Last night was the "first read" of MYTH APPROPRIATION: URBAN LEGENDS. All six plays were read and what a terrific collection of weird and wonderful stories they were!
Included here today is a first person account of the process so far from Jacob Yeh, an actor in THE VOLGA GOATMAN, Ben Kingsland's adaptation of the Prince George's County local legend... "The Goatman"
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Sunday night: excitement and that little bit of nervous energy you get when you are about to meet a whole bunch of new people for the first time and you want to make a good impression. I am doing this, right? I mean, there’s no way that I can screw this up now, like say by, oh I don’t know, FORGET TO BRING A HEADSHOT! Hmm, seems I’m not the only one. How are we going to decide how the groups are formed? Do we have to audition again once the playwrights know what their myth is? Before we get to that: quick, think of some urban legends that are significant to you because that’s the “ice-breaker.” Hmmmm. The one about waking up in a bathtub of ice? I mean I like that one but that’s all I got. Should I share the one about trying to kill (ok not kill but at least make her have a bad tummy ache) my sister with Coke and poprocks? Or will people get freaked out by me? Oh whatever, laugh a little, people. Sheesh, like you’ve never thought you wanted to inflict bodily harm on a sibling. Ok moving on since dwelling on this topic any longer just makes me look creepier. Oh, so THAT’S how we choose groups. Nice and random. Seems like a neat group of people, all very intelligent and enthusiastic, all willing to share ideas and bring props. Wonder who the mystery absentee actress in our group is? Wonder how Ben (the chosen playwright for our “electrical tape” group) will end up writing a story about the Goat-man. BTW, for the record, both Ben and I are native Marylanders (go Mont. Co.!) and have NEVER heard about the goat man, so yeah…not sure what that means or what my point is.
Monday: got the script (nice, Ben) and think it’s quite good: intelligent, funny, ironic, and it’ll be a hoot to do. Thanks for writing my character as a Uigher, Ben. For some reason, that seemed really thoughtful. Accepting, I guess. Yeah, embracing what each actor naturally brings, like Adrienne and her Russian background. Plus, as an added bonus I get to see some midriff. Nice first read-through. Man, will need to brush up on some Russian dialect. Where’s that copy of “Eastern Promises”? Hmmm. Maybe my character has a little of the Russianness of Viggo’s crime-lord and the smoothness of the late Ricardo Montahlban? Let’s go look up some Goat-man pictures to see if that provides any inspiration. Yikes. For some reason, pictures of people with horns and various cloven-hooved goat hind-quarters creep me out more than the sci-fi/fantasy D&D-style images. Maybe because the former is somebody real who thought it might be a good idea to dress up as Satan? Or maybe just knew way too many people who enjoyed “Magic” so I’m inured to the latter?
Tuesday: get to hear the other plays for the very first time, so that should be fun. What’s with the theme of anthropomorphized animals? So far we got a serenading dog, a soliloquizing rat (totally stole my Ricardo Montalban theme, btw), pot-smoking alligators and of course, the goatman. And how exactly are they going to do the stunt with the “stink finger” and manage to get it so that there is enough “ink” to write on the wall? Nice to be able relax, enjoy the other plays and just be entertained. Hearing how funny and well-received the other plays were, there was a brief moment of panic. I like it, but is our play (actually, Ben’s play) as funny and will the audience like it as much? That moment melted away as soon as Adrienne brought down the house with her Russian song of welcome, complete with half-assed gestures. Nice. Bravo to all the playwrights. Nice jobs on short notice. Impressive.
That’s all I got. Looking forward to rehearsing with everyone and getting to know these people that I’ll be spending immense amounts of time with this week only. Hope people enjoy the shows; it’s been a blast so far.