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

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Sun Oct 1, 2006
*slightly revised
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on Oct 7, 2006

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'ART' REHEARSALS: It is going well. After I wrap this entry up, I will spend the rest of the late afternoon and then this evening working toward my goal of getting as close to off-book for the whole play as I can. I'm about 99.5% off-book for the first half, and somewhat so a bit further on. But I need to get the end down and wipe that .5% away from the beginning pages.

Character development-wise, I am close to the Stefen that satisfies me. I had to experiment a bit to find him. For a while I was going after what I was calling "the Niles Crane approach." But that guy just wasn't working.

First off, there was just some grammar problems. Stefen says at one point, "If you call something shit, you need to have some criterion to judge it by." The Niles Crane version could only end that sentence with: by which to judge it. Then there's the fact that the Niles Crane guy would never use the word fuck -- Stefen uses it several times.

Now, don't get me wrong, I was not trying to do K.L. doing David Hyde Pierce doing Niles doing Stefen. I was just going for an affectation of style that seemed in the same place. There is a pretension to Stefen that easily lends itself to such affectation. In the end, though, there are attributes to Stefen that ultimately killed the Niles Crane approach.

I have an approach to Stefen now that will accommodate several key elements of his make-up: he's a tad pretentious, though he's more than just a "pseudo"-intellectual; he has some striking vulnerabilities and sensitivities; yet he has emotional strength as well as a strong sense of identity. I have a Stefen who will walk on stage with the right voice and movement to fit this make-up.

I have not created his bio yet, but I do know he's divorced with children, since the text of the play says so. And just like Serge has become Stefen, his ex, Françiose, is now Francis.

MIDDFEST 2006: As I write this I'm a couple hours from the last staged reading for this year's Middfest International festival in Middletown, Ohio. This year the festival celebrated China. Again, the director was Deirdre Root. This year the performers were, all from last year, Sarah Gomes, Helen Raymond, and myself.

We did an expurgated version of the play Red by Chay Yew. I was the aging Beijing opera star Hua Wei Mun. We also read three short stories by Ha Jin from his collection of short stories, Under the Red Flag (University of Georgia Press). First, Helen read the story, "Taking a Husband." Then I read "Fortune." Sarah closed with "Winds and Clouds over a Funeral."

The unfortunate thing is that, as last year, the staged readings were placed in a poor location. We were in the middle of a kiosk valley, inside a section of part of a parking garage. The overall acoustics are not conducive. There's little signage. There was a gong display right next to us, where children could bang the gong. And bang the gong they did. Close by was a kiosk with perpetual video of Chinese fireworks -- with the sound up. With no special attention drawn to the readings and with the basic problem of hearing the readings, we had hardly an audience member all weekend. We had not one audience member for our first show Saturday.

Well, by god, we performed our performances. And the check will show up in the next few weeks.....

Kind of wanted to hang out and check the different displays out. There were a lot of great artifacts and displays. However, I do have a lot of line study for 'Art', so I couldn't hang around too long after we were done today. I did grab some spicy chicken on a stick from the Philippine tent in the food court and hung out with Deirdre and her hubby Grant. Getting close to 2:30 I decided it was time to take the drive back up north.

Then the really wonderful moment of the day happened. I was on my way to the exit from the festival, to where my car was parked. I passed by the Chinese Opera tent and heard this fabulous Chinese soprano singing this most enchanting melody over rich, textured orchestration from a synthesizer.

It was Min Xiao-Fen, an instrumentalist and vocalist. She plays an ancient Chinese lute called the pipa. When I walked by she was finishing a song from a Chinese opera -- I don't the title of either. Composer Gong-Qian Yang was accompanying her on synthesizer, as the orchestra. I know they were finishing one of his compositions. It was beautiful and her vocal was lovely. She has that eloquent lithe and control, that effortless control of the voice that any person who has a real interest in being a singer envies and tries to achieve. There is always great skill in the artistic execution that seems effortless.

She then played some traditional music on the pipa, followed by interpretations of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. I was astounded. Her precision seemed flawless. Her web site says she is "internationally known for her virtuosity and fluid style." My experience earlier today is evidence that those words are not simply hype.

I now have an interest in her work, Yang's work, and I think I am going to explore Chinese opera in general, too.

Ms. Min's web site is: www.bluepipa.org.

DRIVING MISS DAISY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Caught that performance of Driving Miss Daisy last night as I'd planned. It was enjoyable and I am happy that the next time I run into Miss Garcia, I will have seen her on stage rather than just having a vague idea of her theatre tenure.



Fri Oct 6, 2006

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'ART' REHEARSALS: Decent rehearsals again this week, Monday through Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday were full rehearsals and my first ones that can be categorized as "off-book," though I did have to use my script for the closing monologues on Monday. I certainly called for lines a bit and it is more than a little safe to say I paraphrased a lot. I am one who wants to use the wording in the text. To me the concept of "Oh well, it was close enough, it meant the same thing" isn't good enough. Of course, if I must paraphrase or use a pseudonym during a performance in front of an audience, then I will. But, I'd rather say it right off the page.

I did not much use Stefen's voice this week; I focused more on remembering lines and emotional approach to them. As of this coming Monday though, I intend for the full character to be on the stage, in both voice and mannerisms. That will be dynamically, of course, Stefen will still be evolving toward the Stefen that stands there on October 27. I have not yet found that balance in him that makes all his lines work. There is an approach to him where he is refined and intellectual enough, yet not stiff, and also not totally divorced from the everyday guy. It has to be in character for him to both say, "your vicious inflexible opinions and vile assumption of complicity" and also utter "fuck" without it seeming out of the norm for him, where it is not a case of him being vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. I am also sure I am, at least to some extent, over thinking this. If it's what I have to do to finally get a Stefen that works for me, then that is what I will do. I'll bounce of a wall or two to get to the center, what the hell.

Wednesday night the cast (all three of us) had a line rehearsal at the home of cast member Dennis Latimer (Yvan, which may become "Evan"). It was really more us getting the play on tape again -- that is, again for them; I had not put it on tape at all yet, which is uncharacteristic of my method, to wait so long to record my lines. I have them now. So. it'll be words not music in my ear phones and on my car speakers for the next few weeks.

THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE UPDATE: Based on some feedback I am going to make at least one sound sweetening tweak. There is the sound of a door closing, just before the song "Coma" begins to play. The idea is that daughter Elizabeth has gone to her room and turned on her stereo. Several people have told me they don't catch the sound of the door closing. So, I am going to bring the volume on that up.

I also really want to remix the equalization on Candice's last line. It has a different sound to it than the rest of the her dialogue soundtrack, and it bugs me, this lack of sound continuity. I am at least going to play with it and see if I can get the sound closer.

And that damned pop up frame of the credits. I still don't have a reason nor a solution for it.

Sometime in the near future I will post the movie at You Tube; I also have about six weeks to get the final cut for On The Lot, though sooner rather than later would be good.



Sun Oct 15, 2006

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'ART' REHEARSALS: Still going well, for the most part. Didn't have a fabulous rehearsal Thursday night -- our last before a small break. Least wise, it wasn't a good one for me. There was a bit of production business that needed attended to so we actually got started over an hour late; and didn't get to Act II. Plus my impatience to get started brought down my energy and some of my focus; I actually went up on a section I have been nailing verbatim for the last two weeks.

Clearly focus issues that I still need to work on. I sometimes allow myself to be distracted when there are conversations off stage, and that is another focus problem I want to improve upon.

I'm still playing around with Stefen's character. I am moving him back into the realm of that David Hyde-Pierce/Niles Crane idea, though not totally. I think I am getting close to the Stefen that will work. I am attempting to put ever-so-slightly, a hint of a New York style accent, not Bronx or Brooklyn, but a more, well, cosmopolitan dialect (vague as that description is). Think of a muted version of, oh, Woody Allen, or, probably more apropos, Martin Scorsese. I'm also looking for a speech pattern that to a small degree suggests "putting on aires" without being blatantly pretentious. Remember, he has to both have an authentic feel of being cultured and yet be able to comfortably say such things as fuck. He also has to both actually know what he's talking about while at the same time still giving off the energy of pretentiousness.

Speaking of character development for Stefen, here is some vital information about him:

    His full name is Stefen Jonathan Baxter. He was born May 12, 1960 at Mercy Medical Center on Long Island, New York -- though the hospital is in Rockville Centre, he grew up on Long Island Sound in Glen Cove. His father was Martin, a civil engineer for New York City. His mother, Martha, was a house wife. Stefen has one sister, Elizabeth Faust (b: 07-18-1963), who now teaches civics, history and social studies at Charles Carroll High School in Philadelphia.

    His mother is who introduced Stefen and his sister to the world of art and literature; they frequented all the NYC museums and galleries, as well as many symphonic concerts and some ballet and opera. And, of course, both children inherited their mother's love for fine books and poetry.

    Stefen did his pre-med and earned his medical degree from Columbia University (specializing in dermatology). He did his residency at Nassau University Medical Center, in East Meadow, NY.

    He married Francis Taylor in 1988. They divorced in 1995. They have three children -- one son and two daughters: Philip David (b: 05-02-1990); Deborah Jeanine (b: 08-13-1992); and, Taylor Ariel (b: 01-19-1994). He's had a series of failed relationships since. Francis remarried in 2000.

    Stefen now lives in Manhattan in a one bedroom apartment on 121st St. by Amsterdam Ave., a block from Morningside Park, and a few blocks north of Columbia University. His office, for Lexington Med Associates, with his five partners, is on Lexington Ave. and 106th St. He is on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital, on East 77th and has staff privileges at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

    *REVISED OCTOBER 24, 2006 TO CHANGE STEPHEN TO THE CORRECT STEFEN.

CAMERA ACTING GIG FOR SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Got an email last Thursday from Lisa Sadai about an audition for a short scenario video for business classes at Sinclair Community College. Lisa, who as well as being a fine local actor, was, if you remember, also the AD/SS for The Chorus for Candice. She is behind the scenes again as the production assistant for the series of videos of which the one I auditioned for is a part. I auditioned on Friday for the role of Mr. Babcock for a short titled Not MY Courtney! and was cast. Babcock is the father of a tween devil girl (Courtney) who in Daddy's eyes can do no wrong. The scene is a conference with the principal at the brat's junior high. Ms. Debra Kent (Grace & Glorie, Belles, and more) is Principal Harper. We will shoot next Friday. We'll have a table read rehearsal either Wednesday or Thursday, during the day, due to 'Art' rehearsals at night. I have asked the director if we can have them early enough that I have time to go over my 'Art' lines prior to those 6:30 p.m. rehearsals.

So I am in the ending process of getting my lines for 'Art' totally etched into my brain and I now take on more lines to memorize. Two things that make it easier. The video is five minutes, tops; I have only a total of sixteen lines, though, granted that several are a few sentences long. Second is that being a video production, lines will often be shot in isolation, and we obviously can retake. Not new information but it is the reason I am not panicking -- though I have no intention of not being prepared when I arrive.

IN THE AUDIENCE: I saw Moonlight & Magnolias last weekend at The Human Race Theatre Company. I was impressed. Very funny work from all the players. I do wish I'd had a closer opportunity to have gotten on that stage. I am not sure I would have made it, but jeez I wish I had at least been actually called back as originally planned.

Oh well. Did I hear someone say, "Suck it up, Pal"?

And, to mention Ms. Sadia again, I saw The Exonerated at The Dayton Playhouse on Friday evening. Man how uncomfortable did that material make me -- which is a complement to the players, the director and the playwrights. There were a few actors in the cast that I know. Besides Lisa, there were John Spitler and Charles Larkowski. It was directed by local equity actor Alan Bomar Jones.



Tue, Oct 17, 2006

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NOT MY COURTNEY FOR SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE: We have our only table read-through tomorrow afternoon, then we shoot, as I said before, on Friday.

MY "GUEST APPEARANCE" WITH PAUL McCARTNEY: The A&E special, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us debuts on Saturday, October 28, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This is the program where there may be a close up of me in the audience at Paul's Columbus, Ohio concert last October. It is the night of a performance of 'Art', but my VCR is already programmed! And you can be sure that rolling the tape back and watching the show will be my first act upon getting home that night.



Mon, Oct 23, 2006

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'ART': Show opens this coming Friday. Tech rehearsals don't begin until tomorrow. The load in of platforms and the actual setting of the stage set happen tonight. We three actors are doing a line run tonight, rather than take the night off. We all feel like we need it. We will sit with our backs to each other to concentrate on lines, character, and emotion.

Last Wednesday and Thursday night rehearsals were, in my mind, crappy. We all went up on lines we have had down pat. There were some serious timing problems, too. Wednesday I got the note that there are a lot of places where I need to "lighten up," that being the big refrain in general from director Jerry Boswell. Thing is, I really thought I was lightened up. The note came as a bit of a surprise to me, to be honest. I tried a different approach to Stefen Thursday night (I have found that he is officially SteFen, not, StePHen). At least one production staff member thought I came off even heavier. Jerry apparently did not because he commented that the idea I was heavier was that person's opinion. Still, the approach to Stefen I was using Thursday did not feel right to me at all.

So for me, the anxiety isn't over knowing lines. I do like it better if I can be word perfect. However, as of tonight I will no longer correct line errors. It's time to start giving full-on performances, even though we will not do blocking tonight. But saying the right words is less a worry than finding a happy compromise between this lighter Stefen that Jerry wants and the slightly pretension, takes-himself-a-tad-too-seriously Stefen whom I really feel is correct. I tried a few different takes on him this weekend that were attempts to meld the two approaches together. I guess we will see if there was any success.

NOT MY COURTNEY FOR SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE: The shoot on Friday went well, though it was a pretty long day for me. I had really little chance to go over the lines for this in the days prior to the shoot, due to 'Art'. I looked them over a bit the night before, then I got up at a little after 4:30 Friday morning and spent a couple hours on them, Call was at 8:30. It was a full production day and we ended around 4:00.

My big LEARN for the day: leaving handles in between lines of dialogue. What that means is, when you shoot the same scene from two or more points of view, you want to leave handles at the end of each screen moment so you have some breathing room for editing. And, as in the cases from this shoot, this is especially important with conversations. The usual case, which is the standard, is the reversal shot edits, where you see the person talking from the point of view of the person listening, then the focus changes to the opposite point of view when the other person responds.

Of course, the pace of the dialogue will be that usually there is very little silent space between the end of one actor's lines and the other actor's response. But that tightness of dialogue in these POV edit scenes is created in the editing room. In production you shoot one side of the conversation, all of one actor's lines, then you shoot the other POV. If you're a smart director, you'll keep the camera rolling on each actor during the periods where the other actor is speaking, for reaction shots. It's best for someone -- a production person, at least, if not the other actor -- to feed the off-camera lines to the actor on camera. And, if I am on set, I will feed my screen-mate my lines, because I think I ought to.

The handles come in here. During this sort of shooting, there needs to be longer than natural pauses between each line of dialogue. This gives the editor space (breathing room) so that edit cuts don't have to be trimmed too close to the end of an actor's line, thus clipping it. And the editor can have the action cut back and forth between the two characters during the conversation. The unnatural spaces are eliminated (trimmed) in the final edit because the editor can sit the response as close as he or she wants. Thus the natural pacing of conversation is created by virtue of how the shots are edited together.

Of course, when a master shoot (wide shot) or a two shot (both actors in frame) are being shot, the actors do have to use those natural, closer pauses, because the editor cannot in these cases eliminate dead space, not without the jump being noticed on screen, known as a jump cut. Unless they are being used specifically for effect -- usually in suspense or horror (or spoofs thereof, jump cuts are a bad bad thing.

As for the handles between dialogue on the Not MY Courtney set, the director Todd Ruel needed to remind me a few times during these reversal shots to leave them. First, on stage, as an actor, I try to avoid those unnatural dead spaces. Also, when I produced the still unreleased Muse, and when I performed in Nona, the characters were on screen alone -- no dialogue handles were needed. On the Ghostbusters: Spook University set, these handles were never asked for. The nature of the action and the shot plots for The Chorus for Candice made such handles unnecessary. But, I am not sure I would have thought to ask for them, had they been.

On my Chorus set, I did have shot handles, a few seconds before and after the action of each shoot added in. But those were all I needed. Well, dialogue handles are now part of my "MR. BIGSHOT MOVIE DIRECTOR" production arsenal.

By the way, I had already said that Debra Kent was in the Not MY Courtney cast as Principal Harper; the young lady playing Courtney is Katrina Baker. Among her credits, she was in the locally produced indy horror film, Immortally Yours, which is currently in post. Katrina is also a lovely singer. If you go to her web site you can hear the song she co-wrote and sings, which she has submitted to the Immortally Yours producers for consideration as the crawl theme. It's an adult contemporary pop song.

IN THE AUDIENCE: Friday was a very long day for me because I was up at circa 4:30 and was full-tilt for almost the next twelve hours on the video shoot, being on campus at Sinclair, from about 8:30 on. My day on that campus was not yet over though. I had to be back in time to, along with most of the cast and crew of the Guild version, catch the 8:00 curtain for the SCC production of The Cripple of Inishmaan. I didn't bother with the one hour round-trip drive home, then back again. I did drive a few minutes down the road to try and sneak a little nap in at the Guild. Didn't work out though. The Guild was empty, but there was too much urban ambient sound (noise) going on. So I paced the theatre going over Stefen lines then headed back to SCC campus.

It was a very odd experience for me seeing another vision of Cripple, which was my birth canal back into acting. I can't say that I should have any business giving any sort of response to the esthetic value of the show I saw Friday night. I have too much of a visceral and emotional attachment to this play to objectively observe anyone else's interpretation of any aspect of the show. I have criticisms, but I don't trust that they come from a place even remotely unbiased, so I don't see any value in expressing them.

It was good for me as an actor to see the show and especially to see Patrick Hayes' work as Johhnypateen. This challenging role has a special place in my heart, he being my first stage character after all that time away. It was good, though very uncomfortable, to see another actor give him a completely different soul. I will not comment, compare or contrast my Johnny and Patrick's. What I will say is that I find Patrick a good actor and his Johnny Pateen Mike O'Dougal reaffirms my previous assessment. And it is healthy for me to have such an in-your-face example that there are many ways to successfully play a role.

Saturday turned out a little different than I'd planned. The plan was, go to the Guild board meeting in the morning, drive to Mason Ohio and see Charity Farrell, as well as a few other actors I know, in the The Children's Theatre of Mason production of Oliver, directed by Carrie-Ellen Zappa. Then I would spend the evening working on that character adjustment for Stefen.

Well, what I didn't know until I got to the theatre in Mason was that the Saturday matinee was the understudy performance. So, Charity, who was usually Nancy, was now a Fagen boy and chorus member. At first I was resigned that I missed my movie's co-star in her bigger Oliver role. But, I decided that I had driven fifty-some miles to see her as Nancy, so, after the matinee, I went out to eat, then paced the parking lot at the theatre working on Stefen. I saw Charity as Nancy that evening and I must say she was at her best. I was not surprised, since I already think of this young lady as talented as all get-out, but I was certainly impressed.

I have to say I was impressed with the whole production. Carrie-Ellen, who you may remember, taught the classes I took this year from The Human Race Theatre Company, is the other major reason I wanted to see this show. I was sure her direction would be great, and I was right.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR THAT ACCUSSES THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD OF RACISM: A woman wrote into The Dayton City Paper and insinuated racism in the showing of Driving Miss Daisy at the Guild. She leveled the same charge against La Comedia for mounting Miss Saigon. I don't know the script for the latter, but I saw the Young at Heart Players production of Driving Miss Daisy at the Guild, and it seems to me that the gist is that an elderly southern woman has some pre-conceived, racist notions about African Americans, but is subsequently exposed over decades to a decent, upright, loving and compassionate black man. They become close friends. What's that famous line?: "Hoke, you're my best friend."

I believe Driving Miss Daisy is a comment on racism and the ignorance of it, rather than racist in its essence. But moreover I think its about something more universal: how people whom it is assumed by some cannot connect, indeed can connect.

And though this is obviously not clear evidence that the play is not racist, I will point out that Alfred Uhry won a Pulitzer for the play. And I have a difficult time believing that such an earnest and thoughtful man as Morgan Freeman, who plays Hoke in the movie version, would connect himself with a racist work. But I can see him involving himself in art that examines and confronts racism. I assert he was doing the latter when he took on the role. And I assume so was Garry Prichett, who was Hoke at the Guild.



Thu Oct 26, 2006

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'ART': Tonight will be the final dress. It's really only the second run in full tech. Tuesday night we ran scenes while there was lots of tech business going on around us. There we lights being set and full blown conversations. I must say that it was the first time I have ever had that sort of chaotic distraction going on around me and not lost focused. We didn't do a full run of the show that night, it was really Randy, Dennis and myself attacking areas we each needed work on.

Last night's full run went well. We all flubbed lines but we went on and I think covered well. We didn't get our director's notes, but they are coming before rehearsal tonight. The AD, Nancy Mahoney (Hagg in Endgame, last year), told us that she didn't know what was different last night but she thinks it all clicked together. I guess we shall see if that translates to the six performances.

I feel pretty good about my Stefen. I felt that there were a few places where I let my characterization slip some, but I am not sure whether that is more than just my feeling or simply so. I tried to move myself off that more affected, almost pretentious version of Stefen, but couldn't make myself. I think he is a little stiffer than what director Jerry Boswell wants, and I can 't help myself. It is the Stefen that the text tells me is appropriate for me -- based mostly on the words he often chooses to use, especially in context with the scenes. What can I say, how I can go out there a play him in a way that I feel betrays both the script and my own instincts? I am doing my best to honor the lightness he wants, which I agree with, without taking some of the put up presence in Stefen that I believe is true to his persona.

The lighting is a tech problem. The ceiling is so low that the trees can't take the lights up very high. We are casting pretty pronounced shadows behind us, onto a white wall.



Fri Oct 27, 2006

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'ART': Have to tell you that I thought that Act II derailed a bit last night in our final dress rehearsal, though everyone else seemed to think the whole performance was good. Lines were dropped and the timing was off in many places. At one point, I was mentally in the wrong part of a scene and was thus waiting for the wrong cue. When I got the cue I was supposed to be getting, it took me a moment to backtrack from where I was in my head, which gave way to a dead moment on stage.

The good comments about final dress were that the characters are fully present and that there is great energy, both certainly good to hear. I was still not happy myself with the "derailing" in Act II.

On the other hand, I am, naturally, still most exited about opening night!



Mon, Oct 30, 2006

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'ART', OPENING WEEKEND: We had a successful opening weekend. The audiences were small but the responses were great. Naturally, there were those occasional line flubs and line losses -- and my contribution to those was equal with my castmates. What separates an amateur performance from a professional one is not necessarily that you don't flub or forget a line, but what you do with it when you do. The pro approach is to not telegraph your error to the audience. Sometimes that is unavoidable, revealing that your erred. Usually you can smoothly hide it, though, and I believe we all did every single time.

I still am not happy when I blow lines, even if it is a small error. That's got to do with having a perfect performance as my target even though I know that will not be met. Aiming for it certainly helps get me closer.

My big complaint about Stefen, (or concern, or whatever you want to call it), is that I don't think he got the laughs the text intended him to get. This is not a new complaint, I thought that about my Johnny Pateen in Cripple..., too. There just is a certain comedic instinct that I don't have, a certain comedic savvy I have not developed. I probably ask for the laugh and not the butter. That referring to an old show business adage that means the joke is there already, you don't have to tell it, just let the audience see the humor of the situation. I.E., don't try to be funny when you ask for the butter, just ask for it, the situation will make it funny. I tried to "just ask for the butter," but I still did not get the laughs that I think are in the text.

Or maybe I'm just self-involved and paranoid.

Next weekend I think we will have bigger audiences. We have a brush up rehearsal next Thursday night, tech but not full dress. Meanwhile I start to prepare myself for upcoming auditions I am interested in.

MORE ON MY "GUEST APPEARANCE" WITH PAUL McCARTNEY: Well, the A&E special, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us debuted Saturday night, then was shown again a few hours later. I, however, programmed my VCR timer wrong so I only got about the first five minutes. If my mug is on screen, I do not yet know. I am about the only person who really cares, either way, though, I'm sure.



Wed Nov 1, 2006

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NOT MY COURTNEY: Director Todd Ruel emailed the cast yesterday to tell us that the rough cut of the video looks really good and is really funny -- I am sure that the "funny" is mostly due to Katrina Baker who was great as my devilish little daughter. The final cut will be soon and we will have a little screening. We will also get DVD's as well as DV tape for our actors' reels.


Sat Nov 4, 2006
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LAST NIGHT'S PERFORMANCE OF 'ART' AT THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUM OF ART: First, we had a pretty stiff brush-up rehearsal Thursday. Nothing that got us panicking, but it was not as well-oiled as we have proven we can make it.

Here's the interesting thing: I certainly did not feel like we had a bad show last night, and I don't think I tanked it, but I wasn't overly ecstatic about my work. Also, though I thought we were dong well as a cast, I'd probably have judged us in the B to B+ area for overall performance.

The consensus of most non-cast production folk is that last night was our best show yet. As well, Jerry Boswell, our director, told me I was "smoking" -- his word -- that it was my best night so far, and he used other flattering adjectives about my work while he spoke to others.

I certainly am happy and gratified by the reaction to my work in specific, and I am very satisfied that the ensemble got such a rating from people. My response to all that though is: Really? It's proof perfect how difficult it is to know how your own work is going on stage. As I have said before, I can only trust what I feel about a performance (including auditions); and I can only trust that I know what I felt; I cannot trust that the feeling means anything besides that it is the way I feel.

I felt a little "off" last night. I felt, at some spots, a bit disconnected from the action. There seemed to me to be a few timing and pacing problems last night for all of us -- my castmates expressed the same thought on this last idea, too. And yet, the production crew thought we did great and we were told the audience commented more favorably than ever -- though they were complementary last week, too.

Had you asked me in a vacuum about last night's show I would have said, Well, it was a good show, but I think maybe last week we had a couple better ones. There are a lot of votes that differ from that.

Now, of course, I started to think about what it was we did, and that I did in specific. Fortunately, I gave up quick. Bottom line, the closest to come is this:

    The only thing I can accurately say about my work last night was I tried, and apparently with success, to stay in the moment on stage. That's the only thing I can repeat. The internal dialogues for any specific moment; the inflections of voice; the emphasis on particular words; what I did with my eyes; where I moved and when: who knows? Granted, some of these might come to me when I am at those points in the story on stage -- and that is fine.

    I also admit that I made some decisions this week as I was running my lines about what is going on in Stefen's head at particular times. I also better evaluated his agendas in certain places. Perhaps some of that was reflected in last night's show. Still, I have to just be organic about this, just go on stage with my present understanding of Stefen.

So I'm just gonna go do the show today as today's shows. Last night was great, but tonight's show is tonight's show.



Mon, Nov 6, 2006

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'ART' at the Springfield Museum of Art

FINAL WEEKEND OF PERFORMANCES OF 'ART' AT THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUM OF ART: Another show down. Our second and last weekend was just as good as the first; in some ways it seems it was a bit better. All informed accounts still make this last Friday night our best show of the run -- but, ya know, one of them has to be the best show and one of them has to be the least show -- despite that which is which will differ depending on who is giving the critiques.

I felt the best, personally, about this Saturday's show. I was the deepest involved with Stefen that night. The audience response was the most energetic, too, which I cannot doubt helped me to be where I was with Stefen.

Over the course of the run, we three each had those moments on stage when we went up on lines. My worst one was yesterday. I simply stayed in character, looked thoughtful for that brief moment, then, using Stefen's idiosyncrasy of contemplating his words, repeated a line to get myself back in rhythm. I am not at all sure I hide the error, but I at least did not let Stefen leave the stage. I am, of course, not happy that I went up; but I am at least happy I didn't self destruct.

And, well, we had a damn good run with this show! Several people who saw 'Art' at The Human Race said they liked our production better. One person who saw it on Broadway liked ours, as well. And, too, a man and granddaughter saw it on London's West End, and they liked our version.

There will be pictures at some point. But that's a make time for it thing; like the rest of those Ghostbusters: Spook University pictures, that aren't up yet. (In terms of working with graphics for the web, my priority is actually finishing the artwork for On the Edge of the Pulsewave, artwork that is somewhat close to finished).

So now, as far as acting, I move on to reading the plays I plan to audition for next.



Fri Nov 10, 2006

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COOL GIG COMING UP: Here's a nice confidence builder. A law professor from The University of Dayton saw 'Art', and because of that has asked if I want to perform as a witness for a monthly gathering called the Inns of Court. It's a mock trial sort of exercise. I am guessing that the lawyer noted in the 'Art' program that my last stage appearance was in Fake at FutureFest 2006, and knew that Fran Pesch directed that. Fran is involved with the U.D. Law Clinic and this Inns of Court; she casts and directs the actors for them. She is who actually approached me about doing this. I am to be a "difficult" witness in what will be a guided dramatic improvisation.

Well, I haven't exactly been discovered by Cecil B. DeMille here. Still, it's gratifying to have made enough of an impression with my work that a person in the audience actively sought using me for a project, and is the one who made the initial approach.

It's also goodto be actively involved in this improvisational forum. There will be some detailed guidelines for my character that I will have to honor, and this is a great opportunity for me, because I have an idea brewing that has improv at the heart of it. In fact, improv with some specific parameters is very likely the mainstay of the improv I have in mind.



Wed Nov 15, 2006

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AUDITIONS AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Monday night and last night I auditioned for the first two 2007 shows at the Guild, Byrony Lavery's Frozen and Amy Freed's The Beard of Avon. It was a most interesting experience, to audition for two shows at the same time, for all involved, I am sure. For me, it was switching back and forth between a dark, mesmerizing killer and pretty much a foppish, English dandy, those being the two roles I am after in the two respective plays.

There were lots of folks and lots of competition for all the roles in both plays. We had a lot of new faces for the Guild, along with a lot of the "usual suspects." Both directors (Justin Reiter -- Frozen & Natasha Randall -- Beard...) have their work cut out as far as casting is concerned.

I and several rather talented other men are after the role of Ralph in Frozen. Ralph is a serial killer, a lower-middle-class Englishman who fancies young girls. I suppose I did all right with my reading, but some few other men did just as well and I suspect fit the type closer. So I have no expectation of being cast in Frozen. There is another male role, a guard. It is a non-speaking supporting role. Frankly, if I am not cast as Ralph, I am using the time to catch up on other projects.

As for Beard.... I felt good about the auditions, but, as always, we will see what happens. I went after the role of the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. I think I have a bit of stiff competition for that role, as well. Natasha did read me quite a bit for Will (William Shakespeare), but I don't know that it meant she was considering me for the part as much as it was about needing someone to read with the other actors in the audition scene. My own reading of the play, for one thing, calls for a much younger Will than I could bring off.

I did have one rather weak reading as Will, I must admit. A stone cold reading toward the end last night. Other than that, I think I did well enough, or, at least didn't suck.

DOCUMENTARY DVD FOOTAGE FOR GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY: Going to Channel 2, WDTN TV this coming Sunday to be shot for documentary commentary about the making the Ghostbusters fan film. Director Mike Sopronyi has also asked to use the DV behind-the-scene footage I shot on most days I was on set. I, of course, said yes.



Thu Nov 16, 2006

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RIGHT AND WRONG: Turns out I was correct about the probability of my being cast in Frozen and essentially wrong in terms of how I felt about the audition for The Beard of Avon, with the possible exceptions that the last cold read as Will was not terribly good and that I will not be Oxford.

In other words, "It's on to the next audition."

(EARLY EVENING, OR: PART DUHH!)

DOH! OR, STILL WRONG: Okay, I'm a dunderheaded, neurotic moron. Turns out I am cast in The Beard of Avon, in the role of Old Colin. It will be a fun character role. So now I go from feeling all dejected to feeling a bit stupid. Ms. Randall had called and left a message for me late Wednesday night on my machine. I missed that it was there; I was asleep when it came, I do believe. Later I woke and checked my email to see a cast list that did not have my name on it -- because I had not confirmed that I would accept the role. So, as I told Natasha when we straightened this out, I assumed [she] went another way, as they say.

Well, I am quite pleased to be in Tosha's show. I will still be trying to get to several stalled projects in the meantime -- though I admit I am looking at some other auditions for shows during what would have been my Frozen rehearsal time. More on all that later. I am off to see a play, The Foreigner at Brookville Community Theatre.



Thu Nov 23, 2006

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First, for all those from or living in The United States of America:

-- - -- - -- - -- - --

Happy ThanksGiving

-- - -- - -- - -- - --

SEE ME ACT ON YOUTUBE: Director Todd Ruel has posted the final cut of Not MY Courtney on YouTube. To remind, this short video has Katrina Baker in the title role of Courtney -- the devil child, Debra Kent as Principal Harper, and myself as the wool-over-his-eyes, idiot father who does not believe his Courtney can do any wrong. Plus, the production assistant is the incomparable Lisa Sadia (my AD/SS for The Chorus for Candice, as well as fine actor in her own right).

There's another video there from the same series, one entitled Cutting in Line that features almost all actors I know to some extent or another: John Spitler (who was Babby Bobby Benton in The Cripple of Inishmaan and is now on the The Dayton Theatre Guild board); Brian Buttrey (who has stage managed the two Guild show I produced, Grace & Glory and Belles); another Guild board member, Harold Fox (with whom I was in I Never Sang for My Father, and who also appears in Arsenic and Old Lace, mentioned below); there are also John Beck and Zendyn Duellman, both whom I have seen in several FutureFest and other Dayton Playhouse mountings. There are some other face whom I recognize, perhaps from fellow attendance at plays, but I otherwise have not yet met them.

The URL to the YouTube posting of both these videos is: www.youtube.com/profile?user=promotodd.

* AS OF NOVEMBER 27, 2006, BOTH NOT MY COURTNEY AND CUTTING IN LINE ARE NOT AT TODD'S YOUTUBE PAGE. THEY MAY HAVE HAVE BEEN A TEMP POSTING, OR THEY MAY RETURN LATER.

PLAYS: I saw a couple nice mountings of plays last weekend.

  • Thursday, as I said I would, I saw The Foreigner at Brookville Community Theatre. This had Alex Charmical (most recently Charles in Blithe Spirit at The Dayton Playhouse and the graphic designer of Wally Rabbit -- *(see my movie icon above). Really a very startling dramatic interlude toward the end of this Larry Shue play, brought about by a bad guy played by Donald Smith; Donald was, of course, in both incarnations of Sordid Lives as well as -- unlike me (Not That I'm Bitter!!) -- cast in the indy film, The Monster's Mind last year. The Foreigner was directed by Saul Caplan, who directs fairly frequently and acts even more so, and has picked a few theatrical awards up along the way.
  • Speaking of The Dayton Playhouse, I was there Friday to see Dutch Waterman and Joan Harrah in Arsenic and Old Lace. For those not a part of the Dayton Theatre scene (i.e.: four of the seven people reading this), Dutch, not only is a member for life of The Dayton Theatre Guild (and our cookie donations chairperson), but is a long-standing veteran of the Dayton Theatre Community. I have heard her referred to as the Grand Dame of Dayton Theatre. Ms. Harrah, is too a veteran of Dayton Theatre. She also is one half of the Broadway Broads, the other half being Reneé Franck-Reed *(who will be Queen Elizabeth in The Beard of Avon). It was wonderful to see Dutch and Joan in the roles of the Brewster sisters -- even if they are serial killers (the sisters not the actresses).

    I was Dr. Einstein in the 1975 Wilbur Wright High School production of this. There are pictures out there somewhere. Alas, I have none. Chuck Scott, whom you three loyal blog readers will know was my high school theatre director, had me play Einstein like Peter Lorre, Dr. Einstein in the Frank Capra film -- well, I did the best imitation I could; I'm not going to guess it was striking in the least.

    Bill Stewart was a fine Einstein in this DPH production. This is the third time now I have seen another actor in a role I once played. The first was when I went to see You Can't Take It With You last year at The University of Dayton. The other time was, of course, just recently when I saw The Cripple of Inishmaan at Sinclair Community College. This, like the U.D. experience, was not as odd for me as the Cripple experience was. First, it was thirty-one years ago I played Einstein. Just the distance in time, itself, is an element. Plus, I never had the sentimental attachment to the role that I did for Johnny in Cripple, since being cast as Johnny has such import for me.

    Also in the cast, at least of whom I've worked with before: John Bukowski (The Diviners), Harold Fox -- as mentioned earlier, and Roger Watson (Sordid Lives and Fake).

INTERVIEW FOR DVD EXTRA: Went to Channel 2, WDTN TV last Sunday to be interviewed by TV 2 news reporter Dan Edwards for the documentary DVD that will accompany Ghostbusters: Spook University. Probably took about ten minutes. I felt pretty much like a dork. It wasn't exactly Al Pacino on Inside the Actor's Studio, in, of course, any sense, but no less in terms of eloquency. I must have caught at least a half dozen malapropisms come out of my mouth, which I managed to correct, usually awkwardly. Who knows how many I didn't catch.

IN BETWEEN NOW AND FEBRUARY: There is read through coming up in a few weeks for The Beard of Avon, and one more rehearsal a few weeks later. Essentially, however, this production does not go into rehearsal until February. Our director, Natasha Randall, has asked us to be, if not off-book, close to off-book when rehearsals begin. Old Colin does not have a tome's worth of dialogue. And even if I am doubled into one or two more roles, it still won't be a great amount to get down. Being almost off book for Beard in February should not be a problem even if I manage to be in another show before then. Not that I don't have a lot of other artistic projects that could also be attended to between now and then. Some really MUST be attended to.

  • There are the final nails in that virtual chapbook On the Edge of the Pulsewave.
  • Might just be an invigorating change of pace to get back to the re-write of my novel, Starting for the Sun.
  • I do have to tweak some things for The Chorus for Candice. There is one foley sound, the closing of Elizabeth's door after she has left the scene, that needs to come up in volume. Lots of people report not noticing it. I notice it, but I put it there. I also have to figure out how to get ride of the weird frame pop of the closing credits that flashes at the fade to black. Then the movie needs burned to DVD and post marked by midnight, November 30, for the On The Lot contest. Not to mention that I need shoot a short introduction and bio clip of myself for On the Lot.

    I also plan to post the movie on YouTube. Why not? Might as well.

  • As alluded to already, I am looking for and at other productions to audition for that will close or be wrapped before Beard rehearsals begin.
  • As the producer for the Guild's last show of this season, Dice House, I also need to start getting more familiar with that script. I have some thoughts about auditioning, too. I just got my own copy of the script from Great Britain. I ordered it just last week and it arrived already, which really surprised me. I'd have expected it to take at least a month, considering we are essentially on the cusp of the big holiday season.

Now, please excuse me as I go over-eat like a good, hedonistic American citizen . . .

CLOSING NOVEMBER 26 AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

'PRIDE'S CROSSING' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    Directed by Gil Martin / Produced by Michael Boyd

    The Pride's Crossing cast list:

    Joanna Drapser, Cassandra Engber, Sarah Gomes, Craig Roberts, Paul Edwards, Robin Smith, Eric Weiss.

    Ms. Smith is in the role of Mabel.



Mon, Nov 27, 2006

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THIS JUST IN....CHANGE IN MY CASTING IN THE BEARD OF AVON: I have just been recast as theatre troupe leader John Heminge. I may be double-cast as Old Colin, still, depending on whether the actor Natasha is going to offer him to accepts. I suspect he will unless he's already committed himself to something else.

Well, now, Old Colin would have been fun to do, and I was truly looking forward to it. But, Heminge is a bit meatier of a role and more interesting. So, I am pleased about the change. It would be a cool challenge to play two such completely different roles, but I am not going to be disappointed if that does not happen. Mostly because I'd like to see the casting that Tosha has in mind come to be.

I must admit, though, I did relesh Old Colin's line at the top of Act II, " Has't seen my pussy?" -- one of the ten-thousand double entendres in this play.

          *above item added a bit later in the day

ON THE LOT DEADLINE MOVED ONCE AGAIN: Well, the deadline for submission was, at one time September 1. Then it was December 1. Now it is February 16. I have not looked at any movies already there. I think I am a bit afraid that there will be some excellent work there that will intimidate me about submitting. I am tempted to not view any until I have submitted mine, least I lose my nerve and not submit it. I mean, it's not as if I have some grand delusion that I am some wunderkind newby with surprisingly brilliant talent for movie making. I am, in my own estimation, a new "film" maker who may have a movie of merit -- but I have enough sense to know there will be stiff competition and more than a few directors who will clean my clock.

I still need to submit the movie, however.

INNS OF COURT LAW CLINIC DINNER: Have a rehearsal tonight for the clinic dinner tomorrow night. I underestimated the amount of facts I need to have down, but I think I'll be okay.

I retyped all the pertinent information, as an active learning/memory devise. Then I spoke it all into a tape recorder, which I am now listening to all day long. I will also look at my break down document, that I typed up.

ENDEAVOR I FORGOT TO MENTION: Forgot to list editing the music video for my song "Rabid Rack" in those other artistic ventures that can stand immediate attention, from last post. Although it won't be anywhere close to the calibre that might win an MTV or VH1 -- or whatever -- award.



Wed Nov 29, 2006

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DAYTON BAR ASSOCIATION INN OF COURT DINNER: Ahh, another paying gig under my belt, as an actor. This brings my 2006 tally in actor's fees to $130. Won't be long before I buy that small south-American island!

As for my performance, will it surprise anyone that I will have to give myself a mixed review? I'd say my characterization was good but I don't believe I completely followed through with my assigned task of being a difficult witness. As Fran said to me, after it was over and I expressed this same sentiment, "Oh, K.L., you always do that to yourself" that being the super self-critical tendency I have.

Nevertheless, I believe there were some inequities in my work. For the direct examination, I was to be nervous. I played it nervous but it occurs to me that had I upped the dial a little I may been a better difficult witness for my side. I also was supposed to have a vaguer recollection of the end of the evening in question. I don't think I executed that well.

On the cross examination I was to be more deliberate in my answers, giving short one word answers whenever I could. I was also to get agitated with the lawyer and was to question the meaning of words or even whole questions. I failed completely in terms of the short answers -- I quite frankly forgot I was to do so. I did manage to get angry a few times but am not too sure it made for a "difficult witness." I also never asked for clarification. In my defense -- but only to some extent -- the young lady who crossed me gave me little in a challenge that would have been plausible to provoke anger. I found no places to question her inquiries, either, though I think I probably missed opportunities by not readily recognizing them.

Like I said, I do think I brought a believable character to the proceedings -- I just missed the assigned task a bit.

The lesson for me as an actor trying learn more is, once again, another variation of focus. I let some of the task at hand slip my mind as I was performing. That is a focus issue.

Focus: pretty important element to acting.

I did perform with no actual rehearsal. The "rehearsal" Monday night was really a brief meeting and overview. I am not putting the performance problems on this. I have charged myself with developing the skill of improv with no rehearsal; so even though I concede that I would have done better had there been some sort of practice -- except there would have been no way to practice the unknown questions the lawyers would ask in the real session -- I am still charged to improve the skill of improv with no rehearsal at all.

As for the other actor and his work: it was Gerry Sadia (husband of Lisa, father of Benjamin, fellow DTG board member). He was nothing less than hilarious and certainly presented the lawyers with the task to deal with a difficult witness. He did especially so with his round-robin, run-on answers.



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'CHRISTMAS BELLES' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

CHRISTMAS BELLES A HIT AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Well the six performances of Christmas Belles, crammed into four days, were a hit with the audiences. We had large audiences for five of the six shows. Saturday night there were about two dozen people, but they were responsive and gave the cast some energy to play off. A good limited run and some more loot in the building fund!



Thu Dec 7, 2006

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GOOD REVIEWS FOR CHRISTMAS BELLES: Both Terry Morris (Dayton Daily News) and Russell Florence Jr. (Dayton City Paper) gave Christmas Belles good reviews. Terry, in fact, must have rushed home Friday night wrote the review and send it to his editor via email post haste, because his review was in the Saturday paper.

I admit I have not read Terry's review, but I was at the theatre and I know the cast was very pleased. And the Dayton City Paper web manager hasn't updated the DCP site -- it is always days behind the paper version.



Sun Dec 10, 2006

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LOTS OF MISCELLANY

  • More On the Christmas Belles Reviews (and a correction): First the correction, Terry Morris (Dayton Daily News) saw the show Thursday night, as did Russell Florence Jr. (Dayton City Paper). Terry's review appeared in the Friday, Dec 1 issue, not on Saturday as I stated in the last entry here. And I was there hosting and took the tickets from both of them and still got mixed up. They say confusion is a sign that you are open minded.

    Terry's review, as I said, was complementary, calling the show "steady, fun nonsense." Russell also gave the show kudos: "a fun and silly dose of familial dysfunction." Click here for Russell's full review; I do not believe Terry's is available on-line.

  • I saw a Really Sweet Production of The Wizard of Oz Yesterday at The Dayton Playhouse: I was to see it Friday night, but my young friend Charity Farrell (Elizabeth in my The Chorus for Candice), who was double-cast with the talented young Joanna Drapser (Pride's Crossing) as Dorothy, was ill, too ill to go on. I exchanged my tickets for the Saturday matinee. It was iffy that Charity would be well enough then, but she did go on.

    Truth be told, I had an interest in seeing both young ladies in the role, but this weekend has been really full. I could not take time to see the show twice. I had to move some Saturday afternoon project work -- something about long overdue illustrations for a long overdue virtual chapbook -- to Friday evening.

    As I told Charity after the show, she is a trouper. She was not fully recovered but she did a good job. Her voice was not as strong as it can be, but she sang well and gave her performance her all -- real pro attitude and execution. The student of theatre in me was served well by her example.

    I had half-way thought about auditioning for The Cowardly Lion; Saul Caplan was in that role, so I pretty much figure my audition would have just been practice. I had also sort of thought about the Scarecrow but figured it would need a better dancer than I am (a much better dancer than I am) and the fellow in the role, J.J. Parkey, certainly could out-dance me (in his sleep, even).

    At the risk of appearing to be writing one of those damned review things, the production had a good cast that also included, Mary Farrow, Reneé Franck-Reed, Chris Harmon, Natalie Houliston, Alexandra Morris, Jennifer Rittenhouse, Terry Ronald, Michael Wadham, Roger Watson, and, as the munchkins: Amanda Farrow, Gaby Farrow, Jonny Farrow, Ashley Potts, Robbie Potts, Joy Rittenhouse, and Juston Rittenhouse. With Jaguar as Toto. Playhouse Executive Director Adam Leigh directed the production, and if my ears served me, was the voice of the winkie.

  • I already spent some time this morning on the Beard of Avon script, studying John Heminge. What I did was drop into Dino's coffee shop in Yellow Springs, grabbed a cup of coffee, then headed to John Bryan State Park. I must admit I stayed in my car, it's a tad chilly, but I went through the whole play and tried John's lines out loud. That will happen again today a few times -- perhaps not at the park, but, still.

    As of yet I do not know who else I will be cast as. One casting configuration in the front of the book suggests that the actor cast as Heminge also be cast as Lord Burleigh, though looking at the script, there will be a couple places where any costume changes from one to the other will be tight because there is sparse time between one's exit and the other's entrance; yet, it would be possible to execute even if presenting a challenge. I have an email into Madame Lady Director about who my other character will be.

    We have our first read though tomorrow evening. As I may have stated already here, rehearsals in earnest don't begin until late January or early February.

  • I also am going to spend some time today looking at another play I may audition for.
  • AND YET............
    As I have stated before, between now and the earnest beginning of Beard rehearsals, there is lots I can do that would be productive artistic activity besides what I doubt would amount to a substantial role in another play.

    I have had a piece of sound editing software called CuBase that my nephew David gave me months and months ago -- hell, maybe a year ago, that I am actually going to finally install on my Mac tower today. I have an album's worth of four track work from the mid-eighties that I ought to dump into that and begin mixing. This is the project that the song "Rabid Rack," which I have already digitally mixed for that music video, is from.

    And, editing that music video is another thing that can take up this time before Beard. Not to mention getting back to the novel re-write, sweetening the sound for the movie, getting back to the screenplay for the longer short movie, living up to my obligation to a few authors and actually getting On the Edge of the Pulsewave posted.

  • I also recently got the contact info for one the few local actors' agencies, and I have have not yet approached them about representation. That needs to happen now.


Wed Dec 13, 2006

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BEARD OF AVON READ THROUGH: Had a good read through Monday night. Lots of snacks and a pizza and other entrees. For the first cold rehearsal I would say it went well. I had little handle on my character, well characters (my second role is as Lord Burleigh). I experimented with John Heminge some, so he was not read the same all night. Also, as I was working on the script on Sunday I read Heminge as more educated with a more Standard English dialect -- also known as R.P. "Received Pronunciation." Problem: our director, Ms. Randall, wants no one save for the Queen's court to speak with R.P. Monday, I had difficulty keeping out of R.P. I kept writing "East End" on my script at the top of pages with Heminge dialogue to remind myself he needs a dialect closer to the characters on East Enders. It didn't work all that well. In February I will have John's dialect down. Burleigh is foppish R.P. so was not a problem at all.

THE AUDITION THAT WASN'T: I had serious thoughts about auditioning last night for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Dayton Playhouse. I was sick yesterday and spent most of the day in bed. I did not feel up to leaving the apartment last night. I not sure who I wanted to be in the play. I was going to read for the lead role -- because why not? -- but really, I am not the right type for McMurphy.

Well, I am not too broken up about missing the audition. I have that laundry list of other projects to get at. As I had intimated, I was not wholly committed to the audition exactly because of all this stuff I have to do.



Sun Dec 17, 2006

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REJECTED BY A BEATLE! ! !: Ahh, alas, I finally got a copy of Paul McCartney's A&E DVD for the "US" concert tour in 2005, The Space Within Us. This was the tour where, at the Columbus, Ohio show in October, the cameraman stood right in front of me and shot a close up of me for at least a minute during, if I remember correctly, "Drive My Car." I am sad to report that I did not make it onto the DVD.

I have been rejected by an iconic, living-legend, Beatle/Wings genius! Or, at least by the editor of the film. Hey, if Dayton theatre directors can make the wrong... -- uh, um -- go another way, I guess a professional film maker can, too.

A POSSIBLE OTHER STINT AS PRODUCER AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: I have been approached about being the producer for a possible special presentation at the Guild this coming spring. Although, this is very preliminary and there is no green light just as of yet, I have agreed to do it. I do hope it comes to be, because it seems like it will be a great extra production for the season.

REITERATION OF A DISCLAIMER: I posted this last Thursday on my "From K.L.'s Desk" at the site proper, but believe it bears re-posting here.

    I was recently informed that a web site -- Webshots dot Com -- has at least one page that deceptively suggests that both I and an author who appears at the WriteGallery have sponsored the page there. The page bears pictures of another person identified with the same name as the WG author, but who is not that author. The pictures are risqué.

    There is also a false link to the title of the author's work at this site. I say false because the excerpt presented is soft porn text that is not a part of the story here. The link is actually not active, either. That would be because if one were to click on the link and come to the real story one would see it is not the soft porn prose that the webshots page lies that it is.

    The false link to the story and to the WriteGallery is in a section entitled "sponsored links." Let me state here emphatically that neither the WriteGallery nor the said author are a sponsor for anything at webshots dot com, nor do we endorse or recommend any page at webshots dot com. In fact, to the contrary, I advise against the webshots dot com web site and rebuke it as unethical and dishonest.

    In short, webshots dot com is fraudulent in at least some of its content.



Sat Dec 23, 2006

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SOME MORE THOUGHTS AS PER THE BEARD OF AVON: I am sure this will appear as some sort of disingenuous, fluffy love-fest to some. (And it clearly matters to me at some level, or I would not have bothered with the preemptive strike of mentioning it). Still, I feel like writing this, and so here I go.

I'm much looking forward to Beard. The read through, was, as I wrote already, pretty promising. It sounded good for its early stage. The cast seems, at this young place in the production, to be one that will work well together. We also have, I whole-heartedly believe, a good director with some great visions for the show and its presentation -- though I won't share those I am aware of, because it's not my place to do so. We also have a good producer in Carol Finley, who, in terms of theatre, is a proverbial jack-of-all-trades and is extensively knowledgeable in most of those "trades," if not all of them. She is a great go-to producer.

As for our director, there is no denying that I am, as I have wrote before, quite delighted to be a part of Natasha Randall's post-collegiate directorial debut. I have a tremendous amount of artistic respect for Tosha. She is, in my opinion, as I have made known before, an excellent actor; beyond that, I find her thoughts and ideas about the art and craft of acting, theatre -- and movies, for that matter -- insightful and exceptionally valid. When, last summer, I saw her name on the list of candidates to direct this season at the Guild, I was immediately pleased and was one of those not-too-few who spoke up in the board meeting to endorse her as a good new director to introduce at the Guild. Most especially is she a fantastic choice for Beard. The humor in the script is a perfect match for her sense of humor. She also is well-versed in Shakespeare; and I don't just mean she is schooled in the text; she has a solid understanding of the true historical context of the Shakespeare canon and the actors and audiences associated with the original performances. There is already bountiful evidence that this understanding is fruitful for our production, based on what she has hence far shared about her concepts for it.

There are a lot of cast members I am looking forward to working with for the first time, and others I am glad to be working with again. Our Will (Paul Edwards) was a cut above the script in the season's second show, Pride's Crossing, and I remember that he did a strong audition for Brooklyn Boy. Mark Diffenderfer has not only beat me out for Ralph in Frozen -- which I expected he would, but also has the role of Edward DeVere, here -- which I wanted. My wounded ego must begrudgingly accede he seems like a nice guy and certainly is a talented actor. So I have cancelled my plans to car bomb him. (Perhaps I should turn my devious attentions on directors Reiter and Randall). It's nice to work with Megan Cooper again (Anne Hathaway), though we don't actually have any scenes together. I don't know Matt Beisner (Henry Wriothesley & Earl of Derby) nor his work, but he has a good rep and proves talented based on the audition and the read through.

My John Heminge's side kick Henry Condel is Rene Vogt-Lowell (who is also in the role of Francis Bacon). This is Rene's first post-high-school production -- sort of like me when I did Cripple, only with fewer years between the high school and Guild shows, for him. I believe he will do good as Condel/Bacon. Fellow DTG board member Harold Fox is he who takes over the role of Old Colin (with the immortal line in Act II: "Hath seen my pussy?"), and he also is Francis Walksingham.

Queen Elizabeth is Reneé Franck-Reed. Too bad there is not an opportunity for her to sing in this production; ah but still, she already is lending great (speaking) voice to the queen. Craig Roberts (not new to the DTG stage, re: Cripple and more) is the effeminate actor Geoffrey Dunderbread who plays most of the women in the plays within the play; um, that is to say that Geoffrey is the effeminate actor, not Craig. Yet I will say that Criag's "female" voices during the read though were alarmingly authentic. Craig is a close friend, one might even say, "a room mate of sorts," of the director lady.

Our Minstrel is Mike Rousculp, and though I have never worked with him, he gets spotted 50 out of 100 points simply because he's a major Beatles fan and the bass player in the south-western Ohio Beatles tribute band Ticket To Ride. He, a right-handed man, has even taught himself to play his left-handed Hofner bass guitar in honor of Paul McCartney (who is left-handed). Ticket To Ride will have an evening gig the day of one of our matinees, so there are tentative plans for the cast to go check it out.

Wayland Reid is Richard Burbage; Burbage being the star actor of our theatre company within the play. Wayland is another, new to the Guild, and during read though already had some funny moments that prove he will be quite funny on Opening Night. One cast member, Randy Fields, was not able to be there for the read through. I don't remember him from the auditions, but that is no reflection on him: there were a lot of new faces at the auditions, many worth casting.

I look forward to this production. It is going to be a blast and I believe a successful run for the Guild. We have a good cast and crew -- which, by-the-way also consists of stage manager Steve Strawser, who debuted at the Guild in that capacity for Pride's Crossing, and is a great addition to the roster of production people. And our costumer is Claudia Adelina, who seems like a nice lady.

Okay! Enough already with the spineless ass kissing, for the love of Pete!

Now I move into line study, beginning with the stage of the ol' monotone speaking of lines onto a tape recording. A recording which will be done in the next few days -- before I am off for a little vacation (with my lap top in tow, of course).

SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE, HERE'S A BUMMER OF SORTS: The Human Race Theatre Company just sent out the brochure for forthcoming classes. I note that Bruce Cromer is teaching a class entitled Acting Shakespeare. The problem, the "bummer" -- the classes are Wednesdays, February 14 through March 14. The series ends during tech week for Beard. The schedule conflict, especially in the last couple weeks of class, is not reconcilable. I also note that I missed another session of this class, earlier this fall, with Rocco Dal Vera at the helm.



Sun Dec 24, 2006

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A Thought For You . . .

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Whatever your conviction of faith, Your spiritual philosophy, Or day of observance you honor, May the Love, Strength and Hope you see be yours -- K.L.




ANOTHER CHANCE TO SEE ME ACT AT YOUTUBE -- GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERITY CLIPS POSTED THERE: So, now there is another chance to see me act, this time in a short clip from the Ghostbusters fan film. I believe this clip will stay up. The Not MY Courtney short video was only up temporarily so the actors and crew could all see it -- and its sister videos. But I am betting that the GB clips stay up. I am in one titled Moving Out; it is from close to the start of the film and is my character, Dean Schultz's introduction into the story line.

Of course, the three ghostbusters, John Hibbard, Loren S. Goins, and Jonathan Roberts (playing, respectively, Bill Venkmen, Byron McClain, and Mark Nelson) are in both clips. Amanda Fire (Samantha Hill) is the woman in the locker room in the other clip. In my clip is also Ray Gambrell, the movie's casting director as well as being heavily involved with Playhouse South. The delivery man is played by a tech from WDTN Television, and I am sorry that I don't readily know his name.

Here are the two clips (click on the titles):
           Moving Out
           Woman's Locker Room

BLUE(Z) CHRISTMAS: Finally saw Melissa Young's blues/rock band B.B.Redd, again. Dropped in to hear a couple sets at the bar J. Alan's in downtown Dayton last night. If you remember, Melissa is the wunderkind actor who took on two separate roles during different weekends in the September 2005 revival of Sordid Lives at The Dayton Theatre Guild. She did great work with fairly little rehearsal. Well, Melissa the blues singer still has it like she did months back at the band's debut. As producer for The Dice House, coming up at the Guild at the end of the season, I have warned Melissa the actor that I will be soliciting her for the auditions in April. B.B.Redd has, however, been gigging pretty steady.




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