September 21, 2006

God! Am I in the Cleveland Playhouse or Something?!

Ok stop, I feel like I'm watching regional theatre you guys. God! Am I in the Cleveland Playhouse or something?! Your craft is a muscle. You need to exercise it. Take a break. Think about what you've done.
- Amy Poehler, Wet Hot American Summer

I’ll admit it. A small part of me came here simply because I’d be able to use that quote. Constantly. But it is true, folks. I am, indeed, in the Cleveland Playhouse or something. My first job in Cleveland is on the run crew for Rabbit Hole.

As far as those other jobs – the coffee house: not cool enough, Playhouse development: Broadway experience means nothing when your replacement has an ass like that (I’m joking. I don’t even know who they hired.) But now I’m waiting to hear back from the Cleveland Orchestra about a similar position. Right now this is my dream job. It has steady hours, decent pay, benefits, etc. Plus it would get me back to my musical roots. It’s been nearly an eternity since I was immersed in the music scene (In most ways this is a good thing. None of knew me as a Drum Major.) This way I could do steady job by day and über fun theatre things by night, with my whole life immersed in the arts. Glee spreads across his face.

One of the reasons I wanted this job at the Playhouse is that I want to some day be a director, and it’s important to me to have had experience in all the aspects of theatre before I do so. I think having a better understanding of everything will help me in having a better vision as well as improve how much people want to work with me. Anyway, I’ve started on the bottom rung: run crew.

This is a great job. Back in college I never did it. I was always an actor or a director. When I saw people sitting in the back hallway or the LT, I just assumed that we had a huge crew of people desperate for Theatre Practicum credits and that with such large numbers, everyone had very little to do. This is not true (at least not where I am). Run crew is a series of starting and stopping, bursts of activity, and major rests in between. I spend half my time sweeping, mopping, making the bed, doing the dishes (really I feel like I’m earning an allowance as opposed to a paycheck), arranging set pieces and making tea for the actors. The rest of the time I’m simply reading by the rail, half listening for my cues that I’ve already memorized. It’s great. I’m actually reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on the recommendation of Neil and Dr. Dixon. I’ve finished the first two already. They’re neat. I’ll reserve judgment for later. And since tech week, work doesn’t start until 6:30, so I still have all day to spend to myself. And if my other job picks up, I will be able to do both and possibly fill the cavernous debt I’ve placed myself in since moving here.

But by far the best thing about the job is feeling superior. Not in an I come from New York and am vastly cooler than you kind of way. It’s just a comforting knowledge that I would do a better job than some of the actors and certainly the director. This confidence comes from my experience in college, not in New York. The New York thing is my pass for being worthy of conversation with anyone in charge. Also intuition. There are a couple of people that couldn’t read subtext even if it was written on cellophane. Plus they have some amazing quirks.

Method acting. There is a limit, people. Understand I’m not complaining; their anal-retentiveness doesn’t affect me at all. I’m simply an observer. But sometimes, when they’ve asked for a fourth revision of a recipe no one sees, I just want to shake these people and scream, “TRY ACTING!!!” But again, these little things are the fuel for my pompous arrogance, and I would be nowhere without them.

So the show Rabbit Hole: It’s utterly depressing and belongs on the Lifetime Network, not on the stage. It’s an utterly depressing piece about a couple who, eight months previously, lost their four-year-old son when he chased their dog out into the street and got hit by a car. The play mainly focuses on the fact that the husband, wife, sister and mother have nothing in common and in their lack of ability to comfort one another they discover that they are truly dysfunctional. But the set looks amazing, and about half of the acting is very good.

The house is doing great. My landlord came and fixed my leaky faucet and informed me that he’s going to rip out my crappy shower unit and install a nifty tile oasis. On Memorial Day, Caitlin and I made the curtains for my apartment. You know what? I think I'll keep this a work post. I'll talk about my apartment in the next one.

The End.


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