Call me crazy. I can hardly believe it myself . . . .
I've decided to explore a new creative avenue. At least for the next 2 months. Who knows if it's just a one-time thing. Maybe it is. What I am sure of: I plan to have a blast with it.
It's definitely not replacing my writing (contrary to what my lovely wife claims, but then she's always crackin' the whip when it comes to meeting deadlines, etc., and I admit I never would have accomplished the things I've accomplished as a writer if it wasn't for her; unfortunately, she has accused me more than once of "finding a new excuse not to write" since I told her I was gonna give this a shot . . . she said the same thing about the blog you're reading right now). This new endeavor is something I'm doing solely for fun, because I want to prove to myself that I can do it. And, truth told, I think it can only help my writing, through a new way of looking at character and dialogue. It's something that's always interested me a little, but I've never thought about trying it out before now. An awkward stint as drunken "Simon Stimson" in a performance of Our Town way back in high school followed by a year of Drama class don't count.
Yep. You guessed it.
Believe it or not, I'm gonna try my hand at acting.
My cousin Joseph Guice is responsible for "planting the seed" in the first place. Over the last few years, I've watched Joe decide what he wanted to do with his life and he went for it. I've seen him chase his dream, work hard at it every day, and tirelessly hone his craft. Words cannot describe how proud I am of my cousin. I only wish I could have seen more of his projects through the years, but we kinda lost touch for a while when he first started working as a full-time actor (mostly because he moved away to New York City, where he studied at the reknowned Circle In the Square acting school -- Joe has indefinitely moved back to NYC again as I type this, in fact, and just finished a very successful run in the off-Broadway play The Tragedy of Tupac). Fortunately, I've been able to catch up on some lost time this year, as I've seen Joe star in the fantastic plays Buried Child, How I Learned To Drive, and in the short film Men of Persuasion. And he's got many more exciting projects on the horizon.
Here is Joe (along with the spectacular Claire Bowerman) in a lil' film I co-wrote this past summer for the 48-Hour Film Project:
So, anyway . . . before this post turned into a drooling lovefest for Joe, I had intended to tell you how I've always enjoyed a trip to the theater, and what first got me to thinking about trying my hand at acting.
My wife and I have gone to see a few plays before. We're not avid theater-goers, but we enjoy it when we get a chance. I've always admired folks who can not only memorize so many lines, but get up there and move you with their delivery. Folks who can make you forget that you're sitting in an uncomfortable chair watching a single stage with some cheap set dressing and a few props scattered about. Folks who could make you believe you had stepped into another world, their world.
It's something I thought I could never do. Never even gave it any thought.
Then, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called August: Osage County came into my life.
A couple weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a message on Facebook from a wonderful lady named Jennifer Treadway. Jennifer is the Drama Teacher at our local community college; she and Joe became good friends while Joe was the Artist-In-Residence at said college. I've seen her work a few times in the past, as not only have I watched Joe act in several plays she has directed, Jennifer was kind enough to teach my twelve-year-old son, Jamie, how to mix the fake blood and brains -- and then splat 'em against the wall for a wonderfully gruesome shot -- in our 48-Hour Film Project entry above. I also have to mention that her own kick-ass short "Serial Love" actually took home the award for Best Film in our local 48HFP back in 2008.
Anyway . . . I got a message from Jennifer. She wanted me to try out for this new play that was gonna be coming up at the college, August: Osage County.
"You're talking about acting?" I replied. "You are off your rocker."
She gleefully admitted the latter was true. Just as I suspected she would. But then she proceeded to tell me that she was deadly serious about the first part. Yes, she was talking about acting. And, by God, she knew what she was talking about, 'cause she's been doing this for 20 years.
We went back and forth for a while. I called her crazy at least two or three more times. She might have called me "chicken".
What the heck. I'm always up to a challenge.
I borrowed the script from her, read it the weekend before auditions.
And I loved it!
August: Osage County is the story of one verrrrrry dysfunctional family. Think Six Feet Under (my all-time favorite TV show) if the setting were moved out of a Los Angeles funeral home and into an old homestead somewhere in the hottest part of Oklahoma. There's a lot more to it than that, of course, but in a nutshell that description will do for now.
I couldn't wait to try out, after reading the script. I was sold.
What was the worst that could happen, I decided. I'd have fun with it, prove to Jennifer I was no "chicken"; I would give the audition my all, but then it would lead to nowhere. No harm done.
Ultimately, I didn't get the part I tried out for (which I didn't think I was right for anyway, appearance-wise, even if that particular character has all the best lines). But I got a part. A very cool part. And rehearsals began this past Monday.
Holy crap . . . I'm gonna be in a play. Acting.
November 17-20 I will appear as "Sheriff Deon Gilbeau" in a local production of August: Osage County. It's a fun role, pivotal but small enough to be the perfect fit for a newbie like myself. I'll be acting alongside so many wonderful folks, incredible talents I've admired on more than one occasion from the other side of the stage.
Now I'm up there with them.
I was invited to be up there with them.
And that's just about the coolest thing ever.
I admit I'm pretty terrified. But at the same time I'm so excited I can barely sit still.