Guys and Dolls
Time: April 23, 1999Place: Pleasanton PlayhouseRole: Benny SouthstreetDirector: John Baiocchi
Ask me my favorite line from any show I’ve done, and it’ll always come back to that one. Course the setup is what made it work. But heck, it felt great when it did.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Place your bets! Guys and Dolls had been on my ‘to do’ list for a while. As always, I wanted to be the romantic lead (Sky) or the character lead (Nicely Nicely). The supporting leads are great roles, but not quite the same.
I auditioned. I got cast…as…Benny Southstreet. Not my first choice. Not my second choice. Okay, I didn’t choose it at all. They did. Yet, I wanted to be in the show. The role would do. However, I was still very disappointed. I checked the cast list that was posted on the stage door. Sherry was with me at the time. She was a bit irked that I was so despondent after reading the casting. She felt that I should just be happy to be cast in a good part.
But I wasn’t happy, I was very disappointed.
I thought back to an old episode of "Coach". Coach Fox had just lost an important football game and was upset during dinner with his wife and inlaws. His mother-in-law eventually scolded him for letting a simple thing like a lost football game ruin his life and explained how unimportant the game really was and how much more important his wife and family should be.
But Fox countered with his feelings. He told her that yes he realized it was just a game. Yes, he knew it didn’t really matter in the long run. And yes, his wife and family were certainly more important to him.
But he also went on to say that for the short time he was going to be upset and disappointed. He had his heart set on the game and really wanted a win. The loss was difficult to accept and while he wasn’t going to take it out on his wife or family, he would just end up sulking for a short time that evening. And he had a right to do so. While the game didn’t mean anything to anyone in the long run, it meant something to him at the time. And trying to brush aside, fake, or ignore any disappointing heartbreak wasn’t going to help him magically become instantly happy.
Thus, I explained to Sherry that I had no intentions of grumbling for the next 3 months of the show. But I was going to be disappointed for part of that evening. I worked hard auditioning for that show. Ignoring how I truly felt wasn’t going to help anyone–certainly not myself. I’d get over it. Heck, I was quite used to getting over such things.
Rehearsing was fun. I took many pictures with my new digital camera. During those months, I also made a couple of snowboarding trips. I was careful not to try anything too dangerous when the show grew closer to opening. But hey, I couldn’t stop snowboarding altogether.
Our cast bonded nicely and we only had a few personality conflicts. I’ve found that most shows have at least one or two of those problems. But once in a while, I do a show where everyone truly seems to like everyone else.
Then again, it’s a world of actors. Who knows who could be faking?
We had our troopers too. During one performance, I noticed a dancer missing during the big Crapshooter’s Ballet. After the number, I noticed him lying on the floor offstage left. Apparently his shoulder became dislocated during the number. He had crawled off and was now getting help. His girlfriend hovered over him, but he was much calmer than she was. After another scene, I came back by offstage left and the body was gone! Next thing I knew, he was on stage finishing the show. I guess someone helped him pop the shoulder back into place. I guess this wasn’t an unusual event for him.
After three weeks of shows, we closed. Everyone went back to their normal lives. All betting had ceased.
Next: I got chills…