Monday, June 14, 2010

Just Say the Damned Lines, Please.

Not a bad show yesterday.  I decided to take my own advice and move things along.  Stop doing so much damn acting when it is not called for.  In other words, just say the damned lines.  Well, what'd'ya know.  It worked.  The play skipped along skippingly and I found some new stuff and I didn't feel like a I was in the middle of a bad episode of Young and the Restless.  I'm talking specifically about me, now.  Given enough encouragement and I can suddenly turn into Jack Lemmon on stage, stammering through nearly every sentence.  It's a bad habit of mine.  So I decided to eliminate that stuff yesterday and lo and behold it worked.  I knew there was a reason I tell my students to do that.

Once I stopped doing so much damned acting, I actually found some moments throughout that were borderline honest.  It's amazing what happens to a play once the actors stops acting it...that is to say, let's the playwright do the acting for him.  The lines in the piece act themselves for the most part.  They certainly don't need any help from me.

The other actors were having a good day yesterday, too, especially Tara.  She was even more moving than usual in our last scene together.

Our friend, Donna Dieken, was in the audience yesterday, too.  Donna was for many years a top-of-the-line musical theatre girl.  Tons of shows.  Beautiful voice.  She rather liked it, I think.  Like many people, Donna has alcoholism in her immediate family and I think the show touched a nerve with her.  Afterwards she joined Angie and I for a cook-out in our backyard before the Tony's last night.  Rob Arbogast, who plays Roman in the show, also joined us.  Great company, smart and funny people, chicken apple sausages.  Good night.

There were a couple of tech flubs, but not bad ones.  There's still a song in the second act that allegedly plays under a scene Rob and I do together.  I say allegedly because I've never really heard it.  I hear snatches of it here and there.  I've heard rumors it is there.  When I do hear it it's more like a waft of a song coming from someone's kitchen in an apartment across the street.  I've been told it's a 'difficult cue.'  Well, yeah, I can imagine.  Playing a song underneath a scene sounds like a dilly of a cue to me.


The Tony Awards were on last night.  It was an embarrassment to our industry.  Movie stars slumming it.  Catherine Zeta-Jones did a rendition of Send in the Clowns last night like the cops were after her and she only had a few seconds to sing the song before making a getaway.  She kept snapping her head around like a felon caught in an alley.  Pitiful.  Following this odd and uncomfortable moment, they gave her a Tony.  Good Lord.

Denzel Washington couldn't even remember the name of the people giving him his Tony.

While I'm sure both of these stars are fairly good actors when the opportunity occurs, everyone in this business knows that stage work is the real litmus test for actors.  I'll probably get some nasty comments here, but the truth is, film acting is easy.  For the really good actors, the trained ones, the ones with some game, it's kind of like asking Picasso to draw a circle.  It's easy for him.  The canvas, the full piece, that's the tough stuff.  Film acting requires very little, generally speaking.  The layman doesn't understand this and consequently the nation ends up worshipping the DeCaprios and the Lohans and the Nicholsons of the business.  Actors that have never set foot on stage.  Ah, well.  No one ever said life was fair.

I was pleased to hear Reverend James Mellon mentioned in one of the acceptance speeches last night.  James is the Executive Director of NoHo Arts Center Ensemble, which is producing Praying Small.  He's on leave of absence right now because he's battling some very serious health issues.  It was nice to hear his name spoken.  Very cool.

I also realized as I was watching last night how out of touch I am with the NY theatre community these days.  There was a time I would probably know personally about half of all the nominees.  I didn't know a single soul last night.  I saw Nathan Lane in the audience.  Nathan is an old buddy.  But that was about it.  I knew no one.  Sigh.

A beautiful four days off from the show this week.  For the first time in months I feel relaxed today.  There is no stress or anxiety about having to defend my words in a rehearsal.  I've done all I can to make my play as good as it can be.  Some battles I won and some I lost.  The ones I lost are the moments in the play people are unhappy with.  Again, life isn't always fair.  Sigh.

So today, I have every intention of playing Diablo on the computer.  Doesn't sound like a lot of fun to most, but I love playing Diablo on my computer.  I have a warrior-class fighter that I've neglected for awhile and today I'm sending him out to kill some monsters.  And that's just the way I roll.

See you tomorrow.

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