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Tuesday, 31 August
Slowly I Turn

As you might expect, everyone was pretty excited this last weekend, as it was closing weekend for the show.

Friday: Rain.

The wife and I mourned the terrible turn of events by going to the IMAX theater to see the most recent Harry Potter movie, which featured Gary Oldman eating his own face, as he does so well. The movie also contains some hilarious scenes where the young fellow playing Harry attempts to conceal his prominent, embarrassing erections, which is somewhat difficult when they are apparently six feet tall. I can't wait for the next movie, which I assume will have a scene showing Hermione shaving her upper lip. On the IMAX screen, it will almost certainly look like wheat being harvested.

We did indeed have shows on Saturday and Sunday, however, bringing up our final tally of performances to 7 out of 12 scheduled. This is no way to win a pennant. On Saturday, having gone nearly a full week without doing the show, the actors were not quite on their game. One actress, having gone up on her lines, completed a dramatic paragraph by stuttering, "When gold and silver rust . . . we will . . . we . . . after all that happens . . . ah . . . then it will be funny." Well, good. At least "funny" is somewhere in the future. At another point, a different actor lost his shit completely, and simply didn't say his line. We hissed at him to give him a kind of half-assed prompt, to which he hissed back, "Keep going!" This is right at the bottom of things you want to hear onstage, coming a close second behind, well, complete silence.

These things happen, especially when events conspire to deny a cast regular shows. On Sunday, we were confident that we'd be more on our game; perhaps to help facilitate this, one cast member suggested we get together for a "unity circle" backstage before we went on. My tens of regular readers might easily predict my reaction to this suggestion.

"I'd rather die," I said. But these things take on a life of their own--Christ, actors are weird--and after some cajoling from people who really felt strongly about it, I reluctantly trudged over to join the circle. Unfortunately, since the cast was so huge, the circle began to spread out into the actors' seating area, where many deck chairs had been laid out for us, and we found our circle blocked by these various items. Everyone stood around, not knowing what to do (like, I don't know, move the circle), and we stared at each other dumbly for a little bit, an uncompleted circuit needing unforthcoming help from . . . anyone. I found myself clutching a chair back in lieu of someone's unifying hand. Finally, I turned and said to portable furniture, "Chair, I think I'll miss you most of all."

The final show progressed well after that unlovely benediction. People were picking up their cues, and overall, it was a pretty good show. There were, however, developments of a sort. At one point in the show, one character flings dry oatmeal at another; this did not go unnoticed by the pigeons who live in the park and they immediately flocked over to devour the discarded grain, unasked-for guest stars. They were actually hilarious, and lent a certain "Where's Tippi Hendren?" aspect to the proceedings, particularly when they had finished up with the oatmeal and began stalking other scenes with a definitely gluttonous sparkle in their creepy side-faced eyes. There is a "Last Supper" scene which coincided with their tentative assault, and they seemed to be eyeing our plates of plastic fruit with an unnerving potential of voracity.

I actually fucked up a line because the sky-rats were so brash; I kept imagining their hive-mind communiques:

"NO-WINGS HAVE SUSTENANCE! SEE HOW THEY EAT GRAPES!"

"SKY-RATS ATTACK! FIRST, OATMEAL! NOW GRAPES!"

"BE OF CAUTION! THEY ARE NOT FUNNY."

I'm hard on the show I just did, and I've been hard on the shows I've done lately, and I think it speaks to something: I'm going to lay off acting for a while. Possibly a good while. I'm probably tempting fate by even writing this, but I just haven't been enjoying myself doing acting for a long time, and that's no good at all. I have a job already, and it pays a helluva lot more than acting--which, you know, pays nothing--so when acting turns into another job, well . . . you can do the math. It makes me sad and kind of guilty to admit it, but hey: in the final analysis, if I'm not enjoying it, what the fuck am I doing?

I've already turned down one role, and I don't expect I'll be accepting another soon. And with my crummy attitude, who would want me in their cast?

I know. Unity Circles everywhere are wondering who in the hell is going to notice those poor chairs.


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Comments

in hopes that you can delete this message, check your izzlepfaff email...

Comment number: 004080   Posted by: beige1 on August 31, 2004 12:21 AM from IP: 24.18.137.226

Huh? What up, Beigy? I see no mail.

Comment number: 004143   Posted by: Skot on August 31, 2004 07:53 AM from IP: 66.150.9.3

That's interesting. Actors do need breaks. Humans grow and change. Artists need spiritual variety and replenishment. When I take a break, I never know how long it will be. But I can feel when something fundamental is shifting.

I find changes in desire and actions, fascinating, compelling, truthful. They are like a fore-dream, still obscured. Who knows where yours will lead? Godspeed. And keep posting, of course.

A book by Richard Bach begins with his realizing one night that he was done with barnstorming -- his lifelong dream -- and he wanted a soulmate. The next day he sold his plane for $11K, and called his bank, only to discover that -- between his frugal living, and his books taking off -- he had over a million dollars.

The rest of the book is, what do you do when you have just discovered you have a million dollars, and your course has just changed track?

* I * want to discover one day that I have a million dollars. I did one day discover I had $60K (I discovered this after refinancing my house), and what I did was go visit all the group theatres in Eastern Europe I'd only read about, and live at one of them for a while. Now I'm discovering I have about $4K, and I'm about to go back to work.

Sometimes it's hard to know what you want, what will feed your soul. You only know what you DON'T want. Or, that's how it works for me, anyway. Ah well. Thanks for the chance to riff. Keep posting.

Comment number: 004144   Posted by: rachel on August 31, 2004 11:29 AM from IP: 172.128.216.154

weird. I sent an email to the address listed on the left.

Comment number: 004145   Posted by: beige1 on August 31, 2004 11:42 AM from IP: 24.18.137.226

I would have paid to see the pigeons. I once saw a show, a Spiritual, Uplifting, Mostly Singing While Wearing Robes And Walking Slowly show, in Moscow, Russia. As their only backdrop, there were 24 white doves on a long black shelf. Well, the doves got to pushing and shoving and cooing sharply, until one fell off. Their wings were clipped, so after it had made it to the ground, it couldn't get back up. But it wanted to. After that, of course, the real show was -- how many doves will fall off? At first the ground doves wanted back up. But after a while, they became their own little ground-dove community, and wandered amiably around the stage between the actor's feet, looking for food. So, as you can see, I would have enjoyed the pigeons at your show.

Comment number: 004146   Posted by: rachel on August 31, 2004 11:43 AM from IP: 172.128.216.154

It's too bad. There's a part in The Crucible just made for you.

Comment number: 004148   Posted by: kaf on August 31, 2004 03:56 PM from IP: 216.237.50.242

I'll miss it if you quit the acting, because you have some funny shit to write about. Because it's all about me, you know.

I think you should dress up as Data and go to gay bars more often. Or am I muddling up some of your old stories...

Comment number: 004149   Posted by: Bernice on August 31, 2004 06:08 PM from IP: 210.89.128.21

I'll miss it if you quit the acting, because you have some funny shit to write about. Because it's all about me, you know.

I think you should dress up as Data and go to gay bars more often. Or am I muddling up some of your old stories...

Comment number: 004150   Posted by: Bernice on August 31, 2004 06:08 PM from IP: 210.89.128.21

On the other hand, you played God!

Comment number: 004151   Posted by: mike on August 31, 2004 08:50 PM from IP: 216.173.212.237

It's too bad. There's a part in The Crucible just made for you.

You know, I just reread that play the other day. I can't for the life of me remember a character named "Goody Asshole".

Comment number: 004152   Posted by: TheBrad on September 1, 2004 08:26 AM from IP: 69.153.96.2

Skot, you are far too funny an actor to deny the world your presence on stage. Think of the kids, man, think of the kids.

Comment number: 004159   Posted by: Joe on September 6, 2004 06:31 AM from IP: 207.69.138.13

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