This evening was my final performance in Human History at the LA Sci-Fest. Our curtain was held til 8:20 because there were people lined up around the block, hoping to enter. I received my honorarium of $44 for the run…I MAY have broken even on gas, since its a 40 mile roundtrip for me. But that is hardly the point.
I got to meet, work with and enjoy the company of many talented artists. I got to perform theater in the genre of science fiction, which was my childhood companion. I began reading at three; by six I was inhaling Heinlein, Asimov, Pohl, Bradbury and many others. This run was a memorable experience, I had a Tom-Terrific time with this ensemble! It does reminds me of a hoary old chestnut that goes like this:
Jesse James stopped the stagecoach and shouted, “I’m gonna rob all the women and rape all the men!” One of his henchmen tentatively offered “Now Jesse, don’t you mean…?” Then came a reedy male voice from inside the coach. “Y’all leave Mr. Jesse alone. He know what he doin’…’”
I have a confession. A week ago I overheard a putdown in our green room of such meter and magisterial contempt that I was smitten…enough so to self-indulgently slip it into ONE performance; an ad lib response to a whiny excuse. (Don’t try this at home, kids.)
GAZE UPON THE FIELD IN WHICH I GROW MY FUCKS…
AND SEE THAT IT IS BARREN.
Ahhhhh: The exhalation of relief as a 48 hour linguistic steeplechase comes to an end. Wednesday evening, my final performance as the futuristic Ziltraxian History Professor Grok, yesterday as Rakal, a charming murderous African warlord and this afternoon. the audio narration of copy involving both English and Vietnamese. Tornorrows Catholic Priest should be a comparative walk in the park…and no, there will be no Irish brogue!
Each of these characters have distinctly different cadences, different rhythms and inflections so I prepared them.. .and then walked away from them until show time. Todays narration was probably the toughest because of the reverence and importance of this tribute but also because the tonic qualities of Vietnamese sometimes demand a rising inflection that happens at the end of a sentence. I didn’t want to sound like a Valley Girl…nor did I want listeners to wonder, “Did he just say Puter Smath?” I’m sure authentic bilinguals pull this off without raising a sweat but I felt challenged. I’ll look forward to sharing the results.
While many of you know that I’ve long been medicated with an anti-depressant for PTSD, what you don’t know is what is required to bring my calmed self up to performance energy. The effort is tiring but hardly physically; when I’m tired its generally mental fatigue. That can make me difficult to be around “civilians” after a long day of work, so socially I’ve been bailing a lot, lately. Not a humble brag, I know we all have our own challenges to overcome….but I’m happy this run is coming to an end.