This week: Getting naked, looking for Janis and too much touchy-feely. Armin's armed and ready.
►Dear Armin: I just got cast in a production of Bug. That means in a few weeks I'll be stark naked in front of about 500 people. Problem is, my leading lady is a 10-plus in the looks department. I haven't seen her nude yet, but I'm already afraid I'll get, you know, more excited than I should when we're in front of an audience. Any advice on keeping things "low-key" below the waist?
Dear Crotch Concerned: The good news is most bodily functions cease when you're on stage. I was once dying of dysentery but performed The Oresteia marathon-style without making a mess. I think, though, it will be impossible to truly answer this question without a picture of said actress. Something candid. Maybe taken with your iPhone during the first stripdown rehearsal. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.—YOURS, ARMIN [Note from Editor: Please bcc us in that email.]
►Dear Armin: What's your policy on autographs?
Dear Wants-to-be-a-star: I'll autograph anything, anytime, anywhere. No matter how much we say we're in theater for the art, we still get weak-kneed when someone recognizes us away from the theater. These days I get approached a lot by people who think I'm the "Most Interesting Man in the World." I sign the autograph and tell them I really prefer Heineken. —YOURS, ARMIN
►Dear Armin: I want to see Love, Janis again. I have looked everywhere, but can't find a production. I want to take my girls to see it. Is there any chance anyone locally would ever do it? —Thanks, Adrienne W.
Dear Adrienne: I'm sure someone will do it sometime, but I won't go see it. I met Ms. Joplin once and made the terrible mistake of inhaling close to her. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but I bet she smells the same now as she did in 1968.—YOURS, ARMIN
►Dear Armin: The director I'm currently working with has some really bizarro ideas. At every rehearsal, he has us do all these touchy-feely exercises that I don't think have anything to do with the play. I think he's just copping feels on all us actors. I'm pretty new to all this (I just graduated from college last spring). Is this stuff common in professional theater? Or do I have a sexual harassment case here?
Dear Touched and Felt: I generally have my actors get touchy-feely early in a rehearsal process, but I do it as part of blocking rather than making it a separate exercise. It seems more legitimate that way and I've never been sued. So, I'd say it's common in the professional world and please don't sue me. Seriously though, if you feel harassed, tell your stage manager. Of course, most stage managers are the type who never, ever, ever get sexually harassed, so you might not get a lot of sympathy. If the SM won't help you, go to the producer. If the producer doesn't help you or takes the opportunity to sexually harrass you further, then write TheaterJones.com about it. They love to hear about sexy stuff. —YOURS, ARMIN
We invite you to Ask Armin via email at AskArmin@TheaterJones.com. Go on and ask. When he doesn't have enough queries to ponder, he bothers the hell out of the TheaterJones editors. Also, we don't stand by or even agree with all of Armin's advice. So don't hold us responsible.