Day 13 - Monday
I am off to Santa Cruz for an audition at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Artistic Director, Marco Barricelli, and his assistant, Gina, have been very kind to make time to see me. I arrive in order to have a look-about some ninety minutes early. Venture to the pastoral Festival Glen where the outdoor theater sits, resplendent among the majestic redwoods; arguably one of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the country. I am able to warm up a bit, vocally and physically, the light is sublime as it drops through the redwoods. Ah, the actor’s brain, a bit of cobwebs there, I have been a painter of late. I text Claire, “am standing center stage in the Festival Glen”; moments later, a reply text, “Yay!!”
I have a good audition, I think, even have opportunity to show them two almost-dry 11x14” paintings from past two days. We will keep in touch regarding future consideration – I would be thrilled to join them for next summer’s season.
I have somewhat a six-degrees-of-separation connection to this theater. In my undergraduate, I met English actor and Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) member, Paul Whitworth, in 1984, who became longtime artistic director at SSC, and still is on faculty there. At the National Theater Conservatory (NTC) in Denver, I was in the founding class with Art Manke, now a very successful theater director and often a featured guest-artist at SSC. And, of course, stage manager for both SS! SHREW and last year’s SS! MACBETH at Chicago Shakespeare, Claire Zawa, is a stage manager at SSC.
And Kevin Bacon worked here as well. (ala Eddie Izzard: “no,” “yes,” “no,” “yes, yes,” a nod, a head shake). Obtuse humor, sorry.
I figure it is important to always do something significant as a wee celebration of a good audition (or finishing a decent painting, I suppose, for that matter), so I stumble onto a taqueria and with resources dwindling, have a grande burrito (I did say, wee celebration). Then I explore Santa Cruz, checking out the wharf and the boardwalk and decide to paint near the lighthouse. While the remaining daylight prefers the lighthouse, I turn easel in opposite direction, directly into the sun as it lowers toward the horizon. Couple of hours and I have a neat little rendering of the beach and sunset over the distant mountains; I then decide it is too impasto and I scrape it, which actually helps it achieve a certain impressionistic grade.
I then pop into the retail area and have a walk-about and a quick beer, then back to camp headquarters. A day of artistic endeavor; well played, good game.
I hinted at dwindling resources; someone asked recently, how is this trip afforded? Actually, in February, I was fortunate to sell four significant artworks of mine to a collector in Florida; it is paying for the trip. Art begets more art. I was thrilled. He purchased what are, somewhat, Jeff’s Best Hits to date: “Release”, “Nude at Waterfall”, “Vincent Portrait”, and “Self-Portrait (after Goya).”
Two installment payments and I will ship the works in July - the first installment gets me almost half-way through the trip including a down-payment on the Kia; the second, if and as it reaches me in a timely manner, gets me back to the Midwest. If it doesn’t, I stay in Arkansas and get a job at Taco Bell. Hey, worst things have happened (Eddie Izzard moment here).
Jeff’s Best Hits. It is akin, if you like, to the Beatles: “Let it Be”, Hey Jude”, The Long and Winding Road”, and “Eleanor Rigby.” Or if Styx is your bag, maybe “Lady”, “Come Sail Away”, “Blue Collar Man”, and “Suite Madam Blue.” Or maybe it’s Led Zep, so “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” …. well, you get the idea. Cheers