A decade ago, I tucked this flyer into a binder with my script.
My office filing cabinet
It was my first play with The Rage of the Stage Players. It was the rare find of good original theater. I had found my people. Offensive, politically incorrect, blasphemous, sexually wanton but ridiculously talented people. I’ve strayed over the years. Been unfaithful to this vicious, vengeful mistress that is stage work with this crew. But I’ve come back. Again. And again. And again.
I love the pack mentality that accompanies theatre. It hold true with indie film. absolutely. But there is a different energy. Yes, on set, every one bands together because it is three in the morning and you need a battery pack or a lightbulb or a pair of fishnets. On stage, it’s immediate. There is no cut or hold for sound. There is only, oh-sweet-Jesus-the prop-isn’t there-and he’s-up-on-his-lines-and-we-just-might-die. Not that dramatic. But pretty god damn close.
Tonight, I was able to be a part of a seated reading for this company that I adore. These readings are the best. You get a dose of adrenaline that hits as soon as you step on stage, but your lines are right there waiting for you. And you, and I and Richard Marx know what a cozy feeling that is. Plus, I got to do an accent. Love me some accents.
In ten years, the parts for me have changed with this company. I’m not the sexy girl anymore. I’m the mother. But I will give everlasting credit and love to the writer/director/producers that this company in particular makes it a point to showcase women of all ages as all characters. It’s art imitating life. Ain’t the director’s fault your ass isn’t what it was at twenty. Not anyone’s fault. Except maybe pie. Yeah. Definitely pie’s fault. Fuck that pie.
Years pass and we’ve all changed. There have been marriage proposals (on stage, this really happened, I saw it from behind the curtain, and it was awesome.) There have been weddings. And funerals. There have been babies and divorces. The common thread seems to be that as the actors age, and the siren song of real life, with real jobs and families calls, many step or are pulled clawing and scratching away from this weird little world. I may have been the latter. I know how my world was shaken. A decade ago, I wouldn’t have blinked at doing four consecutive shows, rehearsing for the next one sometimes before the current one had closed. The energy of the creativity, the velocity of that momentum or work was intoxicating. You do a day job and slug coffee on the way to rehearsal and didn’t blink. Because, really, lots and lots of coffee. And you loved every miserable, wired second of it.
Then, suddenly, there’s a house with a family, who need you home before midnight. And then there’s half a family but two houses, which makes it harder because no one is pulling for you and holding the net while you search for your dreams among the stars. So, consecutive shows turn into one a year. Maybe. You try to do the best you can at home. And without you at the theatre, the next generation of young ( and my god are they young) actors slide into your space and your roles. Suddenly you’re in the audience and not in the back of the house. And that hurts. Deep and hard.
Ten years ago, I was on a stage in a theater on the south side of Pittsburgh, looking like this.
Joseph A. Roots
I didn’t look nearly as hot tonight. But it felt just as fantastic. I got to dance with the audience. Curl your finger and bring them along with you. Laughs. I found them and shared them. And gods if it doesn’t make you want to do that again every night. I miss those crazy, talented fools. I miss all of it. And I’m so thankful that I’m living in a minute of my life right now that allows be the ability to keep writing and acting because that keeps me whole. With someone to watch and listen, and care, and someone to tuck under an Avengers blanket at night.
Because let’s be honest, if I even hope to learn how to work this blog, I’ll need that someone under the blanket to show me. And to be okay if I still need to slip out to play in my other world every now and then. For now, me and all the other restless players, will pick up our actor’s bindle, with our fancy words and our tantrums, sling it over our shoulders, and hope for one more show.
Speaking of, the video submission from last time? With the peanut butter and the sticky phone? They want to see me this weekend. Fingers crossed.