Staunton VA - OK, I'll admit it - I haven't felt much like blogging over the past week. I sort of feel as if I'm in this no man's land; with three weeks to go it's hard to fend off the feeling that the gig is up. The days have become rather repetitive and routine. It feels as if there really isn't anything to look forward to except the end of the contract and what comes after that. We're playing the shows with the same energy and commitment, but it's no secret that everyone can see the end coming. It's sort of the same feeling I get when I sense the end of a semester coming, but not exactly. I think the difference lies in the fact that, even with the semester ending, each day brings with it something a little new. whether in the classroom or in rehearsal. Here, the only thing different might be which play you're doing on a given day, but it's still one of three plays you've now done about 50 times each. Each audience is new, and of course that's what you always have to remember. That's what being professional is all about.
As always, I am tired by week's end. I've tried to employ different strategies, but no matter how much rest I try to get or energy I may try to conserve, I still find myself somewhat wiped out by week's end. I would love to be able to play volleyball on Mondays with the company, but I find I can't risk adding more physical exertion to my week. So I tend to take it slow on Mondays and get some exercise on Tuesdays to have a reserve of strength beginning Wednesdays. And then off to the races one more time.
So - what's the news? Well, last weekend I was up in New York City to take care of some personal business, and brought Olivia up there so she could do a few auditions. I also went over to Tyler's apartment in Manhattan to get his TV for him. He is moving out of his NYC place because he's joining up with the next tour and all his other roommates are also moving out. It turns out he lives one building away from where my mother used to live with my grandmother while she was going to college, on 141st. St. I was born three blocks away, on 144th St. I went by both buildings, but unfortunately did not have my camera with me. The building on 144th had a very, very mysterious aura about it - so dimly familiar to me. I had no means to get in, but recollections of playing with a slinky down the hallway stairs, a long corridor leading to rooms off the side and one large room and a kitchen at the end (which is the configuration of Tyler's place), the front courtyard - it all had an echo in the back of my head. I took a quick walk up to City College, where my father got his bachelor's and Master's degrees, and also was an assistant wrestling coach for a time. He would take me there on occasion after we had moved to Long Island, and that also had a strong resonance with me. The Jewish deli where we used to get hot dogs after a Saturday's practice is now a Spanish bodega. It was a stroll down memory lane, a time 45 years ago when the neighborhood was filled with small neighborhood businesses. It's still an Hispanic area, and I went to a restaurant called Gundy's and had a bowl of mondongo (beef tripe soup) and tostones (fried bananas) and practiced my Spanish. The soup was good, as were the tostones. I got along OK with the Spanish, but they had some trouble with my credit card, and since I began talking in Spanish they explained the problem to me in Spanish. I understood what they were saying, but I lack sufficient skill to converse fluently in return. But we got it all straightened out OK in the end. Then back to Staunton with Tyler's TV and Olivia for last week's shows.
There was a very cute incident during a performance of Planet this past week, but since Tyler has already blogged it and was onstage when it happened (I have committed "galactic suicide" by this time in the play), you should read his account of it. This little girl was enjoying the play the whole time; it's worth reading. The Q&As this week have sort of irritated me a bit. I never say much at all during them unless directly asked something, because there's just too much competition by everyone else to answer questions. An audience member asks a question, and by the time seven people on stage have answered it and taken 9 or more minutes to do so, very few other members of the audience get to ask questions, and it's hard to ascertain if the question was ever even answered in the first place. We also have begun to do put-in rehearsals for the time when Sarah attends a wedding and will not be here for a performance of R3. It doesn't affect me much at all. Jessica will play Lady Anne and there are some other role shufflings going on. We should finish the process this week. One wild thing did happen: Sarah's friends, who were on this season's episodes of Amazing Race, actually won it! They were a team of two, and they won a million dollars, which comes out to $600,000 after taxes, split two ways. We all tried to talk Sarah and her brother Ben, who was visiting her, to drive all the way to NYC for the celebratory party, but they didn't go. Sarah's brother Bill, who was there, came down from the party and gave us all a report. Bill says they are now in there 16th minute of fame, which is of course nothing, and we both thought a movie entitled The 16th Minute would be an interesting idea for a movie.
As for me, I got offered two parts back in Buffalo over the week. One is the role of Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and the other is Petey in Pinter's The Birthday Party. I am actually having a hard time deciding what to do with these offers. I probably will turn down Petey, since I doubt I can make any money off the offer, but in doing the financial calculations it appears acting in Buffalo anymore might be prohibitively expensive. But two offers in one week; I had thought the year down here would mean I would disappear from the Buffalo radar a bit. Apparently not so - it's casting season there, and if I took both roles, combined with my directing responsibilities in Fredonia I'd be busy from late August until the first week in March. Do I want to be that busy? Something to ponder on. And so I leave you. -TWL