K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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CATCH UP ON MOST FRONTS AND OTHER ITEMS:
(SLIGHT REVISIONS ON OCTOBER 25)

I have lots of catch-up to do on a variety of issues, including Sordid Lives, Underneath the Lintel, The Diviners, my forthcoming short screenplay, and other writing. I'll catch up some now, and finish it up with the next entry.

SORDID LIVES: Russell Florence Jr. gave the play a mixed review in The Dayton City Paper, calling the script "flawed" but deemed it in the "capable hands of director/designer Greg Smith -— not to mention a fine cast...." Russell singled out John-Michael Lander as "excellent" as Brother Boy, Travis Williams as "appealing" in the role of Ty, and said Diane Taveau had an "impressive Guild debut as Lavonda."

Meanwhile, Terry Morris from The Dayton Daily News was a little more generous, saying in part that "[a] well-chosen, well-coiffed and notably well-endowed cast, under director Greg Smith's command, [appeared] in Del Shores' comedy of scandalous behavior."

From this vantage point, now a month-plus since it closed, I can say that it was great fun to work on the play, and to play dead for something like a half-an-hour for every show. Sordid Lives is a fun show, but as I've said earlier, it's not really the smartest show, despite that there are a few poignant moments. And, as I said before, more-or-less, I don't really think Del Shores meant for it to be sharp, witty comedy, rather he was crafting (if you want to use such word in this context) a purposefully low-brow, outlandish farce. The audiences did love it.

As for my "on-stage" experience in this production -- I really hate to rely on a cliché here, but, it is so much apropos: There are no small parts, only small actors. So, I was cast as a corpse in what was mostly a low-brow comedy. Yet, it was still a role; and, Peggy Ingram needed to be dead during those twenty to thirty minutes at the end of Act II. The audience needed to forget there was a living person in that coffin. They needed to see Peggy through their suspension of disbelief. So it was my job to figure out all those techniques I write of earlier in the blog, to keep the audience from seeing me breathe or move. No role is unimportant to telling the story, to bringing the experience for the audience to the intended fullness. The roles that have no value to telling the story get cut. Dead Peggy needed to be in that coffin during the funeral scene to help tell the story of the funeral scene -- and to help finish the story, as a whole. I don't want it to seem like I'm taking this all too seriously, but, I am trying to take it all seriously within the context of the craft. I would have much preferred to have been Brother Boy because of the great challenge the role would have afforded; still, Peggy was a challenge -- you try playing a convincingly dead corpse for thirty minutes at a pop.

BRUCE CROMER -- UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL: As I said in the last entry, Bruce is an impressive actor. I am inspired by his talent. His embodiment of the play's character, The Librarian, was a great study for me in allowing one's self to be consumed by the identity of the character being portrayed. One actor, on stage, for ninety minutes straight, maintaining the idiosynchrasies, the mannerisms, the behaviors of the character, which is dissimilar to the actor: this is a feat, the mark of an accomplished actor.

I am up to the challenge of working toward that craftsmanship, yet, despite my tremendous ego, am smart enough to know I have a bit of stage time to put in before I am ready to carry that weight. I think forward to A Walk in the Woods, which is a full-length play with only two lead actors -- I do feel ready to split the responsibility with another actor, and still recognize that it is no small responsibility. Well, though I do have my criticisms of my Johnnypateen, it was a very big role, pretty damn close to a lead role with a lot of time on stage. And I did live up to the challenge, if still I could have played him better. In other words, the challenge of such a demanding time on stage for A Walk in the Woods does not intimidate me. Watching and working with Bruce has helped me validate this. Yeah, he is better than I am, but, I will get to his merit.

Florence gave Bruce a rave review, saying, in part: "The nimble Cromer fully personified his role....[He] didn’t have any troubles reeling the audience into the story with just a chalkboard and slides, not to mention a shabby trunk of clues (dubbed lovely evidences)...." Morris' review was just as favorable. I don't have access to the Morris review at this moment. I will insert an addendum when I have a choice quote to use.

THE DIVINERS: The show opens this Friday and it is going to be a good one. At this point, during final dress rehearsal week I can say that it is a beautiful production. The cast as a whole is doing a fantastic job. I'll get a bit more specific when time permits.

Actor Chris Shea, whom I've mentioned before, has come on board as the other balladeer. He and I sing "How Tedious and Tasteless" to open Act I, with me singing verse 1, him, verse 2, and both on verse 3 in harmony. We again open Act II with the gospel standard "I'll Fly Away," this time it's flipped, with Chris on verse 1, etc. We sound good together. We have the responsibility to set the tone for each act. Between the songs director Michael Boyd has chosen and our performances I think we will do just that.

The closing scene is a really intense one. There is a drowning with the actors (Travis Williams and Bradley Kasch) who are "in the water" doing this beautiful slow motion choreography (A.D. Debra Strauss' work). All us on the shore are also in slow motion and mute while the two are under. But we are regular speed and vocal when they surface. There are changes in the sound and light cues to distinguish these two perspectives also. It is quite effective and intense. I only regret that I have not witnessed it from the audience's point of view.

I may or may not have mentioned that both Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts (fellow cast mates from The Cripple of Inishmaan) are in this cast. Including Proposals, where I was stage crew, this is the third time we've worked together.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: I went to see the Wright State University production a couple weeks back. I was mostly impressed. A few actors in specific that I found very strong performances from: Stephanie Thompson as Scout; Kymoura Kennedy as Calpurnia; Andy Mills as Dill; Lynsey Laskowski as Mayalla Ewell; and Andrea Belser as Helen Robinson.

Matthew Smith (Cripple Billy in The Cripple of Inishmaan) had some stage time as Nathan Raddley, and did well, as would be expected.

THE NUTCRACKER: I will be stage manager for The Dayton Theatre Guild's production of the musical version of The Nutcracker. Jocelyn Kandl, who was AD for Cripple is making her directorial debut. Auditions are next Monday and Tuesday and I'll be there just to see what sort of pool we have.

LOCAL INDEPENDENT MOVIE, COMING UP FOR AIR: The day after Nutcracker auditions, I will audition myself for the part of an alcoholic father in the local short independent movie, Coming Up For Air, directed by a fellow named Dale Grow.

AND: I'll get to the writing, movie, etc, in my next entry, which I hope will be soon.



Mon, Oct 25, 2004

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THE OPENING WEEKEND OF THE DIVINERS:

THE DIVINERS: We did very very well opening weekend. We didn't have large houses but we gave them good shows. We got nothing but great energy from them after each show. Greg Smith was there opening night, along with a few of the cast members from Sordid Lives, namely Diane Taveau (LaVonda), John Spitler (Rev. Barnes) and Henni Fisher (Latrelle). Greg and they were very impressed with all of us and I think impressed and a little surprised with my singing. Stacy Emmoff (Bisty May) was at the Sunday show and complemented me, too. Stacy knows Chris so already was aware of his voice. Speaking thereof, Chris and I are kicking ass on the songs.

Terry Morris saw the show Saturday, so, there will likely be a review in the Thursday, Oct 28 Dayton daily News, if not sooner.

Yes, we had three very good shows. Of course, there were those inevitable mishaps (folks blowing/flubbing/dropping lines; I messed up the words in a line from "I'll Fly Away"), but, well, it is live theater.

NUTCRACKER AUDITIONS are tonight and tomorrow night. I'll go to observe. As well, I have my own audition for the short, indy movie COMING UP FOR AIR Wednesday night. Mike is doing a read-through for the cast, Wednesday night, but since I really don't have lines and it will not involve blocking, just lines, I am excused.

As for the continuation of "catch up": Stay tuned....



Thu Oct 28, 2004

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TERRY MORRIS' REVIEW OF THE DIVINERS in today's Dayton Daily News was not exactly stellar. I would not call it a pan, but, it is light-years from a rave. His first and biggest problem was with the script, which he found to be light. He also took issue with the pace, calling it "the dreary pace of proceedings," and laid the blame at Mike's feet, as director. He did complement Mike on the casting and gave the cast in whole a positive mention. He singled out Travis, calling his C.C. Showers "thoroughly credible" for someone Morris thinks is clearly older than Travis. Truth be that Travis turned nineteen during Sordid Lives and though the script puts C.C. at thirty, in our production he is twenty-seven. But Travis pulls it off, and I don't think Terry disagrees with that. Along with the rest of the cast, he mentioned Chris Shea and me, identifying us as Balladeers, but without good clarification of what that means.

My take is that Terry missed, ignored, or failed to mention some strengths. First, as good a performance as Travis is giving -- and he is, indeed, giving a fine one -- there are others in the cast matching him. And, the "weakest" performance in the show is still a good one. Now, Morris did call us a "solid cast" and I suppose I am being picky, but, I think there were some other performances to also single out. Second, bias as I will be here, I believe Chris and I are a strong opening for the show, and almost as strong opening Act II. We are both good singers, our voices blend well, and Mike's choice to open with songs (as well as his choice of songs) was dead on perfect. As for the pace, I find it just fine. It is slow, but, it's supposed to be, and I don't agree with "dreary pace of proceedings." This is a good show and I think Terry is off the mark -- I also know I am inside the bubble so I understand my personal prejudice toward the production. I still think Terry is off the mark, even though he didn't say it sucked.

AUDITION FOR DALE GROW'S COMING UP FOR AIR: I auditioned for Dale Grow last night. Dale's movie, which I only know a little about (and will not divulge) will be about twenty minutes. I auditioned for the role of the protagonist's father. I read a one page side from his script. He wanted me to read something else, something completely different. I had the Diviners script in my bag so I read a C.C. Showers monologue. I suppose I feel okay about the reads. I did better with C.C. since I had studied it to some extent and have been familiar with the role from weeks of rehearsal. Dale wanted I think a bit more ad lib on the father than I gave him. I wasn't comfortable playing with the script in a cold reading. After I got comfortable with the character I would have no problem playing with the lines and even doing full out improvs. Grow will let me know in the next day or so.

NUTCRACKER: Few showed up for the auditions this Monday and Tuesday. This is Jocelyn Kandl's debut as a director and it is a bit of a tough one to cast for a few reasons. First, so many roles including the younger ones require a good level of singing, dancing and acting ability. Second, this Monday and Tuesday two other Christmas productions auditioned. There is a lot of talented actors in the Dayton area, but, add in singing or dancing and it gets smaller; add in both and it shrinks more. Skew the age down and the pool gets smaller. And then there's the fact that a lot of folk would rather not be in rehearsal or production in November and December. Jocelyn is optimistic and I see no reason for her to not be. The show will get cast. Greg Smith wants me to audition for Godfather Drosselmeier, but, I really don't want to be in this show. But, I am not dead set against it and would do it in a pinch. I actually would enjoy the role. I do know that Jocelyn has another actor in mind to ask to audition for Drosselmeier, anyway. Sarah Gomes, who is Jenny Mae in The Diviners is cast in Nutcracker as Nanny. Jocelyn hopes to do the table read Monday night.

MY WRITING: I haven't done any lately. I will. I have been tying up loose ends with the The Autumn 2004 Literary Update. Actually, I'm not finished yet. But, I will begin the screenplay this weekend.



Sun Oct 31, 2004

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HOW DID I MISS THE
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
OF MY
RETURN TO ACTING!

The first entry in this blog, though written in late December of last year and posted in January of this, was dated as "approx Oct 15, 2003." And it was most certainly October 19, 2003 when I said to myself, "I have to act [again]." Granted, it was January of this year when I won the role of Johnnypateen in The Cripple of Inishmaan and began rehearsals; and, granted, It was Thanksgiving weekend of last year when I started shooting my little short-short, Muse. The anniversary of my return is still October 19, 2003.

So here I am, a year later. I thought I'd have a finished longer short movie, possibly heading for Sundance this winter, if not already having been shown at another festival, such as the Ohio Film Festival. That goal hasn't yet been met. Still, where am I? I've had a large and challenging role in a play (The Cripple of Inishmaan), I've done a dramatic reading (Andre in A Walk In The Woods -- and I hope to play the role on stage soon, too), I've been an assistant stage manager and a stage manager (Proposals and Sordid Lives, respectively), I had the distinguished challenge of playing a corpse for the last thirty minutes of Sordid Lives (not as easy as some may believe), I am currently singing as a balladeer and helping set the tone of the acts for The Diviners, I am about to stage manage another production, where I may also end up cast if necessary (The Nutcracker), and I have been elected to the board of directors for a theater (Dayton Theatre Guild's). I am immersed in acting, even if the path has been different than what I planned.

I heard a guy one time say, "Go out the door and when you hit a door, turn left." I am not at all dissatisfied with where I am in terms of acting, theater, and the movie. I have sights on moves in the future. After I have been cast a few times -- in bigger roles, I hope, roles like Johnnypateen or bigger -- I will go for an agent and will also audition for professional productions (in Dayton that means Human Race Theater Company productions). But I will keep my options open, as I have been. I will let this go where it goes; I will follow where the opportunities guide me.

The thing that strikes me most is thinking back to standing in that line at the theater in the Creative Arts building last October, waiting to get in to see Malcolm Gets. How alienated I suddenly felt, how thrust into a sadness at no longer being part of something that once was important to me. As I say in my essay, "The Knowing In Me: the artist becomes himself": "on October 18, 2003 [the day of the Gets show], I was standing on the peripheral of the vortex..." -- that being one of which I was once in the middle. Today I am back in the middle. I have reclaimed an element of my life, a big one. And my soul is fed in a most thrilling and dynamic manner.

and now, more on that element....

THE DIVINERS THIS WEEKEND: The second weekend was better than the first. Friday night was a great night, and in my opinion our best show so far. Yet, there was one rather odd occurrence. A church youth group, of probably thirty to forty kids, came to the show. About fifteen minutes into the show, they all filed out of the theater, during a scene. Seems the youth leaders (if not the kids themselves) were offended or otherwise found the show inappropriate. There are a few cuss words, including the phrase, "Ah, yer full a shit, aint ya?" And, C.C. Showers is an ex-preacher who resists the locals urging to get him back into the ministry. And there is Norma, a religious zealot, who is, well, nuts. A church goer, especially a fundamentalist might find some of it or all of it as ridiculing religion, even God.

Needless to say, the actors on stage were a bit thrown. I don't believe the church group intended to be rude, inconsiderate and insolent, but, they were. I also assume none of them may believe they owe the cast -- especially those who were on stage when the group left -- and director Michael Boyd an apology for the timing of their departure. No, they probably would not believe an apology is in order. But, they owe it.

Saturday's and today's shows were good, too. Though there were a few low energy spots. I felt a little weak at the start of "How Tedious and Tasteless," and Chris started "I'll Fly Away" in the wrong key. But, we both brought our singing into shape quick. I also took a hike for close to two hours this morning before the show. It was a nice day and so I took advantage. It was nice yesterday, too, but I couldn't hike because I had too much to do before the call for the show. Did my vocal warm ups on the hike. Usually I try to get to the theater early and do it there. But, why warm up inside when I can do it in a forest? Always a great way to spend time before a show.

COMING UP FOR AIR MOVIE: Dale Grow will not be able to use me in his film. The second weekend of The Nutcracker performances is also when principal photography for his film is.

THE NUTCRACKER: I assume there is a read through tomorrow night (Monday, Nov 1). Also, I don't know if the rest of casting has been made. I still don't know if I need to be in the cast, either.

SYLVIA: After our show Saturday, Jon Horwitz and I went to The Dayton Playhouse to see Sylvia. It's was a nice production. Kim Reiter (who was Annie in Proposals and the A.D. for Sordid Lives) plays the wife, Kate. Jim Lockwood (Dr. McSherry in The Cripple of Inishmaan) directed. A well-known Dayton actor named Saul Caplan plays Greg, the husband who finds the dog, Sylvia, in Central Park. Annie Pesch plays Sylvia. Jim saw our show Saturday right before we went to see his. Kim and Saul came to ours, too, with Jim, but the two left early. Because of their performance times, they came and saw the first act of our show yesterday (then left to make their call), then, rushed over after their show today and caught Act II.

A WALK IN THE WOODS: Auditions are a month away. I am still studying Russian dialect and the script. Can't say I will get the role, of course, but, I will do everything I can to keep it from being too easy of a no for director Barb Coriell, if she is going to say "no."



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First things first: I DIDN'T VOTE FOR HIM. Didn't last time and absolutely would not this time. Just a statement I want to make. I am not opening up a dialogue or debate on politics. Send me any sort of email flame at all regarding this statement and I will both ignore it and filter your email address out as junk, regardless of who you are. Post any such to the guestbook and I will delete it as soon as I see it and anytime I see it reappear.

I AM CAST IN THE NUTCRACKER: Jocelyn Kandl, the director, called me earlier in the week and I have accepted the role of Godfather Drosselmeier. Been to two rehearsals as cast, Wednesday night and last night. Both nights have been with the musical director, Vivian Smith. I have a bit of a sore throat, however, so I took it easy on my larynx, both nights. Have to have a strong voice tonight and the rest of the weekend for The Diviners. Drosselmeier's song, "The Nutcracker's Lament," done to the melody of "The Dance of the Mirlitons," is cute. I will have fun with the character. At the moment, I believe I am still pulling double-duty as the stage manager for the production.

We managed to get Brandy Scott, who was assistant stage manager for Sordid Lives, on board at least as a cast member. She can sing. I hope to get her on crew again, too. Along with Sarah Gomes, it looks like others from The Diviners cast are joining this production: Namely, Cynthia Karnes, Deirdre Root, and Justin Carr.

THE DAYTON CITY PAPER REVIEW OF THE DIVINERS: Russell Florence, Jr. was much kinder to us than Terry Morris was. And by-the-way, Russell was at that Friday night show when the youth group walked out, though he does not make mention of the affair. Too bad. It would have been good publicity. But, he did like the show, saying, "The Dayton Theatre Guild’s effective presentation...terrifically showcased two talented young actors..." to start -- and then he went on to praise both Travis Williams and Bradley A. Kasch. And, of course, I must agree. Travis and Brad have such wonderful on-stage chemistry. And both are fine young actors with a great potential ahead of them. As for the rest of us, Russell wrote:

Sarah Gomes (Jennie Mae Layman) and John Bukowski (Ferris Layman) were quite good as Buddy’s sister and father, respectively. Jonathan Horwitz, Nicole Polzella, Cynthia Karnes, Deirdre Root, Natasha Randall, Craig Roberts, and Justin Carr supplied fine support as the hard-working citizens of Zion, Indiana, who relied on Buddy’s knack to predict rain and find wells. Balladeers Chris Shea and K. L. Storer added to the production’s authenticity.

Since he complemented my singing as he left the theater, I assume authenticity means the singing was good. Russell also had good things to say about Mike's directing and was able to give high praise to the production values of the closing scene without spoiling any surprises.

THE DIVINERS THIS WEEKEND AND MY VOICE: My voice is still a tad raw. I am sitting at lunch right now, at that paycheckjobthing. I am only using my voice when I must. I've had a coughdrop in my mouth pretty constantly all day, and have drank much warm-hot liquids (mostly coffee). Closer to showtime I'll gargle with a one-part hydrogen peroxide, nine-parts water solution. Plus, I am drinking even more water today than usual -- and "usual" is a lot. I have cautious concerns, but, really think it will all be fine. I may not give the best vocal performance, but, it will be good.



Sat Nov 6, 2004

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THE DIVINERS PERFORMANCE LAST NIGHT: I am happy to say that my vocals came off well last night. And though my voice isn't at par, it is in much better shape today. Last night's audience was the best we've had. They got it all. They laughed at all the jokes and you could feel their emotional levels matching the performance. I still personally think last Friday -- the night of the exiting audience and when Russell was at the show -- was the best performance. But, last night was the audience.


Tue, Nov 9, 2004

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CLOSING THE DIVINERS: The run of The Diviners is over. And it was certainly a good run. With all the trials and tribulations I am happy to see we had such a good run. Because the guild added in two extra shows -- Bruce Cromer's Underneath the Lintel and the soon to come Nutcracker -- the rehearsal schedule was already two weeks shorter than usual for a show. Then, the tragedy of the young man's death right in front of the theater not only caused us to cancel that night, but, then too, affected the next several rehearsals. We lost a few other nights, or partial nights, due to illness and on some occasions some cast members could not be there when it might have -- (WOULD HAVE) -- been better if they could have. Yet, we put on a most excellent performance every time we went in front of the audience: I say that with, of course, much bias, and I don't care.

I am happy with my performance with one glaring and last-minute exception. Sunday, last show, I flubbed a line in my solo verse of "I'll Fly Away," to open the second act. I was always a little paranoid about the lyrics of that song, anyway. Every show, in the moments before I would open my mouth to sing the second verse, my verse, I'd think, Oh shit! What are the words! Well, the words are:

    When the shadows of this life have gone
    I'll fly away
    Like a bird from prison bars has flown
    I'll fly away

As I've opened my mouth to sing, they have come out correctly.

I always had this instinct to sing the third line from the third verse, "To a land where joy shall never end," instead of the third line from the second verse. I have always grabbed my mind and pulled it to the correct lyric. Sunday, I sang:

    When the shadows of this life have gone
    I'll fly away
    To a la--(stop singing abruptly)
    (after an instant, spoken, softly, to myself):--oh
    (another moment of dead silence)

    Like a bird from prison bars has flown
    I'll fly away

Not exactly a major catastrophe. The show did not come to a screeching halt. It could have been much worse. I could have not pulled the right words out at all. I could have gone up on it and lost all the words. Let's also look at how I have struggled with a sore throat during the last week and managed to nurse it enough and warm it up so that I got all the notes, if sometimes with less power and vocal clarity as I would like. But I never had to compromise the higher notes with alternative melody. I also am happy with the acting I did on the two crowd scenes I was in, especially the last one, the ending scene. This was the one where we, on the bank of the river, moved in real-time and spoke aloud -- shouted in panic, actually -- while C.C. and Buddy were above water, but then went silent and into slow-motion when the submerged. The idea was to keep the audience in the perspective of C.C. and Buddy. With the great "under water" sound effects and light display, and the dead-on hitting of cues, everyone, actors and techies, made, it was fabulously effective. I had no lines in the script, but, I needed a clear routine of words and actions to anchor my character in. So I came up with movement and dialogue for myself. I even had specific dialogue for each time the boys were submerged. I was in slow motion and only pantomiming words. But I was "saying" actual lines, which were relevant to the action. They, course, carried into the real-time, vocal moments, too. The first, and maybe most important one was: "The boy's down! Pastor Showers, the boy's down!" which Travis (C.C. Showers) used as his line to react to and then go in the river to rescue Buddy. I am pleased to have, as the others in that scene, helped tell the end of the story so effectively.

I am still pissed about the lyrical flub in performance nine, though. I broke character for one thing -- one big thing, actually -- even if I only broke character for a moment.

THE HIGH SCHOOL IN XENIA, OHIO IS ALSO DOING THE DIVINERS: Xenia High School will be doing the show four nights, starting this Thursday. Some of their cast came to see us. Some of us are returning the favor and will go see them, this Saturday.



Thu Nov 11, 2004

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Here's to the men and women who have risked and sacrificed life and limb to protect their country and their fellow citizens. My father was one of them, a hero, the recipient of the Bronze Star in World War II. Thank you Dad and all your comrades in arms, who came before you, were there with you, and followed afterward.

BIG "OOPS!" IN REHEARSAL FOR THE NUTCRACKER: Noticed my answering machine light flashing this morning. Somehow I managed to miss that I got a message Tuesday evening. I apparently was supposed to be at rehearsal Tuesday evening. When I left Monday, I confirmed with director Jocelyn that I was not scheduled again until tonight, Thursday. There was a mix up. Oh well.

GIFT FOR THE DIVINERS CAST AND CREW: I wasn't able to get my gift ready for the cast and crew of The Diviners by the end of production. I take it the printer tomorrow. I will see many cast members this Saturday, when we go see the Xenia High School actors do The Diviners. A few of my cast, of course, are also in The Nutcracker. I will mail out the rest.



Sun Nov 14, 2004

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THE XENIA (OHIO) HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTION OF THE DIVINERS: A few of us from our production of the show went, as I said we would, to the Xenia High School production -- remember, how a good handful of their cast and crew came to ours? Along with myself, Eric Ng (stage manager), Bradley Kasch (Buddy), Sarah Gomes (Jennie Mae), Craig Roberts (Dewey), Justin Carr (Melvin), Deirdre Root (Norma), and Natasha Randall (Goldie) went.

The performance, which we saw last night, was impressive -- and I don't just mean "for a bunch of high school kids." Sure, there were some green performances on the stage, but, there were no bad ones. There were a few excellent ones.

Of special note, in my mind, are Chris Caudill as Buddy, Christopher Smith as C.C., Mariah Linkhart as Jennie Mae, and Xenisha Lewis as Darlene. Out of a cast of very fine young actors, these four stand out to me.

Director Mark Manley also opted to blackout between scenes rather than use the overlaps built into the script, which was fine. But it seems clear to me this cast could have handled the pacing of the melded scenes with no problem. Mind you, the show was double casted and perhaps the other cast could not -- but, I have a feeling that is not at all true. I'm going with my gut that had I seen a performance with the other cast, I'd be impressed too and still have some young actors of note to mention here.

They took a few cues from us, including the addition of the song, "I'll Fly Away" to open Act II. They did it with a full chorus, rather than just two tenors, and it was quite lovely. They also executed the final water scene to good effect, though, perhaps not as effective as we were able to, but, still, it was a good job. And, they were sweet enough to include the following on the Special Recognition page in the back of their program: "[to]Michael Boyd, Director, and the cast of The Dayton Theatre Guild production of The Diviners."

I sent this email to the director and the cast:

    Dear Mark and cast/crew of The Diviners:

    I was in the Dayton Theatre Guild production of The Diviners, of which many of you came to see. I was one of the two balladeers who sang at the opening of each act. I was the old guy, the one who sang the first verse of "How Tedious and Tasteless."

    As most of you know, I and several fellow cast members from our production came tonight (Sat, Nov 13) to see your version. We already said after your show how impressed we were, but, I am compelled to tell you again. The Saturday night performance, which I am sure is but an example of your whole run, was a great evening out. There was a lot of talent on that stage and some very wonderful moments. I was also happy to finally be able to witness the drowning scene as an audience member. That scene, as you all are well aware, makes or breaks the whole show. If it fails, the evening fails. And you brought it off. Congrats to you for that, as well as everything else.

    I also want to comment on your "I'll Fly Away." Chris Shea and I did a fine job on that, as well as the first song -- if I do say so myself, with little humility, but, I must tell you that your choral arrangement and performance was fabulous.

    I, like my cast mates who came tonight, was more than happy to reciprocate your support for our show, and was doubly thrilled to be treated to such a solid production, from the acting, through the singing and on to the sound and lights. Great job by all of you: Mark, cast, and crew!

    Regards, K.L.

    ps: it was also very flattering and kind of you to mention Mike Boyd and all of us in your program.

    pps: I know that the theatre guild web site is a link at your site. As a board member and active actor and production person at the guild, I extend an open invitation for you see all our shows and to keep an eye on the audition announcements, when you're all ready and the parts are right for you, we'll be waiting......

THE NUTCRACKER REHEARSALS: It's an odd rehearsal schedule since it's such a compacted period of rehearsal and there are all the elements of music, dance, and drama to deal with. Plus, the choreographer, Michael Waham, and the musical director, Vivian Smith, had only certain windows of available time to do their things. Thus, We all are to be off-book and off score tomorrow. The thing is I have not yet been blocked, whatsoever, except for during two songs. Well, it will be weird, but, yet another way to experience rehearsing a show.

BRADLEY KASCH (*ACTUALLY, "BRADLEY A. KASCH") IS DOING THE CHRISTMAS CAROL at Sinclair Community College. It's up the same weekend as our last shows, but, I haven't look closely at their schedule. It may be possible to catch it. If so, I shall.



Wed Nov 17, 2004

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THE NUTCRACKER REHEARSALS: As I write this, a little after 6 p.m., the show is not completely blocked but it's close. Of course, that only applies to the drama, not the dance. Although, it may apply to part of the closing song, as I have never seen any staging for that. I am assuming the choreography has been done for that.

I have been placed in the song that closes Act I, as a toy. Frankly I would rather not do it. But, I am going along with it. This is something that was added after the song was choreographed, and I am concerned that the new movement by us new toys is clutter and interference. So far it has seemed that way to me.

Jocelyn thought she had an actor to play the father. He committed then has never shown even once. Jocelyn has decided to write the father out. We do open the day after Thanksgiving. It's time to put rubber to road.

Things have been so tight, and there have some production uncertainties, such as that actor and also a lighting designer among other things. I am not ready to know how I feel about what will result on opening night. But I do feel good about my Drosselmeier. I am giving life to him, even if I am not dead-on just yet with all my lines.

"MR. PRODUCER": I have agreed to be the producer for The Dayton Theatre Guild's production of Grace and Glorie, which is up in the spring of 2005. It's a two woman cast with a limited set so it'll be a nice one with which to break my virginity as a theater producer. I volunteered at the November board meeting. They were also looking for one for A Walk in the Woods, but, since I salivate so hard for the role of Andrey, I was not about to take that one. I will probably contact the G & G director, Fran Pesche, sometime soon.



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I LOST MY JOB AS STAGE MANAGER IN THE NUTCRACKER, AND COMMENTS ON REHEARSAL: Director Jocelyn has reassigned stage management to A.D. Audrey. Actually it works out better because I have costume changes from Drosselmeier to a toy then back to Drosselmeier, both which take place during times when the stage manager would need to be very busy. As I said last night, "You volunteer to do one thing but end doing something completely different. How's that work?"

The tight rehearsal schedule has made things hectic, as I have already said. Other things have made it even more so. Young ones not showing up for rehearsal being the big one. We have one kid who was not there last night, who really cannot afford to miss rehearsal. The kid clearly has talent but has not often been engaging that talent. I'm concerned this kid has quit. That would be a problem because the role is relatively substantial one and the show opens this coming Friday. Some of the kids also have that famous voice projection problem, both during the songs and the dialogue. We have another few kids who are also not giving their all in the acting but we also have some very good young actors. Especially good are Sterling Faust (Sweet Tooth), Charity Farrell (sister Marie), Coleman Hemsath (double-cast as brother Fritz and mouse Rudi), and Taylor Rutherford (Ballerina). Also, I don't think I've mentioned that Brandy Scott (my assistant stage manager for Sordid Lives) has been cast as Mother and is doing a fine job. She has a lovely singing voice.

All said, I am not sure this will be a critically acclaimed production, but, The Show Must Go On. And will.



Sun Nov 21, 2004

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THE NUTCRACKER: I hate it when I make dumbass errors. Rehearsal today was one of those places where I missed an entrance altogether because my head was, uh, well, in the wrong place. I don't actually have my costumes for the show, but, I brought a suit and had other clothes so I could go ahead and do the changes. I was focused on that and missed a drop in line.

On a related note, two younger actors were cut today because they did not show Friday nor today -- actually, I think it pretty likely that they had already quit. One of them had a pretty big supporting role, and though some of the lines have now been cut, another young one has been "promoted" to take over the role.

Meanwhile, I'm still pissed that I missed an entrance due to my own stupidity.



Fri Nov 26, 2004

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THE NUTCRACKER OPENS TONIGHT: Well, we will have some fun. Rehearsed Wednesday before a small audience (maybe a dozen or so) of friends and family. It was a decent performance. We are running the show once in the early evening before the show at 8:00.

I grayed my hair Wednesday and was not too sure director Jocelyn would like it, but, she does. So Drosselmeier has just gone from forty-something to sixty-something.

We had yesterday off, but, I was at the theater twice. I had to paint the box Drosselmeier pops out of as his entrance to the show. What with waiting for paint to dry so I could use other colors for trim, etc, it took a while. Took a break, got out my paint bibs, into good clothes, went to Thanksgiving dinner with the family, then back to the Guild to finish up. Left the place at 11:30 last night. Well I had my Mac Powerbook with Itunes and a few thousand songs to entertain me.

A WALK IN THE WOODS AUDITIONS COMING MONDAY AND TUESDAY: I am mindful of the auditions coming for A Walk in the Woods. Have not been giving it full attention but I have my mind on it. I am taking Monday and Tuesday off to study the script. I am half up on the Russian accent -- have had a dialect tape for months and have studied it off and on. I am contemplating gray hair for this audition. I am looking at possible auditions for M*A*S*H at Playhouse South, though that production is late enough that I could still be cast there if cast also in Woods. I would go after the Frank Burns character in M*A*S*H.



Sat Nov 27, 2004

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THE NUTCRACKER OPENING NIGHT: The show went well last night. I had close to a line fumble but not quite one -- I'd call it more of a line stall-out, if you will. Other than that small dip for me it was a good night and I am very proud of the youngins.


Sun Nov 28, 2004

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THE NUTCRACKER OPENING WEEKEND: It was a nice weekend. The audiences liked the show. As I've said, it isn't going to be the critical success of the Dayton theater season, but, hey, it's a fun show and the kids are having fun.

As I said yesterday, the first night went well. The Saturday show wasn't bad but it was a bit sloppy on some counts. For me, where didn't stumble on a line, I did drop a word, from the spot that is giving me the big problem. There is always a line that wants to escape from your memory. In this one, mine is "Marie, I bring you a most practical companion and confidant." Last night, Drosselmieir only brought Marie a "practical confidant."

We only had about eight to ten people in the audience for the show today. So, we're talking something like ten percent of capacity. But, they paid to be entertained and we did a good show. And I must say, I did not have any line malfunctions, whatsoever.

I am not overly excited about my performance. The characterization is all right, but, I don't feel anything extraordinary about it. I am thinking I may try to take his excintricity up a notch or two -- or three, four, five. I'm thinking he may need to be more animated and odder.

But, my focus as an actor, for the next forty-eight hours is on the characterization of Andrey Botvinnik. There is an audition of some little importance.



Mon, Nov 29, 2004

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MID-AFTERNOON:

LOOKING TOWARD THE AUDITIONS TONIGHT FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS: I haven't been directly studying yet today, but, will after I eat my late lunch. As for the biggest thing, which is Andrey's personality, I lean toward a slyly playful characterization. If director Barb Coriell has me change it in audition, then, I hope I have the craftsmanship to adapt.

What I have done today, as I have run a few errands, including getting a headshot printed, is listen along and talk back to the Russian dialect tape (Dr. David Stern). Since the exact depth of the accent is not a completely known quantity to me (though I do know it should not be too thick), and since it is early in the game yet, I am not concerned about having a perfect accent. I am much more interested in character tonight and tomorrow night. But, I do want to be sure that Barb does not hear Johnny Pateen -- she was Kate in The Cripple of Inishmaan -- whether she hears it only in her imagination or in reality. If it's her imagination, I may not have a lot of power over that, but, I will consciously make it as hard for her inclination as I can; assuming she will have such inclination. She may not.

I have argued with myself about greying my hair for the auditions. I have decided to go with it. I will also go in a suit and tie. For Drosselmeier I just used white coloring to grey it up. I am going to put white over a black base for the Andrey, at least tonight.

I am taking a headshot and résumé even though Barb and everyone else will be very familiar with who I am. Two reasons: 1) it is the professional thing to do; 2) it keeps me from taking my audition for granted. I have no special in because I am connected to the Guild, and I will not allow myself to act as if I do. I am concerned that, even though most have not been very big roles, I have been cast in everything this year at the Guild, except Bruce Cromer's Underneath the Lintel, and this may weigh against me -- especially since the biggest role I've have so far, Drosselmeier, is one I didn't audition for and really didn't want, in part because of the very point I am making here.

Enough head games. I'll finish the entry after tonight's auditions.

LATE EVENING:

ROUND ONE IS DONE AND I AM NOT OVERLY HOPEFUL: Veteran Dayton actor Gil Martin auditioned for Andrey and Barb had several others read the other character, John Honeyman, off of him. I read each character only once. Gil certainly is doing well. He has the dialect down in spades. I think Andrey should be a little more playful than he's is doing, but, then, I am not too sure I hit that particular mark well, myself.

I greyed my hair as I said above, and I also went in a three-piece suit (technically the vest is from another suit, but, it was a "close" match). I am going tomorrow and I will still wear the suit. I think I'll leave my hair alone. I may end with a better shot at Honeyman than Andrey, which upsets me a little. But, whatayagonnado? Besides, I have not totally abandoned hope, just trying to be aware of the writing which seems to be on the wall.

I will say one thing, Gil may be doing a good job but I would do just as good a job. And I'm thinking I might actually go a better direction, make him a bit more of a sprite, if you will. I am afraid this may be a mute point, but, we'll see. And I may have a shot at Honeyman. It's Andrey I want, though.



Tue, Nov 30, 2004

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ROUND TWO IS DONE AND I AM NO MORE HOPEFUL: No new faces tonight. Myself, Gil Martin and Harold Fox came back. It is pretty clear that I can let go of Andrey; Gil will be cast. I may be John Honeyman, but, honestly if I am it will be because no other actor is the right age, that, if Barb decides it is necessary for the casting. I read okay, I suppose, for Honeyman tonight. But, it was not remarkable in any sense of the word. I had no real tract on him. I'll get him if I am cast, but, my reading was less than impressive. If I get the role, it will be necessity of type, not because I was so fabulous in the audition. I was disappointing to me, at the very least.

I may be cast as Honeyman, and I will take it if cast. But I am sad that I won't be Andrey. I really wanted that role.



Wed Dec 1, 2004

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WAITING FOR NEWS ON THE A WALK IN THE WOODS AUDITIONS -- NO NEWS IS WHAT?: I don't have any word yet on Honeyman and it's after 5:00 p.m. of the next day. For the determination of casting one actor, I don't see how this can mean I am in the running. I am guessing that Barb offered the role to someone last night, or earlier today. My guess is that this is another case of "And on to the next audition."


Fri Dec 3, 2004

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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION: Not that there's any big surprise here. Woke this morning to an email from Barb Coriell that confirmed what was already in the wind. Of course, I am disappointed. And I think I am more unhappy that I did such a mediocre audition, especially for Honeyman. But, as I look at it, I also think I was thrown a bit after Gil Martin's read for Andrey. Not so much by his reading as by Barb's reception. I purposefully steered clear of the sort of interpretation Gil gave -- that is not a criticism of him, just the statement of where I chose to go, which was clearly the wrong place. The thing is, he read first, and after I saw Barb's clear response to his reading, I was not able to adjust my interpretation toward that very well. I'm not too sure I wanted to. I am pretty sure I would not have been happy doing the same Andrey Gil will give. There was probably a happy medium I could have shown Barb that would have worked, but, I was not able to get to it so quickly at the audition. And I could not focus on Honeyman hardly at all. Portions of the lines I read for him I read awkwardly. I just did not have much of a thought about the Honeyman character. I did practice him a bit before the second audition, but, I did not form any good sense of him.

I am not yet at a place where I always get to a character quickly. This is a critical skill for auditions. One that I need.

I am sure there will come an opportunity sometime in the future to audition again for A Walk in the Woods, and I will seize it (especially Andrey).

OPTIONS FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE: Greg Smith is directing Always Patsy Cline at The Dayton Playhouse and auditions are this coming Monday and Tuesday. I don't think there are any male roles with lines, but, it does seem to call for four male vocalists to be The Jordanaires. I have emailed Greg about this. I will consider auditioning for that, if for no other reason to get a performance under my belt at another theater.

I also need to start writing the actual screenplay for the short movie. There's some chance I may just go ahead and nix any auditions and take advantage of this time to focus solely on that. I have a lot of other reading and research to do on making the movie, as well.

Still, I ordered a copy of the play A Luau for King Lear, which is the first 2005 production at the Brookville Community Theater and auditions in early January. They are also doing Neil Simon's Jake's Women later in the year. I have checked a copy of that out of my library. That will be directed by Saul Kaplan, who just won the role of John Honeyman. There's also M*A*S*H at Playhouse South, which I've mentioned before, coming up next year, too.

PRACTICING READING FOR AUDITIONS: I have had the idea run through my head to check-out a random group of plays from the library and practice doing character readings from them. I may have even mentioned it somewhere earlier in the blog. I think I am going to start doing this as an on-going, regular exercise. Perhaps even video tape myself so I can watch and listen. I also am going to locate some "cold audition" workshops, I can attend.

AN IMPROVIZATION WORKSHOP THAT IS LIKELY A GOOD IDEA FOR ME: The Guild will most probably sponsor a fund-raiser workshop on improv sometime in the Spring of 2005. This will be conducted by Jake Lockwood, son of Dodie and James (re: Cripple of Inishmaan). He has worked at a club for Disney for nine years doing this. I am not really interested in improv comedy, but, I still see this as a great learning experience that cannot hurt my evolution whatsoever. It can help me battle the daemons of inhibition, if nothing else. I really believe that was a big factor in the bad audition earlier this week. I am a better actor than the one who auditioned, in terms of Honeyman, at least. There was some thread of inhibition that stopped me from focusing and getting a credible characterization of Honeyman. I didn't really portray Andrey as well as I could either. I had a much stronger idea of him than I showed. I had done it when I was practicing at home. I got thrown by Gil and I choked a bit. I think risking looking like a fool in an improv workshop will be good education and therapy against this type of obstacle.



Tue, Dec 7, 2004

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SECOND WEEKEND OF NUTCRACKER: The second weekend went pretty well. No major flubs by me. I stalled a little on a few lines Saturday, but, it was a pretty good weekend for Godfather Drosselmeier. I in fact had made a decision to take Drosselmeier up a few notches and I was told by a few people that I did. There were some curtain call bloopers. I rushed the cue on the curtain call during the last song on Friday. Then the wrong song was cued up for the bow on Saturday, so there was a bit of an awkward moment as the wrong song cut and the correct one started. But this is all pretty minor stuff.

Russell Florence Jr., from the Dayton City Paper, was there on Saturday. Well, it wasn't our best performance but it was all right. I could have been better, but, then, this isn't a new theme here, is it?



Sat Dec 11, 2004

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BRADLEY KASCH IN THE CHRISTMAS CAROL: Several of us from The Diviners cast went to see Bradley (Buddy) in this wonderful adaptation of the Dickens' classic at Sinclair Community College. This was a new, original version by SCC theater faculty Kathleen Cleary and Brian McKnight, with Cleary also directing. Bradley was cast as Fred, Scrooge's nephew, and also as ensemble cast. As well as the show being well performed, Cleary also had the cast take on the roles of props: doors and bells and the chains on Marley, etc -- complete with the appropriate sound effects (by the actors) from the creaking of the door, to the bongs of the bell tower, to the rattling of the chains. It worked much better than many reading this might suspect. In fact, it was excellent.

The roster of us who went was myself, Mike Boyd (director), Deirdre Root (Norma), Tosha -- Natasha -- Randall (Goldie), Craig Roberts (Dewey), Justin Carr (Melvin), Sara Gomes (Jenny Mae), and Eric Ng (stage manager). A really nice aside is that I talked with Tosha about how I felt I tanked in the auditions for A Walk in the Woods and Craig, who also auditioned for it, told me that he thought I read great for John Honeyman at the Monday night audition -- which lifts my spirits some. Going back to late summer, I thought Craig did the hands down best audition as Ty for Sordid Lives. Travis Williams did a good job, but, the reality is that Craig kicked his ass. Travis was cast because he could both do the part and he looked the way director Greg Smith wanted Ty to look.

    December 29 addendum: Let me clarify the above remarks so as not to seem to be trashing Travis. I was very impressed with Travis' work as Ty, then later as C.C. Showers in The Diviners. When I say above that I believe Craig kicked his ass in the auditions for Ty, I mean to say that I believe Craig kicked EVERYBODY'S asses. It is my opinion that he did the hands-down best performance as Ty. Travis did a really good read, too, and there were times during the production I was absolutely moved by his work. There was a scene he did with Henni Fisher -- another wonderful Dayton actor -- that was perhaps the most moving scene from a production of all well-acted scenes. But, Craig still impressed me the most, as Ty, in the auditions.

REVIEW OF NUTCRACKER BY RUSSELL FLORENCE JR. IN THE DAYTON CITY PAPER: Russell gave the show a nice review, reproduced here in its entirety:

The Dayton Theatre Guild’s presentation of the musical Nutcracker provides light entertainment and a swift running time of 35 minutes that should please just about anyone.

Based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," and featuring music from the Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite ballet, Nutcracker runs its five-scene, six-song course smoothly. Jocelyn Kandl's steady direction and her dedicated cast of kids and adults never fails to keep the light action cute and interesting, even when Patrick Rainville Dorn’s lyrics are repeatedly forced upon Tchaikovsky’s timeless melodies.

Charity Farrell delivers a charming performance as Marie, a young girl whose dreams whisk her away to a land of toys. Justin Carr as the Nutcracker, Sarah Gomes as Nanny/Princess, Deirdre Root as Mouse Queen, Brandolyn Scott as Mother, and Taylor Retherford as Ballerina are among the many admirable supporting players.

Michael Wadham provides suitable choreography. Carol Finley, Greg Smith, and Barb Jorgenson’s colorful costumes nicely complemented the fanciful tale, which is just short enough to keep a child’s attention and just long enough for grown-ups to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

From the review article "Gifts of the Magi, Nutcracker, Crimes of the Heart" in the Dayton City Paper, December 8, 2004, edition. Reproduced here by permission from the publisher.

Notice how Russell was so impressed with me that he could not think of adequate words to express himself, so he elected to not mention me, whatsoever. Oh, um, not that I'm bitter, or anything.

THIRD FRIDAY OF NUTCRACKER: Last night's show was one of the best performances and a personal best for me. I believe it was the very first time I have not blown even one line in a whole performance. I also made Drosselmeier just a tad bigger than ever before and it worked.

NATASHA RANDALL IN CRIMES OF THE HEART: Tosha is understudy for the Equity production of Crimes of the Heart at The Human Race Theater Company and she will be on stage as Meg this coming Tuesday, December 14. I am among those who will be there to support her. As I have likely indicated otherwhere here, I find Tosha one of the best local actors I have seen or worked with. I haven't seen everyone, of course, but her skill is most impressive. I feel I have as much "talent" as her, but, she has far more "skill" at sculpting hers. Of those I have worked thus far with, she is my first pick as actor to go Broadway or Hollywood.

She is nervous about the performance because, being the understudy, she is absolutely under-rehearsed. She has sworn off the idea of ever being an understudy again and I think I am going to learn from someone else's experience and not be at all anxious to take on such a gig myself.



Mon, Dec 13, 2004

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LAST WEEKEND OF NUTCRACKER: The last weekend went very well. In fact, our Sunday audience was one of the best, if not "The." They responded well to the performance. It's been a good run and turned out better than I had expected. Certainly all the kids worked hard but a few of them shine with great promise. I can't conceive that at least one of those will not go on to a successful professional career on stage or screen. I had fun, myself, as Drosselmeier and ended up, I think, doing a good job in the role.

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: I saw this lovely production last Saturday night. I was not thrilled with all of the actual music, especially some of the melody lines, but, the performances were solid. Don McAdams was great in the character role of Soapy Smith, a New York City street bum who's trying hard to get arrested to spend the winter in the pokey, but, can't seem to find a cop who will help him out. I was especially impressed with the vocal performance by Tamara Hansen as Della, but, every one sang well. All the acting was good, too. The rest of the cast was Danial Madero as The City Him, Patricia DiPasquale-Krul as The City Her, Josh Mollohan as Willy (the narrator), and Errik Hood as Jim.

MORE AUDITION STUFF: Magi director Adam Leigh announced during the curtain speech that the Playhouse will be doing Our Town in March 2005. I actually have some interest in auditioning for that. There are some conflicts coming up. M*A*S*H auditions and rehearsal will be in the same period. Plus, The Guild's Long Day's Journey Into Night will start during that same period. Mike Boyd is directing L.D.J.I.N. and he is going for a long rehearsal period so he can work extensively with the cast on character development. I also have received the review copy of A Luau for King Lear that I purchased on-line from the publisher. I haven't read but a few pages so far. I must say, at this point I am not terribly impressed. It seems to be a comedy of the sort that I am not much interested in. The Brookville Community Theater is a good forty minutes from me, on the highway, at that. I am going to have to really like the show to spend that kind of time on the road, not to mention the gas. Jake's Women, which Brookville is doing later in 2005, might be worth it. At this point, I am not sure Luau is. I am not completely sure how I am going about the audition conflicts. It may be a case of going with the current. If I get cast in what auditions first, I skip what comes next, or move on to the next, if not cast.



Sun Dec 19, 2004

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NATASHA RANDALL IN CRIMES OF THE HEART: I saw Tosha as Meg in Crimes of the Heart last Tuesday. I was very impressed. I am more impressed with her ability now than ever. I could not tell she was so under-rehearsed and I was aware of it and consciously looked for it. She had some moments on stage that moved me, in fact. At a Christmas party last night she discussed how she did not have the chance to assimilate the blocking into her body, so she had to spend all her time on stage thinking about what was next. I went to the show expecting that, and it was part of what I looked for. It was more of what she hid in her performance.

GRACE AND GLORIE: Mentioned before that I am the producer for the Guild's upcoming Grace and Glorie. The director is Fran Pesch and we talked some about the production at that same Christmas party -- at Greg Smith's -- where I talked with Tosha.

SCREENPLAY FOR MY SHORT MOVIE: The plan is to start tomorrow morning -- to get back to the early morning schedule for at least a few weeks.

OTHER WRITING ODDS AND SODS: I have been doing some deep background work for the universe of my novel series. Also did more minor editing of the first novel. Still have not had an agent express interest whatsoever for more than a year now.



Wed Dec 29, 2004

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AUDITION STUFF: I have copies of the plays, Our Town (The Dayton Playhouse), A Luau for King Lear & Jake's Women (both at Brookville Community Theater), and An Act of the Imagination (Dayton Theatre Guild). Have a bit of reading to do. Haven't returned to reading A Luau for King Lear, so I have no new impression about that play, past my first: that I might not care much to be in it. And it's been probably thirty years since I last read Our Town. I probably could play Stage Manager or Doc Gibbs -- Gibbs is supposed be in his thirties, but, I am often told I look to be in my thirties; my actor's résumé puts the start of my age range in the mid-thirties. And I could get cast as Professor Willard, but that is an older character. I have just begun listening and studying the New England Down East dialect tape -- the rural New Hampshire style accent that this play calls for. I actually am already relatively versed in this particular accent, but, the tape will help me fine-tune it. Ah-yá, show-ah wihll, indeed.

Our Town runs exactly the same weekends as Grace and Glorie, though that would not directly interfere with my producer's duties. It would make catching G&G a bit dicey. It can be done though. As some may recall, from earlier in this very blog, Kim Reiter and the other cast as well as crew members of Sylvia came and saw Act I of The Diviners at the 5:00 show on a Saturday, then made their call for their 8:00 show that evening. The next day they did their 2:00 show, then rushed over and caught Act II of our 3:00 show (Act II starting about 4:10, or so). So, this scheduling problem is not an obstacle.

I just finished reading An Act of the Imagination by Bernard Slade. That one is up at the Guild in June of 2005. It's a clever whodunit comedy that I would not mind playing in. However, if all goes as planned, this will be around the time I am shooting the movie, so I'm not sure I'd be in a place to even work the show, much less be in it, but, I'll worry about that later. Auditions aren't until April 25 and 26, so I have time to decide.

As for M*A*S*H at Playhouse South, my big concern is that as it stands now, it appears that the rehearsal period is only three-and-a-half weeks. Now, if this was a professional production with eight-hour rehearsal days, that would be plenty of time. But, with it being a few hours in the evenings, that is not enough time. If the audition dates are correct, then I may not wish to be involved as the production will likely be compromised. I'd love to play either Frank Burns or Trapper John (assuming the play is much like the screenplay), but, I am not sure about involving myself in a community theater production with only a little more than three weeks of part-time rehearsal. I just can't see how that is enough time to get it down well enough.

Then there's Long Day's Journey Into Night, again at the Dayton Theatre Guild. Auditions for this are February 14 and 15. The show is up, starting April 22. The rehearsal period, as I said before, is long, so the director, Michael Boyd, can work on character and text with the cast. This is nine weeks or more of work before the production goes up. I am up in the air about this one. I am very likely far too old for the son, and not likely old enough for the father. Plus, I must admit, I am not at all sure my skill is at the level to take this on. I might just be psyching myself out here. It's not that I don't think I have the talent; it's the experience and discipline I am unsure about. It's an intense play. I will say, that having worked once with Mike as director, I would feel in good hands were I to be cast as James Tyrone. But as I said, I am not too sure I am old enough. Point is, there will be plenty of fine actors actually in the age range who will audition, of that I am certain. James is mid-to-late fifties, at least, and I don't look my forty-six, even with my bald head. At this point, my thought is to audition for Our Town, and if not cast there, go ahead and audition for L.D.J.I.N for the experience of another audition, if for nothing else.




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