When we last left our hero, he was getting ready to be Ellard in the Foriegner at the howmet and put on my own production of True West with Josh Guerrin.
I'll talk about true west first. We managed to put on the play in a church his dad preached in, on the last two weekends that they actually owned the building. Good timing. The crowds were modest, but great. They loved us. It was, by far, one of the most frightening and reward experiences I've ever had. Except for Josh. As the play's end date grew nearer, he got more brooding and hard to work with. He would get mad at me for little stupid things, and would give me confusing and unhelpful acting advice. Thank God for Max Bush, a friend of his that guest directed for us a few times.
Now we did have a little money in the bank at the end of all this hullabaloo, and we were planning our next show. We also had a meeting where Josh asked to be compensated. At this point, only wanting to keep as much in the bank as we could now that we knew how pricey things could get, I asked him to keep in mind that I was not asking to be compensated for anything, even though I drove back and forth to holland from muskegon each day when gas prices were over 4 dollars a gallon. He did, and only asked for 150 dollars, which I happily gave. Shortly after that he called me with 4 possibilities for our next play, and told me what scripts to find and look over.
After that call, He was unreachable for over 2 months. He never returned my calls and never called me. I ended up calling his parents concerned for his safety. Eventually I got a really screwed up e-mail from him accusing me of stealing money from him, or at least not giving him the money he asked for, and that he had spent over 700 dollars on lumber. What? Our set wasn't that good, and I suggested long ago that we could easy mime our set for free! We didn't have to build a kitchen! Why didn't he tell me he spent that much? I would have easily given him all the money we had. I didn't even want our bank account in my name, I wanted it to be in his name, but he couldn't open an account since he didn't have a michigan driver's license. I wrote him back and said as much, just shocked and hurt that he'd accuse me of that, but I never heard another word back from him. It still bothers me, nearly a year later. I've never lost a friend so abruptly and in such an odd fashion before. I'm still not over it, I really liked him, until his last e-mail that is. So ends our theater company "The Other Theater". We put on one really good show though, and I guess that is all that matters.
Now, as for the Foriegner. As good as True West went, the Foriegner went even better. I love working at the Howmet theater. Really Short rehearsal time, but really long days. Hanging out in Whitehall, which is actually a really neat little city. Eating lunch at pekadills, a cool deli with immaculate outdoor seating, and hanging out with the out of town actors that are being housed by the theater. I have really good memories of hanging out in the basement of the howmet, waiting for the show to start, sitting in my overalls, reading The Stand, and talking to Terry Ireland. There was also the night I broke a lamp on stage, effectively changing the line "What is This?" to "What was that?"
Chris Hayes, my favorite teacher from the London Theater Exchange Intensive Theater Training Program, came to see it and take me out to lunch. He told me that I needed to get out of this town and try acting in a big city, he told me to try Chicago. He said that if i did it within six months, he'd send me some money to help me along. This was in early august, by my birthday at the end of september, I was moved to Chicago!
I ended up staying with Casey Pilkenton, a fellow writer I knew through Spunkybean.com. Her friend Heather said it was cool and I moved on down. I ended up sharing a room with her dog. I was able to stay a month, but after that they moved, and two weeks in shared with me that I would not be moving with them for reasons of space. This would have been nice to know before I moved all my crap down there.
While in Chi-town, aside from the mess at where I was staying, I took a semester at second city. I love it there! I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned and grew as an actor because of it. I'm so going back as soon as I can.
While I had to come home before my semester at second city was over, I still took the amtrak in every week to complete the course. It actually worked out cheaper than rent. Some of the most beautiful sights i've seen in my life is riding that double decker train to chicago on a morning after a heavy snow. This state really is very breathtaking, it's like a million works of art passed by my window seat.
Back into town, trying to restart my life, get a job quickly, and get back to Chicago as soon as I could. No jobs... anywhere. Even the cinema won't take me back. And so starts a months long stint of unemployment. So what do I do? I start a board game night, every week. But we need people to fill those seats, and it is at this time in this way that my life has changed drastically for the better. For a guest to game night, I called Sofija Dutcher.
I met Sofi as an 11 year old girl, when I was 17, doing my first play I ever did for MCT at the Frauenthal, Annie Get Your Gun. Then she was a sweet, precocious girl who brought me pistachio bread. Years later, she came to see me in a play at MCC and went back stage to talk to me afterwards. Wow. She grew up and got all hot. I became friends with her, as I did have a crush on her, and I asked her out to the movies a few times. I also helped her out a bit with monologues or things she was doing. Though I did have a crush on her, I never felt that she felt that way about me. I can read vibes and her's was not romantic, so I left it at that. Being friends was cool with me. That was until the game night of December 14.
When I dropped her off home, waaay early the morning of the 15, I kissed her on her porch step. She told me later it was my moving to Chicago that made her realize her feelings for me. Tomorrow, we will have been dating for 6 months, my longest relationship ever. I am so happy and ever so much in love with her. A year from this Fall, she and I will be moving to Chicago to go to Columbia together. Her for Graphic Design and I for theater. After going to 3 colleges, maybe I'll finally get my BFA from this 4th one.
Right now, I'm working on saving money, as hard as that is with my stupid car needed repair work all the time. I do have a job now, and a good job at that. I'm working at the Shoreline Inn and Suites at the front desk. I could fill a whole entry on the crazy stuff that has happened to me there, but let's just say for now that I'm good at it, people here are crazy, and I got TJ a job here. Good stuff.
On two sad notes, My friend CJ's dad passed away recently, All my good thoughts and prayers go to him and his family, and we finally put my Granny in an Old Folks Home. It's not as bad as I thought it would be there, but the whole thing has been pretty rough on my mom. We all dealing with it the best we can, rob is turning her room into a computer room, so I guess he's dealing with it the best of all. On a good note, robby is awesome. He is getting better at guitar everyday, and he just graduated 3rd grade, but he has an 8th grade reading level. That kid rocks.
Coming Full Circle, I'm at the Howmet again this summer. I'm in two shows, One is The Underpants by Steve Martin, and the other one is called All in the Timing, where in one one-act I play both a Monkey forced to write Hamlet, and the other I play Trotsky with a mountain climber's axe jammed in his head. It's going to be a fun summer, and for me, life has never been better.