Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting Back in Show Business

I'm looking for audition pieces. Just to keep my hand in, I think I'll audition for the Short Play Festival to be held in New Paltz the weekend after July 4. So.

That means I must find a meaty monologue and work on it. I have unopened cartons of books in a closet, and at least two of them are play scripts. Lots of good parts for women there, some roles I've done in the past--surely there is something appropriate for an audition at this point.

I find a script of a play I wanted to do about a year before I left Fairhope. The play was Gertrude Stein and a Companion, and I was interested in playing Gertrude. Hard to face the fact that, with my added years and girth, it would be a role for me--but I liked the play and found a "companion," an actress who really loved Stein and Alice B. Toklas, her longtime "wife." We toyed with the script, found a director, started to have meetings about finding a base from which to operate. It was not the kind of thing done by the local amateur group, but I had put together a number of such groups in different places, and I was excited about getting back in the theatre. To make a long story short, the production never happened, but I ended up with a lot of Gertrude Stein material and a couple of copies of the script.

For the Short Play Festival audition I started working on a Gertrude Stein monologue but it was harder to learn than usual. Besides, it didn't quite showcase me in the way I wanted. I thought the character was too limited for an audition piece unless I was auditioning for the role of Gertrude Stein or somebody just like her. Maybe I could add another monologue, for instance, Amanda's "gentleman caller" speech from The Glass Menagerie. I played that role in a summer production in college--yes, I was 18 years old--and I felt so haunted by the role I thought it would be easy to relearn it. But to do two monologues? Neither of which really applies, either to me or to the upcoming production? Just didn't feel right.

I remembered The Gingerbread Lady. I played in that one twice.
As Evy in The Gingerbread Lady, Geneva, 1984
Once, when I was in my late 40s and again some ten years later. This is 20 years after that--and I'm quite long in the tooth for the role. But I think there's a lot of Evy still in me and I'm sure I can capture it. So I scrounged through the cartons and found an old scarred and yellowed copy of the script, with highlighting of many colors. In the battered script I came upon a doozy of a monologue with humor, pathos, and Neil Simon's deft hand clearly showing.

I'll enjoy getting back on a stage at this point. The same stage, by the way, that my friend Doug Motel (scroll down the blog for my post about him) will appear on as 11 different people on Friday and Saturday nights of this week. The little Rosendale Theatre will take its place in theatrical history. The place for an unforgettable one-man show May 17 and 18. And the comeback of me, however brief it may be on June 1. If I get a role in one of the Short Plays, it may be the start of something big. 

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