Monday, April 19, 2010

A Theatrical History

So three years into this blog and I've delved into my history in any number of ways...I've written about almost every important concert I ever attended, I've named and reviewed 50 of my favorite albums and 50 of my favorite books, and most recently gone back and identified every strange brush with ill-health that I can remember.

I got to work today and wondered what would be next, where I'd take this space. After I finished the book reviews I told myself I would take a break and do some writing for myself. Immediately upon making that decision I was asked to write something for Brains Of Minerva and was in the running for a very high-profile writing gig that ultimately didn't work out.

During that break I missed the daily challenge of calling something up, doing my best to articulate something specific about it, and letting it stand.

I am currently acting in a show at the Los Angeles Theater Center. It is a World Premiere of a new play by Erik Patterson, a playwright I admire greatly. I am enjoying the heck out of this show and am very proud and pleased to have such a great project to be working on.

As with any play there is a story that goes along with it. But you usually can't name the story until later, until the project is over and you've gotten some distance from it. In ruminating over this play that I am currently doing I began to look back over my life in the theater. I cherish my memories and will never find anything that equals the thrill and power of a play being performed for a live audience.

And, voila. My next blog path arrives.

I will be going back and telling whatever "story" is connected to every play I've ever done. College, Providence, New York, Regional, Los Angeles...I am going to have a blast going back into this territory.

When I got to the University of Rhode Island theater department I was already in awe of it. My sister Sheila had been a part of the department starting when she was in high school and did a production of "Picnic" that is legendary in my family. So by the time I enrolled I knew many of the students, I knew many of the professors, I knew the theater and was very excited to sign up.

Now, my high school drama club was quite adventurous and creative. I've seen plays performed by young people that work on every dramatic level conceivable. But the leap from South Kingstown High School to URI was quite drastic. The professors were determined that our experience should closely mirror professional productions. In fact, in retrospect they were far more disciplined and regimented than many professional productions that I've heard about.

I had no idea what to expect when I was cast in my first play.

Which I will talk about tomorrow...

Hay Fever by Noel Coward, comin' right up!

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