This past Monday night I spent much of my day off at Second City: First I did an interview for a show about 1983, kinda like all those VH1 “I Love the 80’s”/”Best Week Ever”/”What I Had For Lunch Today and the Witty Quips it Provides” shows. I don’t know how they fit all those shows in between all those music videos! Anyway, I was 8 for most of 1983, so I think I had some pretty great insights.
Following that I watched the final touring company show of Lori McClain, who I toured with for almost a year. My last show with that group was nearly a year ago, and I hadn’t seen one of their shows since I’d left. Lori and Andy (whom Erdmania fans will remember from the ship. How’s that Van Dyke Brown going down? Perfect drink for a summer day, don’t you think?) are the only two remaining cast members from my days with the group, in addition to Joe, the musical director, and Josh, the stage manager. Anyway, it was fun to see a few of the same things in from when I was there, and to see how much had changed. It’s a great group of a people and a fun show. It made me miss touring, but then again I’ve missed (the fun parts of) touring ever since I left. Kind of like college. I miss college in a general sense, but I’m not interested in writing any more papers. But there’s a relationship you form with people touring – from the travel, the weird situations you find yourself in, sharing hotel rooms – that you don’t get anywhere else. I’ve already grown close the mainstage cast now, and I’m sure that will continue even more through the upcoming writing process, but you never really know someone until you’ve spent some quality van time with them, I think. But for all I know the rehearsal/writing process may be the equivalent of a good, long van ride. An eight-week one, in fact.
And speaking of the rehearsal process, here’s a link to Mick Napier’s mainstage journal, which not only explains that process but gives some amazing insight into that of one particular show: http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/mainstage.html
I actually haven’t read it in several years, but I plan on re-reading it. I do remember one particular part that has really been ringing true for me lately: people work for so long to get to the mainstage, and then once you reach that goal, you’re working six nights a week and find yourself relatively isolated from the community where you spent so much time. I think I’ve been working hard, maybe too hard, to combat that – spending a lot of my time off doing or planning or seeing other shows, or just having lunch with people who I’m afraid will forget about me. But now I have to go because, and I’m not kidding, I have to meet some friends for lunch. But I will say, in my defense, that I think I have to do that sort of thing, because when you’re with the same people six nights a week, you have to make sure you’re getting some sort of outside stimulus, especially for improv and writing. I think that all these things I do, movies I see, conversations I have, all become weapons in my improv/writing arsenal. So don’t try to fight me.