The Gentleman Caller (Part one)

We had our best show so far on Friday and I largely credit the email we received from our director which said amongst many kudos and thanks for our performances, to keep playing and not to be attached to old bits or ways we've performed certain lines in the past.  It made a lot of sense to me, and I think it's one of the reasons Saturday and Sundays shows felt kind of shitty.  I was relying on the past and giving a good presentational performance, but the life and vibrance...I'll admit I hadn't really been in it those two shows.  And one of the reasons I think I was holding back is because I have a fear of and a tendency to overplay things and I worry about overwhelming the audience (not in a good way). 

Aside from the performance, there were other nice surprises last night...

I'd been at a mixer downtown on Thursday and met a very sweet, soft spoken guy.  He was a little shorter than me, but at 6 foot 3, who isn't shorter than me.  He was slender, an easy smiler, and cute as a button.  When I saw my friend Tyler chatting with him in a circle of people I took the chance to slip in.  We chatted for awhile and I learned a few things.  He's spiritual, comfortable in his sexuality, opinionated, but kind, earnest, and he  I couldn't tell if he was into me or not, as he didn't exactly follow me around the room.  But when my friends were heading across the street I mentioned to him that we'd be at "Rain" and he could join if he wanted to later. 

He showed up about fifteen minutes later.  And while he didn't stay long, we exchanged numbers, and texted that night.  I'll freely admit I was the one who texted him.  I took the fact that he'd followed us to Rain and asked for my number as a good sign, and I didn't want to let a possible connection fizzle out.

He called twice the next day, and when I called him back and mentioned that I was on my way to a performance, he seemed a little more interested in it than I'd planned.  "Where is it" he asked.  "At the Vortex".  He knew the theatre and lives not too far from it.  "Do they serve alcohol at the theatre?" he asked.  "Yes," I said, trying to hide the anxiety from my tone.  "I could maybe use a drink.  I think I'll come."  Good God, I thought.  Not yet.  Let me have a little time to give you a real impression of me before you see me in chicken drag.

Let's clarify some things.  I'm not a drag queen.  I don't play out, do shows, parades, lipsynch, etc.  but I have played a handful of females and get a real kick out of it.  It allows me to live for awhile in the souls of the movie heroines I've adored since childhood.  It's something I do well, and it let's me be free and let loose.  I don't have to worry about being too feminine for the role, because that IS the role.  And these women are SUPPOSED to be larger than life so my tendency to overplay doesn't usually pose a problem.  That said, I hope that I make them more than just camp figures, because I try to really get inside them and express their full range of emotions.  They're not just clowns, but also vessels for the audiences sorrow.   Because when these women are sorrowful they are REALLY sorrowful. 

I explained to him the part I was playing, a chicken complete with glitter and big fake eyelashes and a headdress.  I might have downplayed the bustle, and the skirt and the heels...and he said he wasn't at all bothered by it as long as I wouldn't be uncomfortable.  With that said, I admitted that "no".  It wouldn't make me uncomfortable.  I guess I figured that if he wasn't going to accept me for this, then it was good to know it now, when I have very little investment in his acceptance.  It was a relief actually, because the issue was going to be addressed without my really having to do it.  He had a business meeting at 7, but hoped to make it by 8.  He wanted to make his business meeting short, so it shouldn't be a problem...

He showed up at 8:35, knocking on the box office door.  My friend Amelia came back and told me he was out there.  Now, our show is only and hour and fifteen minutes at most, and I didn't want him to get such a small piece of the show so Amelia went and told him not to worry about it, but he felt bad for being late, and needed to get something to eat, so he waited at the restaurant across the street until the show was over and I texted him that we could still get a drink after the show, so I texted him when we got out and we went to get pizza.  To his credit, he had no problems coming out with the cast later, and theatre people can be a bit overwhelming to someone who isn't one of them.  But he did great and was very sweet.  He made me a little nervous, but in the way I'm used to.  All men I find attractive make me a little nervous and unfortunately I've never been very good at hiding that fact.

Later at his car, we held each other, kissed a little, and it was nice.  There's something about a man's stubble against my cheek that never fails to thrill.  It's funny though, because even at night, when there's no one around, I'm always on guard a little bit-worried that someone might see us kissing and "take issue" with it.  But no one did, of course, and I ended the night driving home in a happy haze.
Joe Hartman