Another Day in Sideburns

Went back to shooting Two Toms today. I love how long we’ve worked on this and having it come together. There’s lots of Italians on the set so we eat really well. 2 huge pans of ziti today. I love the freedom and intimacy of performing around the table. I’m getting away with murder clowning this character who is stoned. What I’m not crazy about is the time it takes. I don’t mind it, per se, but I had my call bumped up 2 hours but didn’t even get into make-up until 3 hours after I arrived. There are doing a good job but after your 10th hour, you get punchy. I try to use it as much as possible. I’m still conditioned to working in the theatre where you damn well better be 15 minutes early and going by the clock, especially on Equity shows with a stage manager who has a stopwatch. This is a different process where you work until you get it and then you move on. In theatre, you move on knowing you will get it when you go back through it (hopefully). When you aren’t involved in what’s happening, you hopefully are set free so you can go learn your lines or do other things like go over fight choreography or work on your accent. This just keeps plugging along.
The cast and crew for this are great. All of them are truly wonderful people. Ok, every group has to have a couple of bad apples but I do hope I get to stay friends with most of these guys and gals for years to come. Jason each of us a picture in costume. With my fake sideburns and Hawaiian shirt, I look like Wolverine meets a surfer dude. Some of the takes are outrageous. I think Jason will have a nice movie on his hands. I have been trying to set up spin-off ideas for a romantic comedy/horror film. Stay tuned.
On the American Badass front, I sent out more email blasting to press and people on my list. I’m getting a little better at that. I don’t know how it will pan out. I am not going to send out to anyone again, except to write personal things to specific people I really want to have come out. I don’t like blasting. I also learned gmail will lock you down if you send out too many emails or if you have too many bounce back at you, which I did with some weird bounce of 59 hotmail emails. I’m not comfortable talking myself up like I’m a refreshing can of soda or the sports car. But you have to do it, otherwise you run into tree falling in the woods territory. That truly sucks.
I had one solo where I got to the theatre and had no reservations. Being an optimist, I stayed thinking there had to be at least a handful of walk-ups. No one. I did the show for the artistic director and treated it as a special extra rehearsal. I say one in the audience is a rehearsal; 2 is an audience. 4 with some energy and receptiveness are the bedrock of a good audience. In any audience of 100 hundred people you usually have a couple or 3 ringleaders and people fall into camps with them. A good laugher helps train the rest of the audience. An annoying laugher can just make things worse.
Lately I have been giving quite a bit of thought to breaking my addiction to laughter. It’s a form of a need for approval and seeking recognition. It’s dirty money. I think laughter as a by-product is good but as a goal it tends to poison things. I rely on it at times as measure of whether the audience is there with me. Do they get it? Are they making connections? Is this hitting them on a certain level? But then, I also reach out for it as a balancing bar when feeling insecure about crossing the tightrope. Do they like me? Am I worthy of them? Will they go all the way to the end of the show with me or will I need to wrangle them the whole way?
Once I have a show down, I can let some focus go toward indirect energy being put out by the audience. It’s clear who is listening and who has tuned me out. There are times when I’ll go out and feel like I’ve reminded the whole place of stuff they avoid thinking about and have done a huge social faux pas.
In certain styles of acting, thinking about the audience at all is wrong/bad/sinful but in solo work, it’s necessary. They become other characters in the piece. They give and take the way a scene partner might. There are times when there might be one person who is radiating displeasure. One day I will become crazy enough to stop the show and ask what’s wrong. I try to find other ways to that so as to not be confrontational but sometimes I just want to find out if there’s anything I can do to help them or let them know they are free to leave.
I don’t know what response this show will have. I think I will be pushing and pulling the audience at various times. I wrote another one without direct audience address. Should I expand this one, I want to put in one piece that goes right to the audience and brings them out a bit. With this, as long as I can keep the information going across my brain and my mouth moving, I should survive.
Carolyn took her slides and illustrations to Daniel’s to add them to Debby’s sound design and Evan’s film. She showed what they did while we watched the Oscars. It looks freaking great. They did an amazing job in just a few hours (on top of her spending a long time putting the images and drawings together). I’ll get Debby’s theme song for the show tomorrow. You deal so much with ingredients, you forget there’s a cake being made. Actually, this show is more like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
I’m really fortunate to have a brilliant group of people working with me on this. Makes things easier and keeps me motivated. I need to find a great stage manager and my team will be pretty complete. We have 3 hours of tech on Tuesday in the Kraine. We have to be on the ball. This is when Maryvel will be bringing it with the lights.