Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Muppets Take Manhattan Or Closing Two Shows

I know -- it's an odd title for a post...bear with me! It's one of my all time favorite movies, who doesn't love the Muppets? (by the way, the word Muppets is not in my spell-check. How can such an iconic franchise not be recognized by spell-check?) Anyway, I love that movie and in more than one way it seems a bit appropriate to title my post "The Muppets Take Manhattan." I'll explain.

As I was watching the second to last performance of Twelfth Night and the final Patriotism Unleashed cast last night the lyrics to "Saying Goodbye" from Muppets Take Manhattan started running through my hear. For those of you unfamiliar with the song it's goes like this:

Saying Good Bye,
Going Away,
Seems like Goodbye's such a hard thing to say,
Touching our hands,
Wondering why, it's time for saying goodbye.

Saying Good Bye,
Why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we've had,
Much more to say, Foolish to try.
It's time for saying goodbye.

Don't want to leave,
But we both know,
Sometimes it's better to go.

Somehow I know we'll meet again,
I'm not sure quite where and I don't know quite when.
You're in my heart, until then,
It's time for saying goodbye.

Want to Smile,
Want to cry,
It's time for saying Good Bye

Sappy? Perhaps, but it's what began running through my head. I really don't like saying goodbye to great casts and this song kind of embodies all of my closing night emotions. All good shows much come to an end and the sad part is that like the song says sometime we will meet again, but it won't be under these conditions, it won't be this play or this theater or this exact group of people. And ending it does remind you of how much fun you had creating it and at the same time, there is a feeling that it is time for it end, go out on top, with sold-out houses, that's always the best way to close something. As always I will miss these two casts. I've been blessed with fantastic groups of people this summer and will miss hanging out with them on a weekly basis. I'm guessing the local bar down the street will also miss us hanging out on weekly basis!

Before I continue to explain the title of my post, I have to share one small story from our second to last after show gathering. Last night I had to laugh because the bartender yelled out "Last Call" and eight people immediately responded, "Thank You Last Call" For those of you not in theater, it's standard procedure that when the SM or someone else says something like "5 minutes to places" or "ladder coming through" the standard response is "Thank you 5 minutes" or "Thank you ladder" it ensures that everyone heard the announcement. So hearing the automatic, "Thank You Last Call" response made me smile, you can take the actors to the bar, but you can't truly take them out of the theater!

So the second reason this blog is titled The Muppets Take Manhattan is because in less than a month Friends Like These will be in Manhattan. Now, I'm not saying we're muppets, although, I'm guessing there may be times when we'll feel like the muppets, rather clueless, but having a good time being clueless and I'm not really expecting any breakout dance/musical numbers to happen over a late night dinner in a diner, but I do think it will be an adventure that will give us many stories to share for months to come.

So after tonight, Twelfth Night will be done. Noah will not have to wear bright yellow leggings and be cross-gartered, Jim won't have a reason to grab Jenn's boob, Darci won't need to put her hair in pin curls to wear two different wigs, Julia won't need to worry that her veil will unhook too early, Tom won't need to load six different instruments into the car every weekend, Paul won't need to perfect his "drunk hair," Chris won't need to worry about being boogered by Julia, Carlos won't need to spend 90% of the play moving furniture, Tracey will no longer make us laugh with Fabian's improvisational outbursts. Courtney can finally focus on one show instead of three, Sacha won't have to give Shawn piggy back rides, and Erica and Jessica won't need to avoid the set changers while they are dancing. They will have one last circle of actor love tonight, have one more great performance and then we will head to the Lativan Center for one last post-show gathering. Tomorrow we will all wake up with different agendas, the words, the blocking, the set changes, the costumes of Twelfth Night will slowly drift from our heads, new shows will come up and this summer will become a good, but distant memory. And so Twelfth Night cast, I shall end by saying, "want to smile, want to cry, it's time for saying goodbye!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I find myself oddly mourning the loss of Friends Like These. I shouldn't be, not yet anyway. New York is right around the corner, a month from tomorrow I will be taking the red-eye out to NYC to run the booth for FLT during it's Fringe Festival run. And yet I find myself sad at the thought of it ending. It's project I've worked on for over a year now. It's a play that I love and I have this overwhelming desire to hold on to it. I don't want to say goodbye, I'm not ready.

Perhaps the sadness comes from realizing that it really is my time with this project that is coming to an end. Friends Like These has the potential to go on to bigger and greater opportunities. I hope it does, it's a script that deserves attention. But my small role in this adventure is ending. That's not to say that I wouldn't consider working on a re-mount in the future, but for now it seems that FLT is headed for places where I can't follow. And so these feelings of sadness, of wanting to hold on, not wanting to say goodbye, not wanting to go through the lists of lasts are starting to build up.

When I was a kid I would try to draw out opening birthday or Christmas presents. The longer I made it last the longer it was until the disappointment of the holiday being over sunk in. It's the same with Friends Like These, I want to make it last. I want to savour each moment of our last five performances. I don't want to say goodbye.

The Eye of the Storm

I've never been in the eye of a hurricane. During Hurricane Gloria (way back in the 1980's and one of the few storms to really hit the Mid-Atlantic states I spent a few nights without electricity sleeping on a cot in my parent's bedroom, I flew back from Uruguay and caught the last flight out of Miami before the appropriately named Hurrican Erin came ashore, but I've never been in the eye of a hurricane. From what I hear it's a calm and serene place to be until you remember that it's a passing phase and you will soon find yourself back in the storm.

I am enjoying a few days of calmness. Super Sidekick , written by the talented Greg Crafts opened this weekend. It's show where I tend to watch the entire thing with a huge smile on my face, I love it. Patriotism Unleashed continues it's run. It's a rather irreverrant look at The Fourth of July and written by some of the most funny people I know in Los Angeles. On top of those two, Twelfth Night continues it's fantastic run.

With those three shows up and running I get a few rehearsal free days to breathe and relax. Come Thursday it's back into the storm. But this storm isn't a scary one, it's fun one. It may throw you around a bit, but at the end you can't wait for the next one. That's how my weekends are right now. By the end I'm exhausted and yet I can't wait to start over again.