An Uneven Palette

We signed the contract with the venue today. I’m not quite sure how to feel—elated, yes, but definitely apprehensive. Gary’s been so distracted lately. And when he looks at me sometimes it feels like I must be on another planet, or treading water far, far away.

And yet when he speaks to me it’s only in the most direct, immediate terms. Bossing me around, actually, one might call it. “Have you called Dramatist Services to see what’s taking so long with the paperwork?” “Where’s my latte?” “What’s the story on this meeting with Martin, is it happening?” As if I’m his assistant, not Christine. And Christine, well, you’d think she were my boss or something! The way his assistant takes that snippy tone with me whenever I ask her a question, as if twisting the knife a little further that it’s not me who pays her salary… well this time, guess what Christine, it just about is. And that begs another good question–why does Gary have an assistant and I don’t yet? Hmmmmm.

I guess it’s true what they say, mixing business with pleasure get’s messy. I’m beginning to think that we’re not actually producing a play, but a fingerpainting.

Why not?

JaneThe thing about spring is it just makes me want to dance. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well nothing, unless you’re strapped to a desk typing at a rate of 70 wpm. And why does it always seem that the most beautiful weather comes with the most excruciating deadlines?

Still, there was some good news. I heard from my friend in Greece, and she told me all about this incredible program where you travel the countryside putting on shows. Sounds like a dream job! I’m so impressed with all she has done since graduation. I feel like while I’ve hidden behind a computer screen and shrunk from life, she’s gone out and grabbed adventure and her dreams by the reins and told them where to go! It’s inspiring to see, really.  But it does make me feel like a little chicken.

Something she said to me really got me thinking. And it was a pretty simple thing to say, too. When I told her I was so proud of her accomplishments, but could never do them myself, she simply said, “Why not?”

Well. . . why not?

Slalom as usual.

Sometimes I think he thinks he can just keep jerking me around. Like I’m a mailbox (or an ATM) he can visit when he’s looking for something. And then other times I see the poetry he creates on the stage and I know it’s all worth it. His insight into the human mind, into the human condition… that’s not something that can be taught.

And there I am, looking in from the outside.

But when the curtain falls and the cocktails are finished and the chorus boys have backed off for the evening, he comes home with me. And that’s the time nobody else can take away.

We didn’t have a very good Valentine’s Day this year, but since then it’s been getting better. We talked about the need to talk, and when I brought up the point that I felt like I spoke more to his assistant Christine than to him he seemed to really melt a little. Like he’d been so stressed out and frozen solid that it just took the tiniest crack to let the warmth flood in.

And then we went away skiing last weekend and that made up for everything. I’m a better skier than he is, and—not gonna lie—it was pretty great to beat him at something, for once! Oh, Gary. So many talents. Downhill is not one of them.

The rehearsal schedule is taking shape—I’ve been pretty proud of myself. Nothing like playing honorary stage manager and chief investor for a little while! Here’s hoping one of his deus ex machina-like investor schemes comes through.

Got the Part!

So, I got the part. We start rehearsals in two weeks. Great. “Aaron, why so glum?” Glad you asked. I have an issue. And that issue’s name is Jerome. Yup. He got cast too. There must be some kinda second chance program involved here. Get this: he’s understudying me. What the heck?! Am I in some kinda poltergeist or something?! I mean really. Do they think that he can actually handle the work load? The only thing that he can handle are those stupid protein sandwiches he’s always shoveling down his gullet. I’m sorry. I sound bitter. I’m not. I just work so hard for what I have and it bugs me that people can just walk off the street and into this business with a certain look and be half as talented (in his case maybe less) and take the express lane to success. I ran into him on the street and he said that “he had some super sonic ideas” and “it’s gonna be better than Street Bitches Death Match.” What does that even mean? Actually, I DO know what that means: HE’S AN IDIOT. And all I can hear in my head is my dad’s voice — “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Well, Dad, you haven’t met Jerome.

Gary called today. I wonder what he wants. I worked on a show of his a few years back. One of the top five most incredible experiences of my life. I heard that he’s written another show, and I’ve always been booked so I haven’t been able to audition. Man, what I’d give to work with him again.

I think I’ve solved the Debbie Debacle. I’m just gonna write her a note. How’s this: “Dear Debbie, You’re hot. Yours, Aaron.”

PRINT IT!

The Crux of the Story.

LauraIs anyone else not surprised Paul’s being an asshole again today?

Aaron and I were rehearsing the scene where the strongest, most passionate character suddenly has a change of heart…with zero evidence of why in the script… You’re watching the show, and then all the sudden you’re like, “wait a minutes, what, I thought that…?”  Our moral compass loses its magnetism!! Which would be fine—maybe— if that were the crux of the story… But it’s not!  It just doesn’t make sense!  Ugh!!! GARY!!!!  He may be my brother, but this script sucks.  It’s awful.

Gary’s writing lately has character schizophrenia.  A character will start out interestingly enough one way, then lose all steam and become entirely another character (or two!) before the show is over!  You can’t watch it without being completely confused, and you sure as hell have a hard time acting it! It’s like he started writing, forgot where he was going with it, and said, “Eh, this worked before, I’ll just throw that in there.”  Success comes with its hazards, we all know that, but here we are, a group of dedicated artists excited about this interesting, very Gary script, when it suddenly gets a hoke injection!

Poor Aaron has to search his heart and soul for some way to make this scene make sense.  So, yes, PAUL, things were progressing at a little slower pace than Aaron and I usually work at, but cut us some damn slack!!!  It takes a lot off effort to make shit smell like roses! We’re trying here!

What pisses me off even more is that Paul should know this!  I hate to admit it, but he’s a great actor.  AND I’ve snuck some peeks at stuff he’s written (and kept quiet about) that he left sitting out at Gary’s coffee table.  Again, hate to admit it, but it’s pretty damn good.  You’d think anyone with Paul’s talent and vision could see our struggle…instead he just freaked out and screamed at us, “Just say the goddamn lines, Aaron!  The words are right there on the page!  And so help me God, Laura, if you make one more inappropriate face…”  Aw c’mon, like he’s never raised an eyebrow at an odious line before.  And his eyes are so piercing, when he fixes his gaze on you it’s like he’s yelling at your soul.

I know, he’s an artist, and even when his artistic vision is off, his artistic temperament still reigns.  But what is Gary doing to him? Forcing him to abandon he believes in? I know Gary pretty well.  I love him.  But he ain’t worth all that.

This rehearsal process is just killing me.  I’m so drained: physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  So many people’s dreams were riding on this show.  And now…this.

I need a cup of coffee.

The next story.

JaneIt’s around this time of year I get to thinking. . . what use have I made of the past year? And the answer I get from myself is usually, “You did pretty well, Jane. Could have done better, but look what you had to work with.”

Well…….. mediocrity no more! I picked up the pamphlet for that acting school in Greece again. Just holding it in my fingertips gave me goosebumps, like I could feel the energy of the program leaping right off the page into my veins. It made me elated, excited—gave me a fleeting feeling of empowerment that I could do it; that I could do anything.

Of course, like all fleeting feelings of empowerment, this one was quickly replaced by gut-punching fear. But unlike with other bouts of gut-punching fear, this time I held my ground. I marked my calendar with the application date. I’m going to do it. Or at least try. I’ll never regret giving it a try.

One nagging question already, however. Who’s going to write a recommendation for me? Yikes. Certainly not Graham. He’d flip out if he knew I was so much as thinking of leaving, let alone leaving him without a new manuscript. Maybe I’ll have time to write both, my application and the next story. I should probably let the dust settle from the holidays, before I make any sudden movements.

Actually, on second thought, I should probably take action before inertia slows my heart rate back down again. I need to choose whether the next story I create will be his or my own.

I remembered why I don’t like it.

JaneSo the universe is putting me to the test yet again. I recently took yet another ghost writing job. So close, yet so far from acting.

I took the job, feeling like I NEED THE MONEY!!!

Well a few days into it, I remembered why I don’t like it, how my boss keeps me in a repressed little box, and is at this point just utterly degrading my full potential. His version of being direct is being ungrateful, while I’m performing miracles making wine out of water with 24 hour turn-arounds and he is still focused so hard on what’s wrong or could potentially be wrong that he makes you feel incompetent while all you are doing is the best you can, with the resources he has chosen to give to you. I’ve asked for better, he says no….apparently doesn’t understand the concept you get what you pay for, and the icing on the cake…is the few little things he tries to make me wrong for, was Actually in REALITY right & efficient, it just wasn’t HIS WAY, and I’m being made to deal with his fears, and anxieties for making promises to his client that HE can’t live up to. YET I’M AUTHENTIC IN MINE!

And this time I know it’s not just me. It’s time to be the “stars” we are meant to be!!!

And I’m finally promising myself, NO MORE! I’m walking through the terror of my final test.

And so I’m throwing my hands up in the air and asking whatever is out there….”tell me, what now?”

Please, give me a sign.