Thursday, November 30, 2006

getting better all the time...

...but just little by little.

This damn cold has been hanging on tenaciously. [btw, must go see the tenacious d movie soon] I at least feel like a real live human being today, which is a big plus. Went out into the world for a reason other than to do a show or feed and medicate myself, so that felt good. Up to the roanoke 'star' to walk around and see the sights a bit. Talked to elizabeth n. on the phone and found that her grandmother just passed away on thanksgiving. All condolences and sympathies. The service will be next friday here in good ol' roanoke, so at least i'll be able to attend that and see her and her family there.

We had a student matinee this morning. The fullest house we've had so far (of course) and they were wild and unruly, natch, but in a very real and alive way, and it turned out to be a great show. Love being out there to hear them fuck around and make noise and semi-mock the experience until they get sucked into the story. I've never thought about it this way before, but i think that a room full of 300 kids who are silent because they're listening to actors/artists/musicians do their thing is one of the best sounds there is.

So now i'm off to a media/publicity event (the theater is raffling off a new vw - a 'bah humBUG,' get it? - in conjunction with a local radio station, so they're doing a remote out at the auto mall) then feed the cold and get some rest before tonight's show.

Also must see 'the departed' soon. Can't believe i haven't seen it yet. And 'for your consideration.'

All hail robert altman, while we're at it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hiking and healing

I have a cold. Which really sucks, but hopefully it will be one of those things that comes and goes really quickly - i think i got from the dressing room; held it off until opening weekend was over. Woke yesterday (my day off) with a sore throat. Trying to do all the right things.

The low level cold did not keep me in though. Went on a hike with david and andrew at smith mountain lake - very nice, it was a beautiful day. Went out with amanda and lindsay for some good spicy mexican food, which i'd been craving, then saw the new james bond movie, which i really liked.

So now i'm going to finish up here and try to get some ingredients for healing - ginger and garlic and airborne (which apparently is the cure-all for 2006) and such stuffs - and lie low until tonight's show...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...

Ok, it's been neither, but i figured the sitch was ripe for a dickens quote.

And i will admit that the inspiration for that particular quote was wednesday, which would have to qualify as the worst day i've had since i've been down here in roanoke. Poor sleep the night before, and i woke to a cold and rainy day. And, since the day before my tennis partner was unable to locate a wal mart he promised existed, and the thanskgiving feast-coordinator had been unable to find butternut squash or apple cider, i had to run out to do some shopping. On the day before thanksgiving. In the rain. I really only had a little to do, so i figured an hour would take care of it... three hours later, wet, famished and in a vile mood, i finally returned to the atelier to begin working on the soup i pledged to the company feast. Really just no way to describe quite how unpleasant this all was, but as a little treat to myself to assuage the hunger (and some of you know how nasty i can be when i'm in need of foor), i picked up some comfort food: fried chicken, (real) mac and cheese, and collard greens. Which i was really looking forward to at this point, but i wasn't prepared for the stuff to have slipped just this much on the floor of the back seat, so that the juice from the greens formed a little pool in the bottom of the bag, which then leaked onto the upholstery as i pulled the bag from my car. So i cursed the heavens (still raining, by the way) did a wee bit of damage control, and unloaded the bags.

Then i went into a frenzy of cooking. Which was very good for me. Made two big batches of squash and pear soup, enough for a party of 13, plus leftovers. The chopping, peeling and immersion blending was first rate for me to unload some aggression, and fortunately i escaped the process uninjured. Plus, if i may say so myself, the soup rocked.

I'd thought i might get in a nap to make up for the previous night's fitfulness but that turned out to be a teasing fantasy. SO... it was off to the second preview of xxxmas carol. Which was fine, for the most part, but... remember those drywall stilts? Well we'd worked out the changes a whole bunch of times, and had them down so there was (almost) time to spare. Still, this night, about a third of the way through "yet-to-come's" scene, i noticed that my left foot was slipping out of the binding of its stilt. Now it's kind of important for the phantom of the future to be, well, motionless unless he's supposed to be moving. Kind of diminishes his awesomeness if he's wriggling around trying to get his foot secured into his stilt. So i kept that to a minimum, but when i moved on to the scene at old joe's junk shop, the foot came almost all the way out. I made it to a ledge to sit down on (it was emergency time now) and tried to fix the sitch - no go: the bindings were too far out of whack, and without the use of my hands (which were holding onto big scary arms that were now extending somewhat less than ominously from my big black robe) i realized i had to get off stage for wardrobe help. Mrs. dilber and old joe haggled away downstage, as i limped along the platform towards stage left. But the platform ends about 5 feet shy of the wings, and without a handhold, there was no way for me to make it off. So there i was, leaning on the platform as the audience starts to murmur just a bit (and the director has cardiac arrest) and hoping one of the wardrobe gals will realize what's going on. I held that for a few moments, and when no one appeared i whispered from underneath my hood and veil: "i need a little help here.' Still nothing, so i try a bit louder: 'guys, i need some HELP.' Backstage rumbling and rustling, then i see katie and whisper again - 'you've got to come out here so i can lean on you' Which she did, and we took care of it, and i made it back out before we had to cross to the other side of the stage to point at scrooge's dead body.

All in all, we handled it very well, but talk about nervous-making. Mad props to the wardrobe crew, as always. They ROCK!!! And i don't know where this show would be if they didn't completely fucking rock every night.

Happy to say that since wednesday, things have been great. The weather is now unbelievably great, and though i've been working pretty hard (about to do my 5th show in 50 hours) that's what i am here for.

More updates to come...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fun with technology

Every theater goes through some little technical wrinkles as opening night approaches (shocking, i know). So for a little window into what that can look like, which hopefully theater-people and civilians alike can appreciate, and with nothing but love for the very competent designers and crew, here's a little of what's going on with the Ghost of Christmas Present:

They have him - super talented guy, by the way - entering via a trap door in front of scrooge's bed, and that's led to all sorts of complications (more shocking news). The current solution is to try to draw the audience eye away when the trap opens by means of a fog hazer situated on one of the lighting rails above the proscenium - so they're gunning all this smoke (very loud machine, i might add) DOWN TOWARD THE STAGE, but, as i thought was common knowledge, smoke has this inconvenient tendency TO RISE rather than descend to where the ghost is appearing. They tried this for the first time (in the presence of actors) during yesterday's dress - i was very happy that the appearance of mr. present is one of those moments when it's ok for my character to laugh anyway. As if that weren't enough, our ghost is kind of a sweaty guy, and his mustache keeps coming unglued. "You've never seen the like of me before, have you?" (mustache flap) "Are there no prisons? (flap flap) Are there no workhouses? (flap flap flap)"

Gotta keep a sense of humor about this stuff. It happens at every theater, with every show. And again - BIG UPS to the crew, who are dealing with this and a hundred other technical details (and actor stupidity - remember me on those drywall stilts? Well, now that we're on a darkened and foggy stage, and i'm in a costume that obscures my sight and obliterates my peripheral vision, the fun never stops!) with ingenuity and relentless professionalism. Nothing but confidence that we'll take care of all this bidness. First preview tonight, and we open on friday!

Monday, November 20, 2006


...has been popping up more and more lately. Reminders of the living theater in conversation, references to bakhunin in an article, another article about 'critical mass' and the new york bicycling movement, various references to other leaderless communities, still another article - this one about lagos and the growing mega-city trend, with the attendant GIGANTIC populations that exist beyond the scope of official society, with independent social structures, living situations, rules of behavior and economies (not to mention unfathomable poverty).

And at the same time, the most prominent/visible incarnation of the great anarchist god, the Pink Flamingo, has ceased production. I'm sure you've read about this: the massachusetts company that produces the plastic lawn flamingos has closed that wing, so to speak. The king is dead; long live the king. The omnipotent is of course immortal and indestuctible, and the plastic versions will still be fairly ubiquitous for a while (they're not exactly bio-degradable, after all), but i still thought it was worth a mention.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

tick tock

First dress rehearsal happens in a little over an hour. Fast costume change up onto stilts and into a huge padded FUTURE robe will be worth some excitement. Adrenaline will be flowing and over-caffeinated runcrew will keep things moving on a more or less straight (if staggering) path. Christmas carol as cultural anthropology: enforced recreation live on stage in virginia! God fucking bless us, everyone.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tough stuff

Cory had to get a cast on her ankle. Shit. They're pulling her from the show until she's able to get around without a crutch "because tiny tim is the only one who can have a crutch." Double fucking shit. They are being cool enough to keep her on contract and give her the equity points, but still, i don't like it one bit. I'm going to see what we can do to find a project for her to work on while recovering.

The adrienne shelly murder is wreaking havoc with my brain (and a lot of peoples' brains) Crazy scary sad tragic awful horrific i feel so bad for her and her family. Just pops into my mind from time to time and stirs up a macabre little stew. I didn't know her well, but...


Monday, November 13, 2006

Day off in VA

First full day off down here. Last night a bunch of us went to see 'the prestige,' which was pretty damn good, i have to say. Then a few of us played scrabble and drank martinis till about 3. Not a bad end to the work week.

Today it's really gorgeous again (it's been kind of cold the last few days). Slept in till about 10, and then:

-read a dylan interview (nat hentoff, '64, around hte recording of 'another side...' pretty fucking cool)
-did a set of dynamics
-shower, coffee, breakfast routine
-worked on lines
-read a susan lori parks interview (hinton als from last month's new yorker - also pretty fucking cool)
-cleaned up the room
-went to an indian restaurant for buffet lunch with a bunch of the company
-went to the coffeeshop (where i am now) to check email, etc. and write this entry

Later on i'm playing tennis with andy, and then probably more line work, maybe another movie (haven't seen 'the departed' yet, or 'borat' - both of those are pretty high on the list)

The word from the t-day is that it was great again and that jules did a great job hosting, but the whole thing was too short-lived. All hail the t-day crew!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday morning...

...Not just a velvet underground song anymore.

I'm sitting in a diner on market street, in a booth facing a mannequin of some kind of old timey gambling saloon figure - not a cowboy, but wearing a straw cowboy hat, red vest and black pinstripe suit - think bret maverick with an old and grizzled face. He's standing over by the gumball machines looking pensive about it all. Just finished off some biscuits and gravy (not like what we get in utah, but pretty damn good) and they're taking care of my hangover for me.

Ok, it's not THAT bad of a hangover, but i did tie one on last night. This is the big t-day weekend, and so i had to at least try to make up for missing that. Plus, one of my r-ball partners turned her ankle this week on the court. And by 'turned' i mean 'separated a ligament from and fractured.' Yeah. Not so good. So i felt especially responsible to party with her and her peeps. Made an african peanut soup in honor of t-day virginia-style, the sort of safari-themed room they've got me in, and of course thinking of sunny in togo. Worked on lines over martinis with the truly beautiful and talented katie. Then went and put a big dent in a bottle of jameson with cory, ben and vanessa (well, ok, ben and i did most of the damage to the bottle - cory was on pain meds for her ankle)

So now it's not morning anymore, strictly speaking, and rehearsal awaits...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Missile dick chick

Here's a viddy from sparkle, one of the missile dick chicks who went out to hoboken the day before the election to try to get people to go shopping instead of voting.

Gotta love our men in blue...

Almost no time at all...

...because i'm about to head to the gym and play racquetball (!) for the first time in over a year. Way psyched about the gym down here - very luxurious, relative to the place i go in hoboken. Everything's new, sauna, hot tub, 2 pools, etc.

Then it's rehearsal all day - last night, somebody asked 'do you have rehearsal tomorrow?' and i just gave her a look. If rehearsal's happening, i'm called, yo. But hey, that's what i am here for, no?

Beautiful fucking gorgeous day down here. Little mist on the mountains, the kind you can tell the sun will burn away by about noon. Not bad.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Giant beers and drywall stilts

First read through of the play last night - good group o' peeps. The locals (mostly kids, ages i'm guessing 8-16) are a fun bunch too. One little redhead guy is living in his own private idaho, but he brought a lot of smiles at the reading.

After the rehearsal we went to a bar and i had another one of those 'oh yeah!' moments - the 'inherit the wind' cast would party there too, and i had a memorable dinner with elizabeth n. there that i nonetheless had forgotten about until i passed by the booth where we'd sat. One thing had completely forgotten (if i'd ever known it) was that when you order a large beer at this place, they bring you a huge glass goblet that has about a quart of beer in it. This may be something new, actually, because i think i'd remember a detail like that. Well, this bunyanesque sam adams set me back $4.75, so i reckon i'll favor this establishment plenty...

To answer some folks questions: yes! The housing more than lives up to expectations! I have a beautiful large room with a private bath and kitchenette (kind of like a ridiculously grand version of that hotel they put the milwaukee rep interns in, sherin and jp) and i lucked out so i'm on the side of the building away from traffic and the railroad. And all of the rooms have been nicely decorated. Well... most of them. One actress describes her room as looking like 'jimmy buffet threw up the decor.' It is kind of a tropical nightmare, but she appreciates the kitch.

Now i'm in the theater office, between a costume fitting and the first blocking rehearsal. As the ghost of christmas yet to come, they're having me wear drywall stilts to get some larger-than-life-ness going on. It's a way cool outfit, and i'm having a blast charging around on the stilts.

And that's what i'm going to do now... Hope everybody remembered to vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hello dixieland

Yesterday was fantastic, today is awesome, what will tomorrow look like?

Yesterday drove down to spend the day with jen - one of the greatest people there is, in case you're keeping score at home - had brunch with her in new hope, green tea at her crib, got deep, got silly, shared all the tawdry detail, all the good stuff. Then to philly to hang with darren and jackie and they're 2 babies. Hadn't seen them since last winter, so it was a really great update/reunion. They're doing fab in their new (to them) townhouse in south philly, and building a beautiful life - SO good to see the folks from school once in a while. The three years at u of i were so intense, and now we seldom get to see much of each other, but the connection is pretty direct and immediate when we do. So, thanks darren.

Today i made the drive from philadelphia to roanoke. Hit by memories as i drove into town, then FLOODED by them as i walked around the square. What's changed, what hasn't, what i remember, who i knew back then, who i was back then... Bottom line, it's a fucking gorgeous fall day, warm and clear, the leaves are exploding with color and the drive through the appalachians was stunning. Ready to get down to it in the theater tomorrow. Oh, and, good luck for me: there's a great little coffee shop with free internet around the corner from the sweet place they've got me living, so that's an unexpected perk (ew - unintended bad pun, but who even remembers perking coffee anymore?)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Black coffee on the futon

Beautiful crisp clear morning over new york. Slept in on this, my last day before heading circuitously south for the next 7 weeks. Enjoying some excellent coffee and about to relish what is liable to be the last really good bagel i have for about 2 months. (btw, extra points for the first person who can identify what today's title refers to...)

Last night out with jessica to see the EAT fest at theater on 5. Good stuff, good mix of plays, fab to see karen's work, fun to see paul on stage at last, great to hang with jess, as always! I'll miss her, as i'll miss a ton of people (can i give another shoutout to my fantabulous friends) but the time we live in offers so many ways to keep in touch, you feel closer. Tempted to break down and get a webcam, but i'll be limited to dial-up in the housing. Won't that be fun! Go easy on the photos you send. At the same time, i'm looking forward to less technology, more simplicity - i'll have the ipod and the laptop, but i'll have no tv, slow internet, and there's no telling how the cell phone will work there. Do i contradict myself? Very well, i contradict myself: i am large, i contain multitudes. (ok, that's an easy one, folks)

Going to philly tomorrow to see jen, hit the museum and then hang with darren & jacquie & their kids. Anyone wanting to see me before i go better holla quick!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cannibal Jack-O-Lanterns

On the loose in New York!!!!

Thanks to molly and rudy for that image... hope everyone had a great halloween - mine was pretty fun. Joe came to town to join beth and me at the paramount to see dweezil zappa lead a band doing frank zappa songs. Shades of the past, definitely: baby boomers reliving the celebrated Zappaweens of their younger days, blah blah blah. But the band was damn good, and i am happy to say that the audience wasn't strictly mom and dad's age. There were a couple gals in their 20s in the row in front of me who were singing along with almost all the songs that had words - which was pretty funny when it came to numbers like "punky's whips" :) Then we went to a party that was downright surreal - hosted by a sex columnist (no kidding folks - but not like sex and the city) who was hot hot hot, but also, however improbably, kind of shy. She sang, her boyfriend played trumpet, beth sang, abner played a cheesy electronic keyboard, and the costumes were pretty fun. Definitely odd, and slightly awkward though...

Today i took off from work to get things done i need to get done before i head south. Saw joe out early (after being up late the night before); tried to catch a couple more winks; moved the car to avoid a streetcleaning ticket; took some clothes to the cleaners for some patching; had breakfast and looked up some travel info; went to dmv to renew my drivers license; did all the laundry in the house (well, except the hand washing, haven't got to that yet); took the car to the shop for a tune-up; peter came by to help me set up the new futon i had delivered (still have to take the old one down all those stairs - we'll do that on the way out.) Tonight we're headed to the village to see christopher do his stand-up act. Trying to fit in as much as i can before i get out of here.

Hope to see as many of you as i can this week. Nancy marano's jazz workshop open house at the musician's union on west 48th tomorrow!