INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
I did pretty well rehearsing "Act I" off-book
last night. I did need to call for line more than a few times and missed several cues
outright -- and in a couple spots I just did not know the line, though there were at
least two times where I knew the sentiment, the thought, just not the words. I also
can't say I was giving a full performance. I was often trying to remember. But, it's
all part of
-- I use the term at the risk of causing at least one set of eyes to roll -- and,
of course, as I get more comfortable and confident with the words....
Would that I could get to "Act II" with the same
accomplishment during this week of rehearsals, yet I have no time to sufficiently
drill the line work. It'll have to be done over this three-day weekend we, here in the
U.S., have coming up. So "Act II" doesn't get as
attended to by me as "Act I" does until next week.
The important note I got last night was that I am still "acting" more than
"behaving" -- my wording -- which is really something I am aware of
already. There are still some places where I don't yet know how Zipper delivers the line,
so I'm still going big, i.e.: more dramatically than is necessary (more "acting"
Zipper, in a related issue, moves from wise-cracking joe into dead-on, high-priced
lawyer in a couple spots and I think at present I am bringing him over a little too soon.
In those places he is in-your-face intense and they call for presentational delivery: the
lawyer on cross examination. But the moments before are usually best played more casually,
or at least not "intensely" those moments before are places for
There are a few other lines that seem so inappropriate to the tension and drama going
on in their moments that I have yet to come to Zipper's voice in those moments.
One line in particular must be delivered exactly right or it will not work; delivered
wrongly it will cause a pain-ridden groan to wash across the audience and come cascading
up onto the stage.
As for this "behaving" rather than "acting": the advice I was given
last night was to relax a bit. It's certainly good and appropriate to try to delve
deep into the character, but there is something to be said for allowing a lot of the
character to surface during the rehearsal process, through the motions of doing the pages
and responding to them and your fellow actors. Again, my paraphrase of what was said to me.
I actually embrace that as part of what I do; I like both methods and employ them both in
I will get more subtle with Zipper as I get more comfortable and familiar with him. I'll
"act" less and "behave" more.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
Overall, this has been a fruitful rehearsal week despite the on-book aspects. I have
been relatively independent of the book for our Act I
designation, and the others have really not relied on the book too heavily
throughout the whole show -- they are all even less dependent than I for "Act
II." And Mr. Williamson is the closest to totally
off-book of any of us. It's also clear we each have sections where we are truly
off-book. Much progress was made even with eyes often floating back to the pages in
We were down one cast member every night. One was out of town on business, all but
yesterday; another got delayed out of town yesterday. We still accomplished
productive gains this week. A lot of blocking has been cleaned up and more
importantly we are starting to really work on the dramatic performances.
Myself, I got some bit of work on Zipper done, both through my own volition and
through our director, Saul Caplan's insights. I hope over the course of this long
weekend to advance Zipper greatly further. Of course, I am charged, as is the rest
of the cast, to be off-book by Monday. As Mr. Caplan told us at end of rehearsal
yesterday, "Monday, you drop the books."
I have to admit that last night the mojo seemed to be off, at least for me. I
suppose some of it was a variety of new elements thrown in: there were still only
three of us, but it was a change-up in who one of those three were; we were on the
main stage at The Playhouse rather than using
The Guild stage, where we have been
predominantly rehearsing; we were using some of the actual intended set pieces for
the first time; I attempted most of "Act I"
again without the book, and this time incorporating the new performance
interpretations which were worked out Tuesday and Wednesday (when I had the book in
There's one Zipper monologue, a reminiscence, that I felt particularly yukky about
last night. This is a section that Saul specifically worked on with me and gave very
specific -- and I must say "Dead On" -- direction. I know what
needs done there, but last night it felt pretty lame to me. I chalk it up to it
being the first time I went after it with the new direction and insight in a truly
off-book attempt. And there is some diction in there that I need to be fully on
top of. There is also a phrase that has to be said precisely, only because the
paraphrase that seems to be coming to me naturally skews the intention of the
sentence too terribly off the mark. Of course, it is important to avoid paraphrasing
anyway, especially when presenting the performance of a new play in a festival where
the book and its text is being presented over the production and performance -- but,
this particular sentence is one I must be especially cognizant of saying exactly as
The other big thing, a major thing, is getting those damned-able Zipper limerick
songs into shape. I have yet to really get words to melody and chords. Dave played
the actual uke for the first time last night but I was not at all prepared to
sing the little ditties last night. Monday that has to happen, despite that he will
be gone, out for the whole week. So, I suppose I will have to play the uke this
This coming week we are going to be doing line work rehearsals, Monday and Wednesday,
and maybe Thursday (if we don't drop the Thursday rehearsal); and I am not at all
sure whether we have sights on a Friday rehearsal or not. I still think I ought to
be working the singing of these limericks in, though.
We are all off Tuesday because one of the cast will
be at The Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio
seeing Ringo in concert.
Still have several lines that I have not come to an interpretation, a reading, a
delivery that satisfies me. Although other lines have become quite obvious to me as
I have come to grips with Zipper and since we all have come to closer and better
understandings and agreements on the Big Picture.
So what's in store for the rest of this long weekend?
Lines -- get all the words into my head; get "off-book" in all
reality as well as studying the script deeper.
-- and get the lines on sound files/CD.
Research and backstory -- without making it a major project, create a
personal backdrop for Zipper (whose real full name I already have decided
Limericks -- get the damned things musically ready.
Sound design -- gather together the sounds and get them organized and
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
First, here is my work for the weekend, presented in the present-tense journaling
format, as I began to document it Saturday evening (during breaks,
of course! )....
Polishing Off the Line Acquisition
Saturday, July 5
Have been going after "Act II" for a
while, since about noon. Taking a dinner break. Have five pages left to
do memorization drills on; adds up to the last fifteen of Zipper's
Back to it.
Done with the initial rote line drills of the last pages of the show,
thus, done with the basic rote line drills of the show in general. Now
it'll only be repetition drills of troublesome lines -- and I do indeed
have some of those. With a couple of them it's just one damned word that
keeps evading my recall!
I will now go back to the point at the start of these last five pages
and drill myself up to the end. Then I will go back several pages,
start there and again drill to the end. I'll keep going a bit farther
back and drilling to the end, until I get to the start of "Act
II." I'll then drill all of this
designated second act several times. After that I'll probably take a
break before I drill the whole show multiple times.
I am now in the midst of that break. Actually only went through the
whole of "Act II" once, with a few
rough spots. Still have decided to go after the whole play after this
little break is done.
Sunday, July 6
I got through the whole play once, again with some rough spots. But my
brain is fried. I am off to bed. I'll get back to it in the morning.
Also, need to get to all that other stuff: studying the script deeper
(though a lot of that is happening as I drill the lines), getting the
lines onto sound files/CD, Zipper's research and backstory, getting
Zipper's limericks musically ready, and the production sound design.
Finally, after a series of snooze alarm
episodes, I drag out of bed. Next on the agenda, of course:
Though I went to bed just after writing the 12:57 log entry above, I
did read the whole play before going to sleep, which put my lights out
at about 2:30. So, I am up and running here on about six and a half
hours sleep, less than I prefer but a little too close to normal in
So, a couple hours after I posted this entry I
realized my math was wrong: 10:08-2:30 amounts to about SEVEN and a
half hours, not six and a half.
Just as I sit down at a picnic table in John Bryan, it hits me: I could
have brought the uke and worked on the melody for Zipper's limericks!
So oh well. Let's not go into why
I first sit down so much later than I had decided to come to the park
in the first place.
As I am going through I am still finding spots where I can pull back on
the intensity and the urgency, so that Zipper comes to a point
relatively close to panic a bit later in the play. It is Saul's concept
and a clear intent of the text (i.e. the playwright) that the sense or
peril overcome the group in a cascade, with each character coming to
his or her apex at different points, in different speeds and different
Done with one run through. Still some stumbles; okay, a lot of stumbles.
But I must say I do have the show in my head -- it just needs to be
And I really want to stay here in the park, but there is to much left
to do that must be done at home.
I had dropped by Yellow Springs
for a short while, then did a little grocery shopping before I got back
to the apartment to eat. Now I will work on those damned limericks.
And I'm feeling like time's-a-wasting.
Okay, so I have a chord progression, with the uke tuned to A-major, and
a melody, all that are what I would describe as "passing," and
that I suppose will do. Well, Art (aka: Dave Williamson), who plays the
uke in the play, is not supposed to be terribly good, and the directions
say that Zipper "mock sings." In other words, the sense is
present in the script that this "music" is not meant to
Because what I have come up with is not.
Dinner break. I have finished recording the script on tape as well as
capturing some cell phone rings, those to use in the sound design.
Meanwhile, as I eat my tuna in mushroom soup, I have Lewis Black on the
Discovered I made a major engineering blunder
on the recording of my lines -- I essentially did not record a large
portion in the middle. So THAT'S a bust. Well a lot of what I was
delivering, recorded or not, was "take 1" style work, i.e.: a
lot of little flubs and such that would have annoyed the piss out of me
as I listened to the files. Whether or not I make another attempt at
getting this recorded remains to be seen, since I am virtually
off-book as it is.
As well, the cell phone rings I tried to capture have too
much room tone to them, and I didn't want to have to try to filter
it all out, So I went to
Sound Rangers and bought the
damned things, as well as the muted sound of glass cracking and a door
bell -- all needed for the production. I bought two new ring tone sound
files, as I already had one (an unused Foley from
The Chorus for Candice). One
of the new ones I had to sweeten a little. I also used the start
of a mp3 of a jazz recording for the fourth ring tone; had to
sweeten that by dropping most of the low end of the EQ out as well
as reducing the lower part of the mid range (to get a
tinsel-like quality, as if it was coming from the small speaker on
a cell phone).
Let's End This
After having processed the pictures used in today's entry, I now
will practice the limerick songs and then work on, at least,
my trouble spots in the lines. And I will attempt to still get to
bed at an intelligent time... (!!!)
For the record, I made it to bed at about 1:00 am --
Not an Intelligent Time!
Tonight we are, as stated, "off-book," and the rehearsal is officially
designated as a "line run." We may or may not be on our feet to actually
move in the blocking.
And I have to debut Zipper's limerick melody; he sings three limericks
but they share one melody line. Actually, there is a more poignant limerick later
in the play that he does sans uke chords. There is no direct suggestion as to
whether he speaks it or sings it a capella. Now that I have a melody, I may try
to sing it, but if I do, I will sing it better than I have Zipper singing the
other three (ya know, that "mock singing" the playwright indicates?).
This last one is not Zipper trying to entertain with bawdy humor, it is he
verging on sardonicism with a good portion of loathed culpability churned into
NEWS: Got word over the weekend from Director Beth McElhenny that the movie is
currently being color corrected.
The Line Run -- Not at all bad for the first night off-book. I was happy with my own
recall. I had a few stumbles, especially toward the end of the show. I had to call for
line, I believe, about three or four times. Missed a couple cues, too. But it was still a
satisfactory night for me. And I was told I was "about two percent away from
Zipper's Limericks -- Saul didn't give any acting notes for the evening, but he did
give me a note about the limerick songs. Essentially he told me they're too much of songs,
in other words, too musical. So I have to trim back on melodic variety and such,
probably reduce the chord changes, as well.
Sound Effects -- Going to reassign the jazz song as a ring tone from Art to someone
else -- hell, maybe it'll become Zipper's. Saul feels that Art would consider a jazz tune
as his ringer to be frivolous, that if he's going to listen to jazz it's going to be on
his state-of-the-art sound system (that he undoubtedly has). Saul also wants at least two
people to have a musical ring tone or none; I think the idea is that one musical
ring tone is too conspicuous by its uniqueness. Got okay's for the door bell and the
Other Stuff -- We have decided, thanks to a generous donation of the money to cover
the cost, to use a break-a-away drinking glass for a scene. I am the one who will be
working with it, too (well, actually, "them," since we will need to rehearse the
event several times). We are hoping the trick glass will be just fragile enough that I can
squeeze it and have it "shatter" in my hand -- without causing me injury;
leastwise, I want to avoid such.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
One little detail, that really does not amount to much, that I discovered probably a week
back is that I got the count of dialogue tags for Zipper wrong. He actually has 243 lines,
not 241. Both Cheryl Mellen (Carol) and Geoff Burkman (Jackson) insist that I have more
lines than either of their, individual characters, but I could swear I have fewer than
either of them. Well, it really makes little difference; the thing most important to me
about 243 lines is the memory quotient -- so in the most important aspect, that 243 is
measured against itself. And, fortunately, as already stated, I am happy to say my
off-book status is in nice shape. YAY!
Yet, last night, the rehearsal was a little rougher than the Monday night one, all around.
Everybody had more recall problems. I certainly called for lines and mangled others, all
that I was dead on with Monday. For myself, maybe it was because of the night off; though
I did run my lines during the day both Tuesday and yesterday. Perhaps it was because we
were off-book and on our feet both for the first time.
On a good note, our director has told us that he thinks there is only a little bit of
fine tuning to make to any of our acting. The sense I got is that this is far more about
particular reactions than it is about characterizations, if it is at all about
characterizations. Saul had asked me before rehearsal started if I had any character
issues or concerns and I replied that I felt good about where I was taking Zipper and he
However, I still need to revamp the limericks. Must admit what I was able to work out
yesterday afternoon then present last night was pretty lame. So, I try again.....
A Little Help From My Friends (excerpt riff) / It Don't Come Easy
What Goes On
Memphis In Your Mind
Lonely Is The Night - Billy Squire
Free Ride - Edgar Winters
Land Down Under - Colin Hay
Dream Weaver - Gary Wright
Pick Up The Pieces - Hamish Stuart
Singing My Song For You - Hamish Stuart (acoustic solo performance)
In The Dark - Billy Squire (acoustic solo performance)
Frankenstein - Edgar Winters
Never Without You
Stroke It - Billy Squire
Work To Do - Hamish Stuart
I Wanna Be Your Man
Love Is Alive - Gary Wright
Who Can It Be Now - Colin Hay
Oh My My designated closer - (but they didn't put the
encore break in) designated encore
A Little Help From My Friends (full song) / Give Peace A Chance -- coda
Ringo Starr - vocals, drums
Colin Hay * - vocals, guitar
Hamish Stuart ** - vocals, guitar, bass
Billy Squier - vocals, guitar
Edgar Winter - vocals, saxophone, guitar, keyboards, percussion
Gary Wright - vocals, keyboards
Gregg Bissonette - drums
there was another guy on bass and guitar, whose name I
have not been able to find
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
At Thursday's rehearsal Saul still wanted less song, more "chant"
in the limericks. All the limericks are in "Act I"
and Friday we ran "Act II" so I gave myself
until tomorrow's rehearsal to have another try ready, since they don't come into
play until then.
On acting notes, Saul is happy with all of our work and I must say I am for the most
part happy with Zipper. Though I do have to say that he's a bit too much like
Stefen (Serge) from 'Art.' Now, not to suggest that Zipper is exactly like
Stefen but there are a lot of similarities. I don't know if that's good or bad. I
do know that in a perfect world I would prefer every character in my canon to be as
distinct onto himself (or who knows, HERself *, for that matter) as I
can make him. I know that ultimately there is a maximum limit to the width of that
spectrum, since they all have to inhabit my body and use my larynx; still I would
like to have that range be as wide as it can be and to continuously push the edges
farther apart. On the other hand, Zipper and Stefen probably aren't really as
close as I am concerned that they are. Zipper certainly has a more jovial edge and,
conversely, a harder one to him than Stefen did.
*Remember Peggy Sue Ingram -- even though she was
I am still making way more line errors than I would like, though I would still
place myself in the mid-ninety-percent range for "off-book," which is
good. We only ran "Act II" once on Friday.
Some good acting dynamics happened, especially during a confrontational segment
between Zipper and Jackson (myself and Geoff Burkman). Yet, we struggled with lines
in many places during the rehearsal. We decided to call the evening to a close after
that one run of the act. Tomorrow night we are charged to seriously have our
#@&%+&%$#@!! lines down!
My big thing is getting a little closer to word-perfect. I also must stop correcting
myself during delivery. I have to start performing as if for the audience. If the
word on the page is "shapes" but I say "figures" then I must
just go with the error. I don't want to make the error, of course, but now it's time
to not screw with the flow and to practice not telegraphing the mistakes to the
audience. There actually is a place for correcting one's lines during rehearsal, but
I believe I am now past that. Now I make mental note and be sure to correct such
as I run lines and in the next rehearsal of the particular section.
Worked on the sound design this morning. Have not gotten into master mixing on the
whole yet because there are some decisions left to be made that will dictate how I
mix. But I think I have all the sounds. I may need to still sweeten a couple a bit
I was supposed to spend most of yesterday on that, but my car has been acting up
thus a lot of my day was dedicated to that. And I have this fear that the auto shop
is in my near future -- I have already priced the alternator, that which I am
praying I really do not need.
Also spent part of this afternoon helping with the general set construction for
FutureFest as a whole.
Now, after having taken a little nap then worked on this dorky blog, I spend the
rest of my evening apartment cleaning and various and a sundry chores; and as I am
engaged in such: LINES LINES LINES.....
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
The Monday night rehearsal was much rougher than I would have liked. I had line
farts that took me by total surprise. I don't want it to sound like the rehearsal
sucked; it most certainly did not. I think we have a lot of great dynamics happening
on stage. But we have some areas that really need improvement. I guess that's why we
have a rehearsal period.
It was good to have Dave Williamson back. We worked on the new limericks
tune. That was also one of the parts that needed much improvement, but I don't think
that is a problem -- and of course, we all expected it would be rough. Dave is not a
musician at all, and even if, he was introduced to the chord progression precious
moments before we began the stage work that night.
Last night was better, but man were there still some of them rough spots. I, for
one, went up on a line that I have never missed before. As well, I delivered a line
quite wrong in another spot. I got the information out, but what I said was not
quite what was on the page. I also keep getting a couple words wrong in particular
lines, one of which I was not aware of at all until it was pointed out to me. I
did get some line work in while I was waiting on my car in the shop yesterday
afternoon ($405!!!); went
through the show twice, then once again after I arrived early at the theatre. Still
made some dumb-ass line errors in the rehearsal.
Tonight is our technical rehearsal and as soon as this is posted I will finish off
the sound design. I took yesterday and today off to address this -- and my car, and
line work/character study.
Tomorrow night we are off. Um, well, we don't have rehearsal. I, for, one will be
into more line work/character study.
Friday, we actors are on our own on stage: no calling for lines. Actually one
could call for a line, there just will be no response.
Saturday we are off. Um, well, we don't have rehearsal. I, for, one will be....
Sunday we have our dress rehearsal in front of an audience.
And, perhaps there may be one, of the small handful -- (yeah, "small"
-- lets be real here) -- of people who have even thought about bookmarking this
blog -- not that any have actually done such -- at least one may notice that
my little design for FutureFest 2008, below, has changed to better reflect with and
align to the 2008 design at the DPH web site.
-- It's screening at two film festivals, so far.
It is now absolutely official that the movie will be screened at
Dawn Wells'Spudfest Take II
film festival, July 31-Aug 2. The film is screening each of the three days. Still
Me and other shorts will also be screened by SpudFest at an additional showing
in Idaho Falls on Tuesday, July 29. Our director, Beth McElhenny, also thinks that
some of the screenings at the film festival may be done at a drive-in. As to
whether Still Me will get such a screening, I do not know.
Oh but were I to be able to attend either or both.
GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY
-- Director Mike Sopronyi has just sent the master cut to Orlando Florida where a
couple named Scott and Sandra Nance will be the sabre artists* for the visual
effects**. Mike met them at a recent convention he was at -- I believe a Ghostbusters
convention, but I am not sure -- and when they heard about the movie needing an
effects team, they jumped in. "Sandra is a graphics designer," Mike says,
"plus there was another member of their GB fan group that would want to help as
well." Mike doesn't yet have his last name, but his first is Mark and he's a
producer/director at the CW station in Orlando.
On an added note, Mike says that at this convention, he found that "out of the
thirty-five-plus Ghostbusters there, about ninety-five percent knew about Spook
University." So, I have a decent supporting role in a movie that has a
pre-release rep -- never mind that the film can't ever be in commercial release.
Nevertheless, my ego will grab onto anything resembling
glory that it can find!
PLUS -- Oh No! The Dreaded LOOPING!!!!
And this morning I got a message from Mike that we need to re-record the dialogue
track for an exterior scene that I and Dan Yohey
(WDTN Channel 2) did. It was shot on campus at
Wright State University and there's one, or
several, HVAC unit blowers that are just too prominent on the audio. I have actually
noted this problem with a location on campus that I'd love to use for my movie that
I hope to shoot next summer. The spot looks perfect, but I don't know if I want to
fool with the ADR*** that I know damned well would be necessary.
*) "sabre artist": a member of the production team utilizing a
combination of software programs to create special effects.
**) "visual effects": alterations to a film's images during
***) "ADR": Automatic Dialogue Replacement (AKA: Dialogue Looping,
Dialog Looping, Looping). The re-recording of dialogue by actors in a sound
studio during post-production, usually performed to playback of edited picture
in order to match lip movements on screen. ADR is frequently used to replace
production track of poor quality (e.g., due to high levels of background noise)
or to change the delivery or inflection of a line. ADR can also be used to
insert new lines of dialogue which are conceived during editing, although such
lines can only be placed against picture in which the face of the actor
speaking is not visible.
Note from me: as I went to get the text of these definitions from IMDb, I
discovered that I have often used the term SFX (or SPFX) incorrectly. It turns
out that Special effects are done during production, while the camera is
rolling. Such things as using a fog machine or having foam boulders fall on or
near the actors, to create the illusion of an avalanche, in the second case.
Those are special effects. Had they been computer generated and put in after
the scenes were shot, they would be visual effects.
-- I have emailed co-director and DP Tony Bushman to see if there is any news on a
final cut. At this point I am totally in the dark about any progress. Hell, the DVD
may have been burned months ago for all I know.
MY "FORTHCOMING" MOVIES
-- Yeah, right. I'm gonna have some progress to report.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
I'm so close to perfectly off-book yet still not there and stuck at some corner that
seems to be difficult for some frustrating reason to turn! I never had to actually
call for a line Wednesday night, but I certainly did mangle a few. Plus I was a bit
tardy on a couple cues. I'm still correcting myself mid-line on occasion and that
must stop -- as I've already written here, the time for line correction during
delivery on stage is over. That plan to do line work last night was modified into
doing INTENSIVE LINE WORK.
On a related note, I discovered Wednesday, while looking at my script during the
final stretch of sound design for the show, that I have been saying part of a
sentence wrong during one of my more poignant monologues. Without spoiling it by
giving you the context, Zipper is supposed to say, "blood dribbling out of his
mouth"; I have been saying, since we put the script down, "blood dribbling
down his mouth." Part of that is because I wrote it the incorrect way on the
flash card -- so there is a particular danger to be on guard against when utilizing
the flash-card method: be sure you copy the text verbatim from the script.
By-the-way, I have also caught another numbering error on
those index cards; I skipped some numbers when numbering each card, so the final
count of Zipper line tags has jumped to 244 -- which is relatively useless
information save for the sake of accuracy.
Wednesday was mostly about technicals, however, and those seemed to go pretty well.
We have twenty sound cues from opening music to closing music. The stickiest one
involves me, a break-away drinking glass and the sound of cracking glass. The timing
has to be exquisitely perfect and we have only one more chance to work on it before
the official performance. We can't at tonight's rehearsal because we are not on the
true set, in the true theatre; rather we are at the
Guild on the
"approximate" stage, without our newly engaged lights and sound.
Only other sticking point as far as sound was that I only had eighteen seconds of
the opening music (I cut it right before the vocals of the song start) -- Saul wants
more, in case we need a bit more time; so, I sent an mp3 of the whole song to the
The light cues are simple. They took us probably five minutes to run through.
So, my goal for rehearsal tonight is to be as close to word-perfect off-book as I can,
and when/IF I'm not, to not screw the flow
or my character work by correcting myself on stage, least not in obvious ways. As I
wrote before, if I use a synonym for the correct word, I have to go with it; if I
paraphrase, I have to go with it; I just need to make the mental note to be attune to
the error, though there's a good chance the line mistake will be pointed out to me by
our trusty stage manager or AD. Further, I have the terrible anxiety that we will get
lost in a segment and I will not be able to help us get back on track -- not that such
is on my shoulders alone, but I want to be up to my one-fourth part of such burden.
AUDITIONS: There are few things coming up that I am eyeing, though I am not sure yet.
Have read none of them yet. I have read most of Frederick Knott's Wait Until
Dark for the
Human Race Theatre Company
callback that should happen next month (for the
The Victoria Theatre production that is
up next spring). I know of at least one other local actor who also got the callback.
He knows who he is reading for; I do not know who I am reading for. He is of the
opinion I will read for the same role as he -- I have no clue whether he is on the
mark or not. The insecure, competitive actor in me wants him to be wrong, only
because it puts a face on my competition which I am fully aware has loads more
experience than I, which includes a long stretch as a professional Equity/SAG/AFTRA
performer. But, that would already be the case -- it's just that I have knowledge of
this fellow, which makes the competition far more tangible to me.
Considering the virtual friggin' disaster at my general audition back in May, it's a
miracle I have a callback at all!
MOVIE(S)?: It may seem like I have given up on shooting at all this summer. I have not.
More when there's more to tell.....
For the first time that we could not call for lines, that part was not too terribly
bad, though there were some dicey moments. At least one little section, that I am
aware of, was skipped. In another place, I dropped a line completely; I didn't even
realize it was my turn to speak. I was actually one line ahead and was waiting for
the cue to my next line after the one in question. So the other actor involved in
the exchange, Mr. Burkman, figured out a way to get out his line, which was supposed
to have been a response to the cue line I never gave him.
I had two definite places where I could jump in when someone else was lost or had
gone up, and batted 500. In one case, the other actor was clearly lost and was
caught in one of those cyclical line loops. I had a line that I could give him to
get him out of the loop and get the story back on track, so I said it. In the other
case, the actor had gone up on a line and I frankly did not readily think of a
good spot in our conversation to jump to. My mind was flipping through the rolex to
find the logical spot, in the meantime he retrieved his line and we could go on. It
seemed like a couple minutes to me, probably like ten to him; it was more likely
twenty seconds or less -- but, ten seconds of silence is a long time on stage.
The most surprising note for us overall was that the pacing and energy at the start
of the show was low, low, low. To put it in Mr. Caplan's words. "The first
twenty minutes took you thirty-five to get through." It did not seem to trudge
to me; maybe I was feeling the energy charge from the anxiety of no calling for
lines; and, maybe the mental retrieval by all of us was a major culprit
because it caused some lags in picking up cues.
My own self, beyond that line I dropped altogether, I know I did a few paraphrases.
The limericks are not at all in the shape they should be, either, but this is mostly
because Dave and I just have had very little practice to get them smoother. I got so
flustered during two of them that I bungled the words. We have plans to get together
before today's call, to really get them working well.
A few other notes for me took my by surprise. I was told that Zipper is not showing
enough tension and anxiety in a large portion of the show, which really bummed me
because I was making what I mistakenly thought was a concerted effort to show just
that. I also was told Zipper needs to be more pained in a particular part of the
show; I had been sure I was showing his pained emotions. I was actually the most
unhappy about that, how I was not playing that section as well as I thought I was.
There are some technical notes that I need to heed, too. Ms. Root, our rehearsal
stage manager, clued me in to a particular line I say that I need to be careful
about the enunciation of, as it sounds like I am saying something else, at least to
her. There's a place where Zipper illustrates kicking someone and I have never felt
that it has worked. Saul showed me why and it was one of those
"DOH!" moments for me; I've been letting
the sole of my shoe hit the floor with each each kick, which causes a drag that
stifles the momentum and ruins the flow of the action. For another moment in the
play, Saul also literally illustrated the movements needed for me to bring off. I
won't spoil the bit by elaborating here, but I mention it only to confess that I
was blowing the bit on stage by not physically doing it in a manner that is, in
Saul's words again, "show and tell,"
I also adjusted something on the set in an action that I would not take during an
actual peformance, but the prop placement was bugging me. I got a note about it,
and the point was still taken.
During this rehearsal period I have left the theatre on a number of nights feeling
like a pretty damned good actor -- Friday night, not so much.
(Did anyone pick
up on my pathetic self pity in the last post?). Assessing myself
unrealistically badly is as equally unfair to and unwise for me as when I
overestimate my growth as an actor. Yet, I have to live with both reactions; they
seem to be inbred into me. So I live with both swings of the pendulum. I was a
dorky-assed sad sack for twenty-four hours. Now, screw it! It's time to move on!
This evening we play in front of an audience. The dress rehearsal is open to the
public for a $5 admission. I don't know yet how I feel about it. I have a mental
leeriness but I always have such about putting a show up in front of an audience.
You can be assured that before Dave and I get together to work on the uke routine,
I will be going over my lines. As a matter of a fact, that starts right after this
post is FTP'd to the server.
AN AUDITION I MISSED: I am sorry to report that I had to pass up an opportunity to
audition for an indy full-length feature. The audition was yesterday in
Cincinnati and there was no way I could make it down. I just found out about the
auditions too late. Judging from the specs, there is a principal role I could be a
good contender for, too. Then there is the very attractive point that the shoots
are all weekends, which means I would not have burned up vacation days, and thus
would have saved them for another acting gig where I would need them. And at the
moment, because I took two days off this week, that magic three weeks of built up
time has moved into September. Four weeks, which would be better, is now December.
Now, had I been cast in this movie, it would have certainly killed any chance
whatsoever to work on any of my own film maker projects. And, as I have indicated,
I have not thrown in the towel yet for this summer; though, all or most who said
they were on board, may have.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
The dress rehearsal was "not bad." Apparently the first portion still lacks
sufficient energy. I just didn't sense that from on stage; Zipper seemed to be at the
right pace and the right level of energy to me, and I'd say Art, Carol and Jackson did
as well. But I am on the inside looking out so I am quite aware that my perspective
lacks the outsider's view. And I know from various past experiences that what I feel
about a performance does not necessarily reflect what is emanating from the stage.
The more positive note is that Mr. Caplan thought the overall performance was pretty
good after we trod through the clay of the first third of the show. He believes from
that point forward we are giving the playwright a performance that does his text
justice. For most of his notes it was really pretty picky stuff and he even said,
"If we're being this picky with the notes you know we're in good shape."
My personal notes were all about adjustments to the blocking, due to the set -- the
actual set at the playhouse which we've hardly been on. One note he didn't bother to
give me was about how I had the damnedest time getting the word "philanthropist"
out of my mouth; I had to give it three or four tries before it came out correctly. Of
course, he didn't bother to point it out because he knew I was already fully aware.
Must admit, I had a few other line farts, but nothing the audience, small as it was,
would have been able to discern. And I did not go up, or even come close to going up.
Well, I did during a brief run-through before the actual rehearsal run, but I
was good during the dress. A few times I paraphrased or used a synonym and in a couple
places I am aware of I switch some words or sentences around within a line.
There was also a general note about volume, and I thought I was being loud enough,
but maybe not. And, of course, I didn't bother to ask, 'cause that might make sense.
One major point about the volume is that we were at a major disadvantage last night.
The AC was out at the theatre, so there was a small battalion of fans in the house and
we had to compete with the combined drone coming from them. Volume may not be as much
of an issue when the AC is back up. And one does hope the AC is back up by the
FutureFest opening this Friday. Yet, what if not? What if we are on stage Saturday
night fighting against the same background racket? I'm guessing we won't need to worry
about it, but what if...?
Again, some lines got jumped, but everybody was smooth about covering and moving on. I
know I altered my lines, or otherwise jumped in a few times to keep the thing moving.
Not at all as good as getting all the text out as it was written, but better than
breaking the momentum and flow.
Tonight is an intensive line work rehearsal. We have been told to be sure we bring our
On another subject, I changed my mind about not sharing the name I came up with for
Zipper. As for my choice to give him a real name, well, maybe the play doesn't need him
to have a name, but the actor playing him in this production does. Here's the
background I have created for Zip. (My apologies to
Mr. Hollenbach if any of this runs contrary to
Andrew Charles Kendrick (Zipper)
*(some family members call him Drew)
July 8, 1953
William Gregory Artemis Kendrick (b.1923, d.2000)
Louis Patricia Hillbury-Kendrick (Lulu) (b.1925)
Alex Geoffrey Kendrick (Al) (b. 1949)
Married with two children. Wife (Sarah) - Son (Jeremy age 24) -
Son (Mike age 21)
Dianna Margaret Fitzsimmons (Dee) (b. 1951)
Academy award winning Documentary film maker
Married with three children. Husband (Kelvin) - Son (Kelvin Jr.
age 32) - Daughter (Michelle age 29) - Daughter (Liz age 26)
Brian David Kendrick (B.D.) (b.1956)
Not married. Lives with his partner of 21 years, Laurence.
aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides, grand nieces and
nephews from Al's and Dee's children.
April 14, 1990
Carolyn Janet Dewberry (b. Feb 20, 1960)
High school biology teacher
Julia Patricia Kendrick (Patty) (b. Nov 17, 1990)
Lisa Georgia Kendrick (Georgie) (b. May 8, 1993)
Samantha Rita Kendrick (Sammy) (b. Feb 11, 1998)
May 2, 2000
Infidelity. Both were having an affair. The marriage was
falling apart and the two came to resent each other greatly.
The divorce was not amicable and Carolyn has cut off Zipper from
his girls as much as she can; especially since she did not get
the level of alimony she wanted because Zipper's partner, Martin
Jorgensen, represented him, and he is one of the best divorce
lawyers in the state.
Zipper first cheated on Carolyn five years into the marriage.
He had a liaison with another tourist while he and the family
were on vacation in Hawaii. Over the next year he had several
more such brief encounters with strange women. Then he had a
brief affair with Sarah Gotz, a paralegal in the office,
shortly after he made full partner in 1996. By early 1997 that
affair was over. In 1998, as his relationship with Carolyn had
disintegrated to two people who felt practically nothing for each
other, he began an affair with Julia Barringer, another attorney.
He strongly suspected that Carolyn was involved with the vice
principal at the high school where she taught and really did not
care. The fact was verified during the divorce and was revealed
to have been going on for four years.
Zipper's drinking and his workaholism were another part of his
contribution to the death of this marriage. The two went to
marriage counseling in 1995 and Zipper agreed to attend some AA
meetings. He went for only a few weeks. One fellow in a meeting,
who was as unwilling to be there as Zipper was, introduced
himself as a "court-appointed alcoholic." Zipper
started introducing himself as a "therapy-appointed
alcoholic" and in private he called himself a
"bitch-appointed alcoholic." And, of course, he did
not consider himself an alcoholic, at all.
Nickname given to him by his eighth grade debate coach Robert
Scott, because he could be counted on to "zip up the
contest" and take the team to a victory. After the team
won the state finals with much help from Zipper, and the
nickname was prominent in the local headlines, the name became
common for him and has stuck. Now it has migrated to mean that
he "zips up" cases in court.
Despite his further success on the high school debate team and
in English class as well, Zipper was, overall, the classic
under-achiever in high school, waning from his academic highs
in elementary and middle school. He graduated high school with
a 2.2 GPA and was one of those kids of whom the teachers said,
"He'd be a straight-A student if he'd only apply himself!"
Yet he scored high on his SATs.
B.A. from Princeton as a legacy (his father). He had a mediocre
academic start and was placed on academic probation twice. But
he rallied as a student toward the end of his sophomore year and
for the rest of his college career to graduate cum laude with
a 3.1 GPA.
J.D. from Columbia Law School. Graduated magnum cum laude with
a 3.8 GPA.
Davis, Kendrick, Hoppenhouer and Jorgensen
Junior partner in May 1990
Full Partner on Aug 5, 1996
Andrew Kendrick (AKA: Zipper Kendrick) has a reputation as a
tough opponent in court and is considered one of the best
litigators in town. His win ratio is impressive.
Zipper and Julia were together until 2001. She ended it because
he would not marry. He also started seeing other women while
they were together. Since then he has not come close to a
relationship that has lasted a year; and periods of monogamy
during those "relationships" are fleeting.
VOICE-OVER AUDITION: My agency just emailed
the script for a voice over audition that I will probably do Thursday afternoon.
ON AN UNRELATED NOTE: So,
X Files: I Want to Believe
comes out this Friday, and I can't get to see it until next Monday at the very
I am a big X Files fan, and even almost have a more-or-less connection to
Gillian Anderson because I am an
acquaintance with Will Davis who actually is the
very first film maker to have directed her on camera -- she was the principal in one
of his college film projects when they were both students in Chicago. I've seen it;
it's a five-minute short entitled, A Matter of Choice. Will is no longer making
movies but he is a talented performance artist. I am sorry to say I haven't seen one
of his shows for quite a while.
I also am pumped that Billy Connolly
has such a prominent principal role in the new X Files movie. I have always
liked this guy's talent. And I love seeing really funny comics in dramatic roles.
More often than not they are very good in the roles.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
The line work Monday night was actually done as reader's theatre. It was an
intriguing idea. I can't speak for the others (though I'd bet I am), but I
tried my damnedest to not read my lines. I mostly read everyone else's as a
way to better ingrain -- if only a little more so -- the chronology of the plot
and of the story. Though I will admit, I did outright read a few of my lines
where I normally have a habit of some paraphrasing.
We also shaved more than ten minutes off the running time. Some of that is
accounted for by the lack of blocking movement, since we were all seated behind
score stands, but that probably only shaved a couple minutes off. The rest of the
cut time has to be accounted for by quick pick-ups on cues and the like.
It also sounded very good. The lack of line anxiety gave us all the chance to
put 100% of our characters and their emotions into every line delivery. Well,
at least I know that was true for me, at any rate.
Last night was our last time to put a wrench on anything in any real sense. We
certainly will address lingering issues tonight, but this will be our actual
last rehearsal run, period. We will get together to do a line run on Saturday
afternoon, but tonight is our last time to rehearse on our feet.
Honestly, Saul didn't adjust too terribly much, last night. For me, he did alter
a blocking move at one point, but that was it for me. And he discussed changes
in the line interpretations with a couple other people. But it was all slight and
the sort of fine-tuning that indicates that overall we have a good performance going
if we can work on such items.
Now, we did come in a little long again, and it goes back to a slowdown in the
first third of the show. It was better, but it was not as snappy as the reader's
theatre work on Monday. So we must be very conscious of keeping things crisp and
snappy in the beginning of the show.
And once again, tonight is the last rehearsal on our feet, and, not in the actual
space of the performance. We are at the
Guild on our makeshift set. This
last full rehearsal is roughly 72 hours before the performance. I for one will be
going over my lines a lot in that 70-some hour period, over and above the line
run we all do Saturday afternoon.
VOICE-OVER AUDITION IS TODAY: After I had posted the entry on Monday, the VO
audition was confirmed for today rather than tomorrow. So I'll go into the
Roof-Goenner office this afternoon
for the several minutes it'll take to make the 30 second mp3 recording.
Then the waiting game; though usually for commercials it's not much of a wait.
It would be nice for that short wait to have a yes at the end, finally.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE:
Ah well, our "final dress" was not a disaster but it seemed, to me, I
guess the word would be "logy." I just felt like the energy was down or
perhaps had only sporadic moments of strength.
There was a spot, early, where most, if not all, of us were slow to pick up the cues.
Myself, I had two distinct lines in a row where I was a snail in that section.
Spanning the play, a few lines were dropped but we recovered every time, though with
varying degrees of top-grade success. Two recoveries that I can remember were left
up to me, and whereas neither were F work, they were not A+ work either, to say the
The first time, the cue line was dropped and I gave the actor a few seconds then
went on with my line but promptly tripped over my tongue because the noun I was
supposed to say suddenly left my brain.
The other one was trickier. With that first one, my line was not a direct response
to the dropped line. This second time it was. Zipper responds in agreement with the
person saying the cue line then directs the rest of his line to another person --
and that second part is pretty important. So I had to figure out a way to initiate
dialogue (now, not with a response in it) that would get that second part out in
the air. Unfortunately, there are two key complementary verbs in the sentence that
I flipped around to totally reverse the meaning of the line.
There's also some question as to how that dropped cue came about. It was said, after
the rehearsal, that actually I had dropped my previous line. In that
case a couple of lines leading up to the particular cue line I am to respond to were
not there, which is why the cue line did not happen. I could swear that I did,
indeed give that previous line which then led to a response that was its own
cue line for the cue line I needed.
I, however, may be remembering it wrong. Still, I could swear I did give that line I
was told I did not give.
Again, the energy overall seemed on the wane to me. When we were done, Saul asked us
what we each thought. None of us were overwhelmingly enthused. My response was,
"It felt weaker to me than it has before." Ironically, Saul says that we did
pick up (or, more correctly, "shaved off") some time in the first third
of the show -- but, it certainly did not seem that way to me as we were playing it.
In the end, though, I think we will be okay Saturday night. Saul thinks all four of
us are doing good work. I certainly concur about my three cast mates, and I feel
good about my work. I think we each have some great opportunities for good acting
moments and my own, totally biased opinion is that we all take good advantage of
them. It's nice to once again have the great fortune to be surrounded by good
And, yeah, okay, I guess our directors are up t'snuff,
too. And, Deirdre is a fab stage manager despite that her schedule got in
her way a few times (you know, life happening in life?).
Now that I'm done kissing up to everyone, I will note that I forgot about a note I
was given Tuesday evening. I had reported that Saul "did alter a blocking move
[for me] at one point, but that was it for me." Wrong. He also had me change
the reading of the second sentence in a line into a realization from a probing
question. The first part is still a probing question.
They wanted us to have it?
Then the realization:
They want us to use it.
And on another note, I have failed to report on the progress of those
damnedable limericks. Since Dave and I got together for band practice
before last Sunday's dress rehearsal, they have steadily improved. We got a good
note about them from Greg after the Wednesday rehearsal.
Last night there was a cocktail party with the playwrights, the adjudicators, the
casts and crews of the six shows, FutureFest staff and Playhouse board members. No
rehearsal at all. I did not even study my lines yesterday -- (but, today: I
have used every free moment and shall continue to do so). Last night I met our
playwright, Bill Hollenbach and spoke to
him briefly, but we spoke of the play only in the most superficial of manners. I did
not want to suddenly get anxious about my Zipper and did not want to inadvertently
give him any pause for concern, even if only due to poor communication on my part.
At the party, a colleague who saw the Sunday dress complemented me on my work, and
others who saw that same performance did, too; always gratifying to get positive
COMMERCIAL VOICE-OVER AUDITION: No great adventure to relate. I went into the
Roof-Goenner office and recorded two
different versions of the material. I just read one side of the conversation, the
one character (which is suggested to be "reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld").
I did also read with another actor for his audition recording, but I made sure they
still sent my solo one, mostly because I did much better work on the solo. And, so,
as already stated, we wait.
Adam & Evey
by DeLora Whitney
July 25, 8:00 pm
by Anita Simons
& Lauren Simon
July 26, 10:00 am
Yellow to Lavender
by Carl Rossi
July 26, 3:00 pm
Inside the Gatehouse
by Bill Hollenbach
July 26, 8:30 pm
Mary Band Road Show
by Carole Lockwood
July 27, 10:00 am
Coming Back to Jersey
by Carl Williams
July 27, 3:00 pm
DELORA WHITNEY (Adam & Evey) received her MFA in Playwriting from
The New School
in May 2007. Immediately following graduation, she served as the Readings and
Workshops Coordinator for
New York Stage & Film's
2007 summer season; she's back this year teaching playwriting. Prior to attending
graduate school, she spent two seasons as the Associate Program Director and
Literary Manager for the
Ensemble Studio Theatre / Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project.
She's the recipient of a commission from
Mad River Theater Works.
The resulting play, The Lay of the Land, is touring Ohio barns and county
fairs this summer. Her play, The Visit was recently part of the 33rd Annual
Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Another of her plays,
Malhado: The Storm of a Century (her original concept, development and
direction) centers on a hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900. It was
produced at the
in September 2000 as part of a month dedicated to commemorating the storm's
centennial. Delora is a proud member of the
Dramatists Guild of America
(Heartland) writes plays in her spare time. The rest of her time is spent as
a freelance writer and journalist, primarily covering public safety and emergency
medical services, and as a mom to her amazing daughters, Charlotte and Hannah.
ANITA SIMONS (Heartland) grew up in
Canton, Ohio and attended Ithaca College,
Ohio State University
and UCLA. Her first
play, Goodbye Memories has won several awards, including first place in the
2004 Playwriting Contest of the
Community Theatre Association of Michigan
and semi-finalist in the 2007 Jackie White Memorial National Children's Play Writing
sponsored by the
Columbia Entertainment Company.
Goodbye Memories has also had readings in San Diego, Hollywood and New York
City and premiered in 2006 at Glen Oak High School in Canton. Anita currently lives
in La Jolla, California, with her husband and two children and is the Executive
Assistant to the Managing Director of
La Jolla Playhouse.
CARL ROSSI (Yellow to Lavender) is an American Playwright. His plays
have been performed in New England, New York City and California. Mr. Rossi is a
member of the
Dramatists Guild of America.
CAROLE LOCKWOOD (Mary Band Road Show) has been consistently active in
the professional theater since her college days at
during the reign of their professional theater company. Winning Chicago's
prestigious Joseph Jefferson Best Actress Award for her performance in
St. Nicholas Theatre, she has in 58 professional productions. It was Mr. Mamet who
first challenged her to write a play. This weekend's play is the second in Carole's
Civil Right's Trilogy. The first play, The Clucking of Hens, was presented at
Futurefest 2006. Despite several film offers for that play, she has decided to wait
and give it a theatrical production Off-Broadway in the NYC 2009/10 season. Dayton's
Sarah Hartman has reprised the role of martha Nell in a reading at
The New Professional Theatre.
It is Carole's hope that Sarah will be available to recreate the role when it opens
in New York. It is an Unexpected thrill for Carole to return to FutureFest and its
outstanding audience. Although she has won seven readings of her work -- from
Rhineland, NY to Long Beach, CA -- FutureFest remains her favorite New Works
Festival. Carole is a member of
Dramatists Guild of America
Actors Equity Association.
(Coming Back to Jersey) is a Houston playwright whose full-length, one-act,
and ten-minute plays have won numerous national competitions, with productions
from California to New York. Several of his plays have been produced
off-off-Broadway, and 27 of his plays have been published, including four of his
ten-minute plays that were selected for
Smith & Kraus
anthologies. He was a finalist in the 2003 Futurefest with his play Under the
Cowboy Moon, which was subsequently produced off-off-Broadway.
He is a member of the
Dramatists Guild of America,
the American Association of Community Theatre
Texas Nonprofit Theatres.
is a director, actress, and professor of theatre at
Wright State University
in Dayton, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the
University of Oregon
where she directed her translation of the ancient Greek comedy, Lysistrata.
She was Artistic director of the Women Who Laugh Theatre Company in Oregon, which
produced plays by multi-cultural women playwrights. Directing credits at WSU include
her original translation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, as well as A
Winter's Tale, Twelfth Night, The Heidi Chronicles, and A Piece
of My Heart, which was nominated for the
Kennedy Center / American College Theatre festival
and traveled to the regional festival in 1999. She has written and performed two
solo pieces about the lives of women artists and pioneers in Seattle, Portland (OR),
and Los Angeles. She has acted in professional and university theatre. Locally, her
credits include A Delicate Balance (Edna), W;t (E.M. Ashford) at the
Human Race Theatre Company
and Lost In Yonkers (Grandma Kurnitz) at Wright State University. In 1996-99,
she served as National Coordinator of the
Jane Chambers Women Playwrights Award (ATHE).
In 2006 she was elected Trustee/Director on the Executive Board for the
International Centre for Women Playwrights.
This last winter she traveled to Cuba as a delegate with
UNESCO in support
of Cuban community theatre practitioners.
HELEN SNEED received a B.A. in Theatre at
with additional studies at
University of London.
She has worked extensively in presidential, federal and state elections as a
political strategist and speech writer. In 1988, Ms. Sneed founded Campaign For
Oxford in North America, serving as Executive Director of the $400 million
development campaign, the first in
800-year history. In 1990, Ms. Sneed became Director of Professional Rights at
Dramatists Play Service.
Since then, she has served as Senior Vice President of
Music Theatre International,
and as Visiting Adviser to the
Musical Theatre Graduate Writing Program at the Tisch School of Arts, New York University.
During 1997-2000, she was Executive and Artistic Director of the
National Alliance of For Musical Theatre.
In January, 2000, Ms. Sneed began consulting in commercial and not-for-profit
theatre, with a special focus on the development and production of new plays and
musicals. from October 2000 to April 2001, she was Director, Special Projects, Walt
Disney Theatrical Productions. A member of the
League of Professional Theatre Women
Dramatists Guild of America,
Ms. Sneed is the author of the musical Sally Blane, the World's Greatest Girl
Detective and a new play, Fix Me, Jesus. She frequently speaks at
conferences and seminars in the U.S. and Canada, and has advised hundreds of
authors, composers and theatres in the process of creating and producing new works.
She was a judge of the 1999 David Merrick Award for The New American Musical. In
December 1998, In Theatre Magazine named Ms. Sneed one of the 50 leaders who
"will usher the American theatre into the new century."
has been a resident writer with the
Victory Gardens Theater
of Chicago for thirty years; his fourteenth play with them, Class Dismissed,
opens in March of 2009. An anthology, 'The Value of Names' and other plays,
has just been released by Northwest University Press and includes nine plays,
including two which won playwriting prizes from the
American Theatre Critics Association
(American Enter Prise and The Action Against Sol Schumann). He also
teaches playwriting and has written two texts on the subject. The Dramatist's
Toolkit and Solving Your Script. His book on
Something Wonderful Right Away, has been in print since 1978. jeffery is a
Dramatists Guild of America.
The Casts & Crews
ADAM & EVEY by Delora Whitney
Amy Brown (God), David Shough (Snake), Annie Branning (Evey), Ben Norsworthy (Adam),
Jennifer Lockwood (Director)
HEARTLAND by Anita Simons and Lauren Simon
Becky Lamb (Berta), Allison Husko (Sonya), Sarah Gomes (Emma), Micah Stock (Rolf),
James Goodwin (Gunther), Stefanie Pratt (Peggy), John Bukowski (Jack), Casey Dayton
Blunt (Peter), Linda Dunlevy (Director)
YELLOW TO LAVENDER by Carl Rossi
Barbara Jorgensen (Laurette Taylor), Devan Norsworthy (Eloise Sheldon), Robb
Willoughby (Dwight Taylor), Anglea Palazzolo (Marguerite Courtney / Ray Dowling /
Woman), Chuck Larkowski (Eddie Dowling), Becki Norgaard (Julie Haydon), Dave Gaylor
(Louise J. Singer), Micah Stock (Tom "Tennessee" Williams), Ian Manuel
(Randy Echols), James Goodwin (Young Man), Ben Norsworthy (Tony Ross), Fran Pesch
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE by Bill Hollenbach
Dave Williamson (Art), Cheryl Mellen (Carol), Geoff Burkman (Jackson), K.L.Storer
(Zipper [& Sound Design]), Saul Caplan (Director), Greg Hall (Co-Director),
Deirdre Bray Root (Assistant Director and Gatehouse Stage Manager)
MARY BAND ROAD SHOW by Carole Lockwood
Dodie Lockwood (Sister Agnes), Becky Barrett Jones (Sister Catherine/Cathy),
Reneé Franck-Reed (Sister Mary Mary), Roi Williams (Reverend Eli), Duante
Beddingfield (Jonesy), Alan Bomar Jones (Director), (*James Goodwin, Dave Gaylor
& Chuck Larkowski as the voices of the KKK)
COMING BACK TO JERSEY by Carl Williams
Dave Nickel (Howard Karchmer), Debra Kent (Norma Karchmer), Lynn Kesson (Louise
Karchmer), Robb Willoughby (Freddy Zuckerman), Susan Robert (Dorothy Arnfield),
Richard Young (Sidney Hersch), Jim Lockwood (Director)
FUTUREFEST PRODUCTION STAFF
Tasha Ward (Stage manager), Chris Harmon (Scenic Design), Anita Bachmann (Lighting
Design), Tony Fende (Sound Operator), Scott Bachmann (Run Crew), John Hollister &
Sandy Lemming (Costume Designers), Troy Berry & Jeremy Johnson (Videographers),
Alan Bomar jones, Jim Lockwood, Greg Nichols, Fran Pesch, & K.L.Storer (Sound
FUTUREFEST PLANNING COMMITTEE
Amy Brown & Fran Pesch (Co-chairs), Nancy Campbell, Saul Caplan, Bernie Fox,
Becky Lamb, Dodie Lockwood, Brian Sharp, Roger Watson
FINAL PLAYREADING COMMITTEE
Amy Brown, Tay Caplan, Russell Florence Jr., Debra Kent, Terry Morris, Teresa Onder
ORIGINAL PLAYREADING COMMITTEE
Nancy Campbell & Fran Pesch (Co-chairs), Margaret Baird, Cecile Cary, Linda
Dunlevy, Bernie Fox, Sandy Fox, Chuck Larkowski, Judy Rhodes, Pat Ronald, John Beck,
I will be back with more on the weekend later. But, I will tell you right now
that Inside the Gatehouse went very well last night.
I'M WORKING ON IT!: My wrap up, or whatever you want to call it, of
FUTUREFEST 2008 is on
its way. The plan was to write most of it last night, but a little nap I took when
I got home from work became a bit longer and ate up the whole evening. But I will
be back with stuff on our show, other things about the weekend, William Petersen and
movie projects, soon. It'll either get posted tomorrow or Thursday.
BUT ON ANOTHER NOTE, CONCERNING STILL ME:
Director Beth McElhenny informs that the movie has been officially accepted for
screening at the
Big Bear Lake International Film Festival
and will show either Friday, September 12 or Saturday, September 13.
UPCOMING AUDITIONS: I still have those two I have mentioned that I am not sure of
my interest in. I will read both this weekend to see how I feel.
Work Song - Three Views Of Frank Lloyd Wright by Jeffrey Hatcher and
Eric Simonson is auditioning this coming Monday night for
Springfield StageWorks. This will
be a staged reading that will take place at
The Westcott House which was one of
Wright's designs in Springfield, Ohio. -- one of the two auditions I am not sure
Earlier Monday I will audition at Roof-Goenner
for an on-line promotional video.
Monday & Tuesday in a week (Aug 11 & 12) I may audition for our first
Dayton Theatre Guild show of the new
season, Sutton Vane's Outward Bound. The other one I'm not sure about yet. It
will depend on whether or not I do audition for the Wright production and get cast,
or it may just depend on what I think after I have read it this weekend.
Came home today to a voice mail from Claire Kennedy, the
Human Race Theatre Company's new
company manager. My callback for Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark will be
Friday, August 29. That production will be up at
The Victoria Theatre, May 5-17 of next
I SWEAR THE FF 2008 WRAP-UP BLOG-A-THON IS COMING!!!!
and whilst we wait......
MY MUMMY IS OUT AUGUST 5: Back in 2004,
Natasha Randall and
Wayne Justice were in a
locally produced indy full-lenth feature, a comedy entitled,
Got word from Tosha, via MySpace, today that the movie will be available on
Amazon.com on Aug 5. It will also be available
at Barnes&Noble on
the same date.
It's been a while since Tosha and I have shared a stage; last time was The
Diviners at The Guild
in the fall of 2004. Wayne and I were just in Catch 22 for
*Aug 2 Addendum: That is not to negate the fact that Ms. Randall was the
most excellent director of The Beard of Avon at The Guild in early
2007 -- so we HAVE worked together more recently than 2004, just not as
This is the blog that never ends; it just goes
on and on my friend; I started blogging it not knowing what it was; and I'll
continue blogging it forever because it is the blog that never ends; it just goes
on and on my friend; I started blogging it not knowing what it was; and I'll
continue blogging it forever because it is the blog that never ends; it just goes
on and on my friend; I started blogging it not knowing what it was; and I'll
continue blogging it forever because it is the blog that never ends.....
STANDING (L-R): Saul Caplan (Director) and Greg Hall (Co-Director)
SEATED (L-R): Geoff Burkman (Jackson), Cheryl Mellen (Carol),
K.L.Storer (Zipper), and Dave Williamson (Art).
NOT PICTURED: Deirdre Bray Root (Assistant Director &
Gatehouse Stage Manager).
*post card based on the original photograph by Anita Bachmann
Let's get right to the performance of
Bill Hollenbach's Inside the
Gatehouse, Saturday night. There were unquestionably some flaws in our
performance; that aside, we still smoked up there, overall. We were all on
full-time, were totally present and were a great ensemble. I am privileged to have
worked with this cast and crew. The four of us played well off each other on stage
and I believe we each fleshed out our characters beautifully. I know for one that
getting to Zipper was made so much easier because I had great renditions of Art,
Carol and Jackson to play against.
All four of us were on Russell Florence Jr.'s list of "notable performers"
in his July 30 article about the festival in the
Dayton City Paper.
I have an affection for the confrontation section between Zipper and Jackson, for a
couple reasons. First, it was just written very well for both characters and it gave
both us actors wonderful opportunities. I also really enjoyed working with Mr.
Burkman in the scene; his Jackson gave my Zipper a lot to react to and to pounce
upon. I hope I, in turn, gave him a Zipper that was easy to react to. More on
playing Zipper, later.
Further gushing in a totally bias love-fest: all of Dave Williamson (Art), Cheryl
Mellen (Carol), and Geoff Burkman (Jackson) gave solid, pro performances, each at
times powerful in their craft when it was time to be.
Art has what I guess can be called "the breaking point monologue"; Dave
killed. And the unmitigated arrogance and aggression that Dave infused into Art was
the ugliness that I believe Mr. Hollenbach intends from Art.
Carol had to have been somewhat challenging for Cheryl to get a handle on as she is
the least defined character in the text. Yet, we got a real woman on the stage who
came off as a professional (a once corporate lawyer now working with battered women).
And when Cheryl moved Carol relatively close to the brink of nervous breakdown, it
was most effective.
Jackson's paranoia was played to great effect by Geoff. It was easy for my Zipper to
be annoyed and condescendingly amused with him -- then later more pointedly annoyed
as the dangers became more evident. And Jackson's emotional distress was palpable
when he was pushed into remorseful admission of his personal sinful actions.
Not that I would give a review of my castmates'
work, or anything.
To, then, reiterate, ad nauseam, it was once again my great fortune to be in the
company of such good players.
Then, of course, my sucking up would not be fully realized were I to not rain praise
down upon the production crew.
As director, Saul Caplan certainly did right by me and Zipper. He primarily let me
do with Zipper as my instincts and thought would have me do. But I got several
really important directions from him. Of particular note is a revelatory monologue
Zipper tells about a fight he was in at twelve with a "little punk in a leather
jacket" -- late in the FF weekend, the playwright revealed to us the story
was straight autobiographical. Saul choreographed Zipper's illustration of
his fight and it worked well. In fact, an FF attendee specifically asked if
I had come up with the action of that monologue or if the director had. She was
impressed with it. I always felt I wasn't doing the segment justice, but I have
been told a couple times that it did indeed work well.
Some emotional levels and some line readings (word emphases mostly) were adjusted,
for me and the other three actors, too. Still, Saul mostly let me take Zipper where
I thought and felt Zipper should go. Admittedly, there were a couple adjustments I
never became sold on, but I went with them because they hardly impugned on my
interpretation of Zipper -- leastwise certainly not enough to debate.
Greg Hall did some good portion of the blocking, trying desperately to keep us from
ending up in a straight line across the boards from stage right to stage left. He
also tried to keep us from playing key moments up stage behind the furniture. And
he consistently pointed out to all of us when we were moving about on stage as
the actors rather than as the characters. "Why don't you walk
over to the bar like an actual person might?" he might say.
His other mission was to keep the pace going. "There was a lot of air in that
section," he told me in notes for the final rehearsal, "the emotion was
great, but the pauses were too long." I won't speak for the others, but Greg
surely helped Zipper move more naturally and not drag the show's pace down too
Lastly is Deirdre Bray Root, who started as the "rehearsal" stage
manager but ended as our Inside the Gatehouse production/performance stage
manager (as opposed to the overall festival stage manager) and she was our
"assistant" director (as opposed to Greg who was the
"co"-director). Gathering together the vast majority of our props,
making sure the notes and tidbits came to the door of the gatehouse on time,
tracking the missteps in line delivery, checking the lists then checking them again,
then again, then.....
Would I not be remiss if I did not mention the FutureFest festival production crew,
those who ran rickshaw over the entire weekend? Tasha Ward, the festival stage
manager who must have gotten less sleep than anyone over the long weekend. Anita
Bachmann who designed all the lighting for all six shows and got maybe just a little
more sleep than Tasha, since -- I think -- she ran lights for all shows. Tony
Fende who ran sound for all the shows. Scott Bachmann who crewed all the shows.
Chris Harmon who designed all the sets -- all in a motif of minimalist gray.
As for the technical aspects of Gatehouse, it went well. You may recall, if
you are one of the precariously few regulars here, that I designed the sound. That
part was easy. Timing a few of the cues during performance was another issue. The
cell phone rings were cake. Tony got a line cue then hit play and kept each ringtone
going until he saw the prescribed and pronounced opening of the phone by each actor,
such being his cue to cut the ringtone.
The three bullet whooshes -- from a rifle with a silencer -- and the sound of
the picture window cracking, from another rifle shot, all proved trickier. Cuing into
these four "gun shot indicators" was not all that problematic. They were
not as easy as the cues for the phone rings but with a little planning and practice
Saul, Greg and we cast members were able to create movements by us -- visual
cues -- that worked. In our one tech rehearsal, however, most people on stage
did not hear the bullet whooshes. I did, but, being the one who designed and mixed
the sound, I knew the sounds well. A balance needed to be struck. The whooshes needed
to be just loud enough for us to all to hear them, but not too loud so as to
interfere too vigorously.
The first whoosh is a bullet shot through the open front door, right past
Jackson's ear and into a pillow. Jackson is the only one to hear this one. However,
Saul wanted the sound there for the benefit of the audience, and I wholeheartedly
agree with that thinking. The whoosh helped them to focus on the action of the
moment and gave them something to be startled by along with Jackson. When Zipper
told Jackson that "we didn't hear anything," the audience accepted that
conceit as valid -- they allowed that they were privy, as spectators behind the
fourth wall, to something Art, Carol, and Zipper were not.
Technically, by-the-way, that first whoosh is only a whoosh. It, like the other two,
lasts about a third or fourth of a second. But the other two have quick thuds
attached on the ends (or maybe "bumps" is a better word):
The bumps are the bullets connecting with the bear heads on the wall -- each shot
off the wall at a different point during the play. Greg had the eminently vital job
back stage of pulling the pegs that released the heads so they would fall. He
needed to hear both of those sound effects. Much better to have each head fall in
sync with each
than before, or rather than a delayed half-second or so afterward -- though the
second misfire would be better than the first; at least that could be justified as
a momentum delay.
The big sticking point with the bullet whooshes and the falling bear heads: we did
not have the bear heads for our tech rehearsal so we could not rehearse with two
key special effects, two key occurrences for the story. Greg and the crew did tech
one bear head fall, but one was not tried until the actual performance; and we
actors never rehearsed with falling heads. We were not even sure the gags were going
to happen in performance. I am happy to report both fell as needed, and that the
timing of each
WhooshBump! and the
corresponding immediate fall of each bear head was successfully executed during the
Another wrinkle: unbeknownst to me, I put myself and Dave in some level of jeopardy
at one point during the performance. One of the bear heads hung over the closet door
on the set. At one point, Zipper rummages in the closet, and, apparently, when I was
done I closed the door and the head slid loose from the peg; after closing the door
I still stood at the closet. Audience members worried the head would crash down
upon me, then, in the next moment, onto Dave, who took my spot at the closet door.
Neither of us were at all aware of the dilemma, which was probably good for the
sake of our respective focuses. Had an injury occurred, I might think otherwise.
The fourth gun shot -- actually, the second one in the play -- was indicated by the
sound of glass cracking. It's a bullet through the picture window that then takes
out the glass of scotch Zipper has in his hand. That gag was also a little tricky,
especially with as little experiment and rehearsal as we could give it. The elements
of the gag were as follows:
I walk to the window and place my hand on the window counter there. That
hand placement cues Tony to play the glass cracking sound file. As close to
instantly as I can muster, I drop the break-away drinking glass from my other
hand and jump away while yelling about how I just got the glass shot out of my
In the tech rehearsal it did not work. Tony missed his cue then I missed mine. As
far as I can recall, it did work in the performance. Saul did want to try and have
me hit the glass with a ring on my finger to have the trick glass actually break in
my hand, which would be better verisimilitude, but it was in the call period
before the performance, and I was a bit nervous about trying that in the eleventh
hour; so Saul decided to drop it. I kind of wish I had felt more secure about it.
Those special effects drinking glasses were expensive, too. After shipping and
handling they were more than $100 for four, a cost that Saul and Deirdre split. We
used three of them, I believe. One in a dry run before tech. One in tech. One for
Back to Zipper. He is one of my favorite roles I've played, despite his flaws.
I had a great time getting inside this guy. The suggestion reared its erroneous head
several times that these were not fully dimensional characters. I most certainly
stand behind Zipper as more than only a "cardboard cut out" whose purpose
is to move forward the plot of the melodrama that is Inside the Gatehouse.
I certainly was able to play him as 3-D, and the others played their characters so,
We get to see a lot of Zipper's sides. He starts the show as a poorly-humored wise
cracker who is a bit too loose with his use of the "F" word. His limericks
are mediocre and one sees no evidence in this early section that there is anything
special about his intelligence. Then, as the little puzzles start presenting
themselves, it is Zipper who catches on to things. And when the hint of a ghost in
Jackson's past presents itself, Zipper's instincts send his radar up early.
So, in the section I previously mentioned where he is confrontational with Jackson,
we get to see why he is a successful lawyer, that he is sharp and keenly
skilled. I, in fact, visualized myself (Well, Zipper) in a court room,
cross-examining a defendant, as I played him, badgering Geoff's Jackson. This Zipper
is not the Zipper who was making up crappy limericks an hour earlier.
Finding that moment where he clicks into Lawyer
Mode was something I appreciated greatly. In the minutes before he
clicks over, his lawyer senses are tingling. The unknown assailants outside have
delivered a bottle of champaign with a card addressed to Jackson. Jackson is a vodka
man and even repeatedly affirms such. Zipper has the sense it's not caprice that
champaign has been sent to Jackson, so he starts probing. Jackson makes a verbal
misstep, a correction of himself in mid-sentence, that betrays him as hiding
something. The lawyer emerges fully, sharply in that moment, and Zipper's further
questions, his dialogue for the next couple of pages is all direct, pointed,
aggressive and strong. The limerick improviser has recessed deep inside Zipper (or,
Andrew Kendrick, if you'll allow me the bold presumption to maintain that name here
In terms of his "personal failings" (to borrow from Zipper's own words),
in the end, he's far more worthy of redemption than the audience seemed to believe
he is. It has turned out, we find out somewhere about halfway in the play, that he's
done something pretty reprehensible. But I might point out that he's the only one to
admit his sin with some semblance of willingness, and his regret seems to be the
most aligned with the deed rather than the getting caught. Terry
Morris (Dayton Daily News)
wrote in his blogspot article,
"Day 2 of Futurefest gets to the heart of things,"
that Zipper "ends up seeming tame compared to the others."
Our playwright does have a glitch in the Zipper through line, though. It's a legal
technicality. Zipper's main sin that he confesses is that he refused to do
something as a lawyer; it's something that, during the talk-back after the show,
a lawyer/actor(*) in the audience pointed out he would not be expected to do;
and, I further extrapolate, perhaps would actually be expected by the court to
not do. As it stands right now, in all reality, Zipper is off the hook for
the very action, or inaction, that I gave all that remorseful emotion toward in the
scene where Greg told me there was too much air in between lines, at our final
rehearsal. On the other hand, Zipper is at least complicit in something else -- and
that could get him disbarred, at the very least -- but his real guilt load seems
technically to be rendered moot.
(*): It was Cynthia Karns, whom I've worked with in
The Diviners and two incarnations of Sordid Lives.
Another attendee pointed out, again, during the talk-back, right after the
adjudicators were through with their responses, that Zipper seemed to be the
one who was figuring everything out. He, meaning the audience member, found
something wrong with it. He even said, "at least the actor played it that
way." That is true, I did play it that way; the text makes the actor play it
that way. I saw it in the text; Saul saw it in the text; the other actors saw it in
the text. Bill Hollenbach verified that he put it in the text. To be honest, I am
not exactly sure what the man's disapproval was all about. He said he felt that
others should have been in on figuring things out. I don't know what difference
it makes or how that is either a valid or an invalid thought on the man's part.
More so, I think it's perhaps only personal caprice and sensibility.
The playwright wrote Zipper as a friggin' smart guy. And I know he did, because we
FutureFest actors and directors get to find out first hand -- which, you may
imagine, is pretty damned cool! Of course I have been accused of being easily
impressed. So, I know Bill Hollenbach intended for Zipper to be sharp because,
1) the text belies that; 2) Bill Hollenbach and I had a discussion about it.
But, then, also, I am bias toward Zipper. I have that empathy the actor
develops for the character he or she inhabits. On this point, I always think of
Doris Roberts, most famous for her
role as Marie Barone, the mother on
Everybody Loves Raymond.
Ms. Roberts consistently defended Marie as just a woman who fiercely loved her
family, which is why Marie would do such backhanded and inconsiderate things to
people, especially to her daughter-in-law, Debra
(Patricia Heaton). But, I would
not wish to have any involvement with Mrs. Barone. Ms. Roberts -- whom I have no
such reservations about knowing, meeting, whatever -- was vested in Marie. She
had to understand and sympathize with Marie's motivations, wants, needs, thoughts;
she had to know and believe in Marie's justifications. Me too, with Zipper, or
whomever I do on stage or screen. The actor has got be on the side of the character,
at least in the sense of having a handle on what the character thinks and believes
about himself or herself, a distinction that comes in handy when you're playing
someone like Hitler. If the actor can't do that, he or she may not affect the
audience members with the work; they may only see the actor rather than the
All that to support my admission that I just might not be detached enough to see
Zipper as lacking in suitability for redemption the way others may. From the start
of the adjudication, about 10:15 or so on Saturday night, through the end of the
day Sunday, I would hear people say how all four of the Gatehouse characters
were such bastards and I would think:
Not Zipper! Not REALLY! Come on guys! He shows real remorse for what he
did, even the more reprehensible deed, the major unethical one. And he
stops action toward the ultimate and horrible solution to their dilemma more
than once. You just know at the end, he will not be the one to do what it
is proposed to do.
I even verbalized that argument a few times, usually to clearly skeptical ears.
OH YEAH! Another thing! Zipper may use the "F" far too indiscriminately,
but he comes nowhere near saying the most obscene things to be said in that 80-90
minutes on stage. That honor goes to Art.
It was fun playing Zipper. I especially am gratified, that as far as on-your-feet
performances, I am the first actor to give him life (though there have been staged
readings). But, at least I have no high-profile performance preceding mine.
Meredith Moss, in her "Tidbits" column for the
Dayton Daily News,
quoted me as follows, for the Monday, July 28 edition:
K.L. Storer...said the exciting thing about being an actor for FutureFest
is that "you get to play a role that nobody has defined." When he
played the role of Teach in American Buffalo in Springfield, in
contrast, that part had previously been played by Robert Duvall, Dustin
Hoffman and Al Pucino.
I had further commented to Meridith how following in the footsteps of those
particular three rather notable iconic performers in the role of Teach set the bar
far more than simply relatively high (with no claim
nor assumption, whatsoever, on my part that I met that bar ), a
point I believe I have made before in this blog. You can read her whole article,
which has several other interesting items, gleaned from the weekend, by
-- of course, with the same old caveat: as long as the link is alive.
The only one performance thing: I really wish I'd had a few more nights with Zipper
on stage. It would have been nice to have honed him further and to have worked some
kinks out of my performance. Plus it was a pleasure to play him and I would not have
minded a few weeks of that. And I got such really good feedback on my work; what
performer doesn't want to stay in that groove?
*NOTE: Sorry for being close to cryptic everywhere above about the plot
points of the play, but it is a new play that has not yet even been
published. The story is not commonly known and I don't want to dish out
SO, K.L., WHO WON?
Well, for those who've actually read down this far and who are not a part of the
Dayton Theatre Community or connected with FutureFest, the honors went to Anita
Simons and Lauren Simon for the historically based Heartland which deals with
German immigrants and German POWs in the hands of the U.S. Government during
WWII and the effect a travesty has on one immigrant and
As for a general observation about all the plays, I believe they all can have a life
on the stage. None are, in my opinion, in their final draft, but all show potential
and none were stinkers. The productions were all good and as I watched the other five
shows I saw a lot of good acting going on this weekend. In the same article by
Russell Florence Jr. which I referred to above, he writes, "As has been the
case in the past, this year's...scripts were greatly elevated on the whole by the
quality of acting and directing." Of the Heartland cast, Florence
proclaimed their work as "authentic" and "wonderfully cohesive."
He also gave them high scores for spot-on German accents and pronunciation of the
German language, and I can testify he is right on with that. And of course he
singled out actors from other plays for their fine work, too, including us bastards
in the gatehouse, as I wrote earlier.
One of the most enjoyable things about the FF weekend for me as an actor, and I bet
I'm not alone in this, is the opportunity to socialize with the playwrights and the
adjudicators. They are usually an interesting group of people. This year it began
with the cocktail party, the day before the festival opened, in the penthouse of a
high-rise condo building in Kettering, Ohio (birthplace and hometown of
Then over the course of the weekend it was time spent in restaurants, bars and
even Sunday evening after the festival closed at Saul Caplan's home for the
Annual Ice Cream Social, Postmortem,
And "My-Show-Shoulda-Won" WhineFest.
Discussing theatre and the business with people who focus on such for a living: not
a hateful venture for an actor who is not at all opposed to having
and SAG cards --
hell, even a Dramatist Guild of America
card; and you should know, if you have read much of my blog or know me even just a
little, a Directors Guild of America card.
Sometimes one can pick up some great pieces of information and pointers to act upon
or file away. I actually will discuss one such item below in a separate section of
this entry, this MARATHON entry. Plus, as I said, these are interesting
people. I got to spend a bit more time with a few of them and no time at all with a
few others. But it's all good and an experience that I like, a lot. By-the-way,
I have added bios for all playwrights and adjudicators, as well as a whole slew of
credits, to the Sunday, July 27 post above.
Friday night I shot straight home after the Adam & Evey adjudication
because the next curtain was at 10 a.m. Saturday and I needed to be sure I was well
rested for our 8:30 p.m. curtain -- and I had my own line drills as well as the
line run the cast did in the green room during our call time. But Saturday night and
Sunday I cared far less about the time and did this socializing, schmoozing,
quasi-networking stuff. That, along with sitting in the audience five shows, prep
for and performance of our show, and the general energy and excitement of the
weekend puts a power strain on ya:
Note to self:
Next time you do a FutureFest weekend, take a vacation day on that
following Monday. Or AT LEAST take vacation time in the morning!
GAWD I'M SUCH AN UNGRACIOUS RECEIVER OF KUDOS: Often I have this dumb-assed habit of
practically arguing with people's complements to me. I'm especially stupid about it
when someone tells me that the performance I just did is the best they've seen from
me. It's some sort of parental affection I have for all my work -- or most of
it -- that makes me believe I have to defend the integrity of my "other
kids." I believe, in my more lucid moments, that it is an inappropriate and
unnecessary reaction. When I get in that mode and respond to people with, "Yeah
but you should have seen....." or whatever version of that I spew, I am
essentially disavowing the complement and disrespecting the complementer.
Last weekend I pulled this ungracious silliness on several occasions with those who
gave me such kind and generous complements on my work as Zipper. My responses in
these cases may not have been full-blown rudeness, but they came uncomfortably close
to being so.
Think about it: People were saying my performance was great, and I was, in these
cases of ungraciousness, trying to dilute the compliment? I'll get my egomaniac
license revoked if I am not careful.
Ahh, now, let's be realistic here: there's no real danger
of any such revocation!
WILLIAM PETERSEN ON STAGE AT
STEPPENWOLF AND THEN
THE VICTORY GARDENS THEATER IN CHICAGO:
One of the adjudicators I was able to hang with a few times is Andrea Dymond, who is
resident director of The Victory Gardens. Last year we briefly discussed that
William Petersen (of course, Gil Grissom on
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
would be doing a play in Chicago -- where he, an Illinois boy, got his acting start.
I had every intention of driving up to see him, but I erroneously thought he was on
stage last spring, it turns out it was winter, 2007, and the reason he was gone for
four or five episodes of the TV show last season. He is back on stage in Chicago
twice in the new theatre season. Once will be this coming winter, at Steppenwolf
Theatre reprising the role of John Plunkett in
Dublin Carol, It turns out that he had actually appeared in Rhode Island with
this last year. But this year he will be in Chicago with it. Then, next summer he
will appear in a new play, for which I don't have the title for, and at Andrea's
theatre. I have every intention of getting to at least one of those productions --
the summer one, though farther away, seems wiser.
Ms. Dymond told me she once was stage manger for a show William was in and that he
was compelling to watch. Well, he is one of my favorite actors, so I am all about
seeing this guy on stage. See the Victory Gardens web page about his appearance, for
as long as the link is active --
MY MOVIE DIRECTOR'S PROJECTS: Now that I'm clear of FF08 I am bound and determined
to get some sort of movie production off the ground. The short, long-form improv
movies are the first order of business.
Over the weekend at FutureFest I was able to finally catch up with a key player I
want to bring in on this project, at least. I have been compiling a little list of
actors whom I know have improv skills. I have mentioned the project to a few of them,
but not all. I am now putting together the wording of my invitation into the project.
Much production detail is not ironed out, especially locations. But that is the most
open part, location. The crew is another thing altogether, but that can happen
Also, in conversation over the weekend with Ms. Dymond she clued me in to a very
important thing. I need to either condense or expand my longer short screenplay
because the current length (of about 30-40 minutes) will be difficult to even be
considered for screening at film festivals. According to her, movies should be
twenty minutes or shorter or at least seventy minutes. At the moment, my inclination
is that I will expand it, because my current thought is that I can bring in or
follow some threads that will enhance rather than distract. However, I am not ruling
out cuts, whatsoever. Certainly would be kinder in terms of production. Ultimately,
I want to do what's best for the final cut.
IN RELATIONSHIP TO MY MOVIE PROJECTS: You few will recall I bought
Final Draft's "Scriptwriter's Suite"
back in late March, to the tune of $314.23. Deirdre just recently came across and
then made me aware of an open source screenwriting software called
Celtx. I downloaded and installed it and took a
cursory tour. Looks pretty comparable to Final Draft, so far.
GREAT BIZARRE LITTLE MOVIE WITH AN EX-DAYTON ACTOR IN IT: There is lovely and
talented actor, Elisabeth Wenzel,
who was of our local theatre community but is now in Texas. And if you click on her
name here you'll see her IMDb page where she's got a few credits now. She appears
in a well-done short movie titled The Funeral Singer, directed by
Jenn Garrison, a newer director
who's making a name for herself. Elisabeth plays, as she puts it, "an evil
Check it out by clicking here.
You'll have to first watch a trailer for a major release, but it'll be short.
So this entry is long long long and was,
as you might guess, several days in the writing.
I will probably be fixing typos and other dumb-assed errors for weeks or months
Read the play over the weekend and like it. Only have my eyes on the title role.
Admittedly that's a long-shot. Again, the production is a staged reading performed
at The Westcott House, a Wright design
in Springfield, Ohio.
Earlier in the afternoon I'll audition at
Roof-Goenner for an industrial promotional
video that will be shown on-line and at trade shows.
I still have not counted out Outward Bound by Sutton Vane, our
Dayton Theatre Guild 2008/09
season opener. I read that this weekend, too and like it. But I have to go after
the Wright role, first. The DTG audition is, again, next Monday & Tuesday night.
2007/08 MURPHY AWARDS: the Guild's in-house theatre awards are "The
Murphy's." It’s based on Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will").
As the Guild writes of the award and the chosen nomenclature for it:
Our determination to produce quality theatre stems from a firm belief
in the necessity, desire and determination to mount outstanding
productions in the eye of adversity, something every community theatre
lives with on a daily basis!
We had our annual picnic yesterday, which is where the Murphy's for the just-ended
season are presented. Here is the list of winners. I'm doing this from memory, so
I may have to pop back in to make corrections later:
I Ought to Be in Pictures
Best Show Director - Fran Pesch
Producer - Greg Smith
in the role of Herb I Ought to Be in Pictures
in the role of Constance Middleton The Constant Wife
Best Supporting Actor
in the role of Bernard Kersal The Constant Wife
Best Supporting Actress
in the role of Mrs. Culver The Constant Wife
Best Director The Constant Wife
Best Lighting Design I Ought to Be in Pictures
Best Sound Design Park Your Car in Harvard Yard
Best Set Design The Constant Wife
Best Costume Design Boston Marriage
Most of the directors also gave out their own awards; the only one I'll
mention is Sarah Gomes' award to Smoky the cat (in his role as Brackish's
cat, Nathaniel Hawthorne. in Park Your Car) for "Best Non-union
Feline Stand-in." Smokey lives with DTG board member Brian Buttrey.
I just can't remember all of the other directors' awards or I'd list them.
I also am quite flattered to report that I was recognized with a certificate
for my work as house manager and board member. It was a surprise and an honor.
The Industrial Promotional Video -- The specs had said the producers
were looking for a good variety of types, though all business people. They'd
suggested certain types and ethnicities (as examples). In prep I had
tried a couple types that were my ethnicity, American WASP. One was pretty
much just me; the other, following the specs, a "straight laced, buttoned-up,
corporate type with anxiety." Then I tried both an Irishman and a
Russian. When I got to Roof-Goenner, Jim
Payne said we were going with one version and he liked the Irishman. So I
did the screentest as an Irishman. Three takes. First one wasn't big enough.
Second one, I blew the lines. Third one, pretty good take, though some words
were difficult to understand through my faux-brogue. But the personality was
there so we kept that as the submission. The auditions run through the week,
so I would not know right away about being cast.
Work Song - Three Views Of Frank Lloyd Wright
-- Not a lot of auditioners there either night, but there is at least one other
contender for the role of Frank, and a strong one. I went back last night, though a
call to arms to work on something last night had been issued from
The Guild, and also despite that I
had another bad headache that I'd actually went home early from work because of.
There's another audition session on Friday, and I'll probably make that, too.
On the audition form, where it asks what role the actor is interested in I wrote
simply "Frank." He is really the draw for me to this play. I made sure to
point that single name out last night, trying very hard not to come off like some
sort of diva. But there are other projects that I am attracted to, as well.
I also made sure Larry --
(Coressel; the director) -- knew that I would be auditioning for Outward Bound
next week if my casting here was not determined yet.
LET'S GIVE MR. MILLS HIS DUE CREDIT: Here's a little note about my Murphy Award that
I neglected in the last blog entry. I would be remiss if I did not give Bob Mills
his well-earned credit due for the success of the sound in Park Your Car in
Harvard Yard last winter. I did design it, but had I not had his expertise
as an electrical engineer, we may have not had the proper hardware configuration
to execute that design successfully. The whole soundwork for the show was a major
challenge and it would have not succeeded without Bob.
And for those who don't know or have forgotten, there were several times that he
operated both this sophisticated sound design AND the lights, simultaneously,
during some rehearsals and some performances. He was vital to our success.
Well, for those in the Dayton area theatre community who'd been hearing low, hushed
rumblings, the news is officially out, broke yesterday in an article by Terry Morris
Dayton Daily News.
The Dayton Theatre Guild
is in the finalizing stages of closing a deal to purchase the Dayton Gym Club
building on Wayne Avenue, which will place The Guild in the historical
Oregon District. It's exciting news
that we board members have been keeping hold of until this official news release
-- though there were whispers that snuck out there.
Hey, nobody heard nuthin' from me or read nuthin' in this
dorky little web space here.
Still Me, is
off to a, as Director Beth McElhenny writes, "great start as we roll out to all
the festivals!" Scott King
was awarded Best Actor, for his lead role as Jack, this past weekend at
Spudfest Take II,
the latest installment of the film festival founded by
Ms. Dawn Wells, of course, best known
internationally as Mary Ann on the 60's pop culture staple,
Gilligan's Island, as I
believe I have frequently mentioned.
Sorry, but I think it's cool as all get-out that I am associated with a movie that has
screened at a film festival founded by Dawn Wells --
MARY ANN. And, even though I have a small supporting role, hey, Mary Ann Summers
has seen me act! And she gave a Best Actors award to someone I have worked on screen with.
So let this geeky freshman have my happy-happy-joy-joy
Again, I would have loved to have made it to Spudfest and wish I could be at Big
ANOTHER AUDITION NIGHT FOR FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: I am still probably going to show up
tomorrow evening for the third audition session for Work Song - Three Views Of
Frank Lloyd Wright, which
Springfield StageWorks is producing
with performances at The Westcott House,
a Wright design in Springfield.
AND REMEMBER TINA GLOSS'S MARATHON -- "HELP ME IN MY TRAINING TO END STROKE":
Speaking of lead performers in Still Me, Scott's opposite in the film,
Tina Gloss (also playing the mom
in the past on
still has that thirteen mile marathon to benefit the
American Stroke Association coming up.
And she is close to her sponsorship goal, as she writes here:
If you don't know by now, I'm running a half
marathon for the American Stroke Association. I'm almost there with my mileage and
with my donations; I'm running upwards of eight miles so far (well, running and
walking) and I have already raised $2100, but I need to reach my goal for both mileage
(13.1 miles) and my $2400 donation goal by August 8th.
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. Please won't you read my letter below and help me reach my goal.
Click on this image for a PDF of Tina's original letter:
Thank you for your continued support,
Tina Gloss Finnell
LAST AUDITION NIGHT FOR FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: It's a toss up, at best, as to if I'll
be cast as Wright in
Work Song - Three Views Of Frank Lloyd Wright.
My readings of him felt good and right; I believe I did very well. I think,
however, that I will not be cast as Wright, which means, if my audition form was
attended to correctly, I will not be offered any role. Remember, in the section that
asks what role the actor is auditioning for, I put only "Frank." So I
think it very likely I will be at the auditions Monday and Tuesday for Outward
Bound at The Guild. Director
Larry Coressel should send
the casting email sometime tomorrow.
THE DREADED LOOPING!:
Tomorrow I go to re-record my dialogue for that exterior scene in
Ghostbusters: Spook University,
along with Dan Yohey. That being done in the studio at the
Miami Valley Communications Council with the
process. It's been two years since we shot that scene. I looked it over a bit
tonight and will some more tomorrow morning. This, by-the-way, for the one person
who may remember, is the scene that I crashed and burned on the first night we
tried to shoot it because I'd been on location all day on standby, and was, frankly
toast when we finally got to it. I and Dan both asked to re-shoot it later and the
next shoot was much better, save for the HVAC units that now necessitate the ADR.
THE DREADED LOOPING!:
So Dan Yohey and I re-recorded the dialogue for the
Ghostbusters: Spook University
scene today at the
Miami Valley Communications Council. It took
longer than an hour to do the
*(see above -- Aug 6 entry). The major problem was that we did not have the scripts
in memory anymore so we were reading and trying to watch the screen for our lip
movements. We had to also go through and mark up our scripts a bit, making changes
to reflect the slight paraphrases we said as opposed to what was on the page. It
also did not help that what we had at first to use for the ADR were sides from an
earlier draft with significant differences, in some cases, from the shooting script
we had used in production. Fortunately, I brought my script, so we were able to make
copies of the pages from it; then the mark-up was not quite so extensive.
There were a lot of different takes. The last three we did without even bothering
with the scene on screen. We just read the scene at different speeds of speech each
time. This is digital recording, so Mike (Mike Sopronyi, the director) will have
a lot of leeway to mix and match parts of sentences from one take to another, to
shrink or elongate pauses; he can even, if he has the touch, shorten or lengthen
a word. It will be a task, but it can be done.
now for some Ghostbustin' ADR (and more) pictures
This is Dan Yohey -- winner of two regional Emmy Awards as a
WDTN: Channel 2. Here he
is in his role as Josh Stevens in Spook University
in another scene, shot in the Student Union at
Wright State University.
Me and Dan, doing our little Looping dance. The ear pieces
ultimately didn't work. Technically, Mike couldn't run the
playback and record our new dialogue, without recording both.
We weren't able to follow it along well anyway, so the sound
track playback just got in the way, all the way around.
Here we are listening to playback to mark the adjustments
on our scripts: the contrasts between what the text said and
what came out of our mouths during the good takes. Such as
a line where my text was "Well, Mr. Stevens you are
correct..." but what I said was "Actually, Mr.
Stevens you are correct..."; in looping I had to say
the latter, of course.
Another view of Dan and me doing the ADR thing. This is when
we were no longer attending to the visual playback of the
scene. What you see on the monitor in front of us is a view
of that moment. Mike videotaped the ADR session for the
Behind The Scenes chapter of the DVD, and the montor was
showing the shots being taped.
Here we are, early in the session, waiting for Mike to get
everything set up in the control room.
Another shot of the Emmy Award winning
Dan, myself and Mike on the original shoot of this scene,
two summers back-- with the pesky HVACs blowing and humming
all around us. Again, on campus at Wright State University.
Full frame of the scene shot in the Wright State Student
Union. These cells are all from my own 'Behind The Scenes'
If you live anywhere near the Dayton area, those screams of agony and frustration
you hear in the next few days or weeks, the ones that come from south of town, in
the Miamisburg area..... they will be coming from the gut, throat and mouth
cavity of Mike Sopronyi as he tries to fine-tune edit what we recorded today to
make the words from our voices match the words from our lips.
God Speed, Mr. Sopronyi, God Speed.
AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION: Whilst I and Dan were dubbing our dialogue,
Larry Coressel, the director
for Springfield StageWorks's
production of Work Song - Three Views Of Frank Lloyd Wright sent out his
email with the offers of roles.
The role of Frank is offered, as I strongly expected it would be, to an actor with
some serious skill, whom I saw in his excellent performance as Stage Manager in
the SSW production of Our Town, Peter Wallace. I was, indeed, offered other
roles (multi-casting as in Catch 22). In my email response, along with saying
that I thought Peter is a smart choice, I also reaffirmed that Frank was the
compelling draw for me to the production and my only interest. Now, there are some
other options coming up that have my attention and interest that I need to pursue.
Also, I said how I really want to avoid looking like (or being) some
megalomaniacal diva, but there are some other roles in other productions (that
conflict with the WORK SONG rehearsal period and performance schedule) that
I'm as interested in as I was Frank. That I really want to go for one until I snag
one or get left cold on the sidewalk.
Beyond that, I have some personal artistic projects that I ought to give some
attention too, as well. And if the theatre gods zap me, with their sick senses of
humor, and see to it I am not cast in anything I have an interest in, I will sit
down with my own projects, like I probably ought to be doing anyway.
The odd thing here is that even though I am simply being true to myself, despite
that I did make sure my narrow casting interest was known, I still hate the idea, to
some extent, that I turned down a role (or, roles, in this case). It's like
I'm sending a vibe that I think I'm too good for the casting, and that is not the
It's not that I had to have "THE LEAD," it's that all the
circumstances of that production and the other opportunities that are out there
narrowed my focus of interest down to Frank. It's a staged reading, so for me,
there must be something compelling about doing the performance. The character of
Frank Lloyd Wright is drawn in a most interesting and compelling way. Performing him
would make the weeks of time spent in rehearsal for only three performances of a
staged reading still a valuable thing weighed against the other main, interesting
opportunity: to be in a full production that runs three weekends and is in my
favorite theatre space. That, of course, would be Outward Bound, up at my
The Dayton Theatre Guild. No, it's
not at all that I had to have The Lead role; it just happens that in the case of
Work Song, it was the only role I cared about enough to cut myself off from
other productions or artistic ventures.
In Outward Bound, by the way, I'm not even too sure there is a lead role,
but if there is, it's either Prior or Rev. Duke, and I am sure I am not going to be
cast as a "thirtyish playboy" (Prior), and only a little more likely as a
"thirtyish minister" (Duke); though the minister is not absolutely out of
the question. I actually am most interested in either Scrubby or Rev. Thomson. Both
are supporting, and in fact, Thomson does not show up until Act
III. I'd be happy with any male role in this, though I am
too old for several of them. It's a good script, though an actor friend of mine
thinks very little of it.
Well, there'll be a lot of men auditioning this coming Monday and Tuesday.
I have no reason to think I am anything like a shoe in. Those theatre gods may just
tell the first joke as I read a cast list later in the week without my name on it.
Yet, but, there shall I be, both nights, hoping to be back on my own stage again.
And if not cast; maybe more time focused on these so-called "movie
Were I to be cast in Outward Bound, I unfortunately would not be able to make
the Westcott performances of Work Song. I still want to talk the project up.
First of all, the script is damned good. And it is a very cool concept: the
reading of play about the life of Frank Lloyd Wright, performed in a house he
designed, now an historical site and a museum to the man. I've already mentioned it
to a few people who think it's cool and are planning to attend.
I've sent info about the roles I was offered to a handful of actors I know who all
could pull those roles off. Don't know who will be interested or available. But,
hell, I turned the roles down, I ought to try to help fill the gap.
THE THEATRE GODS HAVE THEIR CHANCE FOR AN IRONIC JOKE ON ME: Yep, tonight
and tomorrow night I audition for Outward Bound at home --
The Dayton Theatre Guild. We'll
see if the Thespis deities think I need some humbling for my recent, um, what?,
"presumption of selectivity"(?).
I looked over the script a bit yesterday and I still hold the same position that
I'm interested in any male role in the show, knowing there are a few I am not
correct for, but with more of a draw towards Scrubby, Lingley, or Rev. Thomson.
Actually, I'd throw Rev. Duke in, but I may be too old for that role in the eyes of
I did look over Duke, but if I am cast at all, being cast as him would take me a
bit by surprise.
OUTWARD BOUND AUDITIONS AT HOME:
A bit of competition at the Dayton Theatre Guild last night. I was told I did good
reads and I suppose I did. The feeling was, overall, luke warm. My first read was
about as cold as you can get. Director
had me read as Henry, for whom I had not prepped at all as he is too young for me.
Greg said he wasn't really reading people for parts at first, however, he just wanted
to hear people read (and I interpret that as meaning he wanted to hear people's
British dialect capabilities).
I was read as Scrubby and as Prior, but not Duke, Lingely nor Thomson. If I am
read as either Lingely or Thomson tonight I will be surprised; I believe the actors
who will get those respective roles were there last night; perhaps I'm wrong, but I
doubt it. I was a bit surprised I was read as Prior, but I do feel good about my read
as him -- though, as I wrote yesterday, I'm not sure that I'm not too old for the role.
Wouldn't mind being read as Rev. Duke, either.
AUDITION FOR A VOICE ACTING GIG: Went into
the agency yesterday and recorded an
audio audition (MP3 format) for an animated training video. Also have an audition
for an industrial video coming up, but the client hasn't sent the script yet.
NOW THAT THE GODS I AND HAVE SEEN TO IT THAT I'M NOT IN A PLAY RIGHT NOW: I'm
trying to get the ducks in a row for the improv on camera. I also have some more
literary things to deal with. The
chapbook in progress
at site proper needs wrap up sort of attention -- that,
unless I go ahead and once again extend deadlines, since the submissions have been
so underwhelming in volume. There are some works to add, and I guess I need to
start thinking about graphics. There has not been even one graphic illustration
ACCEPTED IN ANOTHER FILM FESTIVAL: Just got word that the
Secret City Film Festival has
accepted Still Me as an entry for their 2008 festival, October 9-12, in Oak
Ridge, Tennessee. More details as they are sent my way.
That's only about 325 miles for me. I am considering making this trip. I don't have
a play performance in my way.
A NEW TIME TABLE STRUCTURE -- BUT NOT A NEW
MEASUREMENT, NO, A NEW DIMENSION:
27 hours per day
9 days per week
6 weeks per month
14 months per year
As a fellow actor who is also an impressively accomplished writer
once told me, when I asked if there were any auditions coming up in
"Too many loves; not enough time"
I just want to dive into so many goddamned oceans of endeavor, it at times
gets debilitating and I am emotionally urged to just stay in bed and watch
reruns of Friends and That 70's Show.
Still, I am doing stuff......
The In-Progress, Theme-Based Chapbook
The Motion In Motive
-- I've spent this morning giving more full-blown attention to being the editor
of this chapbook than I have for a while. And I have a handful of poems to post
shortly. I am also reading some prose submissions.
More Work On My Own Fiction -- Last night I did a little work on a
new fiction work by myself. Actually, it's not new, it's just "the
newest." It's a work from which I posted several paragraphs many months
back in the Dec 10, 2007 blog entry, with the workshop title of "Betty
Pern." Click here to go there, but
you'll have to either open it in another window or tab or be prepared to click
on your backward browse button when you are done, as I have not provided a link
back to here.
DV Movie(?) -- I'm still drawing together game-plan lists and such for this
alleged long-story improv movies project. I am a bit impatient about it, too.
The Grate [sic] American Novel -- I am starting to
sharply feel I have abandoned, for too long now, the re-write of my novel,
Starting for the Sun, which sits and
Music -- I have a whole damned concept music album, that has been recorded
for a very long time -- two decades and some change -- that I need to do
something with. I have mentioned this before. It's f|_|¢'%!|\|& time I get
the thing out to the world!
So You Wanna Be an Equity Candidate -- One thing that MUST happen,
is that I need to study the sides for my upcoming
Human Race Theatre Company
callback for Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark, which is up next
spring at The Victoria Theatre.
There is no reason I should not be off-book by the audition date of August 29.
THAT GRACIOUS APPLAUSE FOR THE OTHER GUY: So, tonight I and several hundred other
Dayton area theatre people will attend the
2008 Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame and Daytony Gala,
which will feature the induction of two staples of the Dayton Theatre scene, Dodie
Lockwood and Jim Lockwood. The Daytony theatre awards for the 2007/2008 season will
also be awarded. This is the point when many of us -- actors, directors, producers,
set & lighting & sound & costume designers, choreographers, properties
managers, yadda yadda yadda -- will sit, smile and clap for those names called,
other than our own. We will be genuinely happy for those whose names are called,
but we will still experience that sinking in our chests, our stomachs, that ache of
disappointment that our work was not found to be adequate to the recognition.
I speak in the spirit of the better angels when I say that all will be
"genuinely happy" for those others. And I personally always go with the
expectation forced upon myself that this will be my scenario, but still always with
that hope that my work has been seen as valuable enough by enough judges to be
deemed worthy. Overall though, I am fully prepared to leave tonight fighting with
a bout of battered self-esteem and yelling at the lesser angel in me to stop
resentfully and childishly trashing anybody else's work.
And make no mistake, I will be in no sort of minority.
.....to all those who took home an award from the 2008 Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame
and Daytony Gala last night.
And, again, major kudos to Dodie Lockwood and Jim Lockwood for their inductions into
the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.
The Daytony web site will be updated with the list of all the winners sometime this
But one personal note and congrat to Debra Kent for her Excellence in Acting in a
Lead Role Award for her portrayal of Kathleen Hogan in Park Your Car in Harvard
Yard -- for which, of course, I was the producer.
This is where we performed Endgame in 2005.
The building is at 19 South Fountain Avenue, right across from the government
Larry Coressel writes:
"Thanks to Jim and Nike Lagos for generously offering this historic building
for StageWorks home offices, rehearsal and performance space."
BACK ON THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT PROJECT: On the subject of Springfield StageWorks, I sent
emails out to about ten actors last weekend to see if I could help fill in the void I
left in Work Song - Three Views Of Frank Lloyd Wright by turning down the
casting offer I had received. These were actors whom I did not know whether or not were
in other projects, but whom I knew could pull off the roles. Some were, as it
turns out, already committed; some felt it was too far to drive; the rest I don't know
about. I gave them Larry's email and phone number. None have approached him. And as of
yesterday the hole was still there.
So, yesterday I volunteered to step back into the roles. I do want to pursue some projects
but I also don't want to see the production in a dilemma that I played a part in. I would
have never thought to come back of my own volition and say:
Well, gee! Since Johnny won't take me to the prom I guess I'll go with
Billy after all.
But, I told Larry that I'd be happy to step back into the roles if I were still welcomed
(and I was prepared, without rancor, to not be welcomed). They are, after all, decent
parts, just not as attractive to me as Frank was. Larry was congenial and receptive so I
am back in the production.
The good thing is that rehearsal will not be every night until close to the performances,
and still maybe only every night the week of. I still have windows for the
tasks listed in the Aug 17 entry.
By-the-way, I don't believe I ever revealed exactly what roles I was offered. They
would be Edwin Cheney and
The latter being the famed New Yorker critic and commentator and a member of
the notorious New York
Algonquin Round Table. Woolcott was
also one of Harpo Marx's closest friends. The former, with whose wife, Mamah Cheney,
F.L. Wright had a torrid affair that resulted in the lovers each leaving their spouses
for each other.
There is the full table read through tonight, and as I write this, I am not wholly
sure I can make it, but probably about 80% sure.
WORK SONG: I was
able to make the table read last night. It went well enough for a read through. I
always find them awkward, but there's really little more that they can be. No one
has been able to get down to any emotional depth or much understanding of any
dynamics. Most hardly have a handle on their characters and the voices.
Always my situation at any rate.
I did note at one point that Alexander Woollcott is referred to as a "New York
Fairy," which means I will have to play up some level of "Dandy"
in my portrayal. I believe there are some sound files, elsewhere here in cyberspace,
of Woollcott reading some prose. If I'm right, I need to get them so I don't have to
guess how a gay, New York socialite speaks. A cursory search has not brought the
results I'd expected, but I will give it better attention sometime soon. I have much
more research to do on him, too. Meanwhile, Edwin Cheney is even more opaque and I'm
guessing I will find much less information on him compared to Woollcott.
The rehearsal schedule calls for only Tuesdays and Thursdays for a while; we have
already established that this works well for me, given all the other pies I am wanting
to bake right now.
THEM OTHER PIES:
The Motion in Motive --
A new update is imminent. Just have a few more prose pieces to make a
decision about. And, of course, I have to code the html.
Upcoming (?) Movie
Project -- My game plan now is to do some test shoots, all fair game for use,
but really experiments with the production techniques that best work to capture
long-story improv on camera.
Wait Until Dark for
The callback audition for this
Victoria production is nine
days away. I have begun the flashcard process. I am serious about being
off-book for this (or would that be "off-sides?").
He called the play suspenseful, dramatic and forceful. He wrote in part,
"A clever and absorbing plot, well acted by Dave Williamson, Cheryl Mellen,
Geoff Burkman and K.L. Storer, responded to Saul Caplan's direction and the excellent
script. The play explored class warfare and inner warfare."
See the whole article by clicking on its title, above.
AN ARTICLE ABOUT THE DTG MOVE: See
also Burt Saidel's nice write-up on the Dayton Theatre Guild's move to our new
building in the Oregon District, in
the August 12 issue (vol.17:no.33):
"Dayton Theatre Guild."
It's the second article down on the "Arts" page.
SCREENING ON OCTOBER 10 AT THE
SECRET CITY FILM FESTIVAL: The
schedule is out for this film festival and Still Me will screen at noon on
Friday, Oct 10. I am looking at my budget to see if I can make the seven hour drive
to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The screenings take place in the theatre of the
Oak Ridge Playhouse -- where,
coincidentally, Wait Until Dark* happens to be up in performance right
now, having opened just last night.
The festival web site describes the playhouse theatre as a "1940s-era
building with 344 seats....a large enough venue for most screenings, yet small
enough to be intimate." It goes on to say that the workshops and panels
will be held nearby, thus the festival is centered in one area.
I really want the math concerning my personal finances to work in favor of the trip!
WORK SONG: I did a little
bit of Yahoo & Google research on Alexander Woollcott last night. I was still
looking for some sound files of his voice. I have found none. I did find a
bio of him at the BBC web site
that describes his voice as a "reedy, birdlike voice (pigeon-like might say it
better)." That at least gives me an informed approach to some measure.
As well as writing reviews, columns and essays for the print media, Woollcott also
was an author of more than a dozen books and wrote several plays and screenplays.
He also appeared on stage and screen as an actor. Woollcott had a starring role, as
Binkie Niebuhr, in S. N. Behrman's
Wine of Choice, which ran for about six weeks at
The Guild Theatre on 52nd St.
in New York City -- now The August Wilson Theatre. He wrote and directed The
Dark Tower. That play ran fifty-seven performances November, 1933 to January,
1934, at The Morosco Theatre, on 45th St. in New York. The play became the movie
The Man with Two Faces,
starring Edward G. Robinson.
The most notable cast member from the staging of The Dark Tower, to me, would
be Margaret Hamilton,
indelible in the mosaic of American pop culture as
The Wicked Witch of the West
in the 1939 classic
The Wizard of OZ. Even
youngins today will know that gig. But how many of you want to show your age
by admitting you remember her as the spokesperson, for years, for Folgers coffee?
Plus, Margaret was also a Buckeye: a fellow native of Ohio.
In terms of his own biggest spot in that pop culture tableau, it is likely the fact
that the character Sheridan Whiteside in the play and derivative movie
The Man Who Came to Dinner
is directly based upon him, and has been described as "a caricature that
exaggerates all of Woollcott's best and worst qualities." Whiteside was
actually written for Woollcott to play on stage by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
Monty Woolley played the role on
Broadway as well in the movie,
with the screenplay by Julius J.
and Philip G. Epstein. Woollcott,
himself, portrayed Whiteside on tour.
IMDb page for his movie credits,
IBDb page for his Broadway
As I mentioned before, Woollcott and Harpo Marx were close friends and as well,
Woollcott was very close to
Dorothy Parker, a fellow
member of that infamous
Algonquin Round Table
OPEN HOUSE & SEASON PREVIEW: The
Dayton Theatre Guild held an open
house at our new building on Wayne Avenue last night. We gave tours of the facility.
There was then a preview of the 2008/09 season via staged readings. I gave tours.
ANOTHER INTERESTING NOTE ABOUT BIG BEAR FF: This has nothing to do with anything
except my Beatlemania, but I notice that there is a documentary screening at the
Big Bear Lake International Film Festival
entitled Desperately Seeking Paul McCartney, which just happens to have a
trailer available from YouTube.
* AUG 25, AM: I NOTICE THAT AT LEAST THIS MORNING, THE CLIP DOES NOT
SEEM TO PLAY CORRECTLY, NEITHER HERE NOR AT THE YOUTUBE PAGE. IT DID BEFORE, 'CAUSE I
WORK SONG: Tonight we
rehearsed Act I in which I am Edwin Cheney, husband of
Mamah (MAY-muh), the love of Frank Lloyd Wright's life, who left Edward for
Frank. Rehearsal went pretty well. Of course, this being a staged reading there is
no blocking, but there are the occasional pointed gestures.
I haven't done any research on Edwin yet; I've been focused on Woollcott. At this
point I have no absolute idea about the speaking voice of either, but, again, I
have a stronger idea for Woollcott than Cheney. Tonight I played with various
augmentations of my own voice for Edwin. I think I want to eventualy land on
something with a good measure of Chicago (Great Lakes) accent, but not too
pronounced. Woollcott will be upper register, slightly effeminate, with a sprinkle
of generic New York (but not a heavy Brooklyn or Bronx dialect). Woollcott was
actually from Jersey, but I'm betting he picked up a "Manhatten" sound to
his speech -- at the risk of being too general in my label. I haven't settled
on the precise sound of Woollcott's voice, either, but I am closer on him.
WAIT UNTIL DARK: I am counting
down to Friday's callback for the Victoria Theatre production of this. I'll stand
where I stood about three months ago and thought I'd blown it by going up in a
major way on a monolgue on the Loft Stage at the
Human Race Theatre Company during
my general for the HRTC 2008/09 season.
I am close to off-book on the sides for the audition. I may hold the sides during
the audition, but I don't want the paper to be anything more than a prop. And that
does not mean I want the sides to be a crutch. No, I am 85-95% memorized right now.
By Friday afternoon I will be 100%. Hell, probably by the time I go to bed tomorrow
night I'll be 100% memorized.
MAYBE -- "MAYBE" -- AN AUDITION FOR AN UPCOMING INDY FLIM: I have
made contact with a director who plans to shoot an indy film in the late fall. We
actually met at the
Dayton Theatre Guild Wayne Avenue
open house last Saturday. The conversation was really more about his needing help,
advice, feed back about the casting call, which has not been launched, yet. We have
not been back in touch with each other, yet, and I know next to no details about
his project. But at this point it's a potential option for me as an actor. I did
send him an email with some tips, especially about venues for posting his audition
notices, but have not heard back.
THE WAIT UNTIL DARK CALLBACK
IS TODAY: So, late this afternoon, really, early evening, I go to the
Human Race Theatre Company's Loft Theatre
to do my second professional callback audition. I go with the idea that I give it my
best shot but try to keep embedded in my head and stomach that the odds ain't in my
favor, but that no matter what, it is a valuable experience. I am off-book
(or, as I have suggested before, "off-page," since I
audition from a four-page side*). I do hope to wrap up all the update to this web
space soon (as I write this it is 12:01 pm) and get to some wood-shedding of the
scene, however. I took a vacation day, today, so I would not have a work day just
behind me when I stood infront of the director. I may go ahead and keep the pages in
my hand, though I really want them to be, as I already said, of no significance to
*) Sides (or Asides): one or more selected pages from a
script, separated out from the script, often retyped or photocopied, used
for the purpose of audition.
WORK SONG: Last night I was
Alexander Woollcott with a voice that is getting there but at which I have not fully
arrived . Actually, I believe the texture and pitch are there, but I need to
perfect dialect and get the delivery to point of consistency.
AUDITION FOR AN INDUSTRIAL: Next Tuesday I am in Cincinnati in the afternoon for a
screen test for an industrial video, via
Roof-Goenner Talent Agency. I cannot
take all day Tuesday off, however, so I am in the office (at the bill-paying job)
in the morning. With today off, and the potential of the following Monday off (if I
am cast in the industrial), I have to log some time Tuesday morning.
YESTERDAY'S WAIT UNTIL DARK CALLBACK AUDITION: Whether or not I will be
on the Victoria Theatre stage next
May remains to be seen, but I don't feel "awful" about my
audition last night at the Human Race Theatre Company
studio. I won't say it could not have gone any better because it can always go
better. It certainly could have gone worse, however, and there's nothing I think
back upon and cringe at. I was -- maybe, am -- up for Carlino, along with at
least three other actors I know, all with a good résumé of
professional work on their sleeves. But I think I did the character justice. The
director had us backtrack over a portion of the sides and directed me to be
more forceful, which I think I did, but you know, I was on the inside looking
out and all that jazz.
I was relatively cool, but nervous enough that I did not embed the director's name,
even though I made a point of repeating it to myself several times. And I can find
no information about the production that lists the director.
All I can say is that I feel good about the audition and guess it all boils down to:
am I what John-Bob-Whosit
Smith-Jones-Whachamacallit is looking for in terms of type (or at least
am I not a type he'd rule out) and did I show him a Carlino that fits his vision?
Plus did I show him an actor he thinks he'd like to work with? And, who else and
what else has he seen and will he see as he is in this casting stage?
The audition was rather short; I notice that the one before was at least twice as
long and the one before that even longer. That may not mean anything at all. For
mine it may mean he quickly saw I was not what he was looking for; it may also mean
that he quickly saw something he was looking for. What it does,
indeed, mean is that I am most assuredly one of those actors who must
indulge in at least a little obsessive second guessing.
As if that's some great new revelation about me; and
as if I am in some sort of minority as an actor on this score.
By the way, yesterday I posted some additional literature to the theme-based
The Motion In Motive
for anyone who might have an interest. It includes a poem by me and two from a
familiar and wonderful poet, Anne Foxbank, as well as work from other fine authors.
TINA GLOSS -- "I MADE IT!!! DISNEYLAND 1/2 MARATHON SURVIVOR":
Tina Gloss, the female lead in
Still Me and
Ned's mom in flashbacks to the past on
American Stroke Association marathon
this past weekend. Here is a portion of her "VICTORY" email, with some
additional material added in:
Well, I did it!!! Can you believe it?! I sure can't, but my sore legs are reminding me
of it today. I finished the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) with a time of 3 hours
18 minutes and 44 seconds at an average pace of 15 minutes and 9 seconds a mile. PHEW!
I wanted to thank you all for being so supportive of me and my goal. With your generous
donations I have exceeded my fundraising goal to end with the total of $2749.00 for the
American Stroke Association.
By making your donation you have invested in the future of all stroke survivors, like
Beth McElhenny (who wrote and directed Still Me), and patients still suffering
with the after effects, like (Tina's friend) Pavo. 85-100% of each dollar that you have
donated goes directly towards research and educational programs which are teaching people
about the warning signs of stroke, funding research to find ways to prevent stroke,
developing guidelines for physicians to treat people with stroke, providing stroke
survivors and their families a place to get answers after a stroke and much, much more!
There were over 14,000 runners that day. It was an inspiring event and I was just in awe
of how many wonderful people and groups came out to root us on during the run. Girl and
Boy Scout Troupes, school bands and cheerleaders, dance troupes and bands performing,
local businesses offered their support with signs and there was even a cooling misting
type tent from a company that was along the route. Not a minute would go by without
someone cheering you on.
Inside Disneyland there were costumed characters waving and runners stopping to have
their pictures taken with them -- so much fun.
There also was the mobile Pie Hole Trailer (re:
passing out mini apple and cherry pies to all of the runners afterwards. You should have
seen all these starving runners attacking the pies. I got a few myself. Mmmm.
Tina Gloss Finnell
Meanwhile, Tina has just finished working on another episode of Pushing Daisies,
this her first appearance in the sophomore season. There is a nice PD
fan site Pushing Daisies.com: The Fan Site
where Tina has sent a few pics related to the show. You can go directly to the five
pictures she sent
by clicking here.
The exact broadcast date of the episode (number 2.06) has not yet been announced.
MY AUDITION TUESDAY IN CINCY: Drove down to Cincinnati Tuesday afternoon for
the screen test for the industrial video. It felt good. When I'd received the call
from Roof-Goenner Talent Agency I'd not
been suggested what role I should be up for, but there were three that it looked to
me like I would be good for, and vice versa.
The best for me of the three was a fifty-year-old doctor, who runs "a family
practice. . . is warm [and a] nice guy [with] children at home." Then there was
a more intense, competitive character who runs his own business (52 y.o). The third was
a high school teacher of forty-five, described as "good natured" with
self-deprecating humor; not as financially well-off as "the others at the
club" but feels secure about his "growing wealth."
I kept interpretation for each of the three simple. For Mr. Intense I put just
the slightest bit of an edge into my voice and made sure I pronounced words just a
little sharply, crisply. For Mr. Jovial Teacher I infused a bit of a laugh into
my voice. For the doctor, I essentially was myself, but enhanced the hint of
nervousness and shyness that I believe I often transmit. This was all as I was
prepping, rehearsing each of the three with myself. I only performed one of the men
for the casting directors.
Since I wasn't sure which role I would be auditioning for, I didn't try to memorize
any part from the sides. And as it turns out, the script was revised as of Tuesday
morning so they were handing out the new version at the audition. One of the casting
directors did ask me which role I was auditioning for and when I said it looked
like the doctor was the best bet she replied, "That'll work."
I read one of his monologues for the screen test, but I was reading it off the page,
and with my reading glasses on. They had me redo it, riffing on the jist of the
paragraph so I could remove my glasses and play more to the camera -- and give them
the character more so than verbatim text.
It felt as though I did nice work.
The shoot is this coming Monday, so we shall see most soon if I gave them the doctor
they are looking for. In fact, I'd say if I'm not offered today, I won't be offered
WORK SONG: Back in rehearsal
tonight. We do Acts I and II,
where all my work is. Act I, I'm Edwin Cheney; Act
II, I'm Alexander Woollcott.
MY OTHER STUFF: "Don't ask," or "Stay
tuned," or somethin'.
DTG STUFF: As a board member for
The Dayton Theatre Guild, I am appointed to (actually I volunteered for) the
sub-committee to determine the uses of the many wonderful spaces in the new
building on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. There are lots of possibilities which very well
may include other arts organizations -- though we are very early in the what if?
stage of that last thought.
One given -- we have been renting storage space in a very cool place called
the Front Street Arts Complex for most of our costumes and bigger set pieces. And
though that's been a great help, it's a monthly expense we can now eliminate to
funnel that money toward our new building payments.
The sub-committee had a meeting last night to deal more immanently with the quickly
approaching move of the material from Front Street to the new building. That is
happening before the end of the month.
WORK SONG: Good
rehearsal last night. I believe I have a strong handle on my interpretation and
voice for Edwin Cheney. I had played him a bit naive, but it came to me that he's
not naive, but rather staid and inhibited, yet not in a overtly weak manner. So, I
am playing him now strong but boring. Rigidly bland might be another description,
but proudly bland, though he does yearn to be "more interesting."
So, I took the taste of whimpiness I had been flavoring Edwin's voice with and
replaced with a more reserved, confident up-tightness.
As for Alexander Woollcott, I have a very strong idea of his character, I just need
to get a constant delivery of his voice.
We were down a few actors, so a few of us covered their lines when we could. A
few times a couple of us had conversations with ourselves as we read our own
characters in conversation with an absent actor's character.
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD NEW BUILDING IN
THE OREGON DISTRICT OPEN FOR TONIGHT'S
"FIRST FRIDAYS OF DAYTON"
ART HOP: Board members will be at the new building on Wayne Avenue tonight, as we
open the doors for part of the First Fridays of Dayton event for this month. We'll
give out season brochures and answer questions. There may even be some tours. It's
5:00 until 10:00. I'll get there at least an hour late, as I am trying to make the
gym after work once again a constant in my life -- see below.
WHO'S THAT --
ACTUALLY IN THE GYM. . . . WORKING OUT ?!?:
Okay, in the scheme of things, when you're talking about the level of actor who
subscribes to any or all of Back Stage East, Back Stage West,
Performink, Variety, Daily Variety, all with the practical
purpose of honestly reading these trades as an active tradesperson of the craft,
the actor who has one or more of the union cards,
AFTRA, and is in
active use of those associations, in that realm of the theatrical reality, I am
simply a Podunk little actor in a Podunk little theatre world. In terms of talent
and skill I am no doubt better than my insecurities will let me believe and not
even close to as
my moronic ego wants to shout from the roof tops.
Just exactly what does this thought have to do with anything?: well, maybe I am
"Podunk Actor Boy" but I do take it seriously (some may say too
"pretentiously" seriously) and I want to be very good at
it. Screw that, I want to be most excellent at it. Even more so, as I have said
before, I want to truly BE a friggin'
"Yeah. . . . So?"
SO, one of the things a
should be is in good physical shape. That both for stamina and let’s face it, for
physique, just the plain ol' LOOKIN' GOOD factor. That takes exercise and
smart dieting. I was, at one time, pretty disciplined about the gym. Then I started
acting again and ran into periods when fitting the gym into my day became difficult.
My ideal is six days a week in the gym (three cardiovascular days each in between
three weight lifting days). Some times that is nothing more than a pipe dream. And
though I am not nor have never been a vegetarian (or the more hard-core vegan), I
rarely eat red meat though I do consume some dairy products (I loves my extra-sharp
cheddar and my ice cream). But I am big on chicken, turkey and tuna. And I do love
salads and veggie stir fries.
Now, in terms of the "stamina" I'm gonna grade myself at C+ at the very
best; perhaps B- if I want to be especially generous. But that
"physique" part, that "LOOKIN' GOOD factor": well, I
have enough sense to know that I will elicit a much different reaction if sporting
around shirtless than the likes of Matthew McConaughey. I'm not thinking it's
likely that I'll ever get to the sort of cut, six-pack, .9 ounces of body-fat form
that someone like McConaughey has. But I certainly can rid myself of the annoying
flab I currently have (since I have been without it in my later adulthood). And I
am damned sure I can improve my stamina! I have also, in my later adult life, been
in the solid B range for stamina and see no reason to not make it into the A range
-- A- at the very least.
NOT Matthew McConaughey: summer 2007
It would be nice to recover the bulk in my arms and chest that I had just last
summer -- 2007 -- and have lost, then move beyond it. That is, to regain and
improve on the bulk and lose the chub, as well. And then there's leg tone, too.
Actually, I have had better bulk than even a year ago, during those days in the
late 90's and early 2000's when I was, indeed, hitting the gym six days a week as a
constant norm, and in warmer weather, biking on that seventh day -- usually a
On the other side, there is no question that I need to lose some chubbiness in my
face if I want to work a lot on camera. And maybe, to that end, it's not bulk I
should aspire to as much as it is muscle tone.
Jeez -- this really is vanity and shallowness and two-dimensionalism! Or so
it does feel.
Yet, none of it can be labeled as illegitimate concerns.
The point being that I have been hitting the gym recently at least three times a
week. I've been staying clear of excess cheese and ice cream, too. So, at least for
the moment I am taking the physical well-being of the
Or, maybe, I am once again takin' myself a bit TOO seriously.
. . . . . Too
Were he alive, my father would be Eighty-Nine years old today.
Dad and I had too many a friction but I miss him much and as I do
of my mother I wish Dad had been around to see my return to the
world of theatre arts, where I have always belonged. He would have
been profoundly proud and would have bragged to anyone who would
George A. Storer Jr.
me in my office at home
self portrait: Tie Sorting
self portrait: Watching TV
again, me in my office at home
The pictures to the right have no relevance to any entry
material below, but I did them yesterday (well mostly) and simply wish to post them.
Tie Sorting was actually taken last Monday, but I rendered some effect to it
yesterday. The first picture is proof positive (to me, at least) that I do, indeed,
need to lose some weight in my face.
WORK SONG: Though this
production is a staged reading, I have every intention of being off-book for the
performances. I will look down at the pages, but I want the freedom to be able to
look up and away for dramatic effect. For instance, in the first scene I am Edwin
Cheney and in that scene I and Frank (Peter Wallace) are riding in a train car on
our way back to Illinois from a tragedy. Edwin looks out the window much in this
scene and comments on what he does and does not see. I wish to dramatize that and
not have my face and eyes tethered to the script.
There is a scene in Act II where my Woollcott suffers
from a hangover and says several lines of dialogue with his eyes closed. I choose
to do that most especially so I can open my eyes in surprise to deliver a certain
responsive line that follows that bit.
Just two examples of why I want to be off-book, even if for most of the performance
I do let my eyes touch the pages frequently as a part of the fabric of the staged
reading performance. And if I don't have it all memorized, I will have many
Though I have not begun that process, whatsoever.
PRODUCING FOR THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:
I had already agreed to produce Glen Merzer's The Cashier at the request of
its DTG director Sarah Gomes (we occupied the same roles for Park Your Car in
Harvard Yard); at the August board meeting I volunteered to also produce David
Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, being directed by Fred Blumenthal. This means
that as of the moment I am slated to produce the last two shows of this new season.
Producing The Cashier was contingent on my not being cast in Wait Until
Dark, and though I always knew it was a long-shot, I believe by this time we
can all safely assert that I am free and clear to produce Sarah's show. I have also
been asked about my interest in auditioning for Hamlet for
Springfield StageWorks, but that is
auditioning in January and then has a long rehearsal period before its run in late
April and early May. I have a few more goes at getting on my own theatre's stage
this year, actually including both shows I am producing as well as the first show
of 2009, Catfish Moon, by Laddy Sartin. Though I have not yet totally
counted Hamlet out, it does not seem likely to me. Though I do ultimately
have an interest in doing Shakespeare.
The big question is what do I do about producing if I am cast in either or both
shows? I am not wholly convinced there would be a difficulty for me to produce
and appear in either or both cases. And I am incredibly convinced that being
producer would give me no "in" as far as being cast in either play.
Beyond that, I have not actually read either play yet, nor Catfish Moon for
that matter, so I may not be as interested in any of these as I am assuming I will
be. I have to read all three soon, the two I am producing, because I am producing
them, regardless of whether I will or won't want to audition.
MORE DV MOVIES FOR THE GUILD (?): More than a year ago, I got this idea to make a DV
training movie about hosting at The Guild. I had never set aside the time to shoot
it. I had pretty much decided to shoot it over several weekends in August (the one
that just past) but then the Dayton Gym Club purchase manifested itself and it
seemed like waiting until the move was done and shooting in the new space was more
sensible. Never mind that we are not likely to be producing shows in the new
building until the start of next season.
At the open house we did a few weeks ago I then got the idea to shoot footage of
the building, periodically, over the course of the remodeling, then edit together a
movie showing the transformation. Too bad I hadn't thought of it before that night;
I could have taken footage of that night for the movie.
Both the movies would go on the DTG YouTube page, where the trailers for the plays
were until removed because some board members became afraid of infringement suits.
Currently there is no movie posted there, but I did not kill the page.
At the open house in the new building in the
Oregon District this last Friday for
"First Fridays of Dayton,"
it came to me that I can also shoot a virtual tour of the Dayton Gym Club building,
right now: a digital version of what we did this last Friday and on August 23. This
would be something to post as soon as it is shot and edited.
I haven't formally passed either of these DGC building movies by the board yet, but
those whom I have mentioned the original idea of the "progress movie"
have all liked it. The several people there this Friday also liked the idea of this
more immediate virtual tour.
Friday I did shoot a little footage, but not much. My own consumer DV
camcorder is still out of commission, but I now can borrow a nice little domestic
3CCD model Panasonic DV camcorder from
the rent payer job. Friday, I took
one out for the weekend to test run more than anything else. Must admit I have
hardly played with it. I will today; first, I have to dump the footage into a
project; then, I should set some time aside to look over the manual and maybe
shoot some more trial-and-error footage, just to get better acquainted with
OTHER AUDITIONS I AM LOOKING AT TO CLOSE OUT 2008 OR START 2009: I haven't read
this one yet, either, but I borrowed a copy of Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not
for Burning, which is the first
Dayton Playhouse FLIPside
production of this season. It auditions in about a week and is up October 10 &
11. Rehearsals could be a problem for the first couple weeks, since that is when we
will start picking up steam and frequency for Work Song in Springfield. I
note that the Lady audition calls for a monologue with a strong suggestion
of one in the language of Shakespeare -- a chance to finally get that friggin'
John Crowne monologue right? That being "The Great Constable Explains the
Folly of Virtue to His Son, His Prisoner," from The Ambitious Statesman.
The one that I choked on during the audition class with
at the Human Race Theatre Company,
and came close to choking on when I first used it to audition for
Fuente Ovejuna a year ago. It's a good piece, so I might as well try to get
the damned thing down -- if not for the Fry show, then for something else down the
I also am very interested in the next FLIPside show, Arthur Miller's Creation of
the World and Other Business -- there is however the clear conflict with
Catfish Moon, which I haven't read yet but currently have a strong interest
in just based on what I do know about it.
Honestly, I have not looked all around yet to see what else is out there that I
will care about, so there may be other draws for me, stage or screen.
It's not just New York
It's not just Washington
It's not just Shanksville
It's not just the buildings
It's not just the airplanes
It's not just the field
It's not just the symbols
It's not just the pictures
It's not just the dead
It's not just the heroes
It's not just the hearts
It's not just the sorrow
It's not just the nation
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD NEW BUILDING IN
THE OREGON DISTRICT OPEN FOR THIS EVENING'S
Once again DTG board members will be at the new building --
430 Wayne Ave
-- tonight, as we again open the doors, this time for Dayton's Urban Nights. We will
give tours and hand out season brochures, yadda yadda. As last week, it's 5:00 until
Drop in, if you're local; or, even if you're not.
This time I plan to take and post some pictures, as well as shoot DV footage for
the as-of-yet unsanctioned movies about our new place.
The goal for this post was to hone it down to a select few. As ruthless as I thought
I was, I still left myself with thirty-two. As you can see, I have not used all
thirty-two, despite that I did sweeten and process them all for here. And I
have used twenty of them.
What we have here is a not exactly comprehensive look at the soon-to-be new home of
the Dayton Theatre Guild. Still a glimpse for those local who haven't been to the
building yet, and for anyone else who may be interested.
Click on each picture for a larger version.
During this last week we vacated the space we rented at the Front Street Arts
Complex for storage of the bulk of our costumes, larger set pieces, and other
assorted types of stage properties. The open basketball court section of the new
building now holds all that was on Front Street.
Big set pieces (stoves, refrigerators, furniture, antique door frames, etc) are now
actually in the place where we plan to store them, in the alcove under the back
mezzanine of the building. The costumes will be moved up to the back mezzanine.
The more miscellaneous type of stuff will end up in an area or room we haven't yet
That big open space -- well, not so open right now -- will hold probably four
different sections. There are no good pictures of it here, but the part of the
court area that is still empty, the area you can see a portion of in the down right
section of the first picture here, will be where the theatre lobby is.
In the same picture, in the vicinity of where the hanging costumes are will be where
the actual theatre space will be. We are going to essentially keep the same thrust
stage. The stage will be a little bit shorter and a little bit wider, and we will
seat a few more people than we do right now, but we will maintain the intimacy of
the playing space.
On the other side of the main stage, we are seriously thinking about a rehearsal
stage, the same size as the main stage.
In the open area right before that back alcove will be the scene shop area where we
will do the major work on set construction.
There are double doors coming in off of Wayne Avenue. Those are designated as the
handicap entrance. Just off that hallway is a large office area we plan to convert
into a third rehearsal space.
Down stairs there is a large restaurant area with a long bar and a working
kitchen. There is talk of that area serving as the green room, but that, as most of
the plans for use, is not written in stone at all, and the potential is pretty
broad. There is an open room just off the restaurant area, which was a game and
dart room for the Dayton Gym Club, that may end up being the green room -- or maybe
Again, off of the restaurant area is a small room that had served as the weight room.
The current thought is that it will be the make-up room (separate from the green
room). There is a room off of that which can be a changing room and there is a
bathroom and a shower right there. There is also a sauna room close by, but the
prevailing thought is that the sauna will go away.
Back behind that make-up room area, and behind what was the dart room, is a large
open hall that clearly was a party room -- probably held receptions, dances, etc.
How we will use it is not determined yet. One thought has been studio space;
another, the major small prop area. But, it's all up in the air for now.
So. . . . More pics. . . . :
Pulling back, here is another look at the hallway with the
handicap entrance, showing us a little bit of the lobby
This is that large office area we plan to make into our
third rehearsal area. When cleared, the room has a comparable
square footage to the main stage.
The Board of Directors for the Dayton Gym Club left us a
note -- a welcome message -- on the white board in
that large office area.
Just outside the large office, by the planned handicap
entrance, are stairs leading down to the restaurant area.
The restaurant area down stairs with kitchen in the up left
section and the bar just to the right of it.
Another look at the bar counter
The game and dart room, just behind the restaurant.
The open hall room behind the dart room.
With the dart room in the upper right, the doorway just about
center leads to what was the weight room and is now
proposed to be the make-up room.
The propose make-up room. Picture vanity tables with
mirrors lined up against the walls.
It ain't fancy, but it's a working shower, off that proposed
unisex actors' restroom.
This room, off the proposed make-up room, may be turned into
a dressing room.
The sauna -- which will probably be removed.
The bathroom just off the weight room. For any Dayton actor
who sees this and is not enthused with the idea of a unisex
bathroom for the actors -- well, there are two sets of
single-sex bathrooms on the lower level alone. The
building has seven working restrooms.
This long section of the mezzanine that overlooks the court
might be used for studio space -- perhaps by other arts
Just off from the lobby area, this leads to and from the
Wayne Avenue entrance, what will be the handicap entrance.
Most of what we propose to do with a lot of the space is written in pencil. There
are a lot of vibrant things that can happen in this building, beyond the main
focus, which will always be the theatre season of the Dayton Theatre Guild. But,
the potentials for a rich and vital arts environment are almost mentally and
spiritually overwhelming -- at least to me they are. And we are trying to give it
all much thought and care so we utilize this great new space as best we can.
I also shot more DV footage for the two movie projects. The virtual tour and the
watch-it-grow movies. I will be dumping that into FinalCut today.
She also reports that "there were several other personal friends attending --
but most were regular festival goers [and] probably another handful of...local
residents." Beth attributes the locals' attendance to her and Scott and their
on-the-street promotion of the film: "[canvasing] the small town, [talking] up
the film to the residents and shop keepers, and [getting] our poster [hung in shop
Beth further reports:
Seven films played first, and with few exceptions, the audience stuck it
out to finally see Still Me.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house! Even the industry people cried!
Many, many folks I didn't know came to hug me and express how this impacted
In a landslide, Still Me took home the Best Short -- Audience Award!
So - - - - - YAY!
As for my attendance at the film's screening at the
Secret City Film Festival
coming up in about a month in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, I need to see how much money I
am shelling out this week to repair an oil leak in my car. I am actually quite hopeful
that I will make the trip. Depending on how I feel about my poor old car, I may
drive it down; or, I may rent a car to go down. I do know that I can buy a pass
on-line this month for a $15 discount (i.e.: $60 -- not bad at all), and further
there are a certain number of cast & crew discount passes ($40) available; if I
wait too long to commit, those may all be gone. But sixty bucks ain't too bad. Then
I also must look at gas, food, lodging, and maybe a car rental fee.
My little rural corner of the Midwest was dealt those high winds that much of the
country got from Ike. The power in my little town kept going off. So dumping the
taped DV footage of the new
Dayton Theatre Guild building onto
the computer seemed risky to me until the wind storm settled down -- the power went
off once while the computer was on, fortunately with no fatal problems but I was not
going to push my luck. I turned the Mac off and waited out the storm. The power must
have went off for a moment or two at least a half-dozen times.
Later in the evening I was able to transfer all the footage; then, just minutes
after I had finished and closed FinalCut, the power went out again, and more than
two hours after the wind storm had fizzled out.
Actually, this morning I took my car into the shop for that repair work only to
find that they were part of a black out, so no repair work today.
Yet it's hardly like I have a lot of room to whine. Compared to a lot of other
people, in my region and other-where’s, the affect on me of this aftermath of Ike
has been pretty minor. And certainly compared to the folk in Texas and
thereabouts I got nothin' to bitch about.
LOCAL PRODUCTION LOOKING FOR LIGHTING TECH SUPPORT: I have been contacted by Lucy
Owens, who produces the bi-monthly "The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show"
at the Mathile theatre in The Schuster Center.
Ms. Owens is looking for Lighting Tech support. She says the person would just set up
the lighting grid so her production could use the pre-sets on the wall. It is a two hour
production. The person would come out around noon the day of each show and it should
not take more than forty-five minutes to one hour of his or her time.
The person is requested for October 24, 2008, then for The Signature's second
season: February through October of 2009.
"People looking to gain experience would really benefit from the job."
WORK SONG: Last
night was my first rehearsal in two weeks. I wasn't scheduled for Tuesday,
September 9 (it was only Act III, which I am not
in), and then last Thursday's rehearsal was cancelled due to our director
Haven't quite put all my lines down on flash cards yet, and have just barely
started the routine to memorize them, but I should get something satisfactory
accomplished before the performances. Since, I really don't need to be
completely off-book, I may first pick and choose what I plan to have down cold,
then try to get the rest. If I can keep my eyes off the pages for those several
key spots, I will be happy.
We were to run all three acts last night, and again tonight, but we only
did Acts I & II.
We will concentrate on II tonight; that being
where I am Alexander Woollcott.
I'd say Woollcott's development is coming along. I feel I am in the ninety
percentile of having his character down, but I still am not wholly satisfied
with the tenor (in the literally audible sense) of his voice. The good dose
of effeminate quality is all right; it's the "bird-like"
sound of his voice I have not arrived at yet.
Cheney, on the other hand, I believe I have pretty much as I will present him
Things are afoot. This coming weekend the movie will be screened at the
Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater,
on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, at 11:25 am and 12:25 pm each of Friday,
Saturday and Sunday.
There will be some more exciting news that I'll share when the time is ripe.
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for my auto mechanic to be up-and-running, find out
what the financial damage of having my car worked on will be, then I'll know how
viable it will be for me to go to Tennessee for the movie's competition in the
Secret City Film Festival.
And maybe I'll finally get to see the movie, myself. I am afraid I won't be at
the Laemmle this weekend.
WORK SONG: As planned,
we only rehearsed Act II last night. For me, I'd say
I am coming closer to the audible quality I am targeting for Woollcott. A new
affectation I was giving "Alec," as his friends sometimes called him,
was a little hiccup of a giggle before some of his quips. Director
Larry Coressel adjusted me
away from that; his thought is that it deludes the sharp-witted aspect of
Woollcott. I do not agree, but it is a small matter and I pick my battles. In
other words, that little affectation is not important to my interpretation. So,
Mr. Coressel wins. He also said he detected some of Clov
in that little half giggle, and for the life of me I cannot see how in the world
he could get Clov from anything I am dong for Woollcott. Perhaps it's there, but
I don't think so.
Tonight has been rescheduled to Act III only, so I
have the night off. Though I am likely to be doing my own work at home on the
MAYBE TENNESSEE: My car goes in the shop this afternoon and I soon find out if
I can still make the trip to the
Secret City Film Festival
coming up October 9-12 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
By-the-way, have I mentioned that on October 2, I will
see comedian Jim Gaffigan in an appearance
at the Nutter Center, which is a
ninety-second drive from where I have my bill-paying job?
WORK SONG: Tonight
a full run of the show (all three acts). Then Monday we start the first of
three tech rehearsals on site at
The Westcott House.
I haven't made a whole lot of progress on memorization of any lines. I have
some opportunities this weekend. As I already indicated, I'm going to go after
select passages first -- Edwin's first small monologue at the top of the show,
and Alec's last little monologue at the bottom of Act II
are the two most select.
By the way, for those who may plan to attend the show, seating IS
limited. I am not sure what the demand for those limited seats is or will be,
but it may be smart to get tickets ahead of time, not at the door. They can be
ordered now at 937-327-9291.
MAYBE SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE: Meanwhile I'm trying to work out how to make it
to three theatre productions this weekend.
There's Rocky Horror Show at
Beavercreek Community Theatre. My best bet
for that one is the midnight show tonight. But then I have a
DTG board meeting 9:00 tomorrow
morning, and am actually supposed to be there at 8:00 to help move some items
from the Salem Avenue building to the Wayne Avenue building.
I could see it Saturday night, except that I'd like to catch Music Man at
the Dayton Playhouse.
Though I'm not sure my wallet can handle the draw of both the tickets and the
gas for all three. And I have to really attend to the fact that 9 a.m. is already
even earlier in the morning on a Saturday morning than it is during the week.
Being out until 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. just beforehand will make it earlier still.
Nope: I ain't 21 no more.
PROBABLY TENNESSEE: Since I only spent $84 on my car, the trip to the
Secret City Film Festival
in Tennessee next month is looking a bit more practical.
I took this photo just before the Sep. 22 rehearsal and added it to this
entry on Thursday, September 25 -- the date of the first performance.
It's all at The Westcott House
from this point forward: all our final three rehearsals (the tech
rehearsals) and, obviously, the performances this Thursday, Friday and
Tonight will be my first time there. The cast had a private tour in August
but I had to miss because of the Dayton Theatre Guild open house and season
preview we did at the new building.
As for getting off-book for various passages: I have some memorized and I
carry a handful of flashcards with those earmarked passages around with me to
pull out and drill on when I have a moment.
Again, for those who may plan to attend the show, seating IS
limited. I am still not sure what the demand for those limited seats is or
will be, but still believe it may be smart to get tickets ahead of time, not
at the door. They can be ordered now at 937-327-9291.
Shot a bit more DV footage at the Wayne Avenue building. Got
some exterior shots around the building and the streets. Also
walked down to
The Oregon District
proper (I.E.: Fifth Street) and shot street footage of our neighbors.
These were mid-day shots. I plan on getting some weekend night footage
of the Fifth Street Oregon Strip, too. Maybe this coming Saturday night
after I host Outward Bound at the Salem building.
Snapped photographs of all this, too.
This past weekend, as house manager I had to go in and get the House
(on Salem) ready for this coming Friday's opening night for Outward
Bound. Don't really like getting it prepped several days in advance;
there will be little messes that accumulate between yesterday and Friday.
But I cannot get in anytime this week due to Work Song.
I have to read Catfish Moon a little sooner since Director
Saul Caplan is having the auditions in mid-October instead of during
Thanksgiving week. I am mostly thinking I am interested in auditioning,
but I won't know 100% until I have read it; also, I have no idea if I will
be perceived as a right type by Mr. Caplan.
Somehow Carol Finley was left out of the official recognition at
The 2008 State OCTAFest
for her costume design for Boston Marriage; she was not mentioned
at the State Competition as a winner; however, it has been discovered that
she is, indeed, listed at the web site as garnering an "Outstanding"
award for her work. So, a belated Congrats to Carol.
I discovered, in a conversation with someone over the weekend, that there
is some sort of nice little blurb in the latest Asides, the periodic
newsletter mailing from the Guild, concerning me. It is along the lines of kudos
for my volunteer work for the Guild. I had not looked closely at my own copy so I
missed this kindness. And I can't find my copy now, so I don't know exactly
how I have been flattered, or at least what specific words were written.
But I do appreciate being appreciated.
IN THE SEATS: I only saw two of the three shows I wanted to see over the weekend.
Brookville Community Theatre's
And Then There Were None had to be sacrificed -- mostly because it was the
least convenient to travel to.
Rocky Horror Show at
Beavercreek Community Theatre --
Great fun. The cast was clearly having a blast. I was sort of jealous;
their enthusiasm made we wish I was a part of the company. My past
cast-mate Mark Diffenderfer was in the role of Riff-Raff and just kicked
serious ass! Chris Harmon did a great Frank 'N' Furter, too. Deirdre
Root, with whom I have various theatre connections including that
she is a new DTG board member, stage managed the show.
Music Man at the
Dayton Playhouse -- I am
always in awe of actors who can do both sing and dance (dance with some
coordination, that is) at the same time. Besides the incomparable Reneé
Franck-Reed, there were other lovely voices and there was some nice
choreography that would have taxed my clumsiness to the limit.
WORK SONG: The first of
three performances is tonight. The rehearsals in the house this week have gone
well enough though last night's final dress was low on energy and many of us made
silly errors. It is difficult to justify a line error when you have the script
in front of you. But a lot of line farts still happened.
I had two, neither of great consequence in the end, I suppose. Early in the play I
said, "You have ruined my life," rather than "You have ended my life."
Later I said, "But there's a lot on this house," which was supposed to be
"a HOUSE on this LOT." Others made similar sorts of mistakes.
It was an off night for us. There seemed to be some pacing and timing issues, and
as I said, the energy was on the wane from what it has been. This, I have
noticed, is not an uncommon occurrence for the final dress of a production. The
consensus we actors came to was that we need an audience, that we are ready for that
We are performing in what I would say is the parlor of the Westcott House, note
the photograph here, though it is a little dark. Our stools and portable
lecterns are set with the row of parlor windows behind us.
The seats are truly most limited. There will be a capacity of about 15-20 audience
members. So we are back to that caveat, even at this close proximity to the
Seating IS limited. It may be
smart to get tickets ahead of time, not at the door. They can be ordered
now at 937-327-9291.
GOIN' TO THE VOLUNTEER STATE: I've reserved a car, a hotel room and made
arrangements for my cast discount for the weekend pass for the
Secret City Film Festival
next month in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. My estimated budget for the affair is
running about $715 right now -- but that may be a tad high. I am rating gas
at $4.00 a gallon and rounding the miles up to 700 round-trip. I also estimated
fuel efficiency at 32 MPG, which would be about right for my car, maybe my car
would do a little better with mostly highway miles. However I'm renting a car that
may get better gas mileage. I could just use my car, but I'm thinking it better to
drive a rental; that rental has a quote of $135 (that does not include any
insurance I tag on -- if I choose not to utilize my personal driver's
insurance). I also have included a hundred bucks miscellaneous money, which is, I
hope, a high estimate; and I have averaged my meals out to $10 a pop: that also
may be high (Budget Boy will eat a lot of fast food).
The game plan, as it currently stands, is to leave home Wednesday afternoon, October
8, a day early, then drive back Sunday, Oct 12. That might include a stay in a cheap
motel on the way home. That five-and-a-half hour drive might be taxing for me after
the weekend at the film festival. I'd pull that motel stay out of the "extra"
The Still Me
final cut is now on DVD for cast and crew and there will be two, possibly simultaneous
release parties, one in L.A. and one in Ohio, where we all get our copies. I have
actually not seen the movie yet, whatsoever. The Tennessee film festival will likely
be my first time to view it. There is both a tickling anticipation and a mild
churning dread fighting it out inside my body cavity toward seeing it. Seeing myself on
screen is never exactly the experience I expect it to be and I am rarely terribly
satisfied with what I witness.
WORK SONG -- LAST NIGHT'S
OPENING: It was a pretty good performance. My work seemed okay but as is often the
case I did not get many of the laughs that I think were there for my characters to
get -- and I believe that goes back to my inadequate if not even barely present
There actually were a few more seats set out than I had anticipated, about 40,
though our audience was about 15, and we lost some at the second intermission,
after Act II. I think that had more to do with the time
than dissatisfaction with the performance. I hope.
The audience did seem to respond well. There was no fidgeting, which can happen in
a staged reading. During the more dramatic moments they were clearly drawn in. So
I'd call it a good opening night.
NOW TO PUT ON MY DTG HOUSE MANAGER
HAT: And not because I am folically challenged
in the cranium region.
The new season is upon us and I am always looking for a good host volunteer to host
a show or two at the Guild. I might be able to be accused of the occasional spam
blast but I try to not be too big a pest. Further, regardless of how low the
result-percentage from a mention here usually is -- to date I don't believe a
result has presented itself as existing -- I will still put something out to the
small handful of you locals who drop in here to read my latest nonsense.
We love welcoming new people to help us make our performances great theatre experiences
for our audiences -- hosting a performance plays a big role in this.
A host needs to arrive 90 minutes before curtain (30 before doors open) in order to
attend to the lobby (vacuum, etc) before the doors open. There are step by step
instructions for those who are new to this, and you will be with an experienced host.
Currently performances are still at our theatre building on Salem Avenue, not the new
facility on Wayne Avenue. We look forward to the forthcoming day when we are hosting
shows in the new building, but for now we are still at 2330 Salem Avenue, close to Good
Samaritan Hospital. (937-278-5993).
If you would like to host a show, or know more about it, drop me an email:
To see what slots are open, you can go to the Dayton Theatre Guild Yahoo User Group --
-- and sign up. It's free and can keep you in the loop about DTG stuff. As member you
can see the schedule of hosts for each production in
<files/2008-09 Season hosts/>.
Each production has its own pdf file that shows the taken and available slots. I do my
best to keep them current. You can also
email me about availability.
Note that if you have never hosted before you are eligible for any
"first timer" slot, and we will pair you with an experienced host,
so you can better learn the ropes. Then, we hope to call upon you again during
the season, if you are available.
C'mon, give it a try.....
DTG AUDITION FOR THE COVER OF LIFE: The auditions for the next Guild production
are coming up this next Monday and Tuesday (Sep 29 & 30). The details are as follows
THE COVER OF LIFE by R.T. Robinson
Directed by Fran Pesch
Open auditions will be held
Monday & Tuesday
September 29 & 30, 2008
at the Guild
2330 Salem Ave., Dayton, OH, 45406
Show runs: November 21 - December 7.
Tood (20s) – genuine; a bit of a dreamer
Sybil (20s) – flashy; sophisticated
Weetsie (20s) – very religious; country girl
Aunt Ola (40–50s) – mother-in-law of the three women;
Kate (40’s) – correspondent for Life magazine; woman
in a man's world
Addie Mae (40–50s) – local newspaper reporter
Tommy (20s) – Tood's husband; youngest brother of the
All actors, with the exception of Kate, speak with a North
Central Louisiana dialect.
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.
If this is your first time auditioning for the director,
you are also asked to prepare a brief contempory dramatic
WORK SONG -- SECOND NIGHT:
We had a virtual full house of about forty-three people for the Friday show and
they responded well to the performance.
I'd say we were more on top of it last night even than we were Thursday. There were
a few little errors we cast members were aware of but that the audience would not
be able to detect. All in all, we had a good vibe and energy going.
Though I still did not get the laughs that I think both Edwin and Alec should be
eliciting, I still felt like I was doing both characters justice, overall. Yes, I
got a few complements from audience members, but it still bugs me greatly, as it
always does, that I can't seem to get to that knack to play characters in a
manner where the audience will get intended humor.
The closest I've come was Col. Cathcart and Maj. Major in Catch 22, but even
they didn't get the laughs they should have on a consistent basis. And Whitcomb
just did not come off as funny as he should have. It's not that I aspire to be a
great comedic actor, but if the character is supposed to be really funny, or have
funny moments, then I want to get to that because I am supposed to get to that.
Well, tangent over; regardless of my angst about this issue, we had a good
performance last night and at least I wasn't lousy. At least Edwin and Alec actually
did fully appear in a meaningful manner, if less amusing than intended.
From before the show last night, this is the parlor at the Westcott
house with the forty-some chairs set up. Note that they flow into
the next room, the front room.
Opposite view -- from the front room -- of the parlor.
We are off tonight because there is another function at The Westcott House. The cast
party happens tonight at
Mr. Coressel's. I will be
late as I am the host for tonight's performance of Outward Bound at
Springfield StageWorks presents a staged reading of an imaginative
new play about the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Making its area premiere at Wright's
The Westcott House
(1340 E. High St., Springfield, Ohio), Work Song - Three Views of
Frank Lloyd Wright is an in-depth look at the master builder at
three distinct phases of his life and career: in Act One, as a young
man in a hurry to change the way people live and finding inspiration
in Mamah Cheney, a unconventional married woman who becomes the
great love of his life and leads to his greatest tragedy; in Act
Two, as a doubting genius at the crossroads, fending off creditors
and reeling in clients before he salvages himself by coming up with
one of his greatest creations, the house called
"Fallingwater"; and in Act Three, as an old showman at
twilight, visiting a house from his past and taking stock of his
sacrifices and successes in his quest to build the perfect dwelling.
WORK SONG is about Wright's ideas, his passions, his love
affairs and his tragedies. It's a play about a man who wanted to
create the perfect home for the American family but could never
build one for himself.
Tickets: $10.00 at the door, or by calling 937-327-9291.
WORK SONG: I'll be back
to write the wrap-up tomorrow. I will say now that we had an overflowing full house
yesterday and the most responsive audience of this small run.
TWENTY-SIX YEARS OLD IN A POIGNANTLY MEANINGFUL MANNER
On this date in 1982, when I was twenty-four years old, something
happened to me in the early hours of the morning, or perhaps I should
describe it as that I happened to something.
I have still today only but the most vague, foggy memory of this
happenstance, and that only for some small segments of the event. I was
grossly blottoed, wasted, drunk off my ass, highly intoxicated,
whatever term you like.
For a brief period during that chapter, especially the next day, this
drama seemed like the worst thing that had ever happened to me.
It really wasn't, even at the time, the worst thing that had ever
happened to me. But, in the truth of the matter, it was a pretty damned
bad thing. It certainly was one of the worst things that had
ever happened to me.
And in that badness, in the ugliness of the episode, in its legitimacy
to be on that particular list of my life's lower moments, came its
elevation to perhaps the one of best things -- if not The Best --
that has ever happened to me.
I experienced, though I was only barely aware at first, and had nothing
close to a true comprehension or understanding, a very real sort of
rebirth on September 29, 1982.
The path was altered for me only because I was forced to recognize that
it had to be or I might someday soon have been dead.
It is the path that eventually led me to another cross road that
allowed to me get back on the path I was on earlier in my life. The road
to where I am today.
So today, September 29, 2008, I am, in spirtual reality, celebrating
my twenty-sixth birthday.
I have real regrets that I am not much farther down my path as an artist
than I am. I will never deny that I am so far behind in experience
and in my cannon of work than I could be. I feel a true grief for not
having sat at the place at the table that was set for me long ago.
On the other hand, I am so very pleased and grateful that there was
still room for me at the table when I finally sat my ass down in the
chair that had bore my name for so very long.
Peter Wallace, Erica Copen & Ben Turner in Act
III on Sunday, September 28.
click on the picture for a larger version
The packed house during Act III on
Sunday, September 28.
click on the picture for a larger version
Another view of that packed house.
click on the picture for a larger version
WORK SONG WRAP UP: Our
little three-performance run went pretty damned well. The overall best show was on
Sunday. I think that was because we had more than a full house, which helped generate
a more communal response and attentiveness from a collection of people I suspect were
already prone to more of both of those attributes to begin with.
There was a planned forty-five-seat set up as illustrated in the pics from the
September 27 entry above. Sunday we had fifty reservations. The Westcott House staff
scrambled to get extra chairs and I believe they set up more than fifty. Unless I am
mistaken, there were some walk-jn business and I think a few people were turned away.
We did have several blemishes on that last performance, as we did for the others --
unavoidable in a live performance, you know. A few lines were said wrong and a few
pick-ups were slow to come after their cues.
One technical problem we all were stricken by was our little score lights going out on
us. I lost mine half-way through Act I and was therefore
tardy myself with some cue pick-ups for about a half a page; I'd lost my place and
since I was only selectively off-book, was not completely sure of all my exact cues
or lines in that section.
All of us had at least one big slip up, some that I think were obvious to the
audience, others that probably were not. Mine was that first lagged cue response in
that spot where I'd lost my place because my little light went out on my stand. My
line there, "There he is," meant to interrupt Mamah (Liz Dillard), lacked
pointed deliverance and conviction. It stumbled across my lips rather badly. and
barely interrupted Mamah.
That's a rather nit-picky complaint I will admit. Further I'm happy to report the
Sunday crowd gave both Woollcott and Edwin the laughs I have felt they both should
get. I don't know if that was fluke -- like when I happen to bowl a 250 game by
some queer accident, or if it was that I finally understood the right timing and
delivery, or if it was the generosity of this receptive audience.
The dramatic moments went over especially well on Sunday; they had sold well on
Thursday and Friday, but Sunday the audience was drawn in and captivated more so. As
Edwin, I got to contribute not insignificantly to the most tragically dramatic
moment of the play, which ends the first act. Edwin is emotionally devastated and I
have always been able to get at least most of the way there and effect the rest of
the distance in my performance by invoking technical affectation. Perhaps because
of the receptive energy from the Sunday group, I was especially there emotionally
and was able to tear my eyes up and have a truly emotionally-motivated quiver in
my voice in a fuller way then I had before.
My closing monologue-ette as Woollcott was received and attended to well as it came
off of an exceptionally well-executed monologue by Peter Wallace as Frank -- his
conception and design of Fallingwater.
The audience had been held by his monologue the other two shows but they were
especially riveted Sunday.
It was the same with Dayton Shafer's Carlton monologue about Carlton's
arson and murderous rampage
at Taliesin in 1914. That's the
monologue that leads up to my moment as Edwin Cheney, at the end of the first act,
where he is devastated. Cheney's ex-wife and his children were among the seven
victims slaughtered by Carlton. Dayton had always held the audience with his
recounting of his homicidal venture. Sunday it was more intense than it had been.
All of us in the scene were more intense, Dayton, Peter as Frank, Ben Turner as
Frank's son John, and myself. The audience was clearly more affected Sunday than
either of the other shows, where the audiences most certainly had also been
Not to suggest that Thursday and Friday weren't good performances, too. We had a
good run with this. The idea is a good one, to perform this play in a Frank Lloyd
Wright home. The staged reading works nicely in this setting and our ensemble had a
good time with it. We certainly got some good feedback from some of the audience
Though one person did express the thought that the second act, as written, is the
weakest, and I only partially agree with that. It is true that it is weaker. The
middle act should be. Or more to the point, the beginning and the end need to be
stronger than the middle. So in that sense I agree that the second act is the
However, the true meaning of this person's comment is that the act is weak and
needs a bit of work. I suppose any play needs some work, but though I believe this
person has a right to that opinion, it is, however, not one I agree with.
Act II is a logical progression from the first act and
good change in mood, tenor and pacing from the first act. It takes us to a point
where Frank is in a long slump and is basically living the life of a grifter, if a
non-nomadic one. It is robust, tinged with humor and there is nothing there that
does not need to be nor is it incomplete.
The act takes us to Taliesin in the 1930's when Wright has a communal artist
colony, The Taliesin Fellowship, for young architects. This "school" is
really hardly more than a scam to financially support Wright who is having problems
getting commissioned work because of his reputation as immoral and socially controversial.
Woollcott and the novelist Ayn Rand
to give us a sense of the social circles Wright associated with and it shows us the most
important relationship of his life, with his wife of thirty-one years
Olgivanna Lloyd Wright.
The act does a superb job of defining her incomparable influence on his life and
shows that Mamah Cheney may have been "the love if his life" but the
woman who best suited him and loved him the most was Olga, who clearly had a much
deeper and wiser understanding of Frank than Mamah.
The act also illustrates the political quandaries Wright found himself in with the
FBI keeping him under surveillance as a suspected communist and lascivious character,
with the agency even employing the use of a mole. And it ends by showing Wright's
rally back into his game as the Great Architect with dramatic. last minute creation
of one his most celebrated architectural feats,
The idea that Act II "needs a little work,"
outside of the maxim that any play could be improved, is not an idea I subscribe to.
To my mind the act serves the very strong purpose of filling out the landscape of
the story by giving us a view of a very important part and aspect of Wright's life
But maybe that's just me. And I will admit I enjoyed portraying Woollcott greatly,
and he is an Act-II-only character. I adamantly assert
that this does not sway me toward my defense of the act against what I consider a
wayward criticism of it.
Declaratively I can say Work Song - Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright at
The Westcott House was a successful
venture. It is one, too, you may remember, I turned down participation in when first
offered the roles I ended up in. Now, don't think that I'm eating crow. I turned down
roles I had indicated I was not auditioning for. Then I rolled the dice on another
audition and lost, understanding all the while that I might lose.
Deciding to accept the roles clearly turned out to be a good move. It was a good
happenstance that the roles had not been filled after I was not cast in Outward
Bound. As I wrote in August, I would have never had the gall to go back
to Larry Coressel and say,
"Gee, guy, I didn't get that gig I ditched your offer for, so now I'll take your
But when Larry contacted me about giving him more referrals because he had not cast
them yet, I offered to step back in, providing that there was enough free time from
rehearsals. It was stroke of luck that I could get back in and play these roles,
especially Woollcott. Had I not been interested in other projects, I might add, I would
have accepted Edwin and Alec first time around.
If I could have been cast in Outward Bound I would have had no regrets. Being
able to step into Work Song, even if not as Frank, certainly made the rejection
from Outward Bound easier to deal with. And it's not like it was a rebound affair.
The characters of Edwin Cheney, and more so, Alexander Woollcott, in this show, are
credits I am proud to have on my résumé.
TINA GLOSS BACK ON PUSHING DAISIES:
Tina's next new appearance on Pushing Daisies will be in episode six of this
new season, "Oh Oh Oh. It's Magic," which is scheduled to air November 5.
She'll also appear in tomorrow's season opener by way of the season-one recap at the
start of the show.