It started pretty innocently, with me watching a DVD of 8 actors performing a show. Then, it turned into me watching that same DVD of those same 8 actors performing that same show . . . again. Then, it turned into me closing the living room shades, moving the coffee table out of the way, and pulling up the rug so I wouldn't slip. In the privacy of my newly-created cave, I danced, sang, and acted along with those actors performing that same show--over and over and over until my roommate came home and caught me.
As I danced, sang, and acted to myself, I kept a close eye on one of those actors in particular. He's the one playing Homer Zuckerman, the farmer.* I'm happy to say that I've memorized his lines to the point where I can say them aloud alongside him. I can imitate his blocking. I can imagine myself playing him on stage in the children's classic, Charlotte's Web.
Specifically, I can imagine myself playing him in the children's classic, Charlotte's Web, this Thursday at around 9:30 AM in the metropolis of Pheasant Run, Illinois. I can imagine myself doing it without any rehearsal outside of my living room. I can imagine myself crashing and burning.
I can also imagine myself delighting hundreds of non-theater-critic children.^
What will come of this adventure? Well, I don't know. But if at least one kid doesn't cry when Charlotte dies, I'm going to have words with a Pheasant Run principal about raising a generation of insensitive, boorish children who don't appreciate "the theater." And if at least one kid doesn't question why the adults in the story immediately conclude that it's the pig who is writing in the web, I'll talk to that same principal about the academic rigor of that school. And if I don't stumble across at least one line or lyric or fall on my face at least once during a dance number . . . then I might just start rehearsing all of my shows** this way.
What does the future hold? A great sausage-making failure, or a blue ribbon revolution in the rehearsal process? I just don't know. But damn it if I'm not going to sing and dance my heart out when the time comes. Those terrific, radiant, humble actors on the DVD deserve it. They've worked so hard to train me. Over and over and over and over . . . *changes the batteries in his DVD remote* . . . and over and over and over . . .
Oh, whoah, look at him go!
Manship's a'dancin' alone!
Sooooieee! What do you see!
He might fall down and scrape his knee!
Crunch time, maybe he'll shine,
Did you just see what he did?!
He's some trrippin', crazy-ass, stumblin',
Disappointer of kids!
* It appears that he is actually double-cast and also plays the "Little Lamb."
^ I have an active imagination.
** This is the only show I'm in.