Monday, September 29, 2008

FAQ: Why don't you do more stage stuff?

A: Well, that would be neat, wouldn't it? Shrewd directors and producers in Milwaukee are careful to match my diverse, storied and legendary talents to only the choicest projects -- works that best use my special audience-interaction skills, my bone-deep character integration abilities, and my improv wizardry to delight audiences of the highest discernment.

For real though, when I was in college, studying theatre at the Northern Illinois University School of Fine Arts Among the Corncobs and Barbed Wire, I had a teacher named Gene Terrusso. Everyone was nuts about Gene Terrusso. He was from NEW YORK! Never mind that he had been demoted from New York to DeKalb. Just don't let that bother anyone...he was The Man With The Plan.

He taught me some Very, Very Important and Indisputably True Things*, as follows:

1. The only playwright who matters, and who will ever, ever matter, is David Mamet.

2. If you are a girl person, you had better come from a modeling background before attempting to become an actor. In other words, you had better never, ever eat anything, ever, and you had better be rilly hotttt. There is no need for any other type of girl person to enter into the theatrical arts.

3. Interactive theatre does not and cannot ever count as professional experience. To emphasize this point, he encouraged my classmates to mock me for mentioning I'd renewed my contract at an interactive show for the second year. I don't think Wood Harris or Sean Higgins engaged in the mockery, but I'm pretty sure I got the scoff from everyone else. It's all right -- I understand it's a game.

* I actually think he was full of, forgive me, bull-pocky. But I'm not from New York.

So, yes. I do audition regularly for Shows On Stages in Milwaukee -- the kind where the audience isn't a part of the show, but is instead invited to pay between $25 and $50 for the privilege of being permitted to sit in the dark near where the characters are talking and to engage in sanctioned, highly-regulated voyeurism. I hear that I am too short, too fat, and too strange to fit in their theatres. In fact, most eyes drop to the table when I walk into the room for cattle calls -- they are really not looking for anyone who looks like me, and it makes no difference how intensely I attempt to look like Someone Else.

However, if you would like to see me in an On-Stage-in-Milwaukee kind of thing, and you are a director or a producer or a theatre-bully-er or something like that, well, maybe we can get together and ignore some audiences together -- or not ignore some audiences! That would be Best.

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