The Truth about My Most Recent Absence 10/6/98

I've been gone a while, and all sorts of interesting, fascinating, things have been going on. Well ... just two things, really. But big things. Huge. Okay, one huge thing, and that other thing which is biggish but not exactly quite big.

The huge thing is that I quit my job. I wish I could tell you a great story behind that, but I didn't grab the owner and throw him into the trunk of a car and I didn't smash my demo into the inventory and I didn't tie my demo key to a brick and happily smash some plate glass. There was none of that. I just handed my key to a manager and said the word 'Quitting,' and it wasn't beautiful or poetic or anything.

Well . . . it was beautiful. But Justice wasn't Served and Good didn't triumph over Evil. And that's probably for the best, considering there's a fair chance I'll end up back there for November. (Don't ya hate when they call you back with a better offer?) The truth is I really loved that job -- but it's funny how one idiot can suck all the fun right out of your day.

The other thing -- the Biggish Thing -- is that I'm acting again. Raise your hand if you knew I'd acted before? Ah . . . look at all the people who didn't know! Haven't been reading those Classic Truths have ya? Well, that's all right. Too much Truth will blind you.

That's right, kids. Acting. Oof. The actor I still stay in touch with (there are actually two of them -- but one's living in New Mexico) knew I was out of work for almost ten whole minutes before he had me cast in the play he was doing. It seems they were short in the King Phillip department to the tune of one King Phillip.

Now, it's been about four years since I've done this. I'm certain that in the show's program the words 'triumphant return' will be used. And there are a bunch of Truths about Theater that I know I could share in this space. Most of those Truths will have to wait until after it's over -- not just because one or more of the cast members might stumble upon this, but mostly because I'm so over-whelmed by being back and learning lines and panicking over opening-night that I'm not sure which way is up let-alone which Truth is a great Truth.

Okay. Here's a pretty good Truth: You get over it. Any It no matter what the It was. Eventually It goes away. Case in point . . .

A large part of the reason I stopped theater was because I had too many ex-girlfriends running around in those circles. Way too many . . . I mean these broads were everywhere. It's not nearly as large a circle of people as you might hope, so I'd run into them at auditions, or they'd come to see friends of theirs in the play you're in, etc. They were everywhere. My life was a haunted place.

I'm in this play right now with my very first Theater Ex. We dated six years ago . . . and jeez does that ever sound like a huge number. Am I old enough to have had a girlfriend six years ago? I was only fifteen then right? 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . Holy Cow! I was 23 six years ago! In less than a week I will have been 24 six years ago! Great Caesar's Ghost!

Wait . . . wait . . . that's a Truth for another time. And those of you who read The Truth about Twenty-Nine a year ago probably aren't going to be surprised by what you see here in about a week.

Anywho . . . my first Theater Ex and I are getting along just swimmingly. We haven't discussed the fact that we dated once . . . and God Willing it won't come up at all. A few of the cast knows, because I was cast late and I made it a condition of my starting the play that she be warned. But she didn't have a problem and I didn't have a problem and there's none of the hurtful little comments or accusatory glances or hypothetical 'What If' conversations that I might have expected. It's smooth as silk and I have to confess I'm genuinely enjoying doing this play with her. My only regret is that we don't have any scenes together because she's an outstanding actress and it's always nice to act with someone that good.

(Besides, we had a scene together in my second play -- back when I was what's called 'A Really Bad Actor,' and I feel as though I might have a few sins to atone for on that score.)

Which brings me to yet-another interesting point -- and this one I'll make brief because it's probably a whole lot more interesting to me than it will be for you, Gentle Reader. Jeez . . . I leave for a few months and really get backed-up don't I?

I'm not what you would call a naturally gifted actor. In fact, I stunk on ice for a good long time. The Truth about the fact that I did a show every season for two years is that I made a lot of friends who were directors early on and they wanted me around because I lightened things up backstage and I'd learn all my lines. Talent was not an issue. But then, I'm not what you would call a naturally gifted writer either. I was decent with the spoken word, but the rest I had to work to figure out. No doubt some of you reading this will feel I've still got some stuff to work out, and I'd agree with you. Check back in ten years and see if you like what I'm doing then.

But I iago. (The verb . . . iago . . . means 'to digress' -- just like the verb lewinsky means . . . well . . . we know what it means.) My point was I did about seven plays poorly out of my original nine. That's a lot of bad acting, my friends. But something happened in those course of doing all of those plays . . . I got better. I figured a few things out, pieced a few things together. Somewhere in there I stopped sucking. I'm no longer in a struggle where my only goal is not to be the absolute worst actor on stage. Now I just get up and do my thing and it all feels pretty good.

Wow. Today, my fingers runneth over. I'll try very hard to make my next one a bit shorter. How much could there be to say about turning 30 anyway?