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.
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 here......as if there was something to stop it.