Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Step Up to the Plate...

George S. Kauffman once said, "Every human being has four basic needs in life: the need for clothing, the need for shelter, the need to procreate and the need to rewrite someone else's play." I was thinking of that last night as I we were all collaborating to make every single moment work in this play.

More Q2Q last night. I know Q2Qs are considered intensely boring (but needed) by most actors, and I suppose they are in some ways, but it's also very exciting to see what's shaping up. Our director, Ron Sossi, is a 'detail guy' when it comes to tech. The lighting especially. Personally, when I direct, it's the one time I sort of relinquish control for a bit. This is because I'm color blind. Really color blind, I mean. So I have no choice but to completely trust the lighting designer when it comes to that.

So we continue today with our Q2Q rehearsals.

There is also a very detailed make up design for the show. I haven't had a chance to meet yet with the make up artist but I've seen what she's doing with some of the other actors. Very gothic, very pronounced. Almost Sweeny Toddish in it's concept.

More solidification on the lines today. I've been working like a house-a-fire these past few days on them. And yesterday, as Angie and I trudged through them all yet again, lo and behold, they began to stick. A lovely moment. But I must fight the temptation to get too confident about them so we're attacking them again all day long.

I've turned down a lot of other projects in order to do this play and finally, I'm beginning to remember why I've done so. In short, it's starting to look, feel and sound like the masterpiece I initially perceived it to be. Very exciting shit, folks.

My co-star, Kelly Lester, just received word she's doing a role in the new Clint Eastwood/Ron Howard film. Very excited for her and I'm not just a little envious. Mr. Eastwood is getting up there and who knows if this will be his last movie. One of my dreams when I was young was to work with Clint Eastwood.

My friend and mentor, Michael Moriarty, did 'Pale Rider' with him way back in 1987. He has nothing but kudos for Eastwood as a director and person. And Michael is one of those actors who, to put it mildly, does not suffer fools gladly.

Watching Eastwood's career arc is fascinating. From episodic TV to Spaghetti Westerns to existential westerns in this country to bold, simple, powerful films ranging from UNFORGIVEN to MILLION DOLLAR BABY to LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. He has become an iconic film maker over the years, with a unique eye toward telling stories that erupt in the color grey rather than easily identifiable good and evil stories. Along with Scorcese he may be our finest, long-term film maker.

Angie and I have been invited to see a new play this afternoon at The Falcon Theatre in Burbank. I don't think we can make it, unfortunately. The Falcon is Gary Marshall's theater and our dear friend and former college chum, Sherry Santiliano, is the managing director over there. Actually, I say 'over there,' but it's really only about five minutes from our house. We saw Matt Walker's critically acclaimed organization, The Troubadour Theater Company, at that theater last year. One of the best things I've seen in LA to date, in fact. It's a beautiful 99-seat theatre where lots of Marshall's TV and film actor/friends have worked.

There was a moment last night when I looked around at the gigantic stage pieces, the highly dramatic lighting, with the impossibly eloquent music playing, and I thought to myself, "Good Lord, we're actually doing this." As an old buddy of mine used to say, "It's time to either step up to the plate or get the hell out of the way."

This is such a high calibre cast doing this thing, that sometimes our schedules have made it nigh impossible for everyone to be at the same rehearsal at the same time. Last night, for the first time since early November, we had everyone there. Sometimes it's like central casting in rehearsal with nearly everyone in the cast fielding 'industry' phone calls during the breaks. Of course, the material itself is the reason for this. My agent told me early on that nearly every actor in Los Angeles who could carry a tune wanted in on this thing. At the time I considered his comment a little daft. Now, though, I understand what he was talking about. I can say, without any hesitation, this is truly brilliant stuff and honestly, I feel blessed to be a part of it.

So. Back at the lines. Say 'em. Say 'em again. And again. And again. As I look around in rehearsal and see the scores of people working on the execution of this thing, the sound people, the lighting people, the backstage crew, the designers, the make up people, the musicians, the staff, the administrative people, the publicity people, the artistic honchos...I can hardly allow mayself to let up now. So. Lines. Say 'em. Say 'em again. And again. And again. Say 'em.

See you tomorrow.