Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Being Italian

So I'm playing an Italian lawyer in Brooklyn in 1957. If you're a regular reader, you know what a struggle the role has been for me. I'm not Italian, nor a lawyer nor was I even alive in 1957. Now, at least 3 of my best friends (K, Janet and my dear D) are Italian. None of them are from Brooklyn, nor were they alive in 1957, either.

So, I have to invent what being an Italian lawyer from Brooklyn in 1957 is. At least in the context of this particular play.

Everyone I know who has seen the show has told me how much they liked it and how good they thought I was. What they don't know is... it's all fake. It's a con. Purely technical acting without actually feeling a thing. And that's something I don't often (or like to) do.

Tonight was what was supposed to be our pickup rehearsal between weekend performances. As it happened, the professor who is teaching this play at the college where we're doing it was unable to attend any of the regularly scheduled performances, so the speed-through we were supposed to have, instead became a full-on dress rehearsal for his benefit. There were a few other folks in the house (my friend Walter, among them), so in the end, I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would. But I was still tired and cranky after wearing a suit and tie on the most humid late-September night I can remember in a long time.

I got home, took out my contacts; set my dishwasher to run and plopped down in front of my computer to visit my usual sites, when lo and behold, the hilarious and ballsy Stephen Rader had a post in which he linked the trailer for Rob Marshall's movie version of the musical Nine, itself based on the Fellini film 8 1/2. I love the show and love the trailer for film (I also loved Marshall's version of Chicago). But it's the song they have chosen for the trailer that really hit me. I think I should take its advice and just "Be Italian."

While it's hardly the first I've seen this trailer (I've posted it at least twice before), it's the first time I've seen it since starting work on this show. This weekend's audiences may see a slightly different Italian lawyer from Brooklyn than last weekend's audiences saw. Ah, the power of music! Thank you, Mr. Rader. Love ya!

More, anon.

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