Doot do doot do doot do-do do do, doot do doot do doot do-do do do!
I admit that, if I weren't at work, I would now be maliciously cackling at having suggested that song unto your brain space. I contemplated referencing other songs, such as Deborah (nee Debbie) Gibson's Electric Youth, or Electricity, as rendered by Sonic Youth, in particular because I loathe Electric Boogie and wish Marcia Griffiths had been hit by a fast-moving bus before she could unleash it upon the world and inspire Ric Silver, thereby ensuring that every wedding betwixt people of a paler persuasion for the next three decades would involve an oddly awkward and unseemly ritual. It's one of the songs on my no-fly list for the wedding. Because I hate my own culture.
But I digress.
The times, they are a'changin' (now that's a good song). Most of you who read this here 'blog with any regularity whatsoever know that The Northeast Theatre (TNT) has been nothing short of my theatrical home-away-from-home for the past six years or so. I'm even on the banner page of the website, with Friend Todd. (Said website, by the way, is fascinating in its labyrinthine complexity. It's been built up over the years with no particular notion of where it might end up, and as a result has ended up with a lot of dangling pages and decentralized indexing.) Some time back, the more-constant employees of the theatre and the artistic director got to talking and realized that, when they really thought about it, their personal goals could best be realized by aiming TNT toward becoming an ensemble theatre company. Which is to say, with people who are employed 'round the year, not just on a show-by-show basis, including actors, designers, etc. "Etc." Hmmm. Anyway, invitations were extended, including to me. I declined, though tempted, as I'm not really in a place to leave New York just yet, much less settle in Pennsylvania. But I've eagerly anticipated the change, curious to see where it leads them.
The Northeast Theatre (TNT) is dead! Long live the Electric Theatre Company (ETC)!
At the time of this posting, the website is still rather underdeveloped, but a few pages are up and a simple cursory glance will illustrate how far the theatre has come in its sense of identity over the past few years. Their season is pretty kick-A., too. At present, the only part I'm scheduled to be a part of is Zuppa del Giorno's take on Romeo & Juliet, which is rather as it should be given the change and my present priorities. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit bothered by my distance from this venture. Part of the ideal behind the change was the idea that actors suffer from not having enough long-term collaboration through which to grow. I could claim to have a good deal of that by way of Zuppa's productions, but the fact is that coming together as infrequently as we do we usually spend half the time playing catch-up on our skills and the other half just trying to build the damn show. No; I'm missing out on something good out there in Scranton. But it was the right choice for me.
And I'm not getting away from working out that way, not by a long shot. Just next week I need to spend a couple of days being certified as a "resident" teaching artist, and the weekend after that I'm to be involved in TN . . . whoops. ETC's benefit, which includes the mayor of Scranton in its festivities. (I'm not sure it gets any more prestigious than that.) I'll have two responsibilities during that affair. The first is to do a little walkabout as Chico Marx, whom I played in my own inimitable way for Zuppa's second show, Legal Snarls. I'm not-so-much looking forward to that; I've had enough clowning and walkabout lately to last me for a while. The second is to perform arbitrary acrobalance moves to music with Heather. That's kind of fun, though there's a lot of bluffing involved, as Heather and I are never in the same space long enough to really work out a comfortable routine. Well, at least not without some (thousand) other things what need doing first.
Being part of a company is important. It's how great things get done. And if I'm not going out there to be a constant part of it, what will I do to bring that particular it here, to me? We'll see.