A Play Reading


Cranky did a play reading this week. Actors are such a great lot. Sitting next to me at the rehearsal was one actor with 4 highlighters, 2 pens, a banana and a coffee. Instead of   An Actor Prepares a more appropriate title would have been An Actor is Prepared. We never know when we show up if there will be anything there for us. Will they offer us a drink of water? So we assume it is a bring your own snack situation.

One actor brought his attorney girlfriend to the rehearsal who sat down and immediately started asking actors what the did in the real world. THE REAL WORLD. I don’t know about the rest of the thespians, but to me theater is the real world and business is the land of make believe.

The day of the reading the writer was in attendance having come down from Maine. He talked a lot. A lot. Talked and talked and talked. He compared his play to The Glass Menagerie. He went in depth about many things that were not on the page. He quoted (without giving credit) Harold Pinter’s explanation of a pause. There are certain people that give Cranky instant, temporary ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER. This was one of them. The actor reading stage directions just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “He’s spent too much time in the woods.”

During the break, I went to a little place on the corner to go over the script and have some soup. I became fascinated with a guy having an animated conversation with one of those internet pole things around the city. It’s like a cell phone without the bill.


He looked at me and motioned for a pen. I nodded and gave him a pen and a napkin. When the call was over he came in and gave me back the pen and told me about his mother’s horrible boyfriend and how he just got out of prison and could he sit down. I said sorry I’m studying something but I would say a prayer for him and asked him his name. The waiters were starting to circle. He left just in time.

Cranky was at a table in the window. The theater had a horrible little dressing room with barely any light. So even though it is totally horrible manners, Cranky decided she had to take advantage of the great lighting at the table and apply her makeup there. No one would see me. The restaurant was empty. Location was 22nd and 8th. Who’s gonna be there? So the makeup production begins. Dump the contents on the table and take out my compact mirror and start applying. Decide I will leave and extra dollar for the time I am spending at the table.

IMG_1445 (1)

I look up and 3 ex-work colleagues of my ex have entered the restaurant and are standing over me. Why why why? My first concern is that I look tacky. My second concern is that this trip down memory lane will throw off the emotional life of the character I am about to read in 40 minutes in front of an audience. I make a few jokes and am courteous. I then pick up my blush brush and hold it mid-air as the makeup production must continue. It is the cue for the conversation to end. They go to another table and discuss the campaigns they are working on.

The reading goes well. There is a Q & A afterward which Cranky dreads. There are a bunch of writers there. There are questions. A five-word question is answered by a 10-minute explanation by the writer. Then the temporary ADHD kicks in again and even though I am onstage, I start rummaging through my bag. Then I check my emails. Then I make a joke to the actor sitting next to me. I can’t take it anymore and I go sit in the audience with my friend as I realize I am adding nothing by sitting onstage.

It was fun to be performing onstage again. A friend from Mr. Inscrutable’s class asked me to join him. And if made me realize, bananas and all, that actors are my peeps.

4 Responses to “A Play Reading”

  1. 1 Leslie February 12, 2018 at 4:39 am

    I just discovered you blog and all I can think of to say is THANK GOD. This post literally made me laugh out loud and think I am not alone! Actors are always prepared snack situation and all! I look forward to reading more of your work!

  2. 2 darkhousenyc May 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Wow, that was awesome. And specific. And perfectly described every reading I’ve ever participated in. Thank you for making me laugh so hard.

  3. 3 Brian Willaims May 20, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Wow, that was awesome. And specific. And like every reading I’ve ever participated in. Thanks for making me laugh so hard.

  4. 4 TheManInTheYellowHat May 20, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Amen. “Real world”, my ass.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: