My heart feels very full. Mostly of love, but there’s a bit of heaviness.
I have had struggle after struggle with this company– this universe that I helped create and populate that recently became a stranger to me– and with the friends therein. Our relationship has changed. More importantly, my expectations have changed. What I wanted from my relationship with this group of people turned out to be unrealistic. They cluster and cling, but I need some independence. I wanted them to feel like my best friends even when I wasn’t ensconced in their apartment. My friendships with L and K are like that. But that’s not who they are and how they function. This doesn’t make them bad people. They still like– no, love– me.
But that’s all backdrop to this moment. This is the first play I’ve done since last year’s amazing NJ triumph. Readings and workshops and short films don’t count, because working on a full play requires am inordinate investment. You dedicate a month to daily 5 hour rehearsals and another to nightly two-hour performances that leave you sweating and exhausted. You dedicate hours of time outside of these parameters to learn your lines, think about the role, remember your blocking. You can’t fake that stuff. And in the rehearsal room, you are an explorer– finding what works, nixing what doesn’t, working with partners who are all independent and trying to cohere into a single vision. That’s tough.
But this process, from start to finish, from the first read to tonight’s closing performance, I have had. So. Much. Fun.
I loved the atmosphere in the rehearsal room, full of laughter and silliness and big choices and mistakes and breaking when someone was genuinely too fucking funny.
I loved the one-on-one scene work, working with a director and actors I’m completely comfortable with. It was like the most fun scene study class ever.
I loved seeing the playwright laugh at his own jokes when we nailed them (or improved them).
I loved suggesting a joke and having the director guffaw and okay it: “Yes. Genius.”
I loved the twenty or so minutes of waiting in the dressing room once the house opened, a cast of six clowns in knee pads, all equal, all trusting, cracking jokes and rolling our eyes at each other.
I loved each pratfall and fake bump and trip, even when it got fucked up. My body felt alive when I leapt and fell and tripped.
I loved the sweat that dripped like water down my face every night. It was embarrassing, yes, but it was pure ME, pure energy. (It mainly happened because I was doing a super physical show in sweatpants and a sweatshirt in the summer… And I was in a clown squat for 80% of the show).
I loved every moment on that stage. I always do (I mean, in most cases!), but this just felt like pure, unfettered fun.
I don’t think the show is spectacular. I think it has flaws. Lots. But I do think it’s funny, and I had such fun doing it. Such fun. And I didn’t care about getting agents or casting directors to see it. I invited them (none came of course, including the one I’m signed with!) but it felt good to just let this be about joy. I didn’t need to sell this show. I just needed to enjoy it. And boy, did I.
After tonight (and tonight’s festivities), I’m back in rehearsal for the Fringe show. I’m there 4 hours a night Sunday through Thursday, with opening night on Friday and five shows spread through the next week. This monday I have jury duty (how about that?!). I have to go into work on Tuesday, I have a haircut on Wednesday. On the 20th, A is home, and on the 21 he’ll see our closing and we’ll leave for CT.
It’s a race to the finish. I’m sorry to say goodbye to this lap of the relay. It has been truly, purely wonderful.