Actor Jason Tatom Chats About Rehearsing EXPOSED

A blog, huh? Well, welcome to my first ever blog. Now I’m culturally caught up to what, ’96, ’97? Before you know it I’ll be saying things like “Dawg,” or “Awiiight,” or “Oh, snap!” Or even, God forbid, “Fo Shizzle,” while yearning to get a mobile phone that’s roughly the size of a Yugo. Well, I should probably get started, so here I go…and, BLOG!

We are just finishing up what I like to call “Frustration Week.” The first week is when you kind of get your feet wet with the initial parts of the process: meeting actors and technicians you may never have worked with before, read throughs, costume fittings, and (hopefully) rough blocking the whole show. And since we all did our best to be reasonably familiar with our lines, if not actually fully off book going into rehearsals, it was essentially easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy. Then, we move into the second week, the aforementioned “Frustration Week.” This is the week where you might be feeling a little cocky (and when I say “you,” gentle reader, rest assured that I mean “me”) and be certain that you know your lines. But “knowing” your lines is some how mystically tied to being in actual, physical contact with the script itself. Somehow, the simple act of putting the script down and losing that tactile connection with it, renders one (and yes, I do mean me) a virtual amnesiac.

Don’t get me wrong, you know your words, your intentions, and your blocking, just not necessarily all at the same time. putting two or more of these things together can be tempting fate. And that’s the killer. The little bit of an ego I have (and for those of you who know me, I apologize for what ever beverage it was that just came spurting out of your noses while reading that last sentence), is wrapped up in the theatre. The rest of my life is a mess, but the theatre is one of the few places I truly feel I belong, where I can truly excel. And before you start offering me names of various health care professionals, you have to realize that these doubts and frustrations can be positive, motivating things. I have doubts because I care about the process, and serving the piece is very important to me. And I see the same care in everyone involved in the play.

The only thing I tend to expect of audience members who come to the theatre, is that you come with an open mind. That you are willing to listen to what is said, and then make informed decisions about what you liked, what you think, and why. But I don’t know that that is necessary for this particular piece. I think it’s okay to show up to the theatre with a bit of a chip on your shoulder, or a little fire in your belly. The stories dealt with here are personal, powerful and raw. And even more so when you remember that the stories happened to real people, who have been dealing with the after effects of radiation exposure for decades. Just be ready to start digging into your own family histories, to start wondering, even realizing that you may have lost a loved one, or loved ones, to radioactive fallout.

Before wrapping up, I would like to share a personal realization I have had in the rehearsing of EXPOSED. My own Grandfather was a brakeman for the Southern Pacific Railroad for a couple of decades, riding throughout long desolate stretches of the southwest. When he was finally taken from my family a little over twenty years ago, he was suffering from four different cancers. Three of those cancers were fatal. How does a non-drinker, non-smoker, who worked hard out-of-doors his entire life, get four different cancers? I can’t ever really know the causes, but working on Mary’s play has made me form my own opinions.

So come to the play, do a little digging, maybe get mad. And then hopefully start getting involved in whatever way you can.

Hey, dig me. I blogged.

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