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Joe Hanrahan in Woody Allen's GOD

WORK WORK WORK

I’m equating, probably mistakenly, a dearth of blogging with a plethora of productivity. No real excuse, but it gets me into another effort to catch up, and use this space to articulate my life and life lessons.

WORK – 9-5 AND BEYOND!

Last heard from, I was sadly departing The Black Rep for alternative employment. I spent a very short time as Marketing Director at an Industrial Auction Company (tough business in a tough world) before happily hooking on with Image Technologies Corporation as a Senior Producer. Am now employed in work as close to theatre as possible – producing major business shows – the type where a corporation brings in 4,000 people, wines them, dines them, and offers major business presentations and innumerable breakout sessions and ancillary activities. The major presentations can involve, beyond the speeches and business overviews, live bands, wide screen video, circus performers, celebrities – whatever the show demands. Six months of prep, set construction and video production, followed by a few days of rehearsal and one big performance! Massive but exciting, working alongside seasoned theatre and music pros. Challenging, lots to learn, but with my favorite goal in mind – opening nights!

WORK – FILM

No matter how hard you’re working, there’s always time to sneak a bit of film in. Was able to narrate THE STORY OF A BAD LITTLE BOY WHO DIDN’T COME TO GRIEF, a short based on a Mark Twain story, from Adam Zanzie; do a bit as a crime boss in THE LAST JOB from Taylor Bevirt; and act in a trailer and assist with production on a proposed series, GATEWAY: City of Reason from Gene Pfeiffer and Mike Sneden. GATEWAY will resume production in Spring, 2014, and next year have been cast in what looks like a promising short from Trevor Juenger, who’s receiving acclaim now on the festival circuit for his art house/horror film, COYOTE.

WORK – THEATRE

Though the gig at ITC will limit some of my flexibility to work in theatre, somehow was able to sneak in two short runs of new plays this past Spring. First, YOU WON’T SEE ME by Caitlin McCommis at Tesseract Theatre. They’re a new group, focusing on new scripts and new playwrights. I pursued a role in this show – named after a Beatles song – due to my devotion to The Beatles and the sense that I should do anything I can to honor that. The role was Mal Evans, early days friend, driver, road manager and more to the boys, from the Cavern to the group’s break-up and beyond. A sad story, well- constructed by Caitlin. A promising company and a playwright with significant potential.

Followed it up immediately with numerous roles (major one was Frank Lopez, Cocaine kingpin, but I played another half-dozen roles, almost all of whom were killed) in MONTANA, a Shakespearean take on Al Pacino’s SCARFACE, an entry in the 2nd St. Louis Fringe Festival. Written and directed by Bob Mitchell, it was loads of fun, with a fun, hard-working cast.

And now in the midst of SOLEMN MOCKERIES. Tough role (17 of them, actually), difficult proposition, but as the boys of THE WILD BUNCH say, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Because this leads to…

YOU GOTTA WORK!

Inspiration loves a vacuum, and like a great teacher, will often show up when needed. As I’ve struggled getting my head around SOLEMN MOCKERIES, a couple of teachers have revealed themselves.

One was Bill Nighy, the British actor best known for LOVE ACTUALLY, the UNDERWORLD movies, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN etc. In an interview, he talked about the time he spent with his script, learning his lines inside/out, which gave him the flexibility to play as the work started. It reminded me of an Anthony Hopkins interview, where he said much the same thing – he read his script over and over and over. I’ve always been pretty good with lines - good as I needed to be, I guess – but for me it was always about LEARNING lines, and almost always a true chore. I’m switching my goal to KNOWING my lines, truly having them down as down can be. It’s my goal for SOLEMN MOCKERIES, and it’s going to be my saving grace for the show.

The second inspiration (not far removed from the first) is a book I’m in the early stages of: the new FOSSE biography by Sam Wasson. It’s a great read, and though I’m still in the first breaking-into-movies making-his-name-on-Broadway figuring-out-his-artistic-persona stage of his life, already Fosse’s perfectionism, his fear-driven never-ending quest to go beyond expectations has excited me, and fed into my current need to know my lines, to perfect my movement, and to go beyond all expectations for this show.

And the work continues…

 


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