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.

Adieu,
Marius

ps
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?

8 comments:

Monkey said...

Interesting post- it sounds like your family might not have been supportive of your career path.

Since you have been on both sides of the limelight- what was your experience as an actor like- how does it compare to being behind the scenes?

Marius said...

Quite the contrary. My mom and dad were very supportive, even if they didn't really get it. I still have to explain what it is I do from time to time. As for on or off-stage, when I was younger I used to long for whatever I wasn't doing. If I was on stage, I'd wish I were backstage, and vise-versa. Now , even though nothing beats the rush of applause, I usually only get on stage when there is a need, such as a lack of male actors, but I prefer to remain in the shadows...unless I'm at a karoke bar, then all bets are off. :-)

Monkey said...

I absolutely love karoke- in fact once a karoke bar opened just for me- a long story.
Post some karoke stories, we all have them.
Do you have a karoke name? A regular set list? Perhaps I am a bit too into this?

Marius said...

Nope, no karoke name. As for karoke stories, most are pretty tame, although there was the time, on a whim, I decided to try singing Alanis Morrisette's Head Over Feet. It was tricky, and a bit too high, and I had to change a couple of the words, but it worked ok and I had a good time singing it. Then I went back to our table, and my roommate Todd just looked at me, and calmly said, 'You don't ever need to do that one again.' He was right. As for having a set list, there are a few songs I really like to sing, My Sharona; Rock and Roll All Night and Party Every Day; Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Enter Sandman; but I try to vary it. I get bored with singing the same thing over and over, but if I had a dollar for every woman who made me sing Paradise by the Dashboard Light so she could sing the very brief female part I could have had all my beers paid for.

Turtle said...

Ahhh.... Nostalgia.... I remember the days in the library quite fondly. Well, most of them, anyway...

Oddly enough, I was recently reminiscing about "the tree".

Marius said...

I drove by The Tree during the summer, and it looks a lot smaller than I remember it. And as I recall you did prove that ants aren't all that harmful or fatal if swallowed in a library.

;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the tale. I didn't know just how much you were connected with Turtle and the Duke.

I have heard some high school stories about Turtle and the Duke from Tear, and I'm glad to have this one to add to it.

- KA

Marius said...

Yeah, it's kinda ironic. Duke, and Turtle, and Tear, and Natasha, and I all pretty much joined the SCA at the same time, but my choice to pursue theatre as a career kept me from being able to dedicate the time to it as they have.