Thursday, March 28, 2013

Who am I this time?

I never know exactly where this juggling act will take me.  Which juggling act?  The one for which my Job Description makes use of numerous slashes.  Actor/Theatre Director/Casting Director/Writer.
So far, Writer is the hat that pops on and off the easiest, and always at my whim.  No one's paying me to do it and it happens whenever I decide to jot something down.  The jot might become a blog post, a Twitter tweet or a scene, but there is no discipline involved ... yet.
And Casting Director?  The most fickle.  When it's least expected, I'm selected ... but most recently the jobs have come few and far between.  Little projects, and "scouting" talent as I see everything I can and report back to my colleagues in town.  And just as I get ready to make an official announcement of retiring from that profession, something gets me back into the ring.  
I'm reading plays, and have a few projects I'd love to direct, and if all goes well I'll have a show in production in the not-too-distant future..  But there is no concrete offer yet, no plan in place.  Now, however , it's my return to performing, after a 17 year hiatus, that has me most "pumped".
Acting has been the constant, surprisingly enough.  It's where it all began, with my first grade, after school report to Mom, breathless and beaming ear to ear, that "the teacher said I read with expression!".  In my memory, I've barely gotten my coat off when I'm telling her the news.  Two years ago I followed a Twitter tweet, which led me to the ensemble of "The Miseries of the World" in the World Premiere production of Tod Machover's Death and The Powers: The Robots' Opera.  A collaboration between the A.R.T., M.I.T., and Chicago Opera Theatre, it was how i had the opportunity to work for director DIane Paulus and choreographer Karole Armitage, who together created a movement piece with our ensemble, which was performed within the opera.  I was cast the following summer in the winter 2011/12 production of Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA as Telegin, for the Apollinaire Theatre Company production at Chelsea Theater Works in Chelsea, MA.  This past spring, I auditioned for area directors, producers and casting personnel through the Annual StageSource auditions.  That audition led to invitations to audition for some projects that conflicted with the revival of Uncle Vanya in Oct/Nov, though callback auditions for the Huntington Theatre Company led to being cast in another ensemble, that of the Citizens of Grovers Corners, who are The Dead in the third act cemetery of David Cromer's production of OUR TOWN.  Since closing, I've been auditioning and will next perform the role of Blue in Keith Reddin's ALMOST BLUE, May 3-18, with Theatre On Fire at the Charlestown Working Theater, followed by The Doctor, the most famous stranger in theatrical literature, in Wax Wings' production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Factory Theatre, late June/early July (more to follow).And then I'll never work again.
That's The Actor's constant fear, in a society that doesn't support the Arts enough to guarantee a living wage to actors in pursuit of a career.  Very few of us make a living out of just being an actor.  The ubiquitous waiters and waitresses aside, actors work in all industries and positions.  Through permanent jobs and in temporary positions, I've had dozens of  titles, from dishwasher to assembly line worker, retail clerk to phone receptionist, insurance claims adjustor to food stylist's assistant (when I "picked out the good pieces" of Cinnamon Toast Crunch from scores of cases of boxes, poured into garbage bags and sifted through for the "hero pieces" that would then fill the perfectly photogenic cereal bowl of hand-selected sweet and crunchy morsels).
We live in hope, which springs eternal.
And my most recent new title?  Playwright ... well, "aspiring playwright".  I finally. after years of toying with the idea, wrote a 10 minute play for submission to this year's Boston Theatre Marathon, but was not selected.  Oh, well ...
But that won't stop me, just as the many auditions over the past 35 years, that did not lead to acting jobs, haven't stopped me from moving on.  And trying. trying. trying again.
And so in the coming week, I'll do another StageSource Audition,and go into rehearsal for ALMOST BLUE.
Watch this space:)

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