No Man’s Land, red-eyes, and showcases

Tuesday April 17, 2007

The Coronet Theater, 366 North LaCienega Blvd, West Hollywood, California. Next door is a store called “Trashy Lingerie” and just across the Boulevard is a club advertising “Live Nude Nude Nude Girls.” Didn’t know you could be three-times-nude; I always thought nudity was an either/or proposition.

It’s an odd place to begin this informal record, but here I am, 3,000 miles from the A.R.T. and feeling blessed to be working on No Man’s Land.

I am a member of the graduating class of the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theater Training (and that’s the short version of the title!) and my class is here presenting our Industry Showcase to a host of agents, casting directors, managers, industry professionals, well-wishers and alumni. After two years of magnificent training in Cambridge and Moscow, it’s time to turn our attentions to the business, and this is a way to start. We present short scenes, mostly comedic, as an introduction to the industry. The whole event is a bit contrived, but it’s also a good way for a lot of people to get some preliminary exposure all at once. We make fun of ourselves for doing it, but truthfully it’s fun. I’m partnering with Emmy Lou Diaz, who is a pleasure to be on stage with. I adore my classmates and we’re all in it together, so any chance to perform as a group is well welcomed. We smush into our little dressing room and sing silly songs and do loving impressions of our faculty.

I flew out Sunday after rehearsal, and will be on the red-eye back tonight in order to make rehearsal on Wednesday. This is the kind of adventure you want to be on in our business – dashing about from stage to stage, always with a script in your back pocket. I’m working hard in No Man’s Land, and it’s very grounding to have with me. I’m proud and thrilled and honored to be a part of the project. And I must admit, L.A. has me a little more worked up than I’d like to be.

-henry david clarke

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