21 December 2006

I'm in a Play!

Like everyone, I'm good at some things, bad at others, and I have been reminded that one of the things at which I really, really suck is predicting the future. I was having brunch with Laura and Sally on Sunday morning and told them that I was thinking of doing this or that because I was "going to have a lot of free time" in the next few months. That was Sunday. On Tuesday, I got a call from Chuck asking if I could replace an actress who had to drop out in the show that he is directing. I promptly accepted and now my schedule is f-u-l-l until January 19th, opening night.

Yep, that's right - I'm walking into a show that opens in less than a month and my character is off stage for about 5 pages. Now, I'm not the first person that this has happened to: Some years ago, Todd stepped in to play Hamlet on, like, three weeks notice, and the Divine Laura and I got to know each other when she stepped in to play Ouisa in Six Degrees of Separation three weeks before opening night. So I'm in pretty good company.

My company shuts down during the last week of December. We save up all the little holidays and use them at the end of the year, so I'll be celebrating, say, Columbus Day on December 26th and I'll be celebrating it by sitting on the sofa memorizing Casey's dialogue. (Memorizing dialogue is my absolute least favorite thing about theater, so let's see if it's any more fun when done as a 5-day intensive. Maybe.) Normally, I'm pleased to have that time off and fill it with errands and lunches with friends and household projects and such. This year I am deeply grateful to have those days to cram those words into my head.

Being pulled into something this way is a not uncommon actor fantasy. It combines all of the riding in to save the day, the show must go on, and props for being pretty much everything an actor wants props for all in one basket. It is also a little daunting. You see, cast bonding is more than just going out drinking after rehearsal and joining a cast that has already been together for 7 weeks can feel like transferring to a new school during senior. And the actress I am replacing is both very talented and a really nifty person. Big metaphorical shoes.

Luckily for me, the cast and crew of this show welcomed me with open arms and I'll pick up the in jokes and dynamics as we go along. It's a challenge for them, too, because acting is often less about delivering dialogue to the audience and more about the agreements between cast members and between actors and the director. So introducing a new cast member is like finding the supply cabinet at work unexpectly reorganized. Some things are where you left them, others aren't.

My calendar was what I like to call "misleadingly empty" for the next several weeks and now it's full. Rehearsal is on holiday break which gives me time to learn lines and to have tablework time with Chuck, but we start back up with a vengeance right after the new year. The few plans that I have made will have to be scrapped or rearranged. I won't be going to New York to see The Rose of Persia, for instance, because I'll have rehearsal that night. In fact, I'll have rehearsal almost every night between New Year's and opening, for which I am grateful as that is still only a couple dozen and I learn by doing. It also means that I'll be posting less and spending less time at home with Pekoe, who was getting used to having me around and is going to start thinking that he lives alone. The sign language class that I was considering is now on the back burner for another semester.

But this is a great part! In a great show! I loved this script from the moment I read it and Casey has a couple of really great speeches that I am going to enjoy memorizing, dammit.

I'm in a play!


Stan Harding said...


What's the play?

Michael Clark said...

Oh the suspense! What's the show? Where? Break a leg!

Leta said...

It's "Anton in Show Business" by Jane Martin at Port City Playhouse. It's about the relationship between "art" and show "business."

January 19 to February 3!

Maureen said...

Guess I'll be going to see it after all. Congratulations!

It was nice having you "between projects" and posting more than once a month. ;) Still, congrats!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I've been tapped for last minute singing gigs, but not for acting gigs. But I imagine the flattery/adrenaline rush is pretty similar. Coolness! What a nice Christmas present.

John C.

Casey Jones said...

I was called in once upon a time to play Paris in Romeo & Juliet with about three days' notice. Not a big part, but still quite fun to cram in a frenzy.

Break a leg!

Jess said...

Hey, I'd like to come see your play, if at all possible. Let me know when it is? And where?