Monday, February 23, 2009

Monologue Monday - Where's My Money by John Patrick Shanley

Not much to talk about, at least not at the moment. But, I didn't want to go another week without a monologue for a Monday, so here's one that I had sitting around by John Patrick Shanley from his play Where's My Money. You can find this play in his book Dirty Story and Other Plays. It's pretty solid.

So...what follows is a monologue about manhood. I generally even toss that word IN at the beginning of the monologue to clarify.

(Manhood.) It's a job. Done right, it's a tiring job. And women have a lot to do with what that job entails. Sure, women create. The womb. We all acknowledge the womb. But there's another side. And it's not pretty. There's a Hindu deity in India named Kali. The god of destruction. It's a woman. She's got a bloody sword and an appetite for decapitation. In the West, we call her "The Devouring Mother." Creation, destruction. Every woman has these two sides to her, and every man must deal with these two sides. Creation, destruction. You gotta orient a woman in such a way so as to be facing her creative parts. You want the creative parts. The destructive parts - you want those to be facing away. Towards a wall or an enemy or something. Women consume, and they must be directed what to consume, or they may identify you as lunch. You've gotta point them. Like you would a bazooka. Like you would a chainsaw. You wouldn't hold a chainsaw by the chain. Let me pull it together another way. Monogamy is like a forty watt bulb. It works, but it's not enough. Women used to come with goats and textiles. When they got upset, they worked on their textiles and they yelled at their goats. Now they look around, no goats, no textiles. All there is is some schmuck trying to read his newspaper. All right, all right, here it is boiled down to nothing. Don't bet the farm, Henry. That's what I'm trying to say. Cause if a woman smells that you're betting the farm on her, you're gonna lose the farm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Survey Thingie

I did this a while back, but I like to do it anew every now and again. It's fun, and hey...maybe you'll learn a little something about me...


LAST SHOW YOU AUDITIONED FOR: Last audition was UPTA, this last weekend. The last audition I had for a show was for 1:23 at Synchronicity. Man, I wanted that show.

DID YOU GET IT: No... Won't make any excuses, but I still think I woulda been pretty darn good for it.

LAST SONG YOU USED AT AN AUDITION: "Just a Moment in the Woods"(?) from Into the Woods

FAVORITE MUSICAL(s): Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Jesus Christ Superstar

FAVORITE PLAY(s): I'm a big fan of Henry IV Part 1, but only about half of it, really. Contemporary stuff that I like is Sweet Eros and The Pillowman. For that matter, I had such a visceral reaction to Pillowman that I carried it around trying to get other people to read it. I also LOVE Antigone.

LEAST FAVORITE MUSICAL(s) or PLAY(s): Ohh? I don't know. I tend to not have the same visceral response of hatred to theatre as I do to film. Goodbye to the Clown is a play I wouldn't want to do again, but I don't know if it's most hated. Probably something super self-important. Something that has many qualities of Rent, but without the nostalgia factor.

FAVORITE ROLE YOU'VE PLAYED, AND FROM WHAT SHOW? I've got several that I've simply loved. Claudio, Bottom and Tom from Glass Menagerie come to mind immediately. But, I've never had more fun than with John Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet. I just don't know if anything is going to top it for a bit. You know...unless...

A ROLE YOU’RE DYING TO PLAY: There's this Hotspur fellow. I think I've mentioned him once or twice.

Also, I'd love another crack at Tom, and there are several Shakespeare folks (Benedick, The Dauphin from King John, and, my heart of hearts...Romeo.) that I'd love to try.

And the Young Man from Sweet Eros. Though Lee did a great job when I directed it. And Roat from Wait Until Dark. And...

SUPERSTITION: I don't have superstitions. I have things I do tend to do before a show, though. I try to listen to music that is similar in theme to the character. I pray right before I go on stage. However, most of these are things I just happen to do. I know the wheels won't fall off if I don't do it. Closest thing I've ever come to a superstition is when I was doing The Lost Colony. My lead in song was "High Barbary" which has a pretty strong beat to it. Every night, since I started it, I would stand at the bottom of the staircase and pound out the beat on the stair railing before I entered. It got me in a very Simon mood.

YOUR GOAL IN SHOW BUSINESS: I my family, help people, make a living. I don't know. Specifically, in my life, at one point I would like to work with a group of young, professional actors, not unlike an apprenticeship. Laura Cole has the job I want the most.

FAVORITE DIRECTOR YOU HAVE EVER WORKED WITH: Man, there are so many. I've loved working with Christina Vaccaro (even if it was only in scenes...), Jason Leyva (even if his chaotic nature clashes with my lawful nature...), and Ross Bolen (when he's on, mind you...). But, I've got to say, the one I have to give it to is Robert Valentine. He spoke my language and showed me a passion that I wasn't sure I had in me. For so many reasons, I am where I am today because of Bob Valentine. He's a director that, if he called me today, and KNEW he just HAD to have me for something, I would go...

WHAT WAS YOUR VERY FIRST SHOW?: Oh, Lord...some show when I was in first grade. I played a guitar playing elf for Christmas and went up to my parents saying, "Mom, Dad, I want to be an actor!" Little did they know...

The show that I judge as my first "real" show was The Transferred Ghost my freshman year at MCHS. I played a guy named Cecil Villars. Thank you, Myra Cleaver!

First truly professional show? Anything at Double JJ. I remember marveling at my check. "I'm getting this...because I'm an actor. Wow..."

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DANCE SOLO?: Maybe? You do a little bit of everything at the Double JJ Ranch and Resort, whether or not you're any good.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SINGING SOLO? Yes. Avram in Fiddler on the Roof and as myself in Double JJ's A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll. I still know all the lyrics to the first verse of "I Like It, I Love It".


HAVE YOU BEEN TO NEW YORK? I have been in that city, yes.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO LA?: Nope. So very far. We'll see.

WHAT'S THE SCARIEST PART OF AN AUDITION?: Trying to memorize something beforehand, knowing that I'll never be able to get off book. So, basically, wasting my time.

WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF AN AUDITION?: Cattle call or regular? Cattle call, it's got to be the moment, in the beginning, when I know I am going to crush all opposition. Regular, just doing the work, man. Getting up there and trying to connect with someone.

NAME A SHOW YOU WOULD NEVER DO AGAIN: You know, there's a caveat to this. I'm still at the point where I'd do just about anything for the right price. But, like I said before, Goodbye to the Clown and (Yes...)Spreading It Around aren't shows that I would want to necessarily revisit.

NAME A SHOW YOU COULD DO FOR YEARS: Something Shakespeare. Let's all do Much Ado and switch up parts every year. It is a show that I could probably do forever.

WHAT ARE YOU AUDITIONING FOR NEXT? It's sort of up in the air right now. I know I'm doing Atlanta Unifieds, but there's a chance I may go in to audition for Kentucky Shakespeare Festival as well. We'll see.

DO YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH PAST CAST MEMBERS?: I try to. There are some folks I keep in touch with. Sharon and Ryan Mills are people that I don't talk to for months, but it feels exactly the same as when I left New Jersey six (SIX?!) years ago. I also try to keep up with a couple of folks from Double JJ and some from Lost Colony (SPECTRUM!). So, I dunno...I try.

ON A SCALE OF 1-10, HOW IMPORTANT IS GETTING PAID?: At this point in my career, it's a 9. I'm to the point where getting paid is of the utmost important, because I'm trying to make this my lively hood. I'm not seeking out employment at places that won't pay me. Now, that being said, there are a couple of places that could probably get away with paying me a super low stipend, if they have to be in the right geographic space, with the correct pull to make my resume look awesome.

SOMETHING EMBARRASSING OR UNEXPECTED THAT HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE ON STAGE?: The one that keeps coming back to me is "The Story of Jacob and the Dog". I will probably toss that up as it's own post some day... Outside of that, probably when my mustache came half off during a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. I went in for a hug, and came back with it half-askew. I stood, listening to the crowd slowly begin to titter, excused myself, went backstage to rip it off, came back out, and enjoyed the reaction from the audience. It's original practice, man. You have to acknowledge when something like that happens. The audience will love you for it.

WHO IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PERSON (ON STAGE OR OFF) THAT YOU HAVE EVER WORKED WITH? You know, everyone is so lame when it comes to this. "Ohh, I think I'll keep this to myself." Blah, blah, blah. If you don't want to answer it, take it out of the survey! Matt Hatton. He stays on top. He was a terrible stage manager, but a good guy. In college, when I saw that he was the SM for something, I would avoid it. Also, to quote the last time I did a survey like this, "There are no directors that I hate. Just directors that made me hate acting. So I quit working with them. Simple."

EVER BEEN NAKED ONSTAGE?: Nope. But I probably would, for the right part.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN KILLED?: Dogg...I do Shakespeare. Of course I've been killed. I've even been beheaded! I'll have to post a picture of that at some point.

BEEN DRUNK?: The one that stands out is Tom from Glass. As someone who doesn't drink, it's sort of hard to pull off. But, I think I was alright.

PLAYED SOMEONE HALF YOUR AGE?: Maybe? Young George Gibbs was pretty darn young.

PLAYED SOMEONE TWICE YOUR AGE?: Yep. Leonato was pretty darn old.

CRIED?: Rarely. I have a problem getting tears to come, but there have been a (VERY) few occasions that it's happened. The one that sticks out is Our Town. It isn't something that comes naturally, though.

FIRED A GUN? WORD! "This cup is three times the thickness of your skin..."

BEEN DRENCHED? From sweat (gross) and rain, yes. Though Lost Colony was pretty good about not making us work in the rain. I was more drenched from sweat night after night...

BEEN IN A DREAM SEQUENCE? Yep. This seems like an odd question to ask.

BEEN KISSED?: Yes. Of course. Look at how "leading man" I am...

EVER PLAYED A GLB OR T?: Well...maybe. I don't know. I mean, I KNOW my opinion, but it's never expressly said. Tom is, of course, the guy I'm talking about. I don't think that you have time to play "gay" any more than you would play "straight". Just be the person.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN FORCED TO MISS A PERFORMANCE?: Yes...:( Hamlet: Prince of D.C.. I was overbooked and not able to make it from one theatre to another. They had an understudy who went on, but, damn man, I tried so hard to make it. I was so angry when I found out I missed it.

HAVE YOU EVER STEPPED IN FOR SOMEONE ELSE AT THE LAST MINUTE? Nope. I think that'd be a lot of fun, though.

WHAT'S THE WORST CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH YOU HAVE BLANKED OUT ON STAGE? Perhaps you will think this is funny, but I can't remember. I know I have. Not too recently. The last few shows have been so driven by the fear of, "I HAVE TO SHOW THEM WHY THEY NEED TO HIRE ME AGAIN!" that I don't give myself that opportunity. HOWEVER, I do have a pretty hilarious story about a buddy of mind blanking during The Faustus Project #14. This was a guy that isn't, really, an actor. Just a guy that I got the gig, because I am so very nice. He had this monologue at the top of the show. I'm backstage waiting to enter and hear a few lines, solidly...then silence. The director, who was also working the lights, told me later that he stopped...stared at the audience...and started walking toward him. The director was shaking his head furiously, but my friend just wouldn't stop. Luckily, I came out and picked up his cue. Hilarity. I just remembered I blanked in an audition recently. Even blogged about it. That sucks so much.

WORST COSTUME OR COSTUME MOMENT? Really, I don't know. I mean, costumes are something that just don't enter my logic as a performer. They can only enhance, I find that they very rarely detract. As an actor, that is.

ANY STAGE COMBAT? Yup. A little. On stage, I've got experience with rapier, broadsword, sword and shield, and hand to hand. Some of the stuff that stands out is Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet, Simon in The Lost Colony and just about anything at The Tavern.

WHO'S THE MOST UNLIKEABLE CHARACTER YOU HAVE EVER PLAYED? Larry Drayton. No question. I've played a hubristic guy who sold his soul to the devil, I've played a villain who talks smack to everyone who has a dream of the new world, calling them all idiots, I've played crooked cops (Det. Davenport in Funny Money, bullies (Toby Belch...yes, total bully), and some people who just represent evil at their most pure form ( high school. I want a real shot at him...) and no one, I repeat NO ONE is more unlikeable than Larry Drayton. Man, I couldn't stand being that guy. "Who knows? Her health could take a turn." YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT YOUR MOM, ASSHOLE!



EVER WANT TO DO SOMETHING ELSE? Nope...Never for a second.

re: The Last Post

YEAH, I know it's lame. Shut up...

Every day is the 14th...

Dear Valentine,

I'm not entirely sure why I stay with you. It's rare that someone can make me feel worse than you. You jerk me around all the time. I see you around town with other guys, and wonder why you're even out with them. I wonder why you're treating them better than me, sometimes. You won't show up for months at a time, and when you do show up, you overwhelm me. You give me more options than I could possibly handle, and are irked when I can't keep up. You get into me and tear me apart, leaving me riddled with self-doubt, making me not sure if I'm good enough for you. Making me wonder if I'm just embarrassing myself when we're together. There are times when I want to quit this charade and just move far, far away...maybe start dating your cousin. Someone that's related to you, but not you. Never you.

I think those things sometimes. And then I remember why I love you. You have the capacity to make me feel so bad, because of your ability to bring me to heights I've never imagined. I hurt when you're gone, because the absence of you is so very profound. You've brought such amazing people in my life, from John Barrymore to Claudio to Blue Ramada. You allow me to forget everything when I need to. I wrote on an old blog that, with you, "I can ignore myself, and through that, I will blossom." But that isn't entirely true either. Because it's never about ignoring myself. It's about finding out who I am when I'm with you.

I hope you're always in my life. Thank you.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Maybe there's no harm in a wasted summer with no drummer

So, I got back from UPTA at about four in the morning yesterday... Some things have occurred to me. Allow me to share them with you.

Both myself and KG, my friend who I went with, had about sixteen callbacks last year. This year, we dropped to about three. Now, I can't speak for her, but I will say that I wasn't particularly shocked by this. But, it is the beginning of a rant... A rant that, if you talked to me in the last few days, you might be familiar with. Feel free to skip it.

(Rant) To set this up for you, UPTA is spread across four days. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. One of those days is not like the others. Which one? Monday, of course. Why is it different? Because Monday is a typical actor's day off from performance. Most places are doing shows on Friday and Saturday, with at least a matinee on Sunday. Now, I understand that Monday is the end of a very long weekend for most folks and they have to be thinking about packing and heading out. I'm just curious why you wouldn't want to stay and watch the auditions on the day when 90% of actors working in the month of February could make it. I did the math before I went, and was supposed to be auditioning for 55 companies. After I checked out my callbacks, I took a look at the lists and there were about 29 that watched my group. Plus, when you factor in that I had on my information that I wasn't particularly interested in children's theatre or an internship just at the moment, there just weren't a lot of places that I could audition for left.

I'm not saying that what the companies are doing is wrong. I just don't see why you wouldn't want to check out the people who are working currently and, thusly, in demand. UPTA has to find a way to either incentivise companies staying or give a financial break to those going on Monday. Monday auditions oughtn't have to pay the same price for, roughly, half the opportunity. UPTA is still the best cattle call audition I've ever been to, don't get me wrong. But I'm not entirely sure I'll go next year if I can only go on Monday. (/rant)

All that being said, the three callbacks that I got were quality, with two specifically that I'm interested in. Plus, I was able to sneak in to Lost Colony to put my Simon on tape for them. I'm not expecting, necessarily, to go back there, since they've got in such a different, musically inspired direction. But, I do know that I'm a damn good Simon Fernando, and no one can take that one away.

I also had a moment where I made a realization. (Realization) I've got resume envy. I look at other resumes, and want what they have sometimes. I want names that pop and casting directors to raise an eyebrow when they come across something. Now, don't get me wrong, I think my resume is pretty darn solid, but I'm still...I dunno, envious isn't a good word for it, but it's the only one that comes to mind. Which is why I'm trying to get rid of it. I have to make my successes my own. No one else's success is mine, and that should be alright. I need to get to a point where I'm alright with my resume being, simply, what it is. That's easier said than done, but realizing it was the first step to, I think, a happier and more content career. (/Realization)

Also, I think I'm going to be doing some more stuff with reThink! Which is awesome. I was in a cape, essentially, from 9 to 5 the other day. Here's hoping the Amazing Brian was amazing after all.

So, that was my weekend. But enough about that. I'm going to go walk to the gym and enjoy this weather while it's still here.

Come Saturday, you'll come to stay, you'll come to sway in my arms.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Some folks have been asking me about when I'll be returning to the Tavern stage. Well, wait no longer, one or two people who were interested. I'll be back on the stage in April playing Guildenstern in Hamlet.

I'm pretty sure I've said it before, but I noticed at some point earlier in the year that Hamlet was going to be my last chance to act before the summer came, which was pretty darn scary. So, when I saw Drew's (the director, fight director AND associate producer. He's busy.) number come up on my cell phone, I might have done a little happy dance. I would have felt really stupid if he was just calling to say hi.

As always, one of the main reasons I'm excited to get in something at the Tavern is getting to play with my friends. For instance, I know that Doug Graham and Josh Jones are also cast.

I love how busy I've stayed. I know it's a mixed blessing, because it does make the slow times feel THAT MUCH slower, but I've been incredibly blessed to be working this much in my first full year out of the apprenticeship.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monologue Monday - King John by William Shakespeare

I've got some pretty good news, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow to announce any specifics on here. I need the material.

So, this monologue is one that I've had in my head for a long time, but never really wanted to memorize until this year. It's Lewis, the Dauphin of France talking to Cardinal Pandulph. It's from a rarely produced play, so often times gets overlooked. I've had the good fortune to see this play twice, oddly enough during two apprentice years. Once this past year at the Tavern, the other during my time at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Also, this is going to be my companion piece to Hurrah at Last at UPTA. Both are pretty heavily cut, but I think that they retain their shape nicely. Especially this one. It's written in such a way that almost lends itself to cutting. If you can do the whole thing, that's icing on the cake. It's chock full of great stuff. But there's a lot here to pick and choose from.

Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back:
I am too high-born to be propertied,
To be a secondary at control,
Or useful serving-man and instrument,
To any sovereign state throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this land,
Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
And come ye now to tell me John hath made
His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action? Is't not I
That undergo this charge? who else but I,
And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
Have I not heard these islanders shout out
'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd their towns?
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.
Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook conquest and to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.

He's even got one of the best putdown lines in all of Shakespeare. In this same scene, Phillip the Bastard comes into Lewis' camp and starts talking all this smack about how awesome the English are and how lame the French are. Lewis' response?

There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;
We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.

"We grant thou canst outscold us." TOLD!

I mean, granted, the English end up winning. But, still...awesome line.


Also, as an update to my last worried post, my family is making due. All is as well as can be expected. If you're the praying kind, my home could still use your prayers, though. As of today, there's still a quarter million people without power. Now, granted, they've made quick and amazing strides from even Sunday, when there were 400,000 some odd houses without power. From what my family says, it still looks like a warzone up there.

Also, this week I'll be doing some filming for reThink which is pretty exciting. I'm very happy to be in their rotation! Here's hoping for more. As time goes by, I really think that Kidstuf might be one of the best things to happen to me in Atlanta.