Friday, April 11, 2008

Shear Madniversaries

It sometimes seems that Shear Madness has taken over my life, and in truth, it probably has, at least for a while. It is virtually impossible to forget about the show completely during the off hours.

But I shall do my best for the next week or so. Our company is laid off until the 21st, as the American College Theatre Festival (which includes the "Irene Ryan Awards") is moving into our space.

I was feeling pretty privileged to be performing the Madness on Monday night. Why, you may query? Monday night's show happened to be Performance # 9,000 of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. Quite a feat. I was actually honored that the show's management asked me to make a little curtain speech after the show, letting the audience know why they had attended a very special performance.

Later in the week, we celebrated another anniversary, and a few farewells. Two of our actors are moving on to other projects, so Thursday's show had a bit of poignancy to it.

In addition, Thursday marked the 1,000th performance in the show of Marcus Kyd. Marcus has played most of those shows as the younger detective, Mikey, though he's done a fair number of performances as the sleazy antiques dealer. Because of understudy requirements, he has performed the role of Tony (my role) several times as well. But his best fit is Mikey, where he supports the rest of the cast with naturalistic enthusiasm. One of the pleasures of appearing with this cast this year is the chance to get to know this young go-getter, who balances his commitment to Shear with fatherhood, while heading one of the city's newest and most avant-guarde theatre groups, the Taffety Punk (he'll be absent from one of our future performances in order to accept a Helen Hayes Award for his new company). Marcus's enthusiasm is infectious, and I enjoy every moment I share with him onstage. Even those moments in which, as Marcus puts it, his "interior monologue" becomes an exterior one. Several vets of the Madness have this habit, acquired after years of performances, of keeping up an almost constant stream of muttering under their breath. I have not acquired that habit (actors playing "Tony" tend not to, as we talk too much at full volume), but over the years, I've become accustomed to this odd quirk of other oldsters.

So, it's been an event-filled week at Shear Madness. I admit I look forward to our ten days off, during which I will spend a long weekend in North Carolina visiting the pater. I'll return to KenCen with one third of our cast having changed, which means, though it may not be a whole new ballgame, the change in roster will mean a different rhythm to the music.

And of course, a return to frequent note sessions post-show, and additional daytime rehearsals. Like I said, when I am in Shear Madness, it takes over my life...