I feel lucky to be 60-years-old and still discovering fun and satisfying things to do and work on. The latest is The Marty Monologues. The first show happened a couple weeks ago and it was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever put myself through. Here’s the different steps that led up to the show.
1. Clare - Years Ago
Clare and I have been friends for decades. She and I worked together the most when I published the magazine, fishwrap from 1994 to 2000. Clare was the art director and designed the magazine’s logo, all the covers and a good portion of the page layout. It was a lot of work, but a project I’m proud of to this day. The idea for me to do some sort of monologue show was originally Clare’s and I remember her bringing it up years ago and thinking I could never actually plan and do a stage show. It’s something I never thought I would do, but at the time I thought it was funny she thought I could pull something like this off!
2. The Apollo Theatre - March, 2017
I went to see a burlesque show at The Apollo Theatre here in Peoria in March of 2017 and it struck me that even before a show begins, you feel like you’re really attending something special while sitting in that grand and ornate theatre. The night of the show, I spoke to Mary who manages the place and asked if it could be rented out for a one man monologue show. She told me it could. I started thinking about actually doing the show that night. Sometime after that I told Clare I was really thinking about doing the show and she encouraged me to keep moving forward. I still wasn’t sure I could do it, but started feeling intrigued to pursue such a thing.
3. Renting The Apollo Theatre - Sometime In March, 2018
After about a year of thinking about the show and wondering if I could pull something like this off, I decided to go ahead and rent the theatre and that would force me to start planning this show. At this point I hadn’t thought of a title for the show, the structure or how I would do it. I just knew that if I didn’t rent it, I’d never do it, so I rented it for the first Sunday in August of 2018. That seemed like a long time away and I went back to working on my blog.
4. Freaking Out - Sometime At The Beginning of June, 2018
Sometime around the beginning of June I realized that the show was scheduled less than two months away and I freaked out. I hadn’t planned or thought much about it. I had figured out I wanted live music and a DJ and had gotten that set up, but I knew I could never put a show together in this short of time. I was thinking about canceling the show and called Mary at The Apollo to see if I could get a refund on my money. She told me I couldn’t because I had signed a no refund contract to get a good deal on the theatre, but she told me I could change the date without any further charge. I booked the theatre for the last Sunday in September and knew I had to get to work on planning this show. Real fear is starting to sink in at this point, because I had no idea what the fuck I was doing!
5. Planning Stages, Part One - June and July, 2018
I started thinking about how I would structure this show. I contacted Sarah Marie Dillard who I had asked to do the live music and we emailed back and forth. She said she’d like to do the opening and closing songs with her husband, Brandon Mooberry on stand-up bass and that sounded good to me. I met with Jonathan Wright A.K.A. DJ juanGoblin who was going to DJ the show and talked about music before and in between the stories. This is the phase of the show where the words, “How the fuck are you going to pull this off?” kept repeating themselves in my brain like a mantra.
6. The Poster - Late July and Early August, 2018
I wanted to have a poster, a logo and artwork for the show and for online branding and social media. I contacted my friend Chelsie Tamms from Lettering Works and explained the show and what I wanted. She was very enthusiastic and excited about the show and I was too. Within a week or so she came up with this design and I was thrilled! She did such fantastic work and I was determined to do the show just so we could put the poster up around town!
7. Technicraft - August, 2018
In August I went and saw my friend Colleen Kimball at Technicraft and we talked about printing the posters and tickets. Now fear is really starting to grip me as this is something I’m getting too deep into to walk away from. I kept thinking to myself, “Maybe I’ll die tomorrow and then I won’t have to do this.”
8. Rehearsal - August and September, 2018
I outlined the introduction and stories for the show in mid August and started trying to rehearse them in my apartment and I was having big time trouble getting the introduction to work. It wasn’t coming naturally to me and I couldn’t figure it out and got really depressed thinking I might have to pull the plug on this after all the time and work I and everyone else I dragged into this whole thing. I had no confidence and really felt bad.
I sent a text to my friend Amber telling her I didn’t know if I could do this and told her I was feeling pretty bad about all the whole thing. She sent me back an encouraging text and the next day I took a long look at the introduction and tried to figure out why it wasn’t working. I realized that I was trying to do it to much like stand-up comedy and I’m not a stand-up comedian. Instead of writing it I just started talking and magically it all started coming to me. Soon I had the introduction all set but I wasn’t sure if it was good or just me thinking that so I’d feel better.
9. Amber and Joe - The First Audience - Beginning of September
I asked Amber and her husband Joe if they’d come over and let me do the Introduction for them and they said they’d be happy to listen to it. I was so nervous to do this because I knew Amber would tell me if it sucked! They came and I did it and they really liked it and told me so. I felt relieved and the other stories for the show came together fairly quickly. I learned that instead of writing the stories you just have to keep telling them over and over and this was such an important thing to learn.
Thanks again to everyone who worked on this and everyone who came to the show.
The next one is going to be on Sunday, April 7th, 2019 once again at The Apollo Theatre and perhaps beyond. The timing for the surgery is perfect as I can work on the story and structure of the show as I’m healing up and by January I can start rehearsing it. More to come so stay tuned!
Photo of the Day
This is The Marty Monologues sticker on my refrigerator. Chelsie had these made and we’ll be selling these and other merchandise at the next show! Oh and I’ve put up a facecrack page that’s devoted entirely to The Marty Monologues and you can go and like it here! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
I just found out that the comments section of the blog isn’t working. I thought people just weren’t commenting, but Chad Wallace told me that he wasn’t able to leave a comment and I looked into it and it’s not working. I’ve gotten hold of my hosting site and will let you know when it’s all fixed up. Thanks for your patience!