'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Wednesday, November 28, 2001 ]

And now:

A story.

It is 1997.

I look through the curtain. It is almost time.

I yank up the sleeves of the black turtleneck I am wearing, and ready the Glock 9mm I have in my hand.

Sounds of gunfire and techno are all around me.

There is no specific cue when it comes to a gig like this. You feel the rush and go for it.

I leap through the curtain, pointing my gun at Joe Weiner, my best friend, who is pointing another one of my guns at me.

I am mid-air, and all I can think is how cool this must look.

Then I hit the ground.

And I realize all at once that rolling up my sleeves was a big mistake.

The sugar that we've been using in place of cocaine has caked the floor making it relentlessly sticky, and instead of sliding across it, like Chow Yun Fat as I'd hoped, I instead hit the floor--halting, making a SQUEEEEEOK sound.

Yes, it hurts.

But the audience is watching (or maybe trying not to) as I scramble as fast as I can to get across to the other curtain.

Other actors around me are also pretending to shoot at each other, at me, at Joe, synchronizing their jerking pistol-hands to the prerecorded gun sound effects that are so loud, members of the audience are holding their ears.

I get to the curtain, now crawling, pretending I've been shot. I open it.

And Mark Edwards shoots me in the face.

This is Broom Street Theater's production of The Three Sisters.

Rock On, Sisterfriend.
Part 1: I need actors.

My first experience with The Three Sisters, or more specifically, Joel Gersmann's involvement with it, is in 1995, during another Gersmann show Joe is doing called The Abortionist.

I have provided some guns for it, and really like the show. I've never seen a show with such conviction, energy, and absurdity. Plus, I can see it for free.

The thought had been brewing for a while: I want to start acting again. I miss it.

But Broom Street scares me. I have seen another show by Joel Gersmann called Sexy Priests, and it had sufficiently scared me away from the theater for about three or four years.

After a performance of "The Abortionist," Joel grouses about his "next show." Anton Chekov's The Three Sisters--with an all-male cast.

Understand that at this time, I have not acted in Madison, yet. Joe, my friend, is the actor--I'm just the film student guy with a replica gun collection.

So, I'm somewhat in awe of Joel Gersmann--I've become aware of the history of the theater--and I am intimidated.

Because Joe often has to step up for me at this point, he mentions to Joel: "Well, you know, Rob acts." He points to me, standing nearby.

"I need actors, Joe," Joel says, not looking at me. "Actors."

"Yes, but Rob acts," Joe continues.

I don't say anything.

"I need actors," Joel says, inching closer to Joe.

"Yes, but-but Rob--"

"I need actors," Joel says, now so close to Joe that Joe, still trying to point to me, has to point across his own chest in the small space between him and Joel.




"Actors." Joel isn't yelling (and he might not even be serious), but he is more in Joe's personal space than I am accustomed to seeing someone be.

Joe drops it.

So, I figure, I guess I won't be working at this theater anytime soon.

Even as I type this now, I am laughing.

To be continued...

posted by Rob on 2:38 PM | link



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