Thursday, May 17, 2007

Up Next

It looks like I shall be appearing in the Old Opera House's New Voice Play Festival for the 4th year in a row.

Here is how it came about.

Auditions were Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I had to stop by the OOH on Tuesday to pick something up. While there I asked what the plays were about this year.

Hoping for something dramatic, as I have not been in a drama in a while, I was slightly let down to learn that this year all four selections were comedies.

One was a historical comedy. A telephone call between Kennedy and Castro during the Cuban missile crisis. The catch is that despite being onstage the whole time, neither Kennedy nor Castro is heard speaking. Instead, the dialogue is delivered by two interpreters.

The next one dealt with a married couple trying to set up two of their friends on a date. Not an overtly original idea, but it provided the chance for back and forth sarcastic dialogue, which I have usually excelled at one stage. That also sounded interesting.

The third play was a sort of cute idea about a bartender that runs a bar across from a funeral home, that has a unique way of consoling mourners who come in.

The 4th play involved two people on a blind date. Actors on stage portray the alter-egos of the two people, delivering out loud the inner thoughts of each.

I went home and pondered if I wanted to audition, given what little I knew about each of the plays.

I was intrigued by the notion of being onstage, but without audible lines for a whole show. Invoking a character, particularly one so famous, would be a unique challenge without speaking, I thought.

I also liked the possibilities of the matchmaker play. Not a very original idea, but it was said to have a lot of sarcastic give and take between the characters. I excel at that on stage, I am told.

The one about the bar was cute enough. I was neutral, but thought it held possibilities.

The alter-ego one did not appeal top me at all, really.

I woke up Wednesday morning, and it was not until after I ate that I decided I would try out. I determined that on my audition sheet, I would mention preferences for the two that I liked, and point out the one I was not at all fond of.

I tried out with a small group of people. There were only about 5 of us at first with two showing up later. As I read the various parts for each play, I found my initial reactions to be on target in regards to which ones sounded most fun. Though I must say the one about the bar, from what I read, was more well written than I expected it to be.

Near the end of the audition, one of the directors asked if anyone was willing to be double cast. It seemed they were not sure they would meet the quota of men needed. I thought for a few minutes, and mentioned that is needed, I would be willing, if one of my parts was small, or if one of them was one of the non-speaking roles.

I got home, expecting to hear from them in a few days, as usual. I pondered the notion of emailing the OOH, and letting them know that my preference for the Kennedy character has increased. I went to wash my face, and the phone rang. I didn't get to it in time, but figured it couldn't be the Opera House yet.

It was.

They offered me two roles, but didn't say which ones on the voice mail. And by the time I got the message, i knew no one would be there. So for the first time in my career, I went to bed knowing I had a role of some sort, but having no idea what it was.

I called back this morning. The two roles offered were JFK in the one play...and one of the larger parts in the alter-ego play. I will be playing the actual clue yet who is playing "my" alter-ego.

The director acknowledged that I expressed a lack of interest in that latter. He added that he understood, and they were reluctant to give it to me, but I seemed to be the only one that fit the role out of those that tried out. So I agreed to take on the role anyway. Especially when I recalled that last year I was a director, and not having anyone to fill the roles for a while was quite frustrating.

So there you have it. Just like that I am back at the OOH after all. I do still want to expand my horizons to other theatres, but right now, nobody else is doing anything at all worth my trying out for, as far as I can gather. And as Olivier said, "an actor must act". So I will.

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