Preshow Announcements, Private Acting Coaching, and Election Facts

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. Why are people still holding whatever they think Bob Rae did wrong against the NDP almost thirty years later? He isn’t on the team anymore. The Leafs haven’t won a Cup in fifty years but people still support them for some fucking reason.

2. What’s amazing about this is not that they hired actors to pose as supporters but that they hired Damian Lewis to pose as Doug Ford and nobody noticed. Is there ANY FORD this guy can’t play??!!??!

3. Following up Hume Baugh’s comment last week about trigger warnings. I don’t dismiss or minimize anyone’s disagreement in terms of warnings being a necessary evil in some cases. I can certainly comprehend that and respect that perspective without sharing it.

A thing that bothers me far more than the warning signs in the lobby are announcements that take place right before a show begins. It feels like you’re being held hostage in your seat and have no choice but to hear them, which is, of course, why they are being done then. To promote upcoming shows and subscriptions and whatnot. My issue is that someone has put significant thought into preshow music or whatever else to create a psychological ambience—a whole preshow show in the case of the Company Theatre and Outside the March’s Jerusalem—to subconsciously ease the audience into the transition from their lives that day to the world of the play.

A good example is when I did Streetcar at Theatre Calgary. There was this amazing set and this fantastic New Orleans jazz music playing and the house lights were dim and the audience all settled into their seats, taking it all in and making early decisions, whether they were aware of them or not, regarding whether or not to enter the world with us or start checking their watches.

And, then, after twenty five minutes of this, between the house opening and the show starting, someone would come out and stop the music and end that mood and thank all the donors BY NAME who were maybe in attendance that night and talk about upcoming shows and subscriptions for five to ten minutes, which rendered all that other preshow stuff fairly pointless. And THAT is the last thing the audience experienced before going into the show. A fucking commercial. It completely broke the atmospheric spell that the director was subtly attempting to cast and put them right back where they were before they entered the theatre. Possibly an even worse place, because most people’s minds are going to wander back to the stress of their day or whatever else they were trying to keep pushed out of their head, or they may even be out into a state of annoyance and mild resentment.

Of course, if they play is strong enough, the announcements—and trigger warning signs, at that—will be forgotten fairly quickly, but it just makes it a bit harder to get the audience where you want them to be from the starting pistol. There is a reason athletes in track events work on getting out of the blocks as quickly as possible.

Having said this, I do, however, very much respect that most theatres include land acknowledgements before each show, but feel that this can also be respectfully acknowledged with a permanent plaque in a highly visible spot near the theatre’s entrance.

4. MEOW of the Week

5. Ella was bugging me for a pet but I said no because I don’t really have her at my place most of the time, so she fashioned her own pet out of the loose hair that was stuck in her brush. This is Phil the Hairmouse riding my exercise bike. Who says kids don’t have any imagination left these days?

6.

7. If I pitched a play about an actor who criticized an extremely negative review of a play in a national newspaper, and then had to defend himself against local playwrights who challenged his right to do so for half a day on Twitter, people would say the premise doesn’t make any fucking sense. And yet…

8. Book of the Week, courtesy of Norm Dupuis

9. Many people have been inquiring lately about whether or not I do any private acting coaching. I do, but my rates are astronomical and you have to have won a minimum of three major acting awards.

10. LOL of the Week

11. FACT- Doug Ford was responsible for Brooklyn Nine Nine being cancelled.

Andrea Horwath is responsible for NBC picking it back up.

Remember this on election day.

12. Since this is my 100th Nappoholics edition, I wanted to close it out by giving a shout out to my folks, who will have been married for fifty years on May 27th. They married four days after my mom’s eighteenth birthday. From my mom, I received a strong work ethic, ice-cold balls of steel, and an instinct and ability to survive anything intact. That was balanced out by the warmth, softness, and tactile nature of my dad, from whom I learned to always be happy with and grateful for whatever it is I have. From both of them, I got the ability to speak very very loudly and the ability to prioritize and sacrifice—they always put the needs of my sister and me before their own. We didn’t have a lot when I was growing up but our parents made sure that we had everything that mattered.

Happy 50th, ya fucking dinosaurs!!!

 

Written By

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.