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Apr 08 2013

Two Plays Coming Up

This Thursday, Ghostbusters: Live on Stage opens at the Dark Room Theater. I started adapting the script around New Year’s, and I still haven’t stopped examining the decisions I made along the way. See, I’m there for every rehearsal because I’m also in the show. I have the chance to play Dr. Peter Venkman, the role originally filled by Bill Murray. It’s a tall order, one I didn’t seek out, but my friend Rhiannon is directing, and she asked me to be in her show. Was I going to turn down a chance like that? It’s one of the great characters in Bill Murray’s career, which has got to be one of the coolest careers ever. He’s so awesome.

But it’s distracting for me to say lines I went over and over in the writing process, as I concentrated on distilling the sense of grounded realism the original film brings to both comedy and the supernatural. In rehearsals, I go through my part, remembering every version of each line I went through, hoping the one that comes out is close to the one I settled on. Pretty soon, the show will have an audience and I’ll have to set those extra doubts aside, because for each crowd, the jokes only have to work once. Lots of those jokes will be from the movie, where I know I’m standing on the shoulders of giants, but more emerged in my rewrites and a bunch came from the creativity of Rhiannon and the cast. It’s been a great collaborative process. That show plays weekends until the end of the month.

I’ll be sidestepping that specific confusion for my gig next month, because while I’m appearing both as actor and writer in the same evening, they won’t be for the same part of the show. I have a script in May’s Theater Pub at Cafe Royale. That one I also adapted — from a short story I wrote myself, and I’ll be there to read a part in someone else’s short play the same night.

We just had our first read through for that show, and I got to hear what a fun eclectic mix of stories we’re going to tell. Plus, I got to hear my own piece read out loud for the first time, and it was so cool. It does all the things I wanted it to.

I’ve been acting for years, learning from each experience, looking for little ways to get my writing out there. Now the activities are more paired up than ever. It’s nice when practicing one skill creates opportunities to develop another, then back again.