mark, my words

May 3, 1998

You're in for a doozy of an entry. Enjoy the length, chances are great that in the near future they won't be nearly as interesting or long. However, if long, babbling, train of thought, crappy grammar and spelling entries bore you, I'd skip this one. Be reminded that this column is not spell checked, it's a first draft likely to never be revised, fixed, or corrected. Read at your own risk...

Today was filled with a waterfall of different emotions. From sadness, anger and aggravation to happiness and a feeling of walking on clouds. I look back on today and the day just seems so different from most others. Normally, it's either a good or bad day, nothing too interesting happens, certainly not a mix of so many causing you to feel so many things. The good thing is I end the day walking on clouds.

The day started off all right. I was pretty tired waking up but that was to be expected after an already long weekend and getting to bed late. It was a nice morning, the sun was out and warm. We all quietly got ready, set props, got makeup and costumes on. Ending a run after only one weekend on a matinee was a bummer. We all were pretty sad to start off the morning. Once curtain time neared, we all got into the makeup room and had some last minute notes, thank yous, pep talks, etc. Then the crew left the room and only the cast remained. Just like every other show, the cast sat together, quietly, talked a little, relaxed, and did the now traditional "Phil Time". As per tradition, I passed the recording onto Katie who is now in charge of the tradition until she graduates. I talked for a few minutes explaining how originally I had turned down the opportunity to play the Baker and how I am lucky to have come to my senses and accepted as I have learned and grown so much from working with the Notre Dame people on such a difficult show. I cried. Who'da thunk? All the work leading up to the moment was about to be over with. I spent a good two months with these people and the sad thing is, and it occurs every time you do a show, after about two months, when the show is over, the tight knit family goes away. The big emotional problem is it happens, literally, overnight. No more going to the theatre for long rehearsals, spending all waking hours with this cast of 23 others. It all ends and it was about to end as we walked onto the stage for the last time.

Overall the show went very well. It wasn't nearly as on as it was last night. But, I never expected to be able to top that. I didn't want to. I wanted to give the performance I was able to give, for myself. I told the kids, which is completely true, that I had good directors and bad when I was in high school. It was the bad directors who nearly got me to drop theatre forever. It was the good ones who showed me the magic and those people are the reason I do what I do now. This show has had such an effect on the cast and the audiences who watch it. It is this effect, both on an audience from that level, but even more on a cast with such potential, such possibility of continuing on and loving the theatre as much as I.

A lot of people came to this afternoon's performance that I knew. Friends from the SSS and Talkin Broadway forums came, friends from State and all over. Friends who nearly forgot or decided not to attend after all, ended up coming (read: Dinah) as they should have. Or else, risk public humiliation in my journal... :) I'm glad they all got to see the show.

After the show we all took pictures, hugged and congratulated. Eventually we began to strike sets and put away costumes. Dax had to go back to work at the dorm and he asked me to drive him as it had been raining a little at the time. It was only a few blocks, I'm a nice guy, and Dax is a good friend. So, of course. I took him. Problem. Today in San Jose, California was the worst day for transportation via car in history. Or pretty darn close. Today was the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in the downtwon area (where Notre Dame and San Jose State are located). They celebrate it a few days early so they can do it on the weekend. It took us near two hours to get from Notre Dame to somewhere nearby the dorms. A total distance of about five blocks. Problem is every street was blocked and re-routed. We were sent onto highway after highway, dead end after one way street. Slowly I began to resent having agreed to have taken Dax. It was totally not his fault. But, even so, I wanted to get back to the theatre for strike and to see what people were going to do with the evening. I didn't want certain people leaving before I got back and I was feeling as the minutes turned into hours as if they would be gone before I got anywhere close to being back. After driving to Guam and back, practically, I knew that the cast and crew would have been done at school and would have moved onto a set restaraunt for some dinner. I decided to drop Dax off halfway between his dorm and the cast dinner location. I walked about 10 blocks to the place in the middle of the Cinco de Mayo celebration (the largest in the USA, by the way) only to find that the place was closed.

It was nearing 8pm and I was angry, after the fact I see I shouldn't have been but it's how I felt at the time and I'm telling the truth in these journal entries so I'm just gonna say tell it like it is (sorry Dax, at least you're getting many mentions in today's entry!) at Dax. Had he walked a few blocks to where he needed to go none of this would have been a problem. It now looked like I had missed hours of strike, missed spending the final evening with my cast members, missed seeing certain people in the cast on the final day of the show, people (all right fine, yes lots of people, but we're being honest here more specifically... Joey) I was really looking forward to seeing. I walked all the way back to my car and decided to drive home. I was angry, sad, depressed, upset, unsure, everything all rolled into one. I got a page and pulled over to call it in and found out that they were at a different restaraunt and all of the sudden I was releived, excited, happy, etc. What a difference a page makes, eh? At about 8:30 I got to the restaraunt. Almost everyone was there. Things didn't seem nearly as bad as they had a few minutes earlier. They were eating, talking, laughing, signing posters.

Everyone was there. Joey was there. Mark was a happy camper. Dax was forgiven. However, Dax owes Mark big time. The evening went really well. Inside jokes and stories, memories and thank yous all around. A lot of people began to leave and a few of us stayed and talked. Eventually it was just Joey and I and we talked for a while and then went for a drive. The rain stopped just after Dax and I got in the car at the begining of the afternoon mess so the evening was really nice. For the third night in a row I dropped Joey off at home and took a leisurely ride home listening to disc 2/track 11 of the just released Ragtime OCR over and over. I love that song. I love that show. Night time, highway driving alone listening to beautiful music after ending a large chapter of my life. That's what shows are. Each one is a chapter. I learn from each show. I grow from each show. Probably more from this one than any other. I don't know why. Perhaps I will after some time away from it. Anyway, after all was said and done my ride home was a nice time to reflect not only on what had happened during the course of the evening but what had happened over the last so many months of my life. I have spent the last four months on two shows. First was Threepenny and the second Woods. A college workshop and a high school musical. Sounds so trivial.

I've held back many times in saying things in this journal in the past many weeks I've been writing. It's so public and just the same a lot of it is really personal. There comes a point when I need to draw a line in the sand and keep certain things to myself. Chances are you'll learn of them, or you may already know, depending on who you are and how well you know me and my life. Let's just say I'm enjoying my walk in the clouds. I'm very happy right now. Content. I look forward to friendships that have come out of these shows very much.

Just the same I fear the red balloons that come with it. Things must always be so complicated. Just the same, it seems like it's the complication that makes it all worth it. If I hadn't taken Dax where he needed to go the entire evening would very well have turned out much different. The anger and anxiety allowed for the eventual resolution to be that much nicer. I say it to friends when talking about their problems, it's all about peaks and valleys. If it weren't for the valleys, the hard times or day to day problems, the good times wouldn't feel nearly as good.

You know, I read this back again after babbling so much and I'm sure most of you are reading this thinking, "Anger and frustration over being late to a cast get together? Sadness over the ending of a production? Geez, man, lighten up..." I don't know what I'm getting at here. I type what I'm thinking. You decide whatever you want.

In a nutshell: Sad, frustrated, angry, releived, happy, giddy... closing of a chapter, begining of a new chapter while trying to dodge the red balloon strings attached... and happy Cinco de Mayo.

- mark


© 1998. Mark Bakalor. All Rights Reserved.