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

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Mon, Jan 3, 2005

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BRIEF "2004 YEAR IN REVIEW": This time last year my only recent acting experience was in the short-short DV movie I had shot and edited at the end of 2003. I was, on January 3, 2004, gearing myself to audition for The Cripple of Inishmaan, at The Dayton Theatre Guild. Of course, I was cast, much to my amazement (see the January-March, 2004 page of this blog). So In terms of theatrical involvement, here are the bulletted highlights of my 2004:

  • Cast as Johnny Pateen Mike O'Dougal in The Cripple of Inishmaan.
  • Auditioned but was not cast in the local, short, independent movie, The Conversation.
  • Read the role of Andrey Botvinnik, from a portion of Scene One of A Walk in the Woods, at preview of The Dayton Theatre Guild's 2004/05 season; a night of dramatic readings for the season ticket holders.
  • Was assistant stage manager for Proposals at the Guild.
  • Auditioned but was not cast in The Dayton Playhouse production of Little Shop of Horrors.
  • Was elected as a member at large to The Dayton Theatre Guild Board of Directors, to begin tenure in September 2004.
  • Auditioned for Sordid Lives at the Guild. Was not cast as I had wished, but, did take on a cameo sort of role as the corpse of Peggy Sue for the last scene. Was also the stage manager for the production.
  • Cast as one of the Balladeers in The Diviners at the Guild, along with the very talented Chris Shea.
  • Auditioned but was not cast in the local, short, independent movie, Coming Up For Air.
  • Took on the job of stage manager for the musical, Nutcracker, at the Guild, which was Jocelyn Kandl's debut as a director. Like every other Christmas production in Dayton this year, the audition turn-out was very slim. I was eventually persuaded to switch to performing the role of Godfather Drosselmeier. And, though I really did not want to be in a Christmas musical, I will admit, however begrudgingly, that I enjoyed myself.
  • Auditioned but was not cast in the Guild's upcoming production of A Walk in the Woods -- kind of a bummer, because I so yearned for the role of Andrey, having fallen in love with the character via the dramatic reading earlier in the year. I have agreed to run sound for the show. Unless I get cast in something that interferes, I am still on for that.
  • Took on the job of producer for the upcoming Guild production of Grace & Glorie. Have, in minor ways, already begun that work.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Met a whole very many lot of incredibly talented people (actors, directors, techies, of all ages and sorts), and, made a whole lot of new friends in the world of Theater!

IMPROV WORKSHOP AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: The improv workshop that the Guild is sponsoring will take place on February 5. I have every intention of being one of the participants. As I said, I don't think I will be good at it. My real point is to learn better to be fast on my feet (or start to learn to, would be more accurate). I also want to force myself to lose the inhibitions I do have as well as practice the big risk of being bad in front of an audience. I figure I will pretty much suck -- but, by god, I will suck boldly!

A COUPLE ITEMS ABOUT MY FIRST NOVEL: 1) I have what I think is a much better query letter, directed at literary agents, about the first novel. polished it off this morning before work at the paycheck job. I open it with a small, dramatic portion of the prologue. I follow it with three paragraphs made of a simplified, less-convoluted synopsis and explanation of the story. I'd share it here, but, there are a few spoilers, which, though I think are imperative to share with a potential agent, I don't wish to expose to potential readers.

2) I am however, likely going to include an excerpt from the novel in this upcoming Winter 2004/2005 Literary Update, later this month. I was originally contemplating posting a thirteen-thousand-plus word short story I have been having a hard time finding an outlet for (due to the length), but, since the WriteGallery also has a word-limit far below the story's length, I decided to not post it here -- even if I can pull rank. There is another shorter piece which was published a couple years ago I may use, but, I am looking stronger at a novel excerpt more than any other work by myself.

MOVIE SCREENPLAY: It is on full-tilt-boogie to get the screenplay done. My self-imposed deadline is February 1. I am back to the early morning routine, with that time before work primarily for the screenplay.



Tue, Jan 11, 2005

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MOVIE SCREENPLAY: The process of writing the screenplay has been underway at full speed since the last entry. Mostly that has meant a crash course in the correct format. Where it is true that I will be the director and the producer, I still need to know the proper format for a screenplay. First of all, since this is not a one-time endeavor, it behooves me to get the format down for the future. Also, I will not be making this movie in a vacuum. There will be others involved -- likely some who have worked in the medium before. Seems to me I ought to present them with a script that looks right -- can't see how they will find me credible, otherwise. What's the old adage?: If you wanna be professional, act professional.

I am about to work on the actual screenplay, which I now think I will more loosely base on "Shiloh" than I had originally planned. As I may have stated before, I have decided that the story, as is, is not going to translate well into a visual medium. So the short movie will not closely resemble it. In fact, it's not altogether unlikely that I ultimately end up with a brand new story.

ACTING WORKSHOPS: I am attending two actors' workshops next month. As stated before, The Dayton Theatre Guild is holding the Improv Workshop, and I am doing that on February 5. Sinclair Community College is also holding a Theatre and Dance workshop on February 26, and I sent my registration off yesterday. In that one, I hope to attend a session on "Preparing for the Actors Audition" as well as "Chat with a Working Equity Actor." Those are my top two choices. I am not sure that the auditioning session will thoroughly address the point I am most concerned with: cold readings. But, I still think it will be worth it. If I walk away from each session with only one new good idea or perspective, that's enough to make it worthwhile.

AS FOR UPCOMING AUDITIONS: I will attend the Grace & Glorie auditions next Monday and Tuesday, as producer. And, of course, I am gearing myself up for the auditions the next Monday and Tuesday, for Our Town at The Dayton Playhouse. The "Down Eastern New England" dialect tape is always playing in my car as I drive, and I listen to it at work as much as I can. My own estimate is that I am about seventy-five percent accurate with the accent right now. There are some subtleties of the vowel shifts that I don't have yet. One thing is that I have grown the van dyke goatee back, and if I do get cast as Stage Manager, it will have to go. The director, Adam Leigh plans on the actor who plays Stage Manager to also play a few other roles, one being an old woman. So, the facial hair would have to go. Oh well.

QUERY LETTERS TO AGENTS FOR THE FIRST NOVEL: The next big push is on. I will send ten query letters out to literary agents by the end of this week, then ten a week until I have reach one-hundred sent. Unless of course, I have an agent by then, (ah-hem).

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL!: Well, I just got the letter from the Ohio Arts Council saying that they did not recommend the excerpt from my novel to the final panel for an individual artist's grant. When I accept the Pulitzer for the book, I will have added them to the No-Thanks-To-You list. Not that I would actually read such a list out loud, but, you know, I gotta have one in my head -- it's pure survival for this fragile ego that I am stuck with.



Sun Jan 16, 2005

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MOVIE PROJECT: I am about seven minutes (I.E.: seven pages) into the script. It's very "first draft" -- especially since, after feedback about the treatment, I decided some important changes need to be made. I am not completely sure what those changes should be, but, they'll come. It's likely, half of what I've written these last few days will be cut, too. That's the process. At this point, the screenplay is close to what was in the treatment, but, the story is set up differently, such as, it starts with a scene from thirty years previous, which was a flash-back memory sequence in the treatment. I am in the middle of writing a scene, which is not in the original short story, but does help tell that story. So far I have not put in any new plot elements, nor changed any. I am considering throwing out the scene I am working on now, then writing one later, in a different setting, which will serve the same story purpose.

The other night, at bedtime, I started to read and otherwise glanced through Producing & Directing the Short Film and Video by Peter W. Rea and David K. Irving (Boston: Focal Press, 2001). Also looked through Film Budgeting: Or, How Much Will it Cost to Shoot Your Movie? by Ralph S. Singleton (Los Angeles: Lone Eagle Pub., 1996). The latter focuses more on a bigger budegeted, independent, union film, but, the budgeting principles are there. Of course, I, being from a universe where accounting is an unnatural act, find the whole prospect watching dollars to be daunting. All around, the money is the part that overwhelms me. That I've hardly directed before -- and nothing longer than ten minutes -- does not concern me at all. That, with the exception of an instructional DVD, during college, I have never directed talent, this doesn't worry me, either. I am not intimidated at all that I know nothing about lighting design; besides, there's some kind of a chance that one of my best friends, Dave Sims (who took the photographic inspriation for my poem "Down For Me") will design the lights, and perhaps be gaffer, as well. Raising the money, and handling the money -- these are not skills I excel at. The Rea-Irving book advices against producing if you direct, and I halfway have in my mind that I might, at least, bring in a co-producer, and a person of experience. True, I am "The Producer" for the upcoming Grace & Glorie at the Guild, but, though there is keeping an eye on the budget involved, I do not have to go out and find money.

I'm just in one of those places where it's: Oh, geez! How's this all going to work? I don't have the camera, yet. I have a car that's just about paid off, so, naturally, it's acting like it wants to fall apart and either cost me thousands to fix or force me to get another car. So instead of a signiture loan for a good, high-end DV camera, I probably ought to be prepping myself for another car loan. I need at least one good mic, and lights, and light stands. There's location shooting that will likely require payment for site use. There's food for cast and crew. And I'd actually like to pay the talent and crew, even if it's low pay, even if it's just token. MONEY. It's the MONEY.

The idea of a co-producer looks even better now. Not only because I need someone more comfortable and competant at raising and controling the money, but, also because I could use help getting all the elements of the production together.

But, right now, my job is to finish the screenplay.

PRODUCING GRACE & GLORIE: The job description I was given for a producer at the Guild says that the producer should:

    Work with the director as needed to:
    1. Help find people for show -- onstage and back stage
        Light design and operator
        Sound design and operator
        Set design and construction crew
        Props
        Costumes
        Running crew
        Photographer
        Stage manager
        Lobby display
    2. Schedule pre-show meeting with director, set, lights, sound, costume designers to reach an understanding on who is doing what and how much money there is to spend,
    3. Manage approved budget and expenses.
      Bills go directly to the treasurer, but the producer should know how much is being spent.
    4. Man front desk at auditions.
      Pass out applications, etc.
    5. Make sure that things are getting done:
        Schedule photos for publicity
        Get bios to the program person
        Set
        Publicity
        Show mailer
    6. WORK WITH THE DIRECTOR TO COORDINATE THE TECHNICAL AND PERFORMANCE ASPECTS OF THE SHOW. On-going communication is required.

I've only begun to take on these tasks. I have already goofed. I didn't make sure an announcement about the auditions this Monday and Tuesday (Jan 17 & 18) was sent to Dayton Daily News columnist Terry Morris, for inclusion in his Thursday column -- that being the day he passes on such information. It didn't even dawn on me it should be done.



Tue, Jan 18, 2005

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NEW SCREENPLAY FOR THE MOVIE PROJECT: As I have said, I was having problems finding a way to adapt the story from "Shiloh" into a compelling screenplay. Sunday evening I got an idea for another story, so "Shiloh" is scrapped. I am about five minutes into this new screenplay, but, I have a relatively good idea where the story is going, so, I should be able to meet my self-imposed February 1, deadline. I want to get at least the first draft of the screenplay done so I have it to show potential co-producers. I am writing it with particular cast members in mind, but, am not being too specific with the characters, so as not to limit casting potential.

Since this a new story idea for me, I am hot on it, and think it's great -- but, I always do with the new ones. We have to wait a while and see how I like it later. Having said that, this new story idea is great!

PRODUCING GRACE & GLORIE: Last night was the first night of auditions for this play at the Guild. Turn out was a little small but, as director Fran Pesch said, "I could cast this right now." There were a total of six women who came. Four auditioned for Glorie and two for Grace. The two who auditioned for Grace were Barb Jorgensen and Dutch Waterman, both of whom I have worked with before, and both who would do a fantastic job as Grace. Everyone read well.

ODDS & SODS: The M*A*S*H auditions at Playhouse South were moved to last night and tonight. Unfortunately, since, as producer I must attend Grace & Glorie auditions, that one is counted out for me. I am still gearing for the Our Town auditions at The Dayton Playhouse next Monday and Tuesday. One thing, actor Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) will give a lecture next Tuesday evening in Springfield, Ohio. I am more than a little tempted to attend. I do like attending both nights of an audition if I can, however. It helps the director remember better, as well, I up my odds of a better performance at some point, if I am in the pool of potential cast for a longer period. But, I would like to catch the Astin lecture. Then, again in Springfield, next Thursday (the 27th), Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are doing a night of improv (re: Whose Line Is It, Anyway?). Brad graduated from Wright State University, and I work with a woman whose daughter graduated with him. They will both be there -- on comp tickets -- and whereas I would not have felt right even asking for a comp ticket, I would be okay with having the opportunity to meet both Brad and Colin.



Thu Jan 20, 2005

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SCREENPLAY FOR THE MOVIE PROJECT: The new screenplay is coming along well. I am at page 10 of the first draft, which equates to about the same minutes (about 1 minute of screen time per page). The workshop title is Matched, but I can't imagine it will keep that title.

GRACE & GLORIE: Only two ladies auditioned the second night (last Tuesday). Director Fran Pesch has cast the show now, and Grace, the ninety-year-old mountain woman, will be played by one of the ladies from Tuesday's audition, Jo Bond. I thought she might get the role, as her performance Tuesday was impressive. Ms. Bond has been in a workshop with Michael Kane, and he being one of my favorite actors, I was perhaps biased. But I will tell you that she was mighty impressive. Glorie, the yuppy hospice volunteer, will be played by Debra Kent, one of the four women who read so well on Monday for that role.

A WALK IN THE WOODS: I will be the house host tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon. I also plan to go next Friday, January 28, and sit in the audience. Though, I will pretty much be able to watch the show this weekend.

I was told there's a review in a local paper, but, I haven't found it yet.



Mon, Jan 24, 2005

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OUR TOWN AUDITIONS: Guess I am prepared for tonight's audition, and possibly tomorrow night's *(see next entry). I have not been sweating in the woodshed as I have before. One reason may be that I had studied and prepped for so long for the Andrey role in A Walk in the Woods, then feel like I essentially choked at audition, that I am trying to play it a little cooler this time -- not be cocky or take it for granted, but be more relaxed and not worry myself. I don't know that I have the rural New Hampshire dialect down perfectly, but, I have it well enough. I also don't have the play down perfectly, either, but, I am familiar with it.

SEAN ASTIN: YES -- COLIN MOCHRIE & BRAD SHERWOOD: NO: I was able to secure a seat for the Sean Astin appearance tomorrow night. It's not a great seat but it's not lousy. I am not one-hundred percent sure I will go, I may feel the need to be at the second night of OT auditions. But, I probably am going to see Astin.

Unfortunately, the Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood event on Thursday is sold out. I had an impending auto problem that I knew would need attending to. It finally did and I had to shell out $350, so I needed to wait to buy this ticket. And, when I called the box office, it was too late. Oh well. Shame too, because as I said before, I know the mother of a lady who is a friend of Brad Sherwood's, so I might have been able to meet him and Mochrie.

SCREENPLAY FOR THE MOVIE PROJECT: Not much work done since last entry. I've had other things taking most of my time. But, I am four pages further along (page 14) and I am still happy with what I have so far.



Fri Jan 28, 2005

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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION: Aya. Didn't get cast in Our Town. Would a been fun, but, there ya go. John Bukowski (Ferris Laymen in The Diviners) has been cast as Doc Gibbs, Cynthia Karns (Luella, The Diviners) is Stage Manager, and young Sterling Faust (Sweet Tooth in Nutcracker) is also cast -- congrats to all three!

I am, of course, disappointed, as always when not cast. I ended up not going to the second night of auditions, though it wasn't because I went to see Sean Astin. I actually did not feel well Tuesday so I did none of the three things that were on the plate to do that night: 1) Our Town audition, 2) Sean Astin appearance, 3) Dayton Theatre Guild board meeting. Now I'm into the mind game of Had I gone the second night, would I have been cast? Might make better survival-of-the-ego sense to go ahead and blame that as the reason and move on.

Now I may -- (underline "MAY") -- run sound for Grace & Glorie, since I am free. There is one problem, which is that I am seriously considering an audition *(see next section below) which will take place Monday, February 28, which is the second night of tech week rehearsals for G&G. The person running sound cannot miss any rehearsals once he or she is on board -- the sound cues are too important.

FUTURE AUDITION PLANS: There are, of course, some plays left that I have mentioned before: Jake's Women at Brookville Community Theater, March 1st & 2nd, and An Act of the Imagination at the Guild, April 25th & 26th. I have some reservation about Long Days Journey Into Night, not only because for all practical purposes I am not in the right age range, but, also because director Michael Boyd has schedule a week of rehearsal where the cast needs to be there from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m., and I really want to bank as much of my vacation time for my movie production as I can. I am reluctant to sacrifice the time. But, I have not completely discounted auditioning for this. I could bring off the role of Jamie, as far as the upper end of his age (35).

Then there are the two paying theaters, The Rising Phoenix, in nearby Middletown, Ohio, and Dayton's Human Race Theatre. The Rising Phoenix is having a special audition for Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on February 28. Their general audition for next season is in July, and I have already thought about doing that one. I also have half thought about The Human Race Theatre. My take has been to get cast in a few bigger roles before I go after the professional, Equity theaters.

I mentioned this last idea at a Christmas party last month. Someone there chimed in that he thought there was no reason to wait. His view is, and I have to agree, that he's seen performances as good, and sometimes better, in the Guild space as he sees in the local and not-so-local professional stages. If I am ready to play on the Guild stage, or the Dayton Playhouse stage, then I am ready for The Race or The Phoenix. In theory that makes perfect sense. I must admit a sense of, if not intimidation at the thought, then still some trepidation as to whether I am indeed ready to take to the professional stage. Still, I am more inclined toward auditioning than not. Even if I don't do the special audition for the Coward play, I will likely audition for The Phoenix in July, and The Race has its auditions for next season coming up in late spring or early summer.

If I get cast in at least a substantial supporting role in either of these theaters, I will deem it time to submit my résumé to an agent. I would likely go to the agent that Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts, among others, use.

MOVIE SCREENPLAY: Coming along. The deadline for the first draft is Tuesday (Feb 1) -- we'll see......



Wed Feb 2, 2005

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I HAVE NOT MET MY DEADLINE FOR DRAFT ONE OF THE MOVIE SCREENPLAY: But I am pretty far along and the end is very much in sight. I am hoping it is done in the next few days. As I've said before, I want to have it to show potential co-producers. I also have a few actors in mind who I want to try and get on board, and I want a screenplay to show them. This being Dayton, Ohio, it's not like I will say to a co-producer, or we can say to a potential backer, "We have Lisa Kudrow on board and we're talking to Jude Law...," but I have at least one actor in mind to approach who is getting a name in the area and could lend us some local caché. My reason for the approach has more to do with talent and ability, however. I have, as I think I said before, pretty much cast the script in my head, so I have seen particular actors in all the roles as I have been writing. I have still kept the characters generic enough to not bind them to those actors.

AUDITIONS FOR LONG DAY'S JOURNEY... AND BLITHE SPIRIT: I have done the math and if I were to be cast in Long Day's Journey Into Night and thus had to take a week of vacation for the April all-day rehearsals, I would leave that with almost twenty hours of vacation left, and by the probable earliest point for production of my movie, I'd have close to or a little more than forty hours built up. So, despite that I am rather sure there's not really a part for me, and, that I am a little intimidated by this play, I am likely to audition in two weeks. I also have set an appointment for Feb 28 to audition for Blithe Spirit, so, if L.D.J.I.N. doesn't pan out -- which is really the outcome I expect -- I will head to Middletown and give an English farce a try.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not going to the O'Neill audition with a defeatist's attitude. I will study up and go in there to be cast. I'm not waisting my time or the director's time with a "trial run." And I would absolutely love the challenge of getting cast -- as Jamie I presume; don't know who else. I can't imagine there won't be many age-specific actors of good talent audition for James Sr. And, I can't pull off a mid-twenty Edmund. But, I can pull off an early-to-mid-thirties Jamie. I don't know if Mike Boyd (the director) is going to use New Yorkish dialect, but, I have been listening to the New York dialect tape, and trying on a mild, educated, middle-class New Yorker's accent. . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .too much to do, sometimes. . .

. . . . .too little time to do it. . . . .

. . . have lot's more I wanna write, but, I am dead-ass-tired. . . .



Thu Feb 3, 2005

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IMPROV WORKSHOP THIS SATURDAY: I look forward to the Improv workshop this Saturday. It is a big unknown to me. I did some dramatic improv in a theater class in high school, then, not again until the portion of auditions for The Diviners, which I related here at that time. And none of that was improv for comedy. It's much harder to be funny than dramatic. Notice, in the movie and TV world, how so many more comedians do well in dramatic roles than those known for their dramatic acting, first, are successful in comedic roles? With the possible exception of the art of "crying on cue," it's much harder to be funny on stage than appear sad or angry. My biggest disappointment as Johnny Pateen, in Cripple of Inishmaan, as I have said so many times, was that I did not get the comedic edge into him -- or, more directly, Johnny did not get many laughs that he should have, and that must be the fault of my performance, because he never got them in nine performances.

And Johnny Pateen was with a script and predetermined lines, and some weeks to analyse the scenes and the overall arch of the play. Improv is In The Now, baby.

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY...: Have started to read the play again, and I am studying Jamie's lines s I read. Usually speak them as him when I come to them.

PRODUCING GRACE & GLORIE: Feel a bit like driftwood. Lots to learn about doing this that I don't know. Especially don't have a big network of names to draw from in terms of technical expertise and properties resources. I feel like a couple folk who are old hands at this are in there picking up my slack -- not that I mind; don't want to see the production suffer due to my own green expertise. But, this is the sort of thing I have to know more about. Though, the need for a co-producer for my movie is more clear than ever.



Mon, Feb 7, 2005

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THE SCREENPLAY IS FINISHED!: I am pleased to report that the first draft of the screenplay was wrapped last evening. I was so involved in it, I completely forgot Paul McCartney was doing the half-time show at The Superbowl -- and, anyone who knows me, understands the significance of that.

Right now the screenplay represents about a thirty-minute movie, and I wouldn't want it to go more than that, least not by much. There are 37.25 pages, and with the one minute per page rule, that should be thirty-seven minutes. But I put several pages at closer to thirty seconds.

My next big moves are to, one) go searching for that co-producer; two) start shopping for the high-end DV camera.

Yes, it does have a new title now.

THE IMPROV WORKSHOP WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE!: I attended the Improv Workshop Saturday morning and it was a great, fun time. Jake Lockwood, apart from being a nice guy, was superb at facilitating this small group of mostly nervous participants. It was a small group with mostly young ladies in their teens or early twenties. Jake's mom, Dodie (Eileen in The Cripple of Inishmaan) was one of the group, too. She, of course, is in her THIRTIES, give'r'take. Also there, was Don Smith (G.W. in Sordid Lives). Don and I were two of the three men. A talented fellow name Mike (last name I don't recall) was the third.

Okay, so first, it was much easier than I had been afraid it would not be. That's not to say that it was nothing but brilliant moments from every one. All of us had moments when we just simply choked. But, we all had "brilliant" moments, too. I had few moments I was happy about. I had a many moments when all I could think was, Oh jeez, get me outta this! I am stalled up here and this is at a dead end! The solace is that this was the same for everyone. And I actually was funny much more than I thought I would be; not that I was Ryan Stiles or Colin Mochrie, but, I had a couple genuinely funny moments.

Jake had us start with exercises to help us bond a little and to get into the habit of listening to each other. (Yet, I remember virtually no names from the morning!!) In one game, each person introduced them self with a made-up name, then pointed to someone else who had to come up with what the first person did, using the first letter of each name.

For instance, I might say "My name is Ted Turner, and I..." and the person I point to might finish it with "Tickle tarantulas." It didn't have to make sense. In fact, if you got the letters wrong, like Tickled Pickles for Ted Turner, that was okay, too. Just move on and forget it.

We also played the game. as they do on Whose Line Is It, Anyway?, where we tell a story by each adding the next word. And a couple other games, just to get the group bonded and comfortable with each other.

The actual improv setups were two people (except a couple times when it was three). The idea was always to let the audience know who the two characters were, where they were, and what they were doing. First setup the rest of the group gave the two on stage one of the three elements, the particular element given was at the discretion of the two who were on the spot. Then the two did three lines total: first one speaks, second one replies, first one speaks again.

When I went up it was with Don, and the group (actually, Dodie) gave us the element that we were twin brothers. So it went like this from there:

    We stand next to each other and look down in front of ourselves.

    Me: "Momma looks almost alive."

    Don: "Maybe she is alive."

    Me (with my hands on my hips): "Mamma! You playing another of your damn jokes?"

Then we did it again, but, without any elements given to us from the group. This time one of the two standing up there gave the scenario to the other, and that one did a lone improv. Then the two switched. This happened to end up being me and Don again. I gave Don that he was a cop, just promoted to Sergeant, in a town where everyone else was a woman. He did a funny routine about being sure he was going to "get sum tonight!" He gave me that I was ice fishing in Alaska (I think it was Alaska). I squatted and held my imaginary pool over my imaginary hole in the ice. I shivered and exclaimed, "Jeez." Then I sort of peaked around in the hole. What was really going on was I was desperately trying to think of something to say. Not a damn thing was coming to me. So, just to further the action, I pretended to put my hand in the water in the hole. Then, I suddenly decided something grabbed my hand and jerked me down. I yelled, "JEEZ!" and that was the end of the improv. So, that was me being lame.

We also did a setup called Yes, And. The idea is to build upon whatever your partner has just done. You say, "Yes, and..." yadda yadda yadda. It was important to keep it "Yes, and..." rather than gravitate to "Yes, but...."

We did one where we tried to be as active as we could be. At some point someone yelled, "freeze," and the two on stage froze in place. The person who yelled, "freeze," took one of the two people's spots -- an position -- then the action started but the scene was changed to something different.

It was all great fun and the basic fundamentals I took from the morning:

  1. Find the humor in the situation -- don't worry about "telling jokes."
  2. Don't negate the reality your partner has defined -- go with it and add to it.
  3. Be a partner not a leader -- don't try to steer the skit where you want it to go; let it be a collaboration between you and your partner or partners.
  4. Listen and be open to directions which hadn't occurred to you.
  5. The less you worry about being wrong, the better your ability to create will be.
  6. Have fun.

There was likely more, but, that's what I remember the most.

HENNI FISHER AND KIM REITER IN ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE: I saw these two ladies, both of whom I have had the privelege to work with, last Saturday night. They were both nothing less than superb. Henni was Patsy Cline, and there were moments, hell, whole songs, where she had Cline's vocal style and phraseology down to a tee. Kim was Patsy's number-one fan, Louise Seger, and she was so funny. I was rolling in the isles, along with the rest of the audience. I was simply impressed as impressed can be. The show was at The Dayton Playhouse, and Greg Smith directed -- as usual his strong, excellent director's touch was all over the show.

A WALK IN THE WOODS LAST WEEKEND: By-the-way, I forgot to say that I saw Gil Martin and Saul Caplan in A Walk in the Woods, last week. Was a good show. The two had good chemistry together.

GRACE & GLORIE PRODUCER PROBLEM: I still have not found anyone to run sound for the show. I really want to find someone; I don't want to run it. If I get cast in Long Day's Journey... I want G&G Tech Week open, in case there is L.D.J.I.N. rehearsals then. And if I am not cast, as I said before, I have an appointment to audition for Blithe Spirit in Middletown, which is the Monday of G&G Tech Week -- and I could not miss that G&G rehearsal if I am on sound. But, if I gotta run the sound, I gotta run the sound. Duty calls.



Sat Feb 12, 2005

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POSSIBLE VOICE-OVER GIG FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING: The local public broadcasting television station, Channel 16, WPTD, is looking for some people to do dramatic voice-overs for a documentary about the Dayton flood of 1913. I have been in contact with someone from the station, but don't have the particulars from the producer yet.

EMILY'S BOYS: Went to a literary reading this afternoon by a writers group named "Emily's Boys" -- ala: Dickensen. Use to be in another writers group with two of its four members, Jim Hughes, who was one of my English professors in college, and Tom Schaefer. They read work by others, including Ms. Dickensen and Langston Hughes; started off with Walt Whitman. Of course, they read their own works, too. Even invited me read something. I read a short flash fiction piece which has not yet been published. Gave Jim Hughes a copy of the screenplay, too.

While at the reading I met the director of the forthcoming production of Fools at the Beavercreek Community Theater. She is Teresa Connair. She was inviting all us others there to the show. I was already planning to attend as Jim Lockwood is in it. I mentioned that Jake Lockwood was Dodie's son, but, he is also Jim's son. Teresa, by-the-way, knows Jake from college. I mention this to only again illustrate how small the art world in Dayton is.

GRACE & GLORIE: Still have not found anyone to run sound for the show. Still desperate to do so.



Mon, Feb 14, 2005

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LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT AUDITIONS TONIGHT AND TOMORROW NIGHT: Don't know if I'm ready for this or not. I have felt pretty good about my prep readings.

VOICE-OVER GIG FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING: There has been no follow-up from the WPTD staffer or the producer of the documentary.

GRACE & GLORIE: Still no sound and light runners confirmed, but at least one possibility has arrived.

A TIP FROM BRUCE CROMER: Actor Bruce Cromer just gave me the tip of a good book about auditions, oddly enough entitled, Audition, by Michael Shurtleff. Bruce uses it in his acting classes at Wright State. It will shortly be in my personal library.



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LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT AUDITIONS LAST NIGHT: Well, I am not sure at all what to think. Mike only read me once, as the father, James. I put down that he could read me for it if he wished, but, really, I am so far out of type.

That he did not read me once as Jamie: I'm not at all sure what it means.

It may mean he already knows what I can do, so was reading others with whom he isn't as familiar -- except that he read a couple actors, I know he's directed before, several times. It may mean he thinks I am too old for Jamie. It may mean nothing. I have hardly a clue, yet, a bit of a fear it's that he doesn't see me pulling off mid-thirties (the upper end of the Jamie age range). I believe I can pull it off.

I do know that I did not read well as James, but, really, my heart was not in it. I would love the chance to at least read for Jamie. I will be there tonight, because, if I'm not going to be cast, it's not going to be because I didn't show up.



Wed Feb 16, 2005

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LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT TUESDAY NIGHT AUDITIONS: Yeah -- I don't think there's any need to cancel my audition on Feb 28 for Blithe Spirit, least not on account of my just current audition. I am not getting cast in Long day's....

Did not get to read for Jamie last night, either. Read once for James, but, that was more of a I need someone to fill that chair while I hear these other people thing. Which, to be honest, I don't mind doing. But, it is clear that what I was not willing to completely acknowledge yesterday is the truth of the matter: the director saw me as too old for Jamie. Well, it is his vision and his show.

The weird thing here is that, though I do get disappointed when not cast, I do not get that reaction I have when my creative writing is not accepted. I get angry at the editor, even if for only a short period of moments. My reaction is chemical. Maybe the fact that I am in the room with the director when I audition, that he or she is a face and a voice, that makes it more difficult for me to feel that instant animosity for their having been born. Plus, now, in some cases they are people I have become friends with to one extent or another -- they have often been people I have worked with before on at least one production.

To be philosophical, I really did not believe I had much of a chance of being cast in this play, anyway. Still, am I going to pass up the opportunity to go for it? Yeah, yeah: once I decided to try, I had this part of me that hoped the probable outcome would not be. And there's a little voice in my head that's saying right now, You're jumping the gun. callbacks are Saturday, and you may get a phone call today and be requested for this weekend. But, really! Well, there is no false hope, just hope or no hope. Ahh, the head games -- the actors reading this are all nodding their heads and smiling (or chuckling).

It is always good to practice auditioning. And, once again, I am put in touch with the fact that I am not good at cold reading. It is an art I have yet to master, whatsoever.

Quite a few people whom I know auditioned, most notable for me was Greg Smith (who directed Cripple of Inishmaan, Proposals, and Sorted Lives, and of course, many many others before I came on the scene, not to mention the just closed Always... Patsy Cline). Matt Smith (Crippled Billy from that Inishmaan play) auditioned, as well as Barb Coriell (Cripple and the director of A Walk in the Woods). Gil Martin, who won the role in A Walk in the Woods that I hoped for, also was there, and I actually thought we would make a good James and Jamie. Craig Roberts (Cripple, Proposals, Diviners) was there. So was Bradley Kasch (Diviners). Cynthia Karns (Sorted Lives, Diviners, and currently in rehearsal for Our Town) was there. Others whom I've seen on stage and some I've heard about.

FEB 18, 2005 ADDENDUM: Doh!! I forgot to mention Chris Shea, my singing partner in The Diviners!

Okay, I guess even without me the show will do all right.

So, I start studying my Standard British Accent tape and reading me some Noel Coward.

OTHER STUFF: Still no news on the Dayton Flood documentary voice-over gig. Looks like I have a light runner secured for Grace & Glorie; have a possible for sound, too. I am frantically squeezing any time I can to get this damned Winter 2004/2005 Literary Update, for the web site proper, edited, coded, and posted. It's already almost two months delayed. Now you know why the lit updates are going on hiatus again.



Thu Feb 17, 2005

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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION

No surprise.

I have a light runner for Grace & Glorie, and I may have the all-important sound runner. This is important so that I can audition for Blithe Spirit on Feb 28. May also still audition for Jake's Women either Tuesday, March 1, Wednesday, March 2, or both. All this contingent on not having to pull sound duty for G&G.

IDEA FOR MOVIE PRODUCTION: A friend has suggested I look into finding a grant (or grants) to help finance the movie, which is a plausible idea. I really want to pay the talent and the crew, even if it's just a stipend. I wish to pay them at least something for their efforts. Plus, there's renting locations, etc., perhaps some costs for properties.



Wed Feb 23, 2005

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GRACE & GLORIE PRODUCTION: Things are falling into place, if much of it is in "the eleventh hour." Have both the techies that we need, one brand new to the Guild. Our sound person has worked one other time at the Guild, on sound during The Diviners. We have the set to finish, this Saturday -- just in time for Tech Sunday!! -- and there are a few technical needs for the set, yet to be worked out -- how to light the smoke powder inside the old fashion wood stove, on cue; a working hand water pump. But, I have a feeling it will come together just fine. I shot a small amount of footage, last night, with my mini-DV camcorder to get some publicity stills. Can't say they are the greatest, but, they're okay for a start. Going to do it again tonight.

FRIENDS IN SHOWS: Tomorrow I am going to see Jim Lockwood in Neil Simon's Fools being produced by Beavercreek Community Theatre. Jim, of course, was Dr. McSherry in The Cripple of Inishmaan. Sara Gomes (Jenny Mae in The Diviners and Princess Perlipat in Nutcracker) is opening in Oedipus Rex at Rising Phoenix Friday evening. Some of us Diviners/Nutcracker folk are dropping in. Saturday I go to the theatre workshops at Sinclair Community College, then see Trojan Women there, afterward. A friend, fellow DTG board member, Lisa Sadai, whom I have not worked with, yet, is in that production. Bradley Kasch is Radar in M*A*S*H, and that is about to go up, too. So I hope to see that in the next few weeks.

SORDID LIVES RIDES AGAIN!: Greg Smith has been pushing the idea for months that we revive Sordid Lives during the summer. As he put it last night: "Let's ring every dime out of this that we can." It was a big money maker. All but two people are able to do it. I have committed with the caveat that I might be involved with principal photography for my movie -- but, I believe I couched it thus -- "if a strange miracle occurs." The summer run would go up July 8 and close July 24. Since I hope to shoot mine in June, this really isn't a direct problem.

AS FOR THE MOVIE PROJECT: Ahh, who knows. Trying to figure out the best way to go co-producer shopping.

UPCOMING AUDITIONS: Prepping myself for both Blithe Spirit and Jake's Women. I am quite happy I do not have to commit to run sound for G&G. I am taking next Monday off, before Blithe Spirit. I need to spend some time before then focusing on the two short monologues. I am not sure what the second will be, but, the first is Johnny Patten Mike's first big monologue from Cripple -- well, a portion there of. I have a couple other monologues in mind, including Jamie Tyrone's drunken one from toward the end of Long Day's Journey Into Night. Since I wasn't afforded the opportunity last week to show I could pull jamie off, this is my prime candidate for the second monologue. I may also do a specific monologue by C.C. Showers in The Diviners. I used it for the audition for Coming Up For Air in November, and the director responded well to it. I think it came close to getting me the role, but, scheduling conflicts between his principal photography and Nutcracker performances took me out of running anyway. I am also taking Tuesday off to prep for Jake's Women -- unless by Tuesday evening I know I am cast in Blithe Spirit -- that is to say, I won't audition for the second one. Probably would still be taking Tuesday off and prepping; I doubt I'd know in time to cancel.

And, gee, what would happen if, later in the week, I was stuck with the terrible dilemma of choosing which casting offer to accept. Kind of problem I wouldn't mind -- but, don't really look for happening.

By the way: Greg Smith has been cast as James Tyrone and Chris Shea is Jamie in Long Day's Journey Into Night. Congrats to both!!



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BLITHE SPIRIT AUDITION: Auditioned at The Rising Phoenix last night and, though I don't have a strong feel for whether I am a serious contender, I am happy with my audition. I also should say I don't have one of those the-writing's-on-the-wall forbodings that my last two auditions gave me, just before I was not cast.

The theatre workshop I attended last Saturday, at Sinclair Community College, was of good help to me. Fact is, it was fortuitous that I attended the audition workshop Saturday, before I did the audition Monday (last night). The audition was one which asks for two contrasting monologues (each of one minute or less) and there were a few details I did not know and would have walked in there ignorant of, had I not been at Sinclair two days earlier. First thing I learned was how important it is to properly slate yourself -- to slate means to announce to the director (or whomever) who you are and what you will be performing. Important is to let "them" see a positive and confident you, who will be fun and easy to work with, and to be sure there is a clear demarcation between you (the actor) and the character(s) you portray in performance. Also, give yourself breathing room as far as the time limit. Leave time to allow for a laugh or two from the observers, or, to let yourself recover a line you having trouble remembering. I did two, one minute monologues, but, they were really both about forty-five seconds. Usually, when your times up, those who are auditioning you will stop you, even in mid sentence. This information helped tremendously and made my audition last night much better. I spent all of yesterday afternoon rehearsing the entire prepared audition in front of my camcorder, and I used a mercilessly critical eye on each playback, and I utilized the wisdom from the workshop.

I did a Johnnypateen monologue, his first one, which is exposition about the American film makers coming to the islands to make a movie. I ended up choosing another monologue from The Diviners than I had said earlier I might use. I ended up using a Ferris Laymen monologue where he speaks of his deceased wife. It was a much better choice to have this low-key, heartfelt dialogue coming from this sensible, home-spun man juxtaposed against Johnnypat's over-the-top hyperbalics. When I auditioned for The Diviners I had felt Ferris' sadness as I spoke the lines. As I rehearsed it for last night's audition, I did not. But, funny thing is, as I stood in front of the director -- and I assume, the producer -- I again felt the man's mourning. I was pleased.

I did get the callback, which was immediately after the general auditions. I did well enough. I felt I might have been a tad toward the cliché end of the spectrum from time to time, but, as it is a comedy, that may not be an awful thing. I left, in the air: no feeling I am a shoe in, nor, that I am counted out.

The dilemma here is that I may not know until Friday: see next section.....

JAKE'S WOMEN AUDITION TONIGHT -- AND, TOMORROW NIGHT?: So, now, I go to an audition not knowing whether I can accept the role, if offered. I contacted the director, Saul Caplan, and told him I am up for Blithe Spirit and may not know if I am free and clear until Friday. I said I intended to go tonight's audition, but, if I have not heard by tomorrow evening about the other show, I will pull my name from consideration for Jake's Women. Saul would be able to cast his show before Friday, and it is not reasonable to expect him to hold off on that. Not to suggest that I'm so brilliant he would have a conundrum, but, I have no business expecting such consideration. Saul told me to show up tonight and "let the chips fall where they may."

Seen several friends in several plays recently, but, time is tight today -- hell, recently -- so I'll discuss it all later.



Fri Mar 4, 2005

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At the moment, it's Friday morning. I will be adding to this entry in spurts, throughout the day -- brief sanity moments as I pause during the paycheck job.

AUDITION FOR INDEPENDENT FILM: Next Saturday, March 12, director Mark Archer is holding open auditions in Dayton for several supporting roles for his independent feature film Paper Dolls. One of the types he's looking for is "one male age 35-45 for a supporting role," according to the Dayton Daily News. Oh, uh, will I be auditioning -- um. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . YEAH.

The movie will be shot next summer for a planned 2006 release. Looks like much of it will be shot in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but, some may be shot in Dayton. As Archer is quoted in today's Dayton Daily News: "The fact that we're holding auditions in Dayton is a pretty clear indicator that we're leaning pretty heavily toward shooting some of it in Dayton."

There are considerations for me. But, none that I see as an opstical. Least major: Next Saturday is the two performance day for Grace & Glorie and I am the "feed the cast and crew between the shows" guy. But, the movie casting call ends at 5:00, and the first G&G performance will end at about 7:10. So, that is doable -- besides, I don't have to be the one who gets the food there, I just have to be the one who makes sure the meal happens. The other big consideration is my movie.

At this point, by mid-June, I'll have fifty-three hours of vacation time to use as needed, and will earn a little more than another half work-day every two weeks. I have no clue what would be the production demands of the supporting role in the movie, whether all that role would be shot in Dayton or some in Indiana, or, when it would be shot (rehearsed): any earlier than August? weekends? daytime?. I could promise the director close to two weeks of vacation time by mid-August, if I spend none on my movie. That would likely mean production of mine would have to postponed some. But, really, It's March 4, June is three months away. To be into principal photography by then, I'll have to have found a co-producer, found some money, bought the high-end DV camera, found a crew, found locations, and assembled the cast. Not that it can't be done, but, I need to be wise enough to not feel like a failure if I am not shooting in June. Besides, I am not cold to the idea of producing and directing mine after I have been on the Paper Dolls production, where that if such comes to be.

I am, of course, sure that virtually every male actor in the area who fits the type and could commit will be there. But, so, oh well. Competition is surely to be tight. But, we go back to the main principle: My odds of being cast if I don't audition are a guaranteed zilch.

BLITHE SPIRIT: Well, it's early afternoon as I write this part, and there still is no word from the director on casting.

JAKE'S WOMEN: Last Tuesday's audition for this went well enough, I suppose. I am not sure I was brilliant, but, it wasn't a bad audition. I happened to be the only man who showed that night, so I got to read all night, which helped me to begin getting comfortable with scenes and to try different things -- it also allowed Saul Caplan to see me getting comfortable with scenes and trying different things. He did give me a couple directions that I don't belive I executed well (one, I think, was a slight misunderstanding on my part, as it seems clear he wanted something a little more "pronounced." Still, if I didn't leave feeling "great" about the audition, I did leave feeling at least "okay" about it.

GRACE & GLORIE OPENING NIGHT, TONIGHT: The show opens tonight. Went to the last two dress rehearsals, Wednesday and last night. There were a few spurts and sputters. So much of this particular production has been eleventh hour. The set was finished later than I've ever seen. Lights and sound design were still being set as tech week began. There's been anxiety and frustration. But, I have a feeling there will be magic tonight and that it will all pull together.

-- got blog stuff, galore, to play catch-up on. Will get to it as soon as there's time to sit down and write more than a two-dimensional journal entry



Tue, Mar 8, 2005
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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION

Heard through the grapevine, just before Grace & Glorie's curtain, opening night, Friday, that the cast list for Jake's Women was out, and I was not on it. When I got home, I had an email from Rising Phoenix thanking me for my audition and stating that those who were cast in Blithe Spirit had been notified by phone.

I know Saul Caplan (Jake's Women director), to some extent, so, taking the advice Tosha (Natasha) Randall gave me a few months back, I emailed him and asked him what were the weaker points of my audition for Jake. He responded with a nice and reaffirming email where he said there really were no weaknesses in my audition "to speak of." He said he had narrowed it down to me and two others. "You all had your strengths; you all had your drawbacks and I had a plethora of riches," he wrote. He said he made his final decision based heavily on physical features, but, told me, " If we had only had the one night of auditions then certainly I would have cast you, and not been unhappy about it. Together I'm confident that we could have put together a fine Jake."

Good stuff to know -- but, man, Jake is such a sweet role. I congratulate Alex Carmichal on being cast. I saw Alex read for The Diviners, during those auditions, so I know the guy is an impressive actor. I just don't know his last name, at the moment. Two female actors who auditioned also told me at the G&G opening night that I auditioned well.

THEATRE PRODUCTIONS I'VE ATTENDED RECENTLY: As stated in a recent entry, I've seen a few productions lately, most with friends or acquaintances in the casts.

First: Tartuffe at Wright State University. February 19 I saw this performed in the Festival Theatre, in the Creative Arts Center -- you remember the Creative Arts Center? -- from the beginning of this blog? And that theatre is the same theatre where I saw Malcolm Getz in October of 2003, the night before I could no longer deny that I need to be an actor. But, I digress. This production of Tartuffe was enjoyable with several impressive performances. Nick Verina was excellent in the title role. I was also most impressed with Lauren Gribble as Mariane and Claire Kennedy as Dorine. I found fault, in fact, with none on stage. Diane Taveau (Lavonda in Sorted Lives at the Guild) was an understudy and played a party attender in Act I Scene 1. However, she could have portrayed any of the principal women with ease. A fellow audience member felt the set was too upper-class, that the household should have been less aristocratic. I don't know enough of the play, nor of playwright Molière to agree or disagree with that assessment. I enjoyed my evening, though.

Next: Oedipus Rex at Rising Phoenix, with Sarah Gomes as Greek Chorus member 1, on February 24. I liked this production, too. Sarah was superb in her role, along with her two chorus partners Ian Hayes and Ron Brown -- Ron, making his acting debut here. As Oedipus, actor Martin Andrews was nothing less than gripping. The set was a modern alley with the characters in modern garb. Director Christine Brunner did not mess with the language of the play, keeping the traditional translation, rather than modernizing the dialogue. At one point, a Chorus passage was performed in a delivery approximating hip-hop. Though, I would not say it came anywhere close to falling flat, I can't say it was the highlight of the show for me, either. It wasn't the execution by Sarah and her mates that didn't work for me, it was the concept itself. Still, that is a pretty minor criticism, and I, again, enjoyed my evening.

Then: the next night, part of that theatre workshop at Sinclair Community College, was a ticket to that evening's performance of Trojan Women, which had, also in that Greek Chorus, as Nadira, Elizabeth Wilamaitis, who auditioned for The Diviners. And though not cast there, I remember she gave a good reading. Again, I liked the production. The breakout performance for me in this one was Amy Hamilton as Cassandra. She walked that tight rope of playing the insane perfectly. She was not too far over the top nor was she too subtle. And she changed gears abruptly with precise measure. She was the highlight of a good cast. Elizabeth also did a fine job, along with her many Chorus partners. This time the set was kept mostly traditional, as was the language. The soldiers were in modern American military dress and the women were dressed as Saudi Arabians. The back drop of the city also reminded one of Baghdad. And women laid an Iraqi flag over the corpse of young Astyanax (Benjamin T. Sadai, the son of fellow Guild board member and actress Lisa Sadai), while what sounded to me like Hebrew music played.

Last: just this weekend, I saw Uncle Vanya, again at Wright State. This time I knew no one in the cast, though I recognized one actor from the gym. Bruce Cromer was the faculty member who directed the show. And, still yet, another good show. Jason Bobb (as Vanya) was especially hilarious in the Act II scene where the character loses his temper at the professors announcement that he is selling the estate.

OPENING WEEKEND FOR GRACE & GLORIE: Friday night, the performances from the ladies went well, but, we did have a few technical problems. The show was overall much better Saturday. Don't know about the Sunday show. Between personal business and attendance at Uncle Vanya I missed it.

My big panic, as producer, came last Thursday, when it occurred to me that I was likely the one who should contact the lady who always caters the opening night gala, after the shows. It's always hors d'ouerves based somehow in context with the play. Well, I had not contacted her and I was sure there were no plans for the gala. So I started working my contingency plan in case I was right. As it turned out, she was on top of it. So, now, I have some proscuto in the trunk of my car (there's proscuto in a scene in Act II).



Thu Mar 10, 2005

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PREP FOR PAPER DOLLS AUDITION: I am not sure what I will use for the one-to-two-minute monologue on Saturday. I may use a monolgue from the end of Jake's Women. My instincts tell me neither one that I used for the Blithe Spirit audition will be appropriate here. I'd do the Jaime monologue from Long Day's Journey... except that I don't have immediate access to the play. Couldn't get it until probably Monday. Whatever my choice is, I need to start rehearsing it tonight.

I also don't have a headshot printed at the moment. I'll probably print one at Meijer. The problem there is that, though it is convenient, they do not alway give you a good quaility print.

And man, would I love to have on my résumé that I'm currently in rehearsal for a professional theatre gig (IE: Blithe Spirit).

As for other auditions, of course, I will be auditioning for An Act of the Imagination next month at the Guild.



Sat Mar 12, 2005

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TODAY'S PAPER DOLLS AUDITION: It starts last night with the prep and rehearsal for the audition. I had checked a small hand full of plays out of the library, Three One Act Plays by Jason Miller (It's a Sin To Tell a Lie, Circus Lady, and Lou Gehrig Did Not Die of Cancer), In My Mind's Eye by Doug Haverty, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Richard Abbott, and, again, Lee Blessing's A Walk In the Woods. Plus, I still had a collection of Neil Simon plays, which includes Jake's Women. I just walked into the play collection at the library and quickly browsed. The Blessing's play was, of course, because I happened across it, not at all a random choice. I narrowed it down to a passage from A Walk... and one from Jake's Women. Ironically, The Walk one was a John Honeyman monologue, rather than Andrey, because of the nature of this audition. A general middle-aged American is a better choice than an older Russian. I finally settled on the Jake monologue, however. It was a calmer, subtler piece, and I decided I wanted to act for the camera. And, in retrospect, I think it was perhaps the right choice, or, at least, a good choice. I wanted the director to see I can have that subtler presence the camera desires.

I could be completely off base, though, for all I know.

So, last night I learned the words, and began the process of rehearsing it before the camera. I got a little tense, after a while. Kept making really silly, sloppy mistakes. So, I went to bed and put myself to sleep going over the monologue in my head. This morning, when I woke up, a little after 5:00, I was fresh to it and was able to do something approximating "perfecting" the performance. The monologue is technically written to be spoken by Jake to the theatre audience, conversational, but, leaning toward presentational in style. The words do lend themselves to a more intimate conversational performance,and that was my goal. By my last rehearsal this morning, I was there. I am pretty sure that was what I did for the director's camera at the audition.

Yes, as would be expected, the monologue audition was performed for the camera as a screen test; we are talking about casting for a movie. And, I feel good about my performance. Once again, I don't think "fabulous," "striking," or "brilliant," are words that come into play, but, I didn't tank it as I have before.

What are my chances? Beats the hell outta me! No clue! If I am not cast -- and let's be real, the odds are that I will not be -- at least it won't be because I sucked. And if nothing else, I made it through a professional audition for a film with success. I did a decent job, gave a good performance. I'd love to know about any weaknesses in the audition, but, am not sure I would have access to the director to find out.

Shortly before I went in to test, Greg Smith arrived. It's good to see Greg acting again -- actually, with the exception of his audition for Long Day's Journey... I have never seen him act. I look forward to his James Tyrone and think it would be cool if we both were cast in this movie.

DIM-WITTED STUPIDITY AT WALMART, BY WALMART: If you are an actor with a CD-ROM full of professionally shot head shots, don't bother going to Walmart to get a print for your next audition. The management and employees of Walmart are too ignorant to know that the copyrights on those pictures have reverted back to you from the photographer. Yesterday, I was denied a print because I didn't have a legally unnecessary copyright release from the photographer, whose assistant told me later in the day, they were about fed up with Walmart's over-zealous nonsense. Well, I am finished with Walmart. I will not spend one red cent in any configuration owned by that corporation.

You can do what you want. I'll never darken their doors again.



Fri Mar 18, 2005

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IS IT "ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION?":

I don't know for sure. As I write this it's morning. I have not received a callback for the Paper Dolls movie. I'd bet, I would have by now if I were going to get one. But, then again, maybe not. I am proceeding under the assumption I will not get a callback. There's nothing in the immediate future that is a conflict to pursue even if I were all-the-way-to cast in the film. I don't see it happening, however.

I am auditioning for An Act of the Imagination at The Guild, either way. That show is up in June, and the movie (which I doubt I will need worry about) is shooting in August, or later.

DAYTON THEATRE GUILD LINE-UP FOR 2005/06 APPROVED THIS WEEK: We approved the line-up for the 2005/06 season, last Tuesday at the board meeting. I have already gotten hold of four of the six plays, and have another on its way from a book seller. Haven't been able to get access to the last one, but, it's an all-woman cast, anyway. As an interested board member, I still want to read it. Until the season has been officially announced, I won't list the plays here. But, I will be reading them, with an eye on roles I am good for.

CLOSING WEEKEND FOR GRACE & GLORIE, AND A GOOD REVIEW IN THE DAYTON CITY PAPER: Tonight marks the start of the last weekend for G&G. I haven't been at every show, but I've been at several and they have went well (with a few small burps here and there). The feedback from the audiences has been good. They've been liking the show.

Russell (Florence Jr) gave the show a good review in this past Wednesday's Dayton City Paper, saying that "Jo Bond and Debra A. Kent are well-cast by director Fran Pesch." He writes later, "Funny and heartwarming, Grace & Glorie is such an enjoyable showcase for Bond and Kent."

I congratulate the ladies on this fine and well-deserved response to their work.

At least for the time being, you can find the whole review by clicking here.

PRE-PRODUCTION FOR MY MOVIE: Okay, maybe, "pre-pre-production" is a better term -- or pre-pre-pre. I've been creating a few production documents: 1) cast of characters list; 2) Exterior locations and Interior set sheets (actually the interiors will be location sets) -- I'm not using sound stages, though I will need a studio for one brief scene; 3) a list of the crew positions and duties. That last list is taken from information about bigger productions. so, some duties won't be necessary and others will be done by one person in my production rather than the two or three people as on the list. I'll likely have an AD (assistant director) as opposed to a First AD, Second AD, and Second Second AD. What I am doing with these documents is getting together some organized documentation to present to potential co-producers. And, as I look at all the things that need done for the production, a June shoot seems less and less likely.



Tue, Mar 22, 2005

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RAMBLINGS: This apparently is a section where I play the apologist. I want to answer a few observations that I believe (hope) are off the mark.

Someone approached me a few months ago, before opening curtain of a play we were both attending, and ask me about how I had "whined on a web site about not being cast as Brother Boy" in Sordid Lives. My immediate response was that I certainly had not whined about it. But, then I got to thinking, could my words about it here (this had to be the web site) have been interpreted as such? Well, I went back and looked at all the entries. I came to the conclusion, which I hold fast to, that what I have written about it does not merit being called whining in any reasonable reading. I certainly said I was disappointed; that would be because, well, I was disappointed. See, that's what happens when an actor much desires a particular role then does not win that role: he or she is disappointed. That is no sour grapes to those who did the casting nor toward the actor who did win.

Since I have been back to acting, and had the fortunate happenstance to get cast the very first audition I went to, I have lost many roles, in Little Shop of Horrors, Sordid Lives (though I did cameo as the corpse of Peggy Sue), A Walk in the Woods, Our Town, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Blithe Spirit, Jake's Women, not to mention two short, independent movie productions, The Conversation and Coming Up For Air. I was, to one degree or another, disappointed at not being cast in each and every of these. I know I would have done a good job in every one of them. But, that does not suggest I think those who won the roles I sought would not -- or did not do the roles justice. In fact, I've seen some great work from some of those who beat me out.

John Michael Lander as Brother Boy is a prime example of this idea. Now, I will very much admit that during auditions I did not believe he had as good a take on Brother Boy as I did, and I still think so, today. However, the Brother Boy he presented the audience on opening night was a strong one. He played the role different than I would have. Of course he did. He's not me and I'm not him. We are two different actors and two different men. When I read the play, I liked Brother Boy the most, thought he was the most admirable character, even more so than Ty, who is the other likable one -- though Wardell does redeem himself in what can be called Act II. John Michael gave Brother Boy a strong humanity and decency, which made Brother Boy far more than just a comic element. I think Del Shores wrote Brother Boy that way, but, it would have been easy for an actor to lose that ingredient in the midst of all of Brother Boy's comedic bits. John Michael made humanity the foundation of his Brother Boy and thus gave a performance I admired much.

The other big example is Gil Martin as Andrey Botvinnik in A Walk in the Woods, the role I wanted more than any other I have gone after thus far. There is a bigness to Gil's presence on stage that I don't think will ever be a part of whatever magic I end up developing for myself (if I ever accomplish such a thing). As I am sure I would have done at least "well" as Brother Boy, I know I would have brought off a good Andrey. My Andrey would have been much different than the one Gil gave the audience, however. His was a broad stroke, very much a robust Russian portrayal we have seen many times, and with that big presence Gil has to offer. Had I tried to play Gil's Andrey, I would have failed. I would have had to play him as more of a mischievous imp with a gleam in his eye, a Russian Yoda prankster if you will. In the auditions, I very consciously steered away from a stereotypical Russian, and frankly would not have been happy playing it had I been cast. This is in no way an aspersion on Gil's work, his work was simply wonderful.

Onward now: I recently received an email from a fellow actor, responding to the blog, who told me I do what all actors do: "cry bitterly for a moment or two, impugn the director's casting abilities and obvious failure to recognize brilliance, and then move on." Thing is, I don't think I do this. My take is that, though I express my frustrations and disappointments, I am a good sport about it. I suppose one could read the entries about the audition process for Long Day's Journey.... as "crying bitterly, then impugning the director's casting abilities and obvious failure to recognize brilliance." It was not my wish to convey these things, however. I certainly was unhappy that director Michael Boyd did not read me as Jamie even once. He did, however, say to the room, at the start of both audition sessions, "If I don't read you in a part you've put down, it's because I don't see you in that role based on those who are here." So, it became clear to me that based on who all was there, he did not see me physically as fitting into his vision of the Tyrone family. I did not nor do not hold that against him. I, of course, wish he'd had a vision that would accommodate consideration of me as Jamie, but, he didn't, and that's that. When I wrote in this blog on Feb 16, "it is his vision and his show," that was meant as a statement, an acknowledgement that I understand those facts. It was not intended to be read as ironic or sarcastic.

RAMBLINGS (PART 2): A year ago this month, I was performing in the first show of my return to acting, The Cripple of Inishmaan. I had no idea then how far into the Dayton Theatre world I would go. I wasn't really keen on being in a lot of stage productions. The idea, as revealed in the early entries of the blog, as well as the essay on the subject, was to shake some rust off the acting tools. I still am interested in acting for the camera, but, I must admit, I do like the stage.

I would not have guessed I'd audition for as many plays as I could, be welcomed onto the board at The Guild, make so many theatre related friendships, or that in a year's time I would be waiting, with some hope, for a possible callback for a supporting role in a professional movie production. I certainly haven't acted as much as I would have wished, but, it's still been a good year. Last fall, I was in the company of a few fellow cast members from Sordid Lives. We were speaking with a sculptor when one of us, while introducing us to the artist, said, "We're all actors." And I felt half silly being labelled such. Today, I can say, I have no comfort problems saying that I am an actor.

MORE ON PAPER DOLLS MOVIE: Speaking of Paper Dolls, a fellow Dayton actor, a bit more of a veteran, named Geoff Burkman, sent me an email response to the March 18 blog entry. He thinks it's still too soon to know if there will be a call back. So I guess I wait a few more weeks before I completely count it out. Goeff, by-the-way, was the third actor being seriously considered for Jake in Jake's Women, along me and Alex Carmichal -- with Alex winning the role.

GRACE & GLORIE CLOSED: The show closed Sunday. We had a good run. I really wish I felt like I had done a whole lot as the "producer." I got thanked several times for all my "hard work" and can't help thinking it must have looked like I worked harder than I did. But, I know we had a good run, even if we had a few technical faux pas' and such. -- (I suppose I would produce another play for the Guild; but I'd want to feel more on top of things)

I also know that Burt Saidel, the arts critic for the local Oakwood Register was there and, even though it will be after we are closed, we may get a review of the show in today's edition of that weekly. Terry Morris (Dayton Daily News) did not make it to the show.

TOSHA AND CRAIG IN IRIS: Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts (both re: Cripple of Inishmaan, Proposals, and The Diviners) will open March 31 in Iris, in Cincinnati at The Know Theatre Tribe company. I have hopes to see them. Tosha is one of those who has a copy of the screenplay. She gave me a quick response yesterday, positive, she enjoyed it. A few others have given me responses. So far they have been good.

A MOVIE SHOOT IN JUNE?: Speaking of my screenplay and the movie production thereof -- one will note I mention above that The Dayton Theatre Guild production of An Act of the Imagination runs in June, the weekends of June 10-12, 17-19, & 24-26. As I am going to audition for that, it is clear I am not hot that my movie be shot in June. There's no way I could not use weekends to shoot. There will be a kid actor, about twelve, everyone else will be adults, likely with day jobs. Plus, let's remember that none of those pre-production things such as crew, locations, equipment, not to mention cast, have been done. It is still that let's find a co-producer place. Of course, if I don't get cast in the play, June is open at least in that sense.

CHANGES FOR THE WRITEGALLERY SITE, PROPER: I am going to change the way I do literary updates at the site. I am ending the scheduled seasonal literary updates. I will start doing theme-based virtual chapbooks, such as the First Flights chapbook, which served as the Winter 2003 Literary Update. This new system will allow me to still add work to the site, but, not under the preassure of regularly occurring deadlines. The reason is likely obvious. I am not in a place to keep up these seasonal updates without it being unnecessary stress. And I don't want to retire the literary aspect of the site. That is truly the main point of the site. My blog and the diary of my other artistic ventures is a supplemental thing. As for how big each of these chapbooks will be or how often they will appear, I don't know yet. I will still illustrate them, so, there likely will not be more than two a year, and it may be only one. We will see. There will be a formal write-up on this on my From K.L.'s Desk page, soon.

{ADDED SECTION}
DISHEARTENING INFO ABOUT BLITHE SPIRIT: I just saw a posted casting call to fill the lead role in the production of Blithe Spirit that I did not get cast in. That's a little discouraging -- to know that it wasn't simply because the director saw someone else that she thought fit better that I was not cast, but, because she does not think I am good for the role, period. Now I am urged toward that previously suggested "crying bitterly, then impugning the director's casting abilities and obvious failure to recognize brilliance." -- but, that would be wrong.



Fri Mar 25, 2005

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CASTING CALL FOR A SHORT INDY FILM: At the same time that I spotted this more-recent call for Blithe Spirit, I spotted one for a short indy film being shot close to Cincinnati by a couple fellows. The screenplay is based on a Stephen King short story and the film makers are working through Stephen King's Dollar Baby Program. According to the call text, the program "is for independent film makers (the man who directed Shaw Shank Redemption started through [this program] as well)." The text also promises that though there's no pay "Stephen King will see it and this film may be entered into national film festivals." I have sent my résumé and headshot to the two co-producers/directors, Steve Smith and Tony Bushman.

THE SHOOTING SCRIPT FOR MY MOVIE: I have begun the process of breaking down the screenplay into the shooting script. I am now assigning scene numbers and specifying the camera shots. I did some camera shots in the original screenplay, although, usually the screenwright is to avoid all but only the absolutely necessary, as the camera angles and shots are the purview of the director and/or the DP (Director of Photography). But, I am at least the director, so I put some in. I didn't put in many, however, as I wanted practice at just writing a screenplay as it should be. Now I am playing the director a little more, as I specify all the shots. I am studying how to make a proper breakdown production script, as well, which is the script many of the production crew will attend to the most.

And though I really dislike them, I will likely need to make story boards. Actually, I know I will need to. I just Just don't like bothering with them. Hated them all through production classes in college. But, I will be on screen a bit, and though I do want to shoot some of the footage, I can't hardly when I am in front of the lens.

Which puts me to another very wise warning I just got from a fellow actor -- Geoff Burkman, whom I mentioned earlier. He, as is the common wisdom, has warned me against directing myself. It's actually a very sound piece of advice. But, I have this belief, even if it's naive, that I can pull this off. There are just some technical things to deal with, especially for the cast and crew -- I will likely roll back the takes I am in to watch them, on the spot. I may also let my AD run a little more in front of the production when I am in front of the camera. I am willing to roll the dice, but, must also be willing to admit that I understand the pitfalls. And I do understand them.

I'VE PUT THE NOVELIST'S CAP BACK ON FOR A FEW: I have also been tinkering with the opening of my first novel a little. Just sharpening up the opening some.



Sun Mar 27, 2005

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First off, Happy Easter to whom is out there who is of the religious bent to honor the day.

OUR TOWN AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: I saw the production last night. I found it enjoyable. I was especially impressed with the performances of Josh Mollohan and Abica Dubay (George Gibbs and Emily Webb). They both gave excellent performances and their chemistry as young lovers was beautiful. They truly captured the innocence of the period. Cynthia Karns (Stage Manager) brought off a good performance, as did John Bukowski (Dr. Gibbs), Beck Lamb (Mrs. Gibbs), Jennifer Lockwood (Mrs. Webb) and Bevan Michael Haynes (Simon Stimson). Cynthia and John were both in The Diviners and Cynthia was also in Sordid Lives. I've also seen Becky and Bevan on stage before and Jennifer is of the Lockwood family, which I have mentioned here before (Jim, Dodie and Jake). The children and most of the rest of the supporting cast did good jobs, as well. Oh, jeez, John Spitler (Babby Bobby Benton in The Cripple of Inishmaan as well as the Rev. in Sordid Lives) was in the cast as Constable Warren -- I forgot to mention that.

THE FICTION WRITER MAKES A VISIT: I feel a need to submit some short stories to some lit mags. Haven't done so in a while. I have one flash fiction piece ready and have started another short story. I also am still looking at tweaks for my first novel. And it would be nice if a damned agent would bite!

THE PRE-PRE-PRE -- (OR WHATEVER) -- PRODUCTION OF MY MOVIE: Still plugging along with the shooting script and various production documents. I need to soon compose a roster of production things which need created: such as a portrait photograph of one character, a family picture of the main family, html code for a website that will be seen on screen. Things like that.

I also will be approaching a friend of mine about using some music he and his band have recorded as incidental music in some scenes -- stuff on the radio or the cd player. I have tentative plans to record one of my songs for the closing credits. I have a couple candidates which may be appropriate both in style and lyrics, but, may write something new. I haven't written a brand new song in a long while and the idea is appealing to me.

ANOTHER SCREENPLAY ON THE BACK BURNER: I have a short story I wrote many years ago that has needed a major re-write. I have come to the idea that the re-write could be in screenplay format. the particular story is far more conducive to translation to the screen than "Shiloh" is. So, that may be a way to go when the time comes -- which is a ways off.

SENDING A RÉSUMÉ TO THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY: It may be too early, but, I am thinking I ought to send my résumé and headshot to Dayton's Human Race Theatre and try to get a general audition call for them. I was told the general auditions were coming up in May. I think I might go for it. This is the big local professional theatre so there are Actor's Equity union points earned when one is cast in a show there. plus, it's very good exposure to more directors. I am sure I will do The Rising Phoenix general audition in the summer. As I've said, it may be a little too soon for the Race. I feel in many ways as if I ought to have more time on stage before I try for the Race; but, that may just be intimidation. At any rate, I am placing the idea of going for it now, on the plate. I ought to start thinking about an agent, too -- maybe.



Mon, Mar 28, 2005

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BELATED REVIEW OF GRACE & GLORIE: As I predicted would happen, Burt Saidel, the arts critic for the Oakwood Register did review Grace & Glorie in the March 22 edition of that weekly. He had nice things to say. He praised Jo Bond and Debra A. Kent saying they "[weaved] a spell of character interpretation and dramatic sincerity," then later, that they "made the most of every moment. Laced with real comedy and even more real agony."

One last warm-fuzzy for closure.

THE NEXT AUDITION -- AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION: I received my purchased copy of the play in the mail Saturday. Usually I just check a copy out from the library where I work. In this case, I would have had to borrow it through a system called OhioLink -- which is more-or-less like Interlibrary Loan. That's what I did when I originally read it. But I wanted more concrete and longer access to the play as I study it for the audition coming up on April 25 & 26. So this time I went to Amazon.com and bought it.

Bought the first play for the Guild's 2005/06 season, as well, since I could find it in no library, mine, OhioLink or Interlibrary Loan. We had four of the six 05/06 plays in my library and the other one is that all-woman cast so, as I said before, I don't need to read it for a part, though I would like to know the play, as a board member. And, again, I won't reveal the play titles until the Guild has officially announced the season.

I will say I have read one of the plays and I have strong interest in the lead role. I would do it great service -- I believe.




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