Final Weeks post / by Keen Admin

Monday November 9, 2015

In denial that we are in our last week of Travels. I think we will all truly miss this one. I am in love with the piece and the company from top to bottom. It has been a great lesson as an actor as well. I have talked about this earlier but it continues from show to show. The tone and nature of this play is so unlike anything I’ve ever done. The unique mixture of comedy & drama, lightness & darkness makes every single show so incredibly different. Not that we are so enormously different but the audience receives the play so differently from show to show. There are very few ‘guaranteed laughs’ like in so many comedies. And there are so many serious moments that have a tinge of comedy to them as well that we are never quite sure how an audience will respond.  On Saturday we had a riotous response from the matinee audience. Hysterics from beginning to end. Then in the evening they were quite quiet without much laughter. I had friends at both performances and they all loved it. So, we as actors have to accept each performance and the energy the audience gives us and try not to judge it and step out of it to question whether we are succeeding or failing.

Travels asks a lot of its audience. It is certainly not one of those “sit back and let the entertainment wash over you”. It asks you to sit forward and listen as you go on this wild and crazy ride with these complex and unusual characters.

Since Giles the adaptor took pretty much all of the text directly from the novel the language is not like many other plays. A friend of mine was there at the matinee yesterday and she said with a huge grin on her face, “It was like reading a fantastic novel! Now, that I have an infant I never get to read anymore, and I loved that I was seeing a wonderful live play as well as feeling like I was living inside a great book.”

I do have a lot of folks come to the show. The cast kids me that we would have closed long ago if not for all the friends and family I pull in to the performances.

I have certainly used facebook to spread the word but I truly am so proud of the work we are all doing that I just want to share it with as many people as possible- my family, my friends, alumni from Syracuse University, my exes, my dental hygienist, my acupuncturist, my neighbors… the list goes on and on. Plus I have done so much work outside of New York that folks are never able to see, so when I have the chance to do something in NY that I love I want people I love to be there.

 I, myself, see a lot of theatre- some actors actually don’t and I have never understood that. I love going to the theatre, whether I know people involved or not. When I am in a show I don’t have as much of a chance to see things so I will certainly be catching up on a lot once we close. Looking forward to View from the Bridge, RipCord, Ugly Lies the Bone in the coming weeks.

The question of course every person asks at this point when you are close to closing is “What’s next? Do you have another gig lined up?”  Honestly, it is about the worst question you can ask an actor but we all do it. Time and again. Tom has a bit of a break and then will be on Broadway in The Crucible in the new year. Dan has a workshop coming up at a university.  Rory works at Google and has been throughout our process (he’s young so he can handle the insanity of the schedule). Both our stage managers have gigs lined up right away. Jonathan will be busy at work prepping for the spring show at Keen. A world premiere called Boy by a wonderful playwright named Anna Ziegler. I am really excited about that one.

And I’ll continue teaching at New York Film Academy.

And auditioning. And more auditioning. And hopefully some exciting new project in the not so distant future. It’s a very strange career being an actor. Very high highs and very low lows. And pretty much every job ends. So, you are constantly starting all over again.

I feel very lucky that I got to be a part of this one though. Will treasure it for many years to come.

Onward and upward. We’ve got seven performances left. If you haven’t come to the Clurman to experience the wild travels of Henry and Aunt Augusta you have til Saturday to get there. Or if you have seen us, come visit us again. We’d love to have you.

Ciao for now,
JR