Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Events, current

What's been happening in this actor's life?

Lots of stuff, but nothing to write home about. Or in this case, write to the ether about.

But as my last several posts have been all about other things, I'll try to bring this one a bit closer to home.

Well, the Madness of Shear continues, with about a month left on my contract. Last week, we were visited by the Big Boss, the Grand Pooh-Bah, the Chief Gee-Whiz, Bruce Jordan. He is the co-creator of the show, and was its first (and probably best) Tony, the role I continue to attempt.

We spent several hours in rehearsal with Bruce, who is an expert at comic acting, and he afforded us new and useful techniques. While advising our cast, Bruce was also training a new director, who will be putting together a production in Malaysia. I don't even know where Malaysia is, or what language they speak, or even if they have hair dressing salons like the one in Shear Madness. And where are they going to get all that shaving creme?

But other things have been going on, too. I've been appearing in a series of staged readings with my buddies at the Washington Stage Guild, while they await the completion of their new theatre. I've been pleased to be included in most of the readings they have been producing this season (in lieu of fully staged productions). It's been a great opportunity to try out different roles, with wacky accents and such, without pressure.

There is an Art to performing in a Staged Reading, and I think I am getting pretty good at it. A Staged Reading, for the uninitiated, is simply a reading of a play by a bunch of actors, with an audience in attendance. With script in hand, the actor attempts to create a semblance of a character, something which might be useful in a fully staged production.

The Stage Guild's season of readings has afforded me the opportunity to experiment with a variety of characters, including an all-knowing butler in The Return of the Prodigal (by St. John Hankin), a doltish copper in The Rising of the Sun, and a suspected Irish murderer in Spreading the News (both by Lady Gregory), a middle class British doctor trapped by his own hypocrisy in Widower's Houses (George Bernard Shaw's first play!), and a cuckolded husband in Dangerous Corner (by J.B. Priestly). My most recent reading for the Guild was a hoot and a half, as I played a myriad of characters, including an upper-class yachtsman, a Cockney zookeeper, a lifeguard right off the beach in Malibu, and a lizard. (In fact, not just a lizard, but the King of the Newts, "Commander Salamander.") The play, called War with the Newts, is an adaptation of a Czech science fiction novel written back in the 1930s, but is, freakishly, very relevant today.

These staged readings yield artistic satisfaction, but no monetary gain. So, I've submitted myself for several sessions of Lawyer Training. These are seminars set up by big law firms to train their young associates on the finer points of appearing in court. These law firms hire actors to portray various litigants, in order for their newbies to practice. I have no doubt I will be reporting more on these episodes as they develop.

And lest you think I have abandoned looking for traditional acting gigs, I'll reveal that I have auditioned twice for the new Renee Zellweger flick which will be filming in our area soon. I've also attended the general auditions for two local theatre companies, in hopes that they might fall madly in love with me.

[uncomfortable silence]

So far, there has been no happy dancing...