As some of you know, I accepted the lead role in Theatre On Main's upcoming presentation of The Man With The Plastic Sandwich a little while ago, and now tonight I have my first readthrough. So, I said to myself - "Self, you should actually start reading that script a bit more...you have 111E+52 lines to memorize so it's time to crack down." So, not wanting to neglect my own wishes, I picked up the script at lunch today and gave it a thorough examining. This time I picked up a bit more than my initial reading. I discovered where the title comes from (and I'm not telling!!! nyah nyah!), and really started to connect not just with my character, Walter, but with the three other characters in the show, Ellie, Haley and Lenore.
This show is hilarious. Hands down some of the best dialogue I've ever read or performed. But, like 'The Affections Of May', there is a real heart to this show that if done right (and it will, dammit!!!!!!) will draw tears like a late evening showing of Old Yeller.
This show is not new. It was written in 1978 by Roger Karshner, so some references are slightly dated. One of the costume choices scare me a bit (picture Herb Tarlick if you dare), but I guess I've had worse. Even if the director (My friend and the star of "The Affections of May", Colleen Sims) does decide to modernize the show by changing some references, I don't see the actual spirit of the show being jeopardized.
The pain my character is going through reminds me so much of what has happened to me and to friends of mine in the past and even in the now. The concept of losing your job and your place in the status quo, and feeling so lost and helpless fits this time period just as much as it did thirty years ago. I look forward to this show in so many ways, not the least of which is presenting it for my friends and family. I've said it before for previous performances, but this one is going to be my crowning achievement. I just know it.
Just got back from the rehearsal. The cast is great. Erin and Marianne (who play Ellie and Lenore respectfully) are two actresses that I have previously worked with, and Bruce, who plays Haley has got a great sense of humour and presence that is going to be fun. Also, we all live fairly close together so we can get together for line readings without anybody having to drive forever to get to where they need to go. I am really looking forward to this show starting. Two weeks from now we begin rehearsals...woohoo!
We also discussed the time period, and collectively agreed that it should stay in the past. So, 1976 it is.
I also discovered there was an extra week. The original pamphlet I picked up at the theatre stated the show opened on February 24 and ran two weeks. It really opens on February 17, and runs three weeks. A nine show run is going to feel more fulfilling in comparison to the effort we put into it.