Thoughts on acting and creating a new word

We did eight performances at the Clio Cast & Crew of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, a musical that in second reference we all like to refer to as The Forum. For two months we rehearsed, sang, practiced, studied lines, blocked, laughed, had costume fittings, chatted and did everything imaginable. It was a wondrous time for me as I got to meet new friends, such as Carmen, Juliet, Brenda and Ed and hang out at the theater. My sons also got a chance to see what their Dad likes to do as a hobby and what he plans to continue doing as a hobby.

In the play, I was Protean #2, which means that I and Carl and Seth were the 200 B.C. equivalent of the Three Stooges with the Keystone Kops thrown in for good measure. Our job was to entertain and pretend to be slaves, citizens, eunuchs, sailors, soldiers and do our best to ham things up when possible. For me, it was a very fun occasion, and having makeup on during the play wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I explained to my sons that under the bright lights, when you don’t wear makeup, your face gets washed out. Interestingly, I learned that having a big nose meant not having to wear as much makeup.

Four things I learned as an actor: 1) Show up on time, 2) Know your lines, 3) Do what your director tells you and 4) No matter how good you become, don’t let success go to your head.

This play has also inspired me to create a seldom-used word: theaterography, which I’ve put as a page on my blog so folks can know what else I’ve done in theater.

Richard is a writer and, now, an actor. Someday he wants to get into dramatic roles, such as 12 Angry Men. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Auditioned for a Neil Simon play last night

Last night, before getting pictures for work, I headed to the Clio Cast and Crew to audition for a part in an upcoming Neil Simon play.

This was the first time in a long time I’d auditioned for something. Years ago when trying to get into radio I made a mock news recording on cassette tape. Then, in 2004 when screening calls at San Antonio’s News Talk 550 KTSA, the news director told me there was an opening in the weekend anchor position and asked me if I wanted to do a news recording so they could see how I’d sound on the air. Thankfully, I passed that with flying colors. (For some reason, reading live news has always been easier for me than having to record and edit. Maybe it’s because you force yourself to get it right the first time, realizing there is no Take Two). 

So, I auditioned and read for the part.

We had a few pages of dialogue, and as we did it, I found myself wishing I’d seen the movie first and had read the script in its entirety. But as I read, I got an idea of the voice inflections to use. Once or twice the script called for me to look at my watch, and I did that. And then a few times when the character makes a surprised proclamation, my eyes widened as if I were indeed incredulous.

When we finished, Jody (the lady I read with) told me my voice sounded good and loud. Friday I’ll find out if I got the part.

Yes, I would love to get this part as performing on stage is a secret passion of mine, but the main reason I auditioned was to get my feet wet in the acting process. If I don’t get the part, I’ll find out what else, as a theater member, I can do for the play.

It’s possible that if I get the part I may have to use a few words I normally do not use, but one thing I remind myself are two things actors have told me: Adam Vernier described acting as being a “faker”; you are playing a role, nothing else. Adam also told me once that if fame (or, for that matter, fortune) are your motiviations for getting into acting, don’t bother. You have to REALLY love doing it. The late David Hess once said acting is just that–acting. It’s not the real world.

Someday I’d also love to do voice-overs and perhaps even serve as a public address announcer. Back in 2004, I was one of several live auctioneers for Blazing Gavels, a fund-raising event for San Antonio’s PBS affiliate KLRN. I had the time of my life.

Richard Zowie is a Michigan-based writer. He envisions himself as someday having the lead role in a movie titled The Man Who Loved Ducks. Post comments here or e-mail them to