Friday, June 4, 2010

3 Weeks from Tonight

Sordid Lives opens exactly 3 weeks from tonight, on June 25th, and I am starting to get anxious, as I always do this time of year. There is still so much work to be done: Six billion and four props to be found; sound cues to be found and recorded; lighting to be designed; running crew to be assembled; furniture to be found and/or made; costumes to be approved; costumes to be found... not to mention rehearsals, themselves. It seems every time one thing gets crossed off the list, 3 more get added.

And that's hardly to say that every one of those items will be done by just me. Our amazing Producer and Stage Managers work their asses off, even if they think I don't appreciate them. I do. And I love them, too - and they know that, or we all wouldn't still be doing this after 7 years. And don't get me wrong. I am NOT bitching. My readers who've spent much of their lives in the theatre (and I know there are several of you), know exactly what I mean.

Tom Stoppard, in his screenplay for Shakespeare in Love; makes one of the most amazingly astute (and hilarious) jokes about live theatre. When pressed by his backers for proof that their investment will pay off, Globe Theatre owner Phillip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) assures them that it just happens. "No one knows. It's a mystery." How true...

Now, mystery comes from the Greek mysterion, meaning "religious truth via divine revelation, mystical presence of God..." (via) It wasn't until 1908 that the word fell into popular use for a "detective story". But there it is, once again. Theatre as religion. The ancient Greeks took that quite literally, and their plays were tributes to their gods; regaling their mythologies to the masses so that they might better understand themselves and the world around them. From these early comedies and tragedies, sprung Theatre (in all its forms) as we have come to know it today. And while "Theatre" has come to mean many things to many people, it still remains a rite of worship of sorts, for me. I never feel so alive as I do when the curtain goes up. And to do so as part of such an amazing cause, makes it so much more meaningful.

You all know by now, that I am hardly a "religious' man. In fact, I'm not afraid to say that I think just about all of it is pure hooey. Most holy texts support the moral values of good living; provide a code of ethics by which most sane people agree to abide and provide a sense of comfort in regards to the relative brevity of our own existences. I try to remain an existentialist and a humanist. My maternal family's German pragmatism offers no other sensible solution, I think. Still, I do believe in feeding my soul. Now that's not to say I think there is a "soul" that gets judged after you die (or reincarnates; moves on; haunts the place where you died; gets a pair of wings and a cloud; burns in a lake of fire or moves a level closer to rejoining the Collective Conscience). I'm talking here about the kind of thing which brings one joy; gives one a sense of purpose and makes a positive difference in the lives of others. A JTMF show does all that and more., and I am never prouder to be a member of the Theatre Community than I am at the end of each June.

If you want to make a difference and are in the Northeast, please come to the JTMF 8th Annual AIDS Benefit featuring Del Shores' Southern-Fried "Black Comedy About White Trash, "Sordid Lives. Performances on June 25th and 26th include our themed reception - this year featuring a Texas Barbecue - and a Silent Auction of goods and services from local and national donors and merchants. Tickets are $25. Bidding opens at 7:00 PM; Curtain at 8:00. The performance on Sunday, June 27th is offered at a reduced ticket price, but does not include the Reception or Silent Auction. All ticket sales go to the Open Arms Foundation of Hillsborough, NJ and the James Tolin Memorial Scholarship for Performing Arts students at Mercer County Community College, where James was a Theatre Major.

Tickets are available online via the JTMF website; the Kelsey Theatre website; by phone at 609-570-3333 or at the Kelsey Box Office one hour before curtain.

If you want to help but can't attend, you can make a safe online donation via PayPal here.

I really do hope to see you there. It would be very cool to meet some of you.

More soon,

P.S. - Uncle P will be seeing Splice tomorrow night (don't worry, I have a ZZone post all ready to go), so watch for my review on Sunday. And hopefully, sometime early next week I'll be posting our podcast, radio interview and YouTube video here; on the JTMF Blog; on my Facebook wall and on the JTMF Facebook page.

More, anon.

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