Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April's Fool

These pages have been dormant for many weeks, for a variety of reasons.  My life imploded a bit in recent months, and though I certainly could have made time to contribute to this site, I just was not inspired.  And who wants to read a blog which isn't inspired?
Here's the Fool's coxcomb.
And my apologies for being
absent for so long.

The biggest event in my recent life was surely my father's heart attack in January. 

Though he's well into his 80s, my dad has maintained perfect health throughout his life. 
Every doctor he's ever encountered has marveled that he will live beyond 100. He's never been overweight, and though he was a casual smoker in his young adulthood, he quit smoking over 50 years ago. His diet has been exemplary, especially since marrying my stepmother more than a decade ago, and his exercise routine includes cardio 5 times a week. He has aced every stress test ever given to him, and he hasn't had a drink in years.  In short, he was the last person ever thought to be at risk for a heart attack. So he had one.
It was a pretty major event, and Dad's overall good health helped him survive the damage to his heart.  By coincidence, I was scheduled to fly to North Carolina to visit him the day after his attack, so I was present for his hospital stay and his return home.  Even in those early days, his recovery seemed to pleasantly surprise his doctors (including the doc who missed Dad's clogged arteries all these years), and he is well on his way to recovery.  But this event severely rattled me and my family.  Having myself achieved half a century a while ago, I am now faced with the reality of Heart Disease in my Immediate Family.
Only a few weeks after my father's heart attack, my oldest and dearest friend Claudia lost her husband of 30 years.  I wrote about my Claud quite a while ago in these pages, and it was particularly frustrating for me to be a continent away while she went through this major trauma.
Not everything these past weeks has been traumatic.  I could claim that my own life has been filled with drama, but it's been the theatrical kind.  
Hudson Warehouse posters usually feature
the leading actors in evocative poses. My
little secret: I am determined to land on one
of their show posters in the future.

I spent most of February and March working on a production of Julius Caesar, produced by the group with which I have spent the past two summers, Hudson Warehouse.  After a decade working outside, this group snagged the opportunity to produce two shows indoors, and their first Shakespearean offering was that ode to the Ides of March.  I was very pleased to be offered the role of Casca, as the arc of the character was dramatic and satisfying.  The first time we see him, he displays a dry wit which sits well on me;  in his next scene, he is a bundle of nerves.  Hudson Warehouse has cast me very well in the past two seasons, for which I am grateful. 

Casca and Cassius face the elements.  For two summers,
the only complaint I had about working with Hudson Warehouse
was: the weather. Out in Riverside Park, we are at the mercy
of sudden rainstorms and blistering heat.
And I've been obnoxiously vocal about it all.
This year's indoor production included, you guessed it, a huge
rainstorm. Before my entrance, I sprayed water all over my hair,
face, and clothes, leaving me wetter than I had ever been in the
park.  I call this Payback Karma.
It was fun to watch Hudson Warehouse's team play around with lighting and sound effects, which are not possible when they work in Riverside Park.  I won't be working with HW this summer, as I attempt to get my personal finances in order, but I hope I'll be back with them again in the future.
Our Julius Caesar followed the historical account of his assassination, which reports that Casca delivered the first of 23 stab wounds. Our fight choreographer Jared Kirby (encouraged I think by our producer Susane Lee) gave the final stab to Casca as well.  And who was I to argue?
I had a week between closing Julius Caesar and the start of my next project, and I spent the time indulging in a couple of Broadway Shows.  I'll report on those separately in later pages.  On April Fool's Day, I began rehearsal for King Lear, in which I am, prophetically, playing the Fool.  I've worked with Titan Theatre Company before (in fact, they afforded me my NYC debut in Taming of the Shrew); this particular group of actors is an extremely strong one.  As I write this, we have opened the show to strong audiences and enthusiastic reaction.  Now that I'm back on The Blog, as it were, I hope to track our show's process in better detail.

Stay tuned for further reports, and welcome back!