Chaos Attraction

24 Hour Play Reading

2020-05-07, 9:57 p.m.

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Cast list as of November 2019

At lunch I was listening to this (temporarily online, so no link) hippie lecture today on "divine timing" and how sometimes when you desperately want to do something with your life and are being prevented from doing it--starting a new business, finding true love*--it's a divine timing issue and God's not letting you have it before you do whatever you're supposed to do, or the guy finishes baking, or whatever it is. Which I guess explains why I can never get another job, I guess. Or ever get a boyfriend again while we’re at it.

* To her credit, this lady said she was dreaming of her future mate for ten bloody years before she finally met him, so I guess she walked the walk. But she was all, "you don't want to get together with them before they finish baking!"

I now have literally over a thousand records (probably even more coming, to be honest) that other offices want me to key. This used to be a thing our office did, but nobody has turned any in since 2014 and now suddenly everyone wants them. Why? Fuck if I know, but it's now become the hot, cool thing. And they want them keyed from PAST YEARS now too! I can't tell anyone no, but I told my boss I had this dumped on me in the morning meeting and she was about LOSING IT and sent a bunch of angry emails to Grandboss about it. I enjoyed her fit very much, I must say. She shared screen while writing one, which involved NO WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!! and that asking for this level of catchup was ah....unrealistic in this landscape.

But in worse news, the inevitable happened today: I started straight up crying "in front of" my coworkers during the afternoon Zoom training today. I couldn't stop myself. I'm fucked. I fear I will get tattled on to my boss after this.

I don’t know what the hell I would do if I was one of said coworkers, ethically speaking. I don't think Coworker Sarah is likely to tattle (also she was already aware of me having crying jags earlier, albeit privately rather than having to listen to it), she'll probably just bring up again the possibility of getting her contract extended. We all think it's likely to happen IF we aren't actively prevented from doing so, mind you, but Murphy's Hiring Law has befucked us all over mightily, so you never know.

But I figure ethically for Tigress it's going to be a 50/50 decision as to whether or not to say anything to our boss. I can already predict the debate going on in her head tonight:

On the one hand, “Jennifer is CLEARLY LOSING HER MIND AND HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, and it is my ethical duty/as a Christian, etc. to let my supervisor know about this.” Especially if my boss asks point blank how she thinks I'm doing. On the other hand, "It's not like they can do anything to relieve the stress on her at this point. And I know they treat her .... well, she said they told her that she has to be happy at all times and that's why she won't turn the camera on. It's probably only going to make it worse on her if I tell. I don't know."


The 24-hour Acme Theatre fundraiser was on today.

After I got off work, I did watch Robert doing the Acme Theatre reading, playing Helena(!) in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love how the guy playing Bottom actually had some kind of deer head(?) he broke out for the occasion. That group was doing a darned good job of it, and clearly they had enough notice to switch out hats and props, in some people's cases.

Robert's room (note: the one I was supposed to be reading in at 8) shut down, so I ended up watching Jim in another room since his came online. I can say I got all the guys in, at least. I didn’t get all of Jim’s script, but I am guessing it had to deal with end-of-life issues, which...may not have been a good one for me to watch a lot of anyway.

I got texted by Melinda, who in response to my saying how my day went, said, "Who isn't having crying jags?" Good point. She thinks I should go outside. I said no, not for a million dollars (and not even to see you-know-who from a distance). Meanwhile, her Internet boyfriend in the UAE isn't getting paid, isn't getting fed (I guess they are using Ramadan as an excuse not to), is about to lose the Internet at his job, cramming people into rooms, and he can't fly out. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK, could be worse, indeed.

I had my shift from 8 p.m. to midnight, and when I logged in early, the various people putting it on were shuffling scripts about. The previous cast hadn’t finished reading “Metamorphosis,” so we were to finish that one, do a script called ‘Mother Road,” and then with the remaining time, read only the second act of “Carnival of Follies.” This was a little confusing.

To quote the one running my breakout room (Betsy), “We’re in the wacky time. We’re in wacky o’clock.” Even though Robert had left by 8, I talked to a few hangers-on from the previous room--the ones with all the costumes--who were all, “"We took care of the incest for you." And recommended costumes. I said that since I wasn’t familiar with the scripts, I didn’t have that set up. They did have a rough list beforehand of what scripts would be done when, but they said it was likely to change, so I didn’t really bother to read or prep beforehand. (Given what we did end up reading, that’s probably fine.)

I had two other people, Kate (mother of the aforementioned Betsy) and Josh, who acts in Sacramento. They were absolutely lovely to work with, for the record. It was a good thing I’d gone to rehearsal, because I told them all about how things worked and

We just read the end of “Metamorphosis,” which recounted the stories of Eros and Psyche and Baucis and Philemon, and then we were done with that one. Then we were on to “Mother Road.”

I hadn’t heard of that show before (it’s one that Acme wants to do in the future) and frankly, seeing the words “Joad” and “Oklahoma” and “farming” made me think, “This sounds depressing as shit, and I hope they switch the script out.” Josh said later he was feeling similarly. But we had to admit that reading it, it was a lot more fun than you would have figured it to be.

The plot of it is that an elderly, dying William Joad, a diehard farmer in Oklahoma, never had kids and wants to leave his farm to a relative. His best friend Roger manages to track down one guy, a Hispanic twentysomething guy named Martin (note: William starts out a wee bit racist or at least shocked that his only relative is a brown guy) who well, knows farming and doesn’t have anything better to do with his life than miss his ex-fiancee, so he goes along with it. They go on a road trip, acquiring a few others along the way, like Martin asks his cousin Mo (a delightfully attitudinal lesbian/farming expert) to be the farm’s major domo. William is a bit prickly about farming or moving from Oklahoma in general, and on the way back, the party ends up triggering other issues among people they encounter.

We also find out that Martin is a bully hunter and he can’t stand watching anyone get beat up on, which is how he lost his ex-fiancee--he got into a fight with a bully cop on his weddng day and is now an ex-con who wasn’t supposed to be leaving the state.... And sure 'nuff, he gets into more legal trouble and ends up running off for awhile and running into his old buddy James, who’s now an odd hippie preacher who doesn’t mind when someone else dubs him “Crazyman,” and even figures out that the old family Bible is secretly a map.

It has a bit of a tragic ending (I did warn you someone’s dying), but it ends very nicely, all things considered.

I read Roger, Amelia (the ex), Mo (who was SO fun to read) and James, as well as the chorus and a few others. This must have been a bit of a challenge for Josh, as apparently Josh doesn’t like saying swear words most of the time and would either not say them or substitute in something else. But when I was forced to say the n-bomb as a random racist ranch hand, I was all, HELL NO, I AM NOT SAYING THAT ALOUD. So yeah, sympathies there.

Mo was a delight. She gets tased at one point in the show and then spends the rest of it pulling up her shirt to show off the mark, especially as a flirting technique. Of course I pulled up my own shirt..but I had a tank top on under it. That got some amusement. I was also amused when Josh (as Martin) and I had to kiss when I was playing Amelia, and I made kissy face and he did a hand blow kiss.

As the chorus most of the time (I ended up reading it since everyone else had longer parts), some of it involved spontaneous singing, which made my taking musical improv class suddenly pay off!

Our final script was “Carnival of Follies,” which I guess was written by the former head of Acme and is based off “One Servant, Two Masters,” according to Josh, or at least it had a lot of the same characters. It was this Italian comedy thing that takes place in the 1700’s and yet has modern references... and a billion characters.

I mentioned a few days ago that it rotated per person on each new part...well, while we were having hang out and break chat time in between shows (and also Betsy came in to say our feed had gone down, so she was fixing it), I skimmed through the script and wrote down ALL of the speaking characters in order and made sure we established ahead of time who was saying whose part and wrote them all down, because it was a mess. Tons and tons of people. I did seven parts and the stage directions (as host) and everyone else did six, that’s how nuts it was.

We had no idea what had gone on in act 1, but apparently it was the following:

(a) A guy named Silvio is pining for a girl named Isabella, who he thinks hooked up with his brother, and then he decides to dramatically kill himself to show her. There is much amusing discussion with his servant about how to write a suicide note, etc. (I enjoyed reading Silvio very much.)

(b) There’s a famous bandit, who’s really a woman, and various people who have the hots for and/or want to bust the bandit.

The script also had things labeled as “Scene 2.2.5: Outside of the White Horse. Silvio, Truffalino, Aurelia, Flaminia, Vittorina, Lunella, Flamella” (or whatever....) and the names of who is in the scene gets longer and longer as it goes on. So I started reading it in a certain rhythm, kinda firing them all off in a row, which Josh said was his favorite part. What can I say, I make the most of stage directions.

There was a brief Zoom party afterwards that I joined, which was fun to hang out with with the folks who were still awake. They said that people were reading in Alaska and Massachusetts, and had viewers from Australia and Guam.

Quotes from the afterparty:
"I have never felt more accomplished in my LIFE."
"This is the most exciting thing that has happened in weeks!"
"I haven't met a new person in 2 months!"
"It felt just like alarming theater should be!"

So that was a BLAST. Sign me up again for next year!

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