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

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Fri Apr 4, 2008

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MONOLOGUE, MONOLOGUE, WHERE WENT THOU? OH YEAH.....UP !!: So here's where I whine and bitch and moan about myself. We did our prepared audition programs in the "Inside the Audition Process" class Monday evening, as we were to. And it went well, overall.

H o w e v e r . . . . .

That John Crowne monologue did punk me out. I went up about halfway through and had to end the program there. Interesting is that another class member went up on one monologue, too. We discussed how you do not telegraph the situation to your audience. The difference between professionals and amateurs is not that the pro's never go up on their line, but that they NEVER let the audience know when they do. At least I did not telegraph the problem. I stayed in character and tried to work myself out of the corner -- but after about three attempts I ended the program with some ad-lib (I don't even remember what I said) that resembled a conclusion, said "Thank you," and sat down.

Scott asked me if I lost some of the monologue, because he was somewhat familiar with it and knew something was missing. "Yeah," I said, "I went up big time." Scott looked at my classmate who had previously done the same and asked if that person could tell, and that person could not. So that, at least, is good.

But.....still.....DAMN IT!

I had a great monologue and had worked up a great performance of it but tripped myself up.

Earlier we did cold reads, short monologues from Alice in Wonderland. I was not fabulous there, either. I need work on stretching to the outer tensions of bold choices as well as that ever-constant need to sharpen focus. We performed via lottery and I was numero uno. I did the Mad Hatter first and gave a much more subdued -- or, perhaps "timid" is the word -- performance than I had planned. The character voice didn't quite get to the tenor and eccentricity I had practiced in the ten minutes we had to prep. I also did the Countess, and I was a bit better there. Scott commented that he did not hear a drastic difference in the voices, save that I did lend an authentic femininity to the Countess' voice. I also, since I had the sides in my hand, did not move about as much as I could have, hardly at all, in fact. I was concerned about not loosing my place. Well, the lameness of the Mad Hatter had a lot to do with the fact that I was first. That is the reason, just not an acceptable excuse.

On another subject, I'm going to continue to tweak my résumé, based on the healthy portion of résumés Scott brought in from his files as a director. I saw a lot of really great examples that are far more interesting to look at than mine -- even after the changes I have recently made. Now, these examples are not the sort where the design of the document interferes with the substance; the substance is, after all, the point. I do think I can come up with a design that is more than simply utilitarian, to which I believe what I have now essentially is consigned.

AUDITIONS ALL OVER THE PLACE: So Monday through Wednesday of this week was all about auditions. First, the audition class Monday then Tuesday and Wednesday was about actual auditions.

  • CATCH 22 -- Ended up auditioning both Tuesday and Wednesday for the Heller play for Springfield StageWorks. Director Larry Coressel tacked on a third night because he still needs to fill in some roles. Actually, he's added next Monday and Tuesday (April 7 & 8) as well.

    The casting is not done, clearly, but I got word that I am cast as Maj. Major and Col. Cathcart, the two roles I had originally gone after. I'd come to see that there are other roles that I'd be just as happy to have stepped into, especially the chaplain and the psychiatrist. Larry did say I'll probably be cast in at least one more role. I would guess it's something smaller than either of the other two I have mentioned. First off, there were other actors there who would easily fill those roles with great performances.

  • TWO AUDITIONS AT ROOF-GOENNER -- Checked my email late Tuesday night and found I'd had a message and sides for a TV spot audition through my agent. Took off a little early from work on Wednesday to memorize the lines. When I got to the agency, they had another audition for me, too -- a commercial spot (the first one was a political action spot).

    So, Wednesday I auditioned for three things. Makes me feel probably a bit more important than I really am (okay! a LOT more). Hey, "seize the moments, man," sometimes it is okay to buy your own bullshit, even if only for a second or two.

    The Cub's food commercial shoots Monday in Cleveland, and I don't want to trust my car for that drive -- so let us hope I have to be rent a car. I'd go up Sunday, too, and get me a cheap motel room. Hey: tax deductions! *(see next entry). Though, since it's after 6:00 pm on Friday, and the other one shoots on Monday, too, I am guessing I am not booked for either.

MORE PRETENSE: It seems clear that in 2008 I will make enough money from acting that I will need to claim it on my taxes. Now, I have no illusions of making any real money -- though I won't stand in the way of that -- but I know it will be enough to have be dealt with. And there will be at least one 1099, so I might as well start ferreting out those deductions since I will be on the radar, even if only a grain-sized blip.

So I've been doing a little research on what I can claim and it is amazing to me the things that can be legally justified as a write-off for an actor. First of all, mileage driven to auditions, rehearsals, performances are all deductible, even if the production is not paid. Non-paid acting gigs are still considered professional activities because they are keeping the skills sharp. Not including, volunteer mileage, which I can claim, every time I drive anywhere for anything related to The Dayton Theatre Guild, as a board member and volunteer, I have already logged more the 1300 miles since Jan 1. And I did not count any driving related to Park Your Car, where I was producer.

Plus I can justify deducting tickets to theatrical plays (as research -- performance audits); I just bought several packets of index cards which I specifically use to memorize lines and -- for the dramatic improv work for the law school -- character and case facts. Hair cuts and clothing can even be justified, though I haven't put either on the expenses spreadsheet yet.

I have close to $300 in expenses, which, right now, outdoes my '08 income, but I have a few checks still heading my way and a few paying gigs coming up. And, as I write this, the slim possibility of a job next week (off one of the auditions I did at the agency on Wednesday); though as the day moves on without word, it becomes a slimmer possibility, yet. But I am sure I'll have to claim at least a grand this year.

Next year: seven, maybe eight figures!

AND THE "FILM MAKER" HAS HIS NEW TOYS: My Final Draft "Scriptwriter's Suite" arrived Wednesday and I have installed both Final Draft and Final Draft AV. I was able to import the Word doc version of the screenplay for the 40 minute movie into a Final Draft document. A few elements were converted incorrectly, so I've had to go through and change them to the correct elements, and I am not quite done yet. That is still much less of a hassle than re-keying the whole thing, or cutting and pasting the elements from one software to the other.

I've had little chance to sit down with the new software, but, as I've intimated recently, I plan to have good reason to embark soon. Though I barely drove it, I also poked around the template for American stageplay formating. I have some aspirations toward that, too. The AV software I bought more because it seems like a good idea. That software keeps you in proper format for commercials, industrial videos, documentaries, stuff like that. I did open it and look around a little, but I will get much more use out of the Final Draft main software, with screenplays, teleplays (one hour dramas and sitcoms), stageplays, and the like.

There's a boatload of templates specific to script formats for particular productions, too, including CSI (all three branches of the franchise), Bones, X Files, The West Wing, Sex and the City, That 70's Show, My Name Is Earl, Mad TV, Monk, Cold Case, all the Law and Order programs, to name about a quarter of what's included.

The practical purpose of including TV shows that are no longer in production is not immediately evident to me. I suppose it might be because of new screenwriters submitting sample scripts to a TV producer in hopes of being brought onto the writing staff. It is true that If you send a cold submission of a teleplay to the producers of a show, you cannot send them one that is actually for their show. I would say for something like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (the original one) you might want to avoid either of the other two CSI shows, as well as Cold Case or any other TV shows associated with Jerry Bruckheimer that are still in production. I think the reason is that the producers don't want to deal with the hassle of someone accusing them of stealing a script. On the other hand, the "writer" could simply accuse them of stealing the idea and transposing it to a script for the show. And it would seem to me that if I write a sample script for Law and Order: CI and submit it to the producers of the original CSI, it would be smarter to tailor the precise formating as the CSI formating, not the Law and Order: CI formatting.

To be honest, I have yet to look at the show-specific templates to see what the unique qualities are. Frankly, though I have no great aversion to it, becoming a TV writer is not a target of mine, at least not a position as a staff writer.

I suppose the inclusion of the scripts for dead shows is to give examples of how the big-time boys and girls do it.



Tue, Apr 8, 2008

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MORE ON THE AUDITION FOR THE POLITICAL ACTION TV SPOT: First, it is clear I was not cast since the spot shot yesterday. That it shot yesterday, however, leads to a recounting of exactly how the audition needed to be done last Wednesday. The organization producing the spot had moved the production day up so they needed to see the screentests ASAP. So, rather than perform the audition page for a VHS camera, I had to perform it for a web cam.

Problem is, my agency is in an open office area with space close by that is leased by other business. There are no walls nor even partitions separating anyone from anyone else. So, as I sat in front of a PC to record the web movie there was a certain level of office chatter going on around me. It was not an audition scenario I have ever imagined.

You wanna talk about a situation challenging me to work on that "focus" problem of mine. And I did get a little distracted. There were a few takes and I finally just took my script and propped it up as a prompter and if I was ever getting too much conversation in my ear, I glanced to see where I was at. I also repositioned the web cam from on top of the computer screen housing to in front of it, on top of a small plastic file organizer that put the lens at eye level rather than looking down on me. That was probably the director in me -- looking for a better framing of the action.

I have to think it was a bit of an odd screentest to watch, having these voices engaged in an unrelated conversation in the background.

But I have heard of other odd auditions. A fellow tells a story of auditioning in the pool house adjacent to the home of the producer of a touring theatre company. The impresario swam laps while the auditioning actors faced the wall and sang a cappella as loud as they could. The producer was judging each auditioners ability to overcome the reverb in the pool area, both in terms of conveying clear notes as well as clearly enunciating the words over the echo. So there was a method to his madness, but still, it had to have been a weird experience.

My web cam screentest was about expedience. The auditors needed the video clip ASAP, so waiting for the physical transport of the video tape was not practical. But emailing a movie file would get the screentests to them on time. Still, it was off the expected path.

As a side note, I have a new audition coming up for the Ohio Travel and Tourism Bureau, Thursday.

U.D. LAW DRAMATIC IMPROV GIGS: Tonight and next Tuesday I am reprising a role that I did last Nov/Dec for a law class, the role of a psychiatrist who has a sort of custody dispute, over his son, with his wife. I am revisiting the notes and facts from last time.

This Saturday I'm reprising another role as a witness in a mock trial, a wrongful death civil suit.

MISCELLANY

  • Sunday, while at a friends doing my laundry, I, for the first time, saw one of my actor friend's in their commercial spot. I have known a few who have had spots run, but somehow I have always missed them. So, I am kind of excited -- freshman that I am -- to be able to see a commercial spot on TV and say, "Hey! I know her/him!" The particular friend is Natasha Randall in an Aldi's commercial.
  • Now that I have Final Draft I am so very aware that the software is there on my computer waiting for me to make use of it.


  • Fri Apr 11, 2008

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    LOOKING FOR PRODUCERS FOR MY DV MOVIE PROJECT: I have finally got the text up and running for the calls for two different types of producers for the movie projects. I have placed a classified for both producer positions at Craig's List as well as at my MySpace page. And I will use other avenues, too. I should be checking into Yahoo groups, shouldn't I. As you can see above, I have added a page to my domain space here, too.

    Essentially, I'm looking for a second producer and also a co-producer, (both who live in or close to the greater Dayton, Ohio area). The page has much detail: www.theWriteGallery.com/call_producers.html.

    It also has an email address to contact me about the project: tp_dv_movs@earthlink.net.

    Let's see what happens.

    CATCH 22: Director Larry Coressel held additional auditions this past Monday through Wednesday in search of the lead role of Yossarian as well as to bring on a couple more men to fill out the multi-casting. I have not heard yet if the whole show is cast, but I have been assigned two more roles.

    I am Maj. Major, Col. Cathcart, Cpl. Whitcomb and an M.P. I don't think I have any lines as the M.P., only because the M.P. who does the talking ends up in a conversation with Maj. Major, and I don't think we are going that abstract with the multi-casting.

    Rehearsals should start this coming week and I anticipate the read though to be this Monday.

    YESTERDAY'S AUDITION FOR THE OHIO TOURISM AND TRAVEL BUREAU: Went well -- and quick. Two short lines. According to the storyboards, if I were to be cast I would be on set with Chrissie Hynde, one time front Woman for The Pretenders, but, more importantly a friend Of Paul McCartney's. Now that would be a very cool thing to meet a bone fide rock-n-roll heavy-weight.

    TOMORROW'S U.D. LAW DRAMATIC IMPROV: The mock trial session is tomorrow morning. I have to really prep tonight. Fortunately, as I have said, this is a reprisal from a year ago, so mostly what I am doing is refreshing my memory.



    Sun Apr 13, 2008

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    YESTERDAY'S U.D. LAW DRAMATIC IMPROV: The gig went well last morning. I was not on the stand for very long. The attorneys for the plaintiff, for whom my character is a witness, kept it simple and short. The Defense hardly asked me anything on cross, either, in fact, they asked less. In the prep, my side anticipated a whole line of questioning that would impugn my character, but that was not the strategy of the Defense, whatsoever. So, a lot of the facts and such with which I drilled myself last night to reacquaint myself with were not brought out. But my Michael Parker was moved to a welling up of tears due to his grief over the untimely death of his betrothed -- just like last year.

    And I still cannot tell you how I get there on the occasions that I do, as an actor. My "method" is sometimes a "mystery" to me.

    Now, I prep myself for the counceling sessions next Tuesday with the law students who interviewed my psychiatrist charecter last Tuesday. Easy prep though. The notes I was given is a half letter-sized page long and is mostly instructions about attitude.

    CATCH 22: The show is now completely cast and we have two table reads, tomorrow then on Tuesday. Here is the list straight from Director Larry Coressel's email:

    Yossarian -- Aidan Horstman

    Major Major / Col. Cathcart / Corp. Whitcomb / M.P. -- K.L.Storer

    Luciana / Nurse Duckett / Patient's Mother / Daneeka's Mother-in-Law -- Mollie Dixon

    Nately's Whore / Nately's Mother / Mrs. Daneeka / Old Woman / 2nd Doctor -- Janelle Chamness

    Clevinger / Nately's Father / Capt. Black / 1st Investigating Officer / C.I.D. Man -- Bengt Gregory-Brown

    Chaplain / Patient / Psychiatrist / Nately / Snowden -- Ryan Hester

    Doc Daneeka / Lt. Col. Korn / Old Man -- Ron Weber

    Texan / Sgt. Towser / M.P. -- Wayne Justice

    Milo / 1st Doctor / Patient's Father / Aarfy -- Brenton Boitse

    Wintergreen / McWatt / Patient's Brother / 2nd Investigating Officer -- Josh Katawick

  • A CORRECTION -- I stated in the last post that "the M.P. who does the talking ends up in a conversation with Maj. Major"; that's not true. I was thinking of a scene with the C.I.D. Man. I, in fact, did a cursory look through the script just now and I think maybe there are no lines for either M.P. And at least they are not even in any scenes with Major, Cathcart or Whitcomb.
  • For the three roles I have who do speak, I have gone through the script and highlighted each with his own color: Maj. Major got yellow, Col. Cathcart got orange, Cpl. Whitcomb got green. Need to get the lines on tape now. Yep, it's time to memorize some lines again.

    I am looking forward to doing these three (four) characters, too. What I mean to say is, I look forward to playing four different characters on stage in the same show. The big challenge is Maj. Major and Col. Cathcart, only because they are in many ways much alike. Both represent the insanity of military protocol and chain of command -- though I know that's actually an over-simplification as well as that I have many more revelations about them to come. But, it is essentially not a false statement and they do need to be dramatically distinguishable for me and for the audience. So, I have got to make each as distinctive as I can. Then I have to throw in a completely different characterization of Whitcomb. Great opportunity to attack that exercise of making bold choices that I wrote of in terms of the audition class last month. Playing multiple roles is a new thing for me. Of course I did so as John Heminge and Lord Burleigh for The Beard of Avon, but Burleigh was a so distinct from Heminge -- and also not as substantial to the script -- that it was not all that difficult. If I get my ducks in a row and start working on this all, oh, like, say, perhaps today, I should be up to the challenge.

    The different colors for each character's lines is meant to help remind me they are different people who are to be played differently. I think it will indeed help, especially at first. When I was in 'Art', my castmate Dennis Latimer (Yvan), gave this wonderfully funny monologue where Yvan imitates his mother and his fiancé as he recounts the story of a feud leading up to his wedding. For the sections where Yvan quotes the women, Dennis assigned each woman her own color, both different from the highlighting for Yvan. That served Dennis well, so I am assuming it will serve me well, too.

    AREN'T YOU SCOTT GRAY?: That is the title of the audio play recently written and directed by David Sherman, and in which he cast me and many other local actors, including Mark Diffenderfer who plays the title role. I got my copy of the CD yesterday and it is a very entertaining little drama. David did it as part of his curriculum for the Wright State University Motion Picture Production Program. Like I said a few weeks back, the point is, I believe, to force the film makers to focus on how sound helps tell the story. And indeed there is much well-placed and interesting sound in the production. David certainly tells his story well both with dialogue and SFX. And it is an interesting story, too. And I sound just Wonderful, Darling !

    SELF PROMOTION: Scott Stoney talked, during the audition class, about how actors should sent out postcards, with their pictures on it, promoting whatever production they are up in next. It should be sent to all the theatre companies and auditors they have interest in working with. It let's these people know that the actor is getting cast -- is working (regardless of whether or not that work has a paycheck attached). This is food for thought and I believe I am going to consider it. I have the technical know-how to create the postcards, so, hell, why not?

    A MISCELLANEOUS NOTE: I managed to drop off two copies of the DVD for The Chorus for Candice at the Guild yesterday. Since Lisa Sadai is in rehearsals for Boston Marriage there, I dropped off hers and her son Ben's copies. Now a total of four people connected with the movie finally have their copies.



    Wed Apr 16, 2008

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    CATCH 22: So we've done two table reads, Monday and yesterday. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the whole cast was not there for either night -- there were at least a few people missing both times.

    I played a little with the voices of my three main characters. I started out Monday by using essentially the same voice affectation for Maj. Major that I had in the audition, an up-in-the-back-of-the-throat voice in the realm of Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazard and Gen. Barker on M*A*S*H). But the voice evolved a little, and by Maj. Major's last appearance at the table last night he had a bit of the quality of Don Adams (aka: Maxwell Smart: secret agent). I had noticed it as I was doing the reading; it was not a deliberate shift but it works for me. Larry Coressel, our director, noted this same thing, after the rehearsal, and agreed that it works.

    Cathcart started out as loud, bombastic and pompous. He has stayed right there, which is where he needs to be. Cpl. Whitcomb, needs to be drastically distinct from Maj. Major, especially because he usually appears either just before or just after Maj. Major. Larry had me slow him down and last night, at first read, what I was doing was not really working for me. It was a whiney sort of nasal bit that just didn't cut it. So, right after his first appearance was over, I noted that I had quite a lot of pages before I was on as anyone. I went out into the hall and worked on a better voice. What came out is a southern droller, maybe West Virginian. And his tonal quality and placement, his accent and his drawn-out speech work well for the text he speaks.

    The M.P. -- which has changed from 2nd M.P. to 1st M.P. -- has three lines in Act II and I have not got him down yet. I'm not really not worried about. I'll keep fiddling with him during rehearsals and memorization drills and he will come.

    Along with all their lines having their own color of highlighting, I have decided I am going to memorize each character's lines while using their voices. I will not necessarily concern myself with the emotional deliveries, but I do want to physically effect each character's voice as I say the lines -- so I will sound like Maj. Major memorizing lines when I memorize his, etc, etc. The idea here is that it will aid me in keeping each characterization and the associated voice strong to each. I am hoping this will keep me in practice so I can keep them all straight in my mind and ultimately embed each with their words.

    U.D. LAW DRAMATIC IMPROV GIG YESTERDAY: Not much to tell. It went okay.

    MORE DORK STUFF FROM A LATE-YEAR FRESHMAN -- OR, AT BEST, MID-YEAR SOPHOMORE ACTOR
    OR -- I'll be moving to Belaire any day now.

    First official paycheck as an actor through my talent agent
    As is my tradition, in order to jock-block myself from actually looking as if I might even remotely be one of the cool kids, here's another "first" actor's paycheck for me. This, my first official paycheck for a job through my talent agency. Not too bad for about three hours work. Of course, a Tom Hanks or a George Clooney would make roughly $125 thousand for the same period, but just wait until I am picked up by William Morris. That Lamborghini is just a few months away!

    There was, by-the-way, no FICA withheld, no fed, state or local taxes withheld, no medicaid, no nothing. It's a check from an agent to an independent contractor. Just like the checks from the University of Dayton. That would be why I kept my receipt for the packet of highlighters I just bought, and recorded the puchased items, their purpose ("script memorization tool"), and the expenditure ($2.44). It would be why I have recorded, up to and including yesterday, 1602.5 miles already logged on my car for acting related travel. It's also why I have opened up a second savings account with my bank and am depositing 30% of all my earnings when there is no withholdings taken. I'll also deposit into this account some small portion from smaller checks with less percentage of withholdings taken out, to make up the difference toward 30% of the gross. I am going to have my deductions, and, as well, will have this money put back, in case I still owe despite the deductions. And I am guessing I could very well owe. But, with the money set aside, I should have created my own little "tax return." I just have to keep my hands out of the cookie jar during the year. The other good thing is that I will be the one earning the interest on that money all year. And the new account is a personal capital money management account; the interest will be higher than a regular savings account.



    Fri Apr 18, 2008

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    OPENING TONIGHT

    BOSTON MARRIAGE by David Mamet at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    at
    The Dayton Theatre Guild



    Sun Apr 20, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Our first night of blocking was last Thursday. For me, Maj. Major's first scene was up. With some low-grade of glee I am happy to report that my work with Bruce Cromer in the Stage Combat class last October at the Human Race Theatre Company made itself useful. Twice in that opening scene, Maj. major is tackled to the ground by Cap. Yossarian. In between our director, Larry Coressel's understanding of how to choreograph the tackles, and what I learned (from the limited volume I picked up and retained in my session) with Bruce, the tackles will work quite well. The actor who is tackled or otherwise accosted on stage is actually who is in control of that action. The other actor follows the lead but presents the illusion of exerting energy. For instance, in our tackles, Aidan Horstman (Yossarian) grabs me, then I take over and step to the ground in what I hope does not look like a step to the ground; I pull Aidan down with me by virtue of his holding on to me and keeping himself with me; meanwhile, Aiden is posturing and gesturing in a manner that says he is exerting energy -- but he is not. So he grabs me, then I take him to the floor. But the audience sees Yossarian grab Maj. Major and unceremoniously push him down.

    It may be too soon to say this, but I believe I am at least 80% up on Maj. Major in terms of characterization. This is mostly because he is such a "character" character. Though I don't want to play any of these men strictly two-dimensional. I guess that's what I work on from this point: as odd as their motivations may be, rather than "telling the joke" of their lines, I climb into a sincerity of their motives, so that they don't have a clue they are odd, they're just trying to achieve what they are trying to achieve.

    This is similar to the character of Lance last summer in Gary Flaxman's Playing God for FutureFest 2007, which, I might interject, was directed by Saul Caplan, who happens to be the director of our current production at the Guild -- *see below... and below. But, back on track, Lance pretty much is a stereotype of a Brooklyn mook, and I could not ignore that, but I had to try to make him the actual Brooklyn guy the stereotype is based on. Here, with Catch 22 I have to embrace the weirdness of Maj. Major and Col. Cathcart. Cpl. Whitcomb is a little less of a weird guy though he certainly is quirky to some extent in his own right. The M.P. -- well he is, just in terms of his utility to the story, an absolute stereotype, so he really doesn't enter much into this discussion. It's Major and Cathcart who need my great attention, to play up their oddities but not let them be merely cartoon characters.

    And Maj. Major, especially, has some very real moments in this play that need to be worked toward.

    Ya know? I sometimes read what I write here and think to myself how pretentious I can be.

    BOSTON MARRIAGE AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: I don't sit in the audience until next Friday. I have been at the theatre both Friday and yesterday as house manager (and will be there again today), but as is my practice I have tried to attend as little as possible to the stagework. I have been aware of some fine work, however, from all three ladies, all of whom I already find to be very talented actors. The audiences have been enjoying it.

    THE GUILD 2008/09 SEASON: The season is now officially released by the board, via a flyer insert in the playbill for Boston Marriage, so I can list the season here without feeling like a mole.

      the 2008/09 theme:    THE CO$T OF LIVING

    1. OUTWARD BOUND   by Sutton Vane
      Sep 26-Oct 12, 2008

      A true Guild classic, Outward Bound presents a varied group of travelers who have boarded a cruise ship for a destination none of them can seem to recall. It was the first play produced by the new Guild after its reorganization and resurrection in 1945 -- with the performances at the Dayton Art Institute. Today, this play is still a spellbounding work of humor and pathos that examines the price people will pay, often unwillingly, for the lives they have lived.

    2. THE COVER OF  LIFE   by R.T. Robinson
      November 21-Dec 7, 2008

      Three young women have married three brothers just before the brothers have gone off to war in 1943, and the women have moved in with their mother-in-law. Their tale has all the heartwarming elements of a good home-front story so Life Magazine sends a reporter to do a cover story. Relationships are revealed as riddled with potential conflict as this evolves into a deeply affecting story about the struggle for, and the price of, self worth.

    3. CATFISH MOON   by Laddy Sartin
      Jan 9-25, 2009

      A hilarious look at fishing, beer and the meaning of life, particularly as they pertain to aging, friendship and the struggle between men and women, or more precisely, the struggles between men over women. In the end, it is a story about friendship.

    4. THE PARIS LETTER   by Jon Robin Baitz
      Feb 27-Mar 15, 2009

      Sex.... Power.... Money. A Wall Street powerhouse finds his personal and professional life threatened by the unraveling secrets of his past. A tragic game of financial and moral betrayal is played out over four decades and between two friends at the cost of family, friendship, love and marriage.

    5. THE CA$HIER   by Glen Merzer
      Apr 17-May 3, 2009

      What happens when an aspiring artist takes a summer job with the IRS and finds himself awash in the land of regulation without reason and reasons without explanations? Once inside this faceless bastion of bureaucracy he finds himself caught up in the daily and very unique lives of his fellow workers with a very unexpected result in this warm and humorous play.

    6. FUDDY MEERS   by David Lindsay-Abaire
      June 5-21, 2009

      Claire has a rare form of amnesia that erases her memory whenever she falls asleep. With the help of her husband and a little scrapbook, she rebuilds her life each day. But today is not her usual stroll down amnesia lane. Get ready for a wild, careening adventure with Claire and the most outrageously dark yet funny characters to visit the Guild stage in many a year.

    • ADD-ON(S) -- there will undoubtedly be an add-on show, or two, during the season, at Christmas time, etc. Titles, as-of-yet, are undetermined.


    Wed Apr 23, 2008

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    CATCH 22: We have the first act blocked; tonight we run it all again. I am a little concerned because we have yet to have the full cast present that was needed; there's often been at least one actor not there for a scene.

    Doing a little bit of tweaking on the voices for my characters. For one thing, at the behest of Director Larry Coressel, I am slowing Cathcart's speech down. Larry wants to draw a wider distinction between Cathcart and Maj. Major.

    FILM MAKER GUY: I will be getting together soon with a potential director of photography (DP) for the upcoming movie projects. I've also been in touch with a potential production assistant (PA). No other developments to report.

    UPDATES ON MOVIES I AM IN: Actually, it's "non-updates." There is no recent news on any of Nona, Ghostbusters: Spook University, or Still Me. The first two have, I believe, been caught in SPFX post. Beth McElhenny has actually expanded the script and shot more footage for Still Me, and it is in some stage of editing.



    Thu Apr 24, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Worked on Act I last night. Rehearsed in The State Theatre (where we did Endgame in '05) as opposed to at the Bushnell Building. Bushnell is booked Wednesday evenings up until the week of dress rehearsal.

    No significant developments concerning Maj. Major, Col. Cathcart or Cpl. Whitcomb. But, as I said last night when I'd finished the Whitcomb scene in Act I, I can't wait to get the book out of my hand so I can play with the characters' movements more. Whitcomb is going to especially fun in terms of gestures and movement.

    Tonight we get into Act II.

    UPCOMING MOVIE PROJECTS: I am looking into the idea of whether or not I should create an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for the productions. I actually have the creation of a production company on my agenda anyway. So, I have contacted a lawyer I know and will make an appointment soon to determine if an LLC is wise, though, at this juncture, my layman knowledge suggests no reasons why it would not be wise -- but I'll let the woman with the law degree give me her input. As I said in my email to her, "I see these forthcoming projects as a reason to jump in and get the company started."

    And Saturday, I have brunch with the man I hope is my DP for both movies. I will bring him a copy of the screenplay for project two, as well as my ideas about project one. I ought to have at least a sketchy treatment for the first, but I don't. And I've no time between now and then to write one up, so, I guess it will be a verbal treatment.

    GOOD CLIPS FOR BOSTON MARRIAGE: Our current Guild production got two very favorable reviews this week. I will drop in some nice quotes from both in an entry in the next day or two.



    Sat Apr 26, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Haven't got all my lines onto index flash cards yet, which now has become pretty much S-O-P for me. Tomorrow I am dedicating as much of the day to line memorization drilling as I can. We are expected to be off-book on Monday, May 12; that will be here before too long. In putting my lines on cards I am only finishing up the second scene I am in, and already am at more than one-hundred dialogue tags for me. That may be less than half the total number. So, there is no haste in getting this stuff in my brain as soon as I can.

    UPCOMING MOVIE PROJECTS: Had brunch with the man who is essentially on board as my DP. I now need to fit in writing that treatment for the first project that I didn't have time to write up before the meeting.

    Still also need to get with the lawyer about the LLC. I left a message on her para-legal assistant's voice mail Friday afternoon and that has not been responded to yet. But I am sure I will meet with the lawyer this coming week.

    A PROBABLY BIASED RESPONSE TO BOSTON MARRIAGE AT THE GUILD: As I told the director, Saul Caplan, earlier today, I was not at all surprised, based on the cast, that I found the performance I sat in last night exceptional. All three ladies impress me as top notch actors and they each measured up. I, of course have seen much more of Lisa Sadia's and Elena Monigold's fine work on stage, but I have seen Sarah in a few auditions and saw clearly from those that she got skill. And, well, to gush, the ensemble was -- as some in the theatre are want to say -- Just Fabulous.

    * * *

    As for those reviews I mentioned earlier, Terry Morris (Dayton Daily News) declares that "[a]lmost deliciously, the truth [of the women's desires and motives] comes out." He calls Saul's direction "effectively subtle" and says it "allows [David] Mamet's words to lead, rather than telegraphing developments or overreacting to them."

    Meanwhile, Russell Florence Jr. (Dayton City Paper) writes that Lisa and Elena both "skillfully handle Mamet's snappy dialogue" and that Sarah "humorously complements the chatty action." Of Saul's direction he says it was done with "sophisticated delicacy."

    And both men praised Carol Finley's wardrobe design, too.

    * * *

    As another aside -- even further afield -- see below at its promo for the cast of The Guild's next production, Amy's View.

    AND THEN, THERE'S THE GENERAL AUDITION: Monday The Human Race Theatre Company starts making appointments for the general auditions for the 2008/09 season. Last year I goofed and made my appointment late and cut into the afternoon of the tech Sunday rehearsal for American Buffalo. As fate will decree, the generals are the same weekend as the tech Sunday for Catch 22. This time I want to get my call into HRTC early so I can get a Saturday afternoon audition. I need it to be in the afternoon because I also have a Dayton Theatre Guild board meeting that morning and I want time to warm-up, rehearse and prep myself for the audition before I get there.

    I just bought three of the plays from the season -- the three that seem a fit for me; though I will admit one is a pipe-dream in terms of my chances to be cast. But, last year Marsha Hanna asked me if there were any plays I was specifically interested in and I could not give her an answer. This year I will be able to. I am, however, still in flux about what my monologues will be.



    Mon, Apr 28, 2008

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    CATCH 22: As it turns out, getting the rest of my lines on flash cards was more of a chore than I had expected. Yesterday ended up being much about that. I also ran into a bit of other business that needed attention. So, the long day of line drills while I cleaned my apartment did not happen. What I did was create a big pile of flash cards for my lines.

    The final count is 241 cards (241 dialogue tags). That's technically divided between four characters, but in practical terms it's 238 divided between Maj. Major, Col. Cathcart and Cpl./Sgt. Whitcomb, a mean average of 79 for each, though I think Cathcart actually has more, followed by Maj. Major. And I truly don't know what the hell difference any of this makes, save for the fact that I got a lot of sentences to brand on the hide of my brain.

    I have set aside next Friday evening and all day Saturday for the intensive drilling. I even scheduled this on my iCal which makes it as reflective of the truth as a colored pie-chart on the front page of USA Today, especially since I also imported it to my cell phone calendar and my Thunderbird-Lightning calendar at work.

    So now I must!

    Think I'll try to gradually get the lines recorded on audio, too, during the course of the week. Plus, I will be working with the flash cards whenever possible this week.

    ANOTHER "I STAND CORRECTED" MOMENT: I had been saying that Boston Marriage was the only David Mamet show I was aware of that had neither any men on stage nor any use of the F word.

    Well, there are no men.

    APPOINT THIS: Two important appointments have just been set

    • I am meeting with that lawyer this week to look at setting up the LLC. Because, you know, since the economy is going in the toilet, what better time for a guy with no liquid and no capital to incorporate himself?
    • Made my appointment for the general auditions for the 2008/09 season of the Human Race Theatre Company at 9:30 on the dot this morning. So, I am in at the exact preferred time I wanted on Saturday afternoon, May 17. Now all I got to do is settle on my monologues.


    Thu May 1, 2008

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    CATCH 22: One actor has had to drop out of the production. David Kabbes is in to replace Josh Katawick. David was at rehearsal last night, not having been contacted very long at all before rehearsal began -- I'm given to understand it was within the hour beforehand. From what I saw just last night, Mr. Kabbes has got some serious skill on stage.

    THAT LLC THING: The lawyer I went to see has advised me to develop a more solid idea of just exactly what I want any LLC or other corporation to do for me before she and I pursue any filings. The main concern is that after it's all set up I come to see that I really wanted the corporation to serve me in a different manner.

    She advised me to get with another local actor who has something set up as an umbrella for various artistic ventures. The irony is that the self-same actor emailed me a few weeks back about comparing notes on my planned movie project and his upcoming movie project. I just hadn't got back with him yet. So, now I am motivated to make the call I already was going to make. Actually, I emailed him last night about us getting together.

    Additionally, she has suggested I talk with another local person who will have some deep insights into how to get a bigger movie project off the ground. And it is someone who should be relatively accessible to me.

    OH LET THE WALLS BEGIN TO SHAKE -- NEW WORK ON MY NOVEL. . . . . ALMOST: The on-line posting of the early section of my novel manuscript, Starting for the Sun, has been updated. I have removed the Prologue. I've been on the verge of this for at least a year. I'd come to believe the prologue is now, due to a rewrite of the novel, superfluous and that the novel starts out better without it. I have still also kept an epigraph from chapter one, as well. I may end up putting one there, if I can make it short and snappy. But, to be honest I think the novel starts out well as it does right now:

    "It wasn't good, what L.D.'s dad said to his mom."          






    Click on the icon:          
    'STARTING FOR THE SUN' a novel by K.L.Storer


    Fri May 2, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Yesterday I decided to play with Col. Cathcart's voice. I decided I did not like what I've been doing. I did not get a change I am yet happy with, but I have some idea where to go. Director Larry Coressel is on page with me about this. I want to get a more gruff sound in there and he agrees. Of course, I have to affect a gruff voice that won't wear my larynx out. I have three other character voices to do during the show, and I don't want to tire my voice out and adversely affect those. And, well, I don't want to cause damage, either, obviously. I am going to have to build myself back up to the more thorough and intense vocal warm-ups and work outs. I always slack off of more rigerous warm-ups when I'm not in direct need.

    All RIGHT! All RIGHT ! I often slack off, altogether, unless I am auditioning, in rehearsal or in production. And, that is a bad habit, or rather lack of good habit: not making vocal warm-ups routine.

    Tonight and tomorrow will be dedicated to line drills and voice work. I am off to begin this just shortly after this blog entry is posted, as a matter of fact.

    M O V I E,   L L C,   WHATEVER: May be getting together to consult with the aformentioned actor who has a corporation set up similar to what I am considering. Tentativley should meet with him in about a week.

    Still need to write-up that treatment for the first project, too.

    R_1_N_G_0: I will take a bit of a break tomorrow morning. An old friend of Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson will be performing in concert in July at The Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio (Kettering also the home town of Nancy Cartwright -- Bart Simpson). The tickets go on sale tomorrow morning. I and some friends would like to see this fellow -- the husband of Barbara Bach, this ex-band member of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the one time narrator of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends, this Merlin the Magician, this Beatle, this Ringo Starr.

    Another item not really at all related to my "Artful Things," but, hey, he was a Beatle!



    Sun May 4, 2008

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    CLOSING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    BOSTON MARRIAGE by David Mamet at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    The cast of Boston Marriage

    Lisa Sadai            Anna
    Elena Monigold            Claire
    Sarah Caplan            Catherine



    Mon, May 5, 2008

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    CATCH 22 LINE DRILLS: Was sick all damned weekend. Friday and Saturday were not at all productive for me in hardly any manner. I did get some line work done Saturday, but not any wonderful productivity happened. Sunday I did much better though I did not kick out the whole play as had been my plan. I did get to character tag number 148, so I can claim to be about 60% through. My goal now is to chip away at the some good portion of the remaining 40% during the week, then polish off what?s left this weekend, mostly Saturday.

    I am not perfect on the 60% by any stretch of the imagination, but it's all committed to memory reasonably well. The off-book deadline is a week from today and I anticipate I will be in decent shape.

    LEGAL INCORPORATION: Have an appointment with the actor who has incorporated himself to talk with him next Sunday afternoon. After that I hope to have a better understanding about what might work best for me, LLC, other Inc. or no legal entity at all.

    OTHER MOVIE PROJECT CONSIDERATIONS: And I still need to fit in the writing of a treatment for the first movie project of two I have planned. Plus there is another fast and easy project (on going project) that can be thrown together rather quickly. And I may contact a few people that can work well with this one and see if we can get something going. The DP fellow is on board with this third idea, already.



    Tue, May 6, 2008

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    coming soon!!

    GHOSTBUSTERS:
    SPOOK UNIVERSITY

    Teaser B

    Yay! Maybe. This new trailer reveals a few CGI special effects, but I don't know that there is a final cut. I emailed the director, Mike Sopronyi, but he has not yet got back with me. I know there are a few places where the SPFX is supposed to be elaborate. There's a scene with a very large gathering of ghosts, for instance. Those scenes may not have their SPFX, yet.

    But at least we see real progress. Now if I could just find out what's going on with the Stephen King Dollar Baby movie, Nona.

    CATCH 22: We ran Act I twice last night. I didn't actually try it "off book," but I only looked at the pages when necessary, and it was often not at all necessary.

    Tonight we finish blocking Act II (scene 7) and then run Act II. I will be reading from the pages quite a bit more, tonight, totally so in the second part of the act.



    Thu May 8, 2008

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    CATCH 22: First a minor correction that no one but I will care at all about -- it was finishing off the blocking of Scene 8 that finished off Act II, not Scene 7, as I wrote last time.

    Last night was a longer rehearsal. We ran the whole show up to what was not yet blocked, then those of us in that end section stayed and Larry finished off the show's blocking. Must admit I was a little less on top of the lines from Act I and the portion of II I have worked on than I was the night before, but I'm not yet 100% off-book on that material anyway.

    The character work is coming along. I have some distinct mannerisms for each of the four men that I am happy with. Not to suggest I am done playing and honing, but I do like the directions I have taken each.

    Maj. Major moves just a few degrees short of spastic or jerky. I suppose "expressively animated" might be a good description for his body movement as well as his facial expressions. His voice is still based on a weird marriage of Sorrell Booke and Don Adams.

    Col. Cathcart is rigid but with a bigger-than-life energy. He keeps his head held high and his hands often clasped behind him (well, they will be once I get the book out of my hand). I had originally used the crinkled face, the turned up mouth, for Major, but I have transfered that facial trait to Cathcart. The voice has evolved into a cliché of George C. Scott's gravelly barks as Gen. Patton. This works well though because Cathcart is a cliché and the least three-dimensional character I play in the show. Even the M.P., who is only on for forty-five seconds, is a fuller human being than Cathcart.

    Cpl./Sgt. Whitcomb is also expressively animated but is so with a chip on his shoulders. His gestures are all sharp movements, each seeping with accusation and bitter paranoia. He points his fingers a lot. The voice is still the snarky southerner I came up with during the read through.

    The M.P. Is still the least defined for me in terms of both voice and movement. I think I will work on him some tonight.

    I have not bothered with back-story for any of the characters here. My instincts say that such isn't necessary for this. In a satire like this show, all these characters are to me a blatant function of story telling in a more straight-forward manner than in a regular drama or even most comedies. Certainly all characters in all plays (movie, books, operas) are vehicles for the story, but here I feel no need to have great senses of the being of the characters. More so I feel a need to understand their part in the narrative. If I were to back story it'd be probably Maj. Major and Whitcomb. Maj. Major is deceptively shallow throughout most of the play only to betray himself as not quite so, in the end. He ultimately is one of the real 3-D characters in this play, along with, I think, Yossarian and the Chaplain. Oh, well, yes, and Snowden, who just by virtue of his main purpose must be 3-D. And Whitcomb needs to be fully dimensional or he is not as effective as the gnat buzzing around the chaplain that he is to be.

    No rehearsal tonight because quite a few of the youngins in the cast are performing in their last high school concert for the year. So it's an extra space for others of us to get some line work in.

    Theoretically ALL of the cast members will, for the very first time, be at rehearsal tomorrow night. I hope so. We are two weeks away from Opening Night.

    MORE ON "COMING SOON! -- GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY  ": The movie's director, Mike Sopronyi, responded to my inquiry about what "soon" means. It does not mean soon as in a few weeks or even a few months. He got a graphics program that enabled him to add the visual effects of the lasers, the smoke and the ectoplasm, but he still needs more powerful software and real CGI guys to create the ghosts, and especially that one large gathering I wrote of before. He told me he may be enlisting help from "out of state." He's referring to the "geographic" state. . . I think.



    Mon, May 12, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Unfortunately two actors were inexplicably absent from Friday's rehearsal, so we still as of yet have not had a rehearsal on our feet with the whole cast present. This makes me nervous. Instead of doing what had been planned, running the whole show, but Act II first, we ran the show from AI:S1, but we skipped some scenes that heavily relied on one or both of those missing actors. A couple scenes that I'm in heavily were of those skipped, which does not really upset me, but I believe that it is much less likely for a cast or any actor to be "over rehearsed" than it is for a cast or an actor to be "under rehearsed." In fact I beleive we see far more of the results of the latter on stage than we ever do of the former, especially in community theatre. But it made sense to move on Friday night, rehearsing myself with thin air across from me on stage and the AD's voice off stage feeding me cues would not have been a productive use of cast rehearsal time.

    Won't it be nice if we actually have a full cast at tonight's rehearsal?

    As for my off-book status, since tonight we do Act I off-book, I suppose I am in pretty good shape, especially with the first act. But I do have the whole show in my head now -- er, uh, well, I mean, I have all MY lines in my head, though sans perfect recall. I am getting back to the gym now as much as I can, and I plan to be in there between the end of the paycheck job and rehearsal tonight, with my flash cards for Act I in hand.

    Dropped by the area Halloween and novelty store, Foy's, in Fairborn, on Saturday to scope out some of the hats I might want. I have a forest camouflage cap that I am using for Cpl./Sgt. Whitcomb, along with a military camouflage shirt. I still need headwear for Maj. Major, Cathcart and the M.P. I was really hoping I'd find M.P. helmets at Foy's, but, no such luck as far as the stereotypical white M.P.'s helmet goes. I also need the fake nose and glasses for Maj. Major, and I actually forgot to look for those.

    I have this thought about the fake nose and glasses and Maj. Major. He wants to avoid everyone and everything in that war zone as his first scene with his aid Sgt. Towser shows:

    MAJ. MAJOR: Sergeant Towser, from now on I don't want anyone to come into my office to see me while I'm here. Is that clear?

    SGT. TOWSER: What shall I say to the people who come to see you...?

    MAJOR: Tell them I'm in and ask them to wait.

    TOWSER: Yes, sir. For how long?

    MAJOR: Until I've left.

    TOWSER: How will you be able to leave, sir, when someone is waiting outside to see you?

    MAJOR: Through the window. From now I'll be coming and going through the window. I don't want to see anyone, and I don't want anyone to see me. Is that clear?

    Maj. Major has the motif of the fake nose and glasses that he wears whenever he's not in his office. I have a set of spectacles that I picked up for the role of Dr. Mayberry in I Never sang for My Father. I had brought them in to a rehearsal of this show, along with the black frames I just used for Dick Jensen in The Best Man, for Ryan Hester to look at as possible props for the psychiatrist. He went with the black frames so I decided I'd use the specs for Maj. Major. I had actually forgotten about the fake glasses and nose when I made the decision. But when I remembered, it hit me: it would be funny if Major wore those little spectacles under the fake nose and glasses. What a great, sneaky little metaphor for how he's actually not crazy, that under the fake glasses and nose of the man trying to be invisible in the madness, he's actually just a college professor trying to do his duty but with as big a distaste for it all as Yossarian has. That he, like Yossarian, sees the picture clearly. But maybe I am thinking too much. Still, it touches upon perhaps the core theme of Catch 22:

    The sane are those whose mental and emotional states and whose behaviors are affected by war. The ones who maintain a stable composure in a war zone are the crazy ones.

    What Maj. Major is doing is trying to check-out of the insanity of what's going on around him. But he is a patriot, and even believes in the cause. As he says toward the end of the play, "I'm a college professor whose trying to serve his country." When Yossarian later asks him how he can work for the military men he has to work for, he says, "I try not to think of them. I try to only think of my country." Yet he is the only voice in the establishment -- the officers up the chain of command -- who expresses a desire to not be killed, who discusses how it's normal to be afraid to die, who alludes to death as more than a simple fact of war.

    His crazy behavior is his sanity in flight from the surrounding insanity. I even have a great chance to have him react to the absurdities when engaged in a conversation with two C.I.D. men. My Maj. Major rolls his eyes and shows exasperation with these idiots.

    ME AND MY MOVIES: I went yesterday to visit with that actor who is too becoming a film maker as I hope to. This the man I was referred to by the lawyer to discuss to some extent how he uses his class S corporation as an umbrella for his creative arts ventures.

    We won't discuss the fact that he lives about an hour from me, but since I got lost, and actually in his neck of the woods, the trip down was almost two hours! You'd better believe I recorded all the mileage.

    I got a bit of a better idea of what I might do as far as the incorporation idea, but I clearly still have some homework to do. I must say that all in all, the LLC still looks like the best bet, if I indeed do go with a corporate entity model.

    Of other importance about the visit, he showed me a small interior stage he has set up along with an exterior of the same structure out in the woods on his property, these for a screenplay of his he'll start to shoot this summer. He also has a Macpro, FinalCut Studio 2, and an upper mid-range Cannon HD DV camera.

    We compared notes to some extent about our forthcoming movie projects and he has offered to let me shoot some of this immediate movie project of mine at his place, as well as the use of his cadillac editing suite. That proposition has a lot of merit and I am leaning terribly heavily toward taking him up on the offer. The merit is that, by nature of the whole first movie project, it is very easy to shoot one, or a few segments, and have cohesive résumé demos to rally support for the rest of the project. If I can get a small sample produced, it may help me pick up all sorts of support to finish the project, like production people, actors, money.

    At the moment I have two production people who want to be involved. The DP and a young man who will be in the Wright State Motion Pictures Program next year. I am going to get with them both sometime soon about doing a pilot project.

    Also want to report on the overwhelming success posting a call for producers on Craig's List, on my MySpace page, and at this domain has been. So far, I have had one person contact me: the young man mentioned above. I probably shot myself in the foot by being so vague about the projects as well as by being so up front about the producers (me included) most probably not making any money. Well, anyone looking to make a ton of money on an indy movie project in Ohio is maybe not a good fit for an indy movie project in Ohio. Don't get me wrong, I would not be opposed to reaping a good income off such a movie -- but even I am not so green at all this I would be crushed when I don't.



    Sat May 17, 2008

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    CATCH 22: We still have not had a rehearsal on our feet with the whole cast and I still find that troublesome. This time next week we will have had two performances. As for the off-book factor, I have done pretty well all week. I have only asked for lines a few times. Last night I refused to. I will no longer ask for lines. It's too late in the game. But I have the lines down within a point of where they need to be in my memory.

    Some of us have played with props a bit during this week, too. More so last night. Monday we should have them all in our hands.

    GENERAL AUDITION FOR 08/09 FOR HRTC: Yeah, let's put to bed the idea that I will get a callback for this season. As big as my ego can be, even I recognize when I have shot myself in the foot. And I did so with a dead aim. I had a meltdown and reacted not at all as a pro would. Oh, the auditors, Marsha Hanna and Kevin Moore were gracious and kind to me but I am highly skeptical of my odds of receiving a card that says they will call me back for anything this season at the Human Race Theatre Company.

    It was the first of my two monologues that puked all over me. I settled on a piece by a character named Fred in the one-act play Riverside Drive by Woody Allen. I note that I have this habit of choosing audition pieces that are perhaps a little challenging. That "The Great Constable Explains the Folly of Virtue to His Son, His Prisoner," from The Ambitious Statesman by John Crowne monologue is a bit challenging and as we remember, it tripped me up during the audition class with Scott Stoney back in March. A couple years back I used the song "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve" from Sherman Edwards' 1776, and the syncopated nature of the composition makes that a bad choice to expect most pianists to sight read well. In terms of the latter, I have realized I should choose something perhaps in 4-4 with a straightforward arrangement. For the former, monologues with more challenging words/language, I think I need to keep honing my skills and I need to be sure I have given myself the time I need to have them down cold, solid, absolutely soldered into my memory cells.

    The Fred monologue, in this case, had some elements that can get tricky. And they tricked me up. I came across the text this last Wednesday as I was browsing some material I had gathered to find my second monologue. I knew it was a good choice the moment I saw it. But I really didn't start working on it until Friday afternoon. I had that one plus Herb telling Libby why he left her mother, from Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures -- Fran Pesch had us read that for the auditions last fall, and I recognized it then as a good audition piece. I halfway knew the Simon piece already, so Friday was more about the Allen piece.

    Thursday night, after Catch 22 rehearsals, I sat down with pen and index cards and got both monologues spread out over a series flash cards. Friday afternoon I had the occasion to be off work with pay. I headed for Glen Helen then John Bryan State Park with cards in hand to drill the monologues, and as I said, mostly the Woody Allen one. I also spent time this afternoon, before my appointment, rehearsing them.

    So I walked in to Kevin and Marsha and things went well enough to begin. We had a little friendly chitchat. Marsha asked how The Best Man did. It was pleasant and I did not feel intimidated or overwhelmed.

    "Well, today I have brought you two characters from two brilliant American comedic writers, but one will be from a more poignant moment in the play rather than a comic moment," I said. "First I'm giving you a character named Fred from Woody Allen's one-act play, Riverside Drive, then I'll give you Herb talking to his daughter Libby in I Ought to Be in Picture, of course, by Simon."

    Then I began Fred, but not long into it I struggled for a key word, and shortly after that I went up so goddamned big. As I said, both auditors were understanding and encouraged me to take a deep breath and start over. I still lost it and was not able to ad lib or otherwise cover myself. I admit, a big voice in my head was screaming, "Pack it in Pal! Just tell them you'll see them next year!" I considered it for a split second then rallied myself. They were still kind about it and asked if I wanted five minutes to re-group. I took it. I left to gather myself, but still had a hard time getting the monologue back. Then I thought, Screw it boy! Go back in there, take your time and do the damned monologue! You know it so do it!

    I went back in, still apprehensive about whether I would recover that first monologue, but did recover it and I gave them Fred, then Herb, but Herb was easier. The consolation for me is that I have at least auditioned for Marsha three previous times with no problems like this. Yet still, that it might seem risky to them to put an actor on their professional stage who lets the pressure of the audition take him down like that, doesn't strike me as unlikely. My gut says it's not unlikely and I have no argument that it should be otherwise.

    Of course, as I write this I'm still stinging from the smack I gave myself upside the self esteem and I am in major self-disappointment mode. On the drive home I felt like it's a joke that I have ever auditioned for them, that it's delusional of me. That's fleeting. Already some common sense and a dose of regenerating megalomania is altering my low opinion of myself. But I am still pissed at myself for tainting my audition.

    Regardless of whether this is as bad an event as I have assessed it, it is a criminal act if I don't walk away with lessons learned. The number-one lesson is that I do not abandon the more challenging monologues, they are just far too interesting. They do me no good if I don't deliver them well, however. It's imperative that I allow myself the time to absorb them into the fiber of my being, that I have them memorized to the point that I can almost say them backward with little thought. I did not make the time earlier that would have been to my advantage. I was preoccupied with the line drills for Catch 22. That was not a bad preoccupation, of course, but I would have been able to fit sixty seconds of outside monologue in without hurting my work on the play.

    Another lesson: Relax kid, don't freak out. I got distressed and that only exacerbated things. Lastly, sometimes you're going to mess up and there's nothing to do but assess what happened, note what you can do differently next time, and move on.

    AN EGO BOOSTER RATHER THAN WHACKER: At the end of the week I was offered what was described as a major role in a short-subject movie by a student film maker; this based on him knowing my work. I had to turn it down because of schedule conflicts, but it was nice to be considered.



    Mon, May 19, 2008

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    I am not over it yet. Geez I am my own worst enemy. I know that point on an intellectual plane, but it makes little impact at the moment.


    Tue, May 20, 2008

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    CATCH 22: Off night for me in rehearsal last night. No major flubs but lots of little minor ones. It was an off night for pretty much everyone. We did have a full cast for much of the night, but we started almost 40 minutes late and one cast member had a family obligation he had to leave for before we were halfway through Act II.

    My little flubs were things like getting stuck on a word, or, in one case, delivering the wrong line.

    WOUNDED PRIDE BE DAMNED: Despite the blow to my ego and pride that impacted me on Saturday, things gots ta be done.

    • I am soldiering on with Catch 22, of course.
    • Putting some things into works for the first movie project. I think we are going to try to put together a demo DVD with just a few segments, all which will, of course, be fair game for the finished, full movie.
    • As well, I may be moving on another DV movie project that can be fit in whenever and whereever. This one is an idea I have had for a while: guided and not-so-much guided improv work on camera. One production point I've really wanted is a two-camera shots, so that there will be two shots of the same magic improv moment. Well, the DP I have connected with, whose name, by-the-way, is Fred Boomer, has two medium range pro DV cameras -- I must admit, I have forgotten what models they are. Right now I am reaching out to a few people who may have an interest in a project like this.
    • Also, you can bet your ass that although I am still mad at, and disappointed with, myself for my rank-amateur meltdown on Saturday, I will be back in front of the HRTC auditor or auditors in May 2009, armed with the school lesson from this year.

    UPDATE ON THE SHORT-SUBJECT MOVIE STILL ME: Got an email yesterday from director/screenwriter Beth McElhenny saying that the movie is "99% ready to roll out to the film festivals THIS WEEK!" There will be a premiere party, probably in June or July. I suspect it will be in California though. But, regardless, there should be a DVD of the final cut coming my way at that time. There are also some stills from the movie, but at the moment I can't share them, at Beth's behest, because "they are NOT color corrected."

    Still Me will be submitted to quite a few film festivals. Don't know which ones yet.



    Wed May 21, 2008

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    AND ONCE AGAIN, WHAT DO I KNOW?: Apparently not as much as I'd like to think, because in my estimation I had done little more last Saturday at the Human Race Theatre Company generals than put another audition under my belt. Well, I also thought I had simply learned a few lessons for the future, as in how to better prepare oneself and to better steel oneself to roll with the punches -- had I had my wits about me in a better manner I could have just improvved myself back to a point in that troublesome monologue where I could work up to the punch line.

    I was completely convinced that I had eliminated myself from any considerations for this upcoming HRTC season. That being proof once again that I am, indeed, my own worst enemy and one of my own harshest critics (though that second point doesn't bother me if it spurs me toward improved skill): I got home from Catch 22 rehearsals last night to find an email from the HRTC company manager, Tara Lail, which says that I am called back for Frederick Knott's mystery/thriller Wait Until Dark.

    So you see: what do I know?

    The callback is for June 21 -- next month. Not sure why it is so early; the show doesn't go into rehearsal until eleven months from now. Perhaps there is a planned series of audition callbacks to hone down from a large pool, The cool thing -- and a bit intimidating of a thing, I must admit -- is that Wait Until Dark goes up on The Victoria Theatre stage (1100 seats in the audience).

    This is the play the 1967 movie, starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is based on. I vaguely remember seeing it on TV -- I think that was back when I was still smoking (and not all my "cigarettes" were pre-rolled and with filters or sales tax attached). I have not the foggiest idea which role I am even being considered for. I have borrowed my library's copy of the play, but won't be able to read it for a few days. There is another theatrical project demanding my immediate attentions. I have no illusions that I am targeted for a bigger role, but I certainly would not fight that concept were it to become apparent.

    CATCH 22: Last night we actually had the entire cast there -- for the second to last dress rehearsal. This was a good rehearsal for me. There were some flubs, but few and quite minor. It was perhaps a notch below what I would be satisfied with were it a performance in front of an audience, but I am still reasonably happy with my work and believe I am ready for tomorrow's Opening Night.



    Thu May 22, 2008

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    OPENING TONIGHT

    Springfield StageWorks - Springfield, Ohio's new theatre company Presents...

    StageWorks American Classics Series

    CATCH 22

    by Joseph Heller

    directed by Larry Coressel

    AND MORE ON CATCH 22: Final Dress last night was "not absolutely terrible" rather than being "fantastic," which in Theatre Lore & Superstition is good.

    There were a few problems that had not come up before. For myself I blew a line in Act II I have never blown before. I also had a cue given to me incorrectly. It needs to be a question; my scene mate made it a statement. I had to think fast of a way to make my answer make sense. I did figure it out. I said, "We were wondering..." then I posed a slightly re-worded version of the question I was supposed to have been asked and was then able to answer it and move on with my lines. This response last night was a bit delayed -- now that I know how to handle it, if he gives the wrong cue again I will jump on it with this solution.

    Took a half day off today -- part in the morning, part in the afternoon. Just to give myself good breathing space before the show, and to sleep in a bit this morning.



    Sat May 24, 2008

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    Ahh, so, I woke up at 1:11 this afternoon. Not only did I miss Car Talk and This American Life on the local NPR station, WYSO, but I had some apartment chores to do.

    Which I could do now....

    But I ain't gonna.

    So, I now sit here, listening to Groove Salad on SOMA FM, via the web cast through my iTunes and blogging. For the .7489 of you who care, at this very moment I am listening to "Christiansands" by Album Leaf from the album Seal Beach.

    STOP HIM BEFORE HE WEB-LINKS AGAIN!!!!

    CATCH 22, THE OPENING AND SOPHOMORE NIGHTS: The first two performances went nicely. They pulled together better than any of the rehearsals. Naturally, as is always the case with live theatre, there were glitches; but I don't believe most of them were discernible to the audiences.

    Opening night I was involved in a few, myself. The first, the most important one, and one of two the audience had no clue about came in my first scene as Col. Cathcart. I am on stage at this point of the scene with Ryan Hester, he as the chaplain. There is a point in the scene when Cathcart offers the chaplain a tomato. It is crucial to the story line that follows that this happen. Somehow one of us -- and I neither know nor care which one -- managed to jump that portion of the lines. So I was sitting there as the pompous, cartoon-character Cathcart, thinking to myself, I got to get that damned tomato in his hand before the scene ends. He has to leave here with it.

    Cathcart is suppose to dismiss Chaplain by saying (and I won't explain the context of this): "Tell him it's God's will. That's all now." Then I point toward the door for him to leave. Thursday, what I said was "Tell him it's God's will," then I handed him a tomato and said, "Have a tomato. That's all now," and pointed toward the door. Not exactly extraordinary fast thinking, but I am still glad I had enough of my wits about me to take the action.

    Later in the play, my Maj. Major leaves his office and is to run into another character and we have a brief, Vaudevillian slapstick conversation. That actor was late on his cue to come on stage. I just walked the parameter once. The stage is a minimalist stage so it just looked like the major was walking a little further distance. He entered then and we did the routine. Same thing happened Friday, and I suspect we have evolved it without discussing it. It does look like planned blocking.

    The audience had no way of knowing either of these were "errors."

    I choked on a line as Cpl. Whitcomb on Thursday. And I mean literally choked. My throat was dry and I had this ball of sand swell in there right as I was to say, "How about letting me send out form letters...." That one was, of course, as transparent as can be, but what-a-ya-gonna-do?

    Had a few times both nights when someone went up on lines in scenes with me, or almost did. A few times I was given a slightly or very wrong cue line. Seemed a little worse Thursday night. But there were no catastrophes because of it. I myself blew the rhythm of a routine and essentially the joke at one point Thursday. In Act II, the C.I.D. man (Bengt Gregory-Brown) is talking with Maj. major. He hands Major a letter, Major reads it and the following exchange is to happen:

    MAJ. MAJOR: "Dear Mary, I yearn for you tragically. Albert T. Tappman, group chaplain."

    C.I.D. Man: Do you know who Albert T. Tappman is?

    Maj. Major: He's the group chaplain.

    C.I.D. Man: That locks it up! Washington Irving is the group chaplain!

    Maj. Major: Albert T. Tappman is the group chaplain.

    I said, "'...I yearn for you tragically. Albert T. Chappman, uh, Tappman....'" Kind of an obstacle to the smooth delivery of the joke. I will have you know that I did NOT make the same error last night.

    I also gave a wrong cue. In the same scene last night, the dialogue is supposed to be:

    C.I.D. Man: I just saw a man in a red bathrobe come jumping out your window and go running up the road. Didn't you see him?

    Maj. Major: He was here talking to me.

    I answered, "As a matter of a fact I did!" Another error the audience would not see; and fortunately I did not throw Bengt by giving him the wrong cue.

    Despite this catalogue of snafu's (to use a military term) both nights had mostly good energy and I believe everyone gave their best, overall. Last night it went the best it ever has. The audience was small (maybe fifteen people) but they were responsive. A few people whom I see every-friggin'-theatre-where were there and went out of their way to complement myself and several others for our work.

    So, that's good.

    And now, as I listen to "Lulabeene" by Stargarden, I see it's 3:17 (15:17 for you military folk and you Europeans). I gotta go do a few things that must get done. Then I got some line drills before tonight's show. I always try to drill the whole show at least twice, within the last two hours before curtain.



    Sun May 25, 2008

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    CATCH 22, NIGHT NUMBER THREE: We had a pretty good third performance last night. It was the biggest of the three audiences thus far -- forty people, which unfortunately is a big audience for Springfield StageWorks. The show had a lot of energy and the audience was the most responsive during the performance that we have had; I think the larger audience population is at least a bit responsible.

    Again (as usual) I must report that I had a couple line flubs, though all were fortunately minor. As Whitcomb I tripped up on the phrase "the families of the casualties" and what came out was "the casualties, the families of the casualties." Actually, now that I think about it, that was my only line fart for the night. I just made that phrase up, (I think): "line fart."  I also stepped on one of Ryan Hester's lines in Act I.

    There were a few points in the night when some major line snafu's attacked. A couple happened during scenes with me. In one scene, especially, my scene mate was struggling so much to get the end of the particular line out that I jumped in with my next line to save the actor and get the scene moving. Hey, it's been done for me in the past.

    One thing that does not work well for the Springfield StageWorks theatre company, and on at least one occasion that I am aware of, Springfield Civic Theatre, is that the Bushnell Building is not a good place for a theatre production. As the pictures below illustrate, the shows are presented in a small banquet room. And, in what often proves a problem, there is a larger banquet room across the hall. I have now been in two shows there and have seen four others there. There are often events happening across the hall during the performances. There is always the distraction of noise during these times.

    Last night there was a wedding reception with the buffet line set up in the hallway right in front of the entrance to the play. After the show, the thought was postured that the noise, though not as overbearing as I have witnessed before, distracted some actors to the end result of those major line errors. I see credence in that theory.

    The StageWorks company hopes this is the last production presented in the Bushnell Building and I wish them well in finding a new, better, and perhaps permanent home. I do know that they are producing Hamlet next spring back in The State Theatre, where we did Endgame in 2005. Hamlet is one of the shows I am considering for next season; if I manage, however, to get cast in Wait Until Dark, obviously I won't be able to audition for the Bard play.

    Back to Catch 22: I must say I was happy with my work last night. Actually, I am happy with my work for the whole run, thus far, save for some line farts. I got more very complimentary comments last night, including the use of the adjectives "fabulous," "fantastic," "excellent," and "brilliant." Such phenomenon is equally good and dangerous for my ever-challenging ego, so I'll accept their praise but will also remind myself I ain't Olivier.

    But, man is it nice to receive such review; and man have I had fun with these roles!

    CATCH 22 set - Springfield StageWorks, May 2008
    The stage at the Bushnell Building is essentially what is really a small dance floor in this small banquet room. This is from the point of view that is what is, for us, Down Stage Right.
    CATCH 22 set - Springfield StageWorks, May 2008
    From behind the Down Stage audience seats. The black desk at Up Right serves as all the offices for all characters who have one, including both of my Maj. Major and Col. Cathcart. It also serves as a hospital bed, as does the bench covered with the white sheet at Up Left. And both serve as other furniture and things as needed.
    CATCH 22 set - Springfield StageWorks, May 2008
    From the point of view more oriented to off of Stage Right.
    CATCH 22 set - Springfield StageWorks, May 2008
    Up Right area behind the curtain, where actors stand in queue waiting for cues to enter onto stage. In the far back of the photograph is the similar area at Up Left. Note the small prop table all the way in that far corner on the other side.
    CATCH 22 set - Springfield StageWorks, May 2008
    The view from off Stage Left.

    MOVIE PROJECTS: There still has not been one straightforward bite from my posts for producers. I clearly am not going about this correctly. It's probably not as aggressive an approach as it ought to be. There actually is a young man who has produced quite a few viral videos that I may just approach about a co-producer role.

    The LLC or other incorporation model is still up in the air. Honestly I have not had much time to investigate the options as the lawyer advised that I do. My gut still tells me the LLC is what I need and should want to pursue, but it is prudent to know that for a fact over a feeling.

    Meanwhile I need to get some time soon to select some portions of the book, I am adopting the first project from, for the pilot production. The treatment for that is not written yet, either. How to go about writing that treatment, I think, may be why I have stalled on at least starting it. The writer in me knows I need to just start a draft and then re-write and revise from there.

    I have not heard back from the guy whom I hope is a major player in the improv shorts also on the table. I did get a short synopsis of a scenario for these shorts from Fred Boomer, who I previously mentioned has come on as DP for the projects. There are things that can get shot soon if I can twist my schedule and time toward them. And I have a few more people who will come on board a project, too.



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    AUDITION BOY: Still no further details from The Human Race Theatre Company about the June 21 callback audition for Wait Until Dark. I am supposed to get more information, such as, I assume, what character or characters I should be studying for. I must admit, over the weekend I did not read the copy of the play I borrowed. I actually did some house work that has been needed; or, I guess in my case, apartment work; still more to do, too.

    I am also somewhere around 95 to 99.?? percent on board with auditioning for FutureFest '08. The auditions are tonight through Friday. I would be there tomorrow and Thursday. Tonight I still have that obligation of apartment chores -- some of that (Okay! MOST of it, if not ALL of it) being: If I don't do it now...; Friday the Catch 22 people expect me to attend the performance -- on stage, even. Despite the fact that I really want to get one of these damned movie projects off and running, I am still mostly tempted to audition. But the projected movie projects are what keep me from 100% desire to audition. Yet, I will still try to get a project going even if I am in an FF show. I see vacation time bruning up -- I may never get to that build-up of 160 hours.

      ADDENDUM JUST BEFORE NOON:

      Later That Same Day -- Oops! I realized at lunch that this is Wednesday not Tuesday (the Monday holiday threw me). So my audition schedule plans will not work. I have only tonight and tomorrow not tomorrow and the next night as I was thinking before. And I still have to do the apartment stuff: it's pretty important. So, I have looked over the synopsis of the FF plays and I have more of an interest in the fully staged plays. They audition tonight and Friday. So I guess I am at the Dayton Playhouse tonight.

    AS FOR THE MOVIES THING (MOVIE BOY STUFF): No new developments at this time to report.

    COOL LITTLE SHORT-SUBJECT MOVIE: This is peripherally related to both FutureFest and my movie projects. I have been made privy to a short-subject narrative, titled, Disconnected, posted at YouTube. The connections are that Annie Pesch (whom I worked on stage with in Fake) does a prominent voice-over in the movie, and Fred Boomer (who is on board as DP for my projects) set the lights.

    Click here to see Disconnected



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    FUTUREFEST '08 AUDITION: God how I hate cold reading! But I also used the fact that I would have no real time to study the material as an exercise in just that. The big thing is the concept of making bold choices. Ignoring that I know I usually am a poor judge of how I have done at auditions, I still will have to say that I think I was weak in the Make Bold Choices category.

    Going back to that philosophy of reporting how I feel about the audition as opposed to any judgment about how I did, I feel about it as I usually do: not awful but not overwhelmingly fantastic, either. I guess I didn't suck but I have no sense that I was any sort of stand out, whatsoever. Beyond that, I always walk away from an audition with the notion that the actor that I really am did not prove himself in there, that I do not represent my ability well and give it the justice it is due. That elusive craft of quick assimilation of a character eludes me.

    And I really have to push past whatever it is that keeps me from braving the bold choices, going bigger, taking the risk of going too far over the top. It's past time for me to be there as the norm.

    There is, of course, nothing unique at all about my dilemma. Most actors I know of are less than enthusiastic about auditions, with feelings ranging from mere discomfort to out-and-out hatred for the experience. And I believe a lot of really wonderful actors are just as bad at cold reads as I am. I certainly do not believe that my cold reads accurately reflect my acting abilities. They do reflect a skill set that I need great improvement at.

    *This is why I'm always intrigued that anyone would be a regular reader of this blog; so much of it is the same morose redundancies. Unless it's that some of them have a car-wreck looky-loo curiosity. Or they are entertained by the masochistic ramblings of a goof. Or this bullshit faux humility of mine isn't fooling some of them and they want to see how far I'll go to pretend my massive ego isn't really totally in charge.                                          

    Last night was the only night for me to audition for FF'08, so I am out of contention for any of the staged readings. Remember, I have to take care of some things at home tonight. Have to. Have to.

    I don't have a great desire for a particular role. There are several that I would find interesting to take on, were I cast. There is a play that I am more attracted to but I have no greater affinity for the prospect of portraying any of one its men over the others.

    A lot of good auditions came from a lot of other men last night. It was clear to me that I have stiff competition for everything I read for. In a couple cases I don't even have to guess -- my ass was kicked by some men who are clearly better for some particular roles. Or at least, they were able to get to a fuller performance of the character than I could.

    Directors do take into account what they know of an actors work, and that is some solace for me. I certainly have not met my lofty personal goal of stellar excellence and brilliance, but I am a better actor than I have ever given evidence of in an audition. At least all the FF'08 directors/auditors have seen me do better than I did last night.

      **LATER THAT SAME DAY: Actually, I need to qualify something. The truth is I believe that I always do poorly showing the caliber of my acting during cold read auditions. I believe I show my ability well when I do prepared monologues or even when I read work I have been able to spend more than just a few minutes studying. Well, I do well with a prepared monologue except when I go up on the damned thing.

    CATCH 22: The short final weekend starts tomorrow night. I always hate that break of days when the theatre is dark (five days in this case). The rhythmic interruption just bugs me. But I have drilled my lines at least once every day. We will have a speed through brush up before the Friday show, too, and I'll have likely already drilled all my lines at least twice before then.



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    CLOSING TODAY

    Springfield StageWorks - Springfield, Ohio's new theatre company Presents...

    StageWorks American Classics Series

    CATCH 22

    by Joseph Heller

    directed by Larry Coressel

    May 22-24 & 30-31, 2008
    all shows start at 8:00 pm

    Bushnell Building, 14 E. Main St., Springfield. OH 45503

    featuring, in order of appearance:
    Ryan Hester, Aidan Horstman, Wayne Justice, Bengt Gregory-Brown, Ron Weber, K.L.Storer, Mollie Dixon, David Kabbes, Brenton Boitse, and Janelle Chamness

    Tickets:
    $10.00 at the door

    the actors of Catch 22
    and their characters
    in alphabetical order

    Brenton Boitse
    as 
    Lt. Milo Minderbinder, 1st Doctor, Patient's Brother, & Aarfy

    Janelle Chamness
    as 
    Nately's Whore, Nately's Mother,
    Mrs. Daneeka, Old Woman,
    & 2nd Doctor

    Mollie Dixon
    as 
    Luciana, Nurse Duckett, Patient's Mother, & Daneeka's Mother-in-Law

    Bengt Gregory-Brown
    as 
    Clevinger, Nately's Father,
    Patient's Father, 1st Investigating Officer, C.I.D. Man, & Captain

    Ryan Hester
    as 
    Chaplain, Patient, Psychiatrist,
    Lt. Nately, & Snowden

    Aidan Horstman
    as 
    Capt. John Yossarian

    Wayne Justice
    as 
    Texan, Sgt. Towser, & 2nd M.P.

    David Kabbes
    as 
    Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen,
    Capt. Black, McWatt, &
    2nd Investigating Officer

    K.L.Storer
    as 
    Maj. Major, Col. Cathcart,
    Cpl. Whitcomb, & 1st M.P.

    Ron Weber
    as 
    Doc Daneeka, Lt. Col. Korn,
    & Old Man



    I'd say the show went pretty well last night. Though I personally felt that the energy was down a bit. I was also quite disappointed that not all of the cast was on time for the scheduled brush up speed through that was supposed to happen at 6:00, but what you going to do? Some of us did run certain scenes that have a habit of problem, and I don't believe any had problems during the show -- so there's at least that.

    The audience certainly did laugh quite a bit. I'd say we got more laughs last night than ever before. And we did get a nice comment from an audience member who saw the show last night. He writes to Larry Coressel:

    Congratulations on a great show last night. The cast did a wonderful job of recreating the funny and bizarre characters that I remember from the movie I saw so many years ago. The commentaries on military life, war, religion, life, and death were witty, poignant, and rich with sarcasm. What a challenge it must have been to direct a production with so many characters, so much blocking, and all those costume changes happening in rapid fire succession. Ha!! Way to go!

    A REITERATION OF A QUALIFICATION ABOUT AUDITIONS: Wednesday afternoon I clarified a point from the post earlier in the day, and I want to restate it now. The truth is that I believe that I always do poorly showing the caliber of my acting during cold read auditions. I believe I show my ability well when I do prepared monologues or even when I read work I have been able to spend more than just a few minutes studying. Well, I do well with a prepared monologue except when I go up on the damned thing.

    PHIL DONAHUE VISITS THE SET OF SPOOK UNIVERSITY, SORT OF: Ghostbusters: Spook University director Mike Sopranyi sent this message --

    A quick history lesson for everyone out there: Back in the 1960's talk show host Phil Donahue started his talk show in Dayton, Ohio at WDTN Channel 2 *(which was WLWD in those days), where I work.

    For the past few years, an old office section in the building was empty and not being used. While scouting shooting locations for Spook University, I asked it if was ok to shoot scenes in the old offices, and was given approval. Before shooting began, I was told that the offices were once used by Phil Donahue.

    So, today (May 30)  Phil was back in town to premiere a movie Body of War that he directed and produced at the Neon Movies [in downtown Dayton]. So before that he stopped by WDTN to talk about how he got started and look around the station, including his old office!

    Check out the latest pictures of Phil in his old office (which was used for most of the GBHQ interior scenes for Spook University),

    Phil Donahue at his old offices in at WDTN in Dayton, Ohio
    Phil Donahue signs the wall at his old offices in at WDTN in Dayton, Ohio
    Pictures courtesy of Mike Sopranyi      

    See more pictures of this at the Ghostbusters: Spook University's Albums page on MySpace. You might need a MySpace account to view the pictures there.

    Still Me HAS RECEIVED ITS FIRST OFFICIAL FESTIVAL INVITATION: I just got word that Still Me will be shown at The Spud Fest, which runs July 31, Aug 1 & 2 in Driggs, Idaho. The Spud Fest is presented by Dawn Wells (Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island).



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    CATCH 22, THE CLOSING: Another theatrical experience down. I'd say our two closing shows went pretty well, again, with my feeling that the energy Friday was bit low key. Certainly we had our bigger audiences these last two nights and they were both very receptive audiences. I have already shared the one Friday audience member's thoughts in his email to Larry Coressel -- that person being a fine actor in his own right, by-the-way.

    There are always mishaps that can be reported from any live performance, of course. The big one that I can recall from Friday, that I didn't think about when I composed yesterday's entry, was a brief moment during a scene between me as Cathcart and Ryan Hester as Chaplain. For a brief moment, I could not remember the rest of my line at one point. But then, after a split-second it came to me. the moment is a sort of revelation that occurs to Cathcart, so I doubt the problem was visible to anyone -- Ryan told me later he did not know.

    The best one was last night, a Cathcart scene again. I had a wardrobe malfunction -- though not of the sort that Ms. Jackson had at the Superbowl (especially since there's no part of my body that would be that interesting to see). The little band on the front of Cathcart's cap somehow came loose and was hanging down over the front of the bill of the hat. I did not put the hat on until right before I walked on stage, just as my cue was coming. I had no time to deal with it before I walked on. I just thought to myself, Figure it out during the scene. There was nothing to do but work it into the scene and try to adjust the hat band in character as Cathcart. My scene mate, Brenton Boitse, playing Milo Minderbinder at this point, almost lost it at one moment when I was walking up to him and the little band was flopping around, below the front of the hat's bill, bouncing on my forehead and the top of my nose between my eyes. Ya just gotta go with it. I finally had a spot where Cathcart sits and was able to take the cap off and examine it and discover how to adjust the band to get it back tight on the hat. Fortunately this is a comedy, so at least we weren't interrupted by a silly mishap that spoiled a tense, dramatic moment.

    I did end up jumping a line just before the hat-rescue moment though, because I was thinking about an open moment to address the problem at hand; or I guess: at head -- so oh well. And in the very next scene, Cathcart comes back on, bellowing for his aide, Col. Korn. I stormed on stage calling for Capt. Black before adjusting it. "Black!" I said, then after a brief pause, "Korn! Colonel Korn!" I choose to blame the costume mishap from the scene before as having discombobulated me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

    As for the show in general, I am very happy to have had the opportunity to play multiple roles on stage with what seems to have been good success. I certainly was flattered with some good comment and feedback on my work and that is gratifying. Larry told me last night he really liked the voice work -- the drastic differences in the voices of the four characters. Bengt Gregory-Brown asked me last night how I managed to do Col. Cathcart without tearing my throat up. Cathcart was my version of George C. Scott as Gen. Patton -- major gravel in the throat. The answer is that I only did the voice when we were on stage. I never did Cathcart's voice off stage, even when drilling lines during the day.

    I suppose I was funny in this show -- I guess the audience laughing at some of my work more or less proves that point. There were a few lines that never or rarely seemed to get a laugh that I thought should have, especially lines as Cpl./Sgt. Whitcomb. Maybe I played him as such a dick that people didn't want to laugh at him. He had a scene in Act II, actually, his last appearance on stage. He comes into the hospital room where Yossarian lays unconscious. Whitcomb is thrilled because he thinks he has a chance to send one his form letters about a dead soldier home to Yossarian's next of kin. Then he feels Yossarian's pulse, and with a bitter, childish whining, he exclaims, "Damn! He's gonna live!" while he wads up the form letter and tosses it, then storms off. I never got a very big laugh there, often none at all, and I don't know what I did wrong. It should have got a big laugh every night. Oh well.

    The focus problem that seems to so often plague me was not an issue this time through, and I did not really comprehend that until today. This is, of course, a good thing. In fact, I can think back at a lot of examples of having the focus on stage to have my wits about me and deal with some situations -- despite the line dropped with last night's hat band predicament. I did, on the other hand, work it into the scene as well as I could so that its intrusion was kept to a minimum. There was the problem of getting the tomato in the chaplain's hands (Ryan Hester's) on opening night before that particular scene ended. There were numerous times during the run when Cathcart had to respond to another character's lines by repeating a word or phrase that character had just said, times when the actor paraphrased or used some sort of synonym -- I gave back what what said rather than what was in the script. Seems like a little thing, but you might be amazed how a little change-up like that can throw you if you have weak focus.

    Also, with the exception of that momentary blip I reported for the Friday show, I did not once go up on my lines during a performance. That is a good thing, too. Catch 22 has been a good experience for honing my acting skills.

    I was also happy to have worked on stage again with Wayne Justice and Ron Weber (Hamm and Nagg from Endgame) and with Ryan Hester (Bobby from American Buffalo).

    FUTUREFEST '08: Yesterday, while ridding in the pick-up truck of the Amy's View set designer, Blake Senseman, on our way from the Dayton Theatre Guild to our storage facility where we keep large set pieces and costumes, I checked my email on my Sidekick* and found a message from Saul Caplan, the director of Inside the Gatehouse by Bill Hollenbach. Saul and his co-director, Greg Hall, offered me the position of "technical director" as well as "general male understudy." The technical part has interest to me, especially since the heavy suggestion is that there is some sound design involved. I did respond that I was not hot on the understudy idea, however. Somewhere between yesterday afternoon and this morning, as it turns out, there was some sort of shake-up in casting -- perhaps someone had to drop out. At any rate I have now been offered one of two roles. I await which they are sliding me into. I know too little of the play's text to have any clue which would be of more interest to me. But what I was exposed to Tuesday evening makes me think either one would be interesting to play. So, for at least the second time I am aware of, I have been cast by default. And I have no reason to be confident it has not happened more than twice -- that I was defaulted into a role. I hope to still also be involved in at least the sound design part of the technical aspects of Inside the Gatehouse.

      *) Yes! Believe it or not I do not have an iPhone.

    AUDITION FOR THE KENTUCKY LOTTERY: Set an appointment Friday, through my agent to go to Cincinnati next Wednesday morning to audition for the Kentucky Lottery. It's an AFTRA shoot, so if cast I would have be hired "Taft-Hartley" -- I.E. as my one AFTRA gig without joining the union.

    The pitfall is, as I have discussed before, that once I am hired for a second AFTRA job, I'd have to join, and thus would no longer be eligible for the majority of local commercials, which are non-union. I would guess, conservatively the non-union spots make up about 95% of the jobs.

    Jim Payne told me he was sending me to audition for a barber shop customer role. The specs he emailed say about that role: "Willing to have hair cut or shaved for the spot is a plus. (Not a deal breaker.)" Which is good, because due to my casting in Inside the Gatehouse as well as my upcoming callback at The Human Race for Wait Until Dark I am reluctant to have my head shaved. If I were free and clear of other acting gigs (despite that the FF gig is not "paid") I would be okay with the shaved head for the shoot. But the lottery spot shoots either the Thursday or Friday right before my Saturday callback for the Human Race show. The other thing is that the specs call for the actor to have a full head of hair -- which clearly I do not have.

    But I am still going to the audition because I might be able to go after the barber himself: "Classic, traditional barber. Methodical. Seen it all. Not a salon stylist, so not slick/fey; nor country/ hillbilly. Emphasis on dry, natural, comedic acting ability and real person (sic) appearance." Though I am checking with the agency about this full head of hair aspect. Plus I don't know if I need to take an 8x10 headshot or if the 5x7 size I provide to the agency will do.



    Mon, June 2, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE BY BILL HOLLENBACH: Got the word later last evening that I will play the role of Zipper in this FutureFest play. Zipper is simply described in the audition information as "a personal injury lawyer." But, if the text I saw during the audition is any indication, he, along with the rest of the characters, is not incredibly likable. There's also the point that Director Saul Caplan told us they were not likable people.

    The cast and crew is:

      Dave Williamson            Art
      Cheryl Mellen            Carol
      Geoff Burkman            Jackson
      K.L.Storer            Zipper
         
      Saul Caplan            Director
      Greg Hall            Co-Director
      Deirdre Bray Root            Rehearsal Stage Manager

    I still may be at least partly involved with the sound design, as well.



    Tue, June 3, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: The table read through is tonight. Though "table" is not readily accurate. It'd be more of a "coffee table" read through, with folk on a sofa, in an over-stuffed chair, or lounging on the floor. As is usually the case with a FutureFest play, most of us will be reading the whole play for the very first time as we read our lines aloud tonight; that was my experience last year and will be tonight -- though I had read all of Jim Gordon's Fake already in 2006. But, tonight it will be a pretty cold reading, which, of course, I hate. I don't like the uncertainty of saying my character?s lines without the proper emotional and mental action and reaction present. Not that anyone else will care about that. It's strictly a personal and really silly problem of mine. Not that I'm suggesting that no other actor has this particular quirk. But it is, in the end, a non-issue: no one is expected to deliver the character as he or she will be delivered on stage, at this very first read through.

    I still hate it. Okay, okay -- it's more that I am uncomfortable with it than that I "hate" it; it's more of a "dislike."

    AUDITION TOMORROW FOR THE KENTUCKY LOTTERY: My agent told me I could use whatever picture ("headshot") I wanted. I elected to create a new 8x10 photo array and made plans to that last night with my trusty Corel Painter. Made that occasionally fatal mistake of lying down for a quick nap and so my alarm woke me up this morning from my "quick nap." Well, I have decided to get a print of the following three-quarter color shot as an 8x10:

    K.L. three-quarter color picture

    It's actually one of the 5x7's I printed out for my agency (Roof-Goenner), and I have a copy in that size, but I've elected to go with 8x10.

    Appointment is at 11:00. I would guess it's over by 11:15 or so. I plan to leave Dayton for Cincinnati by 9:00. I want time to get lost and still arrive early enough to at least have a little while with any sides I am handed -- which is why I used the FutureFest auditions as an opportunity to do such a cold read as this, much as I hate cold reads.

    I have taken a whole vacation day, even though it delays my accrual of three weeks to mid-July. Though I probably will use some more hours before that, which will push the three weeks into August, or later.

    I leave that audition and head to The Guild to spend the afternoon getting the theatre in shape for this Friday's opening of Amy's View. If you look below, you'll note that Amy's View and Inside the Gatehouse share a cast member, Mr. Geoff Burkman.

    Geez! I need to start lining up hosts for Amy's View, don't I? -- Wanna host? email me: KL_Storer@yahoo.com. Not that I'm holding my breath that I'll get a response from here. I never have before. But, again, what-the-hell, might as well give it a try!

    MOVIE PROJECTS: No late-breaking news, but I hope I am correct to say, Stay Tuned!



    Fri June 6, 2008

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    OPENING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    AMY'S VIEW by David Hare at the Dayton Theatre Guild,


  • I will have words about Inside the Gatehouse, my audition in Cincinnati for The Kentucky Lottery, and more, probably tomorrow.


  • Sat June 7, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Turns out the "table read through" was a bone fide "table read through." It was at our director, Saul Caplan's, home. Saul happened to have directed the FutureFest show I was in last year, Playing God, and our read through for that was in his living room (not sitting around a table). I assumed it'd be the same this year, but we were at the dining room table this time. I have no idea why anyone should care about this detail, but there ya go.

    It was the experience I knew it would be: a lot of reading a line and then, as it was the first time I had ever come across it, thinking to myself, Oops, that should have been far more subtle (or nasty or jovial or whatever). As we've already established that the case would be, I was the only who cared. It's really silly that I do concern myself with this; it really is okay to not have a proper character delivery when only first reading the script.

    So now begins the process -- to use a word somebody connected to the production finds pretentious when it is used as "The Process." -- of building Zipper. He's a high-powered attorney, yet he's a personal injury lawyer, so there's a bit of snake oil to him, though so far I haven't seen in the text that it is a heavy dose. He is indiscriminate, to say the least, about using the F word, in the tradition of Mr. Mamet. And he makes up and sings pseudo-clever limericks on the spot, accompanied by Art (Dave Williamson) on the ukulele, presumedly all of these to the same tune. These little ditties are all challenged as of their good taste.

    There is something sympathetic about Zipper, in the end, though. At the end of the read through, Tuesday, there was some discussion about what actions each of the four characters might take based on their motivations by play's end; Zipper's possible action was agreed upon unanimously; it is a relatively nobel action.

    My journey now begins to get all Zipper's words into my head and to get myself into Zipper's head, heart and soul. I trudge now to take all of the elements laid out for me by the playwright and congeal them into a persona on stage who is real to me, my fellow actors, and the audience.

    I have begun to get all of Zipper's lines onto the index cards -- the flash cards -- to begin the memorization process (this having become my favored way to learn my lines). I believe our official off-book date is July 16. I'd like to be ahead of that curve.

    And, yes, this is one of those roles where I will do some research, biography and back story. For one thing, Zipper's real name is not revealed anywhere in the text. This is not an abstract play like Beckett's Endgame where I did not find it necessary to know Clov's real, or full, name -- in fact, in that case I found it helpful to not know such. In this case, I will know Zipper's full name. I'd be interested to see what the playwright thinks of whatever name I give Zipper, if I tell the playwright. I am debating whether or not I reveal my version of Zipper's real name to anyone.

    HOW YOU SAY DAT WOID?: I have noticed that sometimes when I read something aloud without having ever read it before, my brain does not seem to fully process the information between the entrance into my eyes and the exit from my mouth. I will actually not fully recognize words as themselves. It happened with the word "stipend" on Tuesday at the Gatehouse read through. I don't know what I actually said, but it wasn't stipend -- that is, pronouncing the word with a long I; I think I pronounced it with a short I, as in the word "sit." At any rate, my mind did not register what the word was until my pronunciation was corrected. This happens to me on occasion and it's always a little mental shock when it does.

    I also was called on the carpet for using a non-standard BUT NOT INCORRECT pronunciation of mischievous. I always use the four-syllable manner, saying the word: mis-chee'-vee'-us; it's the British way to say it and if I were to guess I would assume it comes from my mother who picked up both a certain form of Appalachian dialect and some very east coast (Maine) dialect, growing up. I picked a lot of this up from her. As a child, I was sometimes asked if I was from the east coast, though I think such "brogue," as my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Faust called it, has dissipated much as I have gotten older.

    But directly back to mis-chee'-vee'-us: Where it is true that this is not the standard accepted American way to pronounce the word, it is false that my way is wrong. It's also false that not a lot of people in America say mis-chee'-vee'-us. Yet, what is wanted here is for Zipper to say mis'-chi-vus -- and I can do that. Still, my way is not incorrect.

    Now all I have to do is remember to say it the common way during rehearsals and the performance. Well, I'm sure by performance time there'll be no problem.

    On occasion, I've been called on the carpet for spelling monologue the British way, too, instead of the standard American way: "monolog." There's a whole catalogue of pet peeves I have against prescriptive grammarians, but that would be a 25,000-word rant; maybe a 125,000-word rant. Yep. They annoy me at least as much as I annoy them -- At Least as much.

    This pronunciation subject is not an irrelevant point in a blog that focuses a lot of time on the actor's performance -- and interpretation, for that matter. I think, if you are to go broader with the topic, it is sometimes an inexcusable disservice to the play to correct either pronunciation or grammar in dialogue. For instance, in terms of grammar, would the use of something such as "irregardless," rather than "regardless" reflect an ignorance (or colloquialism) of the playwright or the character? If the best answer is that it's the character, then to correct the grammar is a sin against the play and any director or actor who does so has indefensibly interfered with telling the story in the text. And if you don't want to tell the story in the text, then I assert that you ought to go home; go do something else; you have no business in the theatre, or on the movie set, for that matter. Now I am not referring to interpretations of the story; and, this is not a direct correlation with my mischievous occurrence; this is a separate line of thought that channeled off of that starting point. How Zipper says that word bears no weight on the telling of Hollenbach's story, so is not directly relevant to this paragraph.

    But, there are a lot of times when whether or not characters use a regional or other non-standard -- or standard -- pronunciation or not does very much count. Put a character as a native of many rural parts of the mid-west (and some urban areas, too), then multiply that by some significant factor if you're looking below the Mason-Dixon line. This said character will not "wash" the clothes, he or she will "warsh" them. Then that character might head down to the "crik" -- short I -- not to the "creek" -- long E -- to do some fishin'.

    It's like a friend of mine told me once about his home town: "Tourists visit 'New Orleans,' but you're from 'Narlins.'" That kind of stuff is important for actors and directors -- and, hell, playwrights & screenwriters -- to be fully aware of.

    How about that lack of verb agreement that may be in some dialogue? Playwright's error? or diction habit of the character? Obviously an anomalous occurrence of something like this would likely suggest a typo by the playwright (or the publisher) -- or does it indicate the character is being ironic, mean spirited, or otherwise being purposefully incorrect with language? It seems to me it is prudent to scrutinize the validity of "correcting" grammar in the dialogue.

    This discounts such obvious technical errors as the misuse of one of "there," "their," or "they're" for one of the other two, or the use of "it's" as meaning to belong to IT rather than as "it is," unless of course the audience gets to see the character's writing or typing. Such as these are far more common errors than many might think. I once spoke to a woman who had been an editor at Norton for more then twenty-five years who told me that the decries of the younger generation of writers as the culprit of these sorts of errors is fond and delusional nostalgia of the older set -- these sorts of errors have always been big problems and the editor she was mentored by told her the same thing. It's got to do, I believe, with the writer, especially the fiction writer, focusing on the story and the characters. So attention to such diction can be lax during the creation phase. Then, and I can attest to this, when one reads one's own work, most especially when it is fresh, one sees what one intended to write. So it may say on the sheet, "There the ones to blame!" But the writer will see, "They're the ones to blame!" As a writer myself, my error would have likely been, "The the ones to blame!" I tend to write "the" for most common one-syllable TH words, and always see the intended correct word when I read a new draft.

    But, as a screenwriter, I might just have a note from a character on screen with "There the ones to blame!" as a purposeful error by that character. I could very easily have that character say something like, "There is no reasons for such." We can change it to playwright by having the character write the sentence as graffiti on a wall.

    *AN ADDENDUM AT ABOUT 1:00 a.m. SUNDAY, JUNE 8: And what most of you may not realize is that I am constantly finding such errors in this blog and fixing them. I add this right now only because I, just in the last half-hour or so, found several of those silly typo-type errors that slid right by me when I first proofread this entry before posting it at, what is now, yesterday afternoon. Thus is a frequent occurrence here.

    Get's even worse. Monday morning, June 9 I saw that I had written "slide" instead of "slid" in this addendum; so, as an ironic illustration of itself, I had to come in and make the very sort of edit in this that this refers to.

                                             

    I can relate a recent example of my own "correcting" of something in a play. It was not an actual grammatical error, but it was an awkward diction that I changed because I thought it was better for the audience -- and I do not believe I messed with the story at all. In Catch 22, as Col. Cathcart, there is a scene where I am talking with Lt. Milo Minderbinder (Brenton Boitse). Cathcart says, "I'll see to it that you're assigned to the next sixty-five missions so you can have seventy, too." That "next seventy, too" is a bit awkward to me with the high potential to be heard as the next seventy-two. So I said, "...the next seventy missions, too."

    The point being that as an actor I need to be careful. Adding the word "missions" into that dialogue did not seem errant on my part nor disrespectful to Heller's text or intent. But what if I had "fixed" Teach's line "And tell the broad if it's for me she'll give you more" when I did American Buffalo last spring. That line could be, and with more clarity, "And tell the broad it's for me and she'll give you more." But that would have been a direct violation of Teach's vernacular and a definite disrespect for David Mamet's text. This example is a little afield of whether or not to correct a possible playwright's error, but I suppose someone could be too dense to recognize that the diction is appropriate to Teach.

    To get back to the so-called main premise of this section, the how-you-say-dat-woid? idea, when we did The Cripple of Inishmaan at DTG back in 2004, we used the authentic Irish dialect for the region of the Aran Islands off the north-east coast of Northern Ireland. And we all nailed it with varying degrees of accuracy, none of them poor. However, our director, Greg Smith, did have us inaccurately say the word "cow." The pronunciation correct to the region sounded almost exactly like the word "cue." Since there was no cow on stage, and no real clues in the rest of the text for the audience to know what we were talking about, Greg had us say the word with less thick Irish brogue, so the mid-western American audience would recognize the word. We did pronounce the word "peas" with a long A, (i.e.: PAYS), but there were cans of them all over the place and it was easy for the audience to put the word into context and understand to what we referred.

    How about the word "either?" Is that starting with a long E sound or a long I sound? The educational or regional dialect socialization of the director or the actor is not germaine. It's the character's world we should care about. Does it make a difference whether he or she says "EEther" or "IYther?" If it doesn't, then who cares? If it does, then say what is right for the character and disregard the grousing from anybody who objects. In the case of Zipper, I don't, at this time, find any reason to prefer either of mis-chee'-vee'-us or mis'-chi-vus. If I did, I would discuss the point with Saul.

    However, in the spirit of picking my battles wisely....

    WEDNESDAY'S AUDITION FOR THE KENTUCKY LOTTERY: Why be boringly redundant? The proof is in. I am a harsh self critic. I rarely, if ever, have much of an idea how I did in an audition or what kind of chance I have.

      So:
           I went.
                     I auditioned.
                                        I came home.

      My agency will call if I am cast or have a callback.

    Now that I have practically declared that I won't be boring, I must now venture forward to be boring -- as opposed to "boorish," which I at least flirted at being with my little mischievous rant above.

    That it is now Saturday and I have heard nothing, makes it likely there is no callback and casts a dim light on the chance of my having been cast at all.

    It was a 137-mile round trip to the audition. The audition took place on the fourth floor of an office building on Main St. in downtown Cincinnati. The rest of the floor was vacant and looked to be under a little bit of remodeling as there were various spots not painted or otherwise being unfinished in some way or another. And as far as I could tell there was no other office space in use. In fact, when I stepped off the elevator, my first thought was that I might be in the wrong place, that there were no offices in use.

    After investigating for a few moments I found a small hallway and at the end was a room with the door open and the lights on. It looked like a break room, with chairs set up and a couple tables. There were two men sitting in the room, one filling out an application on a clip board. The other was an actor named Shawn (or Sean, I'm not sure which) whom I recognized as my scene partner when I auditioned for the training video gig that I landed a few moths ago. So, I was in the right place.

    My instincts that I was not going to be right for the barbershop customer -- the one stipulated in the specs as having a full head of hair -- were correct. I was auditioned as the barber and I have not much clue how I did. I can't even tell you how I feel about the varied performances the casting director asked for. I just did what I did and tried to attend to the casting director's direction. Whether I gave her what she wanted or not: maybe yes, maybe no, maybe somewhat. I have vacillated between how well I did or did not follow her lead.

    There was also a second but related audition for what I guess we can call "hand gags." It was about close ups to the hands as the hands did any sort of specialty tricks or gimmicky things: "...knuckle cracking, pencil twirl, coin knuckle roll, anything fun and different is a plus...." Though I did check off that I would not accept "a bit part with a possible upgrade," I was interested in giving the hand gag a try. What was screentested was not exactly what I'd planned and I can report that I am not incredibly hopeful about what will be the result.

    The little gag I had come up with, since the PA had told us to think of some movements that could be done to the song "In The Mood," was my palms together, fingers splayed and each against its counterpart on the other hand, each pair of peer fingers rocking back-and-forth, and each at a different time. What happened in the screentest was that I was sat down at a desk with an assortment of normal office desk accoutrements and was told to use any of or all of those to get some sort of schtick going. And there was no prep time. So I just tried to let go and do it instinctually in that matter that improvisation works. In fact, really, this was an improv moment. In fact, really, it was, I think, one of those improv moments where the magic did not happen. I have been in magic improv moments and I have been in impotent improv moments (and such are never really "moments" as much as they are prolonged periods of excruciation). My little hand gag screentest audition seemed much more like the latter. Sometimes you're in the zone; sometimes you're not.

    AMY'S VIEW AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Show opened last night to a smallish audience but they seemed to enjoy it. I, as is my well-reported habit, tried to attend to as little of what I heard as I could while I did my host duties so it will be a fresh experience for me when I sit in the audience.


  • Perhaps tomorrow I will post a couple pics that Wayne Justice sent me from Catch 22. And at some point I am supposed to get a whole lot more pics, these from a dress rehearsal.

    That, of course, reminds me that I have still to post the 'Art' pics, as well as Beard of Avon and The Best Man; maybe other shows, too, that don't come to my mind right now.



  • Sun June 8, 2008

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    Were she alive, my mother would be Ninety-One years old today.

    I do miss her and wish she had been around to see my return to the world of theatre arts, where I have always belonged. She would have been at least as happy about it as I.

    My Mom, June Storer, at my college graduation, 1994
    June Storer
    1917-1997






    COLONEL CATHCART: After the closing performance, my castmate (now for the second time), Wayne Justice took a few photographs of me as Cathcart in Act II of Catch 22, There will be some action pics forthcoming, taken during a dress rehearsal, but I had not yet perfected the array of feathers at that time. I wanted visual documentation of the Feathers in his cap in the improved configuration:

    Col. Cathcart, from CATCH 22, and his headdress hat Col. Cathcart, from CATCH 22, and his headdress hat
    Col. Cathcart, from CATCH 22, and his headdress hat Col. Cathcart, from CATCH 22, and his headdress hat
    Col. Cathcart, from CATCH 22, and his headdress hat



    AMY'S ART: Dayton-local artist Rina Thau, a friend of Barb Jorgensen, one of the producers for our Guild production of Amy's View, has loaned some of her fine paintings for use on the set. They are beautiful work and they are for sale.

    Rina's website is: artbyrina.com.



    Tue, June 10, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Rehearsal tonight. I believe we are on our feet: i.e.: blocking our moves. I must admit I have not gotten all the lines on index cards yet, but I have time. I am sure by this coming weekend I will be drilling with the flash cards. Rehearsal space at The Dayton Playhouse is at a premium, with six shows vying for it, so, at Saul's request, I sought and was approved use of the Guild space for most of our rehearsals.

    THE DEMAND/NECESSITY OF MONEY FOR RENT, GROCERIES AND GAS ALMOST STRUCK FRIGGIN' AGAIN!!!!: Okay, when I first wrote this "headline" it said "...STRIKES FRIGGIN' AGAIN!!!" because at that time I thought I was not going to be able to set the time aside for this audition.

    Roof-Goenner contacted me yesterday about another union commercial audition in Cincinnati -- same office space as last week. The email said the auditions are "Tuesday-Thursday, June 10-12." I was not sure whether that meant all three days or sometime during the period. So my original "headline" reflected the contingency that it was all three days, which would have counted me out; there is no way I could justify taking three days off from the rent-paying job, even if I did use vacation time. But, it is a large cattle call spanning three days, so I am going tomorrow morning with the hope that I can still log some time in the office in the afternoon.

    This will be an interesting audition, and I am not at all sure what is in store for me. There are no sides to prep with and I guess no script for a read at the audition. It is apparently interviews with the producers of the spot. I am guessing there may be some improvisation as part of it. I am determined to show up with my wits about me in a better manner than last week with the little hand-gag debacle.

    WAIT UNTIL DARK: I am still awaiting more information on the June 21 callback.

    MY MOVIE PROJECTS AS PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Still nothing to report, but I am working on it. It seems like "in slow motion!"



    Wed June 11, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: We did, indeed, start the blocking last night and I had at least one major DOH!  moment. I totally missed the reading of a line at one point -- and I was the only one in the room who did not get how my character was supposed to deliver the line. Proof I have not yet really sat down to study the script. But that will happen soon. It will happen quite a bit as I continue to write my lines on the index cards -- there's always at least a small amount of analysis going on then: I just can't read and write that stuff in a vacuum.

    So, of course, Zipper has barely shown up on stage, which is not a real worry at this period in the game. And I did note a few things last night to ponder and others to develop.

    TODAY'S AUDITION IN CINCINNATI: The best laid plans, right? My goal had been to get to the office in Cincy at 9:00 this morning. I was about to hit a slow down on I-75 at a bit before the half-way point of the trip (just short of Middletown) at 9:00. I got to the audition a little before 10:00. But I was already running late before the bottle-neck on the highway, so I was not looking to be there much before 9:45 anyway.

    Not to worry though. It was a quick audition. I went in and gave the casting director three different takes on a facial reaction to a scenario she set up for me. It took less than a minute total screen time and I'd say I was in the studio a whole of three minutes, maybe five at the most. Not a long wait beforehand, either. So, one hour down to Cincy; one hour back up; and I was dropping stuff off at my work desk at 11:30 then heading out to eat lunch on campus.

    I am redeemed, too. I did not feel so hot, as you may remember, about the audition for the Kentucky Lottery last week. I did feel good about this one, and the casting director, the same one from last week, seemed to like this one as well as I did. The callback is next Thursday: here's hoping.

    WAIT UNTIL DARK: Got word today that this callback is postponed until the end of the summer.



    Fri June 13, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Two more nights of rehearsal down. Last night it was more of a blocking strategy meeting at Saul's home with a sketch of the set layout and little pill bottles as miniatures of us cast members. One of our cast members was not available for rehearsal last night -- something about a brush up rehearsal for the show he's in right now -- so, instead of a rehearsal on our feet, some of us sat around a table and worked on the stage movements on the little representation. Meanwhile I'm still working to get all Zipper's lines onto flash cards. Been making it mostly a lunch-time activity.

    Still on the agenda (aside from the basic study of the script) is: to create Zipper's back story, which includes a full name; to do some as-of-yet basically undefined research (I just have the instinct I should have some better knowledge or understanding of the "personal injury lawyer" angle -- something more than the two-dimensional stereotype); tag the sound cues in the script then determine the logistics of their execution -- the fun part is two arrays of cell phone rings which will be a bit of a challenge, though not an insurmountable problem; I suppose learning my lines can be listed, too.

    WOID UP, YA MUTHA: I have been soundly and effectively rebuked for my rant concerning my practiced pronunciation of mischievous. The most salient point that I must concede being that the text of the play uses the standard accepted spelling which suggests, if not demands, the "mis'-chi-vus" pronunciation over my non-standard pronunciation. The rebuke also successfully pointed out that my "mis-chee'-vee'-us" pronunciation needs an archaic alternate spelling, mischievious -- (an I after the V), which does not seem to be accepted as a modern correct spelling. A brief amount of research on my part does not seem to support my assertion that my pronunciation is the standard British pronunciation, either, though I suspect it probably stems from an old vulgar British pronunciation and spelling. Ah, well, in terms of the impetus of this whole thing, itís all a moot point since Zipper will say, "mis'-chi-vus." Yet, I ranted on the topic, with some none-too-subtle undercurrents of snarkiness, so itís only fair to share the stalwart rebuttal against my rant.

    T H E A T R E ,   A N Y O N E ?: Over the last several months I have missed a lot of theatre productions I would have liked to have caught. Some, I just could not fit into my schedule, like Miss Witherspoon, the FliPside show that ran last weekend at Dayton Playhouse. I also missed Funny Girl several weeks ago, also at the Playhouse, because I did not feel well the night of my reservation. And, of course, I missed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf there because the blizzard shut down the only performance of that I could see due to my appearance in The Best Man, which ran at the same time. And, despite that I spend all day long in the building next to the Creative Arts Center on campus, the WSU productions are consistently off my radar. And I miss a lot of other stuff, too.

    Tonight I plan to catch the Young At Heart Players production of Shades of Twilight: An Evening of Two Plays, which shows tonight and tomorrow at the Dayton Playhouse. Several folk I have worked with are in one or the other of the two one-act plays, The Last Act is a Solo, by Robert Anderson and Marcia Savin's Just a Song at Twilight. Tomorrow night I see Five Course Love at The Loft. At some point I need to work myself into a seat in the audience for Amy's View at DTG. At this point that looks like the closing show on the 22nd.

    REVIEWS OF AMY'S VIEW: The reviews from both Terry Morris of the Dayton Daily News and Russell Florence, Jr. of the Dayton City Paper were in their respective papers on Wednesday. Morris seems to like the performances more than the script. Russell seems to appreciate both, equally. But, no pans here, at all! For the Terry Morris review, while it is still available on-line, click here. Russell Florence, Jr.'s review does not seem to be available as part of the on-line posting of the issue.



    Sat June 14, 2008

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    June 14, 2008 -- Let the 'MID-LIFE' Crisis begin in earnest


    AND ALSO


    HAPPY
    FLAG DAY!!


    Mon, June 16, 2008

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    A T   T H E   T H E A T R E:
  • Saturday night I caught Five Course Love, a new musical by Gregg Coffin, at The Human Race Theatre Company. It stars the ensemble cast of Katie Pees, Aaron Vega and Nick Verina and is directed by Joe Deer. I am always in awe of triple-threat actors (They Sing! They dance! They Act!). I, of course, despite my insidious self-critical masochism, do consider myself a talented actor; and I am a good singer, though I don't have the exact style or skill set that one usually finds in musical theatre vocalists; and, as we have established again and again and again: anything resembling dancing skill is by far one of my weakest fortes (if I may use the word so carelessly). So when I see three talented actors, and in multiple roles, no less, carry off all these -- the singing, the dancing, the acting, I am a little jealous.
  • Rather than Friday night as originally planned, I saw the Young At Heart Players production of Shades of Twilight: an evening of two plays on Sunday afternoon. And I had a nice time there, too. I have yet had the pleasure to work with Joan Harrah ("She" in the second play, Just a Song at Twilight, by Marcia Savin), and I haven't directly worked yet with John Beck (Michael Jones in Robert Anderson's The Last Act Is a Solo). I have been on stage with everyone else. Barbara Jorgensen was my mammy in my return to acting, The Cripple of Inishmaan, as well as a fellow DTG board member. She had the lead of Laura Cunningham in The Last Act.... Roger Watson and I were cast mates two years back in Fake for FutureFest 2006, and he was Barbara's (Laura's) nephew Ben this weekend. Chuck Larkowski was "He" in Just a Song.... He and I were on stage together last summer in the FutureFest play, Playing God.
  • TINA GLOSS DOES A MARATHON -- "HELP ME IN MY TRAINING TO END STROKE": Just want to repeat the information about Tina Gloss' (Still Me & Pushing Daisies) participation in the thirteen mile marathon to benefit the American Stroke Association this August.

    TINA GLOSS DOES A MARATHON -- "HELP ME IN MY TRAINING TO END STROKE": Ms. Gloss (Still Me & Pushing Daisies) is in training for a thirteen mile marathon to benefit the American Stroke Association.

    Tina Gloss holds her 'I'm Training to End Stroke' t-shirt. Tina says, in part: "Until about 2 years ago, I thought that only old people had strokes. Then I was cast in a short film about a couple who has to deal with the after affects of a stroke. I couldn't have been more mistaken. The writer and director of Still Me, Beth McElhenny (a woman in her 30's) was writing from experience. She suffered a stroke a few years earlier. Looking at her now, you would never know, but the memory of the trauma and the months of rehabilitation are still enough to bring tears to her eyes.

    "And, just last month an actor friend of mine, Manny Suarez, (a healthy man in his 40's) suffered a double stroke and died within weeks, leaving behind a devastated family, a wife and two beautiful children.

    "When I tell people that I'm running this Marathon for the American Stroke Association just about everyone said that they know someone whose life, in some way, has been affected by stroke. I realized that everyone knows someone and when this opportunity presented itself for me to do something, I took it."

    Click on this image for a PDF of Tina's full message:    PDF of Tina Gloss letter about 1/2 Marathon to benefit stroke victims

    As for Pushing Daisies: it will be back in the fall. Tina does not know yet whether Ned's mother makes any more appearances.



    Wed June 18, 2008

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    Happy Birthday
    PAUL
    (***)



    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: We finished blocking last night. So now I must attack the acquisition of, the creation of, this Zipper fellow. Sure, I've more-or-less already begun, but barely. As is always the case with me, I have groaned (literally and parenthetically) at myself as I have mouthed lines out loud, making relatively ignorant deliveries of the lines and then instantly knowing that the reading was oh-so-wrong.

    Not that such has not served its purpose. I'd say a line completely wrong, then recognize that fact -- sometimes instantly knowing how I should have said it. Some lines I couldn't do that with; they will take more study. I will need to better know where Zipper's head is at and what is going on with his emotions. And I need a stronger sense of who this guy is. I don't have much at all of that right now. So, along with getting the lines, I need to also get Zipper, himself, too.

    Also, I want to get the book out of my hand early. I have what may be a lot of business with a deck of cards and I'd like to be able to get to that sooner rather than later. Director Saul has already made the general plea about getting off-book ASAP to the whole cast.

    Then, there are the friggin' limericks that Zipper sings. I have told Saul that I'll come up with some melodies for them. I was making up some awkward tunes and purposefully singing very badly during early rehearsals, but Saul asked me to please not do that. So I have just been reciting them until I have come up with something. I will still sing them with a little less accomplishment than I can, but I will steer clear of the totally off-key, dog howling.

    And then there are them sound cues.



    Fri June 20, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Low and behold, I believe that Zipper has made a little bit of an appearance on stage the last two nights. Just a little bit of one. It was through osmosis; I still have yet to sit down and study the play, so I have not but a weak idea of what I see indicated in the script -- though I did come to an important insight Wednesday night as I attended to how one of the other characters is characterizing Zipper during a conflict the two are having. I remember a comment an actor made at a picnic a few years ago that we ought to pay attention to what the other characters think of and say about our characters, that those can be very strong clues to help us in our character construction. Saul mentioned that same concept last night. And I know that what I realized Wednesday, through the other character's vision of Zipper, will be crucial in my work on him. That work which will begin in earnest this weekend.


    INTERESTING MAYBE-SO FACTS IF YOU ARE ENTERTAINED BY THE PRETENTIOUS SILLINESS OF AN AMATEUR ACTOR WITH AN EGO THE SIZE OF THE TRI-STATE (whichever tri-state area is relevant to you)

    1. at this date I have grossed $810.00 as an actor in 2008. So, hey! Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Harrison Ford: Look behind you. That large clump of male actors back there? The ones so far back there behind you that you can't even see them as a fraction of a sand grain? I'm in that group of men.

      But, By God That $810.00 Makes Me Technically Semi-Professional, So I Will Claim Such With A Robust Pretentiousness That I Will Not Deny Nor With Which Will I Concern Myself!

    2. at this date I have spent $484.77 toward acting that I can claim when I do my taxes. ($810-$484.77=$325.23) -- Ooooh! I'm ready to shop for that new fuel-efficient A 160 CDI Mercedes!
    3. as of last night's rehearsal, I have logged 2900 miles directly related to acting in 2008. As to whether I can claim all that mileage, I am not sure yet. But I'd rather log it and not be able to use it than to find out later that I could have claimed miles I didn't record.
    4. my mileage for strictly volunteer work related to The Dayton Theatre Guild, as a board member, is 1433.85, this year. I have yet to donate money this year: it's coming, it's coming.
    • there is nothing terribly unique about these numbers. Most actors I am in contact with -- the non-union ones like me, at least -- can claim mileage in this neighborhood. Many can claim this much money (income and expenses). Some have higher numbers all around.


    UPDATE ON TINA GLOSS'S MARATHON TRAINING -- "HELP ME IN MY TRAINING TO END STROKE": Tina Gloss (Still Me & Pushing Daisies) has sent this update about her training for a thirteen mile marathon to benefit the American Stroke Association.

    Tina Gloss holds her 'I'm Training to End Stroke' t-shirt. Well, this week we're up to 8 miles. Phew! I didn't think I could do it, but here I go. It's been a wonderful experience to far. I'm challenging myself every day and telling people of the importance of stroke awareness.

    To those of you who have already contributed, I offer my many many thanks, but so far I've only raised $375, and my goal is $2400 by July 31st. I have to raise at least 25% by June 26th as a recommitment goal. Please consider helping me at this time and telling just 5 family members, co-workers, your dentist, a teacher about my Training to End Stroke for the American Stroke Association and the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon I'm running on August 31st.

    Just go to http://lattes.kintera.org/tina_finnell to make a donation....This year, approximately 780,000 people in the U.S. will have a stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the country, behind heart disease and cancer.

    Thank you for your continued support,
    Tina Gloss Finnell

    Click on this image for a PDF of Tina's full original message:    PDF of Tina Gloss letter about 1/2 Marathon to benefit stroke victims


    Sun June 22, 2008

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    CLOSING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    AMY'S VIEW by David Hare at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    The cast of Amy's View

    Barbara Coriell            Esme Allen (Lloyd)
    Holly Kuhn            Amy Thomas
    Jill Evans            Evelyn Thomas
    Alex Carmichal            Dominic Tyge
    Matthew Smith            Toby Cole
    Geoff Burkman            Frank Oddie

    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Low and behold again, I have actually finished the damned flash cards of my lines. There are 241 index cards. Fortunately there are only a few that would even come close to constituting a "monologue," and those few instances, hardly so.

    Though I am not really behind: I feel like I am behind. My urge is to stay home today to spend the entire day on line work. But I am going to finally sit in the audience for Amy's View at the Guild, as well as take care of some other business as a DTG board member on the way to the show.

    But, tonight, whilst I slip in some house work at the ol' apartment, I shall slip in some line work.

    An interesting note: I realized during the week that I had not been taking any of the index cards from earlier in the show with me to places like the gym because for some reason my brain was in some sort of narrow-visioned logic that I could use none of the cards until all of them were completed. Another " DOH!" moment.



    Mon, June 23, 2008

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    AMY'S VIEW YESTERDAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Of course, I am biased, but I enjoyed the performance of the show. Actually, I liked the work of the actors much more than I liked the characters they were portraying. Fine work all around from the actors, though. And it's great to have a couple talented new faces on the Guild stage, namely Holly Kuhn and Jill Evans along with the vets, and including Geoff Burkman's return after quite a few years -- since before my introduction in Cripple.

    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: I have the bare beginnings of Zipper's back story. Since his is so intertwined with the two other men, I am going to be a bit vague about some things -- because the anal retentive perfectionist in me can't allow me to have childhood facts that conflict with any for the others, even if I don't know about the disagreements. But I do have Zipper's real, full name. And for the moment I have decided to keep it out of the blog.



    Tue, June 24, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Still essentially fumbling along in the development of Zipper. A lot of my readings of his voice have been shallow interpretations thus far, even last night. The note I got was to bring down the "acting," which was already going to happen. I'm just sometimes playing it a lot bigger than I know it should be because I have not come across the true subtler place as of yet. I have not gotten to the "behaving" as opposed to "acting." I'm currently working on the precept that it's easier to go big and tone down than to start small and charge it up.

    And I havenít even gotten to the levels of tension that he needs in many places yet. I really need to have my good handle on Zipper before I get to that stuff. There is a lot of cautionary behavior that needs to be a part of many moments in the play. I hardly concentrated on that because I am focused on the fundamentals of blocking and the fundamentals of Zipper. The need for this cautionary tension is starting to be mentioned and I have already been aware of the need; it's that I have been otherwise focused.

    There was also a general note given that we should "act with our feet planted firmly." I am at least a part of to whom that was directed, if not solely so. I do have a habit of milling -- quite subconsciously -- during the earlier rehearsal period. It pretty much stays with me until I have the book out of my hand and also a strong sense of my character and the action. When I have ingrained the mental, emotional and physical purposes I then speak and move with better purpose. Some of my milling was certainly the case of Oh shit! I'm supposed to be standing over there; some of it was just that unconscious shuffling that I do at this stage. Surely I will eventually break myself of that habit. I have to be honest, though, it is a lesser concern to me than other craft growth, until, of course, I find a sensible reason to convince me otherwise.



    Sat June 28, 2008

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    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE: Nothing awful nor overwhelmingly fabulous to report about my progress at getting Zipper. Some progress but still mostly slow. I need to better wrap myself around a particular incredibly dumb-assed stance he takes at one point. Thursday night, especially, I was having problems with it. The others were giving me all the evidence from the script to support the fact that he takes the stance, which, however, really wasn't my point. I know he takes that stance, I just need to get to a performance of him where it's okay for me to play him as such a foolish moron. Because at that point he's a pretty big damned fool, tempting fate rather arrogantly. I'm probably over-thinking it. Well, I am not worried; it'll come to me.

    Today and tomorrow, especially today, are about major line work and script study. And I'll break it up with some research and back story work. Plus, I will pick up a ukulele today, too. We need one for the show, and I have decided I want to have one for myself. So, as has happened before, a show has motivated me to buy something for myself that will take a little detour to a theatre set before making it home. For Belles it was my cordless phone and for Park Your Car in Harvard Yard it was my new red Chinese weave floor rug.

    As for the rehearsals in general and the overall progress, everything is coming along nicely. It will start shaping up more rapidly here shortly as we get off-book. I hope to achieve that status, at least mostly, by end of day tomorrow.

    By-the-way: though it might not be perpetual, here is a link that, at least at this posting, is hot and will give you synopses of all the 2008 plays and the casts. There are not playwright bios, as there have been for pasts festivals. The link is: www.daytonplayhouse.org/FutureFestSynopsi.html.
    (WHEN YOU READ THIS AS AN OLD ENTRY, THE PAGE VERY WELL MAY BE GOOD FOR THE CURRENT FESTIVAL: 2009, 2010, ETC)

    OPEN AUDITIONS FOR OUTWARD BOUND, BY SUTTON VANE, AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Auditions for my home theatre's 2008/09 season opener will be held Monday & Tuesday, August 11 & 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Guild: 2330 Salem Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, 45406 (937-278-5993) or www.daytontheatreguild.org.

    The play will be done as a period piece, circa 1920, and takes place for one week on a cruise ship. English accents required.

    Cast requirements:

    • Scrubby - any age, male, an employee on the cruise ship
    • Ann & Henry - a young twenty/thirty-something married couple
    • Mr. Prior - thirtyish playboy
    • Mrs. Cliveden-Banks - fiftyish widow, a harridan, pompous without due cause
    • Rev. William Duke - thirtyish minister who has lost his calling
    • Mrs. Midget - fifty/sixty year old, siple, char woman
    • Mr. Lingley - fifty/sixty year old, very self important businessman
    • Rev. Frank Thomson - fifty/sixty year old, minister on a mission


    Mon, June 30, 2008

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    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE
    BOSTON MARRIAGE
    CAST & CREW:

    Lisa Sadai            Anna
    Elena Monigold            Claire
    Sarah Caplan            Catherine
     
    Saul Caplan            Director
    Shannon Fent            Stage Manager
    Deirdre Bray Root            Assistant Director
    Blake Stuerman            Set Designer
    Carol Finley            Costume Designer

    Saturday afternoon, the cast and crew of the recent Dayton Theatre Guild mounting of David Mamet's Boston Marriage competitively presented an excerpt at the 2008 Southwest Regional OCTAFest. This regional contest was sponsored by the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA). The first report back -- from a Blackeberry in the hands of a Guild member on the scene -- says that our entry was fabulous. The email says in part, "The adjudicators and audience LOVED it!!!!! SO many comments and praise that it is too much to type on my bb at the moment," and adds, "You actors and the Director and Crew are AWESOME!!!!"

    And guess what? They are taking the performance to The State OCTAFest in Columbus, which appears to be the last weekend in August, as one of three finalists from the southwest region. Here is the list of wins for the show this weekend:

    • Excellence in Acting - Lisa Sadai as Anna
    • Excellence in Acting - Elena Monigold as Claire
    • Excellence in Acting - Sarah Caplan as Catherine
    • Outstanding in Directing - Saul Caplan
    • Excellence in Set Design - Blake Stuerman
    • Merit in Costuming - Carol Finley


    INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE LINE DRILLS AND ETCETERA:

    K.L.'s new uke. Did not get nearly as much line work done on Saturday as I would have liked, but it was still a productive day toward the show. As you can see I picked up the ukulele. Though it is a challenge creating an interesting and appropriate melody for Zipper to sing by only using a couple chords that are simple to play.

    Dave Williamson has to play the uke and he requested easy chords. I played around with it off and on from Saturday afternoon through last night. I got some stuff that I suppose would work, but I am not even close to satisfied.

    I even, at one point tuned it to B-flat to see if that might help. It didn't, really. So now I have gone on-line and found a few other alternative tunings that may work. I won't be able to try them out until perhaps after rehearsal tonight, however.

    Zipper flashcards. As for the actual, supposed goal of the weekend: I did spend much of my time, from Saturday afternoon through last night with my little flashcards of Zipper's lines *(see right) as well as with the script itself *(see below).

    That life outside of acting and the arts in general intervened a little bit on Saturday; plus, I did have to go get the uke and then spend at least some time with it. Ultimately I spent about half as much time on line work as I wanted this weekend. And I succeeded in acquiring a corresponding amount of the script. I got through what we have designated, for rehearsal purposes, as Act I -- the play is actually one long scene with no intermission. So, rather than being at a targeted 90-ish % off-book -- meaning I have all the words with some recall stumbles that will go away -- I am at about 50-ish % off-book ("Act I" ends more than halfway through, so I am still figuring in that "recall stumble" concept).

    K.L. does 'Inside the Gatehouse' line work. I really wanted to play all week on stage in rehearsal without the book in my hand, and I know Saul and Greg would have liked that as well if not more than I.

    If I am not mistaken, July 7 is the offical off-book date, but I would have liked to have been much further ahead of the game than I am. At least I have some room this week. And I will improve with "Act II" during the week, I am sure. It would have been great to have kept the book out of my hand all four rehearsals this week, though.

    When working these lines I have found it better to alternate between the cards and the script. There are four people on stage, all speaking throughout. My cards only have a cue line or two for me to use to prompt my line. The whole conversation is not represented on the cards. It is a good idea to learn my lines in context of all that is happening. So I use the cards first to implant the lines, then I am opening the script to practice my lines in context, filling in the lines by others that aren't represented on the cards.

    There are also a few stretches where I don't speak but I still am a presence and I need to read those sections to remember and practice my reactions to what is going on. I also notice that as I work my lines and read the script, I am conscious of where I am in terms of the blocking. Even if I don't physically move about in my practice, as Zipper does on stage, my mind notes his movement: "This is where I storm over to the sofa and plop down."

    I will, of course, do some work on my own where I move in his movements, but I have found over the course of the last several shows I have done that I am becoming very conscious of the blocking and I am very sure this ultimately helps, this mental visualizing.




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