Monday, May 31, 2010

I Could've Died Part 2

I decided to give myself a fever this weekend.  Apparently after running around non-stop for the last 4-5 months with shows, rehearsals, and late nights, the one day I get to take off completely was consumed with me having a fever all day...and doing nothing about it for the longest time.

In the morning I took AKV out on a doggy walk with Lola.  It was a sunny day and I felt pretty normal - until the sun hit my skin.  I felt as if somebody had decided to stick me under a heat lamp.  It thought, "Hmmm, that's weird".  We finished up our walk and I was more than happy to get back inside.  I complained to the Wifey about my condition and we  both chalked it up to a mild sunburn.

As the day wore on, my head started pounding.  At this point I felt that I was merely dehydrated from the sunburn.  I kept complaining all day and did my best to rest up.  Yet nothing really helped.  I thought an excursion out to Uncle Julio's would make me feel better and I was just miserable the entire time.

I got home from that and a minor rubdown, the Wifey decided to take my temperature.  When it read 103.4F, the thought, "Dude, you could die" popped into my head.  At this point, an action plan was put into place.  I took a relatively cold shower to get my body temperature down.  Wifey went across the street and got me Tylenol and I popped a couple of those along with some Clariton for my sinus headache.  Then the voice of Les Stroud (Survivorman) spoke to me.  He said, "Cool the blood down, Nurl."  So, I got out an ice pack from the feezer, wrapped it up in a towel, and placed it on my neck to cool down the blood flowing through the carotid arteries.  I thought, "Yeah, it's dorky, but if it works for Les in the desert, it'll work me tonight".  I slept pretty much all day off and on.  My fever broke around 9 PM and was alright for the rest of the evening.

Goes to show you.  Ignorance and pride can kill you if you're not careful.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Performing for people as long as I have, I've seen a lot of things happen from awesome shows to on-stage fist fights amongst cast members.  When I think I've seen it all, something happens to remind me that I "ain't seen nuttin' yet!".

The thing lately that has captured my imagination is how professionalism is a lost skill amongst people who need to take it the most seriously.  One should take pride as to what work they and how they're perceived especially when involving the arts.  I'm amazed as to what small things people take for granted that totally affect their professionalism. I'm even further amazed as to how much people need to be told directly how to be professional!  It's something that isn't taught and only acquired apparently.  I've had to tell people things like:
  • Show up on time (or even early) to rehearsals and shows.  This by far is the biggest problem I've run into regardless of endeavor.  Why do people find it acceptable to disrespect other people's time?  Time apparently had no personal cost to many of us.  If you had to pay let's say $25 for every minute you were late, I bet you'd be on time.

  • Come prepared to work. I can't tell you how many rehearsals and shows I've been to where people don't know their lines, don't know what form we're using, can't remember lyrics, or absolutely are brain-dead and don't engage.  Again, this goes back wasting people's time.  Why do it?

  • Don't sleep with other people in the group until after the production is over.  I've recently told this to a group I'm in and some people were shocked I would even think of this.  The idea is equivalent to pooping where you eat.  Sleeping with people introduces a whole other gamut of potential issues as a production goes on.  Unless you are mature enough to handle a sexual relationship (which most of us are not), the consequences of a falling out can be a detriment to the production.  People get weird, the rest of the cast/band gets uncomfortable, and ultimately it shows on-stage.  As Grandmaster Flash says, "DON'T DO IT!"

I learned these things primarily from being in band programs in middle and high school.  They taught us the importance of these things even though at the time we just thought they were being hard on us.  I am incredibly grateful to have learned this early in my life so that I am in the upper echelon of my peers when it comes to being deemed professional.I'm not perfect but compared to many of my peers, I'm a superstar!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Living In the Limelight

By all intents and purposes, I consider myself to be a performer - not just an actor, a musician, or a comedian.  Yes, the latter list of titles describe a facet of what I have to offer the entertainment world but don't sum up everything I can and want to do.  This distinction came up in a passionate discussion I had a couple of nights ago.

In a very polite way I was asked to be mindful of how I should be acting on stage.  The compliant  was that my natural actions on stage distract from the vibe, the attitude, or the mood of a show.  From what I've learned in many shows is that sometimes I do get a bit overzealous and do things to focus attention onto me.  However, most of the time, I'm very mindful about who has focus and where it needs to lie.  So, this hit a little nerve and got things a bit heated.  I responded, "No offense to anyone in this room  but I'm the only one here who performs on a stage on a regular basis and is very comfortable on stage."  I said it with such impunity and vigor that there was no room for argument there. 

What really unnerved me was this prefabricated notion of what "the mood" of the show "should be" - as if there's a manual describing one-to-one relationships between actions on-stage and reactions off-stage.  What I've learned is that no crowd is ever the same night to night.  What works in one show won't work in another and vice-versa.  With my current run of "Ctrl+Alt+Deport", I've been amazed as to how disparate the crowds are each night we perform.  We think "Oh, the crowd is gonna LOVE this line!" and the line doesn't receive a reaction while something we totally didn't anticipate kills.  The only constant one can count on is how they conduct themselves when that spotlight is turned on. If you get into the habit of trying to dictate what they're going to react to, you'll be disappointed almost all of the time.

For these reasons, I refuse to subscribe to some inorganic notion of just how things should be when my craft as a performer is concerned.  The task at hand now is to have everyone involved on-stage to figure out their personas and working all of our individual expressions into a cohesive unit at every show.