Monday, January 22, 2007

So Mrs. T.C.I. has made it clear as Crystal Pepsi that she doesn't like me wasting so much of my valueless time working on my blog...

... and that reminded me, "Hey, it's time to work on my blog."

This week's entry is brought to you courtesy of a failed audition I recently had for a local production of motor-mouthed limousine liberal Aaron Sorkin's military drama, "A Few Good Men." Seeing as "Cwazy" Tom Cruise, Demi-Talented Moore, and Jack "The Self-Caricature" Nicholson (kidding. I love Jack. Even cynics are required to adore that irrepressible old badass) were unlikely to appear in lower Canada (i.e. Wisconsin) to cold read for the leads in question, I figured I might have a genuine shot at the starring role of lt. jg. mr. pu. qt. Daniel Kaffee, the cocky, sarcastic young work-avoider who does a complete and implausible 180 in Act Two to become as noble and thoughtful and serious as any standard, paint-dryingly dull hero is required to be.

It appears I may have grossly overestimated both the broad-mindedness of the highly political theatre system and my own woeful lack of dramatic range. I did, however, reacquaint myself with two hard and fast rules of the theatre:

1.) Directors have decided who exactly you will or will not play long before you even lay eyes on the audition notice in the paper.

2.) Heroic roles are too goddamned boring to enjoy playing.

Hmm... you know, before I let this petty rant spiral into a Charybdis of narcisstic self-pity, it occurs to me that perhaps I should educate those of my rational and intelligent cynickites who wisely choose not to allow theatre within 100 feet of their lives. And so, to my constituents from such illustrious fields as, say, industrial printing press maintenance and athletic supporter sales, please enjoy the following...


A building nobody goes to where gay people act straight and straight people try to convince the rest of the world they're not gay.

Auditions, or Tryouts: The process by which the director decides you are too tall, too old, too fat, too female, too black, too hairy, too interesting, too moral, too intelligent, too not-one-of-his-favorites to suit the part of Man Holding Spear #3. He determines this through an intricate method which entails ignoring you while you stammer over a poorly-selected piece of trite dialogue (or side) as he whispers to his stage manager... who happens to be sitting five rows away from him.

Callbacks: An extension of the audition process. A callback is when you travel 50 minutes out of your way for 5 minutes on stage to hear a decision the director reached 2 days ago.

Producer: An invisible yet surprisingly loud individual who backs the show. He makes all of the stupid decisions, starts all of the problems, takes all of the credit, and does none of the work. Naturally, he makes all of the money.

Director: A producer who, sadly, is not invisible. For a closer look at T.C.I.'s true feelings about a very "special" kind of director, please consult this article (section 2).

Playwright: The guy who writes the words that won't be spoken correctly during the performances. He is the sworn enemy of the director, who believes he can improve on the playwright's ideas. He then goes on to prove he cannot to a remarkable degree.

Romantic leads: The roles young, good-looking people get because they're too boring to be character actors.

Character parts: The roles old, colorful people get because they're too ugly to be romantic leads.

Jack-all shit: The roles T.C.I. gets because he's too not-made-of-cardboard to be a romantic lead and, evidently, too attractive to be a character actor (though he personally knows an entire high school full of women who'd be happy to refute that latter claim).

Ingenues: Pretty young things the director and/or lead actor tries to sleep with.

Bitter, catty old hags: Ingenues over 27.

Extra, or Chorus member, or Supernumerary: An actor with an ego inversely proportional to the size of his quark-sized role.

Ego: The fuel that runs the theatrical machine. Everyone involved in said machine possesses it in spades and trowels, from the star actress who refuses to accept that 85 other people in the city could perform her role as well or better than she can, to the set decorator, who honestly believes the production would grind to a screeching halt if those were irises on the UR. end table instead of lilies.

Without ego, the theatrical world would not only run smoothly, but become an example of enviable harmony and true, artistic vision to be held up for the rest of the planet to aspire to. This idea is about as popular in the world of performing arts as geothermal energy is in the world of reality.

Absurdist, surrealistic, avant garde, and performance "art" pieces: Theatre that is a migraine-fomentingly utter waste of the audience's time, money, and patience. Needless to say, this is the only kind of theatre the National Endowment of the Arts is interested in funding.

Drama: A play that wins awards and cures insomnia.

Comedy: A play that people actually enjoy; therefore, not art.

Farce: A loud, annoying, surprisingly unfunny style of "comedy" that keeps door manufacturers steadily employed.

Musical: A play where the characters break into song after every six minutes of dialogue to mask the fact that the author has only prepared about seven minutes of story. Tourists find nothing odd about this idea and spend exorbitant amounts of money to attend such productions.

Ironically, as much as straitlaced John and Jane Q. American enjoy the flamboyantly homosexual concept of the musical, they still manage to vote against the gay marriage amendment every November. Speaking of which...

Democrat: How you are required to vote if you plan on being welcomed into the theatrical fold. If your views, opinions, and beliefs veer from this rigid norm by even a nanometer, you can expect to be reviled, taunted, and shunned without mercy. Which is ironic, seeing as how the Democrats claim to be the party of open-mindedness.

Set: What the actors are trying not to bump into. Either the best or worst part of any production.

Costumes: Ill-fitting, unflattering, anachronistic clothing an actor constantly complains about while backstage.

Props: What T.C.I. is always forgetting to carry onstage.

Rehearsal: Practice. Pretentious, "serious" actors really hate it when the uneducated masses refer to their rehearsals as "practice," so please, by all means, do this constantly.

Notes: The time immediately following practice when the director gathers his cast and crew together to bear witness to his impassioned love affair with his own voice. This is also the time of the evening when T.C.I. doodles in his script to make it look like he's writing down the director's weak suggestions. Shhhh...

Blocking: Where the director tells an actor to go, which is invariably in direct opposition to what the playwright intended. Whatever the director decides during practice, he will change his mind completely just before opening night.

Opening night: The only time an actor can expect his friends and family to show up and offer either half-hearted sympathy or ridiculously over-enthusiastic praise. After this performance, all he will see is old people. Row after row of very, very old people...

Roses: What women who don't have enough talent to warrant them receive on opening night.

Method actor: Someone who can't act.

Shakespearean actor, or Classical actor, or Tragedian: A prick who thinks that reciting the words of geniuses somehow entitles him to justified feelings of grandeur; a social retard.

Vaudeville: A broad, obnoxious, outdated, and dismally embarrassing form of "acting" that I could have sworn died out in the early half of the last century. Unfortunately, its spirit appears to be alive and well in the black void located at the heart of every ham, mugger, and scenery-chomping hack who thrives in community, college, and professional theatre.

A vaudevillian makes two unforgivable and egregious assumptions: one, that the audience is composed of idiots who need to be winked at, prodded, and informed directly whenever a punchline is about to be delivered, and two, that he or she is funny.

I have never known this second assumption to be the case.

Critic: A job created to allow the metally-retarded to pursue a career in literature.

There it is. The entry that will effectively keep me from being cast in any show ever again.

Not-- not exactly sure why I wrote it, then...

And considering how the preceding adequately conveys the contempt I feel for my chosen "profession," you can only imagine how much I must hate every other career path open to me.

In closing, if my wife asks, this article had a ghost writer.


Goe fuk yursellvs.


T.C.I.'s MOVIE REVIEW MINUTE: This past weekend, Mrs. T.C.I. and I watched the recent blockbuster smash Superman Returns... to Piss Away 2+ Hours of Your Life. Now, I will spare you the obvious criticisms -- i.e. the nobody who played Superman was instantly forgettable; Kate Bosworth made a wretched and colorless Lois Lane, and didn't even do us the favor of being nice-enough-looking to jerk off to; James Marsden played yet another non-variant on his tired "lockjawed, Wonder Bread, All-American boyfriend" shtick; Frank Langella's talents were wasted in an underwritten role as editor Perry White; the movie should have focused exclusively on the unimpeachable pair of Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey as a deadpan Lex Luthor and his socialite floozy girlfriend, Kitty Kowalski -- and instead share a (poorly constructed from memory) conversation I had with my wife during the last big scene in the film (before an interminable "Will Superman die while laid up in the hospital?" bit that anti-climactically caps this sorry sack of superhero shit):

T.C.I.: Wait, wait, wait. He's lifting a fucking island? How is he lifting a fucking island?

MRS. T.C.I.: He just drew his powers from the sun.

T.C.I.: So? That was awhile ago. There's no sun anywhere near him now! He's in a part of the ocean where the sun isn't shining and he's under a giant fucking piece of rock.

MRS. T.C.I.: But he was just drawing his power from --

T.C.I.: Yes, the sun, I know. Who cares? In the beginning of the movie, he was struggling to hold up a runaway jetliner... while the sun was shining brightly for all to see. Now -- with no sun in sight -- he's effortlessly manhandling a fucking landmass... which happens to be made of Kryptonite. And the last time I checked, an airplane weighed in at slightly less than a small continent and had far less Superman-killing Kryptonite in its physical makeup.

MRS. T.C.I.: (giggles)

T.C.I.: What?

MRS. T.C.I.: Nothing. That was just funny.

T.C.I.: This movie is dumb. I wish he died.

Right. How stupid does one have to be to honestly believe that Superman, Lois Lane, or their mop-topped bastard child will ever be in true, life-ending peril during the course of the first movie of the new Superman franchise?

And should I feel somewhat ashamed that I rooted loudly for the trio of store-bought thugs as they kicked the crap out of a weakened Superman, America's Hero? I mean, man, seeing never-not-cool Lex Luthor knock Captain Flawless down a rocky incline... that's pure movie magic right there, people.

Anyway, it's long and boring and has Marlon Brando not playing The Godfather, so don't bother.







Ahem. In case your Sarcast-o-meter is reading off the charts right now, I'm actually not kidding. T.C.I. loves the Chicago Bears, and he hasn't been this excited since he saw The Transformers movie trailer last summer.

Yes, Grossman will choke. Yes, the Colts will undoubtedly fold the Bears into little origami floral bouquets. Yes, Peyton Manning is one of the weirdest creatures to lurch across the face of this stack of fossilized animal remains. And yes, the Half Time show will suck it -- Big Time.

But it's the Bears, people! Illinois's Team! And some of Wisconsin. And parts of Indiana. And Iowa? Maybe Iowa.

You know, I've got-- I've got this weird feeling brewing inside me all of a sudden. It's like-- like suddenly my heart doesn't feel the overwhelming urge to disengage itself from its aorta and bleed itself out. And I no longer fervently wish that the Winter our nation was experiencing was decidedly more nuclear in nature.

Is this... is this feeling... "happiness?" Is that what this is? Am I experiencing what you people refer to as "joy?" "Contentment?" It makes me feel glad to be alive, to be an active member of the society of planet Earth.

I don't like it.

So, to alleviate my inner emotional confusion, I will now start shouting pro-Bears propaganda at the top of my Net lungs:







Also, the Packers suck.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's weird. I get all pumped up and excited for an audition and then afterwards I remember all the crap that is associated with being in a play. I sometimes wonder why I do it.

Sgt Mellors

1:26 PM  
Blogger Quietly said...

You do it, Sgt Mellors, so you have something confusing to talk about over drinks.

Do I really only have two years left before cattiness takes over? Sonuvabitch...

And for the record: no director of mine has ever tried to sleep with me.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Of course they haven't. You'd have to be both pretty and an actress.

Ohhhhh, snap!

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man...where's the love for the stage managers...not even one little tiny shout out. Completely forgotten by even the I mean if you are going to post something about theatre...there has got to be something cynical about a stage manager....for crying out loud. Oh well...where are the pixie sticks!

Love from your bestest stage manager friend ever...Laura

9:45 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Oh lord, how fitting that I should forget to mention that most unsung of theatrical fixtures, the lowly SM.

Well, whatever.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You also forgot the lighting designers. Without us there would be no super cool death lights to give you inspiration. And god knows you need all the inspiration you can get.


2:34 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

What the hell is a "lighting designer?"

7:55 PM  

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