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. I made a walk-on cameo appearance in Jackie English’s panto Cats! in Boots opening night on Boxing Day at Red Sandcastle Theatre. We did a quick rehearsal before the show to bring me up to speed for my bit. Afterwards, this quick conversation took place.
Me: How long is the first act?
Jackie: I don’t know. We’ve never done it before.
You got to fucking love indie theatre.
2. Accidental Artist of the Week:
3. Saw Knives Out over the holidays. I really don’t get how it is being marketed as a great comedy or a fun film. I found it well made enough, I guess, for a whodunnit. At most, I’d say it’s quirky – but it’s about as much fun as getting a handjob from a hockey glove.
4. Hero of the Week:
“Calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss” – Cool Hand Luke
5. Saw Hannah Moscovitch’s Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes at the Tarragon last week, and do you know what thought never went through my head while I was watching the show? This one: How dare a woman even try to write a play from the perspective of a man. Do you know what thought did go through my mind? This one: Hannah Moscovitch is a really good fucking writer.
6. Guest Post of the Week:
7. You know you’re an actor when you watch the entire 5th season of Schitt’s Creek on fast forward looking for your scene before realizing you were actually in the sixth season, yet you haven’t gone back to watch the fifth season properly because you’re still kinda mad that you’re not in it.
8. Future Relationship Counsellor of the Week:
This photo was taken last year in the dressing room at Theatre Passé Muraille immediately after the final performance of Krapp’s Last Tape. It was Bob Naismith’s final performance ever. He was tired but in great spirits hosting myself, Paul Feauteux, and Anand Rajaram, answering our questions and humbly both accepting and deflecting our praise. He was a Legend in our community and his energy and talent will be missed. I will always treasure this moment and this photograph.
10. If you edit out all the scenes of people driving around endlessly to music, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood is exactly 18 minutes long.
11. Sometimes I Just Can’t Stop Myself:
12. I know there is a movement towards a five-day work week (or, at least, a five-day rehearsal week) in theatre. But I don’t think I am on board with that at all. One of the things that I find I really need when I am rehearsing a show is constant repetition – of the lines, of the physical movements through the space – to get the show as ingrained as humanly possible into my being so that, by the time we are heading into the part of the process where we start doing the show in front of audiences, I don’t have to think at all about what words are next or consciously think about where I have to go next physically. I just know all that. I have learned it. That is what the rehearsal process is for essentially – to teach my mind and body the show to the point where I know it so well that I don’t have to ever leave any given moment that I am in while I am doing the show.
Sure, it would be nice to have time off and see my family or friends or whatnot, but I can also do that by just not doing theatre. If I’m gonna do theatre, I wanna fucking do it. I don’t want it to be a job where I punch a card and just put in the time I have to. This isn’t fucking house painting or bartending. The time I spend in the rehearsal hall isn’t for other people, it’s for me. I’m the one who benefits from it. Ideally, I want to become as obsessed as possible with getting it, because it’s going to be my ass and my name on the line every night – along with the asses and names of my cast mates and the entire creative team. One day off is necessary to do some groceries and laundry and reconnect with the most important people in my life, to whatever degree. And it’s valuable, in terms of the work, to step away and let things stew or percolate, review some notes and lines; rethink shit, consider other approaches, basically regroup with myself and set some goals for the next week ahead. But how is it possibly going to benefit the play to take two days away from the show, where I might possibly get distracted or sidetracked, and do no work at all on the show, and show up two days later two steps behind where I was, and spend a day having to go back and find what was lost rhythmically, as a company, through the lack of repetition, and then repeat that “rediscovering what was lost over the break” day once a week? That would, then, be two days off plus one catch-up day per week, which would only leave four days a week to actually make forward progress with the show, rather than six.
We usually aren’t given enough time to properly rehearse a play in the first place, due to funding. Why the fuck would I want even less time than I have to explore and discover a performance when I already don’t have enough time to begin with? And listen, this is coming from a lazy old man with a sleep disorder who takes public transit or Uber to work and struggles to wake up and get to rehearsal on time practically every day. But that’s MY fucking problem. Not the theatre’s problem. I think when you get to the point where going to rehearsal six days a week is an inconvenience just because you don’t “feel like” rehearsing six days a week, maybe it’s time you just quit doing theatre entirely and let the people who still have that fire and passion in them that we all had in the beginning take the boards over. There is enough mediocrity in theatre, as it stands. We shouldn’t ever be aiming for good enough. We should be aiming for fucking great every time.