Happy Turkeys, everyone.
They've built a circa-1972 Canadian farmhouse kitchen and backyard, in an intimate 150-seat black box theatre in downtown Burlington, VT. I helped lay down authentic Canadian linoleum on the 16\16 ft. stage, and tracts of sod on the outside corner. There's a vintage Kelvinator fridge that weighs heavier than a guilty conscience. There's a working sink, which, in that intimate space in-the-round, just boggles my pea-sized brain. At this point in rehearsals, we consume a loaf-and-a-half of Wonderbread every night. That's quite a bit.
This Tech experience, I must confide, is Humiliatingly Difficult. The Drawer Boy looks simple and straightforward, but I assure you, reader, that there is much hidden in its deceptively meek ambitions, enough to upend the best intentions of this cast.
I am apalled at my own shortcomings in this. All three of us in this tiny cast are struggling with lines. And at this close to opening, it looks and feels like Amateur Hour on the Chucklehead TV Special.
What gets me is that I know--we all know--that we're better than this. I daresay all three of us are talented, determined, committed actors equal to the task before us. It's a beautifully moving play, with great nuance and hidden depth beneath a seemingly placid exterior (kind of like me, actually). We just keep getting upended by the repetitive, same-but-different interjections, and the sheer number and scale of discoveries we have to sort through onstage (I guess that's kind of like me, too).
I've done hard things. I played the Bear, in a show this summer about a faith healer in Poland beset by demons and stiltwalkers and shaman-totems. I've also played the faith healer with a broken fifth metatarsal. I've done hard things. And I'm not about to give up...
Ach. So that's what this self-absorbed insecure actor is struggling with. But on the bright side, our costume designer is kickass. She's thinking of dressing my character in a lime-green button-down shirt, a pair of slim black corduroids, and thick Michael Caine-vintage hornrimmed glasses. "It's so difficult to keep you from looking hip," she says. I know, Jenny, I know.