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

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Mon, Jan 1, 2007

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ANOTHER INDIANAPOLIS INTERLUDE: Have been over west of home again, visiting my friend Dave and his family. Time off from the paycheck job to focus on stuff I would rather be doing.

Must admit that all I did was spend a bit of time on that damned virtual chapbook, On the Edge of the Pulsewave to finally get it posted -- I had a hope and goal of: by midnight, last night. That was almost met.

The rest of my stay was about vacation time with a friend and his lovely children.

K.L. sits and holds up his coffee mug -- 'Cheers from Indianapolis'
Cheers from Indianapolis
          
Dave
Dave
Gameboy Girl
Gameboy Girl
          
K.L. on couch looking at camera
K.L. on couch, listening(?)
          
Brothers
Brothers
Dad and daughter
Dad and daughter
          
Triva at breakfast
Trivia at breakfast
Sis and Bro
Sis & Bro
          
Guitarist
The leader of the band
Get Ahead Of Yourself
An Indianapolis family
An Indianapolis family
An Indianapolis family and a friend
An Indianapolis family & a friend

The pictures have virtually nothing to do with the focus of this blog -- yes, well, it is my blog, so I forgive any digressions I allow myself.

THE NEWER, NON-UNION ACTOR AS A TOURIST TYPE GUY: So here's a dumb brush with fame story. Tuesday night Dave and I went to a Belgian restaurant in Indianapolis called Brugge Brasserie. It happens to be partly owned by Indy native Abe Benrubi, the actor who just left the role of Jerry on ER, is now Ben on Anne Heche's new TV series, Men In Trees, currently appears in movie theaters as the voice of Uncle the Pig in Charlotte's Web and will next appear in the soon-to-release movie, Venus & Vegas. Abe was in the restaurant while we were dining. I did not meet him, though it would have been possible. I could have walked up and said hello and I'm not completely sure that it would have been uncool to do so. But, you know, I really didn't want to bug the guy. He was home for the holidays and I figure he probably would rather just be able to be the guy who grew up in Indianapolis and not have his space invaded. I did think about going over and shaking his hand, telling him I liked his restaurant as well as his work in his day job. As I write this it does not seem as if that would have been all too inappropriate. I guess I just wanted to err on the side of restraint. I then finally decided that if I run across him again, I will look for an opportunity to tell him that I like his work (and Brugge Brasserie). We happen to be in Dave's car the next night, on our way home from seeing the musical Beauty and the Beast when we spotted him and a lady walking down the street; Dave figured they were headed for a particular, nearby jazz club. That was not the correct opportunity to complement his acting.

Like I have written here before, I live within fifteen minutes, and likely much less than that, of Dave Chappelle's Ohio home, though I actually do not know exactly where his place is. I know he is there as much as he can be, presumedly because it is far removed from the whole "Hollywood" scene. It seems to me he's in Ohio so often to have a buffer from the "star status." I frequent a few places that I know he does. I have never run into him, though I know folk who have seen him. Actually, I know a few people who know him and his family. I am sure, before it's all said and done, I will cross paths with him. The guy is such a damned brilliant comedian, and a pretty good actor, too. I would really hope it is a situation where it would be wholly appropriate to at least complement him on his work. *By the way, I do not frequent those places on the hunt for a celebrity, just to clarify.

I did get the opportunity with Malcolm Gets -- remember the start of this blog? Yet, as time has moved on, I have decided that even though I tried hard not to invade Mr. Gets space, I think I did do so. I was, I think, polite, etc, etc, but still, I think that at least to an extent, I intruded on him. Although, I still am glad I was able to tell a talented professional actor that I appreciate his work. And I now hope I did not show Malcolm any disrespect; I certainly did not intent to do so.

Hell, I don't even know why I am writing this section of the entry. I guess it must seem like valid blog material to me, even if I can't conceive of anyone else caring whatsoever about this contemplation.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS CIVIC THEATRE: As referenced above, Dave, his kids, and I went to the local mounting of Beauty and the Beast. It was a pretty impressive production; most impressive were the set and the choreography. Even though I try hard to not let these mentions of shows I've attended turn into reviews, I have to tell you that the whole production of the song "Gaston" was perhaps the highlight of the evening for me. It included a most excellent routine, done by the whole ensemble for the song, with the ale mugs, each of the performers clapping their mugs into each others, snapping the lids, and adding foot stomps, that made for a great rhythmic moment. The show had much well done work and I would have been proud to have been a member of that particular cast.

We went for a couple reasons, including that Dave wanted to support two of the actors, whose day jobs are with him at the Starbucks he manages on Broad Ripple Blvd. -- the happening spot in Indy. Adam Chandler and Jennifer Smith were both ensemble players. Adam, by the way, has a featured role in a narrative music video for The Elms, which is shown on MTV, and has been in a few national commercials. We also went 'cause it is an activity I like and because there was a young lady with us who would most certainly enjoy herself, and she did.

FOR THE RECORD, A CORRECTION AS PER BEARD AND CROMER: Now this is pretty anal-retentive of me, but I erred in terms of the scheduling conflicts between rehearsals for The Beard of Avon and Bruce Cromer's Acting Shakespeare classes at the Human Race Theatre Company. The last couple classes actually come about after Beard rehearsals are done. The show opens March 2. The last class is March 14. Enrolling in the class still seems untenable to me, as I would still have to miss at least two sessions, which is forty percent of the course time.



Sat Jan 6, 2007

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THE BEARD OF AVON, "GROOMING THE BEARD" HAS BEGUN: My line study has begun. At this point it has been repeated listens to the monotone dictation of the scenes I am in, both as John Heminge and Lord Burleigh. I am not so much attacking memorization as I am deciding what my character's reactions and intents are, thus, how they might say the lines. As I wrote before about this monotone recording method, it is a great help to me as far as such analysis goes.

I might add that not only do I get insights into delivery of the lines, but also all that other internal dialogue that helps to decide the nonverbal reactions and deportment. That sort of stuff really gets fleshed out during blocking then the run throughs during the second half of the rehearsal period -- but it is good to have insight into it as early as possible. Well, in fact, all the characterization gets fleshed out better as rehearsal progresses, of course, but, again, the revelations can't start too soon.

I have some research yet to do on both Heminge and Burliegh, both of which I believe were actual people. And in about a week I'll start to attack line memorization head-on.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: I have also done a little research that one might call "pre-early, pre-pre-production" on a movie project; a project I have not mentioned here before, but that will be in conjunction with an idea I vaguely alluded to some months ago.



Fri Jan 12, 2007

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BEARD GROOMING: Been listening a lot to the monotone tape of my lines for The Beard of Avon. It would be rather funny if someone where to hear the tape, especially out of context. It literally sounds like a send up of bad acting. It actually gets a little annoying to me, despite the true value I get from it. This weekend, I begin the process of bona fide memorization. Ms. Randall -- our director lady -- would like us all close to off-book when we begin rehearsal next month. That will not be a problem for me.

I do need to decide if I should learn all of Heminge's lines first, then go after Burleigh, or just learn the scenes in order, irrespective of the character in each. It makes a certain amount of sense to me to learn them separately, since Heminge will be a bit more of a lower class character. I don't have plans to go for cockney for Heminge, but I think the approximation of the British dialect of an Eric Idle. Burleigh needs be a foppish upper-crust Brit, to the point of gross stereotype. It may serve me to get the lines for each individually, as I can focus on the characters individually. Hey, multiple roles in a show is a new experience for me as an actor; I'm just making it up as I go along....

RÉSUMÉ AND COVER LETTER FOR AGENT: I had started the cover letter and the update on my actor's résumé to send to a particular local talent agency. I am committed to finish it this weekend and send it out.

PROBABLE EXTRA SHOW: The possible extra show at the Guild, for which I agreed to be producer, is looking more like it will happen. It's still too soon to give specifics, since it's not 100% confirmed. But communications are taking place and the production seems more likely to take place than not, at this point.

PROMISED PICTURES: I will be getting some (perhaps more than "some") pictures from last fall's production of 'Art'. There should be images available within my precarious definition of "soon."

Neither have I forgotten about adding to the Ghostbusters: Spook University gallery I have here.



Sun Jan 14, 2007

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WHICH WHAT WORKS: Two actors have given me responses to a topic from the last post -- my thought on how to memorize the lines for the multiple roles in The Beard of Avon. One suggested I do one character then the other, as I postulated. The other advises me to just learn all the lines in order as they come up. I'm just going to experiment and see which seems to work for me.

THERE BUT NOT THERE: I hosted Frozen both Friday night and last night. As always when I host, I did not attend much to the show, so I have little feel for the performances. The audiences have liked it though.

POSTED TODAY AT THE WRITEGALLERY:     On the Edge of the Pulsewave



Mon, Jan 15, 2007

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Here's to Dr. King



REPRESENTATION: So I take another step on this little journey. I have an appointment this coming Thursday with a talent agent. Just an interview, no audition. Early this afternoon, I finished that aforementioned letter, to snail-mail, but I instead sent it as the text of an email to the agency, along with pdf file attachments of the same letter, my résumé, and a head shot. The agent called me about twenty minutes later to set the appointment.

Need to bring some head shots. Have none printed out. Ordered some (six). They are black-and-white. My understanding is that B&W is out of favor. Casting folk want color now. That will need to wait. I don't have color head shots at the moment and will need a few paychecks to have the cash to spring for such. I guess I will find out Thursday how immediate a problem that is.

To once again expose my embarrassing, green-horn dorkiness, I felt a little giggly and giddy to have the appointment set. Pretty silly. It's just an interview. I guess it's just that anytime I take a step farther down the path, I feel happy I have achieved a weightier legitimacy.

Lord, I am a dork!

WHAT WHICH WAY THAT WORKS: Memorization of my lines for The Beard of Avon have begun. I'm going with learning them in order of appearance regardless of which character, at least for now. I may go to concentration on each, later.



Tue, Jan 23, 2007

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REPRESENTATION, PART 2: As an actor, I am now represented by the Roof-Goenner Talent Agency. My meeting last Thursday was more-or-less what I had anticipated. One concern expressed by the agency concerns my facial complexion, which I had expected to be an issue, in terms of camera work. I don't have the worse complexion, but it ain't fabulous, and I already knew such. I have found that a little dab of base makeup works well for the camera though; even if I didn't make that point last Thursday. This last point becomes a factor later in this section of this entry.

I spoke with Jim Payne, who runs the Dayton office and is a 2002 inductee into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. Mr. Payne does see some good potential for type-casting in commercials, everyday man stuff, a father, a coach, yadda yadda. Of course, I was given no promise of regular gigs, and did not expect such. I just know that without representation by an agent, I will rarely if ever have any access to casting calls for commercials or for any more substantial casting calls for any independent or other movie productions shooting close by, most especially SAG or SAG deferred. There may not be many such movie opportunities, but I'd like better access to the chances that come around.

There are a few things I need to gather together for the agency. I need to supply new color headshots; strictly, though, they are not necessarily "headshots," Jim asked for about twenty each that show different character and personality. They don't have to be professionally done so long as they are well lit and have good composition. All of these are elements I can produce. I have to put off the new pictures for a little while. I was moving some things -- actually, at the storage facility for The Guild -- and I crashed a piece of metal furniture (a settee) into my forehead and put a big ol' red bump on it. Another issue is that I have a nice length of van dyke facial hair at the moment, for The Beard of Avon, that I will need to shave for the pictures. Both Jim and I prefer me clean shaven in my headshots. So, I do need to do these sooner rather than later, so I can get as much of the van dyke back as I can by Opening night for Beard, March 2.

And here's a cool little thing....

The facial hair, the bump on my head, and my complexion are now an immediate issue, because Jim called me this afternoon about an audition in Columbus for a commercial. That's not too bad, an audition less than a week after I was picked up by the agency. The likelihood is it was just happenstance of timing; it could have been, I'm sure, weeks or longer before I got a call, just as easily. I am right now waiting to hear back from my agent before I shave the van dyke; he may have called me about the gig because of it rather than in spite of it.

More "I'm a greenhorn dork" stuff: it's pretty cool to, for the first time, legitimately say, "I am right now waiting to hear back from my agent...."

Besides acting for the camera, I also am interested in voice work (radio commercials, voiceover, etc.), so I need to assemble some audio samples of myself. Gives me more initiative to work with that CuBase mixing software I finally installed several weeks back. At this point what I need to do is record the voice samples on my analogue four-track, then dump that onto my G4 Mac tower and process it from there in CuBase. Right now, I have to take the resulting MP3's to campus to burn onto CD -- yep, believe it or not, I can burn neither CDs nor DVDs at home. But stay tuned, this will surely change in the next few months.

STUDENT IN THE AUDIENCE: I saw some good theatre work over the weekend, starting Thursday night with I Am My Own Wife at the Human Race Loft Theatre, featuring Bruce Cromer as all twenty-eight characters on stage, the bulk being minor characters, of course. If I was so impressed when he commanded the stage for seventy-five minutes in Underneath the Lintel at The Guild back in the fall of 2004, I am impressed to the eleventh power by the command for two hours that I witnessed Thursday night.

    The big point for the "student": Bruce's ability to delineate the characters through affectation and voice. The night I was there, there was a "talk back" afterwards -- which, by-the-way, included the playwright (the Tony Award and Pulitzer prize winning playwright) Doug Wright. During this, I asked Bruce about his process of getting to those two-dozen plus characters. He said the first thing he did was get all the lines into his head, (which harkens to my present situation with the whole two characters I am responsible for in ...Beard...). Bruce, Mr. Wright, and director Richard E. Hess all discussed how Bruce's costuming was a plain black woman's frock -- for the lead character, transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf -- but that soon after the performance begins the costuming blends in, becomes neutral, and the audience doesn't even notice the clothing when Bruce switches to the various straight, some quite macho, male characters. This student believes that is a testament to the neutrality of the costume, the pacing of the performance (brief half pauses, if you will, by Bruce, then abrupt movement to another mark on stage), and good differential changes in Bruce's voice and dialect.

Something else I find important is Bruce's acknowledgment that this play intimidated him at first, that it took some convincing to get him to accept the role(s). Important to me as a sophomore, at best, because to know that such a confident and accomplished actor can still feel some insecurity about the challenge makes it easier for me to get past my many many many moments of intimidation.

Friday I got to sit in the audience for Frozen. We have another really fine production here at the Guild. An intense, heavy, emotionally difficult show performed well. I really regret that I did not get on that particular stage.

    The big point for the "student": Again, like when I saw The Cripple of Inishmaan at Sinclair Community College, it's good to see another actor being successful in a role I have studied for, he having a different approach to the character. This time, of course, it being Mark Diffenderfer's Ralph; for Cripple, Patrick Hayes as Johnnypateenmike. Of course, I have not done Ralph on stage, but I did have a strong idea of how I would have done him if I'd won the role. Weird to have that duality in me as I watched Mark's fine performance:

    What's he doing? That's not how I would have done that. No no no -- that's not how Ralph would say that!

    Hey, wait a minute. That actually works! It's not how I would have done it, but still. It's not how MY Ralph would have said that. I'll, however, be damned if it doesn't work!

    It really pisses off the megalomaniac in my head, but, well, you know, so what?

It was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at the Dayton Playhouse Saturday night. More good course work for this student of theatre. There were a few performances that I thought worked especially well.

    The big point for the "student": The student in me keys in on the affectations actor Richard Young employed as the psychiatric inpatient Scanlon. He employed a nervous palsy, with one hand often practically flailing to the point of severing itself from his wrist. It was the finishing touch to further sell us on a paranoid neurosis he was already portraying with conviction. That sort of technique can, when used in smart measure, add great flavor to the characterization. It's the sort of thing I have already been aware of, but this is another good affirmation of the value.

I AM THE ACCUSED: Got another gig to do improvisational type work for the University of Dayton Law Clinic. This time it is directly for the law classes, rather than for the Inn of Court dinner, as last time. I and two other actors will each play the accused for mock interviews with the defense lawyer (the student). The sessions happen late tomorrow afternoon. One of the other actors, by-the-way, happens to be in ...Cuckoo's Nest.... John Beck is Martini, one of the roles I would have auditioned for.

MORE FOOTAGE FOR ON THE LOT: I need to come up with 30 more seconds for my movie submission to On the Lot. It's my personal introduction. I am done shooting for The Chorus for Candice.

For the intro clip, I was going to shoot a few seconds of myself at my desk at work last Saturday, then I put that big bump on my head earlier in the day. So, this weekend; plus, a bit of footage at DTG.

Still a little tiny bit of tweaking on the cut of the movie, itself, too.



Fri Jan 26, 2007

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EMERGENCY CASTING CALL FOR THE GLASS MENAGERIE: The Springfield Civic Theatre is in need of an actress for the role of Amanda in their upcoming production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. The show is scheduled to open Thursday, February 8, so the need is urgent.

For those unaware, Amanda is the mother; the actress would need to be old enough to have a child in his late teens to early twenties.

The director is Ron Weber (Nagg in the production of Endgame where I was Clov, in late 2005). I have his contact information and will gladly give it to interested parties: KL_Storer@yahoo.com.

U.D. LAW CLINIC: The law class improv stuff went pretty well Wednesday afternoon. I was the accused having the first interview with my council. I did get pulled aside after the first session and told that I was volunteering to much information, that the lawyer (law student) needs to be forced to extract the information. I guess I did well with the next three.

I did not affect a character much different than myself for this. It seemed like the way to go. I think Fran (Pesch) and the powers-that-be were overall satisfied with the work. And I suppose I was, too.

MY FIRST AUDITION FOR A COMMERCIAL: I'm not quite as happy with this audition as I was with the U.D. Law Clinic gig. I can't say I feel it was awful, but I could have done better. I stumbled over some words and one time even said the product name wrong. That last one is pretty much a cardinal sin.

A big mistake, I believe, was that I did not take yesterday morning off from the paycheck job. Instead I worked until noon and gave myself very little time to go over the pages before the screentest. It's not that I did not have the option; my supervisor at work made it clear I did. I opted to work until noon because I really do like to keep that vacation leave balance as high as I can -- just in case a major acting gig, such as a full length indy, comes along. I've been teetering around 120 hours lately (three weeks) and I'd like to be a miser until I am comfortably over a month's worth -- right now that will happen early this summer, barring any more use between now and then.

But, I have to re-evaluate my stinginess. It's not as if I would have blown the extra four hours of vacation yesterday on idle time.

STUDENT IN THE AUDIENCE FOR DON JUAN IN HELL: I saw the special production of Don Juan in Hell for Springfield StageWorks last night. It was Readers' Theatre and it was a good production. The cast was all experienced actors from Equity stages:

  • Mary Donahoe: director, actress and Professor of Theatre at Wright State University (Dona Ana de Ulloa)
  • Walter Rhodes: former theatre professor at Wright State University and one of the founding actors of the famed Asolo Theatre Company (Don Gonzalo)
  • Jim Rose, world-class puppeteer, actor, professor of set design at Antioch College for many years, a member of the original Antioch Shakespeare Festival (the Devil)
  • Tony Dallas, director and playwright and one of the founding members of the Human Race Theatre Company (Don Juan)
    • The big point for the "student": Readers' Theatre works best when it is kept as true Readers' Theatre. I have seen productions where there were sets, in one case a full set, and actors who had blocking, used props, and divided attention between the script and other actors to a place of distraction.

      These four accomplished performers proved that with an emphasis on voice and facial expression and some gestures that were focused more toward the audience, Readers Theatre can effectively communicate all the action and drama. Now, the actors did on occasion direct their attentions to each other on stage, but the sparsity and the deliberate placement of such, heightened the performance, rather than interfere with it.

      Actually, there were a few times when I thought some of them spent too much time with their eyes on the pages -- but, I can't say that I would not have offended even more with that particular sin had I been on the stage.

    MORE FOOTAGE FOR ON THE LOT: The plan is to shoot most or all of the introduction video this weekend.



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    ON THE LOT INTRO CLIP: I went on campus yesterday to shoot footage of myself at the paycheck job -- several minutes of footage that will be several seconds on the clip. Today I'll shoot footage at the Guild -- several more minutes that will be several seconds. I also plan to use some stills from various productions I have been in. Need to get permission from others in the shots. I also want to use some of my "behind the scenes" footage from Ghostbusters: Spook University. Again, I'll need permission from others in the shot(s).

    AM I CAST IN A COMMERCIAL?: Since the commercial will be shot tomorrow and I received no call, I'd say no. I am not exactly in shock.

    STUDENT IN THE AUDIENCE FOR CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF: I saw this college production on Friday night at Wright State University. The production was directed by Brian McKnight, who is on faculty for the Sinclair Community College theatre program and is close to earning all his Equity points as an actor. I first saw him on the Human Race Loft stage as the young gentleman lawyer who fancied Babe in Crimes of the Heart and liked his work very much. Then it was he who directed the most excellent production of The Glass Menagerie at Sinclair two seasons ago.

      The big point for the "student": This will be a very rare instance where I reveal something I did not like -- though it is a constructive criticism. The actors employed good deep southern accents, however, at times several of them spoke too quickly to be understood well by many in the audience, myself included. It reaffirms a note we cast members of 2004's The Cripple of Inishmaan received repeatedly from director Greg Smith and from our dialect coach, Rocco Dal Vera, during his sessions with us -- "slow down."

    EMERGENCY CASTING CALL FOR THE GLASS MENAGERIE: As far as I know the Springfield Civic Theatre is still in need of an actress for the role of Amanda in their upcoming production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. The show is scheduled to open Thursday, February 8, so the need is urgent, though the production may be postponed.

    The director is Ron Weber; I have his contact information and will gladly give it to interested parties: KL_Storer@yahoo.com.

    CLOSING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    'FROZEN' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    ADVISORY:
    ADULT CONTENT AND GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

      Directed by Justin Reiter / Produced by Kimberly J. Reiter

      The Frozen cast list:

      Barbara Coriell            Nancy
      Wendi Michael            Agnetha
      Mark Diffenderfer            Ralph



    Wed Jan 31, 2007

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    UPDATE ON THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE FOR ON THE LOT: I've shot the footage at The Guild on Sunday as I had planned for the introduction video for my submission to the On the Lot contest.

    I also am gathering together various stills to use during the clip (pic of me at college graduation with my parents, several production stills form plays I have been in, etc.). And I will drop in footage, as I previously indicated, from my "behind the scenes" footage from Ghostbusters: Spook University. I have began to seek permission from others in the shots, stills and DV.

    But The Big News Is That I Have Managed To Get The Movie Into The Proper Shape: There were three problems to address. First was that annoying pop frame of the credit roll at the end of the movie. I was finally able to fix it. Then there was the foley sound of Elizabeth's door closing after she has left frame. The volume needed a budge up to make it more noticeable to the viewer. I did that. last was a difference in the ambient quality of Candice's (Kim's) voice on her very last line. That I could not fix and IO have decided to live with. I don't know that it can't be fixed; I just have ended up in a quagmire every time I have attempted to sweeten that particular sound bite.

    The final cut is locked now. I will be posting the new files on the movie web page here, as well as at YouTube and at my under-maintained page at My Space. Though those two will only get one, smaller, more compressed file.

    The good news for the cast and crew (and a few friends and family members) is that I will soon be finally burning the DVD copies.

    COLOR DIGITAL PHOTOS FOR MY AGENT: I have taken some pics of myself to serve as headshots for my association with Roof-Goenner Talent Agency. Whereas they are not terrible, I am not wholly satisfied. So they will be temporary until I can again be clean shaven and get a professional photographer to take more. I may still throw in some everyday activity pics, as Jim Payne at R-G did ask for such.

    Well, I need color pro shots for theatrical acting auditions; really for all auditions. So, heading to my guy, Nicholas Studios* in Bellbrook, Ohio, is somewhere in the future -- late March, early April. Unless I am in Hollywood for On the Lot -- 'cause I count my chickens before they hatch.

      a little plug that I'm not even charging for

    PRODUCING THE SPECIAL PRESENTATION AT THE GUILD: It's not quite time to name names, but the procedure is underway to bring in a one-person show the weekend following The Beard of Avon at the Guild.

    I am in the role, as I said, of Mr. Producer Guy. I also need to start the producer duties for The Dice House.

    AMANDA HAS BEEN FOUND: Springfield Civic Theatre has found an actress for the role of Amanda for the upcoming Glass Menagerie. I know for a fact that she will do a great job, too!

    BEARD FOR BEARD: Ms. Tosha (Madame Director Lady) has spoken. She wants me to have a full beard for ...Beard.... so I must stop shaving. I shaved for the color headshots I just did. But now, with opening night in one month, I am now putting the razor away until at least late March.



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    UPDATE ON THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE FOR ON THE LOT: I have arranged to shoot a portion of the Beard of Avon rehearsal this coming Tuesday evening at The Guild, for the intro clip, obviously. The rehearsal is scheduled as a second read-through, since our first was in December. However, dialect expert Rocco Dal Vera, whom has been mentioned in this blog before, may be there for a little fast-break workshop. I have asked the entire cast and crew if they object to my shooting; so far, no one has said, "Nay."

    UPDATE ON PRODUCING THE SPECIAL PRESENTATION AT THE GUILD: Well, the production is pretty much a lock now, and it has been officially posted, so, I feel free to reveal that Irish actor Neil O'Shea will be performing his one-person show, An Evening with Great Irish Writers, the weekend after Beard closes. I have been a little involved with that production, as the producer, because I don't already have enough other draws for my attention.

    You may recall, if you happen to have been reading this weird-ass blog last year, that I met Neil at a cast party I was invited to for the Dayton Playhouse production of Hollywood Arms. He, as I, had attended the performance that night, Neil as the guest of poet and Wright State University English professor, Gary Pacernick. Neil and I had a pretty nice little visit and chat that night.

    As it turns out, our Guild president, Carol Finley, and our treasurer, Barb Coriell, took Neil by the Guild that night to show him our space. He liked it. Perhaps two months ago, or so, he contacted Carol about doing a production of the Irish writers show at the Guild. He had done it in January of 2006 at Wright State to end his stay as visiting faculty.

    Carol approached me about producing the Guild mounting and I was more than pleased to agree.

    So, here we are. Plus, it's about time to start thinking about some early pre-production for The Dice House, that which I am also producing.

    Click here for more on the O'Shea show.



    Tue, Feb 6, 2007
    (REVISED AND REPOSTED
    IN LATE AFTERNOON, DUE
    TO A MID-WEST U.S. SNOW
    WARNING AND ALL IT'S
    RAMIFICATIONS)

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    NO BEARDING TONIGHT: . . . At least not as a cast, gathered together in one place. We were to have the second table read tonight for our first in the run of rehearsals up to the performances of The Beard of Avon. And I was to be there with DV cam in tow to get footage for my On the Lot intro clip. However, that snow warning and already bad driving conditions that will only get worse have caused Ms. Director Lady to cancel rehearsal.

    I actually was a bit concerned about my thirty-mile drive home at 10 p.m., tonight. Mostly because there are areas right around my place that are not quick at weather maintenance.

    So, we have the edict to work on lines. Am I off-book? Um, well, I am not totally clueless, especially for Act I. But, off-book? Hey, the calendar made out by Ms. Director Lady has Feb 19! This window, tonight, for more line work is a good thing.

    A problem for me is that the dialect coaching had to be moved to this coming Saturday, which I had slated to edit the On the Lot intro clip. 30-45 seconds of video can take longer to edit than some may guess. I am going to try to record the voice-over and get as much of the editing done as I can on Friday evening. But, I am sure I will not be completely finished.

    AUDIO FILES: I have finally fired up that CuBase software to use. I transfered the analogue tape of my Beard lines into electronic audio files to listen to through Itunes. And the cool part is exact control over which scene to listen to -- each being its own file on my lap top hard drive.

    So, I may use CuBase to create the voice-over file for the On the Lot intro clip. Unless I just record it live into FinalCut.

    Well, soon I will get to digital mixes of my 1980's music recordings. That usual definition of "soon" for me.

    AUDITIONS AUDITIONS AUDITIONS: Another of those places where a period is forthcoming with auditions for several productions, all that appeal to me for different reasons. One, if I get the callback, will be a bone-fide professional gig; one has a really good lead role that I am good for; one will be a good role and a great challenge to execute; one is a wonderful script and would give me a chance to work with a director I would like to work with; another would be great fun with a director I like working with.

    And what if the unthinkable happens and I make the On the Lot cut? That seems to mean a few weeks in L.A. in late spring. And, that would happen right after Jennifer Anniston emails me that she's been reading this blog and wants to fly me to L.A. for a date. Or maybe right after Google offers me $900 million for rights to my web site. Or I dance on the moon with Janet Jackson.



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    BEARD REHEARSAL: We had really good second table read last night. The heater at the Guild was on the fritz, and with the temperature outside in the single digits, we crammed our dozen or so selves into the small, upstairs green room, with accompanying space heaters and coats. Still we had a good read with a lot of characterization already emerging from the cast.

    Though I would say I am around 65-75% off-book, I did rely on my script last night -- or at least had it in my hand. Part of that was because I knew there might be some notes or such that might need made. I also felt a little skittish on that, our second rehearsal ever, to try my lines, sans book.

    The book in hand was good for a few lines that the playwright deigned to attribute to several folk and let those producing the play sort out. This being a practice I have fast decided I will never do as a screen writer or a playwright. If I want particular lines (words) said, I will give them particular characters, even if in an overlap situation. If I simply want characters to ad lib protests (or whatever) then I will put "(ad libs protests)" or "ALL: I protest (and so forth)."

    In another aspect of the show, we are now going to go with a blanket standard British -- i.e. RP (received pronunciation). The rationale is that it is less confusing for the audience to see the same actor on stage using two different dialects, especially since there are so many of us who would do so. I tend to think it would better help differentiate the characters, but, what do I know? And I was looking forward to the gear shifts between the two characters I play, in terms of the accents.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE/ON THE LOT UPDATE: I did shoot the footage of the Beard rehearsal last night as an insert into the On the Lot intro clip. I just stuck the camera into a corner, tried to set up as well composed a shot as I could, then turned it on and let it record for the whole length of the hour cassette. Now, I haver an hour of footage from which to pick only several seconds at most to use. Great way to cause a neurotic's head to explode.

    The official web page now has only one rendered video file of the movie. a 32 meg MP4 version of the locked final cut. The only changes in the movie are that the sound of a door closing, off screen toward the end, is a little louder and that the annoying frame pop of the credit text that was popping up before the credits role, has finally been eradicated.

    There may again be other and different file sizes added, I am not sure. I am very likely to add a wmv file for Windows Media Player, if I manage to get a good conversion.

    And, for the record, the URL to the official web page is www.theWriteGallery.com/chorusforcandice.

    AMANDA REVEALED: Well, since The Glass Menagerie opens tonight in Springfield, as produced by Springfield Civic Theatre, I guess it's cool to report that the talented Lisa Sadia has stepped in to once again play the role of Amanda. She did so two season's back in the Sinclair Community College mounting. I have it on good authority that she is just as good this as previously -- and she was great, previously. Lisa, of course, being my invaluable assistant director and script supervisor for Candice.



    Tue, Feb 13, 2007

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    BEARD REHEARSAL: Our director, Natasha Randall (Tosha), can certainly be called "an actor's director." And as can always be said -- well usually can be, at least -- when such term is invoked, she is so precisely because she is an actor, herself.

    Over the course of last Thursday and last evening we went through both acts on our feet and Tosha let us use our instincts in terms of the blocking then she tweaked as she saw fit -- at least the start of tweaking. As we come back through and work each scene she will undoubtedly get more picky. As an actor I appreciate greatly this respect for and trust of my contributions and the true spirit of collaboration that this approach fosters. I suppose in some sense I used that approach with the actors in The Chorus for Candice, but the screen medium is a different venue and so much is controlled by what the composition of the shot needs to be. As one who will eventually direct on stage, however, I will most certainly use this actor oriented approach.

    Jerry Boswell did a bit of this same thing when he directed me and my castmates in 'Art'.

    Of course, one who is familiar with this blog and or me will not be surprised that I am impatient for more fully developed versions of Heminge and Burleigh. As I had studied my lines prior to the two rehearsals I had made decisions about delivery, those of which many promptly escaped me as we moved about the stage. I was now thinking so mechanically about movement that some delivery was circumvented. No worries, the ideals were not lost, just waylaid.

    One complement to many of my fellow castmates: I am in awe of actors with that uncanny knack for comedic instinct. I just do not have it. Several of my Beard peers have, at various times already, had me and the others in stitches with their work on stage. I'm jealous!

    As for dialect coaching, we had a great session with the fab Rocco Dal Vera last Saturday morning. Therein for which I took the opportunity to remind him that my 30 minute movie production will still happen and that I will still want that session on Scottish dialect.

    IDIOT!!!!!!: Last night I got home from rehearsal and sat down to go over a few things before I went to bed. I reached into my rehearsal bag for my script only to find it not there. I had left the damned thing at the theatre -- thirty miles away! Any one reading this in the U.S. (and maybe a few outside the U.S.) will know that Monday evening we were anticipating the start of that major winter storm, which as I write this, we most certainly did get in Ohio. I was looking at what turned out to be the case, that I might be off work today. A very good chance to get a lot of line study and final memorization done. I was not going to have my script stranded thirty miles away. So, I put my ass back in my car and made the one-hour round trip to get my script last night.

    I made it to bed way past midnight then got up early this morning -- well, my regular time -- to check if the university was closed; it was. So, I watch my tape of the Monday night episode of Studio 60, on the Sunset Strip then went back to sleep "for a while." Unfortunately, that "while" resulted in my waking at about 1:40 in the afternoon -- several friggin' hours lost! I still had a productive afternoon and evening.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE/ON THE LOT UPDATE: The intro clip for the On the Lot submission of Candice is done. The requirements are that it be at least 30 seconds but no longer than 45. It is 45. Not an easy task to edit a concise clip such as this. It was pretty much all of my Sunday, with a brief interlude to take care of some board member business at The Guild. I did learn a few things about editing with FinalCut I wished I'd known when I was editing Candice, but that's the way it goes with creative crafts.

    While I am writing this, I am trying to render a Quicktime movie file of the 4:58 version of Candice to submit. It has to be under 200 megs. I did have a 180 meg file of the 5:30 version, but I can't remember what I did to get that compression. By-the-way the difference in time has to do with the credit roll. I sped it up for the version submitted, so as to meet the time length limit.

    So far, any file I have of the movie that has high enough video quality for me has been more than 200 megs, sometimes way more. I have to have it uploaded by midnight February 15. This time, I don't think the deadline is going to be postponed. I need to hit on that correct compression rate soon.

    THE GLASS MENAGERIE IN SPRINGFIELD: No shock to me that I saw Lisa Sadai as an excellent Amanda again, in this Williams play, for Springfield Civic Theatre, last Saturday night. This was a good production directed by Ron Weber (of course, Nagg in the mounting of Endgame where I was Clov for Springfield StageWorks). Nice work all around.

    Neat little side bit: as I drove to see the show, I was listening to WDPR Radio. Marvin Hamlisch was being interviewed by someone. Turns out it was Ron Weber, who had taped an interview with Hamlisch when he'd made a local appearance last month. Pretty cool!

    CATCH UP, SORT OF: I let slip no mention of the great reviews Frozen received and well deserved. I was waiting to get access to the on-line version of the Dayton City Paper review, but their web site has changed and I never did get in. I have none of the reviews handy to quote right now, but still wanted to rectify my unintentional slight of a successful Guild production. I'll supply some quotations later.



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    SAD LOSS: For those who are not from the Dayton, Ohio area, and/or not much involved with our local theatre community, this will not affect you much. But, I am saddened by the passing of local theatre dame Deloris "Dutch" Waterman. Of course, I have written of her here before, as she had the wonderful, hilarious, scene-stealing role of Juanita the bar drunk in both incarnations of Sordid Lives at the Guild. The only other time I was fortunate to see her on stage was in the recent production of Arsenic and Old Lace at the Dayton Playhouse, where she was, as was just described by one of her long time friends and associates, "in full flower."

    But I saw her often at the Guild because she was a life member of the our board of directors and has been our "cookie lady" for many years, too -- she has been who drafts all the patrons to bake and provide cookies for our intermissions. I did not know her for a long time, of course, but she was a classy and sweet lady, though she was short on patience for nonsense, and I became quite fond of her. A lot of people will miss her.

    LOW WAVE: Been downswing for me the last couple days. Several things going on in several aspects of my life that have been smacking me. Last evening I just did not work on anything: this, my lines, any other art world stuff, my taxes, my dishes, my check book. It was most certainly down time.

    It's a combination of that whole "candle burning at both ends" and being overwhelmed to some extent from that, as well as some frustrations and disappointments in various compartments of my life. Today, though, it's "Hey pal, there's stuff to do and places to go!"

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE/ON THE LOT UPDATE: The movie has been officially submitted to the On the Lot contest. I uploaded the movie and the introduction clip on Thursday and I dropped the application in the mail so as to meet the deadline of a February 16 postmark. I was thinking the deadline was February 15, but I was incorrect -- This is the GOOD way to get the deadline wrong.

    As of this morning the intro clip was not yet available and I am not completely sure why. You can get directly to the movie at: films.thelot.com/films/19259.

    It's there for rating and comment. Give it a look and a critique if you are so moved.

    My On the Lot profile is at community.thelot.com/profiles/profile.aspx?un=klstorer, though you may need to be a member to see it. You may also need to be a member to rate and comment on the movie.

    I also have posted the movie at YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=59RVfBeK9aM. It can be viewed and rated there, too, but On the Lot is more important for any who want to take such action.

    I have a MySpace account that I ought to actually utilize. I got it so I could see the call sheets when we were shooting Spook University. It really should have my actors résumé, as well being another venue for the movie.

    BEARD REHEARSAL: We've done productive work since last I posted (Not that it wasn't before, of course). Tosha fine-tuned and even redirected Heminge's attitude and motivation in a scene, toward something that makes total sense to me. I was at first not sure what she meant, but came to get it.

    This friggin' winter weather we are having has become an obstacle. We were to catch up this morning on some worked missed this week, DUE TO BAD WEATHER but, last night Tosha cancelled because the roads were dangerously slick and there was possibly more snow coming. As it turned out the roads were in good shape today, but she was erring on the side of caution and guessing the 50/50 of winter weather in the midwest is a crap shoot.

    The irony for me is that I had to be at the Guild today, anyway, because I was the host for the last Vagina Monologue performance, this afternoon.

    GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY TRAILER/TEASER AT YOUTUBE: Spook University director Mike Sopronyi has created a cool little trailer for the movie, it's at (where else?) YouTube -- www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJT-CJHK8pk.

    It can also be accessed through the Spook U. MySpace page: myspace.com/ohiogbfanfilm; along with the two short clips from the movie.

    CLOSING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:


    The Vagina Monologues

    V DAY

    A V-DAY 2007 WORLDWIDE CAMPAIGN EVENT
    TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

    THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD IS PROUD TO PRESENT
    V-DAY Dayton 2007

    A Production of Eve Ensler's
    The Vagina Monologues

    JOIN US AS WE
    CELEBRATE WOMEN,
    RAISE AWARENESS
    AND ENVISION A WORLD WITHOUT VIOLENCE.
      February 17 -- 3:00 & 8:00
      February 18 -- 3:00

      PROCEEDS BENEFIT WOMANLINE



    Thu Feb 22, 2007

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    ONE BIT: Unfortunately, the Neil O'Shea performance of An Evening with Great Irish Writers has had to be canceled. I was looking forward to it.

    I will be back with more Beard rehearsal and Candice movie stuff when time allows me to sit down and write it out -- or, key it in.



    Tue, Mar 6, 2007

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    THE BEARD OF AVON AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    Dress Rehearsal Week

      I think many of us were a little anxious about opening night as it was approaching during those last few dress rehearsals. There were scarce numbers of us that could be labeled as "off book" in the true sense. I was pretty close myself, but I still had some problems, if minor. I'd love to blame the winter storms that plagued us, but that would not be honest. I think there is some of it that deals with the fact that I have a dependency on learning my lines along with the stage blocking, but I am not convinced at all that it needs to be that way. I should be able, I think, to learn the words with no blocking whatsoever. So there's another part of the craftwork to get better at.

      We were also not fully costumed until the last few rehearsals; with many of us in multiple roles that often require quick costume changes, I think we mostly had all wished we'd had more rehearsals to whip those changes into better shape.

      In the end, not counting the initial read through in December, we had fifteen rehearsals. Yet, had we not lost three to those storms, it still would have been only eighteen -- which I see as the bare minimum. During final dress week the run times were long. Let me rephrase that:
      We ran L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-G!!!

      I certainly felt under-rehearsed and I don't think I was alone. I know I have still been fine tuning my character development even during the first weekend the show has been open. Though, I don't find that a bad thing, to still be discovering things. I am sure, in this case, though, some of it has been what would have been discovered beforehand had the trials been different.

      We managed to pull it together and put out a good final dress for a small preview audience. There were still line problems, but the audience would not have known. I know I had at least one, but I don't remember what it was, which probably means it was minor.

      I for one, am bound and determined that I will not call for a line under almost any circumstance during a dress/tech week. I can only see myself calling for lines that late in the rehearsal period, in any case, if I were to come into a production late and have to play catch-up.

    Opening Weekend

      Our first three performances went well. The audiences seemed to like the work. There were various and a sundry of glitches and such. Lines were flubbed, entrances were missed, props were destroyed -- the usual stuff.

      Opening night I had a line blowout in my first major scene. It's Act I, Scene 3, I am on stage with Paul Edwards (Will Shakspere) and Rene Vogt-Lowell (Henry Condel, the side kick to my John Heminge). Rene is saying my cue line. I am supposed to say, "And in perfect rhyming dodecatrains, he brought the act to a close with such a roar of approbation from the court, as we haven't heard before or since. And the playwright told us, keep it in!"

      My mind is not finding those words. I am thinking to myself, Rene's about to finish his line and you don't know your line! What the hell is it? Well, he's just about finished. Too bad fella; open your mouth and say SOMETHING!

      I hem-hawed for a moment then out of my mouth came: "And, Henry---" Then I more or less remembered at least the intent of my line, so I continued after a short pause with, "He brought the act to a close with a ROAR FROM THE COURT! And the actor, uh, the playwright told us, KEEP IT IN!"

      While off stage a little later, I asked another actor who is not cast in the show (thus is not familiar with the script nor that scene) but who had watched during that scene, if he could detect the line blow; he said he could not. So, at least I did not damage that delicate suspension of disbelief.

      I and some other actors in the show have discussed this sort of thing. One asked about whispering the line to a fellow scene mate if he or she were in trouble. My stance is that such is the very last resort. I believe first I should see if my mate will get the line (or vise versa if I am the one in trouble) Next should be some help in character. Some easy, simple ad lib if necessary; or simply jump forward in the scene as little as possible if that can be done and still make sense. Whispering the line should be the very last thing done. As I have said before, it seems clear to me that anything that draws attention to the fact that you are saying lines from a book can destroy that afore mentioned thin vale of the audience members' suspensions of disbelief. That's my thought.

      As for me and the line-blow: I am not greatly thrilled I went up, or mostly up, on the line; I am grateful as all get-out I managed to move on, in character, and make sense to the audience.

      Saturday, a scene mate had the same sort of problem as me. He did the same thing, with a twist. He just pulled another character's lines from later in the show, in a manner that made them fit where he used them. But, he stayed in character, and the audience was none the wiser.

      Then, during a scene change a glass goblet feel and broke. It was underneath the platform portion of our set. I, having time on my hands at that point, went under from the back, and as quietly as I could, swept up as much as I could see in the dim light.

      We also had an actor miss an entrance into a scene where there was supposed to be a fairly critical exchange with the actor already on stage. That second actor was fast on the feet and gave a monologue outlining the important particulars.

      The theme here, overall, is: You Deal With It And Move On!

      Sunday, I personally had only one minor flub. I entered a scene a beat or two too soon, which made for a fast, if brief, off rhythm cascade up to the cue for my first line. I got hit by a millisecond flabbergast, so instead of saying, "Afternoon. We happened to be in town," I said, "Good evening. We happened to be in the neighborhood," a variation of a flub I have made on that line in rehearsals.

      Then, while making a quick exit for a quick change, another actor took his prescribed route off the side of the platform stage, stepping where he usually steps, onto the bench setting on the floor there. He stepped onto a weak spot and went crashing through the boards of the bench. Fortunately he was not hurt and handy folk were able to repair the bench in time for its called upon further use later in the performance. This was one of those unavoidable rips into the fabric of that suspension of disbelief.

      That's the point for me. In live theatre we flirt with interrupting that suspension so often, in ways that are out of our control, that we need to be vigilant to avoid it whenever we can. Or, maybe, I need to lighten up; relax; not take it so seriously.

      I, however, am still waiting for my one flawless performance.

      By the way, both Terry Morris (Dayton Daily News) and Russell Florence Jr. (Dayton City Paper) were there Saturday, so there should be two reviews out by week's end.

    AUDITIONS FOR SPEAKING IN TONGUES AT THE GUILD: I went tonight for the auditions for our next show. It was not what I would call a cold read but it was rather cooler than warmer. I had read the play last summer then I gave it some small attention on Sunday evening. I had no strongly formed idea of character, even which one I might wish to be. I wrote "Male" on the audition form to answer which role I was auditioning for.

    Director Barb Coriell read me as the character named Pete. I drew upon my vague memories of the play and him, made a decision about him and went with it.

    I "feel" as if I did okay -- and was told I did well by a few folk. I'm not going to bother to "think" I did either well or badly.

    Truth be told, though I would relish playing Pete, because he has some emotional challenges, if I am not cast I will not feel remorse. That, because Springfield StageWorks will be holding auditions for Mamet's American Buffalo in a few weeks -- another really nice three-man ensemble opportunity. I may even have a stronger draw toward the Mamet play and am not wholly sure why I auditioned for Tongues; I guess I have enough interest in both to sort of cast myself into the tide and see which shore I float up onto.



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    THE BEARD OF AVON AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    Reviews

      Both The Dayton Daily News and The Dayton City Paper gave us good reviews. Terry Morris (DDN) says the production, "has the sprawl of an epic [and has] numerous subplots, which director Natasha Randall orchestrates with aplomb." He gives nice complement to both the lead men: "Paul Edwards gives an expressive, human performance as Shakespeare. Mark Diffenderfer is a polished, assured DeVere."

      Russell Florence Jr. (DCP) calls us "Fluidly directed by Natasha Randall." He calls Paul's work "a very affable performance" and further says he "handles the complexity of the role with enough gumption and poeticism to make the Bard's influence and legacy credible." He made good mention of Mark as "the prissy DeVere" as well labelling several performances as "particularly noteworthy" Megan, Matt, Reneé and Craig. At least the rest of us were "enjoyable."

      Once again I have wowed the local critics -- or, something like that. Aaa! Whatayagonnado? The show has been well recieved; I feel like John Heminge is pacing the stage exactly as John Heminge should be; Lord Burliegh is the nobel dandy in a way that works for the show; both reviews are good. Let's party.

    Last Night's Show

      Good opening for the second weekend. Some glitchy stuff but nothing serious. I think most reported some sort of line errors. I know I had some actors jump lines on me last night who had never done so before.

      Strange experience with the audience. During Act I, they were, at most, politely laughing, on occasion. Just not terribly responsive. At the start of intermission, we were all in the green room and someone joked that one of us who had a few friends in the audience should text message them to be our shills in Act II to get some laughter going. Tosha came in a few minutes later and said she was eaves dropping on conversations in the lobby and the audience actually did seem to enjoy the show. They livened up in Act II -- without the use of shills.

    The Warm Up

      I failed to mention what Tosha came up with for the 30 minutes that the house is open before AI,S1 begins. One by one, each cast member comes out on stage a does a warm-up piece while the audience members are finding their seats. All our pieces are somehow connected to Elizabethan/Shakespeare era. Many actors are doing monologues from a Shakespeare work. Mike is doing ballads from the time period. Reneé sings "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate. As Lord Burleigh, I am reading my Shakespearean-style sonnet, "What Pulls From Me A Cry Still Pained and Haunted." I wrote it in college for a poetry class. Gary Pacernick gave us the assigment to write such a work. When Tosha told us to find a warm-up piece, I thought of it immediately. It is in truth contemporary, but she found it true to the style so gave me the nod.

      It's a really great way to get the audience ready for the show. Even our stage manager Steve Strawser gets into the act, performing a monologue from Hamlet. Tosha does her monologue last, right into her curtain speech.

      During the course of the monologues Tosha gives us direction, it's a bit more performance than true direction, for the sake of flavor. Then we direct her during hers; mostly Harold Fox does. Though one night an audience member shouted "Louder!" at her. After I am done, I change into John Heminge and stroll around as the tight-assed Elizebethan director. We all can come in early or stay, or come back, all to interact with the others on stage -- in character or as ourselves.

      The audiences have liked this neat little pre-show.

    Self-interest Crap

      So last night, a fella named Fred, with whom I am acquainted through mutual friends not at all in conjunction with my return to acting/theatre/yadda-yadda, showed just as Tosha was finisheng her curtain speech. I actually close the theatre house for Act I as Heminge so I was around the lobby at the time. He came in and asked box office who was directing. They told him. I went and did my Heminge business. Tosha came to the lobby and immediately got excited to see Fred there. She sat him in the audience as AI,S1 began. I found out later she had appeared in a movie he directed.

      I actually had seen Fred once before at a Big Lens film festival, which Wright State Film School holds every year at The Neon Movies in downtown Dayton, to feature student work.

      We chatted a bit after the show last night and I, of course, just had to let him know that if he needs an actor of my type for a future production I would be more than happy to read for him.

    AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITIONS: I was not cast in the next Guild production, Speaking in Tongues. But, as I said, I have a strong draw to the David Mamet play, American Buffalo, for which there will be auditions later this month for Springfield StageWorks.

    The director, Barb Coriell, did tell me I did a good read, but that I did not suit her vision.



    Sun Mar 18, 2007

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    CLOSING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    'THE BEARD OF AVON' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    ADVISORY:

    ADULT SITUATIONS AND HUMOR

      Directed by Natasha Randall / Produced by Carol Finley

      The Beard of Avon cast list:

      Paul Edwards            Will Shakspere (as in: shack'-spur)
      AKA William Shakespeare,
      I.E. The Beard of Avon
      Mark Diffenderfer            Edward DeVere
      Megan Cooper            Anne Hathaway
      Matt Beisner            Henry Wriothesley &
      Earl of Derby
      K.L.Storer (WHO?)            John Heminge &
      Lord Burleigh
      Rene Vogt-Lowell            Henry Condel &
      Francis Bacon
      Randy Fields            Lord Lettuce &
      Walter Fitch
      Harold Fox            Old Colin &
      Francis Walsingham
      Reneé Franck-Reed            Queen Elizabeth
      Wayland Reid            Richard Burbage
      Craig Roberts            Geoffrey Dunderbread
      Mike Rousculp            Minstrel
      various above            theatre players &
      other miscellaneous



    Sun Mar 25, 2007

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    THE BEARD OF AVON AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    The Last And Closing Weekend

      Another good cluster of shows to close our run. Just before the second weekend I told people we were selling out, because that second Friday and Saturday had. But then reservations seemed to wane. We, however, ended with almost a full house the last Friday and sold-out houses Saturday and Sunday. The audiences continued to respond well. Over the run we had all felt often like the audiences were not reacting as we expected them to during the performances, yet they consistently raved afterward.

      As for gaffes the last weekend, yeah, there were some, especially Friday night. I believe it was that we did not do a line run between weekend two and three, thus had been away from the show for five days. I don't know that there was anything major, even on Friday. At least I am not aware of any. I had a couple line goofs over the weekend. The big one for me was when I went up on the second half of a line.

      My Heminge is supposed to interrupt Rene's Condel with "Aye, and how to contort one's features of a piece with the sawing." I got the first part, "Aye, and how to contort one's features," but I lost the rest of it. I knew it was not going to come to me, so I nodded my head, said, "Yes!" then tapped Rene as if to say, "Take it, Henry." My initial instinct was that it was a goof obvious to the audience. Those involved with the production, whom I talked to about it, agreed. But, I asked several audience members, a few of them actors, and they did not know; that being better. Not blowing the line at all, of course, being the best scenario.

      The other was pretty minor, I had a millisecond memory lapse on a word, but I think my brief struggle for it was in character, i.e. John Heminge paused for a moment to come up with the word rather than K.L.Storer, as far as the audience was concerned. More than wishful thinking I hope.

      A fellow actor performed a great cover of a line problem. His character was being spoken to more-or-less in confidence by another; he lost his place and thought it was time for him to speak. He made his own little confidential comment, the ad lib, "They can hear you," referring to the audience. It was appropriate in the context of our show since all our characters at times have acknowledged the audience's existence, and some of us spoke directly to them. The other actor's character responded with, "Who?" then went on with the rest of his line.

      Rather than thinking there was a problem, I actually thought it had been planned by the two and I'm sure the audience had no idea anything was amiss.

      So, no horrendous complaints at all about the final three shows. We had a good closing to a good run.

    General Musings and Reflections

      This has been another great experience for me. It was a talented cast -- some of them exceptionally talented -- and a group of people, cast and crew, who, as others in the cast have observed, got along well. It was nice to work with so many people I'd never worked with before, some new to me, others I had been looking forward to being on stage with. And here's where this becomes, in many ways, a totally biased and partial review, for all practical purposes.

      Of the cast there were only three I had been in other productions with, and in truth I only significantly interacted with one of those in Beard, Harold Fox, when in his role of Lord Walsignham. It was, I must confess, his other character, Old Colin, that I found the more entertaining one, though.

      Even though I have again now worked with Megan Cooper (Anne Hathaway), she and I have about two seconds of interaction in Act II, Scene 9. We only have one other scene together and essentially ignore each other's existence in it, at least in terms of direct recognition. Well, technically, there is the opening of Act II, where I and a few other male actors sort of help Anne Hathaway dress in her disguise to fool her gullible husband, Will. Okay, I suppose the fact that I slip a necklace onto her, then grope her naked shoulders, only to be slapped by her for my freshness, would count as interaction; but none of this was like the interview scene between Det. Stevens and Linda in last summer's FutureFest performance of Jim Gordon's Fake; there Megan and I had some substantial dialogue and some cat-and-mouse action going. As for her performance in Beard, Megan was, of course, top notch as Anne.

      Craig Roberts, who was funny as "Leading Lady" Geoff Dunderbread, and I shared several scenes, but our only direct interaction was an exchange of glances and gestures during some performances -- we did not do it in that scene for every show, just when it happened to work out as an ad lib action.

      I'm happy to have finally worked with Reneé Franck-Reed, whom I find a talented actress and certainly a class-A vocalist. I must point out, however, that as good as her rendition of "I Hate Men" for the performed warm-ups was, it did not truly exercise the full power of her operatic prowess. As for her acting, her Queen Elizabeth I was such a fine performance with the commanding presence of Elizabeth shining through as well as some good comic moments.

      It was a cool plus to work some scenes with Mark Diffenderfer, too -- You know? The guy who beat me out for both DeVere in this and Ralph in Frozen; I tried to get him to agree to not audition in the future for any roles I want, but he didn't seem to wish to comply for some reason. Go figure. His Edward DeVere was, of course, different than I would have played the role. But I certainly have no room to say, "Tosha blew it when she cast this guy!" Mr. Diffenderfer is one excellent actor. I won't sell myself short by saying that I would not have done well in the role, but I can't sell Mark short, either. His DeVere was simply damned good! I will have to add that Mark, as well as pretty much everyone else in the cast, has a better instinct for comedy than I. I have, in the past, bitched about this in terms of myself and I will again address this later in this entry.

      Loved doing scenes with Paul Edwards (Will), too. We had a few exceptionally good moments in each of our scenes, but especially in Act II. My first encounter with Paul was during the auditions for Brooklyn Boy, in which neither of us was cast; and I actually thought we both would be. Well, I was heavily impressed with him immediately and continue to be up to and including the dynamic performance he gave here. He's off to L.A. this summer in search of a SAG card and I wish him all the best. I certainly enjoyed sharing the boards with him.

      Same for Wayland Reid, a great find for the Guild whom I hope we see again -- hell, a great find for any Dayton stage! A great comic sensibility, which usually means also a deep dramatic understanding as well. His "bad actor," the leading man for the theatre company my Heminge was the manager of, Richard Burbage, was an absolute riot. He also did some other great comic bits during scene changes. Foremost was a spot where we needed just a tad more time to get a few of us in place behind the curtain on the platform stage. Wayland would come out and do a limerick as Richard Burbage always coming to an ending that would call for a word that rhymes with Regina (the I being a long I), and set up so the rhyme would logically be the word for that most obvious part of the female anatomy, but always substituted with another logical choice, such as "carriage.". The audience would laugh and we, on stage behind a curtain about to come up to reveal us, would smack ourselves to get the snickers off our faces and try to get into character as the stuffy court dandies we were supposed to be. Wayland has performed the last three years in the Ohio Renaissance Festival. He was Captain Joseph Digby the pirate last year and I assume will be this coming Fall. Judging from his work on our stage, he is likely a high point of entertainment at the festival.

      Another face unknown to me was Matt Beisner. And I have on more than one occasion warned his lovely fiancé that his performance as the flaming homosexual Henry Wriothesley was just a little too convincing. Matt did a fine job as DeVere's lover, AKA: "the effeminate Earl of South Hampton," as well as in the role of the stuffy Earl of Derby in the court scenes where I was Lord Burleigh.

      Meanwhile, Randy Fields appeared on stage as an actor for the very first time, ever. He did nice work, especially considering it was his stage debut. And Mike Rousculp added nice flavor to the show with his songs as the minstrel.

      Last and certainly not least of the cast members was Rene Vogt-Lowell, who played Henry Condel, John Heminge's right-hand man. This is Rene's first production in a while; if I remember correctly, about ten years. He did lovely work as Henry Condel and I think we had a great chemistry together; and so did our director think so, she whose opinion about this, I suppose, counts more than mine. Rene and I played well off each other and had a lot of good non-verbal communication that often we had not worked out but just came to us as we grew into our roles and the relationships (that of the characters and of the actors portraying them). We also did discuss a few things off stage and were able to come up with good bits that defined our characters as well as the partnership between them and also create a few good moments. It was a pleasure to work with Rene.

      Then there was our incomparable stage manager, Steve Strawser. Beard was only his second time ever in the role of SM but one would not have known that unless told so. He was on top of things all the way through and ran a tight ship. He has his sights set on performance, too, and even did a monologue from Hamlet during the warm-up performances. Not half bad, either.

      Our Natasha Randall was a fine, fine director. Like I said before, she was an actor's director and most specifically because she is herself an actress. Now, of course, there were places she wanted specific things, but overall her style was collaborative.

      The rehearsal process started off with Tosha trusting our instincts in terms of the overwhelming depths of our characters and their movement. We were instrumental in just how our characters were painted onto the canvas of the show. She was still in control of the direction of the final vision, but we all played a great part in forming that vision, due to her generosity.

      As an example, in Act I, Scene 3, Will comes to join the London theatre company and encounters Heminge and Condel. Rene and I decided we would spend much of the first part of the scene circling Paul (Will) as we drilled him with our skeptical questions about his worthiness. Tosha liked it; it stayed in.

      Another example, Act II, Scene 9, Heminge's and Condel's last scene of the play. Will has left the theatre world and returned to Stratford Upon Avon. By this point in the play our Heminge and Condel greatly appreciate William Shakespeare and realize just how badly we need him. We have just gone through a whole song and dance to persuade him to return to London. We have thus far failed.

      Will tells us to give the play we need fixed to DeVere. My Heminge, dejected, gives a little sigh as Condel tells Will of DeVere, "He's not you." Then as I sit beside Will on the bench, I say, matter-of-fact, "Besides, he's got the plague."

      To this, taken aback, Will gives a startled and concerned, "What?"

      "He lies abandoned in his ancestral home," is the next line, my line. Now, up to and including the opening night performance, I delivered it in the same nonchalant manner as my previous, looking off into the distance, the sting of Will's rejection still on my face.

      Rene (Condel) then adds, in a similar nonchalance, "Close to death, I've heard. Attended by no one, they say."

      Then in something approximating real sincerity, my Heminge says, "Sorry. Perhaps we should have written."

      Then, in the next instant when Will decides to come back to London, both Heminge and Condel are taken by almost total surprise.

      In bed that night after the performance it hit me that we were missing a great opportunity for a far more interesting take on this scene. I realized that when Will gives his worried, startled "What?" that Heminge should immediately see the potential to use Will's emotions as a tool toward his goal.

      The look of realization comes over Heminge's face and he delivers the line, "He lies abandoned in his ancestral home," far more deliberately and with what the audience (I hope) sees as intention. He also looks at Condel as he finishes the line and Condel gets the point and says, "Close to death, I've heard. Attended by no one, they say," with just as much manipulative intention. And likewise for my, "Sorry. Perhaps we should have written." Then when Will decides to return to London with us, they are not sharp smiles of surprise we wear, rather quiet smiles of victory.

      This may be more an example of allowing the characters and our understandings to evolve even after rehearsal is over, but I assert that Tosha created the environment conducive to the condition. She also was okay with the particular adjustment exemplified above. Actually, the way she put it, when I asked her, was that she hadn't really noticed, but that if it had not been good she would have noticed it right away. Not a gold star but not a demerit, either.

      Tosha did tell me early on that she wanted Heminge to be meaner to Will, more of a prick. I made that adjustment but came to find out late in the run she still wanted him to be more of a prick. Should have told me. I could have made that adjustment. I didn't get this last "note," if you will, until the official cast party the night before the closing show, so I did not bother with it.

      My overall assessment of my own work? Of course, as is true of any actor (hell, any artist at all), there is much of my own work I am blind to, both positive and negative. My self-analysis will certainly be flawed. First, before I start complaining, I'll declare that I did good work, at least it feels so.

      Yet, I have complaints. My number one skill to work on is still focus. I suppose I am getting better but I still have a lot of room to develop my focus. It is the culprit in every instance of going up in the show -- well, I guess it can always be blamed for going up and even stumbling on lines. Fact is, I can allow myself to get distracted and lose focus. It also throws me, at times, when the routine or rhythm of a scene is interrupted, however that may happen. Someone else may go up or some lines may get rearranged; though it wasn't the case in this show, it might be some idiot's cell phone going off. For me, the usual result is a line flub or the worst condition of going up on the line.

      I know that opening night I went up on my line in Act I, Scene 3 as badly as I did because I had to tactically change my blocking at that point. Heminge is talking directly to the audience members, strolling the parameters of the thrust stage. I was coming up to a spot where, because we had a smaller crowd, there were no audience members to deliver the story to. As Rene was saying my cue line I was deliberating on the adjustment. I lost my place, then panicked. That's a focus problem. I have, over the run of shows I've been in, occasionally keyed in on an audience member's reaction to myself or something else on stage and lost my place, too. That's a focus problem. I don't think this last thing actually happened during Beard, but my focus was at least affected by the awareness that certain people were in the audience. The surprising thing to me is that the knowledge of the critics' attendance did not bother me. I guess that means something good.

      The other big complaint is that dull comedic instinct of mine. I so admire my fellow actors who have such sharp command of this. In this production the two shining examples, among many other good ones, are Wayland Reid and Paul Edwards. I, on the other hand, as has been the case in other productions, had places where there was the absolute potential for a laugh every night, and yet there never was one. The fault must lie with my delivery.

      Honestly, one of those spots, actually did get a laugh one night, but it was from a woman who was laughing at everything, so I am not sure it counts.

      I don't know if it was my timing, some bad energy or lack of correct energy I was sending, whether I was trying too hard to get the laugh (I tried to not do that), or what it was. I know there is that old adage, Don't ask for the laugh, ask for the butter; I tried to ask for the butter. But, I never got the laughs.

      Granted there were a couple places where I did pretty much always get a laugh, but my perception is that those are easy laughs. There was also a line I adjusted my delivery to and did then get a consistent laugh. But I still perceive that there are many places where I just don't have the skill to milk the comedy that is there for the milking.

      All in all, self-criticisms aside, I am happy with my work and am very happy with the experience of this production. I have yet to have a bad experience, but this has been one of the better ones. It was fun with a fun cast of great folk all whose company I enjoyed. We all got along famously and that makes for a much better experience. I would gladly work with anyone in this cast or crew again.

      And we put on a damned good show!

      By-the-way, I did not take pictures during this production, save for a shot of the set I used for my little gifts to my castmates. Craig Robert's took some, though, and has them posted here.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE UPDATE: Oh well, we are doing fantastically well at On the Lot! Where some movies have garnered tens of thousands of views, The Chorus for Candice is about to break 100! That is to say one hundred, not 100,000. We do have an average rating of 4.5 stars out of five (the average of the two ratings we have recieved).

    JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS: I attended the Springfield StageWorks production of this last night. Nice evening out with a good cast of singers in this musical review that included David Shough, who is about to go into rehearsal for our next Guild show, Speaking in Tongues -- that which I still don't have a comprehensive breakdown of the cast list. I know most names but not all their roles, and am also afraid I'll leave someone out; so I'll wait until I am firm on the whole list. David, by-the-way, it turns out is a good vocalist.

      What did the theatre student learn?: Once again, as is usually my complaint about musicals, the "orchestra" volume often overpowered the vocals. Orchestras for musicals, whether they are three piece or sixty piece, need to be as far away and as contained as is possible, without making them irrelevant. Even the strongest voice is only going to reach a certain volume, and a grouping of musical instruments will always have the power to overwhelm the vocalists' volumes if so allowed. This is far from an isolated thing. This balance between the singers and the insturments seems an on-going and widely-spread issue.



    Thu Mar 29, 2007

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    ODDS & SODS

  • Prepping For American Buffalo Audition: Reading the script and somewhat into a Chi-cah-goew dialect tape.
  • This Just In: the views of The Chorus for Candice have tipped over the 100 mark at the On the Lot web site. Just tens of thousands more to put it in the realm of being anything close to a contender.
  • The Dayton Theatre Guild 2007/2008 Season: We are close to officially announcing our line up for next season.
  • Producing The Dice House: I have begun my producer's duties for the Guild's last show of this season, Paul Lucas' zany comedy, The Dice House.


  • Sat Mar 31, 2007

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    GETTING CLOSER TO A NEW COMPUTER AND A NEW DV CAMCORDER: Yesterday I paid off a smaller signature loan so I am better positioning myself to get a new Imac. I actually want the new MacPro but I can't afford that and a new DV camcorder. I need to upgrade from my present computer and DV camcorder as a neophyte "film maker." But I won't be producing movies of the length to need the MacPro for a while. So I will get the Imac for now and be able to upgrade my camera as well.

    There are some decent domestic DV camcorders hitting the market now with three CCD chips -- i.e. three Charge Couple Device chips, which control brightness. contrast, color brilliance, and definition (resolution) of the pictures the camcorder makes.

    The Chorus for Candice was shot with a small consumer model that has only one CCD chip, and a smaller one at that. The size of the chip counts, so does the number of chips -- one verses three. Pro camcorders have three chips, each dedicated to only one of the three primary colors, and each chip is a half inch in size and has a higher pixel count. You get more vibrant color and better definition, which becomes more important as you show the finished product on larger screens. A one CCD chip camera may be okay for that two minute movie of your kid singing "Thriller" for a 320 X 240 MP4 at YouTube or on your MySpace page, but if you're producing a movie to be projected on a movie screen at a film festival, you need something with the best definition you can get. Even a big screen TV will show low res movies badly.

    The point is, as per the new camcorder, it will be a three CCD camera. Whether or not I go with a domestic or a professional class will depend. If I can find a consumer version that has bigger chips then I'll go with that. I looked at one this morning on-line, priced at $500, but not with chip size that I want. It also does not seem to have a jack for an external microphone, and that is a requirement of mine, too.

    What may happen here is that I apply for a loan for both the Imac and for a lower-end, professional-class DV camcorder. I could look on EBay for a used camcorder of this variety, but to be honest, I'd rather have the warranty that comes with a new model.

    Impatience is rearing its torturous head. There are projects on the slate for this summer. I have several short movies I wish to shoot and I have been approached to direct a project, too. I am itching to have the new toys!

    MTV HERE I COME -- OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT: I won't go into great detail here, but I have been approached by a musician about shooting a few music videos of the CD album he and his band has been recording for a while. I actually told him a while back that I had an interest in doing so, and he said he had already had the same thought. We have just begun talking about the first production, which is a pretty ambition vision on his part and would be a cool challenge to pull together. I have had a few ideas that tie into what he wants.

    BUT, OTHER SUMMER ACTIVITIES...: That music video will demand more than just a few production days and will take some elaborate pre-production. So I do look at the fact that I am on the prowl for another movie role this summer. I also absolutely intend on shooting at least one of the short movies I have in mind this summer, too. And this time I need to have auditions as part of the pre-production. For Candice I pre-cast. I thought of who could play the roles, sent them the scripts and was fortunate that they all came on board. I also will need some help with wardrobe for the new shorts as they will be period pieces. But, I do know several people who are very good at that.

    And I have certainly not discounted auditioning for FutureFest 2007.

    MATERIAL FOR THE TALENT AGENT: During the rehearsal period and the production of The Beard of Avon I told my new agent -- not that there was an "old" agent -- that I would not have time to give to any potential commercials. I also needed (and still do) to provide some color head shots. I tried to get a set together but the photography was amateur and the pictures, well, they sucked. Plus, I am also to provide some voice samples since I am interested in voice work as well as acting gigs.

    I have an appointment with my photographer of choice this coming week and I plan on producing the voice samples tomorrow morning. By the end of the day I should have a CD to hand over. I also produced some samples for a friend recently, but the samples were too long so I had to edit them down. I need to get the fresh edits to him, too.




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