Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Monday, October 03, 2005
There is a new guy at the office who has singlehandedly reminded me why I love doing storefront theater over professional paying gigs.
This man, we'll call him "Jori" (because frankly shouldn't there be more Jori's in the world?), is the latest addition to our lunch circle (the now four-member group that sits next to the company fountain, chicken quesadillas and tuna melts cooling in front of us, while we discuss the topics of the day).
Today, we are discussing the upcoming show I'm in ("Guignol X", opening Friday at the Hunger Artist Theater...Shameless plug), and the following dialogue ensues between him and someone who we'll name Hecuba...
JORI: I did that for a while. Full-time.
JORI: Yeah. The biggest thing I did was I was in "La Cage Aux Folles" the first time it was on Broadway, about twenty years ago.
HECUBA: Wow, really?
JORI: Yeah. But I couldn't do it anymore.
HECUBA: Why not?
JORI: Because you save up all this money, then you spend five months unemployed spending all that money while you wait for your next job.
ME: Yeah, a full-time job like this won't do if you want to go professional.
JORI: Yeah, because sometimes you have performances during the day.
ME: And rehearsals during the day, too.
JORI: But I miss it. I miss it a lot.
HECUBA (pointing at me): Well, maybe you should start doing stuff at...
JORI (looking as if she had suggested he try garbage collecting as his trade): No.
HECUBA: Oh, okay.
I'm glad that people like him are around to let me know that the kind of theater I do is amateurish, unprofessional and, from the way he was acting, downright filthy.
Because I thought that I was one of a troupe of talented, dedicated and passionate acters, directors and designers doing what we love without any sort of compensation other than the experience, one of a handful of troupes trying valiantly to stay afloat in this culture-deprived county. I didn't know that I was simply some talentless nobody monotonously reciting Larry Shue dialogue while forgetting to cheat out and project my voice.
So Thank God for people like Jori, who can let me know that what I'm doing is unimportant, merely a roadside strawberry stand in the highway of theater. And thank God that he can regale us with his tales of yesteryear, underscored by his torment at having to give up a life on the stage without daring to compromise his dignity by doing STOREFRONT THEATER! I'm sure the very words send chills up his spine.
And how dare Hecuba even think of suggesting that - instead of spending his nights watching "Desperate Housewives" - he waste his time at some theater that would not only fellate him just to have a morsel of his wonderful talents, but would not know how to properly use those talents to any sort of great effect.
After all, if he were going to do theater in the area, it would have to be professional venues like Laguna Playhouse or South Coast Repertory. But only now that they have been established as Equity theaters, and not when they started out being storefront venues.
And he'd rather be working with Broadway stars, like Cheyenne Jackson. But only when he is the lead in shows like "All Shook Up", and not when he was doing community theater productions of "Cinderella" in Idaho.
So thank God for Jori, who can remind me what real theater is.
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