I’ve Arrived on the Stage – Closing Up the 1st Weekend of HOUSE OF YES
Firstly, a quick note on the “Five Stars” series of posts – the next one may not be until next weekend. I was trying to stay one or two segments ahead of each one I was posting, but with the last week being Tech Week and then the opening of the play, I quickly fell behind on that goal. But don’t worry, we’ll wrap it up before the end of ’08.
Back in the real world, we just wrapped up the first weekend of the play that I’m in (HOUSE OF YES in case you haven’t heard). Before I start running through my reactions to the first set of performances, I want to thank you all for your patience (both existing and anticipated) while I plug the holy Hell out of the play via this blog and my profiles on both Facebook and MySpace (moreso the former than the latter). And an extra special thanks to those of you that have sent me e-mails, texts, and actual phone calls wishing me and by extension our cast the best in our theatrical endeavors. In all seriousness, it was truly eye-opening and heartwarming to see the outpouring of support and encouragement. Now you guys have to get out and see the play!
As for the first weekend. Attendance could have been better for each performance, but that was expected considering the time of year and the conflicts we have with other productions currently running in the area. I’m anticipating next weekend to be better, particularly since my people (the ones specifically coming to see yours truly) are all coming then.
To say I’m never satisfied with my performance in any area is an understatement. Those who can comfortably say they know me very well would probably laugh and say they’re not surprised by that in the least. In fact, I’m damn near infamous for how hard I can be on myself. Unfortunately, one of the many discoveries I’ve made through this endeavor has to do with the fact that this aspect of my personality is amped up to the Nth degree when it comes to being onstage.
It doesn’t help either that, given my VERY limited experience, everything’s new. As a result, I don’t have that barometer for myself to know whether I’m adequate or better in my performance or if I’m falling flat on my face. There are various other reasons for my frustrations and insecurities, the least of which being what I feel is a tendency to “clown it up” during my performance, which is a direct result of a defense mechanism I developed very early on in my childhood and carried well into my adult years. While this is considered a dark comedy of sorts, nothing’s supposed to be played up as over-the-top or purely for laughs.
So despite compliments that I received from the director, the cast, and audience members, I can’t help but suspect that they’re taking my status as a theatrical novice into consideration and being overly polite. I’m thankful for the compliments to be sure, even though I have to take them in the most careful manner possible since I’ve never, ever, been able to just take a compliment well. I’m always hesitant to accept it as…I don’t want to say genuine, because I think that in a lot of cases everybody has what I would consider at the very least to be genuinely good intentions with their comments. We’re all just our own worst critics, I guess.
Thankfully the hang-ups and insecurities I carry with me into the theater are dispersed by a terrific cast
Steve Henel (also my roommate and co-host for the 4 Color Commentary comics podcast) is what I’d term a “young vet” in the area and shows it as Marty; unfortunately, we have very little time onstage together and I hope to rectify that in a future production. From a young vet to a true vet of the stage, we have Rie Lee playing our mother. While delightfully passive-aggressive and despite having some of the most outwardly hilarious lines in the play, her skill level allows her to play it organically with the utmost believability; as a result, you don’t laugh so much at what she’s said than at the fact that this person feels far too real. It’s truly been an honor to share the stage with somebody who “gets it” as much as she does.
Jennifer Dott steals the show, of course, as “Jackie-O” and possesses an energy and presence in her performance that has me in awe of her abilities. Last but not least, Vivian Hwang plays the “secret lead” of the play – Lesly, Marty’s fiancee and the only character in the play who isn’t a direct family member. Most of my character’s focus and development happens with her, one on one. Working with Vivian has been something more than a pleasure. Any and all chances I have to completely slip into character I owe directly to her ability to make me appear stronger as an actor just by giving me exactly what I need to work with, and she deserves a medal for the patience she showed with me during our four weeks of rehearsal.
In short, all of them are fucking great. Kudos as well to our director Neil Jones, who has been a great teacher and guide through the process and whose production company – Confetti Stage – deserves far more recognition than it gets for its bravery and artistic integrity. And of course, none of this would have happened without our Stage Manager/Lighting Designer/Soundman/Jack of all Trades, Jeff Hocking. Jeff had to wear many hats due to a shortage of help and excelled in all areas. Special thanks as well to our Props Master, Rita, who has been nothing but an absolute joy.
It’s been a great ride, and while I’m happy with the results so far I’m also a bit sad that we only have one more weekend. Speaking of which…
* Thursday, December 11th @ 8pm
* Friday, December 12th @ 8pm
* Saturday, December 13th @ 8pm
* Sunday, December 14th @2pm
LAST CHANCES to see this play! Tickets are $15 and it’s at the Albany Masonic Hall (67 Corning Place, Albany). Let me know if you need directions, or just Google Maps that sucker. ConfettiStage.com has more info – and don’t worry about buying at the door, there’ll be PLENTY of tickets available the night of the show. Trust me, you’ll get in.