It’s about time I confessed something…
I seem to be an actor again.
I have posted before about how my sporadic stage appearances since college have largely happened accidentally; and that’s essentially true. I didn’t pursue many opportunities at all. But this year…what a curious year it has been.
Back in February, a friend and colleague was urging me to get to know a new theater facility getting off the ground in Orange County. Most of the time I have done theater in the last few years, it has been in LA, but that gets pricey, and difficult to coordinate with the ol’ day job. And it seemed like I ought to do more to build a creative node in my own backyard. So I decided to show up and audition.
And I got cast. As Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. There are pictures of it and everything.
I received tremendous positive feedback and encouragement – with friends, co-workers, and strangers alike asking what my next role would be. At the time, there wasn’t a plan; all I wanted was a vacation and some time for the bruises to heal (physical comedy, you know…)
Then that same friend who introduced me to this place was making her directing debut with The Odd Couple, and offered me the chance to be a part of it. And suddenly I was playing Felix in The Odd Couple.
At this point, I was having enough fun, and sacrificing enough of my off-hours to it, that it would have to be considered at least a hobby. But it cost me valuable writing time, and still didn’t hold any interest for me as a professional pursuit, so I wasn’t booking any headshot photo sessions. Still – I was tracking local stage auditions more actively. Some ambition was growing there. I liked the people I was meeting and really enjoyed being in the push of rehearsals again.
On Monday night I went to an audition at the Long Beach Playhouse. This was me punching way above my weight class – walking into a prestigious company with a nearly 90-year history and competing against Equity Actors in front of complete strangers for a non-comedic role. Put me in the right role and I can get laughs on-stage. But the dramatic muscles…no one’s called on them for awhile.
I can now announce (confess?) that somehow, strangely, I have been cast once again. I will be playing Renfield in the Playhouse’s production of Dracula, as adapted by Steven Dietz from Bram Stoker’s original novel. It’s a heavy schedule – at least 16 performances in October and possibly some private bookings on top of that. My first read-through is Saturday morning, and I’ll have to leave early to make the matinee of The Odd Couple, which is still playing for the next two weekends. My next real free time is likely to be November.
Still – a Shakespearean romantic comedy lead, a hypochondriac neat-freak, and a bug-eating asylum patient, all in a six-month span. That’s a good year for anyone who loves the stage. I can’t pretend anymore. I’m not a writer who sometimes acts. I’m a writer and an actor.