Friday, January 15, 2010

Fast, furious, fearless and funny.

Go big or go home.

Eliza Dushku
This is about a play I did many years ago in North Carolina. It was a farce. A farce is supposed to be fast and funny.

It was a professional theatre. The producer was a professional. The crew were professionals. And the entire cast were professionals, most of us from New York City. The only one who wasn't a professional was the director. He was an idiot.

Not only was he a bad director, he was also argumentative and oppressive. It wasn't long before everyone disliked this guy very much. A day or two before we opened we did a run through for the producer. We weren't fast and funny. We ware slow and boring. That's the way we were directed.

After the run through the producer was sitting by himself on a sofa. I sat beside him and asked "What are we going to do?" He said "I'm taking over this production right now."

After lunch we all gathered together, including the director, and the producer said "From now on you take no notes from anyone but the stage manager." You could almost feel the walls quiver from the communal sigh of relief. Then he said. "I don't care if you step on each other's lines and run into the scenery I want you to do it as fast as you can, triple time."

We did and it was about a half an hour shorter. After it the producer said "Take a break and do it again." It was like sending a race horse out for a fast lap around the track on the day before the race or like a batter swinging three clubs before he steps up to the plate.

There is at least one person, probably reading this item right now, who was in that production and will remember what we went through. (Hi George)

The next night we opened and we were fast and funny.

If you're going to do something important, do it with energy, commitment, passion, enthusiasm and love. Otherwise stay home.


this weekend there will be a special edition of Vagabond Journeys. OTHER VOICES where actors talk about the transcendental art of acting. Be there or be square.


krissy knox said...

Oh, I love your statement "If you're gong to do something important, do it with energy, commitment, passion, enthusiasm and love. Otherwise stay home." May I put this post on Twitter so others will come look at it? Let me know. Krissy Knox :)

Big Mark 243 said...

Either run with the big dogs or stay on the porch!!

Gerry said...

This so reminds me of the production of my one farce Aunt Santhea Playwrights was going to do. Raymond said if he played Aunt Santhea who would direct? Well, CS, his business partner 'directed' Skimpies, had never had directing experience, but left people alone and it was a hit. So I thought she would listen to me, the playwright and be able to direct mine. Wrong. She did not like me and ignored everything I said. Pretty soon the farce was barely creeping along. On top of that my mother had a stroke, was in intensive care, and all the sisters came to town, a crisis involving me, too, was going on down to the hospital, I was getting sick, my farce was looking to turn into a dud when I thought it would be a delight if it was played as you say fast, funny,fearless, and funny. I finally said, CS has to be replaced or ignored, something, but I was getting sick, and was so upset I pulled it. Everybody was mad at everybody. I so related to your experience!!

Alice said...

Just wanted to stop by to say hello & read a little bit of your wisdom on this damp, drippy day :) I'm staying home.LOL

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is when you are tired, that you can summon the energy to do it the way it should be, that separates the true performers from the rest of the pack :o)