Thursday, June 10, 2010

"I have a ranch in Montana and a wife who loves me."

We had a few invited guests last night during our, ahem, run-thru.  They were all terribly complimentary following the show.  For me, however, the night was as long and arduous as the entire length of WWII.  So, so many problems in the second act.  For one thing, and perhaps the thing that bothered me the most, was the fact that I called for line five times.  The sad fact is this: there are certain sections of the play that my brain absolutely refuses to commit to memory.  It freezes like a block of ice.  The words simply will not come.  I am completely exasperated by it.

Even though there are technical problems, and no doubt tonight will be the same, I can overlook that, I can navigate my way around the stage in total darkness if need be.  It's not the end of the world.  I'm slightly annoyed by the tech things (mind you, this is after four straight days of tech) but I can adapt to them when push comes to shove.  What I cannot adapt to is my own inability to learn the god damned lines.

I was deeply ashamed of myself last night.  I have about, from this moment, seven uninterrupted hours to work the trouble spots before I show myself on stage again.  I frankly don't know if I can do it.

My first instinct, of course, is to blame someone else.  I'm just that kinda guy.  But it's a self-defense instinct.  In the final analysis, regardless of the disagreements I may have with all of the cues and tech things happening, the real problem lies within me.  I don't know the damn lines.

I really don't have any clue as to what tonight will bring.  I suspect there's a good chance I may have to hide out in Canada for awhile.  I'm beginning to think a little like Floyd Patterson, the former heavyweight champion of the world, after he fought and was knocked out by, Sonny Liston.  Patterson donned make-up and fake wigs and mustaches for weeks after the fight because he was so ashamed of being recognized.  I think I may have to do the same.  I'm thinking I'll have Angie waiting at the stage door with the car warmed up and ready to whisk me away.  I'll just leap into the backseat and cover myself with a blanket and get out of L.A. as quickly as possible.  We have a friend with a cabin up at Big Bear.  Maybe I could hide out there for awhile until the furor of my truncated and abysmal performance subsides.  Angie could bring me food and leave it on the doorstep and I could wait until it got dark to open the door and quickly drag it in.  I could take the puppies with me for company.  They won't judge me.

Okay.  Maybe it's not all that bad, but it certainly feels like it.

As you may have already guessed, Gentle Reader, I am an amateur boxing historian.  I pour over old boxing stories and books.  I collect old fight films.  I memorize dates and stats with relish.  It's an odd part of who I am, but there you have it.

When Jess Willard was defeated by the great Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight championship back in the 1920s, he took a mighty beating.  Really life threatening.  Dempsey broke four of his ribs, his nose, his jaw, dislocated his eye socket, gave him a concussion, internal bleeding, just an awful thrashing.  After the slaughter, as Willard lay on his rubbing table in his dressing room, beaten and broken, bloody and nearly comatose, he kept saying, over and over, "I have a ranch in Montana and a wife who loves me."  This image has always stayed with me.  It's a tragic one.  I think maybe the same may happen to me tonight.  After I thoroughly embarrass myself onstage, I'll be in my dressing room saying over and over, dazed and beaten, "I have a cottage in Glendale and a fiance' who loves me."

I'd love to write more but I have to memorize some lines.

See you tomorrow.

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