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

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Fri July 1, 2005

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MY SCREENPLAY IS GETTING BETTER: I am enthused with the additional scenes I am inserting. That one newest scene has been split into two. No more screen time as the result of the split, but it works better. I may shift a few lines of dialogue between the two main adults from the last scene of the movie to the very newest scene, created from that split. I think maybe the lines will be more appropriate in the new spot.

I think I am back to the shooting script in a week or two. And, I hope to have a draft of the screenplay ready for the Ohio Arts Council at the same time.

NONA PRODUCTION: No word yet on what day the shoot will be. I have, however, emailed the director, Stephen H. Smith with a few questions about my character, Chuck. One of those is what if any dialect Chuck should have. I used a mid-west rural dialect when I auditioned for the other role, and have a sense he may want that. I have tried the lines with a couple others that the text seems to lend itself to: east coast (New Yorker, but not heavy Bronx or Jersey) and Louisiana (but not deep Cajun). Both work as well with the text just as the rural mid-western does. The character does not have to be from any particular region. Well, just thoughts as I study the lines and do my character development. Haven't written his background, yet, but I will.

You may laugh, but, in The Diviners my "Balladeer" character had no defined background, save that he was in southern Indiana in the 1930's. I gave him a name, Leland Hisey, and some history, so I knew who was standing in front of the audience and singing. I also knew who he was at the river's edge in the last scene. Knowing who my character was informed me about how he would behave as a singer and a witness to the tragedy at the story's end. Knowing who Chuck is in Nona will do the same.

TROLLING FOR MORE AUDITIONS: Gonna spend some of the holiday weekend gathering all the theatre auditions for the coming year together. Going to look for other movie opportunities, too. Fitting it in at some point, in between working on the screenplay, hopefully more work on that new short story, helping with the construction of the Sordid Lives set, doing some SL stage manager prop work, and some Fourth of July partying.



Sun July 3, 2005

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DIDN'T TAKE LONG TO GET TO A REPORT OF A MUSIC PURCHASE: A couple things happened yesterday which weren't what I'd planned. First: something I did not know was going to happen more than ten minutes before it did. I dropped by Yellow Springs on my way to John Bryan, where I went over the lines for my scene in Nona. I walked around town just because it was a nice day. The tourists were bopping around, shopping, window shopping, dining at outside tables at a few local restaurants.

I was across the street from Gemini Art, nice little shop that sells art and a lot of really nice exotic musical instruments: whale drums, a lot of nice eastern percussion and string instruments. I bought a print of a lovely oil of a woman on a beach, a few years back there. Yesterday, I looked across at the shop and thought to myself, I've been thinking about an acoustic bass guitar for a while. I wonder if they have one. They didn't. But the owner did refer me to the Rita Caz Jewelry Store. They actually sell guitars in there. So, I walked over there -- just a three minute walk from Gemini. I walked in and walked right up to a beautiful Giannini acoustic bass guitar. Five minutes later, they were running my credit card through the machine.

Spent a little time yesterday afternoon and evening with the baby. Man am I rusty! Simple scales are a slopy proposition for me right now. Got a lot of little muscles in my fingers, hands, and fore arm that are way out of shape. Last time I played a bass, it was my electric Epiphone, and it was February of 1990. I was at Lou Lala's house where I laid part of the tracks for an as of yet unfinished recording on his four track machine.

Once again, I am starting retrograde with one of my mistresses of art. It does feel lovely to again run my fingers over her neck. Wish we could pick our relationship up where we left off, but that's no more possible than it was with Lady Theatre.

Now I'm going to want to spend a lot of time with Miss Bass, too. Now my time has just gotten that much more premium. I have Lady Theatre, Miss Bass, Madame Literature, and, though it may seem like I have abandon her, The WriteGallery. I pretend here like I'm complaining, but really I am not.

NOT QUITE "SORDID LIVES SET CONSTRUCTION": I overslept yesterday, so I didn't make it to the Guild until after 1:00. Just in time to walk in on Greg Smith, board member (and guild web master) Bob Mills and his wife Bobby, calling it a day. This was just before I headed off to Yellow Springs and my destiny with my new bass.

GETTING MY CHARACTER FOR NONA: The only thing that went the way I'd planned yesterday was my study of the Nona script. I pretty much have my lines for Chuck; it is after all, one monologue and another line. I like the Louisiana dialect, the best. I haven't heard back from Stephen Smith, the director yet. I'm gambling he will like the interpretation.

You know, even though it's only one scene, and I may only have about a minute on screen, it's a good part, and it gives me a chance to do some good acting and leave an impression.

Plus, I finally get a screen credit on my résumé. Here's hoping I have another at the end of the summer, i.e.: Paper Dolls.



Tue, July 5, 2005

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NONA MOVIE SHOOT UPDATE: Got an email response from director Stephen H. Smith on July 3. He likes my ideas so we are going to give them a try. I'll be a few days unshaven -- am right now, in fact. I have also settled, as I mentioned before, on the Louisiana accent.

Got home yesterday evening from Fourth of July festivities to an email from co-producer and DP Anthony Bushman. The shoot will be tomorrow or Thursday. As of lunch time today, when I write this, I haven't been contacted to confirm which day.

WEARING MY DAYTON THEATRE GUILD BOARD MEMBER'S HAT: I spent a couple hours yesterday at the home of some friends I hadn't seen in a while, Jack and Candy. A really nice couple with a lovely family. Jack is a creative fellow and does lovely woodwork and construction design. As I was catching him up on my theatrical endeavors he expressed an interest in being involved again with theatre himself -- he had been while growing up. He has a particular interest in set construction and design.

Well, now, I can let that pass by me, now can I? I told him we are always looking for people to be involved at the Guild. And I saw Greg Smith and other Guild folk later in the day and said, "Hey! I think we got someone new to bring into the fold."

WEARING MY MOVIE PRODUCER'S HAT: If you remember, I have written of considering the idea of making a restaurant set rather than renting a restaurant for said scene in my movie. I mention this to Jack. Candy showed me some of what he's done around the their house; and he and I talked about set construction tricks, sheets of foam as woodwork, concrete, marble -- stuff like that. I have no doubt he would be up to the task. It may prove cheaper for me, especially since I would have more time to budget for the shoot if I have built a set in a basement somewhere, rather than renting space from a business who will want me out ASAP.

WEARING MY SCREENWRITER'S HAT: The screenplay additions are coming along.

WEARING MY STAGE MANAGER'S AND DEAD WOMAN'S HATS: Tech rehearsals for Sordid Lives begin tonight.



Wed July 6, 2005

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NOW I HAVE A MOVIE CREDIT FOR MY RÉSUMÉ: At least technically. Came home last night from Sordid Lives rehearsals to a phone message from the Nona co-producer/co-director (& DP), Anthony Bushman. They wanted to shoot the scene this morning with a 9 a.m. call, if it was at all possible for me. It was.

So, now it's a little before 1 p.m. as I write this and my scene is wrapped. I will add it to my résumé as soon as I finish this entry -- even though at the moment it will say, "currently in post-production," which technically won't be true until Friday, as they are wrapping production tomorrow by shooting the scene that cuts to mine, if not other scenes, as well.

The Trip Down - I don't know if this is going to be a recurring thing or not, but, remember (those of you who mystifyingly follow this blog) how I got stuck in traffic outside of Columbus, on my way to the Paper Dolls callback in Northern Ohio? It happened again. This time it was much less time, yet I was closer to my call time than I had been for the audition appointment in May. It was a little after 8:00, and all of a sudden traffic on southbound I-75 slowed to snail's pace.

"Well, at least we're still movin'."

Yep. That's right. I tempted fate.

At least we're still movin'.

Like a moron I said, "Well, at least we're still movin'"

Five minutes later, circa 8:15, we were at a dead stop. Five minutes later, circa 8:20, we were at a dead stop. Five minutes later, circa 8:25, I shut my engine off.

I could see, just a stone's throw ahead of me, the flashing lights of what I eventually found out was a fire engine. At only ten miles per hour it would have only been a few seconds to get past the obstacle. I was only miles away from my next exit, too, adding to my sense of helplessness.

It was pushing 8:30 and I had no idea how far away from my ultimate destination I was. Ten minutes? Forty minutes? I did not know. I am, also, if you must know, one of the three dozen people left in western civilization who do not yet own a cell phone. Not knowing the exact severity of the obvious accident up there, and with only enough of a view to see flashing lights, I was in the dark about what was happening up there that made them stop traffic on one of the nation's primary interstate highways.

They could have been prepping a wreck for towing; they might have been using the Jaws of Life to rescue someone; they might have been -- god forbid -- cleaning blood off the road.

I imagined myself still sitting there at 11:00, meanwhile, somewhere, a little beyond my reach, two film makers were saying, "Oh man! Where's the jerk at!" They needed to wrap by, I believe, noon at the latest.

All, of course, ends well. Not much later whatever the Highway Patrol, or firemen, or EMC staff had done, they were finished, and I-75 South began to move again -- at least, just North of Cincinnati, Ohio.

A few moments down the road was a rest stop. I called Tony and Steve from there. Turns out I was fairly close and I pulled into the driveway of the house of Tony's father, just about 9:00.

The shoot was probably a total of seventy-five minutes. We did a few takes of the master shot (camera pulled back for a wide view of the scene); we shot coverage from two angles (coverage is medium or close-ups of the actor taking the same actions as in the master shot). Tony, who is, as I've said, the DP (Director of Photography) started the shoot with some cut-aways of the mop that my character, Chuck, uses -- close ups of the mop as it flopped and plopped on the floor or was being soaked or rung in the mop pale.

We shot in a corner of his dad's basement, and it is a very appropriate look for what the scene calls for. Plus, I assume they didn't have to rent the space.

There were relatively few takes, which is good -- would have been more so of a good thing if this had been a union shoot where every second costs wages and other expenses. I had a false line blow, where I thought I'd blown a line, but as it turned out I had said the correct word. I had a line blow I didn't even know about. Steve Smith had added a word to my monologue and in at least one take I didn't say it.

How'd I do?

Again, I am focused on how I felt about it. It felt good. Steve and Tony were happy with it, so, that is where I let myself stand with it. I felt good and they liked it.

A couple points of correction - Anthony Bushman is not from Columbus, as I stated somewhere earlier in this blog. He went to school there and has not changed his cell phone service yet, so when I saw the Central Ohio area code for his number, I assumed he was from Columbus. Note also that I earlier referred to him as co-producer/co-director. He and Stephen H. Smith are co-directing; it's not just Steve.

Steve also is in the lead role. So he is the screenwriter, co-producer, co-director, and leading man for the Jack Rabbit Pictures production of Nona.

They hope to have a final cut and a premier showing sometime around the end of the year, maybe around or just before Christmas.

Another cool experience of my journey on my rediscovered path. Who knows, sometime later I and one or both of the others will work together where we're actually making real money. Hey, Steve's an actor -- maybe we'll be on flip sides of the camera.

Plus, as long as they get this cut -- and there's no reason to think they will not -- I know that Stephen King will see me act, at least once. I know how superficial my excitement over that is.

Too bad.

Let's just hope Mr. King likes it enough to let it out to the festivals, including his own....

SORDID LIVES TECH/DRESS REHEARSALS: Last night was the first full-run rehearsal. It went relatively well for such limited amount of rehearsals over the last two weeks. Terry Ronald set the lights last night, too. This is really all about the eleventh hour this time.

When I was gathering props for the show, I came across a big prescription bottle from a several month supply of niacin I got last year while I was getting my cholesterol under control. It's about seven or eight inches tall and holds a WHOLE BUNCH of pills. In Scene One, Sissy (Cynthia Karns) pulls a bottle of valium out of her purse, to offer some to the distraught Noleta (Melissa Young, then second weekend, Heather Martin). I knew the moment I saw the bottle that it would be an hilarious sight gag: "Would you like a valium?" Then Sissy pulls this big ol' bottle full of pills (Tic Tacs, actually) out.

Tonight, I can go clean-shaven, now that Chuck's scene is done. I guess Mama will be in full bloom. Last night all I did was wear the mink stole. Well, I wore more than the mink. The mink was the only thing of Mama I wore, I mean to say.

I am taking the rest of the day off from work. After I add the film credit to my résumé, I'll shower, shave, and head out to do stage manager stuff -- some shopping, then some work on things at the Guild, like making some passageways a little easier to see in the dark. Stuff like that.

Tonight and tomorrow are it. Friday the show opens.



Mon, July 11, 2005

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SORDID LIVES FIRST RETURN WEEKEND: We had a good opening weekend. The house was only at about 65-70% Friday, which is still good. We had full houses Saturday and Sunday, though the extra 5:00 Saturday show was cancelled. We have good reservations for all the shows next weekend, and we will be doing both 5:00 and 8:00 next weekend.

The cast had a great weekend with nothing but top-notch performances! In order of spoken appearance....

Michael Boyd reprised his fine performance as Wardell Owens. There is a dimensional addition to the character that I think Michael is responsible for and gets good credit for. Stacy Emoff is back as the ex-con bar singer, Bitsy Mae Harling, lending her perfect country vocals, her perfectly sculpted body for the role, and her perfect performance of the honkey-tonkin' Bitsy.

Dutch Waterman was as absolutely, rib-crackin', gut-bustin' hilarious as Juanita the bar lush this time as she was last fall. I have not had the fortune to have seen her in any of her many other performances throughout the years but I am told she is always fabulous and I am of the mind to believe it. Travis Williams came back and was the perfect Ty Williamson again. Travis got a big feature story about himself recently in The Dayton City Paper, which can be found by clicking here.

Cynthia Karns was again absolutely hilarious as Sissy Hickey, and the new big-hair wig this time just adds to it. Melissa Young was wonderful as Noleta Nethercott. This is Melissa's first appearance on our stage and this show is baptism by fire for her. She's had very little rehearsal -- and, she will switch to the role of La Vonda Dupree for next week's shows. Just like Natasha Randall in Crimes of the Heart, Melissa's drastic under-rehearsal made her performance even more impressive than it already was.

And what can I say about Henni Fisher's superb portrayal of Latrelle Williamson? What a talent she is. This weekend teamed her back up with Kim Reiter, her stage mate in Always... Patsy Cline, which I'm betting earns them both Daytony's next month. Kim was this weekend's La Vonda, Latrelle's sister. And Kim, again, another great talent.

Last time John Spitler was the Reverend in the funeral scene and a sort of unnamed bar patron earlier. This time he is Wardell Owens who turns out to be the Reverend. He is doing a fantastic job with Wardell. I think I like it better than his Babbybobby Benton in Cripple of Inishmaan, and I thought he was pretty damn good in that role. Donald Smith is back as G.W. Nethercott. I have to say, I thought he did a great job last fall, but I like his performances this time even better. And he's added a sight gag that is, well, it is funny, but it is not for children or the faint of heart. For those who know the show, A drunken Noleta and La Vonda make G.W., Wardell and Odell strip to their underwear and done bras and other female garb. The men were all in boxer shorts last time. Two of them are this time. G,W. now wears speedos. Since Donald already admits this, and it's really the gag he is going for, I feel free to say that, well, Don could not be called obese, he is not exactly a thin fellow, either. So the little briefs are either very funny or very frightening, depending on the eyes of the beholder. I find it a great gag. Donald, if you remember from earlier blog postings, is cast in The Monsters Mind, which starts shooting next week.

Katrina Kittle is back as Dr. Eve Bolinger and I really hope she is a good actress because Dr. eve is such a egomaniacal, amoral, over-sexed bitch. Actually, though I don't know Katrina well, I know her well enough to state emphatically that she is definitely an excellent actress because she has little in common with Dr. Eve, save for a striking physical resemblance. Director Greg Smith is in the role of Brother Boy this time, and he is a hoot. I must admit I did not get to see his performance at all during the weekend, as I am otherwise occupied during that scene. I really didn't get to see Katrina either, as they are the same scene, but, I saw some of their rehearsals -- and, of course, I remember Katrina's work from September.

Even that silly dead woman was good; and, I might add, "she" did not blow her lines once.

Next weekend, as Melissa slips into the role of La Vonda, Heather Martin will return to her role as Noleta. Heather, another top-notch actor, has been as funny in the rehearsals for this run as she was in the first run. She will just be back from a week or so out of town -- why she could not do the first weekend.

In another aspect of the show, specifically my duties as stage manager, my big "Oh! You Dumbass!" moment this weekend was opening night when I did not pre-set a prop, namely a pitcher of ice tea for which Cynthia, Melissa, Henni and Kim all have business with during the first scene. Cynthia had enough presence of mind to twice, as Sissy, walk off the exit to Sissy's kitchen, in hopes that someone would be standing there with the pitcher. I was there the second time. I actually didn't know about the first time till later. So, I was standing at the escape thinking, Oh man, I hope she decides to see if someone is here with this. It really pissed me off that I left the actors, Cynthia especially, who has the lines referring to the tea, stuck on stage without a necessary tool.

Yeah, yeah, "it's live theatre and those things happen." But, it was a pretty avoidable thing to have had happened.

Oh well, we move on and learn from our errors.

I did not participate in the construction of the new set, however, I did help a bit with the set dressing, providing both props from my home and doing a search for many of the Guild owned props we use. Below are some pictures I took Saturday, before the show. Most items are from the prop cellar at the Guild, but the little carving of the Texas map, with the small trophies on its little platforms, was provided by actor Sarah Gomes.

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

The bar at Bubba's.
Medium close up of bar, favoring stage right angle.
Medium close up of bar, favoring up stage left angle
Another stage right view of the bar.
Another wide shot of the bar area.
The booze; courtesy of tap water mixed with food coloring, or brown soda, or a combination, thereof.
The coffee, via tap water and food coloring.
The Jack for Noleta's and La Vonda's shooters. Brown soda diluted with tap water, and let stand to dissipate the fizz. Makes it a little stale, but I keep it refrigerated so it does not go bad. I also will make a fresh mixture for next weekend.
One more wide view of the bar.
Long shot of Sissy's house from up stage left. Please forgive the glare spots.
Sissy's Living room from down stage left.
Close up of Sissy's coffee table. The rose in the globe of water was my mother's. The decorative gourd was made for me as a Christmas present a few years ago by my friend Justin Sims, from Indianapolis.
This Indian Chief whiskey decanter belonged to my father.
Here's the big bottle of valium I wrote of previously. It was really for a three month prescription of niacin I had about a year or so ago.
This is Sissy's dining room table, set with the food, which we bring out just before the show starts. The ice tea is, from this angle, on the top side (stage right). That being what I forgot on opening night to set there. The tea is in a Tang® pitcher my mother bought, circa 1966.
Though you can't see the bar well, up stage, this is the set from last fall, just as a comparison

On still another angle, we had a guest in Sunday's audience who writes for a California magazine. His name is Paul Myrvold and he's the theatre critic for Out & About, published out of Gilroy and Salinas, California. As per his brief bio at the Out & About web site, Paul has been a professional stage performer for three decades and has most recently appeared as George Shearer in Zoot Suit for El Teatro Campesino, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha at The Western Stage and in the title role of King Lear at Gavilan College.

There was a special cast party put on by a Guild supporter named Lee Massoud, whom I have seen at every show I have been involved with at the Guild. Paul was there, and he plans to do an article on the show. I don't know if it will be a review, or at least wholly one. I look forward to it and will provide a link to the on-line version when it is posted.

The cast party at the Massoud's home was a nice gathering, by the way.



Tue, July 12, 2005

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MY SCREENPLAY: I think that maybe, with the exception of a little bit of punch-up and tweaking, the screenplay is done, or close to it. Right now there are no hard page breaks, i.e.: there are spills from one page to the next that are messy and will be cleaned up. I have 40 pages. After I have put logical page breaks in -- and providing I don't add or cut much -- it probably will gain about five page numbers or more.

At the moment I like my new material. But that is not uncommon for me. May not be so thrilled with some of it in a week or two.

RUSSELL FLORENCE, JR.'S "THE YEAR IN THEATER" (04/05): Last Wednesday The Dayton City Paper published Russell's article with his picks for this closing season of theatre in the Dayton area.

"At community theaters, the Dayton Theatre Guild dominated once again," he writes. He goes on to mark Grace & Glorie as the best Community Theatre play of the year, and all of his honorable mentions are again Guild productions: A Walk in the Woods, Sordid Lives, and The Diviners.

He also gives Underneath the Lintel two nods: Best Special Theatrical Event; and Bruce Cromer's performance as Best Leading Actor In A Play.

Gil Martin gets an honorable mention as Andrey Botvinnik in A Walk in the Woods for Best Actor. Kathleen Cleary as Mary Tyrone (Long Day’s Journey Into Night) and Cynthia Karns as the Stage Manager (Our Town -- Dayton Playhouse) both get honorable mentions for Best Actress.

For Best Supporting Actor In A Play, Russell names Philip Smyth as Edmund Tyrone in Long Day's Journey.... He gives honorable mentions to John-Michael Lander's Brother Boy in Sordid Lives and Chris Shea as Jamie Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey....

I am also happy to see that he gives Elizabeth Wilemaitis at least an honorable mention for her Laura in The Glass Menagerie (at Sinclair Couuminty College) for Best Supporting Actress In A Play.

His Breakthrough Male Performance of the year goes to our boy Travis Williams for Ty Williamson in Sordid Lives. He gives Bradley A. Kasch's Buddy Layman (The Diviners) an honorable mention.

I am very much in line with his pick for Breakthrough Female Performance: Diane Taveau as Lavonda Dupree in Sordid Lives. I found Diane to be a great talent. Since she's in California now so there's no way it can be an empty promise, I will share that I had her in mind for one of the roles in my screenplay. When she was leaving I shared that with her. I have told no one else whom I would like to cast; I will not until I know the production is on. I will not make empty promises.

He gives honorable mentions in the same category to Jo Bond as Grace Stiles and Debra A. Kent as Gloria Whitmore, both from Grace & Glorie.

In Best Ensemble Of A Play he gives honorable mentions to both the casts of Sordid Lives (first run) and The Diviners. His first pick is the cast of Sinclair Community College's The Christmas Carol (with Bradley Kasch in that cast, too).

The last thing I'll mention is his Special Acknowledgement to Director Michael Boyd, choreographer Debra Strauss, and lighting designer Terry Ronald’s creation of the underwater finale in The Diviners.

Click here for the full article.

Nope, I am not specifically mention this year, as I was last (Honorable mention for Breakthrough Performance, as Johnnypateen). Really, though I was not in the foreground in a manner to merit a mention. The closest I came was the opening vocal of "How Tedious and Tasteless" in The Diviners but that was not really a showcase. There was Godfather Drosselmeier (Nut Cracker), but where I don't think I sucked, I also don't think I was especially remarkable either.

I might, however, point out that of the things mentioned above from this year:

  • I produced Grace & Glorie
  • I was stage manager for Sordid Lives -- and am again
  • I ran sound for Underneath the Lintel
  • I was in the cast of Sordid Lives

So, by association and contribution..... Though in some case, as in producer for G&G, I don't know how much "contribution" is really deep or valid.

NOVEL & AGENT: Been sending out queries to literary agents left and right, still. Been getting rejections left and right, still. Another batch on its way out my door, again.



Wed July 13, 2005

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MORE ON "FINISHING" MY SCREENPLAY AND GETTING BACK TO THE SHOOTING SCRIPT: I am now going through the screenplay from scene one, on, looking for what can be tweaked and any prose that might be cleaned up. I may not just simply add in the new scenes to the shooting script I already have started. I may start over with a new draft, referring back to some of, if not most of, the shot setups I already devised, with an eye on any improvement I can see is needed, of course.

THIS WEEK'S AUDITIONS FOR GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: The auditions were Monday night and last night. Still a little bummed I was not able to commit to Tech week for this show. I would have liked to at least have contended for a role.

MY BRAND NEW GIANNINI ACOUSTIC BASS GUITAR: Been so busy with other stuff I have hardly picked the damned thing up for several days.

I swear it is not going to end up a novelty toy that gets some attention for the first few days then is never touched again.

ONE MORE NOTE:

I am pretty close to having a firm concept of what I want as the theme for the forthcoming call for writing for the next literary update, the first of the theme-based virtual chapbooks as the regular lit updates at the site proper. So you writers who read this blog, keep checking back at the main site. You can also subscribe to the site's newsletter, WG Reporter, now an irregular email publication. When the call for submissions goes out, so shall a new issue of the newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to the newsletter.



Thu July 14, 2005

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NEW REVELATION ABOUT THE MONSTER'S MIND AND A LESSON FOR ME AS A FUTURE DIRECTOR, MYSELF: Just saw a casting call posting for the character of Henry Lambaugh -- the character I was up for. Granted, the posting is June 13, a month ago, and granted it was later than that when I got the news I was not cast. What I focus on is the statement in the posting: "The character must be a white male, 37-45yo...."

Hmmm.

I was told I was not cast, in large part, because while my acting was reportedly impressive, I didn't have the right physical appearance and voice. Lambaugh should be "somewhat younger in appearance."

Humph.

Well, I don't know about the "voice" part. But, the "somewhat younger in appearance" I have a very definite response to, based on that June 13 casting call I just discovered.

Most always, when I tell someone my age, they are surprised. Most people put me in my mid to late thirties. I am now forty-seven but I am consistently told by people I do not look as old as I am. There is no question in my mind: I have the physical appearance of "a white male, 37-45yo?"

As an actor it is disconcerting to see information that contradicts, at least in part, what I was told was the reason I was not cast. It's not outside the realm of posibility that it really was, to one extent or the other, because I am bald. That's not a casting consideration I am at all blind to. I am quite aware my baldness is going to keep me from being cast -- sometimes with a good measure of justification, sometimes because of undue and unfair bias. I would be an idiot to not think it has already cost me a role or two. That's the breaks and I understand that.

Baldness playing a factor or not, I think perhaps I was not given the whole truth, though likely with the best of good intentions. It's a good lesson for me, especially as one who will eventually cast productions, starting with my own movie -- I will eventually direct plays, too, when I am ready for that; with hope at the Guild.

As the one who will be casting and not casting those actors who audition for me, I will keep this feeling I am experiencing at this very moment in mind. I'm not angry, but the sting of not being cast is a little sharper now than it had been, now that the explanation for not being cast is in some doubt, regardless of the admirable motivations for the possible "fib." I also can't be so quick to accept the good comments as wholly genuine, either.

So I know if I gild the lily with those I don't cast, even just a little, and they figure it out, I might invalidate any and all good things I have shared in honesty with them about their auditions. Being an actor, I know that being able to trust the positives that are given to us is important -- especially when we have been rejected. I will be sure I don't compromise the trust of actors (fellow actors) who lay it out in front of me like we do when we audition. I have no plans to be brutally honest with those whom I've found to be bad -- but, there is no sense in being even a little disingenuous. I can't see the latter as polite or respectful. Tactful -- yes, that should be my M.O., but I need to be truthful, too.

Of course, it's not at all impossible I am just pitching a neurotic mental acid trip party, steeped in paranoia and thin-skinned sensitivity -- maybe my questioning of the MM explanation is absolutely off base. I still think the perceived lesson for me as a future director (who will cast actors) is valid and valuable.

FULL-RUN DRESS REHEARSAL FOR SORDID LIVES TONIGHT: We do a full run tonight, though I think a couple people cannot be there. But certainly Heather Martin (back as Noleta this weekend after no rehearsal or performances for more than a week) and Melissa Young (switching to La Vonda) both feel the great need for rehearsal tonight -- man, I know I would!

I gotta stop by a store and get some apple pies. Plus there's lots of pre-set. We'd moved the down stage furniture to free that space for the Gross Indecency auditions this past Monday and Tuesday. I also have to mix up some more ice tea TO BE PRE-SET ON THE TABLE IN SISSY'S DINING ROOM and some Jack for the bottle in the bar scene.


    Well, I would have worked some on the screenplay at lunch, but I burned up the whole hour re-writing and re-posting this entry over and over to be sure the first segment was diplomatically worded. I don't resent anyone and don't want it to come off as if I do.


Mon, July 18, 2005

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A SORDID SUCCESS!!!

The Sordid Lives redux has been an overwhelming success for The Dayton Theatre Guild and for the cast involved. The cast was as wonderful this past weekend as they were the first. And the Guild building fund did way way a-okay!

The gross box office was just shy of $8000, which for a theatre that technically has only eighty-eight seats, ain't bad for seven performances. The overhead was relatively low, too, so my uninformed guess is that we cleared north of six grand, maybe more than seven grand -- it all depends on what the royalty fees come to, and I am not sure what the fees per performance are. Seems like a detail I would know, but I don't.

Of the four shows this past weekend only one show was not sold out, but it was close. The last show on Sunday saw a few folk who were on a waiting list, seeing if any reservations didn't show. We ended up adding a few chairs literally on the thrust stage area. I had to rearrange some set furniture to allow for these audience members and some actors' blocking to coexist.

As Greg Smith said, whilst we were scrambling to figure out where on stage the chairs should go, "We should always have this problem!" -- Yep.

As for the performances, rather than rehash my admittedly biased opinion from last Monday, I'll just add my biased opinion of the new performances. Melissa Young was again impressive, this week as La Vonda Dupree. Heather Martin was back to reprise her wonderful interpretation of the betrayed Noleta Nethercott. And the rest of the cast was as good this weekend as they were the first.

There's some talk of perhaps doing another run some time in the future. Hmmmm. Maybe that might mean some other actor possibly has an opportunity to be cast as Brother Boy.

Gee. Wonder if there are any actors in Dayton who might have an eye on that role. Someone perhaps who was told he did a good audition for the role the first time around. I think there may be a guy like that, somewhere.

AT THE RISK OF SEEMING SHALLOW, SUPERFICIAL, A VICTIM OF VANITY: I must say, that though I am not thrilled that I am bald, it's more because of biases against baldness than because I think it looks bad. I'm bald, I'm really okay with it. But, I am sure it has and will cost me roles I otherwise would have won. I have a suspicion that it at least contributed to my not getting cast in The Monster's Mind.

Tommy Lee Jones impresses me as a bald actor because, though I can't remember once seeing him on screen in a role as a bald man, I have seen him in many pictures in public without his hair piece. I even remember him presenting an award at one of the biggies with his baldness out there in all its glory (don't remember if it was the Oscars, Golden Globes, or what).

I was talking about this issue with a fellow actor and he said to me, "You know, a hair piece can be a good friend to an actor." That's not a point I think I ought to dismiss out of hand.

I am seriously considering a hair piece for stage and screen. I'd shave my head for a role; I've already colored my hair for roles; I'd wear a prosthetic nose for a character; I'd put colored contacts over my irises for a role. I don't see a toupee as any different.

Besides, you're not going to catch me dead out and about in a hair piece. I am a bald man; I'm not going to pretend I am not in my day-to-day life. But I am sure a hair piece is not at all an unwise thing for the actor guy.

At the moment I am inclined that I would show up at auditions without the piece but have a headshot wearing it and mention on my résumé my willingness to use the hair piece -- if the role calls for it. But that may just be me trying to compensate for the awkwardness of the whole idea.

Maybe I'm just be being silly -- but I kind of don't think so.

So stop giggling!       !       !       !

MISCELLANIUOSNESS

Did little with the screenplay over the weekend but am back at it again.

Hope to get my pass for the upcoming FutureFest 2005, sponsored by The Dayton Playhouse. It's next weekend. The thing is, though the whole-boat ticket is actually reasonable, it's a little steep for my current bank statement. Guess I use the ol' credit card. I am trying to keep my card cooled down, too. But, I passed up my chance to audition for anything at FutureFest this year -- (ya'll remember that movie thing that would have been a conflict had I not looked too "old") -- so I'd liked to attend, at least.



Tue, July 19, 2005

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ANOTHER MOVIE AUDITION: Discovered a casting call for a short student film by a Wright State University film major. It's a small role again, but it's more on-screen experience. I will audition this coming Saturday. It will cut into my FutureFest 2005 time some; I will miss one staged reading, of Farragut North by Beau Willimon.

The producer of the movie invited a monologue as part of my audition. Don't know yet which one I'll use. Whichever it is, it will, of course, be toned down to the camera.

FUTUREFEST 2005: Obviously I heated up my credit card and bought that pass to the The Dayton Playhouse FutureFest this coming weekend. I look forward to it, especially to the Sunday morning staged reading of Heart, by Judd Lear Silverman. That of which is directed by Cynthia Karns, with Michael Boyd in the lead role and also featuring Stacy Emoff -- all three, of course, from both incarnations of Sordid Lives, and more.



Thu July 21, 2005

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IT IS SOMEWHAT POSSIBLE THAT MAYBE THERE'S A CHANCE THAT MY SCREENPLAY COULD, PERHAPS, BE WITHIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF A FINAL, PRE-PRODUCTION DRAFT: Yesterday at lunch I got through the end of the screenplay and I think that, with the exception of the inevitable typos and other copy editing errors I am always very guilty of, I have a draft to submit to the Ohio Arts Council for an individual artist's grant. Not to mention how I can get back to a shooting script and that I have something to show potential co-producers.

I've sent a copy of this "final" draft to a couple people for their responses.

FUTUREFEST 2005 AT SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE: The Dayton Playhouse's FutureFest is, of course, this weekend. Technically it starts tonight with a panel discussion: "The Drama Surrounding Plays: Where does this leave theatre in America, in big cities, and in Dayton." Interesting topic and it causes me to alter my plans for the evening.

I was going to work on a monologue for the Saturday film audition, but now I am going to the topic presentation instead.

SATURDAY'S MOVIE AUDITION FOR SUMMER NIGHTS: I've decided, based on what little I know about the character I am auditioning for, to use a short monologue from my own screenplay, which seems the right tone. I will not do it with a Scottish brogue, however. Since I'm going to the Futurefest event tonight, lunch today and tomorrow will be about rehearsal of the monologue.

Yes, I wrote it, but I do not have it committed to memory.

A SORDID CORRECTION: There was an accounting error which under credited the credit card charges. The gross for the Sordid Lives July run is more than $8000. It is very likely we (The Dayton Theatre Guild) netted in excess of $7000! Another .5% toward that new building.



Mon, July 25, 2005

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FUTUREFEST 2005 AT SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE: I had a great time this past weekend at The Dayton Playhouse's FutureFest 2005. I saw five of the six plays, and what I saw ranged from, what I'd call, "promising but needs a lot of work" to "very good and pretty close to a finished version." I don't have time to recount the weekend, right now. But I do plan to blog it tomorrow or soon this week. That's a little dangerous because it won't be as fresh in my mind, but, there are lots of things that will not get away from me.

LAST SATURDAY'S MOVIE AUDITION FOR SUMMER NIGHTS: The audition seemed to go well Saturday afternoon. I did do the first monologue by the main character in my own screenplay. As I said I wouldn't, I did not use a Scottish brogue, I did him as a generic white American.

Had a few hours to prep myself. At about 12:45, I left FutureFest, drove a few miles south of town to a small city named Bellbrook to pick up my headshot. And, here's that theme again. There was a traffic stop-up on I-675. This time, however, I managed to spot it while far enough behind that I could get off the freeway and take a surface road.

Hit the gym next and worked out. Then, I spent time in the woods on campus, rehearsing the monologue. There is a lovely memorial grave site, where the ashes of people who have donated their bodies to the Wright State University School of Medicine are interred. It sits right next to the small old Rockafield graveyard with the family members and some neighbors of the family that settled much of the land Wright State sits on.

Though it is purely coincidental, the monologue is from a scene that takes place at a cemetery. It did help me in a supplemental sort of a way. Before I started rehearsing in earnest, in the shade of the trees that umbrella the memorial graveyard, I did my vocal warm ups, like I always do -- the full one's, as if I would be singing. Good for the heart and mind as well as physically for the vocal tool. Then I truly and completely acted my own words for, essentailly, the first time ever. Well, I mean, words I have written as literature to be performed by an actor. We all "act our own words" on a regular basis, whoever we are and whatever we are.

May not surprise a few of you that I was rewriting the monologue as I was rehearsing, and in fact actually improvised a couple further changes during the audition performance. I have keyed the refined changes into the screenplay document, just this morning; would have earlier but I had some troubling boot problems with my laptop over the weekend.

I did okay in the audition, I suppose. It felt good, but, remember, no more second guessing on my part. The director seemed interested in where the monologue came from (a complement in its own right). The role, that of "Adrian's Father," has no lines at the moment, but I would be called on to react non-verbally. Hey, I already knew it was a small role, so, I still look forward with hope of being involved. And, again, it is more experience acting for the camera.



Wed July 27, 2005

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MY SCREENPLAY AND THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL INDIVIDUAL ARTIST'S GRANT: I was looking over the application for the OAC grants and I noticed in the area covering playwrights and screenwriters that it stipulates a play must be a full-length play or two one-act plays. Nothing was specified specifically concerning the length of screenplays. I became worried that mine is too short to be eligible. I contacted the OAC and got confirmation that there is no minimum length for screenplays. I don't know why there is a difference between screenplays and stage plays, but I am glad there is.

THE FUTUREFEST 2005 FULL REPORT IS COMING....: I have not been able to devote time to sitting down and recounting the weekend yet. It may be something that starts tonight.

WHAT? ME A PLAYWRIGHT?: My weekend at FutureFest did, bytheway, bolster a desire I have been flirting with to write a full-length play. I would not expect to report anytime soon that one has begun, but it is in my mind a little stronger now. I am guessing, also, that where my screenplay is safe and pretty much "PC," a play by me would not be so much so -- especially the "PC" part. The screenplay just happens to be such, it was not a purposeful outcome. The story simply did not demand otherwise.

As to whether said play would be submitted to a future FutureFest: I would need to have a finished draft and know what I'd written, first.



Fri July 29, 2005

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VARIOUS UPDATES, AS IT WERE

Student Movie, Summer Nights -- no callback or news otherwise.

The FutureFest 2005 Full Report -- I'm workin' on it.

The Monster's Mind -- I was happy to find out that young Charity Farrell (Maria in the Guild's production of Nut cracker) was cast in the movie. Got to talk with her recently.

2005/06 Play Auditions -- been looking at all the local theatres for performance dates and audition dates. Been filling in my ICal on my PowerBook. I will, of course, not audition for eveything, but I will try to attend as many different shows as I can.



Sat July 30, 2005

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THE FUTUREFEST 2005 FULL REPORT: To be honest, "full" report may be a tad of a stretch, but it won't be sorely incomplete, either.

First of all, not that it should be a surprise that this would be true of the only major theatrical festival in the area, but I saw the lion's share of everyone I know or have met from the Dayton theatre community. I'm not going to bother to mention anyone save for in respect to a performance. I'm also sure I'll leave someone out whom should not be left out. It's happened before. I might also mention that I saw a few folk which I know primarily from my life on the parameter surrounding the world of academics.

Next, as I indicated in previous entries, I had a great time at FutureFest 2005. It didn't come as a surprise, however. I'd had accounts of it from others already, so I had a good idea what I was in for. I knew the plays were picked from a pool of thousands of plays submitted, which heightens the odds that high quality stuff will be chosen. I knew the adjudicators and the audience would comment on the plays right after the performances were finished, with the playwright, the director, the cast, and the adjudicators all on stage. I also knew, of course, that the pool of actors to cast from is our pool of actors from Dayton and the surrounding environs, so I was not worried about the performances, whatsoever.

The discussions afterward were what I had thought they'd be. I usually like talking head presentations in artistic situations, so I expected something interesting and that is what I got. The five adjudicators are all returns to the festival.

PETER FILICHIA is a theatre critic and the critic-in-residence for the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He has reviewed for the New Jersey Star-Ledger and on television at News 12 New Jersey, as well as Theatre Week, Playbill and currently reviews for Theatremania.com. DAVID FINKLE is a freelance reporter and reviewer, is a regular contributor to the Village Voice, and is the senior critic at Theatremania.com. STEVEN SAMUALS spent ten years as general manager "and occasional actor" at Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company. He has edited the works of Mr. Ludlam as well as Stephen Sondheim and many others. HELEN SNEED is the author of the musical Sally Blane, The World's Greatest Girl Detective and two plays: Fix Me, Jesus and Tornado Nights. She has advised hundreds of authors, composers and theatres in the process of new productions. ELEANORE SPEERT is a playwright (including The History of Me, Peripheral Vision, Quartet Nights, or the Last Good Time We Had and others) and the founder and president of Speert Publishing, which offers self-publishing services to playwrights.

*The above bios are: 1) taken from the FutureFest 2005 printed program; 2) incomplete as per the accomplishments and credentials for any of the five people.

Like most everyone else did, I had a chance to meet all five adjudicators. I had a couple nice chats with Ms. Speert, a few more with Ms. Sneed, and even more of a connect with Mr. Samuals, since his seat in the theatre, for the performances, was almost right behind mine. They all seem like nice people.

Though interesting to interact with, I was most interested in their roles as "talking heads." All had a lot to offer in feedback, observation and constructive criticism. Though I didn't always agree with the thoughts of these fine people, I found them all sharp and certainly living up to the level of expertise they were presented as having. For the most part, they were also good entertainment -- what I mean to say is that, without getting specific, there were a few times I was bored and in okay-get-on-with-it mode; but only a few times.

Those of you who've read previous recent entries here know I had an audition for a student film at Wright State University on Saturday afternoon, so I missed the performance of BEAU WILLAMON's FARRAGUT NORTH. Everyone raved about it after-the-fact, and in fact, it was the adjudicators' pick. It won first prize. The play deals with a political campaign, and a friend told me it was very much written in the style of Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, et al). I am sorry I missed it, but them's the breaks. The author received a very nice trophy award and a check for $1000.

Mr. Willamon has worked on the campaign staffs of Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bill Bradley, and Gov. Howard Dean. He has two other full-length plays, Baby Blue and Nobody's Child and has written several one-act plays.

Since I can report little about the play, here are two relevant articles about the win:

I did see all the other plays. The opening play was THE BALLAD OF BULLETPROOF JOHNNY MONTGOMERY, by CHUCK SPOLER. A researcher at Johns Hopkins, Spoler also wrote the award-winning Blood Memory. He got the idea for ...Bulletproof Johnny... from his time as a probation officer in his twenties.

I liked this play about a recalcitrant but charming probation client who puts a new, fresh-eyed, naive probation officer through his paces. I found the characterizations good and the dialogue both witty and true to life. I do wish the climax, when Johnny goes in front of the less than compassionate Judge Gershung for probation violation, would have been heavier on the tension. I also had a difficult time believing the ending. The young probation officer, Dan Wood, has just found out some pretty deep and disturbing revelations about ol' Bulletproof Johnny, and he accepts them far too easily. This was a comment that also came from the adjudicators.

The director was Nancy K. Campell. Steve Easterling (whom I was so impressed with in Proposals at the Guild) made a good Bulletproof Johnny. Joshua Mollohan was good as Dan Wood; Joshua did the wonderful work as George Gibbs in Our Town at The Dayton Playhouse in early Spring. The cast was filled out by Sarah Caplan as Wood's supervisor, Angela Sterns, J.J. Tiemeyer as Cop/Jailer/Bailiff, and John Beck as the judge. It was a well performed show.

Saturday morning it was POSEIDON'S GATE by ED VELA. Vela has been an actor for more than twenty-five years and has written sketch comedy for as long. This play, however, which I think is the playwright's first, is decidedly not comedy.

The story examines child abuse and I found it to mostly work, but some of the drama was, for me, missing. There are moments when events or revelations of pretty big import take place, yet are met with less than the emotional power I think they ought be. I found some verbose dialogue toward the end, also -- a lot of reflection and analysis of things that could be better shown otherwise, in active exposition.

Those criticisms from The Freshman (me), aside, it's a good play. The child, Teal Murphy, was played by Coleman Hemsath, who was Fritz/Rudy in Nut Cracker last November and December at the Guild. Coleman is a good young actor and he again showed his talent. Richard Young played the salty dog with a big heart, Griggs MacSorley, captain of the lobster boat, Poseidon's Gate, and he also showed his talent. Another nice performance came from Michael Wadham as Grigg's nephew Hen McCarron, the oceanographer who was once an "unofficial" first mate of Poseidon's Gate as a boy, as Teal is now. If you follow the blog you may know that Michael choreographed Nut Cracker. Linda Cole gave her own fine performance as Teal's mother, Autumn. Fran Pesch directed Poseidon's Gate.

Award winning playwright AUGUST SCHULENBURG's KIDDING JANE was the Saturday evening performance. The author has also penned Carrin Beginning and Ridding the Bull. Kidding Jane is the one that I believe is promising but needs a lot of work. The premise is great; the dialogue is excellent; the chemistry between the characters is strong. I, however, have problems with the credibility of the story as it develops in the version I saw.

I can buy the idea that Jane -- the white half of an inter-racial marriage -- moves toward adopting an African-American cultural viewpoint and behavior, even becoming versed at rap rhyme. But, there seem key moments in her transition that are not shown in the script. Her motivation, the desperation of her grief after her teenaged daughter was randomly shot and killed, is made clear enough. She has a hole in her soul and can find no way to fill it. Yet, the playwright does not fully justify her filling it with her new found relationship with foster child Kidd Trick. Kidd is a trouble black youth whom Jane and her African-American husband, the wealthy, self-made Martin Dane, have taken in. I see the hint that she is trying to replace her child, but it is not fully developed for me.

There are moments when characters say things I don't think they would say, especially the couple. Act I ends with a fight between Martin and Kidd that results in Jane blurting out the N word. I did not buy it. It's outside of her character. The argument I heard was that she was coming from the Jane who is adopting the culture of young kidd. That's not the way it was presented -- to me, anyway. It came off to me like a careless white person exposing a hidden racist -- one that I am not convinced rings true to the Jane I'd met already.

There is also a blatantly calculated coincidental happenstance at the plays end that is just too convenient for me, and elicits a response from Jane that she comes to far too easily.

I still think the concept is strong and gutsy, and an approach to the American race problem that is fresh. For me there are just a good number of verisimilitude issues to be addressed.

Elena Monigold played Jane Williams-Dane. I first saw Elena in Jake's Women as Jake's wife Karen at Brookville Community Theater. Rodney Player was husband Martin Dane. Jesse Cox portrayed the wise-crackin', rappin' Kidd trick. And Bethany Slack was the ghost of the slain Kate Dane. More good performances all around. The director was Theresa Abshear, who will direct Lobby Heroes for us at the Guild this coming 05/06 season.

Sunday morning was a show I was especially looking forward to, HEART by JUDD LEAR SILVERMAN, directed by Cynthia Karns and featuring, among others, Michael Boyd, Stacy Emoff and Jim Lockwood. As per the beginning of his lengthy bio in the printed program, "Judd Lear Silverman is a [playwright, director, and teacher] whose plays have been seen on both coasts as well as in the Edinburgh, London and Vancouver Fringe Festivals." There are eighteen other plays listed on that bio page.

Heart is the FF play I liked the most. I am aware of a bit of bias on my part, as I know many people involved, and just finished working with three of them on Sordid Lives. Still, I think after I divorce my bias I find this play to be a lot of fun yet with some heartfelt dramatic moments.

There were two points made by the adjudicators which I agree with, one wholly, the other, in part. David Finkle said, in all sincerity, that Heart should be a musical. Having heard his suggestion, I agree. The story lends itself well to the form and there are great spots and character sentiments to mine the songs from.

The other point is that the story is over at the end of Act I, and I only somewhat agree with this idea. What I think is that the play could end with Act I and be complete, especially if songs have been added to fill it out and some elements from the old second act are incorporated in. Still, the Act I ending, where the main character, Robert/Bert, decides to live, can be the solid break for intermission where we come back to a better developed Act II, with a stronger ending.

I'm a sucker for mush. As I told the playwright, when Monica and Chandler got engaged on the TV show Friends, I may have possibly sniffled a bit. The ending of Heart, as it stands is pretty mushy. I don't object to that, but I think there's too much monologue. I also think there needs to be more dramatic tension in the current Act II. We need to get to the final climax in a different, more "accidental," if you will, route than we do. It needs to be a little more of a surprise. Sorry I am being vague, but I don't wish to be specific about the story line toward the end. I don't like spoiling stories for those who may see it, read it, or whatever, in the future.

There were also a few places where the audience was way ahead of the main character, Bert, and we probably ought to have been making the discoveries with him. The author seemed to take the point during the discussion session.

The performance was as good as I had hoped. The whole cast did the script far more than justice. I will single out Michael Boyd as Bert, the manifestation or mental consciousness of the soul of Robert Bixler, who is dying in the hospital from a severe heart attack. As I told Mike after the performance, I liked Bert immediately, and where much of that comes from the words Silveman wrote on the page, a lot of it came from Mike's interpretation of what those words represent. Becky Lamb was in this production, too, and she did another fine job. And she has, in context, the best line of the play: "Prick!" That, followed by a well-written and well-executed monologue from Becky's character, the nurse.

The whole of the cast, in order of appearance:

    Robert Bixler            John Beck
    Bert            Michael Boyd
    Joanne Bixler            Cheryl Mellen
    Dr. Richardson            Ray Geiger
    Nurse            Becky Lamb
    Dr. Edward Morse            Terry Ronald
    Ed Nolan            Jim Lockwood
    Suzy Benedetti            Stacy Emoff
    Bryan Bixler            J.J. Tiemeyer
    Jay Bixler            Adam J. Leigh
    Francine Bixler            Melissa Sokol
    Marty Bixler            Alex Carmichal

Michael Wadham was on board as choreographer for the fantasy sequences.

SIX POSTCARDS by LISA DILLMAN closed the festival. Ms. Dillman's plays have been produced in Chicago, New York and Berkeley, as well as otherwise. Six Postcards, as either Peter Filichia or David Finkle pointed out (I can't remember which it was), is in the tradition of many great American plays: a story of family dysfunction.

This one may be closer to a finished draft than anything else I saw -- excluding Farragut North, of course, which I didn't see. I did find some problems with the pacing and rhythm of the work. But the characters are fully developed and there is a lot of tension and conflict, in fact, everyone on stage is, at one point or another, in conflict with everyone else they come in contact with; the only ones who don't conflict are the ones who are never on stage together.

Another good mark from me is how nobody is ultimately who they seem to be, least not completely. And the back story is even in question: whose version is true? The mother of the siblings Ethan (Alex Carmichal) and Mona (Zendyn Duellman) drove off one night and killed herself. It's clear she was mentally ill, but the effect on the household is not quite as clear. How much of a bad guy the father Charlie (Harold Fox) has been is also in question. His children hate him, but the play subtly challenges whether he deserves the full weight of their wrath. Ethan's wife Micki (Debra Strauss) is supposedly his saving grace in his recovering alcoholic life of today; but, she may not be the rock she appears to be. And Doug (Arlow Cloyes) was once in Homeless, the old rock band of Ethan and Mona. Doug now lives a double life: weekdays he a foreman at the local chemical plant; weekends he's still an outlaw rock-and-roller. Doug is actually the only person in the play we can be sure has his act together.

Like I said, this play has bumps to smooth out, and it may take a bit of work to re-write some scenes to keep their ideals and intent but fix the pacing and meter. Also, Ethan has one backward step that I find a little hard to believe; there was not enough build up to it for me to buy it -- much like some of my problems with Jane in Kidding Jane.

On the positive side again there is a fabulous device of Ethan showing the six postcards to the audience (the cards blown up and placed on an easel). They are postcards their mother sent the siblings while on various disappearances from the house. Ethan shows them while engaging in very well written almost poetic monologues. The show ends with a lovely and poignant representation of a particular postcard, an affectation which I believe I heard is in the script; if not, hat's off to director Saul Caplan for such an effective ending.

Once again, the performances were very good. I especially want to mention Debra Strauss' Micki; she played the fine line between stable and neurotic with finesse. And Arlow Cloyes did the double life of Doug convincingly. One of the adjudicators mentioned how it took a few minutes into the chemical plant scene to realize that when Ethan was talking to his supervisor it was the rock-&-roll guy from the bar the night before. Alex Carmichael was as good here as he was in Jake's Women (Brookville). Zendyn Duellman's free spirited (read: afraid to grow up) Mona was as charming and untrustworthy as she should be. And Harold Fox's Charlie belied his pain, anger and guilt in a manner that made him sympathetic.

So to cap it all, I had as good a weekend as I anticipated I would. I got to meet a few Dayton theatre people I had not met yet. I, as I disclosed in the July 27 blog entry, have become a little warmer to a notion I've had for a while to write a stage play, as the result of this weekend. Still, don't expect it to start soon. I do have some regret that I didn't audition this year, but, I had to go after The Monster's Mind, so I can't fully regret it, despite that I was not cast in the movie.

Seems a good chance I will audition for FutureFest 2006.

FUSION -- MICHAEL & SANDY BASHAW AND THE PUZZLE OF LIGHT ENSEMBLE -- A FUNDRAISER AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: August 12 (8:00 pm) and Aug 13 (5:00 pm) we are having two high-end building fund events at the Guild. Local musical artist Michael Bashaw, his wife Sandy and their musical ensemble will perform music in conjunction with readers theatre at the Guild. "High end" because tickets are $100 a person, $150 for a couple.

I'm quick to say it's an event I would not be able to attend. Then I think about the $200 I shelled out for a McCartney concert ticket and I think maybe I'd be too quick to say it. I happen to not have the money at the moment -- but I also have plans to send a few checks toward the building fun before the year's up, so I don't feel too bad about it.

I will be there. I was invited to take part in the reader's theatre -- I actually had made sure it was known I was interested. My understanding is that it will be about a ninety minute performance. It'll be a total of forty-five minutes of Bashaw music and equal time of actors' performances -- with Mr. Bashaw and his ensemble putting music underneath the dramatics. The two elements will be interspersed between each other. The first rehearsal is Sunday, August 7, the day after the annual Theatre Guild picnic.

DAYTON THEATRE HALL OF FAME - 2004/05 DAYTONY GALA: I have sent off my check for the August 22 event. Thinking about renting a tux.

Thinking about it.

PLAYS TO READ: Need to read a few plays. Most are such I have at least a cursory interest in auditioning for. Many I have borrowed from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, that which I may have occasion to be in from time to time. I have a copy of Mark Dunn's Belles, given to me in my role as producer. That is the one I may read first. I also have Lobby Hero (Kenneth Lonergan) -- low on my radar since I will not be auditioning: no role for me plus there's my concert ticket for McCartney the same day as a performance of this. I have Jerry Sterner's Other People's Money which I have an interest in. I have to re-read the copy of I Never Sang for My Father (Robert Anderson). I have a big interest in this one. I also have Eric Coble's Bright Ideas, which I have heard is a great dark comedy. Haven't read it but intend to, even though I don't believe there is a role for me in it. I bought Moisés Kaufman's Gross Indecency: the three trials of Oscar Wilde, but the uncertainty about being cast in the movie Paper Dolls made my interest in this one a moot point. Still haven't heard the final word on the movie; I suspect I am not cast -- however, we all remember the last time I gave up hope on that one?

Those are plays we are doing at Dayton Theatre Guild. I have a couple others I will read with interest in being in. Arthur Miller's The Crucible is being produced this season at both The Dayton Playhouse and The Rising Phoenix. Two chances to be in a great play by a great American playwright. Playhouse South is doing Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in June 2006 -- and I have a mind to test those waters.

I am not done looking over the stage play audition opportunities; these are just the plays I have in possession now.

K.L. THE BASS PLAYER: Remember, "bassist" would be a stretch of the term. I have been able to put in some woodshed time. I am, um, "progressing." Hey, forward is forward.

K.L. THE "UNDISCOVERED" NOVELIST: More letters back from those poorly visioned literary agents who have passed up the chance to represent me.

Bet you're all saying, His novel better be pretty damned good!

SHOOTING SCRIPT FOR MY MOVIE: I am now returning to shooting script mode. I am doing one last copyediting sweep of the screenplay proper. I do, of course, suck at copyediting my own work. This blog, on occasion, is perfect proof of that.

Okay! On FREQUENT occasion.



Tue, Aug 2, 2005

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A PAPER DOLLS DEVELOPMENT -- MAYBE: I saw a posting to "re-cast" the female lead in Paper Dolls and in the info it said production would start Dec 5, 2005, as opposed to late August, which was the last scheduling I heard.

I pretty much have gotten the idea it is bad form to contact the producers of a film project to follow up on your audition or anything else. But, man am I tempted. The idea that I missed a chance (even if perhaps slim) to be in Gross Indecency is really a drag. Especially if it is that pipe dream of a thing where I could have my cake and eaten it too (I.E.: to have been cast in both projects).

I must admit, I am really tempted to email the contact person at Mark Archer's New Holly Wood Studios and check-up on things. I am resisting that impulse, right now, anyway.

MY MOVIE PROJECT: I have broken the shooting script down by scene breaks. There are currently 35 scenes. I counted each change of location, even as little as from a living room to the kitchen, as different scenes, as well as each side of a phone conversation, where there are intercuts of the two people in their separate locations.

So there will look to those who watch the final product like fewer scenes than I have numbered. My numbering is for the sake of production management. It's more efficient to schedule scene 11 on Saturday and scene 12 on Monday than scene 11 with her on the phone in the apt on Saturday, then scene 11 with him on the phone at the gym on Monday. Especially since each are completely different production set-ups (camera, lighting, etc).

I haven't much gotten into the shot set-ups. I will float many over from the previous shooting script. I'm sure some will change from there. We can be certain that when I bring a director of photography on board, he or she will change some good number of shots.

It's not quite time to go looking for the DP, unless I stumble onto someone I know can be relatively committed to a project that has no current guarantee of getting off the ground. What it is time for now is to try and secure a co-producer. That one with sea legs I have written of before. I am now investigating how to find that mystery man or woman. I certainly know a few people who can steer me in the right direction.

Meanwhile, I'm just about to send the screenplay off for the Ohio Arts Council individual artist's grant competition.

And though this is jumping way ahead into post-production, my friend Lou Lala and I are getting together later this week to meet about music for some scenes. I should add that I am now planning to compose and perform incidental music for the film with my new bass. I also have decided to digitally mix and master another of my recordings from the 80's for a scene in the movie, too. This one, like Lou's recordings, will be coming from a radio in a scene. Actually, at this point I think Lou's will be from a CD player in a character's apartment.

I'm also starting to keep my eyes peeled and my mind open for a good AD (assistant director). Still, the co-producer is the big thing. I need to start having real strategies for sponsors and other financial resources. Haven't found any other grants beyond OAC, at the moment -- though I'd bet they are out there. I need that co-producer who knows how this "raising money" thing is done.



Wed Aug 10, 2005

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THEGUILD/BASHAW FUND RAISER: We're only doing the Saturday, August 13 show. Had a rehearsal last Sunday. Along with the introduction to the reading of The Miracle Worker, I was also given two other readings at the last minute. I will read the part of the judge in a reading of Gross Indecency and will read the introduction to Sordid Lives. I only got to do those two twice, as we were doing run-throughs. I actually got the Gross judge just as that section came up, so it was the very definition of a cold reading.

Needless to say, since I pretty much suck at cold reading, I was not what one would call impressive. But, now that I've had some time to rehearse the readings, I am a little happier with all three performances. We have our other run through this Friday, rather than Thursday.

WRITE?: I have a call for submissions out at the site proper, for those of you write prose or poetry and didn't already notice. See my From K.L.'s Desk or the Submissions Guidelines pages for more info.



Thu Aug 11, 2005

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DON'T MISTAKE THIS CLARIFICATION FOR A JUSTIFICATION OR ANY SORT OF APOLOGY

Several years ago I saw author/comedian Al Franken on C-Span 2's Book TV at a New York book store, promoting his political satire novel, Why Not Me: the Making and the Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. I missed the meat of the appearance, but I did get to see the Q&A session.

Since it was being cablecast on C-Span 2, Al was asked to repeat the audience members' questions for the C-Span microphone. Of course, some folk were close enough that we in cableland were able to hear the original questions. One person asked Al to comment on how the quality of NBC's Saturday Night Live had gone down hill so much since the time he was one of the head writers there. Though this will not be an exact quote, it is pretty damn close to what Al said:

"Okay, the question was, Why is it that I don't say bad things about my friends?'"

Now I don't want to intellectualize a clearly humorous response with too fine an analytical point. Still, I notice that Franken did not say, "Oh, I don't really think it's gone down hill.'" What I derived from his quip then, and do even more so now (because of the topic of this ranting little essay entry), is Al saying, "This is not the forum where I will comment on such things."

With that in mind, I have had it again pointed out to me that I do not offer up criticisms, even constructive criticisms, of the local theatrical performances I attend. All I share are the complements. That is as true an observation now as it was several weeks back when the "amateur dramatist," as he called himself, from England made it. *As an aside, it was an odd coincidence that he had contacted me when he did, as we had just done An Act of the Imagination at the Guild and the term "amateur dramatist," in the context of a Brit, is in the play.

Back to the main thesis of this entry, in terms of the more recent observations, there are a few I want to respond to here. Some of the ideas put forth to me disturb me a little. If a couple people are taking the time to share them with me, that likely means there are others who are on the same line of thinking.

Understand these things under no uncertain terms: If I say I was greatly impressed with someone's performance then I was greatly impressed. If I say I found someone superb then I found that person superb. If I say an actor was good then I mean that actor was good. If I say I liked it then I liked it. I never use an adjective or a verb that I do not believe is appropriate and true.

One person, in direct response to my previous response to the British fellow, and another person in a different context, both suggested with different word choices that I dish out uniform complements. My answer to that is: Nonsense. I may only share about what I like, but there is a big spectrum in the degrees of praise I have given. "Good" and "very Impressive" do not mean the same thing.

I shared in an email with one person that I would tell actors, one-on-one, negative points about my impressions of a performance, that which I said something good about in the blog. Here's the thing: I still meant the good thing. The challenge was laid down to me on this score as to why, and this is a direct quote, "should anyone give [my] opinion any weight on [my] blog if [I'm] not giving [my] true opinion?"

First of all, I am not presenting myself at this blog as any sort of an expert on the theatre or acting. This is, let me state it again as I did in the other entry on this subject, "A Diary of Artful Things." This is about my growth as an actor, etc. I will be brutally critical of my own performances because that's the fucking game here. That's what this blog is about, my journey.

Second, I find it a terribly invalid point that because I only share the positive aspects of my assessment of other actors' performances that I am not giving my true opinion.

And as for why anyone should give any weight to my opinion on my blog if...yadda, yadda, yadda, Just exactly where is there a suggestion that I think anyone should? If anything I have pretty much stated in none-too-subtle terms that I see myself as a freshman in all of this, whose opinion should be taken as from such.

But, why then, one person asks, if all I do is "blandly stroke egos, without any attendant constructive, pointed criticism, what is the purpose?" I go to see plays because I am interested and I want to see other actors at work in the same craft I want to get better at. I then report back on those events. I talk in my report about what I liked. Why? Why not? Why don't I report back about what I don't like in terms of my colleagues in the theatre? Because that is not something I want to do nor do I feel I ought to be doing in this space. It's just simply not what this is about, nor do I plan on it ever being so, even at a time when I am not such a freshman. I go, I report about what I liked -- take it for what it's worth, find it worthless, as you like.

One may note that I did turn a critical eye toward the writing of the five plays I saw at FutureFest. There is no denying I shared some of what I did not like; here's why: those plays were there to be workshopped; receiving feedback and critique were the goals of the playwrights. I will admit it is also because, to go back to the Franken anecdote, I was not saying bad things about my friends.

I freely admit that one of the points for me is that I do not wish to make negative comments about those I have and will work with on stage, in such a public forum as an internet web site. As I have already made clear, I don't see justifying it as my place to do it on this blog, for one thing. I also will not stand on the stage across from someone, with both of us knowing I have publicly shared my opinion of what's wrong with his or her work. The bottom line is that, at most, I am a peer, and I don't see any reason for me to be critical of my fellow actors' work in such a public forum. It's not nice. And I am no authority.

And I'm sorry, but it is okay to say when I have liked something; I don't have to present myself as an authority in order to say I think someone is an excellent actor or that I was moved by a performance. Why shouldn't I? And why is anyone challenging the act? As a friend said when we were talking about this, in a general way, a few days ago, "Is there something wrong with positive strokes?"

In conjunction, this next point is the proposition that disturbs me the most. It was posed to me that because I only mention what I like about my fellow actors' performances, I was "kissing butt" and that I would get a reputation around the area for it. Well, here's the thing: If I say I was greatly impressed with someone's performance then I was greatly impressed. If I say I found someone superb then I found that person superb. If I say an actor was good then I mean that actor was good. If I say I liked it then I liked it. I never use an adjective or a verb that I do not believe is appropriate and true.

If by only giving positive strokes I risk looking like I am kissing ass, well then so be it.

You know, I am prone, perhaps a little too prone, to use the word fuck in my everyday life, but, there are social situations (like business meetings at work) where I do not let the word slip (I hope it does not, anyway). It is that question again of when is the context correct?

As I suggested earlier, I may very easily give someone a negative -- but I hope constructive -- criticism of their work one-on-one. But, that's a different context and I would never volunteer such; they would have to specifically ask for my critical opinion.

One last thing. I shared in my emails with at least three of these challengers that my motto on all of this is the philosophy If you can't say anything good, then don't say anything. The question was posed in different ways by all of them: wouldn't that then make it obvious that if I don't mention someone I clearly didn't care for their performance? That is a valid question. First, I see a big difference between not indicating I personally liked someone's performance and directly stating in public what I thought was wrong with someone's performance. It's all about the fact that I refuse to lie about what I think is good; and I don't care, as I have already made clear, to air my criticisms of fellow actors' work here. Plus, I fail to mention people, simply as an oversight, on a very regular basis.

And, in the end, this is just a blog by a guy who decided to start acting again less than two years ago and is more or less journaling his journey in that direction, as well as his writing, etc. This ain't no academic treatise and this ain't the arts and culture section of the New York Times.

So, I am finished with the debate, here, in emails, and in person. It is now time for me to lighten up on the subject. For the record, I am still only going to mention what I liked about my fellow actors' performances (or the directors work, which I am even less qualified to have a critical opinion of) when I report back on plays I have attended. I make no apologies to anyone for the decision.

And, just in case you missed it: If I say I was greatly impressed with someone's performance then I was greatly impressed. If I say I found someone superb then I found that person superb. If I say an actor was good then I mean that actor was good. If I say I liked it then I liked it. I never use an adjective or a verb that I do not believe is appropriate and true.

PRODUCING BELLES: In another, less didactic pathway, I had been given a copy of the play Belles in my role as staff producer. I then promptly lost my copy. I ordered it Tuesday from the Samuel French web site. Damned if the copy didn't arrive today. I am reading other plays I have an eye on auditioning for, but, I do need to read Belles soon. Seems like the producer ought to know the play pretty well, huh?

Well, Now That I Am Done Ranting And Such it's time to rehearse for the fund raiser.



Sat Aug 13, 2005

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K.L. THE MEANDERING JESTER -- OR HOW TO MOVE WITH PURPOSE ON STAGE: Back during Cripple of Inishmaan one of Greg Smith's constant battles as a director, with me as an actor, was to get me to "move with purpose" on stage. I think it eventually worked out to his satisfaction, but, I still see it as another hurdle for me to overcome, generally speaking.

In some ways I think this is another aspect of that greenness I have at cold reading. I just do not have the skill to quickly assess a character and what is going on wholly with that character in the scene. I have been told some fine actors never develop this skill and that other's have a little repertoire of characterizations, the best suited of which they pull out and use when cold reading. I am somewhat opposed to having that second "bag of tricks" approach, though I do see an advantage. I guess I want to become an actor who can get to the unique character on the page, post haste.

Of course, as I would move into rehearsal with a part I am cast in, I and the director would be adjusting, sometimes greatly, the person of the character. Still, I want to have a surety about the character, even in cold reading -- and perhaps I'm asking too much of myself; but, why not try for that even if I don't meet the goal fully?

That surety translates into movement, too. I know I can cultivate the skill of moving with purpose on stage, even when I have little idea about a character.

Last Sunday, at the end of the Bashaw/readers theater rehearsal, Greg spoke of a few people (I guarantee you I was one of them) who need to guard against "meandering" on stage. I smiled, looked at the seasoned actor sitting next to me and said, "He's taking about me." The seasoned actor nodded an affirmative.

I believe I was probably improved at last night's rehearsal. Yet, I'd gamble that if I saw a video tape of me, I would not be altogether happy. I do know that, being conscious of the problem, I was conservative about my movement and did not utilize as much of the space as I could have, and, I think, should have.

Some of this, I know, is just that frustrating inexperience. My ego hates that. I hate that I am a freshman at all this. Oh well. Too bad. I am.

I did study some of the long-time actors and how they so easily used the space with sureness and professional attention to the space where the audience will be. I have to go to the theatre early today to more-or-less begin my new role as house manager (even if the title isn't official exactly yet). So, I am going to rehearse my movement with purpose so this afternoon's audience does not have to bear through some self-conscious actor fumbling his way through his performance.



Tue, Aug 16, 2005

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LAST SATURDAY'S DAYTON THEATRE GUILD FUND RASIER -- FUSION; READER'S THEATRE WITH MICHAEL & SANDY BASHAW AND THE PUZZLE OF LIGHT ENSEMBLE:

Lap top hard drive problems delayed this entry. My HD is now a paperweight. My PowerBook is currently in the hands of the techies at The Mac Depot. A new, larger HD, more RAM, and Tiger (OS X.4) and I'll be ready red Ted to rock and roll. In the mean time, I spent Sunday attempting to boot my lap top, an event which never occurred. Since then I have not been able to attend to this or much other web site business when sitting at my Mac tower at the house or at the PC at lunch at work. So, the report of my Fusion adventure has been delayed.

The event and performance overall went very well. There were, of course, a few SNAFUs, it being live theatre. I had three things myself. The first one has to do with how dry and dusty it can be in the Guild building. That always makes for a dilemma for me. I need to have a bottle of water handy; I also need to be sure I haven't caused myself a problem, of the full bladder sort, while I am on stage or waiting for a close cue to go on stage. And, then, yet, I don't want to be on stage with an arid throat and the accompanying choked and constricted voice.

The show ran close to, if not, two hours, with no intermission. All of us actors were sitting in the theatre with the audience; then we each stood and read our parts when it came time. I did not want to be sitting there, forty-five minutes into the show, and suddenly be in one of those commercials where the music over the desperate person on screen is: "Gotta go gotta go...." I didn't drink any water for a while before the show.

Just prior to the show, all us actors were in the lobby. Michael Bashaw, his wife Sandy, and the Puzzle of Light bass player, Dick (I'll get his last name and insert it later), were playing their opening sequence. Actor Gil Martin was about to go on to open the readings with Shakespeare ("All the world's a stage...."), and I suddenly get one of those death null scratchy, throat tickles: the sort where you cough terribly and it sounds to the world as if something has come loose inside your neck. All I can think is how I can't stop coughing and it's too late to go back and get my water bottle, which is in the back of the building. Suffice it to say I was in a bit of a panic.

Fortunately, as I was in distress, a fellow actor, Michael Boyd, took action to see that I got something to sip -- all that was readily available was black coffee, but that was good enough. Actually, that is was warm liquid may have been a little better. I guess the "problem" here, if you may call it that, was that the audience surely heard the violent coughing coming from the lobby; which was a bit of a spoiler for them.

Another of the "imperfections" I was involved with was when a cue that I needed was delayed. I went on without it. Then it came, and I stopped and started over. I should not have. I should have kept going; it would have worked just fine. More of that freshmanship showing through.

The last one was when a fellow actor dropped a line that was supposed to interrupt me as I began to speak. I opened my mouth -- to be interrupted -- but the interruption did not come. I was not sure how to handle it. I looked in the direction of the actor, which I now believe was a big ol' 'no-no' on my part. I started again, only to again not be interrupted. So, I then went on with my lines. I am sure I telegraphed the botch to the audience -- again, my freshman status glowing in the dark.

As for whether I "moved with purpose," I am not sure. I more-or-less feel as if it was not as much a meander as it all could have been. I had practiced early in the day on the stage, as I said I would, but, the missed interruption during that particular segment threw this inexperienced freshman off his rehearsed movements. So I was again conservative with the movement just as I'd been in group rehearsal the night before. That certainly being better than wild meandering.

I was also happy with my actual readings. I felt good about my portrayal of the judge in the Gross Indecency reading and think both my narrative readings went well enough.

And now, at the risk of showering faint praise, across-the-board, I will say that we all did a good job, some did a damn good job. No one was shabby at all, SNAFUs aside. The audience, who shelled out big bucks, were certainly complementary at the reception afterward.

I have added the event to my résumé, because as I see it, it counts.

NO WORD ON THE WRIGHT STATE STUDENT FILM SUMMER NIGHTS: Since the movie is supposed to be shot this coming weekend, I suspect that unless there is a production delay, I am not what the director has in mind for in the role of the father.

THE NEW DAYTON THEATRE GUILD HOUSE MANAGER: Our first 2005/2006 show, Gross Indecency: the Three Trails of Oscar Wilde, opens in a short two and a half weeks. My new board position is now in effect, thus I am charged with finding the hosts (often called "ushers") for each performance. I will take opening night, and probably at least one other show during the run -- that will likely be my standard practice unless I am cast in the particular show (or in a show at another theatre).



Sat Aug 20, 2005

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DAYTON THEATRE HALL OF FAME - 2004/05 DAYTONY GALA: Monday night is this year's event. I will not be in that tux I had suggested I might be. It has more to do with the $340 I just dropped on my lap top than anything else.

Last year, despite glaring flaws in my performance, it was within reason, of a sort anyway, that I could have received an individual award for Johnny Pateen n The Cripple of Inishmaan. This year, it may be possible for me to get an award as part of an ensemble for either The Diviners or Sordid Lives -- in either case it would be riding on other actors' waves, especially for Sordid Lives. Though the Balladeer in The Diviners was my meatiest role of the season. That's not to discount Godfather Drosselmeier in Nut Cracker, who actually played a bigger role in the story; but, Drosselmeier did not get to sing "How Tedious and Tasteless." That was my single biggest moment on stage of the season.

Here's hoping for more robust roles this new season.

    Addendum: Okay, I just read that last sentence, right after I posted this entry, and it reads a little off what I mean. I liked the roles I had this past season, but, I would be a major liar of I did not acknowledge that I went after much bigger and juicier roles and was disappointed when I did not win them. I loved being one of the Balladeers, and though I had tried to avoid the role, I had fun as Drosselmeier. It was even a challenge to be in that coffin, at least to try and do it right. Let's face it though, I went after much more interesting roles this last season. I am going after a few such this new season. And, here's hoping I step into a few of them.

THE CRUCIBLE: I am studying that one at the moment. There are two productions this year. I am looking more at the closer one at The Dayton Playhouse, mostly because the other production, at The Rising Phoenix, will interfere with I Never Sang For My Father at the Guild in late winter 06. As one may remember, I have a big interest in Never Sang....

I think I may be a little too old for a role in Crucible I am drawn toward. Again, it's wait until the cast list is out....

IN THE MEANTIME, I AM SO BUSY I FEEL A LITTLE GUILTY TO EVEN BE WRITING A BLOG ENTRY: My lap top hard drive failure kind of blew my week for me. In some ways because I let it, in other ways because the portability of that computer is much easier for time management. And, I have spent the weekend configuring the new hard drive.

That all has, however, put me behind at the screenplay and shooting script; sending replacement query letters to more literary agents for the novel (yes, those foolish rejection letters keep on arriving); the real start of looking for a co-producer for the movie; seeking other artists' grants to apply for (for the movie); link updates -- long, long, overdue updates -- at the site proper; reading some work for the forthcoming literary updates at the site proper; my bass guitar wood shedding; and a few duties as the new 05/06 house manager for the Guild; not to mention that, even though they are a year old now, I have planned for a while to use some of my actor's headshots to replace pics of me on the home page for the site, From K.L.'s Desk, and About WG.

And I have a hankerin' to get back into more of an essay mode for some upcoming entry here.

Yeah, I know: "a little tiny violin playing a little tiny ballad of melancholy and woe, just for me.



Sun Aug 21, 2005

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ONE MORE DAYTONY THING: Ya know, I failed to mention in yesterday's entry, least wise directly, that I did win a Daytony last year as a cast member in Cripple in the ensemble performance category. Might also say, despite glaring flaws in my performance, I don't think that was a case of "riding on other actors' waves" in the manner it would be this year. As I've said before, I did okay as Johnnypat, despite....

SCREW THE GUILT, I'M GOING TO THE PARK: Soon as I post this, I am off to spend a few hours in the woods, my digital camera in hand. I got a lot to do; I'll do it -- later. There's some sun screen, some bug repellant and a hike, all with my name on them.



Wed Aug 24, 2005

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BRIEF NOTES ON THE DAYTONYS: Rather than rely upon my memory, I'll wait until there is a published list, in the local papers or at the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame / Daytonys web site, before I get specific with most of my "congrats."

But here's to my fellow cast mates in The Diviners! We all took a Daytony of Excellence for Ensemble Performance. Travis Williams received an award of Excellence for his portrayal of C.C. Showers. Bradley A. Kasch won a supporting performer award for his work as Buddy Layman(*). Debra Strauss won an award for her choreography of the movement in the drowning scene; and Terry Ronald won for lighting design.

As I said, there is more to discuss, but I will wait to be sure I have all the facts straight.

    *OOPS (Aug 27 Addendum): I swear I can remember Bradley's name being called and him walking up and getting an award of Merit for Buddy in The Diviners. There is, however, no record of him getting this award, on the official Daytony's web site nor in either Dayton newspapers' accounts of the event. I even contacted a Daytony official, who verified he did not win this award.

    Guess I did too many drugs in the 70's.

WRITERS DIGEST EDITORS IN DAYTON: Tonight several editors for the Cincinnati based Writer's Digest magazine will be at Books&Co, in Dayton, to discuss the smartest ways for new authors to attempt to get published. I am attending in order to learn more about snagging an agent and getting my novel published.



Sat Aug 27, 2005

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THE WRITERS DIGEST REFERENCE BOOK EDITORS PANEL DISCUSSION WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Four editors from the Cincinnati based F&W Publications Inc., which publishes the magazine, Writer's Digest, spoke on and answered questions regarding publishing, at the Dayton book store, Books&Co, Wednesday. The editors were:

    Lauren Mosko -- editor of Novel & Short Story Writer's Market

    Nancy Breen -- editor of Poet's Market

    Robert Brewer -- editor of Writer's Market and Writer's Market Deluxe Edition

    Joanna Masterson -- assistant editor of Writer's Market and Guide to Literary Agents

Unfortunately, Alice Pope, editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, was not able to be there, because there were more than a few questions about that market, though most of these questions were reasonably answered by the panel, especially by Ms. Mosko.

I did not get much new information except for one item that neither surprised me nor enthused me: it's not terribly likely a novel will be published under the name the author gave it. And, cynic that I am, I have no confidence whatsoever that some marketing whore will do better than I have at naming my book. I thought long and hard, trying to balance the integrity of the text and the commercial realities, to create a title that fits perfectly. The idea that some numbskull will give it a name based on some USA Today-type bar chart or arbitrary marketing guess about what works, is unpopular with me, to say the least.

I also asked about an aspect of my query letters to agents. A friend made what seemed like a viable suggestion. My novel is about an adolescent boy, but it is definitely not a children's or young adults' book. My friend said I should still make reference to Harry Potter in the query. The editors were unanimous in rejecting that as a bad idea. The bottom line: if I mention Harry Potter then I'd better give them something that really is in that vein, or I will be summarily dismissed as a rank amateur making a desperate ploy.

Once again I have decided to re-examine, and undoubtedly re-write my query letter. It is an event that occurs every few months as a rule, anyway; the Books&Co event had really very little to do with it.

DAYTON THEATRE GUILD "MURPHY" AWARDS: I failed to mention that a few weeks back, the Guild held its annual picnic and awards ceremony. The following is the text, stolen directly from the sub-page at the Guild web site about the annual awards:

The DTG "Murphy" Awards

The Dayton Theatre Guild Murphy Award is the award of achievement presented to actors and technical personnel who by audience or panel vote have been deemed BEST of the Season. Why Murphy? Supposedly, it is based on Murphy’s Law.

Murphy’s Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1949. It was named after Captain Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981. The purpose of this project was to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.

One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." The contractor’s project manager kept a list of "laws" and added this one, which he called Murphy’s Law. Actually, what he did was take an old law that had been around for years in a more basic form and give it a name.

Shortly afterwards, the Air Force doctor (Dr. John Paul Stapp) who rode a sled on the deceleration track to a stop, pulling 40 Gs (a force 40 times that of normal gravity on the earth's surface), gave a press conference. He said that their good safety record on the project was due to a firm belief in Murphy’s Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it.

Our determination to produce quality theatre stems from a firm belief in the necessity, desire and determination to mount outstanding productions in the eye of adversity, something every community theatre lives with on a daily basis!

    2004-2006 Murphy Awards

  • Best Show - Sordid Lives
  • Audience Choice Award for Best Show: Sordid Lives
  • Best Performance by an actress in a leading role - Barbara Coriell in Act of the Imagination
  • Best Performance by an actor in a leading role - Gil Martin in A Walk in the Woods
  • Best Performance by an actress in a supporting role - Henni Fisher in Sordid Lives
  • Best Performance by an actor in a supporting role - Travis Williams in Sordid Lives
  • Ensemble Acting - Sordid Lives
  • Director - Greg Smith, Sordid Lives
  • Set Design - Justin Reiter, Act of the Imagination
  • Sound Design - Fran Pesch, Grace & Glorie
  • Costume Design - Barbara Jorgensen, The Diviners
  • Properties - Blake Senseman, Long Day's Journey into Night
  • Lighting Design - Terry Ronald, A Walk in the Woods

The directors also gave out awards of their own. For Nutcracker, Jocelyn Kandl gave me a certificate for Best Fox to Ever Jump Out of a Box -- that being a reference to Godfather Drosselmeier's first appearance (he jumps out of a big Christmas gift box) and the fox suit I had to wear as a toy in another scene (Can you say "Shanghaied?").

AND.... THE DAYTONYS: Three productions I was involved with did well.

  • Sordid Lives, where I was primarily the newby stage manager during both runs (and the did all that stage dressing of the bar area and Sissy's living room, which I boasted about back in July entries here, for the second run). I was, of course, also the corpse of Peggy Sue, "Mama," Ingram. This show netted two awards.

    1. John-Michael Lander - Award of Excellence for Lead Role
    2. Travis Williams - Award of Excellence for Supporting Role
  • The Diviners, where I got to sing the lovely "How Tedious and Tasteless" along with Chris Shea. As I've probably said before, singing that was the high spot of my theatre Season. We also sang, "I'll Fly Away," which I enjoyed, too, but not as much. I also helped as stage crew for stage manager Eric Ng. The Diviners received four honors.

    1. Cast Award of Excellence for Ensemble performance: directed by Michael Boyd. Cast members: Travis Williams, Bradley A. Kasch, Jon Horwitz, Sarah Gomes, John Bukowski, Craig Roberts, Justin Carr, Cynthia Karns, Deirdre Root, Natasha Randall, Nicole Polzella, K.L.Storer, and Chris Shea
    2. Travis Williams - Award of Excellence for Lead Role
    3. Terry Ronald - Award of Excellence for Lighting Design
    4. Debra Strauss - Award of Merit for Choreography
  • I rode into a Gold Daytony on the slip stream of my fellow cast members' performances, as I thought I might.

  • Grace & Glorie. Here I was "producer," but am not sure I contributed a whole lot to the finished product. This one won seven* awards.

    1. Award of Excellence for Overall Production
    2. Jo Bond - Award of Excellence for Lead Role
    3. Debra A. Kent - Award of Merit for Lead Role
    4. Fran Pesch - Award of Merit as Director
    5. Fran Pesch - Award of Merit for Set Design
    6. Fran Pesch - Award of Merit for Sound Design
    7. Annie Pesch - Award of Excellence for Properties

    8. *addition of sound design award added Sep 14, 2005
  • A big hand of applause for all my cast mates and fellow production people!

    There are a few awards for productions I had no part in that I'd like to mention:

  • Lisa M. Sadai received a Daytony of Merit for her lead role in Sinclair Community College's Glass Menagerie. I think she deserved recognition of Excellence, but I am glad to see she did get a nod. I am sorry to see that Elizabeth Wilemaitis did not get awarded for her lovely and effective portrayal of Laura.
  • Amy Hamilton received a well deserved award for her Cassandra in Sinclair Community College's Trojan Women. She got it for a Lead role, and though I'm not sure Cassandra is a lead role, I am sure I would have given Amy a gold medallion of Excellence, rather than the silver of Merit which she received. I found her performance a stand-out in a crowd of fine work.
  • I was pleased to see both Becky Lamb and Stacy Emoff get awards for their supporting roles in Jake's Women (Brookville Community Theatre) and Godspell (Dayton Playhouse), respectively. I was very pleased to see young James Roselli get a Daytony of Excellence for his supporting role, also in Godspell. I think we will be seeing great things from this young man.
  • Sarah Gomes received an Award of Excellence along with her fellow Greek Chorus members, Ian Hayes, and Ron Brown for their roles in Rising Phoenix Theatre's production of Oedipus Rex -- I was so very impressed when I saw them. It was, in my mind, Sarah's best moments on stage this year, but not her only good ones. With the ensemble award she also won for this show, she went home with three metals. Pretty good year for Ms. Gomes.
  • I can't NOT comment on the fact that the actors who won out over me in every lead role I went after this season, each won a Daytony for the performance: Gil Martin for Andre Botvinik in A Walk in the Woods (Excellence); John-Michael Lander for Brother Boy in Sordid Lives (Excellence); Blake Senseman for Arthur Putnam in An Act of the Imagination (Excellence); and, Alex Carmichael for Jake in Brookville Community Theatre's Jake's Women (Merit). They all, of course, deserved the accolades in aces -- and I can't help but take the lesson in humility, if reluctantly so. And I certainly appreciate the irony and celestial humor.
  • And remember when I predicted that Henni Fisher and Kim Reiter would both get Daytonys for their roles in the Dayton Playhouse production of Always...Patsy Cline? I was correct -- and awards of Excellence, too. Greg Smith won two awards for the show: director (Excellence) and set design (Merit).

    A few, in the addition to the afore-mentioned Elizabeth Wilemaitis, that I, in my bias, think are missing awards: Bradley A. Kasch for Lead role in The Diviners -- some might say "supporting role," but I say Buddy is a lead role *(see my correction to the Aug 24 entry where I thought he had won this in the category of supporting role). Diane Taveau in her supporting role as LaVonda Dupree in the first run of Sordid Lives -- when Diane moved to California, Dayton theatre lost an extremely talented female player. Katrina Kittle in her supporting role of Dr. Eve Bolinger in Sordid Lives. Nicole Polzella or her supporting role of Darlene Henshaw in The Diviners. Heather Martin for her supporting role of Noleta Nethercott in Sordid Lives.

    Those are all, of course, terribly biased wishes. And I did not see everything that was out there. But, there-ya-go.

    See the entire 2004/2005 awards list by clicking here: www.daytonys.org/daytonys.cfm?option=2004-5%20Awards.

    For as long as the URL is good, you can see Terry Morris' article in Dayton Daily News, though it is really no more than the list of winners: Click here for Morris' article. The web site for Dayton City Paper had not been updated to the relevant issue, the last time I checked (today). I have seen the hard copy of the Aug 24 issue, however, and theatre critic and columnist Russell Florence, Jr. does comment on the awards and the inductions of Jack Blackburn, Nelson D'Aloia, and Greg Smith into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.

    THE K.L.TONYS: I also want to give out the K.L.Tony Award of Color Me Impressed to each of Natasha Randall and Melissa Young, both who walked on the stage incredibly under-rehearsed and gave performances that would have been considered good had they had more preparation, and were at the level of fabulous, given the circumstances. Natasha was understudy for the Human Race's professional production of Crimes of the Heart. Because of the Equity rules about pay, she got almost no chance to rehearse with the rest of the cast -- it would have cost too much in wages to run things again. She got one performance in front of the audience and did a great job. Melissa, with only less than a real dozen rehearsals, took on two separate roles, one the first week, the other the next, in the Summer re-run of Sordid Lives. Again, she did good! I would have been tying nooses for myself in either situation!

    I also give a K.L.Daytony to Jocelyn Kandl for Baptism By Fire As A New Director. Her first gig at the helm was a musical, Nutcracker, calling on all the elements of acting, singing, and dancing. There were almost no actors who auditioned for the show, so she had to scramble to fill the roles -- I was supposed to be the stage manager but ended up on stage. The actor who committed to be the father never showed and she had to write the character out. She did end up with a cast, but it was made up of mostly kids, of course, as it was supposed to be -- let's remember though that even good kids, when you get them in a group, especially one full of energy.....

    Then, late in the game there were a few cast changes that needed to be made. Jocelyn had more than a few stressful moments -- but she pulled it off. We won't discuss how she talked me into wearing that damned fox suit! She did have good help: assistant director and stage manager Audrey Parries, choreographer Michael Wadham, musical director Vivian Smith, and the great help of several parents. Still, it was pretty nerve racking for her maiden voyage and I applaud her results. Nutcracker certainly wasn't the show of the year, but it was fun and enthusiastic and the children in the audience loved it -- they, after all, were the target audience, and Jocelyn never forgot that.

    And a K.L.Tony to Greg Smith for his Act III monologue of regret as James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night -- it was one of my favorite stage moments to have witnessed all season.

    THERE I GO AGAIN: Only mentioning the stuff I liked -- (I'd put one of those annoying smiley faces here if I didn't find them so, well, annoying).

    AUDITIONS

    Plays: I still have my eye on The Crucible at The Dayton Playhouse, directed by Cynthia Karns. There is also a new semi-professional theatre company in Springfield, Ohio, Springfield StageWorks which opens it's first season with Samuel Beckett's End Game, and which has caught my attention. Then, Dayton Playhouse has an alternate season this year called "The Flip Side." The first show of that is Sam Shepard's Buried Child. So, I hope I have a few opportunities to actually get on stage with a role that has some meat to it and in one of three really good works. Check out the StageWorks season, they are offering good fair.

    Films: The Wright State Student film Summer Nights has come and gone as far as I know. I also am now pretty sure that Paper Dolls is a dead horse. Let's hope the same thing happens this time as did the last time I declared it a gone thing -- (does that mean I really DON'T think it's a dead horse?)

    DAYTON THEATRE GUILD HOUSE MANAGING: I have hosts for four of the nine performances of Gross Indecency. Honestly I have five, since I am more than likely to take a second night. I have two potential hosts to add at the moment.

    By-the-way: if YOU live in the Dayton area, you might think about hosting -- especially if you are one of the local Dayton theatre people who drop by occasionally to see what silly things the "new guy" is writing: KL_Storer@yahoo.com.

    ACOUSTIC BASSMAN: Been gettin' some time with my axe, man. Feelin' good; slidin' into a cool pool of groove and shit. It's a thing and all.



  • Tue, Aug 30, 2005

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    A COUPLE DAYTONY THINGS I MISSED AND HAVE TO MENTION NOW:

  • Bruce Cromer and Underneath the Lintel: Bruce won several Daytonys in the professional category. He also won a special award for his portrayal of The Librarian in the special presentation of Underneath the Lintel at The Dayton Theatre Guild. I can't believe it slipped my mind since I ran sound for the show, was blown away by his talent, and it marked my introduction to this incredible actor!
  • Another Daytony that was missed, in my opinion: Martin Andrews as Oedipus in the Rising Phoenix production of Oedipus Rex deserved a Daytony for Lead role, and I say Gold, too.

    MY SCREENPLAY IS OFFICIALLY SUBMITTED TO THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL: I sent the application in electronically yesterday. I mailed off the required copies of the manuscript today.

    Fortunately, I caught a silly-assed mistake in it before I sent it off. There is a reference in it to Samuel Beckett as an American playwright, when, in fact he was Irish. I meant to refer to Sam Shepard. I do that all the time with those two, interchange their names. Well, the character in the screenplay who was making the dumbass error is one who would not, so it is fortunate that I caught it.

    GROSS INDECENY: THE THREE TRAILS OF OSCAR WIDLE OPENS AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD THIS WEEKEND: Gotta plug my home theatre, you know. I will be there at least twice as host this weekend, maybe all three shows. All of you who are close enough, come see it! Click on the link here, in the item header, and see how to make a reservation.

    Meanwhile, I'm off to secure more hosts for the run of the show.



  • Fri Sep 2, 2005

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    GROSS INDECENY: THE THREE TRAILS OF OSCAR WIDLE OPENS AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD TONIGHT: Still gotta plug my home theatre! Again, if you're close enough, come see it!

    LET THE LITTLE TINY VIOLIN SERENADE ME IN MY MISERY: I'll be at the Guild for all three shows this weekend. The host I scheduled for the Saturday show had to move her night to later in the run. I am going to be a buddy to a new person on Sunday, and I will be in the standard practice of hosting the opening show, as the House Manager -- unless I am in the production or am committed to a production at another theatre. So I am at the theatre for all shows this weekend.

    AUDITIONS: Still plan to audition for both The Crucible (The Dayton Playhouse) and Endgame (Springfield StageWorks). The director wants a monologue for Endgame. Haven't decided if any I already have will work or if I need to pull something new. Maybe something else by Beckett.

    INCEDENTAL MUSIC FOR MY MOVIE: I can't remember if I mention this before, but as I have been boning up on my bass guitar I have begun to compose instrumental music for a series-of-shots sequence in my movie. I have never been able to go for long just practicing scales and fret movement, etc. without creating something in the process. So a little scale movement I was using and some harmonics and chording I was doing have turned into the music I need for the section. I think I may add vocals along the lines of oohs or scat-like ad libs.

    Hey! I just wrote my first original music in last sixteen years!

    PLANS FOR MY NOVEL: I am, of course, still contacting literary agents. I have come across what may be a decent idea. There is a publisher, Mid-List Press which may or may not suit my needs. I will have to research them first, but at a quick glance it all seems on the up and up. It is possible I may submit my manuscript there.

    There are those copyright clearance issues concerning especially a brief amount of excerpts from Lawrence and Lee's play Inherit the Wind, passages I would hate to give up. I think I will submit the novel with these and some other copyrighted passages in tact. I will deal with clearance when it actually would become an issue. I have already cut the text of several Lennon & McCartney songs. I have kept two verse lines from "Helter Skelter" but only because that passage of my novel will not work as well without them. I actually am of a mind that the Lawrence/Lee clearance will be more expensive than the Lennon/McCartney.

    I am still contemplating posting something from early in the novel at the site proper, too.



    Thu Sep 8, 2005

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    OPENING WEEKEND OF GROSS INDECENCY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: To be honest, I can't really report my impressions of the show as I was occupied with hosting duties at all the performances. I know there was good feedback from audience members and what I heard of the show sounded like it was working. I know that all three of the Dayton area theatre reviewers were there opening night, so, it's hoped we can have some good reviews to help the rest of the run. Although, I note that at least the on-line version of the September 7 Dayton City Paper does not have a review.

    AUDITIONING FOR BECKETT'S ENDGAME: Went both Monday and Tuesday evenings to audition for the first production of the premier season for Springfield StageWorks. I am most interested in the character Clov, who is, more-or-less, a butler or attendant to the other lead character, Hamm. Director Larry Coressel had me read Hamm, as well (I did also list him on the audition form) and he had me read Nagg, too. Nagg is Hamm's father and though not a lead role, still has some meat to it. To be honest, I would not think I am in the running for Hamm or Nagg; I would not consider me for those roles simply based on type.

    I used the Jake monologue (re: Neil Simon's Jake's Women) which I had used for the Paper Dolls screen test. This time I played it for a theatre stage rather than the camera, of course. I do feel good about my performance of it. I, in fact, feel good about the audition as a whole. I will not assess, remember, how I "did," but I will say how I felt about it. And I don't think there was anything to feel bad about.

    Over the two nights I only auditioned with two other men. An actor named Ron Weber, who obviously is no freshman to the craft, was there both nights as I, and certainly did a good audition. Tuesday a fabulous actor named Walter Rhodes read. He had not been able to find a copy of Endgame so came in having only the memory of having seen it quite a few years ago. It was essentially cold reading and, being a retired professional actor (SAG & Equity), he was excellent at it. I was much impressed. I found out later that Walter went to college and is good friends with Daniel J. Travanti and is also a good friend of Polly Holiday's. He also used to teach acting at Wright State. He's a former colleague and present neighbor to Bruce Cromer.

    I enjoyed Walter's audition a lot. It's my hope I might play Clov across from his Hamm.

    The StageWorks web site touts the company as "semi-professional," though thus far there's been no mention of any pay (stipend or otherwise). With the exception that covering gasoline expenses is not unpopular with me, I only care about the pay here so I could list the casting as technically professional, were it to happen.

    I read Clov quite a few times and Coressel encouraged me to try different approaches. I started with an upper-crust British butler approach to a rather mid-west American care taker interpretation, the latter being patient with Hamm as much as possible. It's nice to be able to go after several different takes of a character in audition -- for one thing, it shows the director you can. I also did a bit better at assimilating and executing instruction from the director this time than I have in other auditions. Remember I have this strong feeling that my not doing so for Mark Archer during the Paper Dolls callback is why I was not cast in that.

    I also made sure that Coressel knew I was auditioning Wednesday night for The Crucible and that if I was first offered a role in the other play, and accepted it, I would contact him immediately to take my name out of his pool. I did the same for Cynthia Karns at the Crucible audition, Wednesday.

    He was auditioning some other actors who could not be at either session I was at, so the fact that I was the only one really concentrated on as Clov, though not a bad sign, must be kept in perspective -- I was the only one in the pool of actors I was there with. But, my sense is I have some sort of a running chance as Clov, which pleases me.

    AUDITIONING FOR THE CRUCIBLE: Then too I have pretty much an equal interest in Hale in the Arthur Miller offering at The Dayton Playhouse. I, however, have no confidence I would be cast in that role. I did miss the first night of auditions, as I was in Springfield, but was told by several actors that director Cynthia Karns said she was going to cast Hale as young. The script and the DPH web site both put him in his mid-thirties. As I have said, I have people occasionally proclaim surprise that I am in my forties, but judging from the fact that I put Hale's name first on the audition form and Cynthia did not read me once for Hale, I suspect she would not be one of them.

    I listed Deputy-Governor Danforth as my second choice. He's supposed to be in his sixties, but it's easier to play older than younger -- remember Godfather Drosselmeier? Johnnypateen, for that matter? I also listed Rev. Parris -- which I may have the best shot at and then, just because why-not? I listed the lead role of John Proctor, knowing full well that I am not the right type for that role. Cynthia did read me once as Proctor. But I saw at least one other actor who read it a lot Wednesday, and I was told also Tuesday, who is the likely Proctor, a good actor I have seen twice on stage, Ray Geiger, who won a Daytony last year for his work as Aaron Schumann in the Guild production of The Action Against Sol Schumann.

    As for Danforth, I don't know that I am not in the running for him and I do feel good about the reading I did for him. I do note it was that end of the session read, where the director says, "Does anybody want to read for a role they have not yet read?" So, Cynthia did not "call me up," herself, to read for Danforth. That being said, it's my opinion directors practice this so they may discover a possibility they did not intuit already, themselves.

    Once again, I'll say I feel good, mostly, about the audition, and don't believe there's any reason to think I did bad.

    And if both of these are a bust for me, Monday there is an audition for the The Dayton Playhouse "FLIP" Side season and its first offering, Sam Shepard's Buried Child. It's a more limited run, only two performances, Oct 7 & 8, but, still, it's a decent opportunity to be on stage.

    ADVICE FROM MY FIRST ACTING MENTOR ABOUT MY SCREENPLAY: Chuck Scott (my high school theater director and, until just a year ago, a DTG board member) and I are having lunch Saturday to talk over my screenplay. I sent him and his wife Kate a copy of the screenplay the same time I mailed the copies to the Ohio Arts Council. I saw him and Kate at the opening performance of Gross Indecency -- their habit is Opening Night -- and know he seems to have reservations about the script. At this point all I know is he sees production problems, but I sense he has other criticisms as well. Kate, on the other hand, said she liked it very much.

    SPEAKING OF THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL: I got email confirmation on Wednesday that my material has been received. Now a waiting game.



    Sat Sep 10, 2005

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    GROSS INDECENCY, LAST NIGHT AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: I was in the audience for the performance last night. Overall I liked the show. Gil Martin was, of course, good as the Marquess of Queensbury (pronounced the British way here: már-kwes), as well as later, the prosecutors Mr. Gil and then Frank Lockwood. As for playing the Marquess, it is the first time in a long tenure as an actor that Gil has played the villain, and Gil told me he relishes it. That long tenure, by-the-way, includes, as the show program states, "a 22-year New York City adventure on Broadway, Off-Off-, and Way-Off." Another performance that really stood out to me was Greg Hall as prosecutor Edward Carson (and other characters) -- beyond his performance, what a voice this guy has. Jonathan Horwitz was well suited as Wilde's solicitor Sir Edward Clarke. JJ Tiemeyer was especially effective showing Wilde's inner conflict and artistic passions, and more so in the intensities toward the end of the play. Bart Clemmins had some lovely moments as the usually sensitive Lord Alfred Douglas (the Marquess' son and Wilde's lover) then later belied the lord's self-serving agenda with the proper measure. Matt Smith (me ol' friend Cripple Billy Claven, from back when, don' ya see) gave several fine character performances. The cast, in general, took me into The Old Bailey Courtroom and brought the trials to life for me.

    As an aside, I did find, upon review of a hard copy of the September 7 Dayton City Paper that Russell Florence, Jr.'s review of Gross... is in the "Critic's Pick" box close to the middle of the paper. It's a relatively good review, saying, in part, "Director Michael Boyd not only keeps the action brisk but stages an effective moment of sensuality between Wilde and his 'boy toys' in Act 2. [The] cast features notable work from a striking Bart Clemmins...and a terrific Gil Martin as [the Marquess], who detests his son's relationship with Wilde."

    There is no review of the play on the on-line version of The Oakwood Register for this past week. There may be one at the Dayton Daily News, but I always have such a hard time finding any theatre related articles on-line there....

    RECENT AUDITIONS: Endgame director Larry Coressel has given me an update that he is indeed interested in me for Clov, but he wants to audition at least one more actor for the part and would like to see me play the role against other Hamms. I have not heard anything about The Crucible, which at this point leads me to believe I am not likely to be offered one of the four roles I specified I'd take. It also does not look logistically viable to audition Monday for Buried Child, though I have not ruled it out.



    Mon, Sep 12, 2005

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    NOT CAST: I have heard unofficial accounts of some casting of The Crucible, so I believe I can assume I am correct when thinking I was not chosen for the production.

    I also have found out from Bart Clemmins that he has been cast in Paper Dolls and that only one other Daytonian has been cast: a female actor who, from what Bart says, I am sure is a lady named Adrienne who is the daughter of my campus friend, Jimmy Cheshire. This, of course, is confirmation for me that I was not cast in the movie -- which, didn't I really already know? Well, hey, what the hell. I had not expected to get a call back even. And I did learn some important things, one most especially,

    As I reported earlier, I knew the moment I was finished with the second run through of the scene (where director Mark Archer had given me some direction for the character) that I had not given Archer what he wanted. I did not say, "Can we do that again? I can do it better." That may have made the difference. Perhaps even if I still hadn't shown him what he wanted, he still might have decided I was someone willing to work until I get it. I don't mean to present this as a what if or a should have but rather as a now I know.

    Bart is good friends with the lead male, John Woodruff, whom I now know is the "actor from Dayton" originally touted. John was with whom I read in Cleveland. Bart and John, as Bart says, have been on stage together often so they had a ready-made chemistry when Bart read. Bart has a small role, but there's the really wonderful other opportunity for him. As I do, Bart wants to make movies, too (as in write, direct, etc). He has landed the position of first AD for the Paper Dolls production. Very nice going!

    I wish Bart and Adrienne (since I'm sure it's her) the best of broken legs on the project. I also hope Mr. Archer thinks of me for future projects, even if I did choke at bat, as it were, in Cleveland.

    PRESENT HOPES ARE AN "ENDGAME": I am still in the running for Clov in Springfield StageWorks' production of Endgame, and I would really love the chance to do it. It would be a great experience and a great addition to my meager résumé. I have a callback for tonight, so I have ruled out auditioning for the Shepard play Buried Child for The Dayton Playhouse' "FLIP" Side season, for which auditions are also tonight. Though it was a nice option.

    "LET'S DO LUNCH. I'LL HAVE MY PEOPLE CALL YOUR PEOPLE": Had lunch with Chuck Scott Saturday and he gave me some food for thought. He does not like the way I leave a particular question up in the air at the end of the screenplay. I actually like stories that do that. I like those debates about whether it went one way or the other:

    "Oh, you know they found the guy guilty!"

    "I wouldn't be too sure about that. Remember when the camera panned across the jury while the secretary testified?"

    "Yeah, but the prosecutor totally debunked her testimony as an alibi for him."

    "Maybe not to everyone on the jury...."

    That dialogue has nothing to do with my screenplay, but you get the idea.

    I believe there is resolution to the more important conflict anyway. The protagonist, by just a small measure, is the male character, (which I have pre-cast with a most fabulous actor). The antagonist is a situation that hangs over the story. There is a clear demarcation of that situation being on the mend as we fade to black. So I am satisfied with the ending.

    What Chuck brought up that I am most interested in is that one of the lead women -- in my mind, pretty much the other protagonist -- is still not drawn as completely as she should be. I believe I need to address that. It really might not take much addition of dialogue. There are a couple scenes where I had already attempted to better draw her. I may just need to add more detail in those scenes.

    Chuck asked me who I think the protagonist is and really it is only the man by a small amount. This is really, for the most part, an ensemble between him, two woman and a young girl (his daughter). The other woman and the daughter are probably defined better than the woman of subject here, and that should not be.

    As for exposition and structure, he gave me good marks, though he thinks the climax is a bit subtle. I agree it is subtle, but I am okay with that.

    The version Chuck read is that same one that the Ohio Arts Council got. So let's hope they don't see the lady's opaqueness as a deciding factor. Let's hope they also agree with me about the ending.



    Tue, Sep 13, 2005

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    THE ENDGAME IS AFOOT: I have been offered and have accepted the role of Clov in Springfield StageWorks' production of Endgame and am, as previous entries will suggest, excited about it. It's a great role I can have a lot of fun with; and it's a lead role. That wonderful actor Walter Rhodes has been offered the other lead, Hamm, but he has to work out a possible conflict. Both director Larry Coressel and I hope he can do it. Not to repeat myself, but working on stage with Walter would be a treat and a half!

    We don't have read through for two weeks, but I am getting started on the script. For one thing it is mostly short lines, many virtually or exactly the same as others, so getting off-book will be a challenge. It's tape recorder time. Plus, there is a certain density of ways to go with Clov's lines, though Larry has better defined for me what his general idea is for the character. I want to show up at the read through with Clov at least somewhat close to his vision and have a firmer understanding of my own interpretation by then.

    The firmed cast is myself as Clov; Ron Weber will be Hamm's father, Nagg; Nancy Mahoney is Nell (Hamm's mother).

    And, I hope Walter Rhodes is Hamm.

    Hey man! I feel like an actor again!

    ASIDE: Note the hot link on Larry's name above. It takes you to his page at the WDPR (Dayton Public Radio) web site. Larry hosts the station's "Morning Concert" show, as well as more.

    ADDENDUM LATER IN THE DAY: Forgot to mention how cool it is to be in the first official production of a new theatre company's first season!

    MEANWHILE BACK AT ALL THEM OTHER THEATRES....: There is just a slew, a glut, of plethora of other plays to see in the immediate future.

  • The Nerd by Larry Shue opens this Thursday at Human Race Loft Theatre. Natasha Randall is cast as Tansy. As we know, I am quite enamored with her talents as an actor. Plus, she's a friend, and I want to support her acting career -- as if she needs my support.
  • The Actor's Theatre, in Fairborn, Ohio is doing Let's Murder Marsha (Monk Ferris). That closes this Saturday. Both Roger Watson (Sordid Lives, first run) and John Spitler (The Cripple of Inishmaan and both runs of Sordid Lives) are in it.
  • A Piece of My Heart, by Shirley Lauro, and directed by Jim Lockwood (Cripple... and more) has it's closing this coming weekend at Brookville Community Theatre. There are several lady actors in this I have seen before and find good: Wendi Michael, Debra Strauss, and Annie Pesch. I note there is another actress who is pretty much from my neighborhood, though I don't believe we've yet met.
  • Furth and Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along opens this Friday at The Dayton Playhouse. I have until October 1, to fit this one in.
  • Also coming up in October are A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum at Sinclair Community College, with Travis Williams in my old role of Psuedolus (I did it as my High School Senior musical, with Chuck Scott at the helm); Beavercreek Community Theatre is offering up Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart; there's Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Webber and Rice at Playhouse South. The Dayton Playhouse's The Crucible is in there, too. Plus, The Rising Phoenix opens Bedroom Farce (Alan Ayckbourn) September 30.

    Let's not forget The Dayton Theatre Guild runs Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero during the second half of October. Melissa Young, Patrick Hayes, and Leighton Hambrick are cast in this. I believe there is a fourth character, but I don't know who is cast.

    I haven't even gotten a close look at the Wright State University Theatre. Ah! The theatre season in the Dayton area has come alive once again!

    I will also be cryptic in telling you that I am the Dayton Theatre Guild's Daytony adjudicator for at least one of the productions mentioned above -- of course it won't be Lobby Hero.



    Thu Sep 15, 2005

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    INTO THE ENDGAME SCRIPT: Been into the script a bit. Had plans to get the whole play transcribed on to cassette tape but haven't had the time yet. I will do all the lines blandly (I.E.: with out inflection) so as to get the words down rather than interpretation. Was given that advise by a fellow and more seasoned actor, but I already had those plans.

    Director Larry Coressel also encouraged us to watch some of the film of productions of it. I must admit I am in that school of actors who is reluctant to see interpretations of a character before I have formed my own, if it can be avoided. But I did watch the Conor McPherson Irish TV movie, from The Complete Beckett series, on DVD last night. David Thewlis -- whose movie credits include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Professor Lupin), Dragonheart (King Einon) and The Big Lebowski (Knox Harrington) -- is Clov. His is a really fine performance which has indeed informed me; but, as he and I are different types, I will use a different approach; I don't believe we are doing dialect, for one thing, least not as thick. Of course, my Clov is barely more than a fetus at the moment.

    The brilliant Irish actor Michael Gambon is Hamm. Charles Simon is Nagg and Jean Anderson is Nell. It is, of course, a bizarre movie; it is -- of course -- a bizarre script.

    I can't wait.

    Haven't heard yet if Walter Rhodes is Hamm.

    PLAYS THIS WEEKEND AND NEXT: I was having a difficult time getting hold of Brookville Community Theatre to reserve a ticket for A Piece of My Heart; the phone number is actually for a local flower shop owned by one of the theatre's founders, and they close by 5:30; problem: it's a toll call from work (and from home, actually). And it's way too frikkin' expensive to use my phone card to call from work and I have not been able to get home in time to make the call. Enter Fran Pesche, director, actor and mother of cast member Annie. She called me yesterday with the generous offer of an open ticket for tonight's show.

    I've also left voice message for a reservation to The Actor's Theatre production of Let's Murder Marsha, on closing night, this Saturday. By-the-way, I failed to reiterate that not only were Roger Watson and John Spitler both in one or more runs of Sordid Lives at the Guild last season -- they both played O'Dell. Interesting coincidence that they are both cast in this play. Of course, the acting community is small enough around here that such things are bound to be the rule rather than exception.

    I have two good seats (second row, down center) for The Nerd on Sunday, Sep 25 at Human Race Loft Theatre with Ms. Randall as Tansy. I and my guest will have a good view of the action. I hope to see Merrily We Roll Along at The Dayton Playhouse next weekend, too.

    MORE GOOD FEEDBACK ON THE SCREENPLAY: Though his draft is a few months old and thus lacks the added scenes, I got some good feedback from Bruce Cromer on the screenplay. His big concern was that same one others had expressed about the necessity of the main character being a Scotsman -- that which I think I have addressed with newer material he has not seen. Still, though he did not rave about it, he gave the screenplay good marks and basically said I tell what could have been a "same-old-story" and give it a "nice twist" *(my words not his).

    MY BASSMANSHIP: I must admit I am getting some of my chops back, at least to some extent, on my bass. I have moved passed that feeling-awkward stage with my hand and its fingers on the instrument neck. Still have a lot of fine-point work to do of all sorts -- like speed, precision, intuitive scale work, basic fills, instinctively deadening unwanted string vibrations, stuff like that (AND GETTING MY LEFT HAND'S PINKY FINGER BACK IN SHAPE AS A USEFUL FRET TOOL!!) But it's coming along.



    Sat Sep 17, 2005

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    A PIECE OF MY HEART AT BROOKVILLE COMMUNITY THEATRE LAST THURSDAY EVENING: Saw the show as Fran Pesch's guest. I think the best moment for me was a scene between Annie Pesch (Leeann -- an army nurse) and Debra Straus (Martha -- an army nurse); there was good energy and connection as Leeann and Martha poured their souls out about their maladjustments to their post-Nam lives. A close second for me were a couple moments Wendy Michael had on stage as ex-army nurse Sissy when she, suffering from P.T.S.D. relived witnessing the death of her fiancé and remembering the poignant death bed gift a soldier had given her of a photograph he had snapped of her at a Bob Hope U.S.O. show. Donna Banks was believable as Steele, the career army intelligence officer. Also fitting into their roles were Elizabeth Anne Wenzel as naive, upper-class Red Cross ("doughnut girl") Whitney and Brenda Ricciuto as the man loving U.S.O. touring singer Maryjo. George C. L'Heureux, Jr. played multiple roles as all the men -- the sort of thing most actors would love to do, at least once. My favorite irony from the script is how playwright Shirley Lauro has Leeann, an Amerasian, be the one who uses the racist term "gook," and be the one who "didn't come here to work on gooks!"

    As far as I know I will be seeing John Spitler and Roger Watson in Let's Murder Marsha at The Actor's Theatre, tonight in Fairborn.

    A FILM MAKER I MAY BE HOOKING UP WITH IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IN CONCERNS WITH MY MOVIE: There's a young film maker named Derek W Beck who has made arrangements to audition his cast at the Guild in a few weeks. He happened to stop by to talk with our board president, Carol Finley, last night while I was dropping off a big bulk of house supplies. I mentioned my movie mostly because I wondered if he had a good suggestion for a DP. I also mentioned that I needed a good first AD especially for the many scenes where I am on camera and he expressed an interest. He and I will talk further.

    Derek's movie, by-the-way, is called Y Not, and you can find audition and other info at his web site for his Cartala Productions. The direct URL to the movie info is www.cartala.com/ynot.



    Sun Sep 18, 2005

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    LET'S MURDER MARSHA AT THE ACTOR'S THEATRE LAST NIGHT: I found some enjoyable comic performances which I think out-paced the script. Let's Murder Marsha is a farce of misunderstanding which leads Marsha (Beth Bengough) to believe her devoted husband Tobias (Steve Roark) is conspiring to bump her off and "throw her in the drink," with the help of Persis Devore (Karen "Abby" Poulos). The Monk Ferris script does honor the structure and set-up of this sort of comedy of errors, but the show's punchlines are not always what they could be for my tastes in humor. The real comedy for me came in deliveries by cast members, especially the physical schtick -- with Gary Poulos, as Virgil the neighbor, topping the bill in the physical comedy of the show. But there were lots of moments of good physical comedy by others, too.

    In overall performances, I especially liked Kathy Campbell as the Hispanic maid Bianca and Gary Poulos as Virgil -- they had the hands-down best overall comic deliveries for me. Karen Poulos' Persis, the supposed femme fatale who is really none such, also impressed me. Hers was mostly a straight role but it had its comic moments and Ms. Poulos executed both straight and comedic well. Steve Roark was believable as the upper-class, tightly-wound Tobias.

    As for my friends John and Roger: John Spitler was Bianca's boyfriend, Irish cop Ben Quade and he had several truly funny moments. And, need I say that he was dead on with his accent? After all that intense drilling we all did for The Cripple of Inishmaan winter of 2004, how could he not be? Roger Watson was Marsha's father Leonard, who becomes wise to much of the truth of what's really going on before the rest but can't get anyone to listen to him. It's another mostly straight role with some forays into the comedic side, and Roger delivered on both sides.

    I did have one particular problem: Tobias and Marsha Gilmore are supposed to be millionaires, and the set did not reflect the apartment of a millionaire couple. That, however, may be the simple situation of a modest production budget, and is certainly more forgivable than putting them in the wrong era or something along those lines.

    *Another "HALF" review where I mostly write only of what I liked.
    Whatta wimp!!

    PRODUCING BELLES: I did get contact info from the lady actors in Let's Murder Marsha, so I can send them the audition notice for Belles. I got some contact info at Piece of My heart, too. I just checked, and the auditions are coming up pretty soon: October 17 & 18. So I need to start wearing the producer's hat a bit more. I will likely not be at the auditions. I'll most certainly be in rehearsal for Endgame. I suppose I could try to get those two nights off, but, E.G. looks to need as much rehearsal as possible. Clov and Hamm have the big majority of lines, I can't see Larry Coressel being willing to have Clov missing at that stage of rehearsals. And Belles director Greg Smith has already cleared me from being at the auditions. Still, I really would rather be at the auditions -- it's just a case of priorities and of where my absence is least likely to present a problem.

    Also, today I will start on a properties hunt for Belles. This is the last day of Gross Indecency and I will go to help with set strike and will scope out the Guild props room (otherwise known as the dingy, dank, musty basement). My first goal is to gather enough contemporary telephones. I actually began this yesterday morning during a work session at our off-site storage facility -- but there were no phones in that inventory, save for a nineteenth century carriage phone.



    Wed Sep 21, 2005

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    INTO THE ENDGAME SCRIPT: The last several days I have been listening to the audio tape, I said I would make, of the whole text of Endgame. I did as I said I would and recited the lines with no inflection or interpretation, with a few minor exceptions, where it is clear the author intends for a certain "force" or excitement to be used; and even then I understated the lines. It's rather funny to hear the tape -- it sounds like the soundtrack of a send off of bad theatre on Mad TV or some such.

    The main idea, of course, is to help me get a start on memorizing the lines and, more importantly, remember which of all those short, little three or four-word-sentence lines go. And most especially on the second point because some lines are repeated verbatim or there are several close variations repeated and peppered all over the script. As one may know from reading earlier entries: when I have actually managed to be cast, I am damned intent on being word perfect. This will prove a challenge. But, I am up for it. And, seems I have a good start at the process.

    What I have found is an added benefit to listening to this dry recitation. I am getting a real and powerful chance to analyze the play and my character. I am having a strong opportunity to dissect the play: what's really going on in this section; what are the ways for Clov to respond that make sense. All sorts of good decision making is made possible because the lines are not interpreted on the tape. It really makes the difference. I had a sense of that before hand, as I had said. But, I have a new level of understanding of the benefit. It's practically like reading the text on the page.

    I have this great opportunity to maximize the time I have to study, to climb inside the story and Clov. I can listen in my car, at work (during times I don't have to give full mental attention to the task at hand), while I am working out, while I am taking a walk, while I'm fixing dinner, yadda yadda yadda. Some of those require a portable tape player, mine of which I can't locate. I may be buying a new one, perhaps after work tonight.

    Read Through is Monday and I hope to be on top of things to some level that satisfies both myself and Larry.

    PRODUCING BELLES: Have been in contact with a couple tech people about coming on board the production team. Also began the character breakdowns for the audition notices. Auditions are, again, Monday and Tuesday, October 17 and 18, if you are a lady actor who lives close enough to the Guild to make it practical to be there. I know there are some such who sneak a peek at this silly blog.

    AN OLD HIGH SCHOOL ACTING MATE CAST AT THE GUILD: In my essay, "The Knowing In Me: the artist becomes himself" I discuss being in a musical, my sophomore year in high school, named Hester's Scarlet Letter. It was an original adaptation of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, written by Chuck Scott (book) and my choir director Bob Johnson (music and lyrics). It was actually very good and I am sorry Chuck and Bob were never able to get a bite in the theatre publishing world, etc. I played elderly Rev. Wilson, the older minister who was about to step down to make way for the younger Rev. Dimsdale -- who is, of course, for those familiar with the novel or one of the movies, the secret father of Hester's child, that which got her into trouble to begin with.

    In the cast was this great young actor, Roosevelt Jenkins, a young African-American with a wonderfully deep resonant voice and a sharp savvy acting skill. He played Hester's betrayed husband Roger Chillingsworth. His performance was so astounding that when the local reviewer of the time -- a fellow named B.W., who was an institution in Dayton in the 60's and 70's -- reviewed the show, though he gave the musical in general a luke warm response, he raved about Roosevelt's performance. As well he should have.

    I was talking last week with the impressive actor Melissa Young, who was just cast as the lady cop in the Guild's next show, Lobby Hero. She mentioned that one of the cast members was this great black actor named Roosevelt. "About my age?" I asked. "Probably," she said. "Last name 'Jenkins'?" I asked. "Yeah, that sounds right."

    Last night, when I was at the Guild for what turned out to be a deferred board meeting, I got firm verification that it is he. I am very excited to see him act again. I remember him as being absolutely one of the best actors I saw on the Wilbur Wright High School stage. I have no doubt he will be nothing less than superb in Lobby Hero.

    A HOUSE MANAGER'S WORK IS NEVER DONE: Speaking of Lobby Hero, which opens October 14 -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO -- I already need to start lining up them hosts for the performances.

    So, if you live in the area, here's a really cool way to get involved!!!: KL_Storer@yahoo.com



    Thu Sep 22, 2005

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    A BIG OL' "DOH!": So it dawns on me today that when I did all that Daytony's I thought were missed and the "K.L. Tony's" bit, I missed at least one other. Deirdre Root as supporting actor for her discomforting Christian zealot Norma in The Diviners. To quote one cast member, during a rehearsal for the show (in regards to Norma, not Deirdre): "That bitch is crazy!" Deirdre also gets a K.L. Tony for Nutcracker and the meanest Mouse Queen to ever get a hug from a four-year-old audience member.

    See, I am constantly missing people as a pure oversight.

    And, again, having been in the shows, I recognize my bias toward her performances.



    Sun Sep 25, 2005

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    ENDGAME REHEARSALS BEGIN TOMORROW EVENING: With tomorrow's read through I move into two new places as an actor. I begin rehearsal for my first lead role as an adult; I begin rehearsal (again as an adult) for a play not produced at the Dayton Theatre Guild. The Guild is still my home base, but I desire and need to be on stage more than what just the Guild could ever reasonably facilitate. And, of course, I've been auditioning at other theatres since last summer.

    Walter Rhodes will not be able to be Hamm. That role isn't cast yet but two other actors (possibly three) are up for it (a fourth was approached to read but was not able to commit to the project).

    My study of the script is coming along. Naturally I don't have it memorized, but, I do have a lot of ideas for Clov, and a lot of conclusions about the play. I'll flesh those out here later. It's just past midnight and I want to get this done and posted.

    MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE LAST NIGHT: Saw it last night; many strong or very strong performances. I much appreciated, too, that all the principals sang well, some exceptionally well. There were other good lungs in the cast beyond the principals, too. This being a Sondheim show, I again blaspheme by admitting that I disliked some music as much as I liked other music in the show. What I liked I really liked.

    As for those "strong or very strong performances," I'll focus on the two that left the biggest impressions on me. First off, Michael Wadham (who also was the show's choreographer) was splendid as Charley, and his first song, "Franklin Shepard, Inc." was the highlight of the show for me, mostly due to his execution. And he was otherwise very entertaining in the role. The other was Sydney Lanier in the role of Mary Flynn: great voice, wonderful acting, a charismatic quality that can't be ignored.

    The cast as a whole, in fact, should be proud of their show because this was a pretty good night out at the theatre.

    Tonight, it's The Nerd at Human Race.

    Addendum, re Merrily: I was tired and impatient to get to bed when I did this entry early this morning, so I forgot to mention a couple things. The orchestra, conducted by dramatic and musical director Adam J. Leigh, did fine work (though I did have my constant complaint about the instrumental part overpowering the vocal part -- but that's standard). It had also been pointed out to me, before I went to the show, that there was an interesting wardrobe design that had the actors going from blacks at the beginning of this reverse chronology play to colorful garb at the end of the show -- which is the beginning of the story. It was a very nice touch.



    Mon, Sep 26, 2005

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    THE NERD AT THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY: Saw Tosha (Natasha Randall) last night as Tansy in The Nerd. As I told her in an email, she was good.....Again! There is an over-the-top ritual scene (too much set up to put in context here) that is really funny; the whole cast is great in that scene.

    First grader Jeremy Cleary made his professional debut. Jeremy is the son of Kathleen Cleary, who recently was Mary Tyron in The Dayton Theatre Guild production of Long Day's Journey Into Night and also is the head of the Dance and Theatre department at Sinclair Community College. His professional acting debut.....first grade. And he did a good job, too.

    ENDGAME REHEARSALS BEGIN TONIGHT: Our full table read through is tonight. And as I have said, it'll be nice to show up with some bigger sense of the character than is usually possible. I'd love to have two weeks to study a script in all cases. It is possible to do that even before one auditions save for the fact that one may not likely have insight into the director's vision, as I have to a certain extent here.

    The role of Hamm has been filled. The cast is:

      Hamm: Wayne Justice
      Clov: K.L.Storer
      Nagg: Ron Weber
      Nell: Nancy Mahoney

    PRODUCING BELLES: Was at the Guild storage facility again, yesterday morning, and scoped out set furniture. I think I have possibly, inadvertently appointed myself properties manager for the show.

    HOUSE MANAGER HAT: Started recruiting hosts for Lobby Hero performances.

    So, if you live in the area, here's a really cool way to get involved!!!: KL_Storer@yahoo.com



    Wed Sep 28, 2005

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    MY FIRST TECHNICALLY PROFESSIONAL ACTING GIG: Monday night I got an email from Deirdre Root concerning an annual festival in Middletown Ohio called Middfest International. She puts together readers theatre of several plays each year. Something fell apart this year, at the last minute, so she's scrambled to get a cast together. My rehearsal schedule this week for Endgame allows me to participate. So, this weekend I will be in Middletown, doing what will be my first professional acting gig. Though it will not be great money, it won't be bad money either. And, I have a professional credit for my résumé. Don't have absolute confirmation on the other actors involved, but I know everyone on the tentative list.

    Here are a couple URLS about Middfest, (though either one may eventually be dead):

    Oh, and by-the-way, to the best of my knowledge, Ms. Root is not cognizant of the recent entry in this blog about her, so those inclined to such may stick any particular suggested cynical mathematical conclusion up, um, on a shelf.

    THE ENDGAME READ THROUGH, MONDAY NIGHT: The Table read went well. We talked a little about the play, our approach, some of what we each see as the "meaning," and subtext. Larry and I spoke some on how to approach Clov, though we are sure to get more in depth in the near future. We seem to be very aligned at the moment. As alluded to in the other item for this entry, I am scheduled for only one other rehearsal this week, tomorrow night, which allows me to do the Middfest gig. Thursday, it's Wayne Justice and me, Hamm and Clov.

    Tonight is the rescheduled September board meeting for The Dayton Theatre Guild; Friday is the dress rehearsal, and maybe the only one, for the Middfest gig. At this point, I assume Deirdre is directing.




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