Stepping Into The Limelight…

This is Leo.
This is Leo.

Hello gentle reader,

My first time walking into Limelight Actors’ Theater was filled with so much anxiety.  By now, you probably are thinking “Jeez, what doesn’t make you anxious?”

Touche’ hahahahaha

I was brought into this project by some fabulous friends, so I felt it super important to make a good impression on the director-fella, Kevin Heath, who is also happens to be the co-owner of the company, along with Alan Obata.

Weeeeelllll, walking into rehearsal 15 minutes late was NOT the way that I wanted to start off our first encounter.

Now, lemme ‘splain.

I had my GPS set for the Limelight address… but for one that was from a while ago. LOL! And what, bummed me out is that I circled the block twice with 10 minutes to spare trying to see if I was in the right spot because the only place that looked open was a car repair shop.  Then somehow, I managed to recall that our fearless leader had sent an email about the location for our read through.

One minute after the scheduled meeting time, I sent him a message letting him know of my goof and he was kind and understanding.  So I drove down the street and made it to the proper spot and shamefully walked into the venue.

Right away, Kevin popped up out of his chair with a big smile and a ready handshake.   Easily one of the kindest people, I have had the pleasure of meeting.  We traded pleasantries around the table as we took seats to begin the reading.  Like the first read through of “Super Villain” at the Pear Theater, I giggled the whole way through, and in the process stumbled on some of the words.

When we reconvened, after a month and a half away, we got to work putting this show on its feet.  I felt a little like I was bumbling along through the blocking, because I needed to get my awkwardness into gear.  I hoped that it didn’t look too spastic when I panicked. Then when we were told that a piece of the furniture was going to be a bean bag that I jumped on, I felt my stomach flip flop.  A big guy like me?  Jumping on a bean bag?  C’mon!!!!!  Talk about panic.

We rehearsed and rehearsed with no problems.  Things were piecing together.  The motions a bit more natural even though they sometimes were opposite of what I would normally want to do, thanks to my want of being a dancer.  Graceful wasn’t what Robert was about.

Preview snuck up so fast! The people that were there got to bear witness to my fear ever since the announcement of the bean bag.

The Bean Bag Incident…

Yes, dear reader. You can probably guessed what is to come.

All I remember is putting the handbag I was suppose to hide in its place then rushing over to get the bean bag.  I recall getting my hands on the white, smooth, faux leather and jumping in the air and suddenly hearing “pfwhoosh!!” Then an eruption of laughter.

I flailed around on this ever shrinking bag of beans and the laughter escalates in the midst of my flailing! I finally feel the giggles dying down and calm my motions as well for the scene to continue.  Oh boy! When I stand up, there is a mess of little white puff balls littering the stage and I worry that someone is going to fall.  GAH!!  Why a bean bag?  LOL!

Take that bean bag!!! Me :1 Bean bag: 0

It wasn’t until after the performance that I was told that every flail resulted in those little beans flying out of the hole in the bag which happened to be near my crotch, thus making me look like a seahorse on dry land birthing my offspring. Can’t visualize it? Check out the bottom of this post.

After that first audience, I always had to mentally prep myself for the possibility that it could happen again.  That’s when I found Leo (image at top).  He was just a pattern on the back of the set.  The natural lines in a wood pattern that my brain decided looked like a lion.  Every night there after though, I would take a moment and run down that particular sequence of events so that everything would be fine.  He was like my little mascot for the show.

I really don’t want to gush about how fabulous it was to work for the Limelight Actors Theater Company. Not because it isn’t true. Absolutely not. I had a marvelous time!  I don’t want to gush because then everyone is going to want to work there and they should, but I don’t want to have so much competition for roles.  Selfish?  Totally.  I wholeheartedly admit it.

That being said, I think people should experience what it is like to work for someone who cares so much that the actors are able to focus on their roles and fosters an environment that truly feels like we are creating something in tandem.  We were welcome to try out as much as we wanted, and believe you me, I took full advantage of that.  I don’t think I did anything the same more than twice while we were rehearsing because I kept having different feelings appear in my noggin so I would run with it.  Sometimes it worked out better than the last thing I thought of, and sometimes it didn’t.  I appreciated that whenever I would say “it feels weird to do…”  this motion or that one, I knew that I was heard and got to talk about it.

*sigh* I already miss the place. Not to mention the amazing people that I had the chance to work with!  I always love getting to work with my buddy Aaron Weisberg and the superb Cindy Powell, but to play on a stage with the very funny trio; Christine McElroy, Rachel Perry and Heather Bass was sheer joy!  Everyone was genuinely interested in our castmates’ lives outside of Boeing Boeing and it was so fun getting to really know these outstanding beautiful people.

So… thank you to Kevin and Alan of LAT for letting me be a part this crazy and kooky show with a whole slew of great people.  Alas, now it comes time to depart for the next destination, but I can’t wait to be for a return visit!

As promised!!

SEAHORSE!!!

It’s the Bittersweet Symphony, That’s Life…

HELLO Gentle Reader!!

mousewheel

These last three months seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye!! I just turned around and whoosh…

Evita opened and closed. I loved meeting so many new people and young talent.  It was educational watching Lexi Dorsett Sharp and Jesse Sharp as they continuously sought or created opportunity for themselves.   The show had a wonderful run, but then it was on to Boeing Boeing which ended up having the same rehearsal period at the same time as Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang. Even now, I still hear fabulous comments regarding Evita as the audience of Boeing leaves.  Lucky for me, we are now two weekends into Boeing and Chitty is set to open next week.  So I was very excited about the prospect of possibly having a week or two off to relax or what have you, BUT it turns out my next project, Corridos,  begins rehearsals next week.  The commute is about twice as long as the other two shows, but I am really looking forward to the experience with The Western Stage Company.  After that, then I get a bit of a break before reprising my role as Father Mouse for a children’s play during Christmas.  It is a fun little gig and I get to be silly and make children laugh.  What’s not to love about it?

While this year has had a number of new experiences and opportunities for me, I have come to find out that I need to pump the brakes a bit and handle some non-theatre business.  It saddens me that I need coast for awhile instead of building on my momentum that I have gained these last few months. Selfish of me to say, I know.  You don’t have to point it out.

Personal

I try to keep this blog upbeat and free from personal family stuff.  Sometimes, though, the family stuff will blend into a topic.  Today is such a day.  Not to worry, dear reader, I shall be brief.  I know I have made mention of my father in the past and have said how incredibly supportive he is of all my endeavors.  I have also mentioned that he has had his share of demons, like drugs and alcohol.  I have been told that the life he led is beginning to take a toll on him.

My brother told me of an incident where he watched as my dad spoke to his parents, asking them to “come and get him because he is ready.”  My grandparents died a long time ago.  I never actually met my paternal grandfather.  My mom said he has periods of depression and he won’t eat.  My sister has said he complains that he has no one to talk to. His own brothers and sisters make no effort to contact him.

As you can see, all of this information has been received from other people and it breaks my heart that I have been so in pursuit of this theater goal that I have brushed off so many things and so many people.  The amount of guilt and sadness I feel is hard to admit out loud. So many missed opportunities.  With that in mind, I have made it a point to try harder to visit.

Most recently, I snuck in a quick visit on Sunday before my matinee show to find he was in the garage cleaning my mom’s car.  He was joking like he used to and it was a good sight, but then to hear, “oh, you hear I’m dying, then you come around.”  While I know he meant it jokingly, it was so tough to take.  And like most good jokes, there is a kernel of truth, so I have no right to get defensive about that. So I told him, “don’t be selfish.  We’re all dying.”

Yeah, that is how my family jokes.  You may think it’s harsh, but if you grew up in our house, you would understand.

In order to spend a bit more time with my family, I have decided that it would be best for me not to add anymore projects to my current schedule. I will complete my commitments for 2015 and maybe pick up an acting or improv class.  Most of my evenings and weekends will be free and I will spend some time making the rounds and reconnecting with not only my parents, but my siblings as well.  We were never really all that close, but it will be nice to tighten the net a bit.

With that in mind, I will be able to see more shows and cheer on more actors and finish completing my own website.  SHWAAAA??  Oh yes, kiddies.  I will be launching an official artist website soon.  It will have production info as well as random backstage footage shot during shows.  Just silly stuff.  But be on the look out for that announcement.

Thanks for your patience and hopefully, I will see you after one my next few shows!

Love!