Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy is as busy does...

Stopped into the theatre yesterday to watch a little bit of the rehearsal for Bachelor's Graveyard. Rob and Jon were doing the fifteen minute, two-person, opening scene about sex on a country road.  It's a funny scene, I think, albeit a bit R rated.  Actually, I was already at the theatre helping to paint the set on the mainstage for a whole evening of one-acts called Sanity 2.  It's an evening of eight short plays, none of them mine.  I'm acting in two of them.  A piece called Annie and Oliver and another called The Connection.  The former is flat out silliness and the latter a bit more serious.  Painting the set itself was a comedy of errors for me because they're using three subtle shades of purple on everything and being color blind, I can't see the difference.  I kept picking up the wrong color of paint and being stopped at the last second lest I ruin everything.  "No, Clif, that's the medium purple.  You want the darker purple."

For the one-acts, as usual, I'm basing my performance on an impression I have of someone else.  I like to work that way.  My impression, when filtered through me, becomes an entity in itself.  I'm not a very good mimic so my take on someone comes out as a completely separate thing.  In the first play, the silly one, I've decided to do the whole thing as Harry Morgan (MASH, Dragnet, etc.).  So I'm trying to capture Harry Morgan's distinctive cadence.

In the second I'm using George W. Bush and his Texas drawl and his remarkable ability to make anything that comes out of his mouth sound vaguely stupid.  "I decide things.  That's what I do.  I'm the decider."

The one-acts open a week from tomorrow and run five weeks.

Afterwards I met up with Angie and a friend of hers at a nice little restaurant around the corner called The Eclectic Cafe.  I was a bit grungy, paint all over me, but they let me in anyway.

But back to the Bachelor's Graveyard rehearsal.  What I've tried to do with this piece is make the audience somewhat of a voyeur and let them into an unedited session of conversation amongst five teenage boys.  It's almost a top secret place to be.  Teenagers are very inclusive about who is allowed into their world.  Adults certainly are not invited.  At least that's the way it was when I was eighteen.  There's nothing in this play that Normal Rockwell would see fit to paint.

Had a quick conversation with Jon after rehearsal.  He said, "It's tough to play eighteen again."  I said, "If you were actually eighteen you couldn't play it."  Fortunately all of these guys look young and can get away with playing eighteen.

Again, as I sat in the back watching the rehearsal, I was grinning.  This play makes me do that.  I hardly ever interrupt.  Karesa has the rehearsal.  She's on the exact right path.  Occasionally I'll say something about the text.  But mostly I just watch and let her take the actors where she's going in her own time.  She's got a sharp eye.

I'm teaching a class today and then memorizing lines for the one-acts.  Tonight Angie and I are going to the opening night of Nightmare Alley, a new musical at The Geffen headed by my good friend, James Barbour.  By the way, Jim will be my best man in my upcoming wedding.

There's a lot of work being done these days at NoHo Arts Center Ensemble.  Eight one-acts in rehearsal along with Bachelor's Graveyard rehearsals along with Praying Small rehearsals.  I've gotten pretty busy suddenly.  All of this plus my teaching and well, not a lot of time left over.  I like it that way.  An idle mind, after all, is the devil's workshop.

We're also adding a Writer's Workshop at NoHo.  I'll facilitate it.  Not sure what I can contribute exactly.  I don't have any tried and true way that I write.  I'm not very formulaic about my work.  And I sure as hell don't want to take in any textbook of any kind.  We'll see how that works out.

Got the coffee going.  Gonna be a cool, crisp day here in the valley.  Angie and the puppies are still comatose.  Silence in the house with the exception of my clanking keyboard.  My favorite time of the day.

See you tomorrow.