Saturday, January 10, 2004

Michael Just

I play Michael in Tony n Tina's Wedding. I have been Michael for 2 or 3 months now. Michael is a recovering alcoholic and the ex-boyfriend of the bride. At first you play a character as if you were pretending to be someone play him from the outside looking in. In the beginning of being Michael I had a constant mental picture of what everyone in the audience saw Joe doing as Michael.

It's hard to tell whether it is all talk or not, but the director of our show, who lives in NYC and is hardly ever around, told us to play it totally real. That's the secret to deep comedy, I think. I was glad to hear him say that. "No gags that aren't in the script...if people love you they will laugh or cry...and since they think its a comedy...they will choose to laugh." Makes sense to me. That has been my only focus as an find a real Michael Just.

All of that to say that tonight I hurt for the first time. I couldn't look at Tina. I felt empty. The only person that I ever loved just got married. I wanted poor Michael to leave the hide in the do anything...until my first drink. Then it all left. My old friend had come back to help me. Tonight I discovered that Michael, my Michael, doesn't drink for fun. He drinks because he's empty and needs filled up. He drinks because he's lonely and misuderstood. And Tina was the smoothest, most powerful drink that he had ever had. She loved him. But even she couldn't fill him. She couldn't love him through his emptiness. I had always called Tina my soulmate...turns out Joe and Michael share a soul too.

I was surprised to find Michael's emptiness return tonight just before getting kicked out of the room. I saw Tina as drunk as me and it hit me that she was in pain...and I was still empty. For the first time ever I walked up to her and said, "I'm sorry." She was too drunk to hear me. I wanted her too. If Tina couldn't hear me maybe Molly who was playing Tina could. So I screamed, "I'm sorry!" No response from Tina or Molly. So I took my shirt off, sang Baby Got Back and left.

I walked out into the cold air shirtless and Joe Boyd returned and replaced Michael Just in my body. I didn't want a drink. I didn't want Tina. I didn't want anything but to go the dressing room and come home. And I wanted to be Michael again. To meet him at 7:00 next Wednesday and share a body with him for two hours. Maybe he needs me as much as I have needed him.

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