Friday, April 08, 2005

Awkward Moment of the Day.

So I had to go buy a ski mask today.

It's for the movie.

So I go to the only ski shop I know of, near where I used to live. I'm not even 100% sure it's open anymore because the owner was (allegedly) murdered by his wife a year or so ago, and she later committed suicide before her trial was completed. Their son went to jail for some role in it, too. Sad and strange all at once.

Thus, until I got to the parking lot and tried the door, I wasn't sure the place was still in business. But it is. (Good for them.)

Anyway, nice people inside, but as you might realize, it's spring. It was 71 freakin' degrees yesterday. And I'm looking for a black ski mask.

So the girl in the store says, "May I help you?" and I tell her I'm looking for a ski mask that covers my face. She asks, reasonably enough, if it's for a vacation or if I'm stocking up for next year. Then she asked something about styles I didn't quite get.

Bear in mind, I've gone skiing exactly once in my life, on my mother's skis when I was about 10, cross-country style. I fell down, in the road, in front of a fortunately slowly) passing car, and that ended my skiing career.

I didn't know what to say. So I said the first thing that came to mind.

"I need the kind of ski mask you'd wear if you were robbing a bank."


Fortunately, I'm guessing she figured the guy in plain sight, with a photo ID clipped to his belt, paying by credit card, probably wasn't really robbing a bank later. So I finally said I was an actor and needed the mask for a role.

It's true, even if it's a bit overstating my range compared with the actors I've had the privilege to work with on "Dead Hunt."

Either way, I found a suitable mask. Not quite what I was looking for, but it's black and it covers my face, and it actually looks kind of cool. I tried it on... at the gas station. In Newark, New Jersey. I'm thinking that wasn't a bright idea, either, since I guess it's the kind of mask you could rob a minimart in, too. And someone probably has.

It's hot as hell, by the way, so I can see why Westley was wrong in "Princess Bride" and masks never caught on as a fashion trend.

So watch for my Hopkins-esque moment of fame when you buy "Dead Hunt," coming this fall from Timewarp Films. (end blatant promo mode)

Hopkins, by the way, is not a reference to Sir Anthony ("Don't Call Me Hannibal"). It's a "Crucible" reference. Ever seen "The Crucible," by the late Arthur Miller?

There's a character in it named Hopkins, who has exactly one line.

Which, assuming I don't get cut from DH, is the same number I'll have had in my last two acting performances. Thank God I didn't try acting for a living. One line in "Lysistrata" in college, one line in DH.

And to think, when Bloomsburg High School actually put on "The Crucible," way back when, I had the lead. (making me one of two guys involved in DH who played John Proctor. the other was Justin Timpane, who I've mentioned.)

I know, I know, don't quit your night job.

Funny story: One of the last rehearsals for "Crucible," the director let us use our scripts so we could focus on blocking, emoting, etc., rather than memorization. And I shit you not, the girl playing Hopkins walked out on stage, opened her script, and read her line. EVERYBODY ELSE in the cast knew the line. And it's not like it was a run-on sentence, even. Just subject-verb.

"The deputy governor has arrived."

See, I still remember it, and it's been what? 14 years? Hell, I don't remember my line from "Lysistrata," and it was MY line.

Another random "Crucible" story: The summer after my star turn, Tony Randall's theater company put on "The Crucible" as its first-ever production (remember that whole "not editing" bit? first-ever! hah!). Reviewers savaged it, with one suggesting it was no better than a good high school production, despite the presence of Martin Sheen as Proctor, Michael York and Fritz Weaver, among others.

So my parents took me to see the show. And there, in the program, we see a member of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (a well-known troupe in my hometown) has joined Randall's company. Not even one of the prominent ones, really, and yet there he is on Broadway. My parents' shock was tempered somewhat when they looked him up in the Playbill.

He was playing Hopkins.

For the curious, after the show, I asked my father whose version was better - after all, I was in a good high school production - and regrettably, even with the nepotism factor, Martin Sheen won.

I'm guessing he'd have gotten more than one line in DH, too. What can I say? He is, after all, president of the United States.

(snark mode: May my kids play better hockey than Emilio and have even more sex than Charlie.)

Timewarp Films
The script for "Princess Bride"
A research guide to "The Crucible"
Information about Arthur Miller
National Actors Theatre, which appears, sadly, to be defunct, at least Web-wise
The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble
Andrew Hubatsek, Hopkins himself
Martin Sheen, on "The West Wing"
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
(Four Seasons Ski & Snowboard Shop folks, feel free to leave a comment and a link if you've got a Web site. My condolences on the tragedy.)

Random Civil War trivia of the day: There was a general whose real given name (I couldn't make this up) was States Rights Gist. Thank goodness he was a Confederate. Could you imagine, since many people say the Civil War started over states' rights (as opposed to slavery, the specific right in question), if he'd wound up fighting for the Union? That would've been tough to explain to his fellow generals. Imagine Bob Shepperd intoning, "Now batting for the Yankees, the shortstop, number 2, Red Sox Jeter. Jeter, number 2." General Gist, by the way, had the misfortune to follow John Bell Hood, the unluckiest general I've encountered thus far, to the battle of Franklin, where he became Bullet Catcher Gist. If I read the photo captions right (I haven't finished the book yet), Hood got six of his generals killed in five hours at Franklin. I call Hood unlucky, by the way, because he managed to lose both the use of an arm and half of a leg in combat. Even worse, he lost the use of his LEFT arm and part of his RIGHT leg. So that must've been damn inconvenient, them not even being on the same freakin' side. THAT, my friends, is bad luck.