Monday, March 23, 2009

The Fantasticks

So... I went to Theatre Bay Area website to find some auditions and lo, and behold -- auditions for "The Fantasticks" were being held at 'The San Francisco Musical Theatre.' It's a company I'd never heard of, but what the hey-?!? It's "The Fantasticks-!" I did the show ages ago at Napa Valley College - as the Mute - but I almost got the lead - Matt. At the time the director didn't think I had enuff experience to pull off the male lead. *Just a few months later, I got the lead in "Romeo and Juliet." Go figure.

I digress.

So I called the number provided and left a message. Turns out they were still looking for 3 men (1 singer/2 actors). I left a message I was interested in reading for the show.

That night, 'Eve' called me back and said she was 'thrilled' I'd be auditioning and wanted to know which part I wanted to read for. I said the singing role (one of the fathers?) or one of the 2 acting roles. Whichever.

I made the appointment for the audition that Thurs. night at 7:30. "We have a rehearsal space right behind Trinity Church," she said. "It's the red door on Austin Street so we'll see you at 7:30. The rest of the cast is anxious to meet you."


Thurs. rolled around and I had a monologue ready and a song "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" from "Roar of the Greaspaint..." I came home, fed the cat, and freshened up. I headed to Trinity Church on Bush/Gough and looked for the 'red door' on Austin St.

I rang the bell and this woman - who I can only describe as a brunette version of Carol Kane from THE PRINCESS BRIDE - answered the door. Eve. This woman was a fright: crazy curly dark hair, moles on her face, and would not stop talking about anything and everything. She was a witch. And she was even being sort of coquettish with me - which I found a bit unsettling.

She led me into their rehearsal space where two guys were up onstage: an Asian guy and a very, very, very, very old man. They were doing dislogue right before the "Plant a Radish" song.

And they were terrible. Absolutely terrible. Eyes darting. Forgetting lines and Eve kept feeding them the lines - ROLLING HER EYES AT ME-!?!

Eve managed to stop coquetting for a moment to tell me I'd be reading for the role of Matt.


Ummmm... no. No, no, no, no NO-!!!

Here's the best part. She actually said to me: "Luisa is supposed to be 16 and Matt is supposed to be 20. But I play Luisa more like 13."

This 50-something director, producer, actress was playing the young leading ingenue.

She had me read a scene between Matt and Luisa (Yes, the kissing scene-!?!) and I was in an absolute panic.

She couldn't remember any of her lines and kept having to take the script from me to read her lines. I pointedly asked her, "Don't you have more than one script?"

"I don't know if you know this, but photocopying is expensive." Another dramatic monologue about time and working in offices and photocopying.


She had me sing "I Can See It" w/the actor who was cast as El Gallo - who so far was watching quietly from the chairs offstage. I sang okay... for a song that's very difficult to sight read... and a duet. El Gallo seemed... normal enough, but he kept eyeing me as if I was a cold drink and he had a terrible, terrible thirst.

Eve said she knew I'd be able to do the part the minute she saw me, continued her monologue about this and that and how we'd only be rehearsing on Thursday nights and how she wanted everyone offbook by next Thurs. and 'how do you rehearse your songs? Do you require a tape? Do you need private rehearsals because I'm available one-on-one as an accompanist... But you'd have to come to my place? is that alright? Do you feel comfortable alone in a room with me?"


I was, like, "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you tomorrow."

"What's to think about?" she asked.

I made up something right away: "Well, I'm waiting to hear about this other part I auditioned for so I'll let you know tomorrow. Is that okay?"

She seemed a bit disappointed. In my head I tried to gauge the disappointment to the crazy and how equal they were to one another and I have to say... the crazy outweighed the disppointment.

Here's what's REALLY crazy: for a split-second I actually thought in my head that 'I could do it. It's a great part. I can certainly do the acting and the singing admirably.' I ACTUALLY CONSIDERED IT.

Is crazy contagious?

The better part of common sense won out and that part of my head said to the other part of my head that there's no way I could do the show. The woman's insane, the actors were terrible, I'd be the best thing about the show and it's just not enough being the best part of a terrible show-! I'd never be able to invite anyone I knew. I wouldn't invite anyone I DIDN'T know-!

I thanked them all for their time, grabbed my jacket, my backpack and I got the hell outta there.

I left Crazy Eve a message the next day saying I wasn't going to be able to do the show, blah blah blah.

Eve left me a message later about how "unprofessional I was," how I'd "wasted everyone's time," etc...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Back of People's Heads

I often feel hatred with the intensity of 37 million white-hot suns lined up next to each other when some stranger takes it upon him or herself to stand directly in front of me... in a line for something, on the platform as I wait for a train, when I'm on the train, etc...

Just the sight of the back of their heads makes me see red.

Honestly, I can't explain it. They could be perfectly good-looking in their own, ignorant way. I'm not gonna say it's rational and I'm not

gonna say it's even very nice. It's just an honest confession about how I feel when it happens.

Usually when I get on a train, I stand in the doorway opposite the doors that open to let people in and out. And only when there isn't an empty seat facing forward (facing the direction the train is going; I get kinda motion sick if I'm facing backwards).

And during rush hour, instead of folks moving into the empty area in the middle of the aisles, inevitably some tool will stand in the doorway directly in front of me - even when there IS plenty of room inside the train. And FYI, there's usually another tool standing in the doorway where people DO need to get in and out as well.

This person will stand directly in front of me - with his or her back to me - and it sends instant shocks of hatred for them into my brain. And they'll keep their backpack on which will bump me every time the train hit a bump... More hatred.

Usually it's an unkempt, barely brushed head... or a sweaty balding head... or a head of hair in a pony tail that needs to be re-tied/tightened 'cause the hair's coming loose... or a head whose hair is badly or unevenly cut...

One heavy guy was so exhausted from his walk from his office to the train I was on that when he stood in front of me, he wiped, wiped, wiped the sweat off the back of his neck with a kerchief every, like 5 seconds - right in front of me-!?! WHO sweats that much?!?

God, I hated him.

Then there's people who clearly see that I'm waiting to get on the train and will stand right in front of me as the train pulls up to get on first. Whatever happened to queuing up?

I hate the back of their heads, too.

I guess what I hate more than the fact that it's their head that I hate, I think it's the fact that there's this attitude of... entitlement... that comes with the back of their head in my space.

It's that same entitlement that allows them to open up their newspaper on a crowded train and read - even if the newspaper is right in other people's faces. People seem to think that there are no other people on this planet besides them.

Everyone's in a hurry; everyone's only ever thinking about themselves and it drives me nuts. Acknowledge the people around you. Be courteous and be polite. And don't stick the back of your head in my face.