Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back in Show Business

October 18, 2008
It was a good rehearsal. The women in the play are talented and awesome, and the characters they are portraying are uniquely "Old Hoboken." Of a certain age, they are a "sewing circle," meeting on a regular basis where they drop any pretense of being ladies, they can talk openly of sex and the earthy side of the filming of On the Waterfront. They rehash old quarrels, mourn old friends ("She was the greatest slut who ever lived."), open old wounds, and settle old scores right before our eyes.

It is not a play that would have gone over in Fairhope. In Hoboken, it'll bring the house down.

In fact, this is a workshop reading, and I'm the outsider, the narrator who sits on the side and reads stage directions when it might clear up for the audience what action is going on in the play. The actresses were all in appropriate costumes last night, but I just came in my jeans and will wear all black tomorrow. I am an adjunct to the production, a retiree who writes a blog about Hoboken. This theatrical debut is a perfect beginning of the end of my first year in Hoboken.

The reading will be done at the Hoboken Museum, and has been sold out, so they've added a second performance at 8 P.M., which I'm sure will fill the little space too. The play will go on to a real production as part of a Hoboken trilogy by the late Louis La Russo II, author of Lamppost Reunion and Sweatshop.

The theatrical atmosphere is familiar and fun. As I walked home in the crisp fall air last night, I thought, "Well, you're back in show business."


Anonymous said...

Welcome back to show business...a wiser and seasoned have become...the stage awaits you.

Dressing in black for your part, great choice. In the 1950s it was common to see Italian ladies dressed in black, all mourning the passing of their dearly departed husbands. And it was a way of saying O.K. boys, I'm free as a bird now, I'm up for grabs...but ya got ta wait till the year is up, that was the rules.

Break a leg.

Mary Lois said...

I like that word "seasoned."

Benedict S. said...

Don't let the bastards see through your grease paint.

Mary Lois said...

It's done now, and was a good experience. Met lots of first-rate actresses, didn't have to memorize lines, and, thanks to the venue of the show (the Hoboken Historical Museum), even learned a little history in the process.

The gallery is full of pictures and info about Hoboken's involvement in World War I, when it was a thriving port of 70,000 people, mostly German immigrants, and a rough Navy town.

Our play didn't fit that theme, but offered a picture of women of Hoboken in a later phase, and the audiences loved both! I hope some of my readers went, but one way or another we'll meet in Hoboken one of these days.

Nan said...

I wish I could have been there! It isn't based on a book, by any chance??

Anonymous said...

I was one of the actresses in the Flora Dora reading, and, Mary Lois, I just want to say I was there for your audition and despite YOUR doubts about achieving the Hoboken accent, I thought you were fantastic!!

I just found your website. It is so refreshing to read. It's warm, literate, filled with positivity, and great observation. I'd like to make an announcement to your readers: " Mary Lois is one fine actress." Lastly, but most importantly, as a fellow artist and Hoboken native, may I be the first to say, WELCOME!!!!!! Thanks for gracing our fine little "city".
All the best,

Anonymous said...

Nice, ML, it seems as though you've gotten your key to the
Ho town. When in Rome......

What's next?

Anonymous said...

Ya see you got good reviews..from your peers. Thanks, margo ..kind words mean a lot.

Mary Lois said...

I'm here to say that Margo was great, too! It was good fun and now I know it was worth it.

Thank you, Margo. And since you're a B&R Hobokenite, I hope you'll explore this blog.

To the uninitiated, I'll explain B&R one day soon.