Friday, November 02, 2007
Go Ahead, Caller...
Howdy, howdy, howdy, and welcome to day two of NoBlowMoe, or whatever. Today I'll begin answering questions. The wonderfully helpful, and part-time streaker, Monkey asked, "Were your parents theater folks? Did you grow up on the road?" In truth, I'm the weird sheep of the family. My dad was an occupational therapist and perpetual student, and my mom spent most of her corporate life in various aspects of banking. My maternal grandmother was a school teacher, and my paternal grandfather was a John Deere salesman. Most of my family are about as normal as they come and have absolutely no idea what it is I do, or why I do it. In fact, when I told my grandfather after I graduated high school that I was going to major in Theatre he literally said, "Yeah, but what are you really going to do?" To be honest, I still haven't figured out the answer to that question.
And how did this all happen, you ask? I blame one person. Duke! Many, many years ago, back at good old Lake Worth high, I was part of a small, but decidedly tight knit group of proto-geeks. There was Duke, who was into Star Trek almost more than I was, and was a member of the Drama Club. Rico, who made us ponder if Eddy VanHalen could be reincarnated while still alive and whose stories of Chicago made us wonder if he was the coolest human alive...or one of the best bullshitters in history.(the jury's still out, dude) ;-) Turtle, the gentle giant whose acting and singing talents were largely unappreciated and underrated. And Targon, the conscience of the group, whose dedication to Tolkien is even to this day unrivalled, and who shamed us into avoiding the obligatory 'elves are gay' jokes during our D&D games. We would gather at lunch time in the library to BS and plan our next Dungeons and Dragons get together, and one day Duke asked me if I could do a Russian accent. Now what self-respecting young Star Trek geek can't do a fair approximation of the terrible accent that Walter Keonig used as Chekhov? So I answered using my Chekhov voice that I could. Somehow, and maybe this was a hint of the almost preternatural powers as a salesman he has today, he talked this painfully shy, chubby Treknerd into auditioning for You Can't Take It With You. I had not been on stage since my 6th grade play, but I had said I would do it, and I did. And I got the part as Boris Kolenkhov, a ballet teacher who's opinion of just about everything was, 'It stinks!' At the same time, Duke took me to the Lake Worth Playhouse, which is a community theatre of no small renown, and introduced me to Bob Foster. Foster was the lighting designer there, and one of the great influences on my career. Foster taught me how to hang, focus, and maintain lights, as well as how to swear in front of adults. So while I was an actor at school, I was a techie at the Playhouse. I worked my first show as a stagehand there. The play was called 1000 Clowns, and by the end of that run I was hooked. I worked dozens of shows at the Playhouse, and was in every play at school until I graduated. Of the group, I'm the only one who made a go of theatre as a career, although Turtle has dipped his talented toes back into the performance pool from time to time, and Duke's exploits in the SCA are legendary. Rico just landed a groovy gig at NASA, and Targon is a respected therapist who just barely accepts the Lord of the Rings movies as 'not too bad, I guess.'
Wow, this ended up being a lot longer and more involved that I planned. I hope that answers your question, Monkey. Tune in tomorrow for the tale of how I met my wife.
To my fellow bloggers, do you often find that when you write a blog that feels almost like a novella, and you apologize for it's length, then you read it and it's almost too short?