Editor’s Note – Yes, my Photoshop skills are quite lacking in this pic but I couldn’t find a proper match of any of my headshots with any stills from the film. I actually think the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float motif I’ve got going here works well enough for a laugh.
Looks like the Acting Bug is working its way around my household. Fresh on the heels of Andi’s star-making turn in The Sound of Music, I have picked up the call sheet and found my name etched on the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Cuckoo’s Nest is being directed by Dave Corkum, who played the role of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Once again, this production is being staged by the local community theater group, the Gateway Players, who have been at this for 33 years and based on my experience, really seem to know what they are doing. These are true professionals who can tackle any genre. They really seem capable of doing anything at a high level of artisanship. Their only apparent weakness?
They cast me!!!
Late in SOM’s production, Dave approached Andi and asked if her husband had any interest in acting. She gave it a moment’s thought and replied (without implied written or oral consent) – “Nope!” When she relayed the story back to me midway through her big weekend, I did what all budding Diva’s do and threw a hissy fit – demanding that she return to the director and lobby for my big break. I told her, I’ll take any role. There are no small roles – just small actors – as the late, great Gary Coleman will attest.
So she ambled off and promised him I’d do anything short of nestling down on the casting couch and within days I was cast without an audition. Oh yes, they’ll rue that day.
As mentioned, Dave is mounting a production of the classic Dale Wasserman play – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The play is based on the novel by Ken Kesey and both properties eventually formed the backbone of the Jack Nicholson flick. Suprisingly, I have never seen it but this whole experience, including my first read through of the play, has prompted me to add it to my Netflix queue with top priority. I don’t know how I ever went 36 years on this orb and missed this thing. It really is a classic piece of American literature. It’s fierce, funny as hell and gut-wrenchingly poignant. This is the type of material that melds to your marrow. You won’t shake it ’til your dying day.
I play Aide Warren – basically your run of the mill a-hole orderly. I’m obviously on a power trip and delight in pushing the weaker inmates of the psychiatric ward around. That can be fun to play if you have any acting chops. For me, its arduous.
Already, I’ve been humbled. I never realized how much I sucked at acting. Everyone thinks it looks easy. And then you get up there and you realize quite quickly – we’ve got to leave this to the professionals. In fact, I’m beginning to rethink my plan of airing those old films I made. Now, I already knew the college ones revealed levels of ineptitude previously thought impossible outside of the Bush administration (oh oh, did I just get political -first for everything) – but I really did think that I did a fair-to-middling job on my later, thus far unseen, works. Now, I realize, each past performance is just a subtle shade of suck.
The good news is my role is fairly slight. I’m in a large number of scenes but usually as prop dressing (meaning I’m always entering and exiting, adjusting a table, moving an inmate, etc). I have three larger scenes where I get to shine for a few moments including a fist fight late in the second act. In that scene, I get to bury my fist into the star’s midsection and then get assaulted by our resident Indian Chief (Yes – I know it’s proper to say Native American but that takes away from the color of the script). As scripted, it appears Chief Bromden grabs me, lifts me over his head and tosses me three city blocks away. Currently weighing in at 170 lbs, I’d love to see that happen. So, there’s incentive one for you to come out and see the show – you can indulge in a little wish fulfillment fantasy as I realize my fifteen minutes of fame and get publically drawn and quartered.
Anyway, I have about six more weeks of rehearsals ahead before we raise the curtain so I’ll do my best to rise to the level of mediocrity by then. I will say that if you come out and see the show, I am surrounded by some truly talented actors that have already transformed the scripted word to vibrant, nuanced living-and-breathing characters. I think this will be a great night at the theater. The play is a lot of fun (there are a lot of laughs in the dialogue), it’s quick and punchy and then when you’re having a good time and your defenses are down, it inflitrates and grabs your soul. This one is well worth seeing and not one moment of my own personal Amateur Hour could diminish its strength.
Performances will be held in Southbridge, MA at the Gateway Theater (a converted barn) in October over two weekends. Shows are as follows:
Friday October 17 7:30 p.m. EST
Saturday October 18 7:30 p.m. EST
Sunday October 19 2:00 p.m. EST
Friday October 24 7:30 p.m. EST
Saturday October 25 7:30 p.m. EST
Tickets can be pruchased at the Gateway website – www.gatewayplayers.org or at the door. Also, I can prepurchase for you as well so if anyone is interested, drop me an e-mail with the show time and number of tickets at email@example.com.
I’m also planning on sweetening the deal by throwing a little BBQ at my house on the afternoon before one of the Saturday shows. If anyone is interested, let me know which Saturday works best. We can grill, booze and then y’all can head over and watch me fall flat on my face.
Now that’s entertainment!!!