Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Acting and Redacting

J'nai Verploegen & Norton Pease
Last week I had the opportunity to be an extra for the upcoming film, "Winter In The Blood."  Based on the James Welch novel, the film stars Chaske Spencer (Twilight Saga) David Morse, and of course many others.  I was in two scenes, one set in the 1950's, and the other in the 70's.  Both scenes were filmed at Blackie's Tavern west of Havre, MT.  We (the extras) were instructed to remain silent during filming and to not make eye contact with the real actors. My friends J'nai and Norton, pictured above, should have had their own scene, in my opinion, though their style may be too Bergmanesque for this film. 

Darcy J Campbell & Russ Crites

 I was asked to bring my own wardrobe, if possible, so for the 50's scene I donned my grandfather's suit, and for the 70's, I raided my closet and found an authentic blue polyester shirt.  After wearing that shirt for a couple of hours, I realized why I was so angry in the 70's.  That shirt, which was typical for the time period, was the most uncomfortable garment I have worn for 35 years.  Hot and scratchy, as if made out of freshly removed porcupine hide, it did not return home with me.  

It was an interesting experience, and well worth the hours of sitting around while the crew adjusted lights, makeup, and extras.  Hopefully I will not end up on the cutting room floor.  There was some concern voiced by the cinematographer that my silver hair was causing a hotspot in the scene, so they may have to apply CGI to my head.  Other than that, the only downside to the day is that I'm now addicted to herbal cigarettes and fake beer.  

Star Trailers

Russell Patrick Moes

 Speaking of stars, a short time ago I had the opportunity to once again witness the transcendent genius of the brilliant actor, Russell Patrick Moes.  His only fault as an actor is that he is, at times, too big for the stage.  Director Fredrick Breem puts it this way: "Russell exudes so much energy and power--it permeates the venue.  Even when motionless and silent, his presence can overwhelm the other actors."  Indeed, casting him in any role other than the lead is not just a waste of brilliance, but in some ways a detriment.  Still, any role he plays elevates the production.

"The Salt Fiend"
His work in one-act bar room theatre is groundbreaking.  Clearly autobiographical, and rich in impact, "The Salt Fiend" examines ego and regret wrapped in a foreboding package of relentless grief and abnormality.  I  witnessed bar patrons wailing in anguish at, and beyond the 2 hour mark.

Scene from "Ladies in Waiting"
As an auteur, "Ladies in Waiting" is his masterpiece.  The opening scene, pictured above, draws the viewer into a world that one expects to be only mildly uncomfortable, but the film rapidly descends into an increasingly bleak and musty future where no one can escape the recapitulation of the past.  To say any more might ruin the ending.

Relaxing with the Fabulous Karen

His Humble Abode

Other Recent Roles of Note:
"Star Wars, the Musical"

"The Nerd"

"Laundry--The Fifth Dimension"

"Who Are You, Really?"

It's a good question--who is Russell Moes, really?  Shaman?  Magician?  Savant?  It shouldn't matter, and to anyone who cherishes pure performance, it doesn't.  Yesterday evening, well after dark, I stood outside and gazed at the stars.  Without warning, a meteor burst into our atmosphere and burned with alien brilliance as it made a path through our world.  Enough said.