Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Validation Needed

2 out of 5 stars. That's what the reviewer at Nuvo gave Godspell. I can't find a link to the review, so I'll post it. It's really just a small blurb written in tiny print you practically need a magnifying glass to notice:
***** The Artist's Studio; directed by Rory Shivers. If you are going to see theatre at a strip mall in Fishers, remember that you are seeing theatre at a strip mall in Fishers. The Artist's Studio presentation of Godspell reworks this '60s era "family friendly musical: based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew in to a contemporary tale about a communtiy of believers and their understand of Jesus' teachings. Aversion to pop culture notwithstanding, this modernized telling is pretty clever and well-constructed. Just be ready for intrusions from a range of talk show hosts and one more reminder of where to find the best car insurance. However, the show frequently gets childish and exhibits about as much flavor as your would expect from, well, a strip mall in Fishers. The singing is generally weak, and it's made worse by the venue's poor aucostics. Like the original, the set is simple, and director Shivers and choreographer Trevor Bates used it to its potential. Ryan Metzgar, who plays Jesus, assumes that challenging role well enough and with good humor. Matt Gibson plays John the Baptist and Judas and manages to embody the latter's conflict with some skill (if you can get over Judas with a paunch and goatee).

Wow. That last statement just floors me. What the fuck does a little gut and a goatee matter in an already admittedly contemporary show? And exactly what does the physical location of a theatre have to do with the production itself? What especially ticks me off is that we know what night the reviewer came and we know he didn't see the whole show. Left at intermission. It couldn't possibly be because that was a bad night, was it? Not according to the rest of the audience who gave us a standing ovation.

In fact, this is the very first piece of negativity about the show. We have received nothing but high and very complimentary praise about the show from numerous credible sources. By credible sources, I mean people who have seen the show and are well-known and established in the Indy theatre community. I do not mean the "you were wonderful" and "The show was great" comments that fly through the audience directly after the show. The latter comments are nice, but don't mean jack since no one will ever tell you "damn that show sucked" immediately following the performance.

Here's a sample of the comments from the Indycallboard (all typos in these quotes are from the original author; therefore, you know I didn't alter them):
I went into it with low expectations, since the last 4 productions of Godspell I've seen, I've either fallen asleep during or left at intermission. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT TODAY! Rory should be commended on this show. It was phenomenal. He had such a talented cast. along with Trevor Bates' choreography and Jeremy Brimm's vocals, the show was absolutely wonderful. Their wasn't a weak moment throughout the entire show. - Jeremy C.

Godspell is about my favorite musical, and this troupe did it up well. We saw it Saturday, and Wendy and I were both impressed with Jeremy, both Trevor's acting and choreography, and Ryan's Jesus. And we were blown away by {ML's} singing. - John B. (Greenfield Reporter reviewer)

Godspell at Artist's Studio was wonderful. Since I didn't review that one, I'll gush here. The choreography was inspired and the quips were priceless. This is one of my favorite shows (second only to "A Chorus Line") and I thought it was the bast performance of the original script I've seen (There is a more modern update that shouldn't count in comparison). {ML's} voice makes me eager to see him in more productions and Trevor and Jeremy were fantastic as always. - Wendy C. (Above reviewer's wife)

I got to see TAS's production on Good Friday...there were probably only about 20 in attendance, I would say...but the cast put on a phenomenal show, nonetheless... I definitely recommend this show. - David T.

And finally:
For all of you that know me, you know I don't normallly gush about a show... But, "Godspell" at The Artist's studio deserves it, here is a little gushing for your Monday morning! I saw the show Yesterday (Easter Sunday) there was a small crowd but, we had a wonderful time. The cast gave us a show worthy of a crowd of thousands and they recieved a well deserved standing "O" for their efforts. We all know how tough that can be to get with a small house.

It hit me as I was watching the show... there in front of me preforming was the future of Indianapolis theater. The stage was filled with the city most talented young people.
- Jeff Angel

Those were all from theatre-folk. So, I'm really wondering what this Nuvo reviewer's credentials are. That and, who woulda guessed that I'm so shallow and vain as to need to blog about a one, single, small, not-so-great review (that doesn't even mention me specifically). Well apparently I am 'cause I'm going into shameless plug and promotion mode now...

Come see a wonderful production of "Godspell". Tickets are $15 for adults, $11 for children 12 and under. Visit The Artist's Studio's website for more details. Please, I beg you, come see this show. I need your validaiton. I'll be the one in the green hat and overalls. After the show, come up and introduce yourself. Tell me how much you enjoyed the performance, but only after we go out for drinks or email me about it later.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter - Whoa!

So... I went ahead with the baptism thing. It was well worth it, I do believe. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the blessed event. The camera's batteries conked out just as I came out for God's Nestea plunge. I was sitting there in the tub completely in my own little world. The Crux made a video of "my story" of coming into Christ. Some 200 odd people in the church. The wife and kid and some Godspell castmates sitting in the second row right in front of me (Thank you guys for that). I didn't want to look out into the congregation. I didn't need to. It wasn't about them. It was about me and JC. I just sat there smiling while the video played. Pastor Daron said a few words based on conversations he and I have had. Then, he dunked me and cleansed me of my old life (that's the symbolism anyway). Romans 6 talks about "being dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ" and that's what my baptism was about. Someone later asked me if I felt any different and I said no. But, now that I think about it, I truly do. I don't think I could actually explain how. If you haven't experienced this feeling before, then maybe you wouldn't understand it. And if you have, then there's no need to explain.

Afterwards, we headed to a friend (who was also baptized yesterday) of ours house for Easter dinner. I say, friend of ours, but I'm not quite sure if "friend" is an accurate term for Ms. Amy. I met Amy through doing Fiddler On The Roof over the summer. And, she was the one who introduced me to the Gospel of John, thus beginning this whole faith journey I'm on. Since Fiddler, I started going to her church, The Crux, now where I go to worship. And, we have traded emails on occassion. She even came to see me perform in "Joseph" around the Christmas Holidays. I say "friend" may not be accurate strictly because we've never hung out, or chatted on the phone or IMed, or stuff like I do with my other close friends. Of course, we did have dinner with her family on Easter and other plans we've tried to make have fallen through. In fact, at dinner, her mother said it was nice to finally meet us, impling she has heard alot about us. So, a friendship relationship with Amy does seem to be the road my wife and I are traveling down. And, I absolutely like that. God has put her in our lives for good reason. He's smart like that. There's an interesting story (to me anyway) about how she appeared in my life, but that's story for another time...

My wife gave me a ring as a baptism present. It's silver with three Jesus fish engraved into it. That really meant alot to me. Not so much because it's a reminder of the relationship I have with Jesus. No, I am much more touched because I think she understands what my baptism meant to me. It might not be her path and I don't know if she fully understands the path I'm on. But, she loves me and for all that she does for me, I am completely grateful.

Then, to top the day off, to celebrate my baptism and that Christ is risen, it was such a blessed honor to perform in Godspell on Easter Sunday. And, wow, it was one of the absolute best performances that we have put on. That was for you God.

And for the next two weekends, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm at The Artist's Studio in Fishers, </shameless plug > it will be for God's glory.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Thoughts on God's Plans

I keep going back and forth on the whole Terri Schiavo thing. I don't really want to talk about it. But, it did make me think of something worth discussion...

How does all this fit into God's plan? No, that's not it. Are we playing God in this situation? I mean, if God had originally wanted this woman to pass, are the doctors and the lawyers and the families, et al, doing what God wants? Of course, some would say they are for it is God's will. I guess what I am asking is what if God wants us to do one thing, but we do another? Does that royally fuck his plan for us? Wouldn't he see that coming? Wouldn't he know that we were going to do the opposite of what he wanted? I imagine he plans for that.

Can you imagine God up there going, "Well, I want ML to do this, and if he does, for I gave him Free Will, then we'll go with Plan A. But, if he fucks it up, better have a Plan B."

Back to Terri... Part of me is praying for God to keep this woman alive through one of his miracles. I don't mean that someone ends up putting the feeding tube back in. No, I think it would truly be amazing if he somehow lived through the starvation and maybe even show signs of recovery. That would be something...

I just wonder what's God's reason for making me sick right now... I have a show to do (in his name, no less) on Friday and we're promoting it on TV on Thursday... Onto Plan B, eh God?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bondage... Um... Bonding, yeah...

Godspell opened this past weekend and really the show was phenomenal. To give you an idea, after the Saturday 2pm matinee, we got an stand ovation from the audience of 29. If you've never done theatre before, to have that small of a crowd give you a stand O... well, you really put on a heck of a show for them. Generally, with that small of a crowd, no one in the audience wants to be "THAT GUY" who is the only one laughing at a joke or the one person standing at the end. But, wow, we did it. And that was probably our worst performance... Not a bad performance, mind you, just the least best of the four.

After the show on Saturday, Denise held a cast party and everyone showed up. Finally, the entire cast together for some bonding time outside of rehersals. I learned a few things that night. I learned that I'm glad to be 30 and well over my "drink 'til I puke and pass out" phase. And, I learned that if you have to puke, please don't puke in a ziploc baggie; that's just gross. I learned that I have gained a few valueable friendships. I learned that sometimes 6'5" or more men can't handle their liquor. I learned that I'm a world champion Flippy Cup player. Wanna guess which was the most important lesson? I'm going with the friendships...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Again with the Baptism...

Well, my pastor and I talked again about the possibility of me being baptized again. They are planning another baptism at the Easter service. And I have to say that I really feel like this is something I want to do. I see my act of baptism as a symbolic gesture rededicating my life to following God and JC.

What's turning me off about the whole ordeal is the actual dunking and submerging in water. I really dislike the sensation of having my ears and eyes underwater. And I'm extremely uncomfortable doing this in front of nearly total strangers for introverted reasons. That's extrememly petty, don't you think? To deny myself the joy of accepting Christ because I was a widdle too scared to pway in da wada.

Then, during yesterday's service, I felt like I had the courage do go through with it. God and I were talking during the service and I felt the courage needed to get up in front of people I'm unfamiliar with and declare my love for God and Jesus. I felt that I could go through with it. I mean, if God is telling me to take the Nestea plunge, that should be all I need to do it. Screw the people in the audience, right? It isn't about them. It's about me, right?

I was completely gun-ho and ready to tell Daron I was going to do through with it. I wanted to be baptized. Then, I called home to talk with my folks about it. It was a brief conversation. And, now I'm no so sure. All my mother had to say about it was that I had already been baptized. She thought I should read the Catholic Cathecism and asked "What about your Catholic Heritage?" I get her point, I think. To her, perhaps my baptism is rejecting everything her family has believed. That is kind of a slap in the face to them, isn't it?

Today, I don't have an answer. I don't know if I'm going to do it. But the guilt I am feeling after calling home... well, isn't that part of the reason why I don't like Catholicism?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stream of Consciousness, Part 2

There was something I was going to talk about, but alas, it has left my memory...

Today's To-Do List.

1) Remind wife you love her without saying it.
2) Ditto for the kid.
3) Get to rehearal early and practice dances for Act 2.
4) Pray.
5) Go over Act 2 blocking and lines!
6) Do a load of laundry.

Wow. Lots of turmoil on the BNL Chatter. I'm not sure what to say about it all that hasn't been said already. All over a 12 year old newbie arriving in a public internet forum. Yeah, she can be annoying, but just about everyone there has their quirks. Admittedly, the tone of the "conversations" is adult in nature (meaning lots of sexual innuendo and double entendres) and it's not exactly material for kids. But, then again, it's a public forum... no passwords needed, post what you like kinda place. The regulars tend to get dirty and have lots of inside jokes. So, it's an interesting social experiment when a 12 year old girl appears among the ranks... Make me wonder what all the bitchin' is about really... How to explain myself without giving the wrong idea? I think the whole situation is kinda like when a kid catches his parents watching a dirty movie. The parent is ashamed to be caught doing something they perhaps shouldn't be... That's sort of the vibe I get from the whole "argument." The kid seems to have left, so I think it's going to die down. But, there's been some battle scars that might take a while to heal... and sadly, a casualty. Though, I don't doubt that wounded soul lurks around the place.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Stream of Consciousness, Part 1

So, what's up with the Mizzle Lizzle? Godspell rehearsals are going ok. We're less than two weeks from opening night. And, I'm a little bit nervous about it being so damn close. I'm pretty set on what I do in the first act. The second act is going to trip me up. Learn those lines, buddy. There's not a lot. And practice that damn dance that keeps tripping you up. Near the end of "We Beseech Thee," there's one part that trips me up every friggin' time. I'm concentrating so hard on getting the dance step that when the moment comes I miss it by a beat and then I'm off. I don't think I sing the harmony part there. I mean, I'm supposed to be singing but my brain's firing off impulses to my legs and feet and doesn't send enough electricity to my mouth. Practice, boy, practice. The show should be pretty darn good. Though, as with most shows, I would recommend seeing in after the opening weekend. Jeremy, our vocal director, cracks me up because of some comments he's made before we practice my solo. I'm singing, "All Good Gifts" - a wonderful tenor spotlight song- and he says stuff like, "And now, for the American Idol portion of our show," or... crud, I forgot what he said last night. Guess you had to be there 'cause I thought it was funny. Anyway, I sing my ass off in that song... that's the point.

My car has cancer. And an inferiority complex. I keep calling her a car when she's really a small pick-up truck. But, about 3 weeks ago, the water pump went out and the mechanics told me that the head gasket had a leak. He basically said fixing it would run me around the price of a new engine. Um... No. He said that eventually the engine would die because the radiator fluid would get into the engine and mix with the oil (or something like that). I'm horrible with engine stuff. I just say that my ca... truck... has leukemia; that she's helping to support our friend, Jonathan, who is fighting the same disease. He's doing quite well from the updates we get. Prognosis is very good and they expect a full recovery for him. That's where he and Ani (my truck) differ. We don't know when she's gonna die, but she will. Hopefully, I can get another 20-30,000 miles out of her or a year and a half. By then, the other car will be paid off and I can afford another one.

And finally, send some prayers to my director who is passing kidney stones and has been for a few days now. And, if you're sending prayers, might as well add some for Jonathan... and Ani, so she can live another 20,000 or so miles... And for Liz Phair to tour soon and in Indy... While you're at it, if it's not too much trouble, pray for world peace and that I don't get sick at least until the show is over... And that the kid can keep his grades up... Thank you...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

All you need is Love?

When I decided to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, a friend of mine told me that was good but not to change into one of those Holy-Rolling Bible-Thumpers. And, it is not my intention to do so. Yet, as I am reading the Bible and discovering the Truth for myself, I can’t help but want to share that Truth with everyone. But, how to do that without coming off as a nutjob spouting “Well, the Bible says…?” I really don’t want to be that guy.

But, I’m discovering amazing Truth as I read through the Bible. Matthew 19 talks about divorce and love. I don’t think JC’s point here is necessarily that once you’re married, you’re married for life, barring a divorce on adulterous grounds. No, I rather think that his purpose here is to say that Love and Marriage ain’t easy. And it takes a special couple to remain in love and faithful to each other for the rest of their days.

I think it’s way too easy to get married these days and that’s obvious in the divorce rate (what is it now? 60% or so of marriage end in divorce?). Futhermore, I believe there would be less divorce if it were much harder to get married. I don’t think we need to govern who can or cannot get married. But, people, we need to be more responsible about our reasons for getting married.

My pastor gave me a great analogy a while back about love and marriage. I’ll paraphrase as best I can here. He said maintaining love in your relationship is like a locomotive. You’ve got your engine, your middle cars, and the caboose. The engine is the love. That’s what pulls the train along. You’ve got the middle cars – the kids, the money issues, etc. – the things that come with a relationship. And finally, you’ve got the caboose, the dead weight that puts on the brakes – the things we bitch about. Most relationships fail because too many people try to drive the “love train” with the caboose. If we let the engine – the love-- pull the relationship along, everything else falls into place, even the caboose.

My point goes back to JC’s point. Marriage takes a special couple. And what makes a couple special enough for marriage? In a simple answer, unconditional love. In other words, understanding and accepting the vows we make during the wedding ceremony. It’s all about being mature enough to live up to our vows and promises.