About 6 weeks ago, I saw The Pianist. What impressed me most about the movie was the sheer magnitude of Adrien Brody's Oscar-winning role. I thought to myself, I want to play a part like that. But you know, if I was offered that part today, I'd be completely unprepared to take it on. I decided I wanted to work toward feeling capable of "carrying" a project. I mean, before someone was going to entrust me with such a role, I'd have to first have faith that I could do it.
The first thing I decided to do was find a hefty, meaty, 2-man play, and just rehearse it with my buddy Dave, as if we were gonna put it on. Just to have the experience of playing a huge part. If only in my living room. It's a step, right? So we've started work on a great play, Lonely Planet.
Concurrently, just days after this started bubbling in my head, and after much lobbying on my part, I got word from Crime Scene senior producer Brad Friedman that one of our best writers, Bob DeRosa, had written a lead role in his latest storyline... for me! It was the title character, a role that would, in many ways, carry the show. I was so thrilled that Bob and Brad had enough faith to give me the part. Sure it was "only Crime Scene", but it was the first time in my life I'd been asked to be a leading man (albeit not a super-bright one, as it was eventually written -- he pronounced nuclear "nuke-u-ler", savior "saver", and antidote "anecdote").
The storyline was called "The Luckiest Man on Earth" -- I played the only man to survive a viral cataclysm, only to stumble upon a bio-shelter that housed 5 hotties whose mission it was to help me "repopulate" the world... if you know what I mean.
I showed up to the first day of rehearsal off-book, filled with ideas for possible ways to play different moments. I guess I wanted to give myself over to the project as fully as I thought Adrien Brody might when he was my age. Again, I know this wasn't a "big deal". But for me, it really meant a lot, and I wanted to make Bob and Brad proud.
The show was amazing. I was part of what ended up to be a hugely gutsy and hilarious cast, who made it an incredible experience. The show featured lots of skin (mostly mine -- I spent a lot of the show in tighty-whiteys and white tube socks... oh and a gun), and some truly inspired gross-out moments (no, my underwear wasn't one of them). We made people scream with horror and laughter, and we even made one guy throw up in the bathroom (again, not a function of my package).
Several people commented on my half-nakedness, saying it was really brave to maintain that level of undress for so long. "You really have balls," was a common refrain. I was surprised to get a few compliments on my appearance, actually. Though my least favorite compliment was when I stripped down backstage, and one of the girls in the show, Jessie Marion (who I still have a huge crush on), said, "awwwwww, cuuute."
But one really great compliment was when I told Brad after the show that I had never really carried a play or movie before, and he told me "It didn't show at all."
Still, as happy and as proud of the show and my performance as I was, frankly, I mostly just felt lucky. Thanks guys!