I don’t know why – n’ – makes things an instant entrance into “casual” but it just seemed right. This is supposed to be a blog about what’s in my head and I feel like I’ve been letting my peeps down a little. So I just thought I’d ramble a bit. We have just finished week three of rehearsals for RENT at Rainbow Stage. It’s been an intense time but a good time. The cast is really fun. Jeremy Kushnier, who’s first directing gig this is, is doing a wonderful job. He knows the show so well, having done it several times over the last 10 years, in Canada, on Broadway, on the Asian tour. He knows the show inside and out. And I’ve known him for so many years. We grew up doing shows together. I haven’t spent much time with him over the last 10 years so it’s been nice to have these weeks with him. He’s a great guy and he’s got a good eye as director. I hope he does more. (And not just for my sake but for the sake of the business).
Now, playing Collins has been an interesting journey. I’m so instinctually aware of the Collins/Angel relationship from the Angel side, having understudied Angel in Canada and on the tour. But approaching it from the other side has been incredibly entertaining and challenging in a really cool way and a bit of an exhausting way. SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU’VE NOT SEEN THE SHOW, SKIP THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH!!!!! You realize how easy it is to die, in a way. . . . . . Allow me to explain. As Angel in the second act, you get sick in one number then die in the next one . . . . . . . then you go off and have some candy and read a magazine until the last line of the show. But as Collins, you have to watch your lover get sick, die, then have to sing a soul-destroying song for/to him at his funeral, deal with all of your friends being assholes to each other after the ceremony, then put your life back together and move on . . . . all before curtain call. Jesu Cristu!!!! That’s a lot of things. But it’s been really cool. I’m finding one of the benefits of playing this role now is that I’ve lived through more things and some recent life occurrences have allowed me to access much more of my own emotional possibilities than I would ever have been able to before. So it’s been a really interesting ride that way.
On the other hand, I’M TOTALLY WRONG FOR THIS ROLE VOCALLY!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA!!! I had forgotten how low it goes so when Jeremy asked me if I could sing it, I just said, “Sure.” Holy Dropped Testes, Batman! Wow. It’s been a challenge but one that I’ve been totally game for. I have the notes. They’re just not my strongest. That’s been a challenge but then I remembered that none of the Collins I’ve ever heard sound particularly natural down there so it makes me wonder if that’s part of what Jonathan Larson intended. It’s just slightly self-conscious. Hmm. Anyway, that has been a challenge. I’m certainly interested to see how the show plays. We have our invited dress tomorrow night and then we have a preview on Monday and open on Tuesday. Then run for three weeks. I’m curious how Winnipeg with take to Rainbow Stage doing RENT. I absolutely commend Ken Peter, the Artistic Producer of Rainbow doing the show. It’s bold. And I wasn’t sure when I said yes but now I’m really glad I’m doing the show. Oh, when I say, “I wasn’t sure”, I don’t mean about doing Rainbow, I mean about me revisiting the show and playing Collins. I won’t lie, I don’t think I’m the best choice for Collins but I hope I can take people on his journey and do Jonathan Larson’s legacy proud . . . at least that I don’t shame him and myself horribly. 😉 BTW, if any of you see the show and don’t like me, have to good taste NOT to tell me so.
On other fronts, it’s nice to actually be in Winnipeg in the summer for the second time in about 19 years. Not kidding. I’m so used to being here in the dead of winter, I forgot that the bottom of buildings are 90 degrees to the ground. I was just used to the curving snowbanks up against . . . well, . . . everything. And the Fringe Festival is going to be on in July which I haven’t been home for since the last time I was home in the summer which was about 8 or 9 years ago. And the Forks is here which is nice to just go walk around in. And my best friend Krista is here which is fantastic. And I still have a few old friends. It’s going to be a good time. I feel very hopeful and happy right now. If I wasn’t so freakin’ tired, I’d jump for joy but for right now, it’s all good. We open on Tuesday and then I can have a little more breath.
There are a lot of odd and freakish things happening in the world right now. World-destroying oil spills, natural disasters, people being so damn mean to each other. I have to admit, I’ve always been so disappointed and heartsick when I hear of or see people mistreating other people with such cold-hearted venom. I certainly can’t change that but I can certainly lead by example. I’m more determined than ever these days to strive to not indulge my human need to “take someone else’s energy” (to punish them, to hurt them, to teach them a lesson) which is only about feeling superior which makes it easier to control or dehumanize someone else. It’s so easy to get caught up in what WE want. We forget that other people have feelings and wants too. Empathy can be a fair-weather mistress. Wow, I just read that and it’s a mixed metaphor, to say the least. Ah well, I’ll stand by it for now. Anyway, try being aware of how often you have the impulse to be “better” than someone else – especially under the guise of a “joke”. I think you’ll be surprised.
Just some random bits in my head these days. It’s time to go to bed. But I’ll leave you with this Youtube clip someone posted from the Acting Up Stage Paul Simon concert from two years ago. Yes, it’s me. But hey, it’s my blog. 😛 I like the song a lot and I forgot about it until it popped when I was looking for something else and I don’t know if I ever posted it. I hope you like it. I think I may work it up and put it in my repertoire. I think this version has the seed of a version I might like to do.
Give love, get love, y’all.