Monday, April 6, 2009

NO BIZ...LIKE SHOW BIZ...

Had a lovely time at the Music Box Theatre up in JC's 3rd floor dressing room being re introduced to various cast members. Writing keeps me on the outskirts of the business, and I miss being actively involved. While John was getting into his costume, I browsed a movie script for him.

It's an offer to play "Jim." Skimming it, JC couldn't find where Jim appears. I found three pages -- small role, low budget movie. But if there's a challenge, no matter how small or how low the budget, JC will consider it. Yes or no depends on the character. If he's 100 % rotten, no. But if there's a sympathetic element, a touch of something heroic, JC might give "Jim" a try.

Took me a long time, as a writer, to realize how important "sympathetic" is. In a play, or a novel, there needs to be something good in the person. Unmitigated evil gets to be bore.

Since I'm the wife of a star, the stage manager walked me through the audience, discreetly down a side aisle, and I sat in the back. JC's doing a 15 minute scene; no interaction, a rambling sort of soliloquy. It's fun, watching JC making the role his own, getting laughs, audience reaction, where it's needed.

Off through the raindrops and wind we went -- JC's tour de forcing, doing two separate shows each night. It's not a long walk, getting from one theater to the other, but the tourists and oddballs on 42nd street slow you down. At the Clurman, a 99 seat Off Broadway theater, "Heroes" is about three old men, nearing the end of their lives.

I was delighted, tickled, to see how JC's deepened the role. I'd seen the first dress -- he and the other actors made the show almost work, but they were sucking air. (Show biz term, like phumphing, when actors aren't sure of the lines.) At the dress rehearsal, I couldn't help thinking that JC being in two shows at the same time was too taxing.

But now the three men interact. JC is interesting, very real. There's a sweet kind of impact at the end -- small play, small idea, but now it works. I hugged the director, quickly complimented him. (It's not a good idea to rave.) Backstage, I gave a hurrah to the actors. (Carefully -- actors drink in every word. Excessive praise can haunt an actor more than zero praise -- i.e. -- a fan discussing the wonderful stage set.)

There were 56 in the house at the Clurman. (I counted.) At "August: Osage County" there were about 400. Both shows are getting good audiences, despite the economy.

Anyhow, we taxied home instead of going out. JC has three shows on Saturday; he's got to get a good sleep. So we celebrated with bowlfuls of Em's curry flavored, noddles-chicken-veggie soup. My soup's a super meal, perfect for after the theater.

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