Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And So it Goes...

Praying Small closed after seven weeks on Sunday.  A good run and a fine piece of theatre.  Everyone involved can be proud of what we did.  I certainly am.

But on to other things.  I hated to let it go on one level and was relieved on another.  New projects, teaching a Naked Face workshop in September, new agents, new people, all very exciting.  Sam French now has the play and we'll see what happens there.

I don't learn lessons easily, it seems.  Lot of reasons for that.  But suffice to say, I tend to make the same mistakes several times (sometimes more) before the lesson can finally break down the barriers and get inside my stubborn head.  Even lessons that I actually teach to my students, I sometimes am the last to embrace.

Not everyone is as obsessed with quality of work.  I am.  I can't think of anything else when a new project has got its bit in my teeth.  And not everyone can even see that sometimes.  As we opened this play there were still a myriad of things still to be tweaked, still to be improved upon.  And yet there seemed to be an Ethel Merman-esque attitude that once the show opens it is frozen.  Nothing could be farther from my approach to theatre.  A show is never finished, never done, I'm never satisfied with it.  A flaw in my make up, no doubt, but one that I have to live with.  Nonetheless, as the playwright and leading actor, I had no power to make anything happen.  It was tremendously frustrating.  Lesson learned.  One I shan't repeat.

Unless something happens that I simply can't pass up, I don't see myself doing a lot of stage work in the foreseeable future.  Someday, yes.  Just not at this particular time.  Angie is delighted with this line of thought. She, of course, more than anyone else, has to live with my relentless pursuit of perfection.  And with stage work, that tends to be a bit drawn out.  She, more than anyone else, can see how tireless I am when it comes to my own work on stage.  And subsequently she sees how anxious I get when I am powerless to do anything about it.

I had a bit of a 'silent killer' relapse yesterday.  My own fault, of course.  Just went momentarily insane and ate a bunch of stuff that wasn't good for me.  Naturally, I then spent about twelve hours in bed.  As I said before, it takes a bit for me to learn a lesson.  I am much more prone to doing something over and over and expect different results.  Sometimes I'm simply not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  A taco shy of a combination plate, that's me.

Ninety nine percent of the time, when it comes to this newly-diagnosed type 2 Diabetes, Angie is right.  She's done her homework.  And yet I persist in tempting fate and occasionally partaking in things that are just downright bad for me.  And then I pay for it.  I am astonished that people get through this thing eating carrots.  I don't want a lifetime of carrots.  I've never particularly liked carrots.  And by 'carrots' I mean everything good I'm supposed to eat.  Oh, well.  This morning I'm having a nice portion of 'crow.'

I don't know what fate has in store for me next, professionally speaking.  I'm growing a short beard so I can finish up my pictures for my new commercial agent.  I've been told, for whatever reason, casting people out here can't imagine things unless it's in the picture.  They can't imagine a guy without a beard actually having a beard, for example.  Or if they're casting a doctor for something, they can't imagine someone wearing a white, lab coat.  The picture must have me in a white, lab coat.  Then, apparently, the casting people say to themselves, "You know, this is a shot in the dark, I'm going out on a limb here, thinking outside the box, as it were, but looking at this picture of this guy in a white, lab coat...now hear me out...maybe, just maybe he could play a doctor in this project.  What do you think?  Am I crazy or what?"

As Linda Ellerbee used to say, "And so it goes."

Also learned a lesson, hopefully one I won't have to re-learn, about submitting myself to short film projects in order to get the elusive "reel."  Saturday I had a couple of auditions for these 'short film' thingees.  In my mind, my ever-optimistic, professional mind, I saw myself working with a young, genius film maker.  Perhaps the next Spielberg or DePalma or Scorcese.  We do this short film together and like Coppola and the early Hackman and Pacino, a lifetime of working together would ensue.  Well, I guess it doesn't work that way. Hm.

So I travel over to Santa Monica on Saturday to read for this short film thingee.  I go to the studios where it's being done.  Long drive.  Murderous traffic.  I get there and there's a line of clip boards with about a dozen different short film titles.  One is expected to sign his or her name on the project he or she has been called for and then simply wait for his or her name to be called.  So I walk in, there are about 200 sixteen and seventeen and eighteen year old kids standing around and...me.  Took me about five minutes to realize this was not a scenario I wanted anything to do with.  So I left.  Took the long and congested ride back to the valley.  By the time I got here I was beside myself with laughter it was all so ludicrous.

I tell the story in the dressing room that night.  Rob Arbogast, a good friend and one of the best actors I've met in LA, says, "Here's a tip, Clif:  Only submit yourself for thesis projects on those things.  Otherwise you're gonna get a lot of that sort of thing."  Good advice.  And I intend to follow it to the letter.

I'm re-reading Olivier's book "On Acting" these days.  And once again, just like the first time I read it, I'm entranced.  This Larry fellow certainly knew a thing or two about acting.

That's it.  Back at square one and casting my line into the calm waters of LA's deep lake of possibilities.  We shall see what we shall see.

See you tomorrow.

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