Thursday, June 17, 2010

Help me and Thank you. That's enough.

Well, the first review of many came in yesterday. The link is above.  A local paper called The Tolucan Times.  A small one, to be sure, but one I'm told is widely read by the patrons and potential audience for our show.  It is circulated in the general area of our theatre, NoHo Arts Center.  And to paraphrase Tip O'Neill, all theatre is local.

The notice was especially gratifying to me.  Now, I know, I know, if you believe the good ones, you gotta believe the bad ones.  I know this and understand it.  But, let's face it, this play is a hard sell.  It's a serious drama about substance abuse.  Certainly, if I had not have written it, I'd think twice about giving up my Friday night for such subject matter.  I completely understand why someone would be reluctant to spend their hard-earned entertainment dollar on this kind of stuff.  So if we're gonna ask someone to spend time and money in our theatre and watch this kind of fare, we'd better damn well give them a show that will knock them senseless.  And I really think we have.  And that's why the review is gratifying.  It's good to know someone else thinks so, too.

I have a confession to make.  I have, as you've no doubt gleaned from my blog, been holding on to a powerful resentment regarding the rehearsal process of the play.  I've let it go.  Mistakes were made.  Egos were bruised.  Choices were wrong.  Okay.  Ultimately, it all worked out fine.  What's the old adage?  Isn't it amazing what can get done if nobody cares who gets the credit?  People make mistakes.  It happens.  So what?  Who the hell am I to constantly remind someone of them?  Awfully arrogant of me.  Time to let all this useless and pointless negative energy go and just do the damn play.  I don't know why it takes me so long to come around to sane thinking sometimes.  I just love to bitch, I guess.

So.  Onward and upward.  We've all got work to do.  Best if we do it together.

Our director, Victor Warren has directed the fuck out this piece.  I am eternally grateful.  It is stunning work.  Simply stunning.  Bravo, Victor, bravo.

I've joined this online thing called Actors Access.  I send my resume and pictures out to a dozen or so different projects everyday.  It cost $68 to join.  It's kind of like the 2010 version of Backstage, except instead of sending out my pic and res thru snail mail like I did back in the day in NYC, I do it online.  It's the new thing.  I'm told no one actually asks for hard copies of pictures and resumes anymore.  It's all done online.  This is only one example of how monumentally out of touch I am with the competitive world of film, TV and theatre these days.  So I've been sending my picture and resume out continually over the past few days.  Sometimes they ask for a "reel."  I have no "reel."  A reel is a short compilation of an actor's film and television work.  My career has been almost entirely devoted to the theatre.  So I'm at a bit of a disadvantage out here.  I'm an East Coast and Chicago actor.  No one knows or cares who I am out here.  I was chatting with my buddy, the veteran film actor, Brad Greenquist, following a show the other night and when I told him I didn't have a "reel" he sort of just looked at me like a clubbed baby seal.  How sad for you, his eyes said.  Needless to say I felt a tad inadequate at that moment.

So I have to get me one of those reel thingees.  I'll start by shooting a short film this summer with Chad Coe and his brother, a gifted filmmaker, I'm told.  I haven't seen the script yet but Chad assures me there's a great role for me as an evil pedophile in it.  Okay.  Let's start with that.

Apparently, a couple of people I'd very much like to see this play are coming either this weekend or next.  One is Joel Zwick, whom I've met a couple of times out here.  Joel has done a ton of TV and film work throughout his long career and has expressed an interest in directing Praying Small if it goes to a larger venue. His name attached would be a great boon to the piece.  The other is Gil Cates, the Artistic Director of the highly regarded Geffen Theatre.  I'd very much like to pursue that connection.  Both are friends with my best buddy, Jimmy Barbour, who has become a one-man cheerleading section for my play.  He is obsessed with getting my writing in front of "important" people out here.  And god knows, Jimmy knows a lot of "important" people.  Jim is, as the Gentle Reader of this blog knows, my best man in my upcoming wedding.  We've known each other for twenty two years.  He was nuts about my benefit performance of From the East to the West and now is obsessed again with Praying Small.  Talking to him everyday inevitably lifts my spirits.  He is convinced my writing is far and away superior to anything currently being done in L.A. theatre.  And he was as shocked as I was when From the East to the West was summarily dismissed after its three day run at NoHo.  Took me awhile to let that resentment go, too.  But I have and it's all worked out for the best.  Chicago will now get the world premiere of that play.

All of this has really been a microcosm of the professional hills and valleys I have before me in this town.  Not everyone will think my writing is the bees knees.  I just have to accept that.  As Sam says in Praying Small, "It's like being color blind.  They'll never quite see what you see."

I found out yesterday a man named Robin died in Chicago after a long battle with Cancer.  Robin was a full-blooded American Indian and somewhat of an icon in the recovery community there.  He was instrumental in my own battle with substance abuse some time back.  I think of him today.  I think of him almost everyday, in fact.  He was the one that taught me to pray.  Robin died with some 36 years of sobriety under his belt.  He held two meetings a week in his home, in his living room.  They were always so crowded you could sometimes not even get in.  Robin didn't have speakers or topic meetings or open or closed meetings.  He just spoke on whatever happened to be on his mind that day for a half hour and then let other people speak afterwards.  Early in my sobriety I told him one night I didn't know how to pray and even if I did, I didn't believe anyone was listening anyway.  Here's what he said to me.  It changed my life.  He said, "Oh, for Pete's Sake it's easy.  Just say 'Help me' when you get up everyday and 'Thank you' when you go to sleep.  That's enough."  I've been doing exactly that for a long, long time now.  It works for me and has saved my ass on many occasions. Rest in Peace, Robin.  You were a good man.  You saved lives.

See you tomorrow.

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