A man in a suit.

January 8, 2007 at 12:14 pm (Bloom Status: Upward)

First of all, thank you for your kind responses about my solo show. They were each really helpful and much appreciated. I stayed up late and read out loud the jail story on The Gallivanting Monkey, and realized that I’m not starting from absolute zero. Though many segments of it need to be rewritten for stage-friendliness, there’s a lot there that’s fine as is. But then there are the large matters of Why This Story and What Kind of Show is This that lead me to What Else Do I Need To Write. Also, I need to find a director – someone rigorous and fun who’s a movement ace, since I need a movement ace, as I’m not a movement ace. I’m thinking about asking George Lewis, for all you Seattle theater types who would know who I’m talking about.

noh santa

Also, hilariously, I had a psychic reading with Erin Pavlina (who’s linked on the right over there) and the subject of my show came up. The advice from the spirit world was to skew the show 75% towards material I’m very sure of and 25% towards experimentation. That sounds pretty good. Also, the spirit world suggested I do a lot of different voices, because I’m good at that. I will take that under advisement. But the best part was that Erin said that a man is going to come see the show – this is Destiny – and book it somewhere else, somewhere perhaps fancy. This man is in his 50’s, she said. He’s portly, wears a suit, has a moustache. He’s sort of an abrasive guy, maybe a chauvinist, but I’m not to let that bother me. I’m to overlook that stuff and let him do his thing – and don’t piss him off – because he’ll take me somewhere I really want to go. My word! Heidi put into words well what I was thinking, that this is definitely going to add a sort of Waiting for Guffman dynamic to the show when it’s in performance. If anyone shows up in the audience who answers at all to that description, I’m going to notice and maybe get all weird. After the reading I was like, how do I look into this? Do I google “portly moustachioed theater brokers”? “Rotund besuited chauvinist movers and shakers”? “Fat bastard theater wizards with facial hair”? In any case, this is excellent because it will provide levity before I walk out on stage. Here I come, Guffman. Tonight’s the night. That’s the worst thing that could happen. And, of course, the best thing would be if the big dapper crank were to actually show up and rocket me to the stars.

Finally, in my ongoing Weight Watching, I have lost 27 pounds. This officially escorts me out of the overweight category and deposits me on upper rim of normal healthiness. Huzzah! 13ish pounds to go to reach my goal, which is the absolute middle of the healthy range. Meanwhile, I’d like to give a shout-out to Quaker Oats Weight Control Oatmeal (with a special nod to Cinnamon flavor), Barilla Plus Pasta (whole grain, full of protein, tastes far better than it should), apples, water, Rudi’s Organic Seven Grain & Flax Bread, the Weight Watchers Flex Plan (a system which allows me to eat anything I like as long as I balance things out) and breastfeeding, which burns 500 calories a day. Eat up, buddy.

Bloom Status: Upward

Advertisements

Permalink 3 Comments

I am afraid to write my solo show and then I am afraid to do it.

January 2, 2007 at 10:48 pm (Bloom Status: Sideways)

I watched Inside the Actor’s Studio tonight, the interview with Matt Damon. He was great, I thought. Whenever they have somebody really good on there it lights a fire in me. And the fire it lit gave me a good look around the joint. (The joint = me.)

Here’s what I saw:

HOLY SHIT I AM TERRIFIED OF MY SOLO SHOW.

shrub

In March I’m slated to do ten minutes during an evening of solo bits. And I have a deadline to have a first reading of my script in March for a little invited audience, people in my theater company and whoever else makes the cut. So, the time is now for getting to work in earnest. There’s no way I can really get momentum started unless I address this fear thing. In fact, I think I’m going to use Bloomerang as a place to process this fearsome journey.

Ten years ago, I saw my friend Kristen Kosmas in a solo show she’d written called slip. I remember going home afterwards – and I’d never had the thought before that I’d want to do a solo show – and sobbing. I felt like Salieri. I felt like I’d seen Mozart at work and that I was Salieri and that I would never be able to do anything like she’d done. I felt hamfisted and dense and unformed and coarse and stupid. It was brutal. I remember grabbing a book off of my bookshelf in desperation and doing a book oracle for some comfort. (You open a book at random and point at the first passage your finger goes to and there’s your divine message right there.) I pulled an Osho book off the shelf and there was a passage about being your own plant, some advice to the effect of not being jealous of a rose if you’re a wisteria, just growing your own way. I remember doing my best to embrace whatever plant I was, this Not A Kristen Kosmas Rose.

Ten years later, I’m a better actor than I was, and a better writer than I was, and I don’t feel like I’m supposed to do a show that’s just like Kristen’s or Heidi’s or Sarah Rudinoff’s or Lauren Weedman’s. I know that I’ve got something I can give that’s worth giving if I can find it – maybe not on the level of these women, but something worthwhile in its own way. But can I find it? Will I be able to get past my fear enough to do it? Or will I be able to work with it? Will I be able to see clearly enough? Do I have the right skill set for this task? I don’t know.

I can’t say I’ve never done anything scarier, as I have a child now. But, yeah, wait. Yes, I can. I was afraid to give birth, and had qualms about becoming a parent, but I knew it was right. And there’s a lot on the line in becoming a parent, but nothing that it worried me to put there. This is different. So, yes. I’ve never done anything scarier.

With a solo show that you write yourself, you’ve got a recipe for all the terror possible that an actor can face. I mean, having a solo show get stomped on is about as personal as it can get. It’s you out there by yourself, your material, your presence, your artistic sense. And there’s such hubris attached to this kind of undertaking – real and perceived – that people get positively gleeful with their vitriol if it fails. I have a couple of friends in L.A. whose theater company has a show they do called Easy Targets, wherein they put on faux solo shows and have people throw tomatoes at the actors. I went out to dinner with these guys last week, and you can bet your ass I wasn’t all like, SO HEY, I’M DOING A SOLO SHOW! What’s new with me? Uh….the baby…and uh…nuthin’.

Oh, lord, people. I’m slated to do this show in the fall of this year. How I wish I didn’t feel this weird imperative to do this. And I do! I feel sure in the worst way that I’d be furious with myself on my deathbed if I chickened out of this. Son of a BITCH. No way but forward. I might crash and burn, mofos.

All right. Enough for tonight. Next time I’m going to be yammering about the process of choosing material. YACK GACK. God help me.

salieri

Bloom Status: Um, do I have to keep doing this bloom status thing? I only use it to pat myself on the back, it seems. See, normally I’d be like, look at ME all TALKING about my FEAR! How BRAVE! Bloom Status Upwards, bitches! But let’s face facts. I have got a lot of work to do here. Bloom Status is Sideways. If I quit, then it’ll be downwards. But doing this post was a lateral move if there ever was one.

Permalink 8 Comments