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

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Mon, Oct 3, 2005

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MIDDFEST INTERNATIONAL THIS PAST WEEKEND: Must say this was a pretty cool experience for this particular newcomer. I am sure it was nerve-racking for Deirdre to pull this out of thin air at the last minute, but after an initial rough start, I had a fun. Truth be, I am sure all, Deirdre included, had a lot of fun.

First read through, and without all the actors, was Friday night at the Guild. We thought we were going to have to use the upstairs green room to stay out of the way of the Lobby Hero rehearsal, but, they were dark, so we sat in the theatre proper. Not only was not everyone there, not all the players were firmed up yet.

I got copies of the three plays Wednesday, but, I had no time to look them over. It was the quintessential example of a cold read. And we know how much I suck at cold reading. I promised the new guy in the room, Dave Majors, that I would infuse some character into the roles I was assigned. I think I did so for the next two days. We did each play several times over the weekend.

The three short plays we did covered three different indigenous peoples. Waiora: The Homeland, by Hone Kouka, deals with racism by the New Zealand whites against the aborigines. I was John (Hone), a Whanou tribesman living with his family in the white culture and hoping he will get a promotion to foreman at work.

Inuit -- The People is a dramatic poem by Dane Reidar Nilsson. It is modern but uses the story telling tradition of the Inuit Eskimo to speak of how "progress" is the enemy of the individual spirit, consigning it to be only apart of a whole "civilization." I was Tornarsuuk, the solitary and fearless chief of familiar spirits who has the magic to do many things the other familiar spirits can't do.

The last was Gesat, by Nils Gaup and Knut Walle. It's a political play about detrimental assimilation of the Sami Lapp culture into the greater Euro-Scandinavian culture. I was Matti Aikio, a successful Sami novelist who embraces and promotes the Euro-centric Finnish culture over that of his Sami -- some would even say he denies his Sami heritage, at least in practical spirit.

We all had lots of fun and no major snafus; although, during the last reading Sunday of Gesat, my pages were out of order and more lines were coming up. Eric Ng was in the middle of a long paragraph monologue, and, being a pro, he did what he could to stretch it out, aware of my dilemma as he was. By the time it was my turn to speak, I had everything in order and we went on smoothly.

Besides myself, Eric, and of course, Deirdre, who both read and directed (and was a fine director), there was also, Dave Majors, Sara Gomes, and Helen Raymond.

With a modest check on its way to me, I now have the Professional Theatre category on my résumé!!

ENDGAME REHEARSALS: The rigorous schedule begins tonight.



Tue, Oct 4, 2005

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A LITTLE MORE ON MIDDFEST INTERNATIONAL THIS PAST WEEKEND: Forgot to mention that attendance at our performances was really never very good. I think seven was the peak number.

ENDGAME REHEARSALS: The rigorous schedule begins tonight.

Yes, that is exactly what yesterday's entry said. One of the cast members had an emergency so the Monday night rehearsal was cancelled. We are adding the pages from last night to tonight. A little more time, but I am glad we are doing so rather than get behind. We (read: "I") need as much rehearsal on this as possible!

INADVERTANT MOVIE LOCATION SCOUTING AS I INNOCENTLY WALK AROUND AT LUNCH: At the beginning of this lunch break I am about to end, I walked by a lovely spot on campus and realized it fits perfectly for the only undetermined outdoor location for my movie. Lots of greenery, nice brick and mortar, and the exact sort of railing I envisioned the two characters leaning on in the scene.

I just recently made a casual enquiry about how to go about getting official clearance to shoot on campus. I will be more formally following up on that, shortly.



Mon, Oct 10, 2005

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ENDGAME REHEARSALS: This week has been all about line study. Between us cast and director Larry Coressel we are analyzing the meaning of the lines, Beckett's apparent intent (not always easy to discern), and the pacing, especially of the pauses clearly proscribed by the playwright. Larry has broken each rehearsal into logical sections to go over. There's not really any scene breaks, the play is really a long one-scene act that evolves.

Of course, my only other major role thus far has been Johnnypateen in The Cripple of Inishmaan. I'm finding I am much more comfortable with the character I have met here so far, at this early stage, than I was getting to the Johnny who walked on stage in March of 2004. Some of that has to with the fact that I've had all this time to study the play before rehearsals began. I know too that I am back more in the acting element now so I am more at ease and confident.

Actually, a lot of today will be about me and the script. Tomorrow we do another full read of the play. I'd like to be able to do some nice section of the script off-book.

As an aside, I also discovered last weekend, driving home Saturday evening from the Middfest gig that cast member Ron Weber is also an announcer for WDPR: Dayton Public Radio, as I heard his program Showtime, where he happened to be featuring the Broadway soundtrack to Spamalot.

BURIED CHILD AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: Friday night, I saw the first of two performances in the limited engagement of this play, part of the Playhouse's new "Flipside" season. Really a nice night of theatre. Veteran actor John Riley was in this Sam Shepard play and I finally saw firsthand what I had already been told -- this guy is a fine actor! His Dodge was a study for me in bringing out a character on stage with apparent ease. I know enough to know it really isn't easy -- but what effect there is when it looks like it is. Essentially, even when you know the performer you still slip into a thick suspension of disbelief and see only the persona from the story being told. My goal is to be there myself as an actor.

Beyond that I am an actor who wants to study other actors working the craft, that I find this new series a great idea, and that I just want to attend as much theatre as I can, I also went to support my friend Barbara Jorgensen (fellow Dayton Theatre Guild board member; and, me Mammy O'Dougal in ...Cripple....). Barb was the wife, Halie. I liked her performance and found it interesting that her comment afterward was that Halie is so schizophrenic that she (Barb) was unable to internalize a framework of the character to work from. So, she said she just looked at director Kay Bosse and said, "I'll do whatever you say; if you say, 'Paint the wall,' I'll paint the wall."

I was very effected by the performance of Danny Lipps as the son, Tilden, for whom something happened that has slowed his mental wits. He delivered Tilden's slow, droll, deliberate lines with a humor that had a tragic sadness looming just behind. Lipps physically manifested Tilden in the same manner. I also enjoyed Daniel Britt as the bitter, overbearing brother Bradley; Charles Larkowski (Professor Of Music at Wright State University) was funny as Rev. Dewis, who gets trapped in the middle of the very weird family dynamic. Robin Smith was Shelly, the new girlfriend of grandson Vince, who has dropped by for a visit after six years absent.

Ken Hashimoto was Vince. It was his first performance in a play. He did a good job on Vince's monologue. This was mostly a readers theatre show, though director Kay Bosse put them on a set and gave them blocking. There were various passages that Kay had them do off-book (from memory). An important observation/lesson for me is that Ken's off-book monologue was the tightest part of his performance.

I have seen this before on stage: the intimidating passages, the more difficult sections, are what the actors often bring off the best. More than likely it was the case with me and Johnnypateen, too.

JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at PLAYHOUSE SOUTH: Then Saturday night I saw this musical -- opera, technically. I finally got to see local actor Al Guido perform. I've seen him around a lot at plays and auditions. He was the feature here on the song "Those Canaan Days" and did a nice job. I also thought young Bobby Mitchum did fine work in the lead as Joseph. He has a good voice and a strong stage charisma.

But the most important thing to me is that I spied a young lady of about twelve in the chorus who has both the appearance and the poise to possibly work in that movie thing (were it ever to come to be).

"THEATRE IN THE DAYTON AREA" DISPLAY AT THE PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR LIBRARY AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY: Over the summer I have gradually been putting together the elements of a display for the lobby of the Paul Laurence Dunbar library, the main library for the campus at Wright State University. The display will be called, as the header here says, "Theatre in the Dayton Area." It will feature at total of twenty-six theatre organizations. I will put it up likely by this coming Wednesday. I'll take pictures and post here.

ODDS & SODS:

  • More on the young lady at Joseph...: I asked a couple people about this young woman and the gist is that she probably hasn't done a lot of acting but she is very disciplined at performing arts, and one person said he was sure she would be worth auditioning to act for the camera. I, of course, did not approach her or her mother, because, "Um, excuse me, I MAY be shooting a short movie next summer that your pretty young daughter looks right for," just seems like empty nonsense if not suspect. But I have her name and I can contact Joseph's director when it's finally time to cast the movie.
  • As Belles producer I know of one lady actor who is interested in auditioning. She wants to read the script. I happened to find the copy Greg Smith gave me and I had lost. Since I bought a replacement from Samuel French Publishing, I have arranged for this woman to get my phone and email so I can loan my extra copy to her.

    I also have found some nice mp3 sound files, on-line, of Tennessee dialects at the International Dialects of English Archive, though they may be a bit more rural than what we need for the show. But I have been in contact with the dialect expert connected to the site, Paul Meier.

  • I will be pretty much at the Guild most of the day next Saturday. As the house manager I will be there during the day while film maker Derek Beck uses our facility to audition actors for his short movie Y Not. And though he and I haven't talked since we first met, he had expressed an interest to our board president to be somehow helpful or involved with my movie project. So, I will take advantage of the connection next week to see how the breeze flows.

    I also will host Lobby Hero that evening. As I write this, in fact, on Sunday afternoon, technical rehearsal for that show is underway.

  • Speaking of Lobby Hero, I dropped into the Guild yesterday to help work on the set. My big contribution was painting the base brown on the base of the front of the building, then drawing the brown-stone blocks and shadowing them. Someone else, namely Guild President Carol Finely, sponged on the stone texturing, just before I drew the blocks.


  • Tue, Oct 11, 2005

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    ENDGAME REHEARSAL LAST NIGHT: We did a full read through at the home of director Larry Coressel, and, I might add, were treated to some scrumpdillicsious corn chowder from the kitchen of his wife, Liz. Really a pleasant way to start a rehearsal.

    The read went well. I was not quite as close to off-book as I had wished for the first section of the book, but, there were lots of lines I knew, even if I leaned on the text more than I wanted. We actually weren't expected to be off-book, so, it's all me.

    The rest of this week is more analyzing the text. Next week we start blocking. That means for the overwhelming most part, Larry blocks me. Clov does 99 percent of the moving about. Hamm is stuck in a chair and only moves around the room when Clov pushes him. Nell and Nagg are in trash cans. I will be in slippers because Clov is for the first half of the play. I want to move exactly as I will from the git-go.

    "THEATRE IN THE DAYTON AREA" DISPLAY AT THE PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR LIBRARY AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY DELAYED: My display in the main lobby of the library has been postponed until the first week of November. As I told the lady from our Archives and Special Collections department, who is in charge, "the little kid in me is disappointed, 'cause he's been experientially excited as the time has come up" to put the display up. But, this will give me some time to scrounge up a few more artifacts.

    MISCELLANY:

  • As Belles producer I have gotten the script into the hands of that lady actor I wrote of Sunday. I'm not even too sure why this merits mention here, save for this is a diary and it does relate to my "things artistic," even if it is minutia.
  • More plays besides Lobby Hero to fit in. Have to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Sinclair Community College Theatre this Friday, because it is the only time it will fit. Usually, I would host the opening night of the Guild show, but, I had thought I would be in rehearsal for Endgame. As it turns out I won't be, but I had already arranged for another Guild board member to host, then, it became clear, based on my schedule overall, if I was going to see Forum it was either this Friday, or it wasn't happening. I do want to attend as many plays as I can -- as an actor I need my pupil's eye trained on the execution of the craft as often as possible -- as one who intends to direct and write plays, too. This one I have a strong interest in because, as some will know, I was Psuedolus in my high school production; Travis Williams has that honor this time around; I'd be going to see his work even if it weren't for that, though.

    Sunday, it's the only time I can fit Crimes of the Heart at Beavercreek Community Theatre in, and so Sunday it is.

    I will, of course, comment on both shows, and yes, I will only share in this forum what I liked, and I am sure someone out there will think I am being too generous, and perhaps even with at least the appearance of an agenda. It has been recently suggested to me that it may look that way, even to the point of "sycophancy" in some cases. More on that sometime later, perhaps.



    Sun Oct 16, 2005

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    A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM AT SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE THEATRE THIS PAST FRIDAY: What a fun production this was, with a lot of very enjoyable performances. Since this here isn't a "real" review (just a reminder to some of you), I'll only focus on cast members I have some connection with -- with that dastardly agenda of mine of saying positive things about people when I think they've done nice work. (oh, um, not that suggestions of more self-serving agendas, or the appearance thereof, cause me any disconcertion or evoke a need in me to make a sideways comment! No, really, not that at all, maybe.).

    In my old role of Pseudolus was youngin' Travis Williams -- not much older now than I was way back last century in 1977 when I donned the tunic for the role. He certainly looked to be having as much fun as I had back in them days. He had many many good moments on stage, too.

    Actor/director Saul Caplan fit perfectly into Senex's sandals with some very good comic timing and takes -- and a decent singing voice, too. Also well-fit for Domina was Reneé Franck-Reed. Beyond good acting, Ms. Reed offered up a very fine soprano voice. I have been in her company in several social situations in the local theatre community, and knew she was the vocal coach for a few theatre folk I know -- now I know what a lovely vocalist she is and that she can act, to boot.

    Andrew Ian Adams (whom I have seen on the Sinclair stage before as well as in our Guild production of Gross Indecency) was Hysterium. I must admit, this one was a little more difficult for me to experience without bias. The reason is that in my lowly ol' high school production, the role was performed by a fellow named Robert Hughes. Robert did a fabulous job -- he was absolutely hilarious, and as far as I am concerned, gave me a run for my money in terms of the best performance of the show -- it's not at all unlikely he won, either. So, Andrew was up against a strong memory of what I consider an excellent performance. Having said that, I liked Andrew's performance. He has good comic timing and comedic sense.

    From the Guild production of Proposals, Gary Babb was Miles Gloriosus. This is another problem of me having the memory a great performance from Wilbur Wright High School, 1977. Then it was Brian Pitts -- another performance that, at worst, matched mine. I must say, Gary did a decent job as the overblown, self-obsessed, melodramatic Miles.

    Last come two courtesans I am acquainted with. Amber Brandt (who was the Irish maid, Cathleen, last season in the Guild's Long day's Journey Into Night) and Heather Gorbe (Sheila, Jake's freaked out new girl friend in Jake's Women, Brookville Community Theatre, last season). Amber was Panacea and Heather was Vibrata. Both moved well in their choreography on stage.

    This was simply a well-performed show. Sinclairs' stage clearly proves another of our local theatres in the category of those that tend toward high quality productions as its rule of thumb. My hat's off to this cast as a whole for a job well done.

    CRIMES OF THE HEART AT BEAVERCREEK COMMUNITY THEATRE: And so Sunday it isn't. The person who was to host Lobby Hero today had to bow out due to workplace needs. So I had to fill in the spot, last minute. Now it may be possible for me to see Crimes next Friday evening -- the problem: we Endgame cast are scheduled to be off-book by Monday, October 31. So the next two Friday evenings have been slated as intensive study nights for me and my script. I did change my reservation for Crimes to next Friday, but, I may cancel. It's just that my schedule is otherwise so tight that I ought to depend on those two Friday evenings for line study. I have to weigh my responsibility to Endgame -- and myself, as Clov, that to The Guild as house manager (board member), and that of seeing a show. Can't ignore the first two. The third: well, in another twist, I was theoretically to be the Daytony adjudication respondent for the Guild to Crimes of the Heart, but it turns out that was an error -- even so, I could have passed that on to another Guild board member. Making sure a Guild performance is hosted and also that I have my lines down when it's time to, are not things I can ignore. But I still wanted to see Crimes, as a theatre lover and a student of acting, etc.

    One may point out that the time I have spent working on this entry could have been spent studying the script.

    Oh, shut up!

    PRODUCING BELLES: Have a good portion of our crew -- lighting and sound designer and the runners, possible costumer, a pretty decent idea on most of the big set pieces and some other props.

    DEVELOPMENTS FOR MY MOVIE PROJECT: Like I said, I was on hand for film maker Derek Beck's use of the Guild yesterday, to audition folk for his present production, the short film Y Not. After he had finished his auditions, he and I discussed the possibility that he come on board as DP and co-producer of my project. This is preliminary but at least it's action on the project. I sent him the current draft of the screenplay for him to review and decide if he even wants to entertain the idea. We shall see what happens from here.

    A callback I HAD TO TURN DOWN: Got a callback from Rising Phoenix Theatre for their December production of The 1940's Radio Hour. Unfortunately, auditions are tomorrow night, and rehearsals, even if they don't start right away, would surely conflict with Endgame rehearsals, and probably Endgame performances. Looks like my next audition will be November 28 & 29, for Other People's Money, least wise of auditions that I currently am aware of; might be a student film or other movie come up, too. The RP show would have been fun though; I'm sure I would have had fun singing in it.

    IMPRESSIVE STUFF CONCERNING LOBBY HERO AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: No, I haven't actually seen the show, yet. I have heard it, as I was in the lobby as host. In fact, as I key this in, I am in the lobby at the Guild, listening to Melissa Young and Leighton Hambrick verbally jousting as Officer Dawn and security guard Jeff. The show has sounded good -- their New York accents are spot on, for one thing. But this really has got to do with something else. In a dramatic turn of events, actor Roosevelt Jenkins had to resign from the show less than a week before it opened. Enter, THIS LAST TUESDAY, Eric Ng, one of my fellow actors from the recent Middfest gig among other productions. Eric's first night of rehearsal was Tuesday, which I also believe was the day he got the gig. The account is that he was almost completely off-book on Thursday at final dress. Everyone involved has raved about his performances this weekend. Applause to another under-rehearsed wunderkind!

    AND: Tomorrow we begin to block Endgame.



    Thu Oct 20, 2005

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    ENDGAME REHEARSALS: It's been good this week. Last night was only the third night for blocking (learning the movement of the characters). The movement about stage is all Clov's -- except for a few times when Clov pushes Hamm, who is in his chair -- so the blocking is really totally on me. Naturally it needs a lot of work. I always feel awkward and am awkward at it at first; this time more so because the play calls for such odd blocking -- long periods where I (Clov) stand in one spot, when it is more natural for a person (character) to have moved about already. It'll just take rehearsal, that's all.

    Both Larry and I are happy with the development of Clov's character. Of course, Clov hasn't fully arrived yet, but he will be there as a whole entity by Opening Night, I can assure all.

    PRODUCING BELLES: Well, the auditions were this Monday and Tuesday. I, of course, could not be there. I don't know what the final count was of ladies who auditioned, but I know fourteen showed on Monday and director Greg Smith asked eight of those women to return Tuesday. Well, the cast is posted at the Guild web site, so, I feel safe to post it here, mostly for Dayton theatre locals who will know the names and be interested. Not to say that some who regularly read this blog, and who are not in the Dayton area, won't recognize some names -- every single name has appeared here before, at least once.

      CHARACTER            LADY ACTOR
      Peggy Reese            Debra Strauss
      Aneese Walker            Katrina Kittle
      Roseanne Johnson            Lisa M. Sadai
      Audrey Hart            Heather Martin
      Paige Walker            Tierney Deaton
      Sherry "Dust" Walker            Debra A. Kent

    In other Belles producer business, I need to start an inventory list of set pieces and properties that we have access to now and others we need to find.

    BY THE WAY -- THE REVIEW OF A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM IN THE DAYTON CITY PAPER: Russell Florence, Jr. was less impressed with Forum at Sinclair Community College Theatre than I, going so far as to label the overall production a "flimsy showcase." He I agreed on some things; on others: not so much.

    Click here for his review in its entirety.

    Russell was at the Saturday performance of Lobby Hero at the Guild, but no review; perhaps it will come out next week.

    BY THE WAY (PART DEUX) -- CRAIG ROBERTS IN ROMEO AND JULIET: Forgot to mention that last week. one evening I arrived at the State Theatre for Endgame rehearsal. As I stood there waiting for Larry to show and open the building, Craig Roberts (The Cripple of Inishmaan and other shows) walked up. He is also in rehearsal in Springfield, for the Clark State Community College Theatre Arts production of the modern version of Romeo and Juliet. It's up almost the exact same dates as us, Nov 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20. Yet, since we are Thursday though Saturday and his show is Friday through Sunday, we each get a chance to see each other's shows. I'll likely see his on the 13th -- he thinks he might see mine on the 17th.



    Sat Oct 29, 2005

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    ENDGAME REHEARSALS: This week has been about running through the whole play each night and with blocking for the first time. Actually stumbling through is more accurate, especially for me as I learn better all the back and forth movement of Clov and get use to the awkward points where Clov doesn't move when it feels like he should. Monday, I felt like it took a little time for Clov to arrive on the scene, perhaps halfway through rehearsal. Thursday, everybody's energy was down a bit. But, mostly it's been a pretty good week for us all.

    The blocking gradually got better for me as the week progressed. Still had some particular moves that I kept messing up, but that's improved. I also think Wayne and I are getting a rhythm and chemistry as Hamm and Clov, as we both better develop the characters.

    I still am not totally happy with my Clov, though I do, as I've indicated. think he's coming along. Larry does too, and he may be a little more satisfied with the progress than I -- but I think that is okay. I never want to be absolutely, one-hundred-percent satisfied with my work. I firmly believe, as I have said before, in a certain level of artistic dissatisfaction with my work as a strong means to keep me on my toes, and, as an actor, writer, whatever, who gets better at his crafts.

    This coming Monday night is our first night off-book. Larry actually gave us the option to have another day or so before we had to be off-book; we both declined, deciding to "bite the bullet," as Wayne put it. I am sure I speak for Wayne and most other actors when I say that getting the book out of my hands makes it much easier to start really working on that final push toward the fully dimensional character and his movement. We're all off-book to some extent, already, for some parts of the script, though we have been all leaning on the pages even in those sections we each have down a bit. Wayne has a few of Hamm's large handful of longer, nonsequitur, monologues pretty well memorized.

    Nancy Mahoney wasn't scheduled for rehearsals this week, but her Nell is only in one section -- or "scene" as it were -- with only about fifteen minutes or so of stage time, so I doubt she will have problems Monday.

    This weekend I am in the script heavy, though I will have a chunk of tomorrow devoted to the Guild. First off, I'll finally actually watch Lobby Hero as an audience member. Then I'll help strike that set and likely do some Belles producer stuff, especially dealing with some props. Back on my own Endgame script and Clov's lines -- I also have taken Monday off from the paycheck job. I am in fact, taking a brain break right now, (actually several different breaks), to work on this blog entry while portions of Clov's dialogue assimilate into my conscious and subconscious.

    I am, in fact, likely going to miss the Wright State University Theatre production of Ragtime which opened last Thursday. I can't see it this weekend and probably can't next, either. Too bad; WSU does good theatre.

    PRESS FOR ENDGAME: Yesterday, Andy McGinn from the Springfield News-Sun interviewed we three male cast members and Larry about the show, and further, Larry about StageWorks. McGinn brought a photographer, too, who took a few pictures of us groping around with half-memorized scene play. I don't know when the story will run, but if it's on-line, even if for a limited time, I'll link to it.

    DAYTON CITY PAPER PUBLISHES THE LOBBY HERO REVIEW. Russell Florence Jr.'s review of Lobby Hero came out last October 26. He liked the show, calling it a "well-crafted contemporary dramedy" and declaring the Guild production an "enjoyable mounting."

    Click here for the full review.

    I don't think Terry Morris has reviewed it yet for the Dayton Daily News.

    RECONSIDERING AN ASPECT OF MY SCREENPLAY: For those who haven't read the back story on my screenplay, the main character (already cast with a brilliant actor who has an absolute resemblance to myself) has been, from the inception of the script, a Scotsman who's lived in the States for a while. Some whom I've given the screenplay to for feedback have wanted an explanation as to why I threw the ethnic twist in -- it did not seem immediately relevant to the story. In fact, it was not. The first and truest reason has been that I wanted to do the Scotsman, purely as an actor. I did rewrite the script (more accurately I added to the script) to make his being from Scotland more relevant, and with a strong element of romantic relevance, too.

    I am now, however, contemplating nixing the Sottish angle for an entirely different reason. I don't have any story-related problems with his Scottish heritage. But I am starting to think this little short movie might just make a decent pilot for a TV show, whether network or cable -- and as well as the idea of myself as the executive producer (read: head writer) I also still, of course, want the lead role. If you have read this blog from the start, you know that the whole first and foremost reason for the movie has been to showcase me as an actor -- though being a film maker and related craftsman is not nil and void. Well, if I could beat the insurmountable odds, get this thing developed into a series and manage to stay cast as the lead, I don't want to be pinned to a Scottish character for such. It's okay for a one-time short movie. Were it to work into a TV series with me in the main role, it would be the first big exposure, and I'd rather not be thought of as being from several thousand miles east of where I actually am from.

    Hey, I am perfectly aware of how grandiose this whole line of thinking is. Know what? I don't care. Let me have my delusions.

    A NOTE ABOUT PAUL McCARTNEY LIVE IN COLUMBUS ON OCTOBER 22, MOSTLY UNRELATED TO MY OWN ARTISTRY: But not totally unrelated. I'll give no report here but to say he was the fabulous showman and Rock-&-Roll/Pop Icon that he always is. But, here's what I note:

    In the summer of 2003, Sheryl Crow performed two shows at the Phrase Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio. I was there for the second show. It was the two performances that Ms. Crow used for her concert DVD C'Mon America 2003. I have seen myself on the DVD in at least one spot. The thing is, it's hard to see me -- I only was able to spot me because I knew where I was in the crowd and so I have done a frame-by-frame during her encore of Zepplin's "Rock And Roll," and there I am, dancing along with the woman Lance stole from me.

    Well, I might, perhaps, end up on the DVD for Paul's 2005 US Tour (pronounced as a word not as initials). This time, I was on a middle isle seat on the floor, about 20 rows back. The digital videographer shooting crowd scenes for the DVD walked right up that isle with his $25 thousand HD DV camera, stopped two feet from me as I sang along to "Drive My Car" and shot at least 30 seconds or more of what is called in the business an ECU of me. ECU means Extreme Close Up, essentially it was a partial front and partial profile of me from just left of in front of me. I was a good actor; I did not acknowledge the camera at all. Don't know whether that matters or not.

    I got to tell you, I am such a major Paul McCartney fan that if even just a few seconds of my image shows up on the DVD I will be very thrilled. I was already greatly gratified that the live version of "Hey Jude" on the LP Tripping the Live Fantastic was from the Cincinnati show I was at in 1990 -- thus, since I was, like everybody else, singing the na-na's at the end, I can technically say I sang back-up with my favorite recording artist on my favorite song. Me, and about 14,999 other people.

    Okay, this last section is the self indulgence of a Beatlefreak and a Maccamaniac. So?



    Sun Oct 30, 2005

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    MY FIRST PAYCHECK AS AN ACTOR: Okay, this will make me look like the novice that I am, but here is the first paycheck I have ever earned as an actor -- with certain numbers and such distorted, of course. Click on the image for a larger version.

    Middfest Check

    By the way, this image is the first I have processed for the site with Corel Paint IX® for Mac (trial version). One drawback to the software: it does not support the PNG image file format, which is my preferred format for the web.



    Wed Nov 2, 2005

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    ENDGAME REHEARSALS: We've had three rehearsals this week, off-book, with prompting. They have gone fairly well. Only a few trouble spots, and more so on Monday night. The biggest trouble spot for me has been the reoccurring line, "I'll leave you, I have things to do" -- sometimes only being, "I'll leave you." It's difficult to remember when the line shows up and which version is correct. Tuesday night I even threw it in once where it didn't belong. Tonight I did a little better.

    Wayne, on the other hand, has all these long, involved, odd monologues that must be a major challenge. His Hamm is often turning the entire direction of the dialogue and the "plot" -- if one can call it a plot -- on a hairpin with no apparent logic. At least my Clov is often responding to Hamm, so I have him to key off of. Wayne usually has no one and no logic to key from. He just has to know where we are in the play and remember which nonsequitur comes next. That he hasn't had a complete meltdown yet is pretty impressive.

    I think all four of us are coming along quite well with our characters. Last night was a pretty good night. I was tired and had had little time to study my script through the day because I was dealing with getting a car loan (more on that below). So, after the hour nap I took after work I only about an hour to look at the script before rehearsal. I expected to do much worse than I did. Still, Clov's closing monologue was not as good as it was Monday night -- I went up on some of it a few times, and I didn't feel Clov's emotions. Often when I do that monologue I am affected by it. Again, tonight I was back on the game a little, but I still didn't feel it much.

    I also have been particularly guilty of stepping on lines; there are a couple places where I am habitual because I keep forgetting that Hamm has another line after a brief pause.

    Larry thinks we are right where we should be, considering how hard the play is. All I can think is that the show opens in eight days!

    LOBBY HERO: I saw the last performance at the Guild last Sunday. Very fine job by all four performers. Leighton Hambrick's subtle, nonchalant Jeff was perfect to deliver the character's dry humor. Patrick Hayes was effective in the role of the prick cop Bill. Melissa Young struck a great balance between the naive girl and the strong woman who make up Dawn. Eric Ng lived up to the hype as William. Though by the time I saw him, he'd had more time to get it down. Still, he did performed well, as he always does.

    MY AUTOMOBILE THREATENS MY MOVIE CAMERA: I won't bother to list all the crap that's gone wrong with my car. But, last Sunday, it became clear the transmission is about to die. Head gaskets also seem to be looming in the future. Two big things piled on top of the other crap. I had to buy a new car today. Well, you know, new to me. Been trying to keep my debt free and clear for the high-end DV movie camera. I still am not out of the running for a loan for the camera. But I wanted to have the freedom to make the loan for the camera a shorter time frame than I probably can now.

    Sometimes life runs interference on life.



    Wed Nov 9, 2005

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    BUSIER THAN A BEAR ON A HONEY TREE: Everything has been taking a back seat to Endgame line study with only a few exceptions -- I have been wearing the Belles producer hat some, and I did go see The Crucible at Dayton Playhouse.

    ENDGAME REHEARSALS -- DOWN TO FINAL DRESS TONIGHT

    TOMORROW WE OPEN

    Rehearsals have been going progressively better. I, personally have done much better with my "I'll leave you, I have things to do" -vs- "I'll leave you." In fact, Sunday night and last night I did everyone correctly and did not stick any where they did not belong. We won't discuss other rather silly line flubs by me, however. But, then, That's why they call it "Rehearsal."

    There have, of course, been imperfections -- many -- but still it is going well and I say we have a good production on our hands. Last night felt odd and we made some mistakes on things we have been nailing. Some of that is because we introduced new set pieces and properties to work with that previously had all been pantomime. Also, it was the second to last rehearsal.

    Tonight's it. Tomorrow: showtime!

    PRODUCING BELLES: Here's something really cool that happened. End of last week I was researching the playwright, Mark Dunn, in order to write up a little bio of him. I ran across a picture of him at the web site for The New Jersey Repertory Company, where Dunn is a Playwright-in-Residence. I contacted them about copyright clearance on the picture. Dunn owns the copyright, so they forwarded to him. He responded with a very congenial email, gave me a newer picture to use, and wished us well. Greg also contacted him with a group pic of our Belles. Dunn now lives in New Mexico, which is too bad because it would be neat if he could see our production.

    By the way, click here* to see the bios of the cast and crew of Belles, at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

      *BE ADVISED THAT ONCE BELLES CLOSES THAT LINK WILL EITHER BE DEAD, OR FOR THE NEWER DTG PRODUCTION

    UNFINSHED BUSINESS: Well, there's more to write about, but lunch at the paycheck job has been my only window for this. And it's about over. I'll catch up on Friday, along with an entry about Endgame, Opening Night.



    Fri Nov 11, 2005

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    Like last year, here's to all the men and women who have risked life and limb (and sometimes lost) in duty to their country. The politics, morality and righteousness of those who send them into harms way is another debate for another day and does not lessen the valiance nor the sacrifice of those who wear the uniforms.

    ENDGAME AT SPRINGFIELD STAGEWORKS: We opened last night, but let's play catch up to it, first. I have not mentioned that a young lady by the name of Monica Boone came on recently as the stage manager. Nice young woman who has been able to give us our line notes (you know, point out to us the places where we said the wrong words, added words, or missed words) with a high measure of diplomacy and salve. Not that any actors would ever be sensitive about having line flubs pointed out to them.

    Final dress was Wednesday night, naturally, and it went quite well. I did have one big snafu. Toward the end of the play, Clov is looking around the room for his little step ladder. He finally sees it, walks to it, delivers a little monologue about losing his mind, then looks out that window and sees something extraordinary. As I got to the ladder, my mind went blank. I not only went up on my lines, I totally lost the context of the scene. It being final dress, I did not break character, I just grabbed the ladder and went to the window on the other side, as Clov. I knew it wasn't what Clov was supposed to do, but, I was just taking action until the scene came back to me. As soon as I put the ladder down I remembered. I delivered the line I was supposed to. Then Clov looked over and considered the other window and took the ladder back to finish the lines where he needed to be, at that first window. It was in character and it worked. An audience probably would not have known it was not in the script. But, there was a rhythm interruption due to it -- and you'd better believe I was dead on perfect at that section last night for our first audience.

    I feel good about Opening Night. I think we did a good show. There were a few flub ups, but, you know, that's live theatre. My only one, at least that I am aware of, was that I dropped a sentence fragment in my short opening monologue. Clov is supposed to open with: "Finished, it's finished, nearly finished. It must be nearly finished...." I didn't say "it's finished." Not major, but still, there is a poetic rhythm and dropping those three beats interfered with it.

    It was a small audience, I'd say about twelve people, but, I really had not expected many to attend. One -- it was a Thursday opening night; two -- it's Beckett, not quite as popular as, oh, Neil Simon; three -- it was the premier night of a brand new theatre company. A Few of those there last night were folk I know, including Chuck and Kate Scott. Chuck, being my high school theater director, for those who don't know. They were complementary of my performance, which I am gratified by. Another fellow I know, Enrique Romaguera, a professor of language and humanities, and a well-verse theatre lover, was there, too. Today, he sent me a nice, complimentary email about myself, my cast mates and our production. Again, gratifying.

    I, myself, was happy with my own performance and say to my three fellow cast members, Wayne Justice, Ron Weber and Nancy Mahoney: Well done! And here's to Larry Coressel for his great direction.

    We done good. Even if I do say so myself with all bias in tact and hanging off my sleeves.

    THE CRUCIBLE LAST SUNDAY AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: Some good performances in this mounting. The performances I liked the most were Geoff Burkman as Dept. Gov. Danforth (first time I've seen Mr. Burkman on stage), Cheryl Mellen as Ann Putnam, Becky Lamb as Elizabeth Proctor, and Pam Baughman as Tituba. Also want to mention Richard Young, who picked up the role of Rev. Parris late in rehearsals. Another one of those cases of an actor going on stage under-rehearsed. He did a fine job under the circumstances. And Laura Edwards did a fine job as Abigal, especially considering it was her first time on stage. Pretty big role for your debut, too.

    BELLES: I also worked on set construction last weekend, on Saturday. Built two beds with a new volunteer, Chris. Present also were Greg Smith, of course -- Belles director and set designer -- and Guild president Carol Finely. Greg had already, in previous days, built most of the platforms for the set. We built upon them Saturday.



    Sun Nov 13, 2005

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    THE REST OF OUR FIRST WEEKEND OF ENDGAME AT SPRINGFIELD STAGEWORKS: Half the production run is over and I can say I am satisfied with our collective efforts and with my own work. The cast works well together and I am proud of our finished product. Wayne Justice and I have good chemistry on stage, as I have mentioned before; I think the rest of the cast has good chemistry with whomever they interact with. My own interaction with Nagg (Ron Weber) and Nell (Nancy Mahoney) are only one brief moment with each.

    Our audience doubled from Thursday to around twenty for Friday, then doubled again to about forty for last night. The performance last night seemed our best; don't know if it was audience size and energy, the click of the third performance before an audience, a happenstance of fate, or some combination of these with maybe some other karma or variable. Who knows?

    There was a French class, from I believe, Wittenburg College, in attendance last night and we did a little Q&A after the show. I, of course, never at a loss for words, even when I have nothing to say, answered quite often.

    In retrospect, I see one of my responses to a student's question was incomplete. Her question was how long did it take us to find the characters' motivations. My answer was that I knew Clov's motivation from the start because he lays it out pretty bare in his opening monologue:

      Finished, it's finish, nearly finished. It must be nearly finished.

      Grain upon grain, one by one, then one day, suddenly, there's a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.

      I can't be punished any more....

    That told me early in my study of the play, and of Clov, what was on his mind: I want out. This thing has been going on day after day after day after day for too long. I can bear it no more. The end is near -- it MUST be near. "I can't be punished any more!"

    Though my answer to the young lady's question was true, it was not complete. Because as time went on, as I further studied Clov, as I brought him to life, I got deeper understandings of his motivations. I saw subtleties of his pain, anguish and sadness, his longing for another life, another world. My whole understanding of Clov, and my whole creation of the portrayal I am breathing on stage is built on that opening monologue, which is almost, if not is absolutely, the thesis of the play. The rest of the play is exposition on that, at least for Clov, and really, for all four characters. So, I built on that opening, especially for Clov and specifically for Clov with, "I can't be punished any more."

    Being informed so, I hope that much of my communication of Clov's pain and sorrow is conveyed. I am trying to do much of it non-verbally. As Hamm speaks of places of beauty where they might someday go, or of children (IE: reminding of childhood), I try to show a melancholy wanting on Clov's face. I also try to convey his impatience with Hamm's nonsensical blathering with facial expressions and sideways looks of disdain as Hamm babbles. Clov spends a lot of time simply staring out into blank space, so the shift of eyes, or the turning of his head toward Hamm, whatever the reaction of the moment might be, is, I hope, effective.

    Then, of course, on the verbal side, there is the intonation and the inflection of each line delivery.

    I may just have to expand on this in a full-blown, self-indulgent, megalomaniacal, essay entry. Perhaps when the production has closed.

    PRODUCTION OF BELLES: Trying to get a brief production meeting going this week. We still have some properties needs -- a rather long list -- that need met. I have someone in mind to give that responsibility to. We also need to get cracking on the many light and sound cues. Full dress technical rehearsal week will be short for this. It's the week of Thanksgiving and obviously, we won't have a rehearsal on Thursday -- no one seems to be of the heart to do that. The cue-to-cue rehearsal, where the cues for lights and sounds are the focus, can't be on the Sunday prior to the opening because our director cannot be there due to an unavoidable schedule conflict. So it will be that Monday. So there's Tuesday, Wednesday, then Friday afternoon, for full-dress tech rehearsals. Then, we open that Friday evening, November 25. But, we have a great cast and crew, so we will be ready.

    Also helped on the set again, yesterday. And, god love him, Greg Smith assigned me a carpentry job, on my own. Can't say that I totally screwed it up. But, I will admit, openly that I embrace my Tim Taylorness with no hint of denial. The only difference is that I have no delusion about my lack of handiness with tools and measuring, etc. But, give me a paintbrush, and show me a wall---

    CRAIG ROBERTS IN ROMEO AND JULIET: Saw Craig in the Clark State Community College Theatre Arts production today. Craig did pretty damn good as Romeo with some really great moments. For one thing he had a lot of wonderful physicality; lots of prat falls and gymnastics around the stage. Also in the cast, as Mercutio (as well as other roles) was Tony Weaver, whom I also saw in Violet last spring at Wright State University. Tony was as impressive here as he was in Violet. And again, like Craig, Tony did a lot of rigorous physical work in this one, even a little more than Craig. I also liked Ryan A. Hester as Friar Laurence.



    Thu Nov 17, 2005

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    ENDGAME FULL-RUN, BRUSH-UP REHEARSAL LAST NIGHT: Did a full production rehearsal of the show last night, before tonight's show, since we have been dark since last Saturday's show. The brush-up went smooth, too. There were a few flubs, but what-the-heck. I had two I know of, and both were pretty minor. I said, "Why, I never!" rather than the correct, "Well, I never!" Later I said, "You knew what was happening then, didn't you?" instead of, "You knew what was happening then, no?" Neither being anything the audience would catch, except for perhaps hardcore Beckettophiles.

    I did not look at the script or go over lines either Sunday nor Monday. Tuesday I did once and I only made one error.

    Tonight marks the start of the second half of the run.

    PRODUCTION OF BELLES: Finally was able to drop into rehearsals Monday night. It was the ladies' first night off-book on Act I and they did rather well. Already some strong characterizations going on -- but, it is a cast of wonderfully talented ladies, so this is no surprise.

    Brought in some props, including plastic flowers, of which at this point Mr. Director (Greg Smith) has only used one on the set -- unless he used some more as of last night, when I wasn't there.

    Tuesday night I mostly missed the rehearsal of Act II because I spent most of the night in the upstairs part of the green room producing the various phone messages we need for the show: two of the ladies, Debra Strauss (Peggy) and Tierney Deaton (Paige), and also a young man named Matthew Shirley who does the voice of Mike; Mike is trying to get a second date with the ever-elusive Paige. Mike is never on stage, but he leaves several messages on Paige's machine.

    Still some loose ends to tie up -- a few props left to get on stage. Sound and light production, overall, is going to come together at the eleventh hour, due to scheduling difficulties. Makes me kind of nervous. I know it'll all come together, but I still am nervous about it. We have a short cycle for the full-dress/tech rehearsals -- we'll have two such, and with a lot of sound and light cues. Everyone involved (cast and crew) is up to it, but, still, It Makes Me Nervous!

    Got the playbill info off to our print designer, though. I am sure there will be a name or two to add after it's at press.



    Sun Nov 27, 2005

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    CATCH UP ON ENDGAME AND BELLES

    LAST WEEKEND OF ENDGAME AT SPRINGFIELD STAGEWORKS: Had a good second weekend for the run, like the first. A few more acquaintances and friends came to see the show. Fellow actor and Dayton Theatre Guild member Harold Fox (Resource Management VP) and his wife attended, Thursday night, I believe, though it may have been Friday. Two other board members came closing night, president Carol Finley and marketing chair Kerry Corthell. A few other very good actors I know to one extent or another were there, too. I am relieved that everyone seemed to like the show and my own work.

    Carol and Kerry were there to see the one, and the one and only, time I bent my right knee on stage. Clov's right leg is supposed to be stiff. I made it through the whole run, until one moment closing night, without ever bending that leg on stage. I was about six feet right smack in front of them when I finally blew it. Oh well.

    The Oakwood Register arts columnist Burt Saidel was there Thursday and gave us a nice write-up in the following Wednesday edition. For the next few days you can find the article by clicking here; after a few days, you'll have to search the web site's archives. (If I have my wits about me I will update the URL after the article is no longer new -- when it dawns on me to remember).

    Burt gave StageWorks a good write-up and incorporated a flattering review of Endgame in there. Here is a sample of his comments on our performances:

    [T]he actors [were] capable of driving the forces of the play... [and]... were more than convincing. So much of the action of the play is studied inaction.... [T]hey were perfect Beckett faces and perfect Beckett enigmas....

    He was as generous to each of us four actors, individually, as well. In cosmic karmic humor Burt identified me as "K.L. Stover, well known in Dayton theater circles." He was kind to my work, writing that I "managed to convey Clov's frustration and disabilities in wordless repeated limps across the stage." Dispite the error in my name and the very certain overstatement of my notoriety, it was nice commentary that I appreciate.

    I am satisfied with my work in this production. And I was pleased to have worked with this fine group of people. Wayne Justice did a lovely job as Hamm and we had, as I have said before, an excellent chemistry between us. Ron Weber was charmingly funny as Nagg and Nancy Mahoney was a wonderful Nell. Director Larry Coressel was very easy going. I loved that he allowed me to go where I wanted with Clov, only redirecting me when what I was doing strayed from his vision. So much of what I did as Clov was my own construct and I am gratified that Larry obviously liked it enough to allow me the latitude. As a student of theatre who wishes to direct (both stage and obviously film) it is validation of a director's style that I already have thought I want to emulate.

    Now, I have a lead role on my résumé -- and as I told someone just last night: I told myself that once I had a lead or at least one more major role, I would do the general audition for The Human Race Theatre Company. So, late spring, 2006, I am there. I don't necessarily expect to be cast the first season I audition, but, I think it is time to start logging annual auditions there.

    THE OPENING OF BELLES AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: I attended all the dress rehearsals for Belles and was directly involved in solving some tech problems, most especially phone dilemmas; more on that below. As has been stated before, the sound and light tech design and set up came a few rehearsals later than is the usual case; in fact, actually the very last rehearsal, Friday afternoon was the first rehearsal with everything in place. It was down to the wire but it came together. There have been tech issues to deal with since then, but, we have dealt with them, and actually still are.

    The two performances we have had so far have gone well. These six ladies are impressive on stage -- perhaps I am bias being so close to the production, but, I believe it is still the truth. I expect Terry Morris' review in The Dayton Daily News next Thursday, as he was there opening night.

    Trouble With The Bells Of Belles -- We have had some problems with phones, which are a key element of the show. The big one has been with the cordless phones that three of the ladies use. At first we did not get them to work at all. It finally occurred to us we had to run power to them, not just hook up the phone lines to the bases. Before we finally got that, we had old-style phones hidden to ring with the cordless phones sitting there. It was not terribly authentic to have a 1960's ring with a more modern phone. And both for some authenticity and because these ladies needed to have cordless phones because of their movements, we did not want them to have older style phones. Before our last dress rehearsal, I hooked up the cordless phones to power and we got them to ring.

    Then we have had problems with one. Dust's (Debra A. Kent's) particular model has a random delay on the ringer that has caused us cue problems. I am now trying to replace it with another one. The irony is someone brought a cordless in, and I turned it away, thinking at that moment that we had all our bases covered. Lesson for the guy in the producer's hat: always accept back-up!

    More Bell Trouble And Two Fast Thinking Lady Actors Who Impressed The Hell Out Of This Freshman!: At the end of the show, to close their curtain call, all six phones ring and the ladies pick them up, then we go to black. Two of the three ladies who have corded phones get, for some reason, this loud screeching at that time. Before last night's shows, I disconnected their receivers since they don't really need to hear. I duck taped the ends of the cords to the bottom of the phones, so it would look like they are hooked up. Last night, during a scene, one of these ladies, Lisa M. Sadai, who is Roseanne, had a mishap in the midst of a scene with Debra Strauss (Peggy). A towel she was using in the scene dropped down onto her receiver cord, for her wall model, and the weight pulled the cord from its duck tape under the phone. Now, there was Roseanne, supposedly having a conversation with Peggy, but with a phone clearly not capable of being used at the moment. The two ladies handled it with poise and great professionalism. Lisa, in trying to fix the problem, actually unplugged the phone from the line that would make it ring and plugged the receiver in there. her phone would not be able to ring now. Meanwhile Debra, as Peggy, played it perfectly, saying, "Hello! Roseanne! Are you there?" Then the two of them redialed each other. When no phone rang, both women instinctively went to Oh we managed to connect to each other before a phone could ring -- at that point it was, "where were we?" then they went on with their lines. It was handled beautifully by both ladies. And my hat is off to them for such quick thinking. Another good lesson for this particular freshman! I just waited until Roseanne's area went dark, then I went in and fixed the phone. We needed that phone to ring again, so I elected to do this -- certainly some of the audience saw me, but, the focus at that time was on the complete opposite part of the stage, so it wasn't terribly intrusive. Had we not needed that phone to work I would not have gone on stage, but, in my mind it was the lesser of two evils.

    Sound Emergency: Today I will be in the sound and light booth with our sound operator Bob Mills. He has an emergency and will be out of town during next weekend's performances. This is so last minute that finding someone to take over sound -- and be there today to sit with him to see the complex sound operation of this show -- seems pretty futile. So, it will have to be me. We have shows Thursday through Sunday, as we have a special performance for the local YWCA on Thursday night. I have plans to come in Wednesday night and practice with the sound board in the theatre.

    OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY: I will also be at the Guild this Monday and Tuesday to audition for Jerry Sterner's Other People's Money. My best bet for a role is that of William Coles, the president of New England Wire and Cable. I might also have a shot at Lawrence Garfinkle, the corporate raider -- and antagonist -- though technically he's supposed to be a fat guy. And whereas I can pinch a bit more waist than I wish to be able to, I am not really "fat." But I will still study his character.

    This by-the-way, will in no way stop me from auditioning for the next Guild show, I Never Sang for My Father. Regardless of whether I am cast in OPM I want the role of Gene in INSFMF and I will go for it.



    Tue, Nov 29, 2005

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    AUDITIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY LAST NIGHT AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: How'd I do? Once again I am reluctant to judge that. I "feel okay" about my audition. Didn't seem to be either awful or brilliant. I did start out with the slight southern accent of a Floridian, as William Coles is from Florida. The director, Barb Coriell, didn't want that. So, I killed it. Except for at one point, just for a word or two, where I slipped back into it. Eh, what ya gonna do?

    To be truthful I felt pretty good about one scene I read with Burt Staub (a veteran Dayton actor) and about at least part of one I read with Saul Caplan. The rest of it, well, I don't have a foreboding sense, at least.

    I'll be there tonight, too.

    BELLES AT THE GUILD: The big thing is, of course, that I will operate the sound this coming weekend. I sat with Bob Mills during Sunday's show, which helps quite a lot. Seeing him run the show sound in real time is a good thing. Yesterday I got to the Guild about 4:30 and began to familiarize myself with the precise design of the show's sound set up:

    • Which button rings which phone
    • What are the ring delays for each cordless
    • What sounds are on each deck and what are the track numbers
    • Which toggle switches are off and on for which sound effect
    • What's the cueing personality of each machine
    • Which slide volumes control what and what are the levels for each effect
    • What needs cued when
    • When during the show are the close clusters of sound cues
    • yadda yadda yadda

    Did that until about 6:30, then I studied on the Other People's Money script until the auditions. It'll be the same tonight, except I think I am going to transfer Bob's cue notes from his script into mine, and in a manner that works better for me. I, for instance, will write detailed info on what needs cued as soon as it can be cued, which, as often as possible, will be pages before the sound comes up.

    The theatre is completely dark tomorrow night, no show, no auditions. There will, however, be a guy in the sound booth most of the evening, pretending there is a full dress rehearsal down below.

    Thursday night I will run sound for a performance (the special one for the YWCA), having never run it for the ladies as they perform.

    But, no pressure!



    Wed Nov 30, 2005

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    SECOND NIGHT OF AUDITIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Still don't feel like I blew it. I did reasonably good auditions last night and Monday; least ways they felt so. I saw at least one other actor who I think might be up against me. I guess it boils down to what the director wants. So, we shall see.

    There wasn't as much time to study this script, not as much as I would have liked. There were, as the result, a few passages I read in audition that were pretty close to cold. Barb had three of us read a portion of Coles closing monologue and I was up first. Then the others read and it became obvious to me I had misinterpreted the meaning of a line. Oh well.

    I did, by the way, dress for the role. Coles is the president of a company, so I wore dress slacks, a suit coat, a tie, white shirt, dress shoes. Actually, the suit jacket I brought Monday was, I decided after I was there, too wrinkled for Coles to wear. So that night I just had the dress slacks, a white shirt and a power tie. I brought another suit coat last night and wore it. I can't say dressing so did influence the director, but, I felt more like a company president than had I been in jeans, a Beatles jersey and a Steely Dan concert cap, with gym shoes on my feet.

    Didn't do vocal warm ups either night -- my throat is a bit soar.

    THE SOUNDS OF BELLES AT THE GUILD: Got most of the mark-up of my script from Bob's, for the sound cues, etc. Even drew a few simple, illustrative diagrams in some places. Tonight, I go in, finish that, then practice practice practice.

    I will actually say cue lines out loud and speak the actions the actors take or that the light operator, Anita Bachman, takes, all those actions that are cues for me. I'll even, for a while, speak my settings and sound executions aloud. Speaking it out loud helps me better settle it into my memory.

    Have replaced Dust's phone with one that doesn't have an unpredictable ring delay. It still has one, but it is constant at about 3.5 seconds -- and that is only the first button push after it has sat for a while. The second and onward in a sequence have almost no delay. This new phone is courtesy of Barb Coriell, and being the one I turned away last week, not knowing I needed it.



    Sat Dec 3, 2005

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    OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CAST: I haven't received official word yet, but I have reliable information that I was not cast in Other People's Money at the Guild. And if I had been chosen I certainly would have heard by now.

    Don't know of any other auditions close up that I am interested in. I will focus this next couple months on other projects. The movie for one thing. Then, at this point, I Never Sang for My Father will be my next audition, in mid January. If I don't get that, it may be Hollywood Arms at The Dayton Playhouse, which auditions the next week. I say "may" because I haven't read it yet and don't know if there is even a part for me. I will still look for auditions in the near future to see if anything looks appealing, especially movies. But, I do have the other projects.

    THE SOUNDS AND LIGHTS OF BELLES AT THE GUILD: I did spend the whole evening this past Wednesday studying and practicing the lights for Belles. The next night I ran them for the special performance for the Dayton YWCA, and it went well. Any errors were minor and more the complaints of my perfectionist side than anything else.

    Last night at the regular performance it was a different story. I made two really dumb mistakes. First, I didn't kill the sound after I played the first answering machine effect, then I didn't pause the deck and the second message played immediately while Debra Strauss was "leaving" her own message. She was speaking "to the machine," which is supposed to be recording her, and this male voice all of a sudden comes from it: "Hi, Paige, this is Mike." The irony here is that my rule is to always kill the volume after a sound effect, just in case I don't hit pause. This was the only time I did not kill the volume, and, of course, the one time I also did not hit pause. Later, I forgot to switch speaker channels out, so, some transition music came out of the answering machine rather than the main overhead speakers. Both pretty careless errors.

    That was not the end of it in terms of tech problems. Something in the light system went out -- some kind of bank of something. Terry Ronald (local Dayton light guru) told Anita Bachmann (Belles light operator), via cell phone at intermission, that he thinks there is a problem with a bank of dimmers. Anita was able to compensate, but the light design was still compromised by the tech problem. Terry may actually be in the Guild, at this very moment as I write this (almost 11:30 am), trouble-shooting it all.



    Tue, Dec 6, 2005

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    THE SECOND WEEKEND OF BELLES AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: In the focus of the last blog entry about the tech problems, the ladies' continued fine performances got lost. They were as top-notch Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as they have been all along before then.

    As for the technical issues, at least the big problem was solved. It turns out, concerning the lights that would not work Friday night, it was simply a breaker switch for the bank of dimmers that had inadvertently been turned off. As for my sound run on Saturday and Sunday: still not perfect. Saturday I had a cue mishap, of which I am still not exactly sure what happened.

    At the top of the show sound op has a few things that all happen right on top of each other. The director, or whoever is doing the curtain speech, introduces the show, then the first several seconds of the opening theme is played into a fade out as the lights come up on Peggy's and Aneece's rooms (Debra Strauss and Katrina Kittle). Peggy dials her phone, Aneece's cordless rings. Aneece rushes in wearing a towel. Just before she gets to the phone, Peggy hangs up and dials again. Aneece's cell phone rings. She rushes back out and after searching through her large purse, finally finds it and answers. The cell phone ring does not come from an actual cell phone, but rather is a recording we play from a speak behind the part of the stage where Aneece's bedroom is.This whole series of sound cues entailed my fading the music then, as I watch for Peggy to dial Aneece and then ring Aneece cuing the cell phone ring while also bring the volume on that speaker up to the proper level. Saturday, when Peggy "dialed" the cell phone and I hit the button to play the effect, nothing happened. I tried to re-cue it and got the next track, which is a busy signal for a few minutes down the script. I faded that quick and managed to get the right sound to play.

    Meanwhile, Debra Strauss (Peggy) stayed in character and Peggy redialed Aneece's cell phone after getting a busy signal the first time.

    On Sunday, when it came time for the actual busy signal cue, I forgot to switch out channels and it at first came from the answering machine...(!!!)

    No opportunity to redeem myself because I will not be on sound this upcoming weekend.

    MORRIS REVIEW: Terry Morris' review of the show, in the Dayton Daily News, is less than stellar. He liked the performances but not the play itself. So it is a mixed review. Unfortunately, as is so often the case due to the pin-head editors at this newspaper, there does not seem to be an on-line version of the review to share with you, because, hey, it's only theatre, it's not a movie or something.

    Russell Florence, Jr. (Dayton City Paper) was there for the tech-hell Friday show; Burt Saidel (The Oakwood Register) was there Saturday. Both these papers recognize a theatre review as worth posting and with easy access.



    Mon, Dec 12, 2005

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    CLOSING WEEKEND OF BELLES AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: We had a good last weekend. The ladies finished off the run in as superb a fashion as the rest of the run. I have been privileged to be connected with this fine cast and crew. There will be some pics of the set coming this way soon.

    Will have some Endgame pics up sometime, too.

    REVIEWS OF BELLES: Russell Florence, Jr.'s review is out (Dayton City Paper). Burt Saidel's has not come out yet (The Oakwood Register). Russell pretty much thought the same as Terry Morris: he liked the performances but not the material. Click here for his full review. I plan to respond to both their reviews (Morris and Florence), here, in the spirit of friendly debate, and with my obvious bias on my sleeve. Need to find the time to set aside to do it.

    THE HIGH-END DV CAMCORDER THAT WAS NOT TO BE: Today there was an electronic equipment sale on campus. I thought several high-end DV camcorders were in the offering and as "Mr. Movie producer" was gong to see if I could snag one at a decent price. Alas, they were not DV cameras. They were high-end portable TV camera, but the sort that feed a separate recording unit. They also all had serious working problems. The $50 selling price was a clue to that. They were really best for harvesting parts. It was not at all what I was looking for. I had hoped to grab a cheap high-end DV camcorder as well as buying the new one in a few months, just to have a second one handy, for, hey, whatever.

    Can you imagine my little shoestring budget movie project with a second production unit using their own camera? Of course, there is no need for that, whatsoever.

    SPEAKING OF THE MOVIE PROJECT: I am now entering into a period of doing what I can to advance things. Checking out several possible grant options. Going to get with my "potential" DP/co-producer. Will start researching costs and availabilities of some needed locations -- namely: some areas on the Wright State campus as well as rights and costs to shoot exteriors at a local cemetery. I have an idea concerning the cemetery that I think is kind of cool and very workable.

    Have a few talent scouting expeditions planned, too. In fact, I went on one such outing last Saturday night. Saw The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Playhouse South. I saw some young ladies that I will likely invite to the auditions, if there ever are auditions. In January I'll attend Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Beavercreek Community Theatre.

    AUDITION STUFF: A few people have expressed surprise that I was not cast in Other people's Money. I must admit, as much as I dislike allowing such luxury to my big-ass ego, I was surprised myself that I was not cast. I don't know that I was "brilliant," in fact, I can easily say I was not; but, I do believe, as do the other folk, that I did a strong reading that seemed on the mark for Coles. The director, clearly sees it differently.

    I also just received another callback from The Rising Phoenix that I have to, once again, turn down. This one is for their late-winter 2006 offering of The Crucible. I have a personal commitment the first weekend of the performances so I cannot commit to it at all. Besides which its rehearsals and its last weekend of performances cross over into I Never Sang For My Father at the Guild, and though I am surely not guaranteed that show, we all know I will keep my schedule open for it. I do dislike that I have now twice had to say "sorry, can't do it," to The Phoenix.




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