Big weekend coming up, professionally speaking. Our first steps toward making theGathering (the name of our new theatre company) a reality.
Starting a theatre company here in LA (or anywhere for that matter) is a massive undertaking. So many things to do in prepararation. I'm in awe of people who have done it before me. Most fail, of course. The first five years are brutal. Having been in on the start-up of Actors Workshop in Chicago I know just how tough it is. The only thing that kept that company afloat in the first couple of difficult years was the sheer determination and grit of the artistic director, Michael Colucci. That company is now in it's seventh year and one of the most respected small, professional theatres in Chicago. In fact, my play, Praying Small, opened that theatre.
One of the things we're trying to prove is that new companies don't need a 'pay to act' clause in its membership. This seems to be a very west coast thing. Personally I find it deplorable. That's just me, though. Out here it seems to be accepted as 'the way it's done.' Well, we (and by 'we' I mean James Barbour, John Bader and myself) don't buy into that. We think it can be done without having company members pay dues to be involved. But then again we don't expect to make money off our endeavor. It will be a not-for-profit venture in the true sense of the word at first...there will be no profit. Any and all monies made by and for the theatre company will be dropped back into the organization.
Saturday we're holding auditions for two new plays to be done as staged readings: Bachelor's Graveyard (which I'll direct) and The Promise (helmed by the very fine actor Larry Cedar, schedule permitting). The response to our post on Actors Access has been nothing short of astonishing. We've had close to 300 requests for auditions. We have time for about 80. So the selection process has been nerve-wracking. The first day, Saturday, will only be a one-minute monologue. We'll call back from that day into Sunday when we'll start reading from the scripts.
The three of us, the founding directors of the company, Jim, myself and John, have our plates full, to be sure. Organizing the many details for just the auditions is a challenge, much less the actual company responsibilities. But the good thing is we're forming this thing based solely on talent, not the ability to pay $75 a month to act. I certainly understand why other companies do that, but I still find it a bit smarmy.
We made the decision to have three artistic directors so that when one of us is busy with a film or some other endeavor, the other two can pick up the slack.
One of the really bright spots of the new company is the list of high-powered, recognizable names we're assembling for the Advisory Board. I'm a little stunned at some of the people that have lent us their names for use on our website and letterhead. It lends the entire enterprise a huge level of gravitas and legitimacy.
I have an audition for another film today that would take me to the mountains for a bit to do the shooting. Not a terribly exciting part, but as usual, great money.
Angie, poor thing, has been sick as a dog the past day or so. Flu season, I guess. And she caught it with a vengeance. I finally convinced her to take some medicine for it last night and it promptly knocked her out. Hopefully all of this sleep will help. This is part of that whole 'in sickness and in health' thing, I guess. He says, smiling.
All is good. Every day is fun and challenging. The new company is exciting. Lots of plans in the making. I really couldn't ask for more.
See you tomorrow.