Monday, December 05, 2005

Pre-Carol, Post-Reunion

Before I begin with my last-minute pleas for audience members for A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol and my assessment of my high school reunion, I would like to direct your attention to some online interviews and essays that may be of interest to you, dear reader.

Cars Can Be Blue, the official Nosedive house band, has been on a self-made cross-country tour for the past couple months, and have recently been interviewed in the Seattle-based online magazine, You can check out the interview here.

Also, my friend and colleague Zachary R. Mannheimer, founder of the Dish and artistic director of the Subjective Theatre Company, has written an essay, which has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, on where he believes the state of current independent theatre is and where it should go. It seems to have created a bit of a stir among members of the Off-off-Broadway world, so you can read it for yourself. I won’t be commenting on it here (I don’t have the time just yet), but I most likely will.

Finally, Patrick Shearer (a.k.a. Philucifer, a.k.a. Charlie Willis) emailed me this interview with comedian Patton Oswalt on Although Mr. Oswalt is not one of my favorite comedians by any stretch of the imagination, he does cite several of my personal favorite comedians, as well as give some interesting insight on edgy versus tame material, the link between comedy and horror, and the problems of over-thinking what’s good and bad for children. Check it out here.

Now on with the show…

* * *

As I write this, A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol opens in three days at the Kraine Theatre on 85 East 4th Street. This is pretty much the last time I can write about it in Jamespeak before we go up, so here I go.

Last night’s rehearsal reminded me that, all false modesty aside, we got a pretty great show. Our version of Dickens’ story, although I believe extremely faithful to the source material, is ultimately told from the point of view of the spirits, who are more familiar — and sicker of — the story of A Christmas Carol than anyone. So, they try to find ways to break up the tedium and amuse themselves as they tell the story for the umpteenth time.

I was originally reluctant to restage A Christmas Carol. Last year’s production was such a surprise success that I thought doing it again was like expecting lightning to strike the same place twice. I was also very nervous because the theatre we’re performing it in this year has 100 seats, as opposed to the usual 40-60 seat theatres we’re used to performing in. In other words, we’ll need a larger turnout than we’re used to.

At any rate, I am curious to see how this will work out.

Those of you who saw the show last year may note a handful of changes this time around. There’s some new blocking, some new dialogue and some new cast members.

Anyway, it feels great to be back. To me, Dickens’ story is possibly one of the best ways to expunge the bitterness and cynicism we’ve built up over the year and get us into the holiday spirit.

So once again, A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol is playing Dec. 8-10, 15-17 (Thursday through Saturday) at 8 p.m. at the Kraine Theatre on 85 East 4th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. It’s $15, we’ll be serving eggnog and it’ll be a whole lot of fun.

* * *

Our high school ten-year reunion has come and gone. Man, what a trip. I for one had an absolute blast, as well as enough material for six or seven plays. Adam Wade was right when he told me I should go. “James, you’re a writer. You have to go,” he had told me during our Off-Night Series back in May.

Man, he was right.

First of all, it was really nice to talk to a large number of people there. After everybody got over the arrival jitters, we started to relax, drink, talk and party.

Now that the reunion is over and done with, I would like to now give a the list of all the people who were mean to me in high school, and what cruelties they inflicted upon me:

Pete Boisvert, for mispronouncing my last name as “Kumquat.”

Ben VandenBoom, for calling me a “jerk” once during junior year.

Chris Bujold, for not calling me “Captain Awesome” like I asked him to.

Leah Desmarais, for not going to prom with me.

Sonia Chopra, for not going to prom with me.

Sadie Marcoux, for not going to prom with me.

Martha Hilfinger, for getting upset that I kept introducing myself to her friends and family members as “Martha’s boyfriend.”

Jennifer Duval, for not going to prom with me because, quote, “James, you asked somebody else. That really hurt me.”

Christine Gamache, for getting “weirded out” for constantly staring at her chest during English class sophomore year, and not believing me when I told her I had to stare for medical reasons.

Erin Jordan, who did make out with me, but got “her heart broken” simply because I dumped her without warning or explanation for a girl I said was “prettier.”

Christie Brinkley, for not going to prom with me because, “I don’t go to high school, I’m 41 and I don’t know who you are.”

Andrea Castiglioni, for not making out with me at my 18th birthday party, because, according to her, quote, “I wasn’t at your 18th birthday party, James, you never invited me, you creep.”

Dan Horan, for not going to prom with me because, quote, “Dude, neither of us is gay. That’d be…weird, don’t you think?”

Leah Desmarais, for beating me up after she read this, saying, “You’re a real creep, James.”

Sonia Chopra, for filing a restraining order on me after going to the high school reunion and saying, “I can’t believe you, James. I came all the way from Canada to New York to see your stupid play and this is how you repay me? I thought you were different.”

Sadie Marcoux, for pointing out to me that none of these people were mean to me in high school.

Dave Allen, Martha Hilfinger’s boyfriend, for politely asking me to stop introducing myself to him as “Martha’s boyfriend.”

Erin Jordan, for not taking me back after the girl I dumped her for got a bad haircut, reminding me, “You broke my heart, James.”

Ben VandenBoom, for getting “weirded out” for constantly staring at his chest during history class senior year, and not believing me when I told him I had to stare for medical reasons.

And finally, Pete Boisvert, who went to prom with me but refused to go “all the way.”

So, to all of you, I’m a little older now and a little wiser, so I’ll just say that you are all forgiven (except for Pete).

Well, that’s it for this time around. I hope, dear reader, you can make it to see this year’s version of A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol. When we return, I’ll be doing my assessment of the run of Carol, and later, my “Top 10” of the year.

Sick of the smell of corsages,

James “Captain Awesome” Comtois

December 5, 2005


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