Being Short, Pre-Show Rituals, and Family Guy

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. Sarah Palin would certainly put the “ass” in ambassador. The same way Trump puts the “ouch” in douche.

2. In the States, most actors who work a lot on TV get stopped by strangers on the street from time to time. I’ve been working in TV in Canada for over twenty years now and the only time people recognize me they say, “Hey honey, isn’t that the guy who painted our house?”

3. After a performance of The Seagull, an audience member said to me that I looked two feet taller on stage. My ego reflexively knew how to interpret that as a compliment. But his disappointed tone made it clear he was just calling me fucking short.

4. Once, when my daughter Ella was 7, she missed a gymnastics class and was told she had to come to a makeup class. She was totally pissed when she got there and found out they were still doing gymnastics and not learning how to apply makeup.

5. I was painting Kristin Lehman’s house a few years ago when I figured out the three steps that are my process for pretty much every thing I do.

Step 1- Fuck, I am never gonna get this done.

Step 2- Fuck, this is easy.

Step 3- Fuck, what was I thinking? I am never gonna get this done.

And then, at some point, when I stop thinking about it, it’s done.

6. I would definitely not fuck with this community.

7. I used to get in a lot of trouble for this from stage managers and artistic directors, but I have a habit—no, more of a ritual, I’d call it at this point—of sitting out front of the theatre before a show and watching the audience enter. If I know people, I chat with them or share a smoke or whatnot. It’s not that I want them to see me but that I want to see them. Both the people I know and the people I don’t. I want to take their collective temperature and see if it’s an excited crowd or a docile one; older or younger; actor-heavy or just a bunch of regular folks.

I also always ask exactly how many bodies are going to be in the theatre. Because, in my mind, this is who I’ll be doing the show WITH on that particular evening. Not FOR. The audience is the other half of the show, the other half of the energy that will be transferred back and forth throughout the evening. I don’t want to wait until I hit the stage to find out what I am up against or who I have in my corner. I eliminate that unknown so I can just go out and do my show with that information tucked away in the back of my mind. How many nights before I developed this habit did I come off the stage and say, “What a shitty audience!” when they were anything but. They were just the audience they were, and if I let that affect me and allow it to get in the way of my work, then it is they who actually have the right to walk out and say “What a shitty actor.”

It’s a much harder thing for a young actor to wrap their heads around than an old fart like me. And the little pre-show ritual of mine is just one of the ways that helped me to do that.

8. The best part of being in a one-person show is that you already know which actor is going to try to take you home and sleep with you after the closing party.

9. On Sunday night, there was a partial eclipse of Rick Robert’s face.

10. I turn 49 next week so I’ve been making some long-overdue medical appointments. I tend to not see doctors very often. Usually, if I bleed, I just stop bleeding. And then I get on with whatever is left of the rest of my fucking life.

11. Sometimes people say that I am impatient. And it takes them fucking foreeeeeeeeeeeever to say it.

12. Ella- “Dad, come quick! You’re on Family Guy!”

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.

One response to “Being Short, Pre-Show Rituals, and Family Guy

  1. Love this column. Every time share it with my Russian speaking Facebook group of theatre lovers. Hope, Tony’s wonderful texts would work like a bite to go to the theatre.

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