Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
June 26, 2019
Today’s person: Michael Oosterom!
The first time I remember seeing Michael he was completely red.
Someone had suggested that he would be perfect for a Mime Troupe show, and I wanted to check him out. So I went to see him as Red Man, an explosively angry, blood red fellow in a fez. It was a hilariously furious monologue. So I called him in for an equally ridiculous callback.
Michael’s callback was in the Panhandle section of Golden Gate Park. I asked him to do a monologue, and since his Red Man piece was in a small theatre I wanted to see him outdoors. Michael is very funny, strikingly funny, threateningly funny, but I wanted to know how big and fearlessly insane he could be. And so he did the monologue out in the park for me, and was great.
Keep in mind - besides he and I none of the dozens of people walking through this very busy part of the park have any idea what we are doing.
So I stepped back about 25 feet and asked him to do it again - but this time as a pirate.
I can’t remember what the monologue was, but he nailed it. Not everyone can change up something they honed, but he made it make perfect pirate sense.
Then I stepped back another 25 feet and asked him to do it as a witch.
His cackling filled the area, and passersby were entertainingly uncomfortable as he railed at the world.
I stepped back 25 feet. “This time - a malevolent dwarf,” I shouted, because I was kinda far away by now.
Suddenly I was presented with The King Under The Mountain’s version of the monologue. It was glorious.
But I am a mean bastard when I’m having fun. So... 25 more feet. By now we are shouting at each other from over half a block away.
The Finale: a Dwarvish Witch Pirate!
People are staring at him like he’s unquestioningly nuts as he raises a defiant fist from the deck of his imaginary ship, casting ferocious spells from on his proud knees!
Of course I was going to cast such a brave, overwhelmingly inventive, stupefyingly funny, brilliant, and really, really nice person. He did a great job in the show, was a dream to work with, and he and his soon-at-that-time-to-be wife, the already written-about, fearless and dangerous Zachary, would have been in Mime Troupe shows for years.
Instead he has successfully spent the last bunch of years elbow deep in the asses of various felt comedians performing Muppet improv across the country, on Broadway, everywhere in “Unstrung” because-
Los Fucking Angeles!