Monday, March 31, 2008
Let's meet our cast first:
DAD - Wears a mechanic's shirt and has a jet-black pompadour that sticks out over his forehead like a diving board. Everywhere he goes, DAD's hair arrives five minutes before he does.
MOM - Easily 400 pounds, she is totally engrossd in watching a movie on a portable DVD player. Oddly, she is the only person at the table who doesn't eat anything the whole time.
AUNT (?) - She's related somehow but I can't tell how because she kinda looks like both DAD and MOM.
DAUGHTER - She has brown hair.
SON-IN-LAW - He has a shaved head.
BABY - Belongs to DAUGHTER and SON-IN-LAW.
EVERYBODY - Speaks with the thickest, stereotypical New Yawk accents heard in captivity since "All In The Family" went off the air.
DAD - You know what I oughta do? I oughta give give him a fresh one (makes backhand slap motion). Just like that.
AUNT - Ya see? That's ya problem. Always looking for a fight. Ya ya own worst enemy.
DAD - Ahhh, I'm not talkin' about a fight. I'm talkin' about givin' him a fresh one (makes backhand slap motion again). C'mere Darlene...like this...
AUNT - G'head! Hit ya own daughter in public, ya psycho!
DAD - ...give him a fresh one. Right across the eye! Just like that!
MOM - (continues watching movie)
A little later
DAD - I'm gonna burn it. When I get home, I'll just burn it.
SON-IN-LAW - Ya can't burn it.
DAD - Whaddya talkin' about? In the backyard, I'll take a barrel, I'll make a fire and I'll burn it and we'll be done wit' it.
DAUGHTER - Dad, ya can't burn things in the back yard.
DAD - I burn things all the time! Gimme one good reason why I can't just burn it.
DAUGHTER - Ya not allowed. It's illegal. They don't do that here.
DAD - It's illegal?? To burn trash in my own backyard is illegal?
DAUGHTER - Yeah. You can get a fine.
DAD - These people are savages!
MOM - (continues watching movie)
MOM - (is continuing to watch the movie)
DAD - Ooh! Ooh! This is a good part! Watch this, everybody! Watch this!
SON-IN-LAW - I like this part!
DAD - Turn it around! Turn it...c'mon turn...so they can see it!
MOM - They're not even watching it!
DAD - 'Cause they can't see it! Now turn it...turn...c'mon...
AUNT & DAUGHTER - (are talking to each other, ignoring the movie)
DAD - Aww, they missed it! Ya missed it 'cuz ya too busy yappin', you two! Now we gotta rewind it. Rewind it!
MOM - I don't wanna rewind it! Don't touch it!
AUNT - I don't even care. We saw that movie already, like eight times.
DAD - (to nobody in particular) Ya know what? I oughta give ya a fresh one, ya know that? A fresh one! (makes backhand slap motion)
SON-IN-LAW - Come on, rewind it!
MOM - (fairly panicked) No! Don't!! Aww, look ya stopped it!! Now I gotta start all over again!
DAUGHTER - Ma, ya don't hafta start all over. Just hit "resume". Remember? I showed ya.
MOM - Forget it. I'm turning it off.
SON-IN-LAW - Aww, don't turn it off!
DAD - Fresh one. The whole lotta ya. I oughta give ya each a fresh one. Fresh one, fresh one, fresh one, fresh one (makes four accompanying backhand slap motions). Just like that.
MOM - (turns DVD player back on)
Some time a bit later, a waitress of Asian descent comes over to the table and plays with the BABY...
MOM - Aww, lookit! Lookit how cute!
DAUGHTER - He's got a new friend! (to BABY) Ya playin' wit' ya new friend? Hah? Are ya playin' wit' ya new friend?
DAD - Yeah, right, his "new friend". What's his new friend's name? Is it Ching Chang Chong or is it Chong Ching Chang?
SON-IN-LAW - Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
DAUGHTER - Dad!!
DAD -Whaaaat?! If somebody's ya friend, ya oughta learn how to pronounce their name properly, that's all I'm sayin'!
Towards the end, a couple of Tampa cops enter to eat dinner and SON-IN-LAW leaves abruptly...
DAD - Where's he goin? Hey, where ya goin'? Where's he goin'?
DAUGHTER - (calls SON-IN-LAW on cell phone)
DAD - Who is he? Now he's Joey Bagel or somethin'?
DAUGHTER - (on cell phone) Brandon, what are you doing?....Whaddya talking about?
DAD - Hey, Joey Bagel! Come back inside, Mr. Big Time. Ya Kung Poo Poo is gettin' cold!
DAUGHTER - (on cell phone) Ya bein' stupid. Ya know that, right? Ya gonna run and hide every single time you see a cop? What kinda sense does that make? There's a lotta cops in the world, ya know!
DAD - C'mon. Tell him I said to come inside. Did ya tell him? Tell him I said to come inside. Come inside already, Joey Bagel Big Time!
DAUGHTER - (on cell phone) Brandon, ya record was expunged! Do you understand? It's like ya never even did nuthin'! Ya got nuthin' to worry about. C'mon!! (to everybody else at the table) He doesn't know what 'expunged' means.
DAD - That kid. He needs a fresh one, like this (makes backhand slap motion yet again) I oughta give him a fresh one!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Overall, it seems like things are going along pretty well at this point. One thing that's happening, and it's a little early in the process for this, is some people are cracking up hysterically when they make mistakes. You see that all the time. It's not Broadway, we're all there to have fun and mistakes can be funny. But no matter what, you can count on having at least one person in the cast who thinks every mispronunciation or dropped line is a chance to turn the whole thing into this:
This relegates everybody else to feeling like a dick if they suggest that 'ha-ha, yeah, that was cute but can we move on please?'. And since (usually) nobody wants to feel like a dick, nobody says anything and a lot of time gets wasted. It doesn't matter that much to me; I'm there one day a week if at all. It's just one of those things that you can count on happening when you do a show.
Since I don't have much else to report, here are some photos from the experience so far.
This is the "theatre". If it looks like a Baptist church, that's because it is. Or was, from when it was built in 1923 until 1994. Now it's known asThe Plant City Cornerstone Center. It's really a pretty awesome building. Stained glass windows, a huge pipe organ, pews and on the stage itself is a dunking booth or whatever it's called for baptising folks. Kinda looks like a hot tub.
It also has a balcony that wraps around the three sides facing the stage. It reminds me of the courthouse in "To Kill A Mockingbird".
This is Linda's Crab Shack, my favorite restaurant in downtown Plant City. It's a no-nonsense seafood-and-beer joint that doubles as the local bus station (check out the sign to the left). It's less than a block from The Cornerstone which is nice because I'm pathologically obsessive-compulsive about being on time, which usually means that I'm almost always obnoxiously early every time I go some place. That means that when I get to Plant City 45 minutes to an hour earlier than necessary, I have a place to hang out and relax before rehearsal or the show starts. Although, since I'm now living like a monk and avoiding fried foods and not drinking, it's something of a challenge to find something on the menu.
I discovered Linda's the last time I did a show in Plant City (Neil Simon's "Fools" in 2004) and I was glad to see it hadn't changed. I have a feeling I needn't have worried, though. When you've got a formula that works as well as seafood/bus station fusion cuisine, you don't screw around with it.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I am, of course, in an office pool. Everybody gets involved with office pools now. Last year, I had a chance of winning the office pool and pocketing over $1000, if only Ohio State had beaten Florida and someone who loves, loves me...I'm talking the big L word here, a serious, sincere, deeply-felt personal bond...and generally doesn't care about sports at all actually rooted against me. That's how much mass appeal the tournament has.
Of course, it should be pointed out that last year's championship game was the rare exception that was not exciting at all. Naturally.
One nice thing about the tournament is that you get to learn all kinds of fun facts about the participating schools. For instance, I learned this past weekend that Western Kentucky University's nickname is the Hilltoppers because that's where the school is located, on top of a hill. Applying that logic to the University of South Florida, they could very well be known as the Next To The Malls. Of course, applying logic to a university in west central Florida that calls itself South Florida...well, there's that.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
- Two male roles were not cast at auditions.
- There are two actors playing Granny. I don't know whether they're alternating scenes, acts, performances or what. It hasn't been explained to the group.
- One of those two actors is a male (see first bullet point).
Ok, maybe that's not as surreal as the Lightning being up 4-1 with 11 minutes to play before eventually losing 7-4 but still.
I know I've done nothing but complain so far which makes it sound like I'm miserable doing this, but I'm honestly not. I'm bemused and intrigued to see how this all shakes out.
On a positive note, it looks like director plans to be creative in the use of space which should be fun for actors and audience. The theatre itself is pretty interesting. I'll write about it after the next rehearsal I attend, which will be some time next week.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I'm trying it again because I've finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer eat like a kid all the time. I'm ok with that because I'm childish enough in other aspects of my life to more than compensate. Plus, I think the way the Slim-Fast plan is set up is perfect for my lazy, convenience-and-desire-for-instant-gratification driven lifestyle: Slim-Fast for breakfast and lunch and a "reasonable" dinner. Perfect! Even I have enough discipline to stick with that. So if it works at all, I should reap some benefits.
The timing was perfect for this, being as the holiday and fried cheese (state fair, strawberry festival) seasons are both over and my fridge was empty. So last night I went to the grocery store and loaded up on Slim Fast, skim milk and some "reasonable" menu items (I'm allowing myself to define "reasonable" as "items that are not fundamentally breading, gravy or bleu cheese dressing-based in nature") as well as bananas, grapes and carrots to snack on.
So anyway, we'll see how that goes.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Tonight was my first opportunity to read the whole script and I'll be perfectly honest, I'm not in the greatest mood. I knew BREWESTER wasn't a huge role but I didn't realize that I'll only be in ONE SCENE. Not only that, but the first scene!! After that, I'm done for the night, folks. I'm pretty sure if I had been fully aware of that fact I probably would have politely opted out. That's the bad news. The good news is I'll only have to drive out to Plant City once a week or so instead of three or four times. And at least I'm getting paid. Oh wait a minute, no, I'm not. Somewhat helping my crappy mood is that the part of me that isn't pissed off is quite amused by the fact that anybody, including me, would be disappointed about not having a bigger role in "The Beverly Hillbillies" fer cryin' out loud. The stage direction that says "BREWSTER exits L", should say "BREWSTER exits L, goes backstage puts his iPod on and chills for an hour and a half" because that's what I'm going to do. There are worse ways to spend an evening, I suppose. For instance, instead of driving out to Plant City tonight and reading a small handful of lines before staring at the wall for an hour I could have hung out with my ne'er do well friends and over-imbibed in green beer. Hey, thanks community theatre!! Maybe on show nights, I'll just do my part, change clothes and go out in the audience. Maybe I'll just do my part, change clothes and go out and have some beers! Hey, I'm feeling better and better about this!
Besides, Alec Baldwin did ok with only being in the first scene of "Glengarry Glen Ross".
Maybe that's how I should handle this. I wonder if they have a set of these in the prop closet.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
"Me and Bobby had two shots of Jack as soon as we got to the funeral home."
Rough day for a couple of undertakers? Honoring a dearly departed drinking buddy? Country music songwriters on a dinner break?
The mind fairly boggles.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've acted in shows before, including "Barefoot In The Park, "Grease" and "Bleacher Bums". And this is actually my second go-around with PCE, having done Neil Simon's "Fools" there in 2004. I think my character was 'Fool #5' or something like that. I even won an award for that one! So I enjoy acting but the problem is, until recently my job schedule has been so overwhelmingly demanding that doing a show was simply not a possibility. But now that my schedule is under control I'm able to jump back into it and this show makes perfect sense for me to do so; any good actor sincerely dedicated to their craft will tell you that if you can't do Shakespeare, look for something with a score by Flatt & Scruggs. I auditioned for the role of Mr. Drysdale, thinking it would be fun to play an outright, over-the-top villian. But as I read the script the other night, he's not the malevolent presence I thought he was. He's more like Colonel Klink; an authority figure to be defied at all opportunities but essentially a harmless doofus. I don't remember that from watching the show but I never really was into the Beverly Hillbillies. I much preferred the surrealistic anarchy of Green Acres. I don't think it's possible to be a fan of both. Anyway, I don't know much at all about this Brewster character. I'll find out more on Monday at the first read-through. I hope he has some funny lines or a hot make out scene with Elly May.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Starting tomorrow, there will be a new, on-going series of adventures featured on this blog. Unless there is not. I won't know until tomorrow night. I also can't tell you what it is because that would a) jinx it and b) spoil the surprise. So tomorrow will either Chapter 1 of an exciting new serial feature or just another tedious one-off post.
Stay tuned (this is what's known in the biz as a "teaser" and everywhere else as a "bunch of needless hype leading up to a nothing")!
"Uh, thanks. It's Ash Wednesday, you ass. Just so you know."
"Oh geez, I'm sorry! I didn't even realize..."
"Yeah, well, if you would bother to learn a little something about important things like how other people express their religious faith, you wouldn't have to apologize."
"Ok, sure. Thanks for the heads-up. Oh, and I really hope your religion practices a Booger Hanging Out Of Your Nose Thursday or A Small Piece Of Broccoli Stuck In Your Teeth Saturday because if not, you're on your own from here on out, buddy."
(I know this post isn't timely --CB)
Sunday, March 09, 2008
And for the ladies, here's a glimpse at an amenity that is simply not available to you:Yep, that's exactly what you think it is.
Now, who says this blog isn't classy?
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
- Getting ready to leave the house (at the last possible second of course), I could not find my wallet. Obviously, I can't leave the house without it so I was starting the day running late. I hate being late. Worse, I live alone so I couldn't even enjoy the simple pleasure of placing blame for my problems on someone else. I finally found it but when I went to leave, all of a sudden I was like Jimi Hendrix at the Red House; my key wouldn't work. After what seemed like forever trying to force it in without breaking it, it finally worked, but it made me really late and really stressed. Like I said, I hate being late, even to places I don't want to go, such as...
- Work. Meh. You know the old saying: If you don't have something nice to say, you must be talking about your job. On the way home, I stopped at the...
- Grocery store where I was buying six items so I was definitely Express Lane eligible. There was just one guy in front of me and I thought I'd be out of there in no time. Unfortunately, he was buying hot dogs (hot dogs, why do you haunt me so?!?) that were ringing up at $2.29 a pack. He insisted that they should have been $1.99 a pack (yes, your math is correct; we're talking about a difference of .30). The bagger went to check the price and came back and informed the cashier and the customer that there were indeed hot dogs on sale for $1.99 but this gentleman had picked the deluxe "bun length" hot dogs, which were correctly ringing up at $2.29. This led to a debate about what the true intent behind the term "bun length" should be, highlighted by the customer holding up the package of hot dogs next to a package of buns and declaring that it didn't look to him that these hot dogs were the same length as the buns anyway. The bagger went over and got another package of buns which were in fact shorter than the hot dogs in question. The customer thought this was an unfair comparison, since he was not buying that brand of buns. Eventually a manager had to come over and explain that "bun length" was a descriptive term and not an officially recognized unit of measurement (reminder: .30). First of all, why is there such a thing as hot dogs that aren't bun length? Who in the world would possibly want such a thing? Scratch that, I don't care. So first of all, I want out of there in the worst way and would gladly contribute the .30 necessary to resolve the situation, except this had obviously become a point of principle to the schmuck with the hot dogs and he would have undoubtedly refused the gesture which would have caused me to roll my eyes so hard that they might have become permanently retracted into my skull. It was finally resolved when the manager told the cashier to give him the hot dogs for the discounted price, which is exactly the way everyone involved, including me and the 15 poor, doomed bastards now behind me, knew it would end. Unfortunately, the end result for me was that people who hadn't even planned on grocery shopping that day had come in, bought five times more stuff than me, gone home and cooked it all up and sent their kids to college in the time it took me to get through the "express lane" and get home where...
- The girls called and suggested we go to the casino. The crowd was pretty light so it wasn't overwhelmingly smokey like it usually is. I played poker while they played the slots electric gaming machines. I'm no Gadzooks, but I sat down with exactly $60.00 in chips and walked out 3 hours later with exactly $59.00, which I don't think is too shabby. That's a lot of entertainment for a buck and overall, we had a lot of fun there. So that part of my day was pretty great. Of course, this all happened well after the sun had gone down.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Ok, it isn't. It's 72 degrees, pleasant by just about anybody's standards. But the other night we had a small cold snap. For the most part, that's winter in Florida. Temperatures in the 70's with the occassional front pushing it down to the 50's. Often we might go as low as the 30's once or twice. It's a given that winter is completely miserable elsewhere and so we locals don't really even use the word 'winter', usually just referring to this time of the year as 'the season', which is short for either 'tourist season' or 'the season we live for while we feel like we're being immolated the rest of the year'.
As someone who was born and raised on the shores of Lake Michigan, where you'd undoubtedly see people at the beach if it was 50 degrees in February, I'm always amused when it gets chilly here. Aside from hurricanes, it's the only time the tv news leads off with the weather forecast. And you see people walking around bundled up like they're going out to shoo caribou away from the Alaskan pipeline. I don't even know where people find that clothing around here. I don't think I even own a jacket that zips up.
But like I said, it does dip down into the 30's once in a while and I don't care where you live, when you're within 10 degrees of water turning solid, it is cold. I have friends who are native Floridians who have never been through a truly hellish (ie: standard) winter and think that when we get freeze warnings that they are walking a mile in the shoes of the poor, pasty northerners. Sometimes they'll say naively foolish things to me about how they feel like they're missing out on something and would like to experience it just once. It's for them that I present this very short list of things that make winter almost everywhere besides Florida so unredeemingly miserable:
- Snow - If you've never seen snow, you're not missing much. Unless you ski, it's vastly overrated. Pretty while it falls and for the first day or so when it's on the ground, it quickly degenrates as it gets compacted and dirty and turns into slush, a sloppy, filthy, gray goop whose only purpose is to find it's way into your footwear and make you sad. If you want to simulate the snow experience for yourself, take off your shows, put on some wool socks and go into your bathroom with a 50 pound block of ice and a cheese grater. Rapidly rub the cheese grater over the ice so flurries of ice shavings fly all around you. Lovely, right? Now, once the ice is all gone, make your toilet overflow all over the bathroom floor and walk around in the resulting muck for six hours. That's snow.
- Your car - You know how you hate getting up early? Imagine getting up at least a half hour earlier just so you can get dressed, go outside and start your car (that's if you're lucky and the battery isn't dead) and letting it run so it's not colder than a mausoleum in deep space and so your windshield wipers thaw enough to actually be almost 50% functional. They won't be so you might as well just scrape your windshield before going back inside and getting undressed so you can get ready for getting dressed again, this time for work. If it's an especially good day, your driveway will not have been plowed shut by the department of transportation clearing the roads the night before. Otherwise you have to shovel it clear yourself. Of course, you could just gun it and try to drive through the blockade if you're feeling adventurous. Or lazy. Then you're out on the streets with a bunch of assholes who've apparently never seen snow or ice before, in spite of living there their whole goddamned lives, and either drive too slow or too fast, placing your life in danger and making regularly irritating traffic completely insufferable. Yeah, you'd probably better get up a whole hour earlier than normal.
- Power outages - When the power goes out for extended periods of time here you get hot and sticky, your food spoils and you can't watch tv. Up north, there's a very real possibility you could die to death. Even if you have a fireplace to keep you warm, you're still in considerable danger.
There's more of course, but honestly do you need to hear about it? No, no you don't. Trust me, you're really not missing anything.