ewhightower

Bus Stop: Next Stop, Livermore! Part III

In Theatre on February 24, 2014 at 12:47 am

The producer is in the bar at Uncle Yu’s, slamming a double scotch and desperately calling everyone she knows. She even calls the set designer, isn’t that nice of her? She knows he’s done some acting, and it’s not really his sort of role but would he be willing to fill in or does he know someone? Thankfully, this set designer is realistic regarding his type and the time he would have to lose 30 lbs. before opening: one week. He declines, all gracious charm, and says he’ll put the word out. The producer keeps calling people.

The designer, after his luck with the door, is cautiously sending out feelers to the young male lead types in his network. Prophecy: none are close enough / available / willing to do the role. [Ed.: originally, the word “door” linked to a blog I wrote about finding the right door for the production of Bus Stop upon which this bit of fantasy is based. The gist: in 2008, Role Players Ensemble could only find one type of door for the entrance to the diner: a contemporary internal tract home door. I tried to find a better door. Shenanigans ensued. We were stuck with the shitty door they had. Moving on:]

On her third scotch, the producer sees something amazing; she blinks, leans forward … there, across the restaurant, a very handsome young man is putting on a customer’s cowboy hat at the behest of the customer and his younger, bleached and leathered wife. The handsome young man is a waiter. Server. Whatever the fuck, he’s wearing the hat and he looks … let’s not jinx it: he looks like he might work if we tweeze his eyebrows.

At his side, she stuffs a hundred-dollar bill into his hand, “You’re coming with me, I’m a theatrical producer, we need your help immediately, where’s your manager and will this nice man let us borrow his hat for twenty minutes? Here’s fifty as a deposit on the hat.”

“I’m the manager,” says the manager, overhearing from the host station. Drunk producers are loud.

“I am borrowing this darling boy for twenty minutes, please do not fire him, there’s a set of comps we open at the Bankhead next week tell them I sent you and before any of you think I am going to do naughty things to this boy I want you to know that I am happily married for the fifth time and so it shall remain!”

This does not stop her from thoroughly squeezing the young man’s biceps, pectorals, buttocks and one or two other pieces of prime real estate as she whisks him across the street and down the block and into the middle of rehearsal with a triumphant cry of, “I’ve found our lead!”

Rehearsal stops dead.

Director: Can he act?

Producer: Of course he can, what’s your name young man?

Waiter: Bo.

Director: You’re shitting me.

Producer: Ever done any theatre?

Waiter: That’s what I’m studying at the local college.

Producer: This is a paid production. Contracts are involved. Could you get the time off from school and Uncle Yu’s?

Waiter: Sure. I usually work lunch, I’m only filling in —

[Edward has to interrupt: I know it’s completely unrealistic. It’s what I’d want to happen. Can you blame me?]

Producer: Shut up, Edward.

Waiter: I have to finish my shift.

Director: That’s fine, be here tomorrow night —

Producer: Tomorrow night, seven o’clock, erhm, six forty-five on the dot, darling, early is on time in theatre and if they haven’t told you that at the college yet you should kill them all.

Waiter: I’m always early. Except where it matters.

He smiles a little at the female lead. She stops her frantic and destined-to-go-unanswered text to the former male lead.

This is the miracle they needed. It galvanizes the cast, new energy and innovation zap into the show and it sells out every performance. The Village Theatre has a pretty nice talent show, proving that there is Talent in Danville. The set finally has curtains on the window, the front door has a real window in it, and there is a snow machine and everything else the set designer could dream of, to improve the show.

Right?

Right. A wonderful fable.

But what really would have to happen would be an independent production company in Livermore approaching Role Players with a brilliantly prepared presentation which they would have to be insane to ignore, particularly because it will cost them very little or nothing at all and Role Players will get the credit for originating the production.

This would possibly involve a new director, and one or two actors might need to be replaced depending on conflicts.

It’s possible. I would even say plausible, were there an independent 501-c3 in Livermore who could pull it off.

Do I think it will happen / would have happened / could ever happen?

Maybe, with the current (as of late February, 2014) management of Role Players and the Village Theatre.

But could it ever have happened in 2008?

Nah.

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