I’m going to take Rogue Machine’s move to The Met as a serendipitous sign. I dearly love theater (tho my Aftra signing precedes my AEA membership by several months.) For twenty years, I did at least one show annually in New York and regionally. When I moved to LA in ’91, I continued to seek stage roles – Joan And The Zulus, Don’t Blame The Bedouins, Map Of The World…and then that fateful production of Measure For Measure at the gone and gratefully gone Burbage Theater on Sawtelle. It wasn’t such a wretched space but owned by a man with utter contempt for theater. He allowed his young son to wander about, into the women’s dressing rooms… It was incredibly disrespectful
Our production was ill-timed, the 1994 Northridge earthquake occurred during our previews. Thousands of aftershocks made lights vibrate and swing, driving was challenged by detours, houses were…well, you understand. One of our young cast mused, “Well if there’s more people on stage than in the house, we don’t have to go on., right?” She was quickly schooled. Then floated the proposal, “Well we don’t have to rehearse this, given how challenging just getting here has become.” At which point, I spoke out.
“I don’t think so. You’re not THAT good. We need all the rehearsal we can get…and we either rehearse this sucker or we close it.” There was silence, then some sotto voce grumbling. “Who the fuck does he think he is..?” I am the misbegotten Angelo. I go to dark places every night…and I will continue to do so. But I will not do half-assed Shakespeare.
A few days later, we closed, I believe the final production at The Burbage. And I didn’t do any theater for 10 years. None. I decided that actors in LA approached The Work differently; not for itself but for what might come from it. And then one day in 2004 I got an email from The Met, inviting me to audition for The Dadaists. Set in Europe after WW I, I was an art critic; snobby, traditional, contemptuous of this new movement. For my audition I chose to read a Dadaist poem…and while doing so, I unzipped, removed my cock, masturbated, ejaculated and flung the threads of spunk upon the listeners in attendance. My playwright and director were stunned, taken aback, terrified…dadadelighted. And I remembered why I so loved the stage. For the danger. I got make choices and take chances unavailable to me in film and tv. And I was happy to be home once more.
So that’s my connection to The Met Theater. It’s a charming space and I am chuffed to be returning.