Saturday, February 22, 2014

Four Bottles of Beer in the Trunk ...

I’m tired.

Tired physically and mentally, but mainly just tired of this whole job hunt thing. (I didn’t get the job, by the way. At least they let me know quickly.) Why can’t someone just hire me already? I know I would.

I have another interview Saturday, this time for a directing job. (Which would, of course, be way off in the future, and will pay just enough to cover my expenses and gas money – and that’s about it. Not that I’m complaining; given the financial state of most theatres, I’m lucky to get paid at all.) I’ll feel a little more secure about this one since it’s actually in my field. I’m pitching three shows, none of which I expect to actually get chosen, but at least they’ll show my point of view and my aesthetic. The biggest “problem” with the scripts I’m pitching is that the casts are male-heavy. I expect that, after pitching my shows, they’ll pitch me on their own shows and I’ll do my best to devise ideas for them. (I have no idea at this point what those other shows might be; Shakespeare has been mentioned vaguely.)

I dealt with the not-getting-enough-men thing the other night, so I’m not about to go into it again. This is a company I’ve worked for in the past, though, so I have a bit of a pre-existing relationship, even if I haven’t been able to make it to that part of the Bay since I did the other show. I know I should support the companies I’ve worked at and my many theatre friends, but driving down to the South Bay or over to the East Bay just seems like going to the ends of the Earth. It doesn’t help that, lately, I’m in shows of my own on the weekends, and when I don’t have performances, the last thing I want to do is go out and sit through a play. I know it’s small and ungenerous of me, but there it is.

I’ve spent a good portion of the evening since getting home from the show tonight trying to work out how many actors I need for “The Farnsworth Invention.” I thought I’d worked out a perfect spreadsheet to see what characters are on in what scenes, but as I started to dig into the spreadsheet yet again, the less sense it made, so I realized I had to go through the whole play again. The new new spreadsheet seems a little more coherent, but the more I dig into this, the more I’m realizing I’m going to have to handle it like a cross between a musical and a riot. There are so many scenes where the ensemble is doing stuff and so many things going on, if not at once, then right on top of each other that I think it’s going to be one of those shows where I just start pointing at people and saying, “you do this and read these lines and you stand there and try this” and then scrap it all five minutes later and try something else. It’s daunting, but the prospect is actually simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

The biggest hurdle is going to be working out how many men and how many women I’m going to need. I expect. The breakdown from the licenser is 15 men and 3 women, but I know I’m not going to get that many men (I’m hopeful, but bitter experience has taught me otherwise), so I have to work which roles I can cross-cast. Even before that, I’m going to need to figure out how to break down the 90+ roles by actor. As I say, I thought I had it solved, but it looks like I don’t quite. I’m close, though.

I don’t have much else to say tonight. The show went well, though it felt crowded – audience members getting in the way of moments – and I have a long day tomorrow: a trip to the East Bay, then to the city for a rehearsal for a staged reading I’m in, then the show. With all that, why I’m still up at 4:30, I have no idea.

One thing I’ll leave you with, though, as a review with a word of warning. In “The Speakeasy,” I literally sit at the bar all night. I start off drinking beer and then switch to some form of brown alcohol (which is tea, natch; I just haven’t determined in my mind whether it’s Scotch or bourbon; probably the latter, given the color). Initially, I was drinking the actual beer from the tap. My rationale was that the audience was only inches away from me and any non-beer substitute just looked phony (and given that it’s been two years since I’ve really drunk any kind of soda, the ginger ale/sarsaparilla mixture was pretty disgusting – though not as disgusting as the one that added tonic water). The amount of real beer I drank was so minimal it didn’t affect me – and I’ve developed a pretty low tolerance – but the producers understandably put the kibosh on alcohol consumption, so I had to switch.

Thinking I was smart, I decided to buy a single bottle of near beer, just to test drive it. My local supermarket sells it only in six-packs, though, so I settled on a reliable-seeming brand and bought one. I got it to the theatre, popped it open – and it was – is – one of the most horrific things I’ve ever drunk. It is probably exceeded only by the bottle of “Simpsons” soda (yes, those Simpsons) I bought in Russia. That one tasted like battery acid.

My verdict? Alcohol-free Beck’s Beer tastes like what you’d imagine a cross between alcohol and vegetable soup would taste like. It’s just gawdawful.

And I’ve still got four bottles to get through


  1. You probably bought a US brand. Try something from Europe. Germany and Spain make pretty good alcohol-free beers.

    1. It was Beck's, which is theoretically German, but is nastier than expected -- though it has interesting properties when frozen, I found out last night.