So, today, we had an unofficial 1st 'read-through' of a play I had not actually committed to, because I wanted to read it first. Most actors blindly accept work without knowing what they're getting in to, because......they want to work. I have done so in the past, and have lucked out, for the most part. Nothing too terribly bad. But this time, I wanted to make an educated choice. Not that I can be that picky, considering I need to get those work weeks to continue qualifying for health insurance, but I'd rather get a root canal than sit through a bad play, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't hideously bad. Which they can be. Believe me.
Unfortunately, the play is a world premiere so it's not like I could find it at Borders or Samuel French (a Drama Book Shop), so the director/artistic director of the theatre promised to FedEx or messenger a script over last week. Well, it never arrived. I don't know if he assumed (yup that nasty word) that just because I had said I would attend the read-through, it implied I was accepting the job, but I went in cold today and, well... let's put it this way, had I read the script last week I probably would have declined. Graciously, of course. But it's too late now to say no, because word gets around about actors who drop out so close to the beginning of rehearsals, which start in a few weeks, so it's going to be quite a ride, in more ways than one.
The cast is great, though a great cast does not a great production make. I've seen amazing actors in plays that made me want to slit my wrists. So I worry. The subject matter is crude in sections, but my part is workable. Thankfully we are work-shopping the play and they are open to suggestions and cuts, so anything I don't like is going to go bye-bye. Too bad I'm so well known in these parts, otherwise I'd consider an alias.
Apart from the script being somewhat questionable, we were sitting around chatting before we started, and suddenly it turned to politics and what actors love best: the inevitable Republican bash-fest. I think they covered everyone and their mother, including the Queen 'mother' gaffe. Personally, I thought it was funny. They were absolutely horrified.
So, there I was listening to them rail against all things Republican, suffering through a load of rubbish until the talk turned to Sarkozy and that was it. The Director is very sweet, but an old lefty, who laughingly and rather proudly told us he considers himself "left" of Lenin so, needless to say, he started on how unhappy he was that Sarkozy had won. Then, suddenly, everyone joined in, blabbing about how terrible it was and how scared they were for France, bla bla bla. After several minutes and unable to bear it any longer, I finally jumped in. As I have mentioned before, I choose my battles carefully, and this one was worth the effort. Surprisingly, they listened and backed off immediately. They actually agreed, for the most part.
I think what I hate most, is the blanket statements liberals make about conservatives, both American and foreign. Without thinking, they rush to judgement without giving someone a chance to prove themselves. Because Sarkozy is a conservative and is pro-U.S., they immediately jumped to the conclusion that he would become Bush's push-over. I reminded them that Bush was out in 2008, and that Sarkozy has emphatically stated he will not be anybody's poodle. A fact they had conveniently forgotten. I remember having a similar conversation about Schwarzenegger (when he first won the California governorship) with a group of actors and designers, whilst doing a show out of town. I told them they needed to give the man a chance. That he was an amazing business man, because it certainly wasn't his acting abilities that garnered him such success, and that he would probably use that business acumen to straighten out the problems California was having at the time. And he's done a far better job than his predecessor. Plus he won re-election so he must be doing something right. Though I know most here wouldn't consider him a true conservative.
So, this is what I have to look forward to, for 8 weeks. Wish me luck!!