Saturday, September 12, 2009

'San Francisco is Alive and Doing Well'

Last night, we opened the show, 'Bohemian Cowboy' to an enthusiastic crowd in San Francisco. It was another push of the 'boulder up the mountain', but well worth the journey. Yes, it has been a bit fatiguing, (tech was a little hellish), as  we had to solve some problems when we arrived at the theatre. Unbeknownst to us, the theatre we were in had just been taken over by the company who asked me to come, and so there was a remodel job going on in the theatre right down to the wire. I have been there so many times, putting glow tape on steps an hour before curtain. Still, everything got done, but it caused us to work a little harder, and we were still' teching' the show an hour before curtain. I had run through the show twice already yesterday, and had done two 'cue to cue's as well, all day before the performance. I was tired when I stepped out on stage, but sometimes this can work for you, as it leaves you vulnerable and open. With each show in each environment, I find myself 'discovering' more and more of what's there. Before I left Boulder, Eric Scott did a great recording of the play, so I was able to do lots of my 'prep work' on the road. I could stick in the CD and recite the lines of the play, which is a great way to 're-memorize'. When I had finished the performance last night, a woman immediately said, "How do you remember all of that?" The truth is this: You can never think you won't remember it, and you must never jump ahead of the moment. Although you have to be thinking your way, the trick is trust that it is in there, and that you have done your memory work thoroughly. The other thing that helps is the 'traffic pattern', or the 'blocking', or in more artistic terms, 'the composition' of the play. There is a point of playing any part, when the play leaves your head and begins to inhabit your body. Once this happens, it enables you to find 'variables', (playing with a prop, ad libs, etc.), in other words, finding what will make that particular performance feel unique. 

San Francisco is such a beautiful city, so alive in its 'urban-ess' but with 'an edge'. One can feel the history contributing to the present, definitely full of possibilities. The theatre we are in is in a section of the 'mission district' that is a bit 'bowery', but still, such a great mix of people in the street. Definitely worth coming down for. Yes, we have now done San Francisco. I will, however, be glad after tonight's show, to be able to relax a bit after a grueling week. Sunday, my Aunt Linda will be reading poetry at 'Bird and Beckett', which is bookstore honoring 'jazz and literature', Charlie Parker and Samuel Beckett the name recipients. I am proud of Aunt Linda, who is re-emerging as a poetry force in a city that revers poets. She has been so great, showing us around with enthusiasm. Her apartment is down by Ocean Beach, and she has one of those apartments that one could browse through for hours... books, poetry books, paintings, sculptures, photography, etc. A great place for her, it just 'fits'. We are definitely having a 'San Francisco' experience, right down to the amazing thai food we had last night after the show. 

We've also had a great time staying with my cousin Carissa, her husband Rich, and their two children Clarke and Jed, (great names that so fit them both), they moved into a new house with a huge down stairs area for us to lay our heads. Today, because they haven't rented their old house, we moved our stuff over there, another great place for us to stay. Kurt, (the director and my good friend) flew out from New York for meetings and to help get the play up. My cousin Scott, (who did all the tech in LA) rode here with me from Las Vegas and once again, worked like an octopus in the tech booth, (having to do lights, sound, and photography at the same time), he has been a great help. Monday, we will drive down to LA for a couple of meetings, stay for three days and come back Thursday, finishing up here next Friday and Saturday. The week after that, I'll be playing music at The Escalante Arts Festival. October will be teaching at 'The Cliff Notes' writers conference, and preparing for Austin, Texas, where I will attempt to get this play off the ground in a bigger way, (twelve weeks). So, the plan is unfolding, lets hope my father's inheritance, (his story) will continue to come alive and finally make me a living... (to be continued...) 


TJ in Boulder said...

Us Boulder folks are right there with you. I pass your closed gate and no "Baby" and know you are out in the world making your mark. Lauren sends love. We still have a dinner coming, if I remember rightly. T

LaRena said...

Oh Raymond are you sure you have enough to do??? We wouldn't want you to have an idol moment when you might relax long enough to think up some trouble you might get into in big beautiful San Francisco.(My favorite City in the world) At least what I have seen of it. Congratulations, salutations,and whatever else might apply. It sounds like you performed admirably and everyone is proud, including me.

DB said...

Well, then, congratulations. Was there ever any doubt?

Your last minute opening chores sound about right. Fitting the last gel in while the house is opening. Been there.