Thursday, March 24, 2011

With a Little Luck

I wonder what I could possibly find to talk about for this post. Japan. I mean nothing has really happened around here for me to comment on. Earthquake. There are only two weeks left to rehearse for the production I'm in. Tsunami. One of those weeks is devoted to something we call tech week. Radiation. Final touches are put on the set, costumes, lighting, and whatnot. Text redcross to 90999 to donate $10 to help with relief for Japan. The only problem is the actors are not ready. There's a problem it seems with memorizing lines. There are deadlines set in every production for when actors are "off book", meaning lines for whatever act you are working on must be memorized and you must be prepared to run a scene without the comfort of the script in your hand. That can be a scary moment, but that leap of faith pays off in so many ways. You can really start exploring what the heck you are doing in a scene once you are not staring at that pesky script. We had a rehearsal the other night where it was painfully obvious that not only were deadlines missed, but we'd never be ready in time for opening night.

To be fair it is a whackin' long play. The script is 106 pages long. That translates to about a three hour run time. Very few lines are two or three sentences long; there are pages and pages of paragraphs to wade through. I am extremely lucky that my role is the smallest of the main characters and have pretty much been able to keep up with the deadlines. That's not meant as bragging. I breath a sigh of relief at every rehearsal that I am not saddled with having to learn one of the other parts.

I thought for sure we would have to end up canceling the production. Turns out though by a stroke of luck we are able to postpone for a month. Better that than letting everything go for naught. We have a new deadline though. Completely off book Act I by Friday night the 25th or the show IS off. No ifs ands or buts. Cross those fingers everybody. I'll let ya know.

Though he never really talked about it, my father was a WWII vet. One of the two or three things I know of his service is that on August 6, 1945 he was on a boat headed for Japan. That was how he spent his 21st birthday. He was a paratrooper. Why he was on a boat I'll never know. Simple transport to some airfield? I'm sure I could do some research with my mighty mighty iPhone and find his records.

I'll never know how he really felt about what he went through. He didn't talk and I didn't ask either. One glimpse I got however was a comment he made long ago when Japanese cars started really taking off in this country. Some thirty odd years after the fact he just couldn't understand why Americans would buy cars from companies that made the engines for planes that killed so many U.S. soldiers. A very common sentiment for men of that time I know.

I think though he would've understood the importance of reaching out to those in need in this case. War time foe or not. As tough of a father as he was he still knew a little love and some tenderness went a long way.

I know with so much going on in the world - heck in your neighborhood - it's tough to be mindful of the strife of strangers half a world away. I know we all pick our own battles and causes and projects. Maybe one of them could be some little thing to help some poor soul whose entire town has been washed away. Where would you turn if everything you've known was suddenly gone? Everything. Just gone.

I'm pullin' for ya.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Say What You Need to Say

This is one time of year I look forward to. Even though it is wet and rainy today the wind is mild and spring fills your nostrils with the promise of things to come. You can almost feel your body relaxing from it's constant bucking of the cold of the last few weeks.

Ok, look, I was going to go on for a bit more about the weather getting warmer and the rites of spring; you know, baseball's spring training, hikes on mushy trails to observe the rebirth of life in the woods, coloring Easter eggs - all the good stuff about life's ups and downs and how no matter how bleak the winter seems at times, we survive.

It seems though I suddenly have other things on my mind.

For those not in the know, I am currently involved in a production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten. I have the role of James Tyrone, a character based on O'Neill's brother Jamie. Haunted by his mother's death, James is a jaded alcoholic on the verge of drinking himself to death. He is the landlord of a shabby farm in Connecticut where the action takes place. As a gambler and actor on Broadway he has spent many a drunken night in the company of tarts and gold diggers. He yearns for a relationship with Josie the daughter of tenant farmer Phil Hogan, the only woman he really cares about. He cares so much though that he doesn't want her involved with someone as jaded and full of self loathing as he is.

Though there a few light moments, it all turns out to be pretty heavy stuff.

The director and I ended up talking after rehearsal the other night. We were talking about how people seem to do anything but communicate directly. He used the word obfuscate. How great it would be if people would just come out with it sometimes.

There are so many reasons we don't say what we want or need to sometimes. If I had to pin one word to it though, I'd have to say it's fear. Fear of lots of things, but it all starts within us. The fear of revealing what is really inside of us. How we feel. Don't want to let that mask, that eminence front, slip. Fear of confrontation, or letting someone down, or hurting someone, of taking a chance. Fear of being yourself.

But, how fair is that? How can you ever really know yourself; how can the important people in your life know you if you never really say what you need to say?

Say what you need to say. If you listen to that song by John Mayer it is almost like a mantra. In fact it was for me for a while. If ever I hear it now I still think what a cool think to be mindful of and cultivate. Don't you think it'd be better to get it out? Not bottle it up? How good can stuffing your thoughts and feelings be for you?

This is about the point in writing these posts where I feel like I'm going on and on. I always ask myself if anyone really needs to read more of me. On the other hand if you ever decide you just can't wait for my next post, you're in luck. I've added a few choices to Notes about how you can be notified each and every time there's a new post. I know, just breath through the excitement til you regain a little composure. If you look up top at the right hand side you'll notice there are a couple of ways to subscribe to Notes.

Just remember; we're all in this together.