Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Won One.

As most of you know, in an effort to feed the creative part of my soul and to alleviate by depression at the sudden demise of my acting career (which is in the rear view, you know....and objects in the rear view mirror are NOT closer than they are), I do some stuff from time to time at the local community theatre, or the college, or the summer Shakespeare thing.

This year, I did a couple of things at the Dakota Stage here in the Capitol City of the Northern State.  In October, I did what should have been this fun little four-handed farce called WHO'S ON FIRST.  It was kind of like GROUNDHOG DAY with an unseen malevolent genie.  A read of the script provided me some laughs and I thought it would be fun.

And then I met the Director.

For the four dedicated actors on the stage, it was a nightmare of unbelievable proportions.  And we did our best and it turned out okay.  But it wasn't fun and it should have been.

The second thing I did was a production of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, which I directed.  And that, my friends, was glorious, with one exception.  But it was solid, and I managed to assist to bring some great performances out of good actors.  They surprised me every single performance night.

At the end of the season, they have an awards night, where they give away awards for the best performances and plays of the season.  They call them Brady awards, named after the last Artistic Director, who is a gem of a human being and a good director and a great audience.

It's a party.  And this year was the first year I attended, largely because I was nominated for three things and I won one last year for Best Actor and I was giving away the Best Actress award this year.

It's a party that apparently hates people who don't drink; when I asked for the non-alcoholic section, I had a choice of water or coffee.

F**k that.

It was an interesting evening.  Of course, as you well know, everybody is nominated for everything, and in the fashion of all community theatre awards, it's important to award not just the best, but the hardest working; and the awards can be less about what appears on the stage as a kind of even distribution of accolade, and I understand that.  So, I thought I'd sit back and relax and give out my award and enjoy the cumulative success.

I fully expected NOT to win the Best Actor award, because I won it last year and by GOD, the fellow who played Brick in my production of CAT was my odds-on favorite.  So, I was shocked and bemused when they called my name.

Now, make no mistake, I am proud of the work I do on the stage; I have some talent in it, and I enjoy the crap out of it and have always firmly believed that a bad day on the stage it better than a good day doing anything else.  But seriously.....I won for that nightmare production in October?  There are actors during that season that stretched and grew and did good work and they give the award to the guy who coulda done that work in their sleep?

Can you believe I didn't write an acceptance speech?

So, of course, the first sentence out of my mouth is, "Was the Awards Committee high?"

I thanked the actors and did not thank the director. 

I didn't win Best Director.  But the winner played Mae in my production of CAT, and it was her first appearance as an actor on the stage so I count it as a victory.  She had a tough script to direct and she did pretty well.

CAT did win the covered Best Production Award.  And I thanked everybody but one, and played the sound cue I was forced to change because one of my ACTORS threatened to report the production to ASCAP.  It got a good laugh.  And I thanked everybody in the cast and backstage and was thankful for the work they did and the enthusiasm they brought.

And then I went home and put the two awards on my shelf.

They're doing the Scots Tragedy this year.  I would have liked to audition; but they regularly use the actor who tried to scotch my work by forcing me to change a vital sound cue at the end, and I won't work with him or even mention his name.  But I am not so narcissistic as to make a director choose between two actors in such a way, so I stand aside.

But I coulda played the crap out of it.

So, life moves on if there was something to stop it.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last Plane, Last Leg.

Welcome to MSP.

Arrived an hour late, so my layover is only four hours, rather than five.

The flight from ATL got caught in what can only be described as a Severe Thunderstorm.  On the runway.  Awaiting takeoff.  They shut down the engines, and opened both the liquor cabinet and the in-flight entertainment.  So, I had a Coke and a smile and re-watched the first episode of the third season of Sherlock.

And the plane got blown about a bit.

And the takeoff reallly sucked.

So here I am.  Awaiting the final leg to Minot and the hundred mile drive home.

My niece got married today in Colorado.  Congratulations to Erin and Alan.  Long days and pleasant nights!  Your wandering Crazy Uncle John sends his love....

The aiport at ATL is Arkham Asylum with Starbucks and Coca-Cola products.


You may not know this, but the flight from Savannah to Atlanta is about as long as it takes to get to cruising altitude.

The planes they use for such puddle-jumps are, in a funny word, dinky.

And crushingly full.

Of infants, toddlers and slightly older smaller people.

I really wanted to see if they could cry and scream the word "NO" in some kind of harmony.  It would've been fun to try.

No, it really wouldn't have been fun to try.

And the standard caveat applies; I never had to deal with the smaller version of children on a regular basis, and I am completely mystified by the ability to do so.

So, since I was feeling a bit cheap because of my slightly negative feelings, I decided to balance the scales a bit.

I helped a young Mother out by carrying her carry-on as she wrestled with her infant child.

A very large infant child from a very small woman.  The physics (what limited physics I remember) boggled my mind (which should come as no surprise).  It was akin to actually putting ten pounds of mud in a five pound bag.  And then releasing it through a spigot.  All at once.

Bless all Mothers.

She was grateful for the help, by the way.

I then went and had lunch, and not only offered half my table to a Grandmother (seating was at a premium) but also bused the table for her.

She was grateful. 

But not grateful enough to actually leave a tip.

Are you listening, Karma?

Okay, three hours here, and then on to MSP.  And then five hours there, and on to Minot, ND.  And then a hundred mile drive back to BIS.

If you ain't here, you're no place worse so count yourself lucky.

Greetings from the airport in Savannah, GA.

I wish I could explain where I was, and what I was doing, and who I met and how long it took.

I can say it's exceptionally humid here; they have gnats that can chew through plate armor; I'm sure the scenery is great, but the compound wasn't; and the food was fit for your enemies.

And now I'm in the airport.

I've been here since 6 AM.

My flight leaves at 11 AM.

There will be a layover in Atlanta and Minneapolis.

Totaling 8 hours.

Total flying time: 4 hours.

There are toddlers crying; or perhaps auditioning for the Met.

Three teenagers sitting next to each other, each talking on a phone.  One just asked permission to hang up and hang out with her friends.

I'm not sure permission was given.  She's still talking.

And now she just threatened to kill somebody; I hope it isn't me.

Although if it gets me out of this airport....