Saturday, April 28, 2007

Steve Does The Talking!

Whenever you're half of a couple, you tend to take on roles. And when you're forced into a role you're not used to, it can be a bit disconcerting. For instance, last night at the theatre, they were having a pre-show reception for one of the show's sponsors, a law firm called haynesboone. (Thanks! I love their slogan: Setting Precedent.)

Lise, who does PR for the theatre, asked me if I would appear at the reception and say a few words about Zero Hour because Kenn McLaughlin was home sick. Of course, this means more than just talking about the play. This means being at the reception, shaking hands with people, entering into conversations with them, being personable -- all things I let Jim do for us as he's much more chatty, story-telly and charming than I am at parties. (I tend to find the food, sit in the corner and wait for it to be over).

So, before the show started I snuck into the kitchen and sampled all the food -- it was quite good! They were all unique little squiggly things on round things (salmon mouse, avocado mouse, etc.) delivered from a local restaurant. The rep from the restaurant was a cute, funny guy and we got along great.

Then, I went into the rehearsal hall for my first songwriting session since I've been here. I didn't know there was a piano in there until Jim told me there was a few days ago. YAY! I have a whole stack of lyrics I've been dying to get my teeth into. Ah, there's nothing like a brand new lyric on a clean sheet of paper to make my heart go twitter.

After working about a half hour and almost finishing the first song, while "sampling" a few of the others just to see if anything came to me -- writing songs like like having dessert; if you eat too much at one time, you'll spoil dinner; also, once I start on a musical idea, I have to take it to its musical completion. Otherwise, when I start on the next song, it will sound just like the one I've been working on. One idea at a time, please! -- I made my way to the party.

And I was very good! The people surrounded me once I introduced myself. There was a nice looking gay couple who enthusiastically said they'd seen The Big Voice. And I felt like the life of the party. I kept thinking, "If Jim were here, he'd be doing this and I'd be curled up in a corner in another room reading a book."

So, they clinked glasses just before the show was to start and introduced me formally and I began talking about the origins of "Zero Hour," about how much we love Stages Theatre, how helpful Kenn was with creative input and how much I thanked haynesboone for sponsoring the show, and that I felt they'd be very proud of the piece.

Happily, they all seemed to know a bit about Zero. One fellow asked if Zero ever got over his anger of the blacklist. I looked at him and said, "No. But it's a much more complicated story than that, and that the play would reveal all." I told them how Zero's friends came to see the show in LA and gave their undying blessings to it and how all of them had approached it skeptically, wondering who could ever "reproduce" Zero Mostel. I mentioned that one of Zero's best friends is working with Jim now to bring the show, hopefully, to New York (though I can't much more until everything is in place).

After the show, they were totally blown away. By the play. By Jim's performance. By everything. And I felt proud that I could stand and represent the show for Jim. And it was nice to actually feel witty and personable in public. Next time, Jim can go sit in the corner and eat, and *I'll* do all the talking for us!

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