Monday, December 22, 2008

The Decision Making Process

Today, I have to make a huge decision. Kent, my friend and actor who was going to do the lead in 'Blue Baby', can't commit to such a rigorous schedule of rehearsal and performance. One of the reasons for doing the play was for him, so I have a huge decision to make. Now that I have a director for the show, (I have a meeting with him in an hour and a half) I have to decide whether to continue pushing that show or go back to just doing the one show that I came here to do. I know it will probably be tough to bring in an audience, (for a one person performance), but if I can just focus on it, it might relieve a general stress of doing both. I was just telling Kurt, its impossible to predict the journey to getting a play, (or plays) up. Just when things are going smoothly, the whole thing can turn. I'm not a novice at putting up multiple shows, but today it seems the right decision is to shop the other play around, and stick with doing my one person show. There is more to the story, but to protect the privacy of Kent right now, you will have to examine the sub-text. Once I get permission from him to share what having the role in 'Blue Baby' did to him, I will share more of the story. Since I have done the show myself playing the part, I know what he was up against. It is the kind of role that can really 'mess with your mind'. By not doing the second show, I can save 3,000 dollars, but its money I could have made back at the box office. Still, with three weeks to rehearsal, I must make a decision, and do what's best for the overall smoothness of the production. For example, doing two shows alternating each night, the design both for lighting and set have to be interlinked. One set fits inside of another, etc. I did have the design figured out, and it seemed a nice challenge, but it clarifies the focus by doing the one. Another difficult element is the publicity. Doing two shows requires two sets of press releases, two sets of promotional material, two programs, etc. Maybe like always, I'm creating challenges that are destructive to my health. I think I'm answering my own questions. I hate to let 'Blue Baby' go, its the best play I'll ever write. That's a good thing. Kurt has been very good at helping me clarify things--he's very good at putting out fires and keeping things in perspective. He is up in Northern California, now, but he calls in the morning and at night to check in on the day. All of this has been keeping me from the writing on the script, still, I feel its in good shape, and I know what I have to do. I'll let you know in the next entry what I decide. 

As I said earlier, you never know where exactly a theatre journey will take you. I remember once, doing a musical play of mine, 'Holiday in Hoopersville', the old man playing the part of well, the old man, was an older gentlemen with some health issues. One Saturday morning, he called and said he was to ill to do the show that night. So, even though it was my show, (I had written it) I had to memorize his part all day Saturday and be ready to go on that night. I hadn't really paid that much attention to his blocking (that's the physical movement on stage) so, that part I had to wing. It was not a small role, rather, a medium size role in the play with lots of exits and entrances. It was nerve wracking, but since I knew the story, I was able to 'wing' the parts I couldn't remember exactly. Yes, its true, the SHOW MUST GO ON. 

Another time a newer actress suddenly froze on stage. I was playing Sammie, the drag queen in a play called 'Skimpies'. I had to do her lines and mine, and somehow make it seem like they where all mine. As I was doing 'both parts', I sat her down in a chair and made it into a monologue. When the scene was through, during the blackout I had to take her by the hand and lead her off stage. It was a situation where we brought someone new  into the cast, and luckily, I had been doing the show for several weeks or we might not have been so fortunate. (can't say 'lucky', its bad luck to use it in any theatre). If you are interested in reading up on theatre mishaps, google the history of Shakespeare's, 'MacBeth'. The history of that play is full of mishaps, which is why you cannot say 'MacBeth' in a theatre. Its always referred to as 'The Scottish Play'. I actually love the superstition and folklore that belongs exclusively to theatre. 

The party I went to Saturday night was amazing! If ever there was an 'L.A.' party, this one was it. Although I was a little older than most of the 'young professionals' in the house, I met a lot of people in 'the biz', and had a fantastic time. I met television writers, producers, musicians, television production people, actors, etc., etc. Fun times. Everybody here is trying to 'work' every angle, I guess including me. I found everyone to be very authentic and really nice. By the time I left the party, it was three in the morning and they were still dancing. My first real quintessential L.A. party. 

It's raining again today, and I have to make my way down into Hollywood and meet with the director--thanks again for the wonderful support and comments, I don't feel so alone when I know you are reading and supporting. I'll also let you know when the tickets for the show go on sell, I'm using a ticket organization down here, I'll give out the information soon. I still don't have the logo for 'Bohemian Cowboy', but I may use the photograph of Mom and Dad when they were first married if I can get permission from my Mother. What do you say, Mom, okay? 


Gerry said...

Well, of course you can use the photo, am I ever bashful about the use of my photos? Raymond, here is my imput. I think that you should let Blue Baby hang for now, and see what the future brings. You may want to come back to Los Angeles to play the role yourself another year, since you have done it twice. You know this territory. You may be able to raise more grant money to do Blue Baby and the more people read it down there, the more opportunity might come up to do it. That is a play ahead of its time, so you don't have to worry about its timeliness. Nobody has done a powerful play on this subject matter. I would like to see you have time to rework that play, too, as you can always see ways to make a play better. Be content with the audience you will gather for this one man show, and have faith in your own powers to perform it so it will be an exciting dynamic event. I think that you will do a better job with it if you don't have to worry about Blue Baby. Fate is tapping you on the shoulder with the trouble with Kent not being able to do it, I think. M.

Pamela said...

I'm glad you had a good time at the party and seem to be making some good connections.
Hope you have a good week!