Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh, Rats...

Damn.  Boardwalk emailed me today saying they'd rescheduled the shoot.  And I was SO looking forward to getting back to my beloved show...

And yesterday, thank God, was (as far as I know) my last day on Black Nativity, and I can't think of a show I'm happier to say goodbye to.  Instead of being what they said it would be, which was a matching shot (i.e., back to the set you were on in the first my case, Times Square), it was a whole new scene.  In friggin' Harlem. 

Now, I certainly have no objection to Harlem.  Parts of it are you could die from it gorgeous...the parks, the glorious brownstones...but it's got these hills.  These steep, steep hills.  And the subway station for where I was going, which was on the same block where I went for my costume fitting, has four flights of stairs...four LONG flights of stairs...up to the street.  And then a long, high hill to walk up. Turns out, I learned yesterday, that there's an escalator at the subway.  Unfortunately, there's no signage for it.

However, with the help of the MTA Trip Planner, I discovered that I could take a bus to within two blocks...which I did.  Bliss.  Until I discovered that our action consisted of spending the day walking up and down a muddy hill.  And did I mention that it was 32 degrees out with an 18 mile an hour wind?  Up and down.  Up and down.  Every bone in my body aches.  I may never be able to feel my toes again, two pairs of socks notwithstanding.

Ah, well.  I have rested today.  Tomorrow is laundry, grocery shopping (my checks for the first two days of Black Nativity arrived) and a quick jaunt to the good old Bistro, where I had my phone on the back bar charging and managed to leave without it.  Dumb.  Oh, well...

And opening week of the play coming up!

Love, Wendy

Monday, February 18, 2013

Things Are Heating Up!

Oh, boy.  You know, I can sit here for weeks on end, having wonderful, misty dreams about getting my ass out of bed/off the chair and doing things around the house and whatnot, and then all of a sudden...WHAM.  All hell breaks loose.

I have this show I'm doing at Theater for the New City, which is one of my pal Philippe's efforts to bring French-Canadian drama to the United States.  He has these little moments every now and then, but we're all very kind to him and bathe his head in cool water and eventually it goes away...

No, this is really, as far as I can tell, a pretty good effort.  It's called Bite Your Tongue, and is being marketed as being the things people don't usually say out loud.  Well, in this day and age it seems a bit tame, but it's amusing and we've got some good actors.  I play a woman of 70 (yeah, not such a far leap, which scares me a little) who is on a tour of New York with a young courier.  He does a monologue around me, at the end of which he decides he wants to kiss me.  This monologue of his, naturally, is him describing his feelings to another guy...not to me.  At any rate, he eventually leans forward to kiss me, and I say No.  Twice.  This is the sum total of my contribution to the play.  Frankly, after playing Shakespearean leads, I find it extremely restful.  But it's quite a good workout, too...I'm doing it just about entirely in mime, of a sort...i.e., I'm sort of doing the things he's describing, more or less.  It's hard to explain, but it's fun.  And I actually get to wear nice clothes, which after the rags I'm wearing in Black Nativity and my usual faded old crud for Boardwalk Empire, is a nice change.

But my Lord, the hoopla that's going on with this thing!  Philippe is doing a huge publicity push for the whole project (which will include more plays).  So the night before opening, we're throwing a VIP red carpet dinner and after party at someplace called Speakeasy on Mulberry Street.  Luckily, it's cocktail dress, not gowns...I haven't the remotest notion where I'd get a gown.  Well, yes, of course I do, what what the hell would I do with it after I got it?  The younger girls seems to be wearing a lot of red for this, so I'm leaning toward my good black dress with pearls (well, what ELSE?), considering that I'm rather the eminence gris in this circus.  But what the hell, we get fed. 

So the schedule looks like this:

2/19 - The law firm.  Which is good, because I need cash.  I've been working on rolled up change for two days.  One of the nice things about living in my edgy neighborhood is that EVERYBODY does that while they're waiting for their Social Security and food stamps.  The delis don't turn a hair.

2/20 - My third (and last) day on Black Nativity.  Matching shot, which means I get to freeze to death in Times Square some more.  I'm so excited about this that I may vomit.  They DAMN well better have some coffee on that set this time.

2/21 - Rehearsal.  Just in case I forget how to say no.  Not, actually, that saying no has EVER figured heavily in my life...

2/22 - BOARDWALK!  YAHOO!  Yup, had my costume fitting last week for this season's assemblage from the bottom of the costume barrel.  Ratty denim skirt, ratty brown checked blouse, ratty blazer...the usual.  Who cares?  And it's a night shoot on Staten Island...which means more money because of night differential.  I can't wait!  We all know how much I love my Boardwalk.

2/23 - Rehearsal.  So I can remember how to say no some more.

2/24 - Sunday off, thank God, for reading the papers and sleeping.

2/25 - Rehearsal.

2/26 - Rehearsal.

2/27 - Long, LONG day.  Rehearsal 12 - 5, and then the VIP party and after party.  This is tech and dress...I can't imagine how I'm going to stay awake, but TNC has its lovely basement with couches all over the place, and anyone who wants me can come and wake me up.  And let's remember that there's a good (I hope) meal at the end of it that I don't have to pay for.

2/28 - Opening night.

2/29 - Complete collapse of elderly actress.  Well, at least until call time at the theatre.

So anyone who wants the benefit of my wit and wisdom will simply have to wait until after opening night, which will be described in rich and charming detail.  Promise you'll miss me!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Once More, With Feeling

Yes, well, I just wrote a wonderful informative blog letting everyone know what I've been up to...except that my computer elected to freeze and destroy the whole thing.  So we're going to try again.  While I save hysterically every seven seconds.

I worked all last week!  I do realize that this sounds like the world's most ho-hum remark, but you have to remember that I'm semi-retired, and very rarely work more than 3 days a week.  So a 5 day week is fairly unusual for me.

Monday, 2/4 - Frantic call from Andrew at the law office.  Nancy's got flu!  So off I went, to be annoyed all day.  Really, the boy is impossible. 

Tuesday and Wednesday, 2/5-6 - Freezing my ass off in Times Square for a movie called Black Nativity.  I have a horrible feeling they're going to make a mess of this.  I know the's a sort of tone poem by Langston Hughes which is the retelling of the Nativity story using gospel music.  I saw it in Chicago way back in the early 60s, and it was wonderful...I don't think expanding it is going to help it at all.  However, we all know my mantra...who cares?  I'm getting paid.

It was a ghastly couple of days.  First of all, the thing seems to be VERY low budget...damned little food, and NO COFFEE that anyone could find.  And the second day we had to forage for our own lunches, which is invariably irritating.  Admittedly we were in Times Square, so finding food was hardly a problem, but still...

And we were in Times Square.  We were in Times Square OUTDOORS.  In early friggin' February.  Should someone ask you about this, just tell them you don't want to.  Aside from the fact that we were freezing to death, the damn tourists and passersby will drive you completely insane.  They seem to feel that there's nothing wrong with cutting right across the filming and waving to their mothers or whatever the hell they think they're doing, so you have to keep stopping to shoo them away.  Tuesday was bad enough, but Wednesday was horrendous.  Tuesday we were shooting modern day, so there wasn't much to see, but Wednesday we were shooting Bethlehem (no, no, I have no idea how Times Square got to be seems unlikely in the extreme).  Wednesday we had two camels wearing all kinds of camel robes with cloth of gold and embroidery, two horses pulling a chariot thing, and three sheep, who were friendly types who seemed to love all the attention.  For all I know, the camels did too, but camels spit and kick and you don't want to go play with them.  Sheep seem to like being scratched and cuddled (which came in handy if you wanted to warm your hands...nothing like a nice woolly sheep).  As you can imagine, the onlookers were fascinated.  Oy.

Meanwhile, remembering what I said about low budget, the background wrangler (that's the guys who gathers up the background people and gets them to set and announces lunch and signs off on vouchers at the end of the day) was evidently either on his first job or congenitally stupid.  He called us out to go to the prop truck on Wednesday and when we got outside, I realized I didn't have my ID, so I said, "Where's the prop truck?  I'll grab my ID and follow you."  So he gestures east on 46th Street.  Four minutes later, I emerge with my ID and start off east on 46th.  Well, after a block or so I saw nothing that remotely resembled a prop truck, so I went back toward holding and ran into the makeup gal and my pal the hair guy (from Boardwalk) and they walked over to the set with me.  Turns out that A. the prop truck was on 48th Street, and B. just after I went inside, the background guy was informed that we didn't need props and should go straight to set.  Considering the amount of time I was gone, and considering that the set was immediately visible half a block west, don't you think someone could have waited those four goddamn minutes for me?  No, numbnuts realized I was gone and called my agency to tell them I was missing.  I wasn't in the least missing...I was doing exactly what I told him I was doing.  Idiot.

By the way, it was friggin' FREEZING out there.

Then it was two days at the law office again, Nancy still being felled with flu, and Andrew the lawyer being know, if I'm finished with something, it is on the pile where the finished stuff is.  It is NOT next to my computer where I keep the not quite finished stuff.  So when you prowl all over the desk, confusing my papers and then telling me I don't follow through, I tend to get homicidal.  I KNEW those two items weren't finished.  THAT IS WHY THEY WERE WHERE THEY WERE, YOU DINGBAT.  And to add insult to injury, he didn't even close the office early on Friday, with a blizzard looming.  Although, as a born Chicagoan, I must say that New York City itself didn't get much snow at all...7-8 inches hardly qualifies as a blizzard.  Yes, I know the outlying areas got slammed...but I was in the city, which didn't, particularly.

However, as of today, all these petty annoyances have faded in a rosy glow...because TOMORROW I HAVE A COSTUME FITTING FOR BOARDWALK!  YAHOO!  Fourth season, here I come.  God only knows what ghastly bits of aging garb they'll throw at me this beloved Lisa, the costume head, takes a positively perverted delight in making me look just awful.  Really.  She giggles.  It's been a running gag for ages now.  And we're being fitted for...wait for it...winter again.  If we have another summer like last year, I will die.  I don't care.  I'm back on the Boardwalk!  Yay!

Love, Wendy