by Tim Mooney
This week we are taking a closer look at some of the performers coming to the 2012 Rogue Festival. Check back here every day through Thursday for more articles & soon for Rogue reviews & be sure and check out the ones we have already posted!
If this is February, then I must be in Orlando!
I’m sitting in my sublet apartment in Orlando, trying to pull together the many threads of my existence before getting back on the highway again!
Given that we’re coming up on tax time, I can report to you that I spend about 200 days per year on the road, performing my several one-man shows (I have to know this stuff for per diem calculation), and I’m just now wrapping up one of my two “extended stays” of the year.
Twice a year, I pull into town, somewhere, get a sublet apartment for about three months, and go to work on lining up bookings, and following through on half-a-dozen projects that have to sit on the back burner while I’m driving.
This year, it’s my second major book (The Big Book of Moliere Monologues), and as I write this, I’m waiting on the files from my new book being approved by the printer, so that I can go ahead and give the “release the hounds” signal and have the thing show up on Amazon. By the time I pull into Fresno in two weeks, I intend to have fifty or so copies stuffed into the car with me for distribution far and wide.
About the car… This is my second car of the big tour—
Oh, you probably want to know about the tour, too… I’ve been traveling for ten years now, bringing my various one-man shows to high schools, colleges, festivals, and conferences around the United States. I started out with “Molière than Thou” about ten years ago, and added “Lot o’ Shakespeare” to the repertory about two years back. I am known far and wide as “that Molière guy,” among French and theatre students, but Shakespeare is coming up fast along the rail, and it looks like this will be the first year that Shakespeare bookings outnumber Molière bookings.
The first car of the tour was retired about three years ago, a Pontiac Vibe on which I racked up some 344,000 miles. The crazy thing was the day I went to film the odometer switching from 299,999 to 300,000. It never switched. I captured, live, on camera, my odometer not changing. (You can find it on YouTube.) My tour outlasted whatever faith the Pontiac people had in their workmanship.
The second car, a Ford Escape is coming up on its first 100K. It’ll be on six digits by the time I hit California. I see no reason why it shouldn’t travel just as far. That car is jammed full of props for anywhere from 2-5 shows (I keep adding more shows), office equipment, a suitcase, t-shirts and books for sales purposes, stickers, flyers and banners, receipts, photos, pillows, food and probably some stuff you really don’t want to know about.
“But what is the point of all this stuff, all these miles, and all this effort?” … I hear you ask.
The point is to bring Shakespeare, Moliere and more to people around the country. To make a living doing the thing I most love to do. To stay out of the poor house, and to stay away from corporate America. I am, more or less, “off the grid.”
Take Lot O’ Shakespeare, for instance (which is a convenient one for me to talk about, because that’s the one I’m bringing to Fresno and the Rogue Festival):
I perform one monologue from every Shakespeare play. That’s thirty-eight plays. And, I throw in six sonnets while I’m at it. All in all, it’s more than two hours of material. Memorized. Performed, full out, for an hour at a time. I’m lucky if I can still speak when the show is over.
But wait, I hear you ask: “How do I perform two hours of material in one hour?”
I don’t. I perform one hour of material in one hour.
The hard part is: I don’t know which one hour of material I’m going to perform on any given night. As part of my ongoing effort to demonstrate that every Shakespeare play (not just the “popular” ones) is filled with rich, delightful, nuanced, bold, hilarious material, I perform my sixty minutes of Shakespeare entirely at random! Because, you know… my life isn’t challenging enough.
Also traveling in my car with me is a bingo cage, filled with forty-four ping-pong balls. Each of those balls is labeled with the title of a Shakespeare play, or a sonnet. And whatever ball I pull, that’s the monologue that I perform!
But wait, there’s more!
Also taking up space in the car with me are a bunch of Bingo cards! (Actually, we call them “Iago” cards, but you have to know the play, Othello to get that joke.) Those “Iago” cards are covered with play titles, and as I pull out the balls, and perform the monologues, the audience all tracks their own individual card, working to match up four pieces in a row, across, up-and-down, or diagonally. The first one to call out “Iago” wins a t-shirt… or a book… items that travel with me, in the car… and go all over the United States.
Come to my show, and you can win one of these valuable artifacts! (And maybe learn something at the same time.)
Anyway, about six years back, I got to meet the Amazing Jayne Day, and learned about the Rogue Festival. Unfortunately, the Rogue happens simultaneous to the Southeast Theatre Conference, which happens in, well, the Southeast. So, this year, I’m hitting the Rogue Performance Festival in its first weekend (performing Saturday and Sunday, March 3 & 4), and then racing hell-for-leather back to the east, for the Southeast Theatre Conference, which is happening during the second weekend of the Rogue.
So, if you see me at the festival, if you catch my show, or if you win, or buy one of my t-shirts or books… please, take me out for a beer afterwards. I’ll really need one, right about then.
Timothy Mooney will be performing at Starline Theatre, Saturday, March 3 (4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) and Sunday, March 4 (5:30 & 8:30 p.m.). You can learn more about Tim on his website.