Thursday, August 25, 2016


Last night was in all practical respects a minor rehearsal for me. I rehearsed only the scene wherein I play the murderer, who doesn't murder anyone. But it was a combat only rehearsal, which means i had even less to do. I literally steal a flash light from Fleance, and grab the collar of hist vest, out of which he squirms and runs away. That's my entire combat in this show.

Let me say, it's still important to run such a thing, as the kid playing Fleance was only recently added to the show. (I'd never worked the scene with the kid that had to quit.) Fleance deserves a feel for what will be happening, so despite how little I do in the scene compared to all of the others, (Fleance included) I'm glad I was there as much for his sake, if not more than for my own.

That is in fact one of the traits of this director; she takes no short cuts with combat, even the smallest moments of it. (Such as my own.)

More significant for the moment is the change to the venue. Our director, who was recently made one of the managers of the Black Box, has been allowed to re-design the entire space. As a result, the stage, seats, and the risers on which the seats were sitting for the last eight years have all been removed. The performance space is to be reoriented so as to face a different direction, and the stage is now about twice as wide as it is long, as per her vision of an ideal black box stage,. A "thrust round" she calls it.

Though I myself was very briefly named a manager of this same location, my influence quickly faded, and I no longer have any official role in the regular operations of Black Box Arts Center. So the place is what it is. (Or will be what it will be) regardless of my thoughts on the matter.

That does mean that I don't have thoughts on the matter, though, and with all due respect to the friends and colleagues with more influence than I, I'm not on love with the changes.

It will certainly be a fully functioning space, that in and of itself makes sense to me. (Though I'm not great at visualizing the final shape in my head.)  But, like old shoes, I was accustomed to the way things were for eight years. Things that I confess needed on some level some improvements, but are now totally gone.

And so quickly...only in a matter of days, the space in which I've done most of my acting over the last decade was destroyed and removed, both out of sight and out of mind. If you've done any community theatre at all, you know that a performance space can both aggravate the hell out of you, and somehow feel like home. For all of it's structural flaws at times, the place felt like home to me as an actor. Hell, I was one of the very people that helped build the space in the first place. (Before my influence faded.)

If it were up to me, I certainly would have remodeled; I don't think I would have rebuilt. I'd have done what I could to improve it, but it still would have felt like home. Though lots of friends still come in and out of it, it no longer feels like the "home" it once did.

Maybe it will again. I am supposed to be directing something there next year, (it's not known what yet) and I will of course be using the new version of the space. If I am in and out of their for another eight years, this new version will probably feel like a home.

And if it never does, it's not horrible. Not everywhere one works and creates can feel the same. I just perhaps would have preferred a bit more of the same in this situation to have survived.

I'm not bad mouthing anyone, or at least not trying to. I'm just a local community actor with a minority view on a major development. The actor in me remains committed to excellence on whatever shaped stage I'm using. That's the important thing.

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