|DREAMING ELECTRIC a tthe Ochre House|
I was in a play. It was called DREAMING ELECTRIC. I played a rather fictionalized version of the real-life inventor/businessman George Westinghouse.
It has been nearly a decade since I was solely an actor in a production outside of my own projects.
The play was a drawing room dramedy about the inventor, Nikola Tesla. He throws a birthday party for himself and invites some friends over to unveil his most recent invention, wireless technology. His friends arrive, but so do some of his fiercest competitors such as Thomas Edison and J. P. Morgan.
DREAMING ELECTRIC was written and directed by Kevin Grammer. I had never worked at the Ochre House before and hadn't seen a production there in ages (the last thing I saw was UMLAUF'S BICYCLE, their weird, barely-coherent mash-up of the Marx Brothers and the Myth of Icarus, back in 2010).
I was surprised when I arrived at the first rehearsal that the script was not finished. In fact, we "rehearsed" every weeknight for two weeks by sitting around a table and reading through the play-in-progress. We'd read it out loud twice each night, incorporating rewrites and the few added pages. It was "finished" about a week before we opened and we put the play on its feet and added the tech over the course of about six rehearsals. This seemed incredibly ineffecient to me, but, hey, I was just a hired gun on this one. Not my place to mess with the process. I did not criticize or complain. I went along with it.
The play hit a decent stride about a week after opening. Reviews were positive, the production team was happy and audiences seemed to dig it.
The experience was ultimately very rewarding for me because of the people involved. I've always enjoyed Justin Locklear (who played Tesla) as a performer and as a person and I was grateful he thought of me for the play. I never audition for stuff anymore because 1.) very few things appeal to me as an artist and 2.) plays take a lot of time and energy, so I might as well do my own stuff. The rest of the actors were also really nice folks and decent to really good performers. And even though I didn't quite dig Kevin's methods of writing and directing, he proved to be a really nice guy as well.
The thing wrapped up November 19th.