Friday, February 11, 2005

Death of a Legend

Wow what an original title! See, ‘cause Arthur Miller died today and he wrote Death of a Salesman. It’s a “play” on words.

Art was 89. He lived a good long life. He wrote a few brilliant plays and was at one time married to Marilyn Monroe. On the news, that was his big claim to fame. “Married to Marilyn Monroe.” His plays actually are pretty damned good, you should check them out.

I was fortunate enough to have been in two of his plays, “The Crucible” and “All My Sons.” Both are really upbeat plays, I tell you. In both of them, because of the parts I played (Rev. Hale in Crucible and Chris Keller in …Sons), I had to have a complete breakdown at the end. I was left crying onstage as the lights went out in each of them.

That’s a hard thing to do when you’re not a very focused actor.

The nice thing about being left onstage as the theatre goes dark after an intense play is that you get to her the audience’s reaction. Especially when you’re in an intimate space. The Crucible was in the round and Sons was a severe thrust. Those are stupid theatre terms. Only horny theatre people could do a play on an “intimate thrust” stage.

Anyway, as I was saying, I got to hear the audience response after each of those plays. My sobbing was entirely fake so it was easily silenced at the blackout. Now I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone…wait, I’m talking about theatre here. Chances are that you’re not going to go to the theatre. Nobody goes to the theatre…not even me. I’ve been in more plays than I’ve seen.

But I’m not here to bag on the craptastic theatre they have here in LA. Theatre that’s so abysmal that you can’t even get your friends to come to your shows. And who could blame them? If most actors didn’t treat every stage opportunity as an audition to hock Snickers bars for $20,000, theatre might be able to bring in over 50 people a week…

I’m not here for that.

Arthur Miller spoiler alert! This next paragraph contains spoilers for a play. An old play. A play that they’re probably never going to make in a major motion picture which makes this spoiler merely obligatory and not practical in any sense.

So, at the end of All My Sons, Chris’s (the part I played) father Joe becomes so wracked with guilt over selling defective plane parts to the war effort that resulted in the death of a bunch of young WWII fighter pilots (including his older son) that he struts offstage and shoots himself.

That’s my cue to cry like the dickens until the lights go out. Very happy. A real feel good play.

So I’m sitting there in the dark preparing my “Jesus H. was that hard and mentally exhausting but I’ll do anything for my adoring public” face for the curtain call when I hear these two older ladies in the second row. One of the women turns to the other and says “that was pretty depressing for a Neil Simon play.”

It sure was. Which is probably why good ol’ Neil didn’t write it. But I felt a little sad for those nice old ladies. They came to the theatre expecting “Barefoot in the Park” (which I was also in) and instead got an old Soap Opera actor-turned-sweetest person in the world/director/lead actor blowing his brains out.

While Barefoot in the Park might be more fun, there’s just no substitute for the provocative power of a finely crafted Arthur Miller play. He was truly one of the best American playwrights to ever live. I want to be Arthur Miller when I grow up.

Unfortunately, Marilyn’s not looking so hot these days.

Fun Fact: The asswad neighbors have taken to having rock and roll band practice at 10:00 at night. They recently moved into the house next door. They’re loud and obnoxious.

And worst of all, they suck.

Mostly, I can hear the drummer. I went over there last night for some recon before we called the cops on them at 11:30. I didn’t know whether to yell at the drummer guy or offer him some rhythm lessons.

Hasn’t anyone ever heard of a metronome?! Work on the fills people! They’re only impressive if you’re still playing the same song when you’re done with one.

So, Tanya called the cops. She told them about the neighbors and how they were driving us (and the people across the way) nuts. She neglected to tell them that she was getting so frustrated with them that she was beginning to blame me for their behavior…


But they sent someone to drive by at around midnight. By then, the “band” had stopped. We had fallen asleep. In fact, I had just fallen asleep when the cops called to check on us at around 12:30.

“Hi, this is the cops, we just wanted to wake you up and find out if you’ve fallen asleep yet…”

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Neighbors suck!

No comments: