The Los Angeles freeway system, having thoroughly vexed me yesterday, was more forgiving this morning, and I arrived at work fifteen minutes early. I am happy to report that the simple joy of driving my car across the Warner Brothers lot, between sound stages and behind golf carts and past dozens of people working to create television shows and movies, and then pulling into my very own parking space, has not diminished at all for having done it twice.
I am also happy to share that, upon arriving at Stage 25 this morning, I discovered that it was the stage where they shot the V television series from 1984-1985, among other things. (The more you know...)
I had a little time to kill, having arrived early, so I sat down and played Guillotine with two of the other guest actors. As is the tradition when playing Guillotine with first-time players, I, being the player with the most experience, got my ass kicked. We plan to play some more tomorrow.
Once we started rehearsing, I noticed something that had changed from yesterday's rehearsal: the script was just as funny, but it was more alive when we performed it. I guess that, having lived with the script for a full day and having run the scenes several times alone and together, those difficult-to-quantify things that make us actors (I guess we could call them "Dramachlorians") have started to do their thing. We're thinking about the scenes when we're not in them, we're hearing the characters in our heads, we're subconsciously applying the notes we got from the director yesterday, and what was a collection of notes and chords 24 hours ago is starting to turn into a piece of music.
We rehearsed all morning, then took a lunch break before we did a run through of the whole script for the writers and producers. During lunch, I mowed through some delicious Thai food (I know, right?) and then I played ping pong. Now, let me tell you something about the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory that you may not know: they love their ping pong. There are two tournament tables, one on either side of the stage, and a large box between them that is filled with paddles and balls. Whenever there are breaks during the day (we usually "take five" after hitting certain milestones during rehearsals) the tables come out, and a chorus of voices cries out dibs for the first game, just before a second chorus of voices announces that they've got winner. I'm not all that good at ping pong, but I still love the game, and I will admit that I wanted to get in on the fun, so I called winner against a couple of guys ... before I realized that they both played at a level that was significantly above my own. Still, I did my very best, and over the four games I played, only lost by more than ten points once. (Um. Clearly, I'm going to have to work on my ping pong as much as I'm working on my lines ... you know, to be prepared for work.)
After lunch, the writers and producers came in so they could see us put the script up on its feet, and give us some comments and notes after each scene. I will admit that I was nervous; it was very important to me that I didn't kill any jokes or make them question their decision to cast me. I mean, I love this show, I love this script, I love the things they've given me to do, and I didn't want to screw anything up...
...so of course I stumbled over my first line, and had to say it a second time. But when everyone laughed anyway, (hopefully at my delivery and not at my nerves) I settled in, got out of my own way, did it how we rehearsed, and just enjoyed the experience of working with great actors to bring great material to life. When we finished, there was laughter and applause, and the general consensus was that we were all pretty funny, even Wil Wheaton.
I'm so happy and excited and grateful to be part of this show. After we finished the run through, and I was pretty much bouncing with joy the whole way home.
Even now, over five hours after I walked out of the stage, I can still feel what I'm calling The Big Bang Buzz.