Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Seven days without food makes one weak.

I looked over my day planner and realized that I am in the middle of a very busy eight-day stretch. Saturday was the day before my father’s birthday, but since I couldn’t be there on Sunday, we celebrated with dinner and general family time; and for the first time in a long time, said family time didn’t seem soaked in ugly awful tension[1]. Sunday, I cemented a slot in Mary Arrchie Theatre’s “Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins” Festival, which is a 72-hour orgy of hourlong timeslots taking place over the weekend of August 16-18. My short play “Accolade” is going to be directed by my colleague Mark Dodge[2] and is starring my girlfriend Donna, thereby granting her a Chicago stage debut and opening the door to countless wry jibes about how she got the part in the first place. (For the record, she read the part long before I even knew it had a production possibility, and she read it well. Since I set forth the proposal, casting was partially my responsibility, and there’s no reason that I have to avoid casting her just because she’s the love of my life.) We have no idea yet at what times she will be performing, or how often. The nature of the festival is that a show can possibly go up anywhere from twice to four or five times, but while one slot may be Friday night at 8 pm, the others might be at the strange hours of 6 am Sunday morning, or 3 am Saturday morning, or noon…the point is that the festival just keeps going and going. Should be fun.

Unfortunately, this brought us another can of worms, because this year’s Lake Trip[3] got planned for the same weekend, which not only means that Donna and I can’t go, but that all of our dear friends are presented with the choice of foregoing the fun, relaxing Lake Trip, or badly hurting Donna’s feelings (and to a lesser extent, mine) by missing the play’s premiere and her debut. It remains to be seen what will happen.

Yesterday I had class, in which my friend Rhonda and I performed a scene from “Big Time.” We did very well, each rehearsal has us getting better. We were also handed new scenes to work on with our new scene partners–Donna and I, interestingly enough, got a scene from “Borderline” in which our characters snort cocaine, flirt with each other, and then end the scene locked in a passionate make-out session. Our instructor does know we’re together, but I never expected that such knowledge would be used in this fashion. This is not a problem, we’re both gung-ho, we just found ti interesting that we’re being asked to make out in front of class. Perhaps it’s a “chemistry” experiment, to see if we’re the Penn Model[4].

Today, I will be meeting a gentleman regarding his desire to produce Harold Pinter’s classic “Betrayal”–this is not a conventional audition, so it seems, but a meeting designed to see if we would work well together. I admit a slight suspicion of the whole deal, for two reasons–one, who sets up meetings with potential actors but holds no audition? And two, the director requested in his initial ad that he wanted actors ages 18-25, which I find…not wrong, but curious, since the issues and pathos brought up in “Betrayal”–not to mention the timeframe–seem better suited to actors 30 and older. It’s like having college students perform “Glengarry Glen Ross”–I’m sure it can be done, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be. In any case, I’m meeting with the man because I’m curious, and because “Betrayal” is a classic piece of modern theater; getting cast as Robert, especially, would be a personal coup.

Tomorrow is the premiere of my show at the Artistic Home Theater. I will go see it tomorrow on my own, and Thursday with Donna, and then again next Wednesday with the Project.

Friday I may actually have nothing, which is doubly nice since I’ll be getting off work at noon. Likely, I’ll waste the afternoon playing either Jedi Outcast or Grand Theft Auto III.

Saturday, I have class five of six in my Neo-Futurist workshop; I will be performing a piece about “my most successful failure.” My vision is to produce some sort of group-juggle, using four racquetballs, but I’m not yet sure how I really want it to work. I was supposed to perform it last week, but we ran out of time, and I wasn’t volunteering before that happened. I need to get over the audition mentality. The piece doesn’t have to be perfect. The piece doesn’t have to be perfect.

Saturday night is a party at Donna’s house; hopefully there will be plenty of people there to socialize with.

Sunday afternoon I have an audition for an interesting new play called “Loser’s Bracket,” for WNEP Theater, and Sunday evening, allegedly, is the first readthrough for “Accolade.” A guy I met in my first-year improv class is doing a documentary on the Abbie Hoffman festival, and he has spoken to me about using our play as a linchpin, to document from readthrough through rehearsal through production, so that would be fun to be part of.

Last night, I found myself in a sitcom-comic scenario. Imagine if you will, being the only guy standing in a parking lot with five women. One is newly pregnant, one is a new step-mother, one is a mother of three, and the other two are childless. For a half hour, the guy stands there and watches the women talk about the unique nuances of pregnancy and breast-feeding and other such topics, he feeling as if he’s standing in some kind of stealth suit, watching the theatrical trailer for the impending baby shower. So that was last night.

[1] I used “time” a lot in this sentence, but it all seems natural.

[2] Mark Dodge gets a lot of praise for his name, which sounds to me like either a car dealership (“Come on down to Mark Dodge!”) or the name of a cop on the edge in an action thriller (“Dodge! Get your ass in my office, or I will have you walking a beat so fast…!)

[3] The Lake Trip was, until last year’s hiatus, an annual event, in which our group of friends went up to Klinger Lake and relaxed for the weekend. Since nobody went last year, I was really looking forward to this year. D’oh.

[4] This is a title of my own invention…the conventional wisdom about real-life lovers is that they have no chemistry when they act onscreen/onstage together. The exception to this is the Penn Model, named after married couple Sean and Robin Wright Penn, and if you saw the first half of “She’s So Lovely,” you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.

Current music: The B-52’s, “Time Capsule”

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2002 by in Love, Neo-Futurists, Performance, Plays, Theatre, Vacation, Writing.
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