Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Launch Pad

"Long time no blog" they said at Calshakes and I have been cast as the comic gardener Damis in Marivaux's The Triumph of Love so I said "I shall blog again". and Joy Meads helped me find my old password and user name and the dormant blog blinked on again. Another destination in the cybersphere resumes.

And so it begins.

A gorgeous summer day at the Hienz rehearsal hall. The usual suspects arrive, like school kids at the first day of school. A veritable who's who of the Bay Area's top actors convene round the coffee maker. Each of us has probably played at least three or four characters since we last saw each other. The tables are already crunched together in anticipation of the read thru. These first days always feel like that movie The Right Stuff where all the astronauts, many who have known each other for years, get briefed on the next mission. Our dossiers are carefully placed around the tables. The team has assembled. Its kinda like Mission Impossible.

Welcome to the launch pad.

Of course there is an outer circle of chairs for staff and administration, the bold souls who somehow make Cal Shakes hum and tick and meet all the various deadlines that must be met so the Art can hit the Bruns stage in a timely manner and in all its classically re- invented glory. Along with the regulars, some new faces. Artistic Director Timothy Near and her posse from the San Jose Rep are here, since this is a co-production that will travel south for another run in September. The atoms in the room are charged with an unnameable excitement. We are on the launch pad.

Funny and Sexy and Romantic and a bit Appalling

That's how our director, the delightful and daring Lillian Groag describes the production she envisions for this Triumph of Love.Praised by Artistic Director Jonathon Moscone as a romantic visionary, Lillian, in some remarkably lucid yet seemingly off the cuff opening comments (its all being recorded for a podcast) elucidates our game plan. The Ruthlessness of Love shall be highlighted. Lillian, at her core, is a European artist, fluent in opera and steeped in a deeper tradition. This Triumph of Love will not be about nice neat pairings and happy endings but reflect the more European sensitivity of comedy and tragedy twanging in a minor chord simultaneously.

The Marathon

For the first week of rehearsal I am doing the equivalent of a theatre marathon. Because I am still performing a one man show in which I play 38 characters in Los Angeles, I must fly up to Oakland every day from Burbank, rehearse, and then return to Burbank in the afternoon to do my show. The insanity of this overlap doesn't really sink in until Friday afternoon when my dad calls me on my cell.

"Where are you?" he says.
"I am in a cab on the way to some airport. I have no idea which one."

Amazingly, I make all my curtains in L.A and even get in a little rehearsal in Berkeley. Whatta week!

Next Up:
The Artistry of Shovel Acting

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