"What Next?" That's the phrase Jeb Bartlett uses on The West Wing to great effect. Sorkin him gave him that line and it's been a favorite of mine for a long time. What next? And those are the words on my mind when I woke up today. What is next?
The last three months of my life have been completely absorbed by Praying Small. Well, now it's open. Now we settle in for a run of it. Now we see if it's got any legs. Although working with the extraordinary talent involved has been wonderful, the actual process, for reasons I can't go into right now, has not been pleasant. I've lost a lot of sleep over the birthing of this play. Constantly in a running battle defending the integrity of the piece. Only in the last two weeks of the process was I able to concentrate on acting it. Mostly I was relegated to wearing the armor of the playwright and suiting up daily to keep the demons at bay. If that sounds a bit cryptic, well, I can't really say more, unfortunately. I kinda feel like the guy building a house. I've built the house before. I know how the house should be built. I explained in great detail how to pour the foundation, cut the lumber, measure the doors and windows. Yet I was constantly being told the house would be better if it were built with jello and we didn't need doors and windows and pouring a foundation was a waste of time. I knew the truth about building a house but for the life of me couldn't get anyone to believe me. And now, after months of defending my house-building plans, sitting back patiently while we tried using jello and mismatched doors and windows, seeing they didn't work and then hastily going back to my original plans, we have a house. The foundation is a little shaky and the doors and windows are loose because we have had to build them so quick, but the house stands.
My buddy Jim Barbour and I are starting on plans today for a workshop in September. We don't really have anything concrete yet, but we're finally both free to start planning. Jim has been incredibly busy with Nightmare Alley over at The Geffen as well as doing a concert date here and there and, obviously, I've been consumed with Praying Small. But PS is up and Nightmare Alley is closed so now we can finally sit down and make some plans Ideally, I'll be teaching scene study and audition technique and Jim will be teaching musical theatre. We'll both teach Shakespeare.
Other than that we're not quite sure what else. But it will be fun and informative, I'm willing to bet. Jim is at the peak of his considerable prowess as a world-class musical theatre performer with a dozen or so Broadway credits under his belt. And I am ready to teach again here in Los Angeles. My approach, as I've often recounted here in this blog, is a tad unconventional, but successful. And nothing succeeds like success.
So, today, Jim and I will meet about all of that. Looking forward to it.
I have offered my services to helm a new play festival with NoHo Arts...I don't know if that will get off the ground. A pity if it doesn't. I rarely offer my services unless I plan on throwing myself completely into a project so if it doesn't it will be a loss, I'm afraid.
I'm enjoying not fretting about the state of the play every day. Yesterday I sort of physically broke down, not in a bad way, just greatly relieved. Spent a lot of time in our massive, four-poster bed, flat on my back, staring at the ceiling fan, the puppies gathered around me. A day of no anxiety. A day free from defending my words. A good day.
Angie is going through some massive stuff with her job. Very stressful for her. Can't really go into it. But part of my job these days is to reassure her that life is exactly where it's supposed to be and the only bad stuff in the world is stuff we LET be bad. Sometimes we have to deal with people that don't fit into our way of seeing life. The only thing we can change, however, is our reaction to these people. We can't change people. It's a tough lesson to learn and I'm not sure any of us ever learn it comprehensively. The best we can hope for sometimes, is living a good life, loving each other and not allowing our passions to be compromised.
Sometimes it's hard to do just one of those things much less all three.
So unto the breach. Bring on the day. Give me what you got. And if anyone thinks they can stop good things from happening to good people, bring it on. Nothing succeeds like success. The epic battle to mount Praying Small is mostly over and whatever happens with Angela's current situation is precisely what is supposed to. Fearing fear itself is no longer an option in our lives. We've got better things to do. We're both far too busy to concern ourselves with failure these days.
See you tomorrow.