Today is Tuesday.

I E-mailed 5 people asking for references for the Ensemble Training Intensive (ETI). Three are directors who have glimpsed me over the last four to five years, and two are the directors I have worked with most recently. One person got back to me very quickly with a strong recommendation I don't consider the program. Not exactly what I was looking for, but appreciated none the less. To keep the articles easy, I flipped a coin and made this person a "He."

He said I'm not ready for the program, and haven't any of the basics every beginning actor should have. On the one hand I've seen him make some bizarre statements about art, process, craft, and in judgments of others I though were out to lunch. Part of the reason I didn't ask for a report card. On the other hand, he took the time to list my perceived shortcomings, and an even longer list as to why he is knowledgeable. I didn't feel I gave him my best work because I was caught up in an effort to apply lots of new tools, and it has bothered me since. I know why I didn't do as well as I thought I should, and learned from it, but I don't excuse myself for it.

While I am skeptical of the report card, I believe there is a need to consider where those opinions came from and how much merit there is with regards to my goals. ETI is expensive and provides advanced training, in some of the very places where both myself and this person think I need work. So, we are thinking along the same lines in some aspects. His conclusion: The cost and time commitment is quite significant and not something I should do at this stage if I want to get the most out of it. I've talked of my struggle with this very issue, though I am now inclined to be less timid.

Now it is a waiting game. The opinions of the others I would take much more seriously. They are people who I consider artists rather than artisans or technicians, and have seen me do better work. That is part of my motivation, to make my work better consistently. As important in my mind, most have seen my progress as an artist.

The interminably long "I don't want to make you feel bad but..." put me off because it felt so like the self-aggrandizement at the expense of others which is pandemic to my mother and her side of the family. The same message would be more effective for me with a gentle, "Scott, I don't feel comfortable writing a reference for you at this time." The dissertation on my shortcomings was a little harder to accept at face value. I understand it took some effort and thought. The length gave it a feeling of well considered meanness intent on demeaning another person. Something I need to remember when I am asked for something similar. I told myself that was not the intent, with a little success, so I could be very analytical in pulling the salient points without getting all angry and bent out of shape. Now, I find myself more worried about what he may say to other people who haven't got professional directors and actors they can trust and consult for second opinions. I believe I was very gracious in my reply, but I may have missed the mark as he did. If so, I hope he gives me the benefit of the doubt too.

Going back in time, last weekend was great. We ran the entire play for the weekend rehearsals and again the last two days, and it is great seeing how it all comes together, along with the build and flex of each run. These are seasoned actors, with as many processes as individuals. The blocking, characters, connections, and lines just keep getting stronger. A pleasure to watch and be a part of. The camaraderie is a magical thing for me, maybe as much as the show itself.

After Saturday's rehearsal I popped over to Port Orchard. My Dad was in Seattle, and we ended up on the same ferry heading back to his house. I was on the dock watching a small school of fish, herring maybe, with slightly larger young salmon or cutthroat trout, about 12" long, cruising below them. I was reminiscing about growing up on the water, when my Dad's voice broke the reverie. Pretty apt.

After the ferry ride, we dropped stuff of at his house and had dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant, housed in the old Port Orchard Dairy Queen. Then off to the community theatre where we saw Hell To Pay. This is the show which I auditioned for the lead a while back. I enjoy seeing a production of a script I've read, and this was a hoot. Their first weekend, and the lead was a good strong actor, especially after the first few scenes, and the show was very enjoyable. The other two actors who seemed a little greener also did very good jobs. I like community theatre more than most of my peers, and I think they would have enjoyed this too.

The director was at the show and took the time afterwards to grab me and say he really wanted to cast me, but the board said, "Oh Scott. He is way too nice for that role." He said he told them I was an actor, but couldn't sway them. I found it hysterical and flattering at the same time. I was touched, and wasn't expecting or looking for such a nice compliment.

Sunday morning we were both out of the house by 9:15 AM. Pop on his way to the Unity Church, and I to the ferry for my Noon rehearsal. After rehearsal I went to the Driftwood Players theatre in Edmonds, for Sarah's baby shower. I took several classes from Sarah, including the writing workshop I enjoyed so much. I brought along some of my signature cookies, of which I make a double batch so as not to leave half packs of chips in the cupboard. I was popular wherever I went this weekend, including rehearsal, leaving cookies in my wake.

Then on my way for dinner with Rachel. We hadn't sat down and chatted for months, and I was itching to talk out my thoughts and such about ETI and grad school. Friends are such a blessing. Happily Rachel had some ideas she wanted to float too, so it wasn't a one way evening. I don't want to recap the conversations here, but Rachel brought up one thing I hadn't thought of. Having an MFA would make grant applications stronger. That is really quite an important aspect I'd never thought of. There is the arts outreach retreat I dream about...

While I was riding back to work after a fun morale event of whirly ball I had a bit of a process eye opener. I hesitate to say epiphany because I know I've heard the same thing from directors and instructors, but it really landed this time. Like when Dave told me the fridge rule he taught for a motorcycle safety class in Canada. Always ride with the idea that out of sight, just over the hill or around the corner there is a huge SubZero freezer lying across the road. The specific focus improved my overall riding letting me corner nearly twice as fast with better stability and safety, because it allowed me to finally look through the turn like you are supposed to do, instead of looking at where you are on the pavement.

As I said, I was riding back, with a co-worker following on his bike. I was letting the cars on the twisty roads pull further ahead so I could accelerate for the fun turns in the road. I told Vijay I was "Saving up for the curves." I got to thinking about that. I wonder if I do the same thing for parts I'm working on, focus on the challenging or fun bits. Well, if I have to ask, I'm sure I do to some extent. Yeah, I know, I know. There is no such thing as a throw-away line or stage direction. Sometimes it takes me a while to assimilate what I know. Be nice. (I'm getting my strength back.) Now I need to apply the fridge rule, without anticipating the lines. Really, it is still like the fridge rule, you don't know where the fridge is going to be, you are simply engaged fully and ready to do what needs to be done when the big freaking fridge shows up. Now, work to apply it to my homework, prep, and awareness.

I'm tired. Tonight is a free night, and I've been fairly quiet about it. I'm looking forward to getting a little extra rest. I bagged on a get together after rehearsal last night, because I was so beat. Hindsight showed that to be the wrong choice, I was to tired to get to sleep for several hours. Next week is tech and opening, so my next free day is a week from Monday. Not counting the day job. I'm looking forward to that boring day, and another shot at a little extra rest.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Treats

Two weeks to opening night. Breathe deeply. There.

I was pleased and disappointed with my bit (Act II Scene 7) during rehearsal on Wednesday. I need to be more flamboyant in the Passer-By role. I was getting there, and Stuart didn't say to turn it up so he must be satisfied with my progress. Doesn't mean I am. My voice work seems to do well, no real changes needed there. That is the part I was pleased with.

I look forward to notes in rehearsal. There is ever so much more I want to do, but I don't need basic instruction any longer. Having worked in crew and production capacities so many times, you get a different, more unbiased understanding of what directors are saying. It seems my constant theme is a desire to improve, nurture, and grow my art. The notes I get in rehearsal are for an actor not some guy trying to do it, and are things I grasp easily and can adjust for. It has been that way for me for a while, but I'd never really noticed as the growth was subtle and gradual. It's little realizations like this that keep me from running myself down too much.

I just received my evaluation for my year as a BookPal. They like, they really like me! One of the comments was it was apparent how much I enjoyed reading to the kids. Score! To be more appreciated because your having a great time. A win-win situation. Two more sessions, then they'll be going to fifth grade and I'll be waiting for the new school year and a new classroom.

Have a great weekend, and beware the disassembler!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Laugh It Up

I gabbed this weekend how I needed to figure out and quell the internal dialogue from distractors. Oddly, I believe embracing art taught or informed me to find and silence them. Shutting off my internal dialogue was something I'd tried to do since I read Castaneda talking about it in my teens or early twenties. One of those things that comes to you, as trying to do it would drive me 'round the bend. The ability to turn off internal dialog happened sometime last year during my Meisner training. The things I consider distractions are identified and quieted through art. Is it irony, or art feeding itself?

I'm feeling better about this show than I did about Rumors. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, and the work won't look as good. Still it feels better from inside my skin. When we work the Passer-By scene tonight it may be the director won't like the choices I've made, and I'll have to change the physicality or vocal work. Still, I made choices which felt right for what I wanted to achieve. Something which now starts easily, and I didn't have a clue about in the past. Working it deeper and more fully is, and I hope will always, be a challenge.

I was thinking on Monday night I won't be totally happy with my work here either. I catch myself holding my voice a bit, and letting my head get in the way, like when I am supposed to be flirting. Something I'm horrible at as Scott, and a doubt I need to let go of on stage. It is the time on the boards, in good classes, and working out the kinks in my mind which lead to improvement or growth. So, I feel I am doing better work than the last show, and I still want to improve. A lot. ETI should provide that opportunity, if I'm accepted for next year.

I'm excited to feel I am moving forward, using last year's class as a resource. I gives me confidence outside of the classroom environment, which was my biggest hesitation when looking at the conservatory program. I'm still green, and feel growth instead of being stunted.

There is a nice article by a director (Tom Donaghy) in New York City which is also a very apt description of our production. Stuart is a great director, and I'll work and hope we live up to his vision. Also, in the article Chekhov's last words are said to be, after drinking a glass of champagne, "It's a long time since I drank champagne." Just like the play, it feels very Russian to me. Humorous, cheerful, dark, and not quite sad. Lovely, I think.