Hello! Thank you for coming. Now clean yourself up!
There has been an accusation leveled against me. I will not say by whom. That I have NOT BEEN POSTING. This is a lie. All around Atlanta, you will find various flyers, papers, posters, etc that I have tacked to all sorts of surfaces. They are notices of plays happening in town, usually. I like the occasional gag “Lost Crocodile” flyer.
So here’s a little update. Right now, I’m in my room, admiring my new printer, listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast with Molly Shannon, and wondering if I’m EVER going to have the competence necessary to stage a play.
I’m in rehearsals now for a show with Process Theatre Co. called Auntie Mame. It is not the musical, Mame, it is the straight play of the same narrative. I play, among other roles, O’ Bannion, the Irish poet. I like the chance (any chance) to trot out my accents professionally (or anywhere). It pays a little, and I like it a lot. There’s sad news though. Apparently, the Theatre they operate at, Onstage Atlanta, running since 1971, is being replaced by a Wal-Mart. What else can I say. This sucks. I want to find out more before I cast aspersions one way or the other, but I think, we can all agree, that there is a surfeit of Wal-Marts. This is not the case with successful, long-running Theaters.
I recently drove up to Virginia for the weekend. My reasons for doing so were many (3): I wanted to see the Blue Ridge Mountains, I wanted to see my Grandfolks as well as my Dad in NC, and I wanted to audition for Endstation Theatre Company.
The drive was a serene 8 hours. There was not much to distinguish the journey itself, save for the glimpses of vast mountainside views during the last leg of the trip, and the WTF Podcast. Weather was temperamental, but not unmanageable.
I had coordinated with my Grandfolks, Mimi and Daddy-Pok, to stay at their Mountain Home, while they were in NYC for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The key they had left was not usable. I was contemplating staying at a motel closer to the audition location, when the neighbors imposed their very generous hospitality on me. They were from New Jersey, and were big on raising Horses. We talked the night away, myself mainly to stave off sleep. These were PERFECT strangers, and I suspected ties to the New Jersey/Virginia Mob. When I did finally trust them enough to go to bed, I slept soundly, watching the stars burn bright through the Mountain’s night fog. I woke up early and had some breakfast, and had some coffee from their old fashioned percolator. I was feeling much more amiable towards them as I left, but I sensed that something was unresolved between us. Maybe some failed assassination attempt had soured their mood. In any case, I made my 7am journey to the audition.
Endstation Theatre operates out of the Sweet Briar College campus, which is magnificent to look at, especially early and completely empty. I had brought my guitar, an Avett Bros song, and a Benedick Monologue. It was my first time having an extended conversation with Geoffrey Kershner, who I had always heard from FSU folks and Endstation vets was a great director, and just all around a swell person. It’s TRUE.
I hope to those who read this, that this whole piece doesn’t sound like a Romp Through Egoland. There’s not much I can do about that. I’ll just say this. I nailed the audition. I had a great time, and was so excited to be working there over the summer. During the break between the audition and the callback I had gone to pick up applications around Lynchburg for summer employment.
Feeling awesome, I left Virginia for North Carolina. I was acutely aware that I was missing rehearsal for Auntie Mame, but I felt seeing my Father was more important. Plus, he had told me that he had a computer and a printer he wanted to hand off. I arrived shortly, and almost ran into the family’s garage. I saw Dad, Kim (step-mama) and all the kids. It was crazy how good it was to see my siblings, I didn’t really expect to feel so attached. Part of being an older brother, I had always understood, was having some kind of detachment from younger siblings; usually manifested in the form of working on an old motorcycle or working at the steel yard. I dunno. In any case, I was only able to stay overnight, have breakfast at I.H.O.P. with them, and skedaddle off. I left them a belated Christmas present I had neglected to send (Boomwhackers), which they told me they like.
I know this feels like a long post. It feels like that to me at least. STAY WITH ME.
I made my way down to Atlanta. I got home just in time to get an e-mail from Endstation, casting me in Comedy of Errors and Macbeth. I was ecstatic for a while, but it was short lived. It wasn’t a paid gig. After taking a look at my finances, I saw that a break from my dayjob for 3 months would be a serious gamble. I was forced to make a tough decision. Do some great summer theatre and risk destitution, or play it safe?
Ultimately I had to turn it down. It felt awful, mainly because the principle of not taking a risk felt like a step back. Perhaps the scariest thing about being an artist isn’t creating bad work, but getting to a place where it feels okay to just not create anything. I’ve already made the commitment to be successful in this field, but there’s more I could do, certainly, to stand out. My drive to Virginia was halfway fueled by gas, halfway fueled by family, and halfway fueled by a “Fuck It” attitude (improper fractions are fueled by the “fuck it” attitude as well).
I think that for where I am now, the fuck-it-ness doesn’t serve me as well as it would’ve a few years ago.
I don’t mean to bring you down here folks. There’s always next year to do cool things like this, and if I’m on more solid financial ground this same time next year, I’ll be driving right back up.
As a matter of fact, I just booked a commercial, which will earn me a nice chunk of change for one hour’s work. Sometimes the disparity between film and theatre is staggering.
Everyone reading this, I miss ya! You should send me your mailing address, if you haven’t already. I would love to send you a postcard, which has been my practice, as of recently.
By the way, it was Smyra. Smyra Yawn said that I don’t post.