Print Story Guys & Dolls
By BadDoggie (Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:50:41 AM EST) gay, theatre, centipedal vaginocerouses, LOL WUT (all tags)
Back in high school I had some odd urge to join the dramaturgs and be in the school plays. Faces smeared with greasepaint, bad posturing, shit selections from long before the Harry Fox Agency would try to eat an entire municipality's budget for authorising a bunch of spotty adolescents the rights to badly perform a classic work such as the Madwoman of Chaillot or a truly tragic version of Death of a Salesman.

Even then it was clear my talents lay behind the scenes rather than on the stage, but like every other kid I wanted to be a star and not actually have to work.

I remember Mr. S., a social studies teacher (is that even taught anymore?) and someone you wouldn't have expected to be running the Drama Club. Except it became very clear to the members of said Drama Club that he kept teaching so he could be a director.

I was way ahead of my time. You look at shit like Jackass now and yawn because it's so last decade, and yet, well, Beavis & Butthead are now passé but at the time Mike Judge had his finger on the pulse and nailed the social commentary, just as he later did with Office Space and Idiocracy.

The try-outs that stand out most were those for Guys & Dolls. And I was going for the gold. Me, the first boy to join chorus and force policy changes in %County% Public Schools, the white kid who joined the Black Caucus, who spent more time in the principal's office discussing county school policy legalities than learning Gubmint in class. I don't know why I wanted that part, but I did.

And so I intended to wow Mr S. To hell with sight-reading Roger as back-up; I played piano for myself as I belted out Lennon's Imagine with every warble Lennon let stand in the album version of the song. For my return I did Rocky Raccoon a capella, again with every nuance of the original.

Mr. S. was no hippie and my Beatles phase didn't impress terribly much, but I was able to show I'd matched the recordings and that -- rather than putting my own personal bent into things -- had been my goal. That got me to the call-back try-outs and we had to improvise.

The worst exercise, and the one I think killed me, was the empty box. Wanna-be, giant stage, empty box about the size of a wine gift box. I still remember what I did having no idea and really wanting to get back home at the time because I was on the verge of cracking an "uncrackable" piece of software.

It wasn't even so much my less-than-stellar idea as much as it was Gabe's incredibly funny improv after me, but I was first and at a loss. Before the days of Cillit Bang and 45-minute commercials for food choppers and ironing boards, I launched into an infomercial for DYK, "Disappoint Your Kids". Lame now, lame then, and yet, hardly outside the realm of possibility, even in 1981.

And so I ended up stacking weights on the scrim pipes. And learning about sets flying in and out. And doing bad make-up for show nights. A few of my classmates went on to move north to NYC and West to the Left Coast and I can guarantee you've seen at least two of them on the big or small screen.

Me, I was probably working on a concert you went to, but you never saw me. If I was doing my job right you never knew I existed. And I'm cool with that. I wouldn't mind having the big bucks that playing Nathan Detroit can earn you but tech work is more realistic, less bitchy, and more likely to provide a sufficient income even though a bass-playing schoolmate of mine (who also married a British chick) might disagree.

Rocky you met your match,
And Rocky said, doc it's only a scratch,
And I'll be better, I'll be better doc as soon as I am able

I'mm'a keep on passing the open windows, but it's funny the memories that pop up now & again. Funny "weird", not funny "ha-ha". Not usually, anyway. I could've graduated cum laude if only I'd let him cum loudly. In me. True story.

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