You know it ain’t easy…

11 11 2009

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

–John Lennon

I have a car.  A list of things currently wrong with my car, in brief: It rattles like the Enterprise going through a wormhole when it shifts from first to second, the right front bumper is crumpled, the right front headlight is smashed so that it points to the side, the dome light doesn’t work, the gear shift is sticky, the registration tabs are expired, and the inside needs a thorough cleaning in a bad way.  My car’s in bad shape.

Pathetically, the cars owner might be in worse shape.

I don’t think its much of an exaggeration to say my medical situation is becoming a cluster fuck of epic proportions.  After recovering from the much ballyhooed flu going around, I discovered I need surgery to repair a hyrdroseal in my left testicle, possibly caused by the melanoma.  While waiting to do that, I began experiencing excruciating pain in my right side, and I do not use the word “excruciating” lightly, particularly since I don’t know how to spell it.  A trip to the emergency room that involved me vomiting on not one, but two nurses, and I am informed this pain is caused from a tumor that has invited itself onto my liver.  That would be my liver that was, as of two months ago, cancer free.  Fucking cancer.

New Oncologist has advised I begin chemo immediately.  And he’s not talking about the pussy kind of chemo I did originally, that involved pills and not losing my hair; he is talking full blast, hospital stays, going bald type chemo.  Fuck.  My.  Life.

The worst part of all this is it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight the urge to stop living anything resembling a meaningful life.  I’d like to continue acting, writing, dating pretty girls, maybe find a job again…but I can’t resist the notion telling me that doing any of this stuff is a waste of time, as it will all go straight into the toilet the next time I become ill or need treatment.  For the moment I am still plugging away,  but for the life of me I don’t know why…

On a positive note (but also contributing to my frustration with my health), I was fortunate enough to be cast in Lyric Arts upcoming production of The Mousetrap, which started rehearsal this week.  When Lyric announced their new season, this was the show I was primarily interested in being in, so to actually get cast feels really good.  Such a huge percentage of the time with auditions, you go home with your fragile self-ego stamped into crumbs like a loose Crunch Berry, so it’s nice when you occasionally get cast in something you actually made it a goal to get cast in.

Now if I can just keep myself alive long enough to perform the fucking thing.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep driving the old car up to the theater…gun the accelerator through the rough gear shifts, try to ignore my right headlight pointed 90 degrees in the wrong direction, and so forth.  People tell me I should stop driving that car, but beat up as it is, I just don’t want to give up on it yet.

The car or its owner.

2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival Preview…

30 07 2009

One of the most important days of the theater calendar is now upon us.  The Minnesota Fringe Festival opens today, which means a week and a half of glorious theater binging, and glorious stumbling around the streets of Minneapolis in a drunken stupor.

I’ll be using my blog over the next week to put down some thoughts about the shows I see, and also keep up some thoughts on the progress of my show, “Danny Is Going To Die.”  For now, let me just give you a quick peak at the shows I plan on seeing, and if you want to be as cool as I am, you should plan on seeing as well.

“Danny Is Going To Die”— The Playwrights’ Center

Okay.  So I’m starting off with an easy plug for my own show.  Sue me.  All ego-driven, self-interest aside, a whole shit load of very talented people have put a ton of hours into this show.  With eight cast members and a full time costume, prop, and stage manager, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this might be one of the most ambitious shows of the Fringe.  Chances are, you know someone involved in this show.  Please support their work!

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

“Slow Jobs: Servicing America for $12 an hour”U of M Rarig Center Arena

The creators of this show, Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood, are basically legends of the Fringe Festival.  They’ve brought their unique brand of humorous story telling to the stage for several years and have developed quite a following.  Plus, I need to see this show because I would love to find out where, for only $12 an hour, I can get a–wait, hold…the name of the show is SLOW Jobs…Slow Jobs.  Not– Okay, never mind.  Well, see it anyway.

“Boobs”— Gremlin Theatre

Creators Molly Dimba and Kari Kelly put on a show of improv and sketches centering around everyone’s favorite body part.  I will be seeing this, of course, to support my former high school classmate Molly Dimba, because I believe it is important for artists to support other artists in the community to strength the web of…BLAH HA HA…nah, I’m joking, obviously, I’ll be seeing this because I’m a dude and it’s a play about BOOBS!  Boobs!  Holy crap, I hope they talk about motorboating!

“Best Little Crackhouse in Philly” (Or…Crackwhore: The Musical!)– Southern Theater

Finally!  A musical about crackwhores!  Plus it features the talents of one Madison Olimb, who is a singing/dancing/acting triple threat supreme!  Little known fact, though: Crackwhores actually prefer to be addressed by the more politically correct term, “Emotional Enhancement Substance Physical Pleasure Artists.”  At least, that’s what your mom told me last night.

“A Dream Play”— Southern Theater

“A Dream Play” is the product of Amanda Sterling, who has done some amazing work at the Fringe over the years.  I’ll be seeing this show because I know it will be well acted, well directed, and of very high quality.  I won’t be seeing it just because I’m harboring a borderline-creepy acting crush on Stephanie Kulbeik.  Because I’m not.  Not in the least.  Oh, Stephanie Kulbeik, why won’t you run away with me?

Northfield Arts Guild “Very Short Play Festival IV”…

14 05 2009

This past May 2nd was the performance of the VSPF IV in Northfield, and despite some early scares (my sisters van breaking down on the way there, and a woman literally walking off stage in the middle of the first play of the evening), it was a great show and a blast of an experience, both for me and my cast.

After hours of furious clicking, dragging, and swearing (God, Facebook is the flakiest website ever created), I finally managed to get the video of my show, “Handle With Care,” ripped off the DVD and posted online, and here it is for your viewing pleasure (displeasure?).  The script can be read by clicking the link on the right, so you can see how the show developed from the page to the stage, if you are a nerd and interested in such things.

And huge props to the cast of the show: Kim Hostrawser (Casandra), Nikki Wakal (Jennifer), April Gage (Eve), and Andrew Nawrocki (Matt), who worked super hard on this in rehearsals and then went out there and gave a tremedous performance. Click on the video below to enjoy their work!

(Note: Like most recordings of live theater, the sound quality on this sucks. I recommend some headphones or cranking your sound to the max.)

What would Daniel Day-Lewis do?…

5 08 2008

I’m a giant slut.

Seriously. Do with me whatever you please. Dress me in funny outfits. Make me wear a long, pony-tailed wig. Slap me, slam me to the ground, make me flat-jump a three foot desk. Pour fake blood on me. Make me grow facial hair. Tell me to cut my hair, or grow my hair, or shave my hair right off. Make me sing, make me dance, make me kiss. Kill me. The important thing is that I can never, ever, EVER, say no to you. To anybody. Because I am a giant…theater…slut.

My problem is one of perception. You see, when a director calls me, asking me to please do them a favor and do this role they just couldn’t fill at auditions, what I hear in my brain is this:

Tim, you are an amazing, dynamic actor who no one else can compare to, and I just can’t possibly imagine anyone else doing this part in my play but you.

When in reality, what they are really saying is this:

Tim, I’m desperate because nobody auditioned for my play, and I need a scrawny, pale Norwegian looking motherfucker to fill this role, and I know you will not say no to me because you are a slut. That’s right you slut, take it. Take it! Say my name you slut! I’m gonna direct you all night long, then give you acting notes all over your face…

Well, as long as you respect me in the morning.


Me, at an “audition.” Don’t laugh, I hear this is how Schwarzenegger got his start.

So this is how I find myself doing a small role in Lakeshore Players upcoming production of “Axel and His Dog,” a semi-biographical account of well known Minnesota television personality Clellan Card, star of the hit children’s show of the same name in the early 50s. I’m playing Michael Card, Clellan’s only surviving son.

The interesting thing about this (or “interesting” if you aren’t that interested) is that this means I am, for the first time I am aware of, playing someone who actually exists. I knew this going in, but it wasn’t really a point I gave much thought to until I arrived at the theater for the first read-through and was handed a slip of paper with Michael Card’s phone number on it, in case I wanted to…um…call him? Apparently he still lives in this area. Do I want to call him? What do I say? “Hi, Michael Card, this is Tim. I’m playing you in this show, and, erm, I was wondering if you could basically summarize for me what makes you, you. You know, your goals, ambitions, beliefs, physical mannerisms, vocal tendencies…everything I will need to accurately portray the real you for the three to four minutes I am on stage in this show. Oh, and if you could do it in the next ten minutes that would be great, cause I got a Hot Pocket in the ‘wave and, heh, you know…that sucker isn’t going to eat itself.”

Whenever I’m faced with a difficult acting dilemma, I always like to ask myself, “What would Daniel Day-Lewis do?” I feel like doing whatever DDL would do will lead me to the closest thing that could be considered a “perfect” choice, since he never seems to do anything less than spectacular, acting wise. So, what would DDL do here? Well, I think it would break down like this:

  1. DDL would use the phone number given to him to call up Michael Card, asking him all sorts of pertinent information about his life and personality.
  2. During this phone call, DDL also inconspicuously gets Michael’s address, which he then uses to stalk Michael for 3 months, observing him 20 hours a day, stopping only to eat, defecate, and sleep, which he does hanging upside down in a tree branch with his eyes open.
  3. Having learned all of Michael’s mannerisms, and now able to imitate him perfectly, DDL kidnaps Michael Card, holds him prisoner in an underground parking garage he has rented for just this purpose, and uses his almost supernatural stage make-up abilities to transform himself into an exact physical duplicate of Michael.
  4. DDL now, in make-up, begins living Michaels life in his place. He goes to Michael’s job, hangs out with his friends, makes love to his wife, and nobody can tell the difference, because DDL’s acting skills are so fucking off the charts. He is now ready for the performance.
  5. The night of the performance, DDL takes off all the Michael Card make-up, grows a giant handlebar mustache, and screams and growls all of Michael’s lines, with much spittle spraying from his mouth. He ends every scene he is in by yelling, “I…drink…your…milkshake! I drink it up!” The audience thinks it is the best thing they have ever seen, and DDL wins a Tony Award, dedicates it to Heath Ledger, bangs your mom, and disappears back to France or Spain or wherever he hides out, and makes wooden shoes.

Daniel Day-Lewis in “Gangs of New York.” Or he might be playing Abraham Lincoln. Or he might be playing Tom Selleck playing Abraham Lincoln. Whoever he’s playing, someone’s milkshake is getting drank.

I don’t think I’m ready for that sort of commitment yet.

In the meantime, I still have this guy’s number, with no idea if I should call him, or what I would say if I did call him. So for the time being, I get to drive 45 minutes to White Bear Lake twice a week so I can do a three minute scene where I (poorly) attempt to impersonate a 15 year old boy from the 1950s.

At least I don’t have to wear a wig.