Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Riding with Tommy Taylor.

You probably think this is an act of nepotism, but I assure you Tommy and I are no more related than a couple of O'Reilly’s downing pints of Guinness on St. Patty’s Day. That’s probably not a good example. Well, we’re no more related than a couple of Vijay Singh’s drinking chai during Dewali. Oops…that’s probably an even worse example. Okay, we are no more related than Jon Stewart is to Jimmy Stewart. Does that work?

The funny thing about meeting another Taylor is we don’t even acknowledge the coincidence of sharing the same last name. In fact, Tommy and I have yet to even mention it. If indeed our names were any less than the third most popular English surnames according to the infallible Wikipedia, it would no doubt be a topic for conversation.

Tommy Taylor just happens to be my director for the New Ideas show that I am grateful to be cast in without a hand from nepotism, “Asleep at the Wheel”, opening next week. Don't get me wrong, I would be equally grateful for any favouritism show me through nepotism, probably even more so because I'd feel that much more obligated, after all, they're my family.

Following our rehearsals I often have the joy of giving Tommy a ride somewhere and much hilarity usually ensues. A few evenings ago I elected to drive out of my way a bit to drop Tommy off at his destination.

A few blocks into the ride we riffed on a previously anointed topic: the current barrage of bad names for restaurants, such as: “Citrus”, “Tundra”, “Lemongrass”, “Thyme”, “Cilantro”. Can you get any more non-descript and corporate.

This led us to a related topic: bad corporate art. A particularly choice example we discovered while driving, resides on the North East corner of King and University. “It looks like a door installation gone horribly wrong balanced on top of a UFO,” Tommy observed.

More samples in sub-categories such as bad justice art caught our eye heading north on University Avenue outside of the courthouse. Or perhaps this may be a sequel book. We’re just not sure of our market yet. Then at the south side of University and Dundas in the median, stretches an anemic cartoon reaching for what appears from behind to be a skateboard without wheels producing an effect of falling upwards, only to reveal itself to be a large bird of prey.

By this point, you may be fooled into thinking Tommy’s locution skills culminate at observing bad art and bad restaurant names, but in actual fact his expertise lies at giving colourful directions. Here is a short list of a few gems from rehearsals of my favourite Tommy-isms:

On Saturday we had, “We don’t want to blow our George-load too early.” This was in reference to unveiling my character as we move through each scene.

On Friday we were treated to the, “Stay-Awake-off between Arabella and Stella,” in reference to the contest between the two characters to ward off sleep.

This day also brought us the “Capital of Awkward Land,” when Tommy was describing Arabella’s reaction to walking in on Stella and George having a surprisingly private moment.

See you at the show next week....

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