Monday, October 24, 2011

The Spirit of History

In my continuing attempt to document my acting career and fill blog space, I'll tell you what I'm up to this month: I can be found next weekend at the Ghost Tour in Strathern Park.
Strathern House

Essentially it's a "haunted house" with a pro-social purpose. Strathearn Park is located in Simi Valley about three miles north of the Ronald Reagan presidential library, and it's stocked with hisotrical buildings. The one depicted above is the Strathearn house, but many of the other structures have been transplanted to the grounds so you can see what life was like before smartphones.

The Simi Valley Historical society hires actors to play the ghosts of famous Simi Vally figures. ("Famous" is a term of art; the only figure I'd ever heard of is Crash Corrigan, the silent movie cowboy who isn't even depicted this year) The actors perform 3 minute scenes which serve to explain their place in local history. As it happens, there were enough creepy folk in Simi Valley's past that Halloween is a perfectly appropriate time to mount this little dog and pony show.

Note, there is neither a dog nor a pony in the show.

Here is me and Veronica Scheyving as Finis and Mary Yoakum, who were founders of the Pisgah Grande Colony and mission at the turn of the last century. It was a health cult. As cult leaders go, Yoakum is among the more benign in the area's history.  The least benign is probably Krishna Venta, whose space alien/religion/sex cult went so off the rails in the 1950's that his followers literally blew him up with dynamite.
The interesting thing for an actor in this gig is - well, are - a. they actually give you money to act and b. you get a lot of "stage time." True the scene is only three minutes, but over the course of any evening you will perform it to 13-15 groups of about 20 people each. It's only a three weekend run, but it's still more exposure than a 5 weekend run in a regular play. So it's worth being trapped outside for 4 hours.

If you're in the area next weekend and not interested in checking out a recreation of the Reagan-era Air Force One, swing by.

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