September 28, 2010 Tuesday
It might be all Hotel Savoy information for the next month because what can compete with one’s first play as an actor, after decades of producing and writng about theater. One step across to the other side of the boards and it is all about the actress in me. HOW NICE FOR YOU THE READER.
October, 13 2010 Wednesday
I wrote this three weeks ago and as anyone including me, can see, there has been nothing since and I never even posted it.
Has being an actress addled my brain, that is malicious, like blond jokes? But I think it is more likely that the experience of being in a play where the audience comes through singly, that would be one at a time to various locations, and stays with me, the bartender for seven minutes and then toddles to their next assignment or assignation, stir and repeat for a full four hours, is exhausting. How could it not be? Of course not as tough as the Great Gatsby, which takes 8 hours at the Public Theater. Therefore I am a slacker in my first leap to the front of house after 30 years of producing or stage managing shows, pulling the strings behind the curtain.
One of my editors, for whom I write about theater at Theaterscene.com, called Hotel Savoy theatrical speed dating, and I liked that, except I am not looking to go home with any of them. Now the hairdresser, who really is an amazing hairdresser, is that the best I can do for a title? The inspired coiffeur and hair artist Richard Stein, is the next and final stop on the theatrical passage that is Hotel Savoy. By night’s end Richard has marriage proposals from men and women, I do not. I did get one of Richard’s mind-blowing $700 haircuts for FREE and it really has, as he promised, transformed me. Even my husband said I was cute. http://www.richardsteinhair.com/start.htm
Would you like to read what the seemingly grumpy Times critic said about Hotel Savoy? As a point of reference I am the genial bartender when you flip to page two. http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/theater/reviews/07hotel.html
I am attempting to understand what doing this play means. It cannot just be another plot point on my checkered career or doing what presents itself aggressively to me. My friend Susan Burks suggested that the book I need to write is What I Did When I Couldn’t Get a Job. And of course being in an experimental Swiss play, conceived by an architect to utilize the now empty beaux art mansion that in the glory days was Goethe House would have to be a chapter. But to write it I would have to have had my eureka moment, and that has eluded me.
Here is what I have learned or observed. I can happily, as my Navajo poet friend Rex Lee Jim observed, oh so many years ago, talk easily. In fact when I was in residence on the reservation in Tuba City they gave me the name The Women Who Would Speak to Anyone and it seems that is the character I play in Hotel Savoy. I chat to the folks who haplessly wander where they are sent, and after previous more harrowing encounters in wet rooms or with bird’s nests or weird accountants they are enchanted to talk about the African desert or swig back my signature vodka and lemon wedge shooter and exclaim OH IT”S REAL! ( ALthough I made a fake one for a pregnant woman, water and lemon in a shot glass)
But I feel there has to be more. Why is this important for me, beyond the 100 bucks a night and the wonder of meeting the director, Richard and other cast members? Beyond the long rides home from across the street from the Met Museum down the swath of Fifth Avenue and into the Village and home to TriBeCa as a now 60 year old. Beyond that feeling of well being, what am I to learn from these weeks standing telling stories and dolling out life’s wisdom in seven minute doses?
As I prepare to ride uptown again in the fall sunshine I continue to ask myself this question. And I suppose at some point I have to face the fact that I have completely fallen off the poetry wagon in favor of the extemporaneous theater cocktail. Ahh the allure of the stage.