Happy New Year, everyone. It’s Wednesday and I’m going to try to have a weekly update on here. Every Wednesday? Why not?
Last year was a big year for me. After many years on the Fringe circuit, I created and co-created two collaborative shows to tour with, and they were both successful. “Bromance” played to standing room only crowds in Fresno, played an amazing show in Cincinnati, played to the core fans in London, and then did a very good run in New Orleans at the end of the year. One of the themes of the show was how do you create a bonafide hit show on the circuit? What kind of life choices are you making as you tour and experience all the ebbs and flows that touring has to offer? These were things that were on my mind.
“Best Picture” was the hit I was leading up to. It doesn’t escape me how awesome it is that this show has been enjoyed by so many. When you have been putting work out there for years and something connects with people, it’s pretty great. The show is 4-for-4. It was a hit in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and New Orleans.
After the success of the show, a few people approached me with ideas for new shows. What would be my follow-up? Would I end up like Zach Galligan who starred in the hit “Gremlins” and could only follow it up with “Gremlins 2?” “Bromance 2? “Best Picture 2?” Well, I have decided to go the route of Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher.” Slap a fake nose on me, because I am now a dramatic actor.
Marcel Nunis – playwright, Godfather of the Rogue Festival in Fresno, and host of the best morning coffee salon on the West Coast – told me five years ago about a play he wanted to write about his experience caring for his mother who had Alzheimer’s. I was interested immediately. What interested me was playing the role of the son – the caregiver – who takes on different roles in his mother’s eyes. At different times, he is her father, her husband, her nurse, etc. The idea of doing these transformations in this kind of context could make for a very compelling play.
When I went on tour in 2010 I told people about the play and that it was a possible next project. Marcel wasn’t quite ready to write it, though. But recently he said he was ready to do it and secured a spot in the Rogue Festival for February and March of 2015. I am going to star in the show with my girlfriend Xan Scott, who is going to play the mother. We’re living in Seattle now, and in a few weeks Marcel is going to fly up and bunk with us for four days and we are going to all live together and workshop the show.
I don’t know what to expect from the workshop or even the actual play. I’m not thinking that far ahead. To me it’s all about throwing myself into the material and the character and seeing where all this takes us. I’ve been friends with Marcel for years, but we’ve never worked together and I’ve never worked this closely in a creative project with my girlfriend. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone’s approach is.
It seems that waiting to do the show until 2015 might have been beneficial. Doing it now has secured Xan’s involvement, and there is a renewed interest in Alzheimer’s right now. The movie “Still Alice” recently came out, as well as a documentary about Glen Campbell who has Alzheimer’s called “I’ll be Me.” I’m currently reading a heart breaking book called “Slow Dancing with a Stranger” by Meryl Comer that was published in 2014.
Tomorrow Xan and I are going to be visiting a facility for patients with Alzheimer’s. It’s a difficult subject to face, but we’ll be bringing light to it and it should be a powerful show. The title is “Dancing in the Mist.”
At the same time in Fresno, I’ll be doing “Best Picture.” Both shows will be at the Fresno Soap Company.
Current reading: Besides “Slow Dancing with a Stranger,” I just finished “Monster” by John Gregory Dunne, which is about the long writing process behind the movie “Up Close and Personal.” Great read.
Current movie: “Foxcatcher” was a dark and borderline creepy story of loneliness, family dynamics, wealth, entitlement. I greatly enjoyed it, and I was surprised to see Anthony Michael Hall in it.
Current TV: I was turned onto a few episodes of “Black Mirror.” Last month I watched “Homeland” season two, which was excellent. It’s my understanding that that show goes off the rails at some point, but the first two seasons are solid. I have very slowly started on “Damages” season two, almost a guilty pleasure.
Current wisdom: The person who knows what is best for you is you. If someone is judgmental or critical of your decisions, they should take a good look within themselves and see where those judgements are coming from.