Ramblings From The Road
Well, I finally have a moment to ramble. It seems as if "Sweeney Todd" is consuming my entire life. All is well in Connecticut and in New York. Joshua, my son, is very happy in his new school, playing hockey again and doing well with his grades. My husband and the animals are all content.
I want to talk about the company and the audience members who choose to sit in the first row. I'll start with the cast. This month I'll write about John Arbo the bass player / Fogg. He plays a 200 year old upright bass. It's fun to watch him out of the corner of my eye, being an actor, as he is truly the only bona fide card carrying member of Local 802, the musician's union. It also fun to watch a musician adapt to the actor's way. He does so very well and he is totally solid in our production. He is also a very, very nice man.
Now to the first row. Who would spend a hundred bucks to sleep in a theatre, I ask you? I can't tell you how many people are asleep in the first row, and they are asleep when the curtain rises. And they stay asleep pretty much throughout the first act. Are they drunk, are they crazy, do they have narcolepsy? And the way they sleep is so distracting. Some of them splayed out, catching flies. Thank God they're not drooling. And how about two separate guys, dead center first row, on different nights, in the second act? One guy popping peanuts in his mouth without missing a beat. From the groin to the mouth, from the groin to the mouth, from the groin to the mouth, from the top of the second act to "By The Sea." That's a good 15 minutes. He didn't miss his mouth and I never saw him chew, so, I don't know what the hell he was doing with those peanuts. It was compulsive eating behavior. I told him in the curtain call not to eat in the theatre. Why would you spend a hundred bucks to eat in the theatre?
The other guy pulled out a bottle of Bud and was swigging it during the second act. He was drunk in the curtain call and made Michael Cerveris high five him. I felt like "Sweeney Todd" had become some sort of sporting event. In the curtain call I told him to remember to take his bottle with him. For a hundred bucks to attend the theatre I would like to know, WHERE'S THE ELEGANCE? I mean, I'm glad they show up because God knows it's a dying art form and I guess I'm glad they're all comfortable, sleeping, eating and drinking, things they should be doing at home and in a restaurant. But it's just not done in the theatre or shouldn't be. For the most part the audiences are spectacular and on occasion I say to Michael in the curtain call, "How come out of 1,000 people I hone in on the one that's just not with us?" That's not to say that those who were eating weren't with us, just the sleepers. Oh well, it's good thing I can't see past the third row.
This experience is the best theatrical experience of my career. I am so grateful to John Doyle the Director, the Producers, and the spectacular group of actors I get to work and play with every night.
The cast recording is due out on January 24, 2006. It's very good.
Keep warm and I'll have more to say next month, or maybe not.