Monday, June 21, 2010

They Come. They always Come When I Need Them.

A quiet house yesterday.  Not a bad house, just a quiet one.  One rather got the impression they were taking notes as if in a classroom.  Had a couple of 'program people' down front that were clearly getting all of the inside stuff about recovery.  In fact, one of them leapt to her feet in a solo standing ovation at the end.  When I came out for my curtain call she was standing all alone and clapping furiously and weeping.  The program people get this thing, sometimes in a really emotional way.  That has always been the case with this play.

As I mentioned before, the L.A. Times guy was there the night before.  He led the standing ovation for the house, in fact.  I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing that was a good sign.  A half hour before the show ended he, apparently, was leaning forward and intently staring at the stage.  Funny how the reviewer is watched so closely for signs of reaction.  I've never been a critic (actually I did review one play way, way back in college for the university paper - typically, I gave the show a middling review and had people mad at me for weeks), but they must be used to that.

We've also got an NPR review out there somewhere.  No one thought to ask her which public radio station she worked for, so we're not quite sure what or when she said something.

Up early today because I fell asleep on the couch accidentally and woke all akimbo, neck and back screaming in pain.  Oh, well.  I haven't fallen asleep watching TV in years.

Interesting performance yesterday because of the relative silence of the audience.  Everyone moved things along quite vigorously.  I actually like it when that happens.  Reminds me to stop acting and get on with things.  Being an actor and consequently having a performance ego roughly the size of the BP oil spill, I sometimes forget that people are there to see and hear a STORY, not to watch me act up a storm.

Today I'm back at the clinic to get a retinal scan.  See what kind of damage the diabetes (the silent killer) has done to my eyes.  Clearly there has been damage, we just don't know the extent yet.  We'll find all of that out today plus pick up some more medication.  I hate this stuff but I have to do it.  Yesterday, during the show, I could actually feel my blood sugar plummet at one point.  Fortunately, there's a spot in the show (I never leave the stage for over two hours) where I can actually EAT.  So as it happens, it worked out okay.  Right after I started feeling a bit weak and sweaty and dizzy, the scene where Brad and I share a lunch happened.  So my blood sugar went back up.

One of my great fears with Praying Small are the transitions from scene to scene.  It is, thru the years, the most glaring mistake a director can make while directing this show.  And sure enough, this version has some, too.  But our PSM and booth guy, Ali, shares the same frustrations as I do about these holes in the show, so together we're plugging them up and moving the show along.  Yesterday we found a couple of spots where we can just get on with it.  I'm sure no one is paying good, solid cash to watch me stand alone on stage and do absolutely nothing at various moments during this show.

We also, Ali and I, fixed a sound cue that was driving me completely bonkers.

I can't wait to see what happens this week with The Times.  If the notice is a rave, we may get a rush of ticket sales.  We need them.  We need them badly.  The recovery community has to get word of this.  If they know about it, they will come.  But they don't know about it at this point.  We have tried to get the word out but it's incredibly difficult because we can't advertise to that community.  It's ethically a very fine line.  One we simply cannot cross.

My buddy, Jim Barbour, and I are racking our brains trying to figure out a strategy to keep the show going after its July 18 closing date.  There are several options that may present themselves.  Options I'm not at liberty to go into at this point.

The show is running fairly smoothly now.  There are only a couple of spots where I find myself thinking of extraneous things onstage.  I never would have thought it possible a couple of months ago to have all of these lines down.  And not only to have them down, but to be waiting for my entrance each night without panic about them.  They come.  They always come when I need them.  They're getting in my muscle memory now.  A very good thing, indeed.

See you tomorrow.


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