We take a break from our regularly scheduled discussions of writing and promotion to talk about my imminent return to the stage. On a lark, I auditioned for a role in the upcoming play The Irish Curse, directed by an old friend of mine. There were a couple of factors that made me want to audition. I’ve known the director for ten years or more, and we used to run a theatre company together, so he knows I can act a little. So it was a stress-free audition on that front. There were two roles that I thought would fit my type, which is becoming increasingly rare as I get older and fatter. And then there were the magical words in the audition announcement – “all roles will be compensated.”
You see, I’ve spent more than twenty years in theatre in some form or another. I’ve designed, directed, produced, performed and done almost everything that there is to be done in a piece of theatre. For the record, the list of jobs I haven’t held is – Musician, Musical Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Props Designer, Dresser and Dramaturg. I think I’ve done everything else that has a name, including Costume Designer, Makeup Artist and Poster Designer to name just a few. And I’ve been compensated fairly well for some of those things.
But I’ve never been paid to act. I’ve been paid to speak in front of crowds, and I’ve been paid to perform poetry for an audience and cameras, but I’ve never been paid to be an actor. And that’s always bugged me a little. I haven’t auditioned much (not in years), but it always felt a little off that I’ve never done anything as an actor that garnered me any cash.
So I auditioned. I have no idea how many guys came out that fit the part, but I got it. And having been on the other side of the audition room, I know that there are a lot of things that go into casting. Being friends with the director helps. Being easy to work with helps a lot. Having a proven capacity for learning my lines and not tripping over the furniture doesn’t hurt, either.
So I was cast as Father Kevin in The Irish Curse. The cast so far has been great to work with, and it’s a lot of fun working with Glenn (the director) again after all these years. But I’m working muscles that haven’t seen much use lately, so to speak, and it’s an adjustment. I haven’t been onstage since 2008, and that was only a few lines. I haven’t had a major role since 2007, and haven’t performed any contemporary shows in even longer. So I’m trying to remember how to learn lines, how to learn blocking, and still trying to fit writing in amongst all that. It’s a challenge, to say the least.
But it’s a lot of fun, and it’s reminding me why I decided to do this all those years ago. The friendships, the fun of working hard for a good show, the magic of theatre. If you’re around in August, stop by the show. It’ll be a fun ride.