Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ramble On

D.N.R. Anybody familiar with those three letters? Do Not Resuscitate. That is the latest status of the play. The female lead has dropped out. That was the last straw. You know the one. It broke the camel's back. No sense beating a dead camel, uh, horse as they say. It's about as dead as it gets. Except for some of the lines that I was especially fond of still running 'round the old brain pan. Those too will recede, only to be thought of in the oddest of moments. The one that sticks with me most right now goes something like; "There is no present or future. Only the past happening again and again, now. You can't get away from it". I imagine a few of us have memories we can't escape. Good or ill. Usually ill though, huh? I mean in my experience people have a hard time keeping the cream rising to the top. It's the times there is no cream that are remembered. Those are the times we let degrade our relationships, our memories.

The catch phrase among a few of the actors was "I'm not having fun". I can understand that sentiment. Acting, using your creative energy should be fun. There were so many things working against this production though. So many things gone wrong. I don't think fun really fit into the quadratic formula, the iambic pentameter, the Pythagorean Theorem of the whole thing. Sometimes the fun is in perfecting your craft. Sometimes though it's just not fun.

On a personal level I had a hard time with this production for much of the struggle. I was not able to keep up the optimism of the director or even some of the other cast for very long.

I was originally cast in a much smaller roll which was great. I knew all along that if I got a part it would most probably be a smaller role. One scene. I hadn't done anything in years and years so anything would've been good. Anyway I wasn't what the director was looking for for any of the other roles open to me. The person originally cast in the part I ended up with was a plain ol' no show from the beginning. The director decided to trust me with giving the performance he knew I could even though I wasn't the physical type he had envisioned. Then there was the original leading lady. She dropped out two weeks into production. A family medical thing. Luckily we had an understudy. There were still two parts uncast though. Finally we found someone for the last major role and rehearsals really got going. Only they didn't really. Each rehearsal seemed like we had never done it before. My first two scenes happened to come toward the end Acts I & II. It wasn't too bad sitting around for an hour and a half before I went on. At first. Until the interruptions started. There would be more discussion and arguing than actual rehearsing. As time went on I would be ready to make my entrance and inevitably there would be kerfuffle on stage and I wouldn't make it on. Then when I did finally get on my concentration was shot. Not blaming anybody, that's just the way it was. Sometimes you just have to soldier on.

Using your imagination and adding yourself and your thoughts to someone's written words is what acting is all about. You get to interpret words and actions in the surroundings of a scene. That's your job. One must balance that with what ever vision a director has for a scene or the message of the play in general. Whether you agree or not. Oh sure there is a give and take to the process. Compromises on some line interpretations, blocking moves, etc. I disagreed with the director on his choice for the tone of my biggest scene. Something that big though there was no real compromise. I mentally shrugged my shoulders and tried to give him what he wanted.

Well, I suppose I've ended up beating a dead horse huh?

Remember the part before about the line running through my head? There is no present or future? Some would say that all there is is the present. Live in the moment. But take away our memories of the past and our hopes for the future and you take away our humanness. Hopefully our actions now are based on lessons learned. Hopefully our actions now will positively impact our future. Without hope for the future we're all just plodding along for nothing.

Now that i think about it I guess really it's a pretty fine line. Remember the past and what made us us, but don't dwell on it or be afraid to learn and grow from it. Embrace the future, but not so much we forget the effects of our actions now.

I'm just rambling now I think. I'll let you go for now and come up with something better next time. Promise

I'm pullin' for ya.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Can't Buy Me Love

For those who have followed the saga; the play is on life support - the deadline of the 25th to be off book for Act I was completely missed. Not so much missed as never even attempted.

Ok, here's the scene. Rehearsal is slated to start at 7pm. It's about ten til when one of the other actors walks in. Wow, first time he's been early that I can remember. I'm in the middle of talking something over with the Assistant Director so I don't exactly see the actor ask the director for a private conversation. When I finish with the AD I look up to see the actor and the director off in another room talking. Uh oh. In my mind there are two possibilities at this point; either the actor is warning the director that though he knows his lines it will still be very rough, or he's admitting now he's unprepared and saving us the trouble of running the act only to find we need to cancel the production. Either way I just know it's not very good. Turned out to be something different though.

Family illness will make continuing in the play impossible. Well yeah. Just being in the play is taxing enough. If you suddenly find yourself having to care for someone, of course that takes precedence. No one would ever begrudge you the time and effort you would need to help a loved one recover from a sudden illness.

The cast feels bad for him having to give up the show for such a reason. We believe that he wouldn't lie about something like that just to wriggle out of memorizing lines. Mostly. We all signed a card and sent it along to whatever address we had for him.

So we're doing a staged reading. Since the set is built and costumes procured and all that we will be reading from scripts while walking through our blocking. I haven't been keeping up with my lines since the decision to have a reading. I think though that I will try and perform without my script.

I got no nifty transition from opening feint to knock out blow here. We'll just plunge ahead as if I had been witty enough this time to ease into the next topic.

Ready? Go!

Do you stick to a budget? Do you pay bills first then mete out some spending money? Is it more of a week to week thing like it is for so many people?

Maybe you operate like the U.S. Government? Tax and spend. Well, earn and spend for us non elected people. Deficit spend. Yeah, we all have credit cards. Spend and spend. Trillions in debt. What is a trillion anyway? Bickering over budgets and cutting back. Slashing money from some essential program only to spend it somewhere else you think is more important. Tax breaks to billion dollar corporations. No taxes at all for some. Heck, let's give 'em refunds while we're at it. A trillion, by the way, is to a million as a million is to one. Can you imagine that?

No matter what political label you put on yourself the fact of the matter is almost all of us like to buy and own things. It's the paying for it we hate. That seems to be the way our government works. It's a very stupid reason our politicians hate it so much too. They didn't think of it. Every new Congress, every new President, every new Governor, every new Mayor, every new Dog Catcher is paying for something someone else spent money on. Whether it's war, arts, education, or plain ol' pork. And, oops, there's none left for them to spend. What's that? No money left? Bah! Use Social Security. We've plundered that already? Hmmm... No wait, give me a sec... Ummm... Hey! Let's print more! Let's bail out Wall Street and Big Banks so they can continue the important job they do in this country. Oh, I mean so they can make more money off of you and me. I don't know how much longer the American public is going to stand for the current form of government that can't balance a checkbook and keeps expecting us to pay the overdraft fees.

The thing is, what really gets me sometimes, is is that money doesn't really exist. It's a concept. Especially in today's world where there is direct deposit for paychecks and debit cards in almost every wallet. Some people who believe we are nearing end times posit that soon we will be offered an RFID chip under the skin to take care of all our pesky transactions. You know, mark of the beast and all that. We could name anything currency. Anything. Shells were once very popular around this area. Are you worth your salt? Worth your weight in gold?

But you can't buy what's really important in this life, right? I was watching a dad and his kids in a restaurant the other day. They were having so much fun. I wanted to stop and tell him to keep up the good work. To treasure these moments 'cause you never know when they'll be gone. I just put on my coat and left. I don't think he needed me to tell him that at that moment. He knew. I will beg of you though dearest reader be good to each other. We're all in this together.

Even if Washington can't remember that.

Keep your stick on the ice.