Yesterday the members of NoHo Ace (North Hollywood Arts Center Ensemble) gathered at the theatre for a dry tech run-through of Sanity 2, an evening of one-acts running from April 30 to May 30. The idea is this: a year or so ago, before my time with them, the theatre ran a weekly night of one-acts written, memorized and performed all within 24 hours. The themes were given and, voila, 24 hours later a play. Apparently it was a pretty big success for the company.
Now the best of these hastily written plays have been tuned up, re-visited and rehearsed in earnest. The playwrights have done some re-writing, tightened everything up and given the short plays some real attention. Directors were brought in and real rehearsal time was assigned.
My friend, James Mellon, asked me to do a couple and I gladly complied. In fact, the two I'm in are pretty good pieces. The first, one James wrote himself, is a bit more dramatic than one might expect. It's a piece about what would happen if the President's daughter publicly announced she was a lesbian. (This kinda already happened with Dick Cheney's daughter, actually.) I like it because I get a chance to take some shots at George W. and his abounding ignorance mixed with his Machiavellian smugness.
The second is an all-out piece of silliness in the vein of Waiting for Guffman. A small, midwestern dinner theatre hires a Broadway director to do a play. Turns out the play, called Annie and Oliver, is a phycho-sexual, scatalogical piece not fit for small town ears. The producers of the theatre beg him to do something else like Barefoot in the Park ("A little edgy but with a few cuts here and there...LAUGHS!") This is the one I'm doing with my Harry Morgan impression - sort of barking all the lines. Having fun with that one, don't know if it will be funny, but I'm amusing myself at least.
But the thing is, everyone gathered at the theatre yesterday and did everything...move the scenery, adjust the lights, bring a costume, set the travel patterns onstage, just everything. It was like going back in time to high school theatre when absolutely everything about doing a play was overwhelmingly fun. There are eight plays on the billet so there is a lot of moving of furniture going on. I don't mind in the least, although these days I sort of stagger around a bit like the creature of the black lagoon because of my "silent killer" distractions, but that's another story.
One of the many things I like about NoHo Ace is the total disregard of ego everyone brings to the action. The entire mind-set is one of, "we really don't care who you are or what you've done, just move that sofa." I like that. We're very Marxist, in that sense.
Besides, as most of my readers know, I'm about to embark on the lead role of Sam in Praying Small and it's a doozy. A huge role. So I'm looking at the one-acts as my warm-up fight. Kind of like when Ali came back after his exile and fought Quarry and Bonevena before taking on Frazier.
There's still a ton of work to be done on Sanity 2, but it's getting there under the inexhaustible leadership of Karesa McElheney, one of the acting artistic directors. I suspect it's going to be a pretty good night of theatre, overall. I haven't seen the other one-acts yet, but the two I'm in are not bad at all. I honestly don't think I've acted in a one-act since college.
On another note, the diabetes check-up yesterday was a total disaster. Blood work came back: glucose readings up, cholesterol readings up, BP up, right foot numb, eye sight worse, a host of other annoying things. As I told Angie, this whole thing is getting ridiculous. It's effecting my quality of life. I am on a very strict diet now, exercising, being careful about a bunch of things. I always wondered when age and lifestyle choices would catch up to me...I guess I don't have to wonder anymore.
Our neighbors have a rooster. He's doing his thing right now. The sun is coming up. It's a nice day. And all things considered, it could be a hell of a lot worse.
See you tomorrow.