Wednesday, June 24, 2009

12th Night :"Karmic Debt"

The rain is falling nicely on the understudies as they run through the scenes in the roles they have prepared to cover.

Julie is Viola.
Robin is Olivia and Maria. (A dangerous feat to behold.)
Slate is Toby Belch.
Dorien is Andrew Aguecheek
Kevin is Malvolio and Antonio.
Baylen is Duke Orsinio.
Clifton is Feste
David is Sebastian
and Leslie our lovely bandmate is understudy for Olivia's ladies.

Andrew and I are "male swing" understudies, which means that in the event that Dorien, David, Slate, or Clifton are needed to cover a principal role, one of us may have to step in to their roles as soldier or attendant. Kaus just laid the specifics on us: Andrew is tracking Dorien. I am tracking Slate.

Andrew immediately asked Dorien which roles he was tracking. It's a reasonable possibility, suppose, that Andrew would need to know the lines - the understudies are tracking multiple roles and it could happen that on some wild night, two roles Dorien is tracking would need to be covered.

But I think Andrew and I pretty much understand the real possibuilities of such things, so presently I am typing on the computer in the stage manager's office while Andrew plays his guitar and sings in the next room. He is playing songs that a friend of his wrote, songs that would resound comfortably in a singer songwriter spot like Rockwood Music Hall.

"I'm not ready for the spotlight, not quite yet," goes the song Andrew sings. "I'm still paying off this karmaic debt."

I frankly wish Andrew would sing the Over The Rhine song that he covers so well. I've heard the song he is singing now too many times to ignore the fact that I just don't understand how "the spotlight" can be the brass ring of a wistful and breezy introspective 6/8 song. I wouldn't be as beguiled if the word "spotlight" was replaced with "your love", but I would still wonder too much how someone could have such a clear grasp of their karmaic ledger. It sounds really, um, Puritan. So okay - I'm being a dick, which means its hitting close to home, this song of Andrew's friend. Every time I hear Andrew sing it, an uncomfortable knot twists in my gut, and it won't be untwisted by simply railing on what a goofy song it is or name calling. There is an element of the song that is indestructible, which comes from the questionable but grand values of it's writer and the out and out commitment of Andrew the singer who clearly feels every word.

And it's exciting that Andrew has a song like this to pour himself into on the eve of his audition for an international tour of "Fame". Kick that song in the ass my friend! Then please sing Over The Rhine.

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