PRODUCING THE CASHIER
-- A POSSIBLE APRIL FOOL'S JOKE?:
Last night we once again filled the role of Larry, this time casting the actor named
Mark Jeffers. I had contacted another actor who did say he'd do it, but I wasn't
able to check my voice mail until after Mark, whom Director
Sarah Gomes had already
cast by that time in the evening. I did leave my own voice mail for my guy to tell
him, Hey, who knows, by the end of the week we may need to take you up on your
generous offer to rescue us.
The show is coming along. The set is almost complete. When I left the theatre
yesterday, our set designer, Blake Senseman, was putting the finishing touches on the
floor that will be the linoleum floor of the mail room office of the Bakersfield,
California IRS -- i.e.: the thrust stage area. See the second picture on the right
for a glimpse at the floor with the gray base.
Natasha Randall took on the chore of procuring the live mouse for the show, only
because she was feeling a little icky about having to handle it and she wanted to
have some time with the animal to get use to it. Turns out it pretty much stole
her heart from the gitgo.
I've dropped in only a little on rehearsals and most of the time I've been busy
while there, but rehearsals seem to be going well, too. I had the occasion to be
with a couple of the cast members this weekend and they feel it is coming along.
Saturday, Tim Guth of TimBeck Two Productions put in a replacement circuit board
that he is renting us and yesterday our light designer, Alex Croker-Lakness,
verified that we have enough dimmers working to properly light the show.
It seems fairly certain that Finger Puppet Mouse has lost the gig as Dead Mouse in
our show. I have not seen either yet, but Blake told me Sunday that Prop Designer
Wendi Michael has brought in two cat toys that both look good, the gray one a
little more so. It is playing the role of a dead domestic mouse, and I've not heard
of gray pet mice, but I am also more than a little uninformed about such things.
She's taken them home to do some cosmetic work, as I would have done with the
finger puppet. I'm thinking hers will win the audition.
Saturday morning I played two witnesses again for
Judge Mary Huffman's
current Criminal Trial class -- same one I have done several other mock trial
appearances for lately. It was another interesting scenario, the murder trial of
two men accused of the cold-blooded killing of a police officer. I was, first,
the detective who arrested the suspects; then I played one of the two suspects.
This time, as last time, I brought a second dress jacket and tie so I would have
a different "costume" for each. It helped me a little bit, if it did
anything for the students or the jury -- the jury is friends and family of the
The trial cases are more or less law school versions of the
Kobayashi Maru in that
neither the State nor the defense tams are given anything like good evidence to
work with. It's not a slam dunk for either side. The prosecutor had finger prints
without enough ridge detail to match to any known samples and a box of bullets that
were the same model as the bullet Forensics identified as the bullet that killed
the officer. But that bullet was too deformed to match to the exact box of bullets
that were found. There are two witnesses, one who can be suspect as he is the third
perpetrator, a known criminal, who has turned states evidence. There is also an
incriminating statement one of the accused made in custody that is admissible but
still subject to some debate as to what he meant when he uttered it. Plus they have
a defamatory sign that speaks of hate for the police.
The defense has to impeach the eye witness account of a high school math teacher
who was within just several feet of the accused at one point during the
commission of the crime; and they have to impeach the third perpetrator, whose
testimony still does not run in conflict with any other accounts except the
defendants' unsubstantiated alibis. And there is that alibi that can only be
corroborate for either by the other. They do have a witness that can lay some doubt
on the veracity of the partner who turned states witness, but the this person for
the defense is pretty shady.
The point of the exercise is not to see who wins the trial but how these students
conduct themselves and plan based on the hands they are dealt. And neither are
dealt a good hand whatsoever. This is always the case with these trials games.
As for me, I had fun, I got all my facts right and I was happy with my work. I must
admit I took a little slip of paper up with all the different names related to the
case, because there were a few and I did not want to draw a blank.
A nice flatter: one of the students saw that I was there and said, "Oh. good,
you're my favorite witness." See -- someone likes my work.
There's a city-wide literature event called The Biug Read, which feautures this
year the novel Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult. The Paul Laurence Dunbar
Library on campus at Wright State University is having a discussion event this
Wednesday and has asked a few folk to do staged readings from the book. Both I and
Gino Pasi have been recruited. So, I guess you can say I have a mini-gig at lunch
this Wednesday at work.
I did get to see Doubt at
The Loft last week and all I have to
say is that it is indeed a most ecellent script. I haven't seen the movie yet -- I
will, of course -- but the play leaves me siding with the priest.
Write Up: Welcome all intermediate adult acting students!
will be in rehearsal for
Wait Until Dark
but encourages continuing students to grab this opportunity to work with
The Race's Artistic Director. Basic acting techniques, vocal exercises and
character building will be explored based on the individual strengths of each
acting student. Commitment to attending each class is essential since this work
will be accomplished with partners in class.
Being on the board and having participated on the vote for this, I have know for
several weeks what this list is, but I have held off posting. It's now at the DTG
site, so I now feel free.....
Dayton Theatre Guild
Showing Aug 28 - Sep 13, 2009
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Set in lavish, aristocratic France at the turn of the 18th Century,
this game of seduction and corruption at the hands of the outrageously
wicked Marquise de Merteuil is bound to thrill and entertain. With evil,
intrigue and comedy in equal measures, this is a classic drama that
explores decadent sexuality, morals, and manipulation with tragic
Showing Oct 9-25, 2009
The Sunshine Boys
"Lewis and Clark" (Al and Willie) were top-billed
vaudevillians for over forth years. Now they aren't even speaking. When
CBS requests them for a "History of Comedy" retrospective, a
grudging reunion brings the two back together, along with a flood of
memories, miseries, and laughs.
Showing Nov 27 - Dec 13, 2009
The Hallelujah Girls
A very special holiday bonus from the authors of Dearly Beloved
and Christmas Belles! Hilarity abounds when the "real
housewives" of Eden Falls, Georgia decide to shake up their lives.
This rollicking Southern comedy takes place in Spa-Dee-Dah, the
abandoned church-turned day spa where Sugar Lee, Carlene, Nita, Mavis
and Crystal gather every Friday afternoon. After the loss of a dear
friend, the women realize time is precious and if they're going to
change their lives and achieve their dreams they have to get on it now!
And do they ever!
Showing Jan 15-31, 2010
In Dublin, a man claiming to have seen the ghost of his recently
deceased wife seeks help from a therapist. What begins as an unusual
encounter becomes a struggle between the living and the dead in a game
that will define both men for the rest of their lives.
Showing Feb 26 - Mar 14, 2010
Kimberly is a teenager with a rare condition that causes her body to age
four times faster than it should. When she and her family flee Secaucus,
New York under dubious circumstances, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate
her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober
father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality, and, most terrifying of
all, the possibility of first love. In this dark comedy, winning the
game has never been more complex, the stakes so high.
Showing Apr 9-25, 2010
In Independence, Iowa, an unstable mother dominates her three daughters
Jo, Sherry, and Kess. Kess' lifestyle choice has driven a wedge within
the family. Combinations of guilt, timidity, anger, and need overlap to s
uggest that underneath dysfunction, there is still love. The games
these people play will perhaps persuade you to reevaluate family
relations in general.
Showing May 21 - Jun 6, 2010
A Case of Libel
A celebrated war correspondent engages a top drawer attorney and files
a libel suit against a widely syndicated newspaper columnist. His aim?
To stop wild attacks on both his patriotism and his personal life. Let
the games begin.
Finger Puppet Mouse is on to the next audition; Gray Cat-Toy Mouse is cast as Dead
Mouse -- White Cat-Toy Mouse is the understudy. One thing the little dead guy does
still need is some legs, which I think I shall work on, perhaps this weekend.
With the exception of quite a bit of set dressing garnishes, the set is done. I
mocked up some Employee of the Month pictures, three, to switch out during the
course of each performance; they all use the crappy ID photos.
Director Sarah's suggestion I
have used two actors/(characters) from the mailroom office -- the third, is a
surprise, especially to that person.
Prototypes of the ID badges were dropped off today at the Guild by Properties
Designer Wendi for proofing. My thought is that they look good -- i.e.: awful.
Appearing as Dead Mouse: Gray Cat-Toy Mouse. Next to him, his
understudy, White Cat-Toy Mouse
Almost a DOH! moment, but fortunately shy
of one. I realized this afternoon that yesterday morning was when we local actors
call the Human Race Theatre Company and set our appointments for later in the month
for the general auditions for the Race's upcoming season. So, I swiftly made my
call today, some 30+ hours later with the concern that I might not get a decent
spot. But I am early afternoon on Saturday, April 25, which works for me and is
actually the time period I want.
Now all I have to do is be sure I don't repeat the crash-and-burn debacle of last
May when I went so up on my second monologue that the auditors
and Kevin Moore)
gave me five minutes to regroup and try again. No, no -- don't wish for that to
The Cashier -- Ah, so we are one week from
Last night there was a virtual full run rehearsal; I was still busy during much
of the rehearsal -- often into the Excel budget sheet -- but I attended to as
much as I could and there is some very funny stuff on that stage. It was a
"virtual" full run because a couple actors were not able to
attend. Next week it'll be full casts for every rehearsal, of course.
We are tying up the loose ends in terms of production needs. Properties Designer
Wendi Michael is topping off that angle with some help from me, and we are both
coordinating with Set Designer Blake Senseman, who is governing the overall
look of things including the props. Last night, as a reference was made to it
on stage, I realized I had taken on the creation of a particular security sign
that has a ear that "looks like a sea shell." It was easy enough to
deal with and the prints are done and sitting on stage as I write this.
It's Friday evening whilst I type, Alex Crocker-Lakness and his helper, Lisa,
are hanging lights. I am mostly in the lobby doing some producer stuff like
being in that Excel spreadsheet and working with some of the graphics I made --
(as well as some blogging).
Actually, we are doing pretty well, budget-wise. We've only spent about 60% of
our allotment and there is very little left to buy.
Tomorrow morning we have a tech rehearsal just for crew. We'll work out all the
light and sound cues and some prop change-outs. After that, this show's
producer and the theatre's house manager will collaborate to get a lot of
material that serves no purpose out of the theatre area and the house in
The house manager probably ought to take inventory of house supplies while he's
JUST ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL
Fuddy Meers -- A little bit of stuff underway
for this one. Blake Senseman is signed on to collaborate as set designer with
They have already purchased one big-ticket set piece and we've arranged with
our treasurer -- Deirdre Root (Melba in The Cashier) -- to move the
remainder of a $400 advance for Cashier into the budget for Fuddy;
not add it, but just transfer it from one show's books to the other's. The
alternative was for him to give it back to her just to have her give it back to
him, which seems pretty dumb unless you work for a bureaucracy.
I believe I said a while ago that we have a local designer signed on to make
the prosthetic mangled ear for Limping Man,
one of the roles I have an eye on.
I have made an approch to playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to see if I can get a
good bio and a picture. I got a bio from Cashier playwright, Glen
Merzer, but no pic. Mr. Lindsay-Abaire has not gotten back with me as of
yet, but I am hopeful he will.
And remember, auditions are just a little more than a week away. *See below.
YES YES YES I KNOW I HAVE NOT POSTED THE RECOUNTING OF THE LAST
SEVERAL SHOOTS FOR THE IMPROV MOVIE BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT I WILL NOT
ABANDON THIS WRITING. I'll have distance to help with perspective despite that I
will surely forget some really cool and interesting details.
Write Up: Welcome all intermediate adult acting students!
will be in rehearsal for
Wait Until Dark
but encourages continuing students to grab this opportunity to work with
The Race's Artistic Director. Basic acting techniques, vocal exercises and
character building will be explored based on the individual strengths of each
acting student. Commitment to attending each class is essential since this work
will be accomplished with partners in class.
Tonight is the cue-to-cue* then the first tech run* and the first dress rehearsal*
for the cast and crew.
Saturday we went through the script with Alex Croker-Lakness
and he programed all the light cues into the light board, and refocused a couple
Meanwhile Bob Mills ran cords and hooked up some remaining practicals*: a telephone
and a desk radio.
Also, Set Designer Blake Senseman and Properties Designer Wendi Michael were there
for a while working to get the last percent or so of props finished off.
Yesterday I, myself, was with the family -- the Resurrection or the Bunny that lays
eggs, whichever -- but I know that Blake was at the theatre topping off the set. I
had planned to drop by, since I had to come into Dayton anyway. There is a bit of
clean up I could have done as producer of the show that would cross over into
house manager clean up.
But, you know, I woke up at 9:00 yesterday morning and I thought to myself:
You REALLY have no
place you have to be this morning. You have no ACTUAL engagement
today until mid-afternoon. Screw the Guild. Stay in bed. I stayed in bed and got up
a little after 11:00, then did nothing productive whatsoever and feel just fine
Doing both the cue-to-cue then the tech run means it'll be a long night. Here's
hoping the cast is cognizant of that and is ready to role at 7:00. I'll be there
early with Alex to get the light board back into the booth; we brought it down for
programing session on Saturday, which is the standard practice at DTG.
Final Dress* is, of course, this Thursday. If the
Human Race class is cancelled, I'll
be there. If not, I will have to miss The Dress.
*) Cue-to-Cue: a technical rehearsal to work fully through the sound and
light cues, skipping through the script from one tech cue to the next.
*) Tech Run (AKA: Technical Rehearsal -- abbrev. to tech.): a
rehearsal at which all of the technical elements are rehearsed and
integrated into the show. The "tech run" is usually the term for
the first such full rehearsal.
*) Dress Rehearsal: the actors are in costume.
*) Practical: any object which must do on stage, the same job that it
would do in real life, such as a lamp post or telephone.
*) Final Dress (AKA: Final Dress Rehearsal): also known simply as the
"dress," the final rehearsal before the performance. The actors
are in costume and all technical problems should have been sorted out.
I saw Act II of the Final Dress last night and it looked
good. There was a small preview audience that seemed to enjoy themselves. Myself, I'm
especially enthused about a few performances that I think stand out -- in my own
little opinion, for whatever it's worth. If you're close by, come see the show and
you may recognized those of which I speak (write).
THAT HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY CLASS:
As it happens, "Actor's Training III: Scenework, cont" is a go, with five
class members and we have had our first week, which is why I missed Act
I of The Cashier last night. We are, as you may
know, working with
who so far well has lived up to expectations.
In our first two classes we mostly have exercised with contentless scene text,
which is stark dialogue tags with no context that can be interpreted in multitudes
of manners. Usually it's two characters -- A & B, or 1 & 2. If you watched
Project Greenlight, it was
contentless scene scripts each of the finalist were given a copy of to create their
final short film to be chosen from -- with each director putting the same piece of
contentless dialogue into his or her contextual scenario.
Marsha used these with us mostly as exercises in listening to our scene mates to
discern his or her tome and emotion so we could properly respond with our lines.
Thursday we even went through scene work where after one partner said a line, the
other would verbalize her/his interpretation of the first partner's delivery --
whether it was happy, sad, angry, sarcastic, if he/she seems to be sending
subterfuge, whatever; then we would respond with our line and the partner would do
the same. It was most interesting and I'm sure every actor reading this who has
BFA in Acting has done this relentlessly. For me this a new and intriguing tool.
Tuesday we went home with a side from David Hare's The Vertical Hour to get
familiar with for a table read last night. Now we have other scenes to do more
complete work on. My scene mate and I will do part of a scene from Three Days of
Rain by Richard Greenberg; I am Ned. We did a clod read toward and the end of
class yesterday and, not being at all familiar with the play, I was confronted with
Ned's stuttering as I was into the text live.
Marsha's note: don't make the stuttering too pronounced; keep it subdued; it'll
play more successfully.
PLAY SCRIPTS PLAY SCRIPTS PLAY SCRIPTS:
I will be attending to several scripts over the course of the present future.
Three Days of Rain for class.
Fuddy Meers for audition on Monday.
My choice for the General Audition at The Race next Saturday. I've decided
to do two monologues by two different characters in the same scene from a play.
One a bit long, one short -- but I believe doing them in context with each other
will make for an interesting audition program. Yes, they are contrasting.
Great weekend for the show. We had two full houses and all the audiences enjoyed the
show. In the grand tradition of live theatre, during one performance, somehow the
actors on stage at a certain point in Act I did a little
portion of a similar scene from Act II. The kudos for
getting things back into place go to John Spitler (Mr. Thompson), who was able to
come in with the right lines from the right scene and create what one cast member
called, an "Oh, Thank God!" moment. The audience had no idea anything was
amiss, which is the way you want such clusterbusts to be.
Ya gotta love Live Theatre!
Tonight I will be at The Guild both as producer but then also as an auditioner. I'm
going after any of the three adult men. The most interesting of the three, to me and
many other male actors in town, is Millet -- the "odd man with a hand
puppet" -- but any of the three adult men will be a good role. I suspect I have
the most chance as the husband, Richard, but what do I know? Tomorrow I miss
auditions because of the Human Race
acting class. Thus, the auditioner only gets one night and the producer has to again
recuse himself from the deciding discussions with the director about casting.
Speaking of The Race, I'm rethinking the audition program I have come up with for
the 2009/2010 Generals because I am starting to worry that one of the monologues,
though great text, is not dynamic enough as an audition piece. If I cut that one,
the other one will not work because it only makes sense for audition as a companion
piece to the first. Whatever I do, I must absolutely assure myself I walk in front of
the auditors on Saturday with a solid program that is burned into my memory cells.
I'm not going to repeat last year's embarrassing debacle.
So I've re-written this entry several times to keep from coming off like a morose
goof with silly pitifulness emanating from the fiber of my being. What we have here
is what we usually have from me after an audition: my sense being that I blew it.
The assessment I arrive at is that I performed weakly, gave a lame audition. Like
most always, I don't feel good at all about this one. It has been proven that the
state of emotional response I walk away from an audition feeling has nothing to do
with anything except for the state of emotional response I walk away from an
Like usual, I am convinced that I am right that I tanked the audition last night.
Other actors who may read this probably have some similar reactions and will know,
just as others who for whatever reason follow this blog, that I am often quite wrong
about my success at an audition. I have been flabbergasted to be cast off of what I
felt was a horrible audition performance and conversely thrown a kilter by not being
cast when I was sure (and in a couple cases will go to my m0+=3&?#c%!&g grave,
sure) I gave the hands down best work and was the right guy for the
role. So, despite that I am convinced I will not get to be on the Salem Guild stage
one more time before we move, I have to admit, I gage this stuff badly. It's all
part of the ritual dance.
But really.....I'm absolutely sure I will not be cast.
Robert Martin, my scene mate and I met before the Fuddy Meers audition to
work on the portion of the scene we are doing from Three Days of Rain by
Richard Greenberg. It has challenging language and we both had to work at getting
ourselves closer to a good read. I myself know that between getting off work today
and class this evening, I will be working more on my character, Ned.
As I wrote in an earlier entry, Ned stutters and it is demanding to work that
stuttering into the rhythm of his dialogue, especially the tense moments when he
and Theo (Robert) are jousting in a heated argument. Then, there's that Ned gets so
upset he begins to hyperventilate and almost has a heart attack.
During our little rehearsal last night I acted that out, rather awkwardly, along with
experiencing a struggle as I searched to get that rhythm. None of it came together
in spades for me. Ned recovered a bit too much after the physical breakdown, too. I
know I'll get it all, but I ain't got it yet.
ACTOR IN FLUX:
The oscillation of my audition program for this coming Saturday's general for the
09/10 HRTC season is again focused on
my original idea. My current thought is that rather than abandon the plan because
the longer monologue may not be dynamic enough, I should work to infused more
vibrancy into it. It can be done and after the minor confidence beating I have taken
-- self-inflicted or not -- I should do something to at least act as if I am a good
There's a concept I believe in if I don't often do well practicing:
"Act as if to become so."
So, I transcribed the passages of both monologues for both characters from that
self-same scene into a Word document, at lunch today.
Spent a bit of time last night studying the Three Days of Rain scene. As we
discussed in class Tuesday, and as I have alluded to here, earlier, my challenge is
to get Ned's verbal cadence onto a rhythm that doesn't interrupt the overall rhythm
of the scene.
spent time with each team of actors -- we two men, Robert and I, in one team, and
the ladies in a team doing a scene as the sisters from Beth Henley's Crimes of
the Heart. She and I talked a little about the idiosyncrasies that are common to
stutterers such as Ned. She suggested that if necessary I could nix the stuttering
at first, since it's mechanical, and concentrate on the intent of Ned's words. So
far I have been working on both together. But we did not get to the heated argument,
and I may need to put the mechanics of the stuttering aside when Robert and I do our
first intense work on that section with Marsha. That should be tonight.
We don't have to be "off-book" tonight, which is good for me, but we are
expected to be familiar enough that our eyes can stay off the pages a good portion
of the time. I suppose I am more-or-less there and should be there for certain by
class this evening.
GENERAL ON SATURDAY:
I am only leaving myself tomorrow night and Saturday morning to get my monologue
program down for the HRTC 2009/2010
season general audition later Saturday afternoon. At least this time I am
familiar with the text.
John Spitler (left), Craig Roberts (bottom), Heather Gorby (top) and
Natasha Randall (right)
THE CASHIER, SECOND WEEKEND:
Friday I stayed home to work on my program for the Human Race audition the next
afternoon; I was told the audience was a bit "low key." Saturday and
Sunday we had good crowds though, and virtually full houses.
We have a skewed younger, and large, and a partying cast. Friday night they went
bowling at somewhere around midnight -- why not? We had a cast party Saturday
that I attended despite that I had a scene with difficult language to have down
by my acting class Tuesday (tonight). Then we went to a club -- a youngin's
energetic, load, chaotic, sweaty club. Not mu cup 'o tea, but it was fun to hang
with the cast.
Sunday it was Thai 9, a Thai restaurant in
Dayton's Oregon District, as it was
the Sunday before. Again, I should have been working on the scene for class, but
am so pulled toward socializing with the cast & crew. I felt like I was back in
ninth grade and was blowing off my homework.
Showed some scenes from the improv movie -- remember that? -- at the cast
party Saturday; it was footage with Tosha, Craig and Duante, since they are all in
this show. Just showed the raw footage off my lap top -- I have edited none of it
NO FUDDY MEERS FOR ME:
has picked his cast and I am not in it -- so even
great minds can err. Of course, as producer I actually will be involved,
but my hope to appear on the Guild Salem Ave. stage in this last season there -- and
more poignantly in the last show there -- is dead. And no reason to deny it, I am
more than a little sad about that.
The cast, by the way, is as follows (in order of appearance):
We had our production meeting Sunday and though we don't have our full complement
of production staff yet, we have already gotten much ironed out. This show is going
to need at least four, and possibly six run crew. So, if you are interested:
This was a much, much better experience than was last year's. I felt very good about
My program was, as I have said, two monologues from the same scene in a play --
actually the same page of the play. I did a moment from the end of Act
II of jeffery Hatcher and Eric Simonson's Work Song:
Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright. There is this moment when Wright, who has
been in a terribly long dry spell as an architect and has produced nothing toward
his commissioned work for Edgar J. Kaufmann. He has just been informed that Kaufmann
is on his way and will be at Wright's Taliesin II estate
in a manner of hours. Wright rallies, and in the period of those short hours he
manifests the architectural plans for
"Fallingwater," which is
considered one of his greatest works, and one of the greatest of the Twentieth
Century. The monologue is Wright describing the design as he is composing it in his
head and drawing it on the drafting table. Hatcher and Simonson capture Wright's
strong sense of self and his arrogant confidence, so the piece is not bland at all.
There is a lovely poetry to the dialogue and plenty of opportunity for the actor to
emote a valuable character performance.
I followed that with
response to what he has just witnessed. It's short, but Woollcott is such a colorful
character who is fun to do and watch and the text is so rich and funny that I
believe it worked.
And, well, I am pleased to report that yesterday I got an email from The Race company
manager, Tara Lyle, informing me that I am slated for a callback for the March 2010
production of Rounding Third by Richard Dresser. So, I guess I felt good for
a valid reason about my audition and I guess it worked as well as I hoped it would.
Great class Thursday night. Both teams did our scenes, in various measurements of
almost off-book; one young lady from the other team was pretty close to all the way
off-book. I: was not so far along. We're expected to be truly off-book
tonight. After the general audition Saturday afternoon I was theoretically clear for
the most part to work ion that "off-book" status. I did have to be at the
Guild for Cashier performances Saturday & Sunday, and there was a cast
party Saturday evening -- that I HAD to go to, of course (it was vital!!).
Sunday, I couldn't really give it the time I had hoped but I had a pretty strong
familiarity with it already. When I worked on it last night I had much less to
assimilate than I had feared I would.
Back to Thursday night, we all did well. Robert and I had a good read, though we
have many spots we have to work on. I still have to pick the pace up a bit on some
the stuttering, really the stutter-pauses more so.
not was that I need to shorten the pauses in the early section. Plus, I have a long
period at the start when robert has a pretty neurotic monologue. I need to react to
him which is working just fine. But there are a few places where I need to taking
specific actions in order for his reactionary dialogue to make sense, be meaningful.
We hope to get together tonight before class to rehearse a bit.
The final session is tonight and I hope I and my scene mate give a decent performance
on our scene. Actually, I think we will. There were some rough spots in terms of
the off-book factor at Tuesday's class, but other than that it went well.
One point that raised its hand as it has in the past is that there are times I do
not go big enough. In my mind, I was giving some reactions, especially during
Robert's opening monologue that it turns out were clearly too subtle since
gave me notes to do pretty much what I thought I was doing. My guess is I
was doing it, only for the camera, which is not in this equation.
As for my own "off-book factor," I put myself at 99.5% there. And I have
a few hours before class to bone up.
MISCELLANEOUS THEATRE SHhHh-sSsSTUFF:
I procured what I think is a good seat for the May 16
matinee of Wait Until Dark at the
Victoria Theatre. The seat is in the
orchestra seats, section A, seat 105. If I read the seating chart at the web
site correctly, that's front row center section.
I'm checking out the
production of Hamlet tomorrow night. The feedback I have seen and heard
has been good and I know a few cast members. This is directed by
There are still other plays I wish to see...........
I ordered a copy of Christopher Bond's Sweeney Todd (not the
musical but the straight drama) in anticipation of the auditions for the
production I am given to understand a company in the region will be doing next
I ordered a copy of Richard Dresser's Rounding Third through the
OhioLINK library on-line system, in
anticipation of the slated callback for The
Human Race Theatre Company
production that is up in ten and a half months (March 11-28).
I have all of our (DTG's)
2009/2010 season of plays to read. Though a few I am not dense enough to think
there's a role for me. In Les Liaisons Dangereuses, I have no clue if
there's a role. I really need to concetrate on house management, anyway: it's the
first show at the new building and the hosting and house management in the new
space is pretty much an unknown quantity at the moment. Perhaps I could be the
nephew in The Sunshine Boys, except that I think he's supposed to be in
his late twenties or early thirties. I have no clue about The Hallelujah
Girls, or even if I would have an interest. The synopsis of Shining
City certainly has my attention. Not sure of the age range of the second
male in Kimberly Akimbo; I know one of the two is a teenage boy. As
for Independence, that may be an all-female cast. I'm producing the
season closer, A Case of Libel, and I am told there are a couple roles
for me so I'm auditioning -- 'cause my track
record for getting cast in Guild shows I produce is so overwhelmingly
The Cashier -- One more weekend, at least two more
planned cast parties (though I'm sure the kids'll be out Friday night), and I
do hope a well-oiled, thoroughly planned, heavily populated set strike after the
show closes Sunday.
Fuddy Meers -- Table read tonight; blocking begins
* BLOCKING: The process of determining and directing the
movement made by the actors on the stage set.
Great closing session last Thursday to a most satisfying six classes. Robert Martin
and I gave what I think was a good performance on our scene.The ladies did, as well,
but we missed the start of their work because we went off to run ours. What we saw
of theirs was nice work though.
The ladies, if you remember, did a scene from Beth Henley's Crimes of the
Heart. We, again, did a scene from Three Days of Rain by Richard
There's no question that at one point I dropped a line, but I have no idea what or
exactly where that line was. I only know that we were further along in an argument
than we should have been. Well whatever was dropped neither compromised the sense of
the scene nor the rhythm. And it all felt good to me. I felt we were poppin' all the
way through. On the other hand,
note was that there were some hesitations in the first half of the scene. I didn't
feel such, myself, but I was inside the work so some perspectives were not in my
field of vision.
There was a point where my Ned has to admit that Theo has more talent -- it's a
humiliating moment that he knows Theo has just manipulated him into. As the words
left my (Ned's) lips I felt the hurt; it was that fluttering sink you can feel when
you're on the verge of tears. I love it when that happens!
I'd say I walked away from the class with a better appreciation of the importance
of grasping every moment on stage and understanding what's going on. Of course, the
big key to that is to know my character and his wants, wishes, fears, and then to
listen to the others on the scene and react based on what I know about me (my
character). I already knew that but this course has put a finer point on that fine
TEXT TEXT TEXT:
I have some reading to do. There are many plays to read in the close future. I
received my OhioLINK copy of Richard
Dresser's Rounding Third (which I am slated to get a callback for), which
will be up at The Race next spring.
I have my copy of Christopher Bond's Sweeney Todd coming from
Samuel French. This one is up in October
at Springfield StageWorks, and is
directed by Ron Weber, who directed a really nice production of The Glass
Springfield Civic Theatrea few
years back, that being where the talented Lisa Sadia reprised her role of Amanda to
much success. The Bond Sweeney Tood is the original dramatic adaptation from
which Sondheim was inspired toward the musical version.
I also have a copy of David Harrower's Blackbird; this is what I will travel
to Chicago in August to see
William Petersen perform in at the
Victory Gardens Theater, the theatre where
Petersen won his Equity card.
Part of me thinks I should just go with no knowledge of the play -- but the
student of the craft want to go and see what happens with the words on the page
with foreknowledge of those words. The student is more persuasive.
There are also FutureFest 2009
plays to read for the FF auditions coming up in just several weeks. The word
is that this year is a pretty good batch of plays. (I also need to buy my weekend
pass sometime soon. I also have to read my own theatres new season of plays,
though it's the second pat of the year that shows more promise to em as an actor.
Actually, the nephew in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys is not out of the
realm of possible, but if I am cast in Sweeney Todd -- which I would love to
be -- then the Simon play is out.
Thinking incredibly positively, I could be cast in Shining City by Conor
McPherson at the Guild as well as Henry Dinker's A Case of Libel there, and
still have room to rehearse and appear in the Dresser play at The Race. And that is
how I choose to predict the first part of my 2010 year in theatre going.
And I have not even looked at other theatres in the area yet. I was a bit lax in that
during this season so I missed several opportunities.
There's also an opportunity coming up to appear in some sketch comedy on camera.
More on that later.
Plus, who knows, perhaps PC-Goenner will
actually book me in a job sometime -- I haven't been on audition lately, though; I
have had schedule conflicts the last two times I got a call.
I'm also sure there will be some U.D. Law
gigs in the 2009/2010 season.
Yes, I know, the last part of this section has nothing
to do with "text"; I was on a role.
Friday evening I saw several of my castmates from my last stint on stage -- many
months ago -- the Springfield StageWorks production of Work Song: Three Views of
Frank Lloyd Wright by Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson: Peter Wallace, Liz
Dillard and Ron Weber. Peter was impressive as Polonius; Liz was wonderful,
especially when her Ophelia went insane, and Ron was funny as the main player. In
the role of Hamlet was a youngin', not yet out of high school, named Josh Katawick.
Josh did fine work and I hope he'll be making an impression all around the area in
theatre. He, as the others I mentioned approach Shakespeare in the manner that
appeals to me -- that founded on the concept that we don't have to
"recite" our lines for the poetry to come out; it's there, if we
climb inside the characters and impart their motivations with our manners and our
mouths, if we just speak the words as living human beings in the midst of their
lives (the story), the poetry will take care of itself -- it'll be there without
much, if any, help from us.
Natasha Randall & Craig Roberts in the segment, "The
Audition" -- both now just hot off their work in The
Cashier at The Dayton Theatre Guild.
IMPROV MOVIE? DID SOMEONE SAY "IMPROV MOVIE?":
So I've taken a little break from the improv movie project but now I am getting
back to it.
I am going to edit together a stand alone from the movie as a whole, the segment
called "The Audition" that I know will work on it's own. The caveat is
that that segment, starring Craig Roberts and Natasha Randall, is really not
representative of the film as a whole. It's a bit more comedic -- well, it's a
lot more comedic. But it's a great section and I want to get it out there.
Thing is I may want to make a cut that's longer than ten minutes, so I won't be
able to put it on my YouTube
account unless I upgrade to a director's account.
Need to wrap up a some other production things. Need to record some off screen
dialogue as well as pick up a few establishment shots. I also need to get that final
segment set up and shot. I am working on that. And I need to edit, edit, edit; that
which will include a lot of
And I still have to journal the last several production days..... .... ... .. . . . .
. . . .
DTG 09/10 PRODUCING:
My only gig next year as a Guild producer will be for A Case of Libel, at
the end of the season. And I believe I'm going to keep it that way.
PROFESSOR SNICKLEFRITZ'S ITCHING POWDER:
Check out this dork. This is an audition "reel" I shot in December 2008
for a full-time job entertaining children. I didn't get the gig but my agent loved
the video and so has most who have seen it.....
Auditions will be held at 430 Wayne Avenue on May 18 & 19 at 7 pm
for the opening production at the new home of the Dayton Theatre
Set in lavish, aristocratic France at the turn of the 18th Century,
this is a tale of seduction and corruption at the hands of the
outrageously wicked Marquise de Merteuil. With evil, intrigue and
comedy in equal measure, this is a classic drama that explores
decadent sexuality, morals and manipulation played as the ultimate
game, with tragic results.
Director Greg Smith will be casting the following roles:
Madame La Marquise de Merteuil
A beautiful and evil woman -- 30s and up
Madame De Volanges
Widowed mother of Cecile, aristocrat -- 30s and up
Young and attractive -- 15 and up
Le Vicomte de Valmont
Elegant aristocrat, also evil and calculating -- late 20s and up
Madame de Rosemonde
Valmont's wealthy aunt, aristocrat
Madame de Tourvel
Lovely, married, religious, object of Valmont's affection -- late 20s and up
A beautiful courtesan -- 20s and up
Le Chevalier Danceny
young musician, paramour of Cecile -- 17 and up
Various servants in the Mertuil, Rosemonde, Tourvel and Valmont households
Technically it's, as we know, not Summer; we're really six weeks away from the
Summer Solstice, but, hey, it's a nice day out, I'm sitting in
Yellow Springs, sitting at the counter at the front window, watching the tourists
and students and locals stroll by, in coversation with each other, smiling, or
looking at their shoes as they walk, or on a cell phone, or with a sandwich or a
coffee or a can of tea or a bottle water in their hands, or with a camera (cell phone
or otherwise) at their faces.
How's that for a run-on sentence -- (Fitzgerald
would be proud; Hemmingway's eye brow would be cocked in critical disdain)
My point is that I was up rather late last night so I was up rather late today. Now,
my being up late last night had nothing directly to do with productivity as a
producer or an actor or a film maker. Indirectly, yes, it applied, since I
was working on what turned out to be a failed maintenance enhancement on my
MocBook Pro. I am happy to report that as of last night I had no known computer
virus -- PC or Mac -- on my hard drive. But the fancy-ass maintenance program I
bought when this laptop was new is ultimately of no use to me, and after trying to
get the damned thing to work for a few hours -- all so I could simply defrag the
hard drive (or, "optimize" as it's know in the world of Macs) -- I
uninstalled the software since it was serving no practical purpose. And, then, too,
I downloaded and intalled a new verion of the prodcution writing software,
Celtx, which I have not used any more than I have
Final Draft -- and when I finally get to
script writing, etc., I'm not sure which of the two I will favor.
I keep digressing here, don't I?
Back to the story; I spent either none, or almost no time in the parks and forests,
all so conveniently close to me, last spring-through-autumn. That ain't-a-gonna-be
the way it is this year. And whilst I'm at it, it's time for a new bicycle
since I've done no riding for the last several years. My
My Face and
MySpace pages both have the status, as
I write this, of:
K.L.Storer Is going to spend at least SOME time in a park today. "Have
laptop; will travel"
Well.....it said that until I changed it to reflect the next moment that was the
present: "Sitting in Dino's in Yellow Springs, blogging and
I haven't (as this paragraph is composed) made it to the actual forestry as of yet,
but I will before sundown. Perhaps I'll actually be into one of those several
pressing projects all that should be gettng my attention right now. To be honest,
some attention has been given to a couple since Dino's is Y5 live and I have
received several emails relating to Fuddy Meers and one as
Guild house manager.
We won't discuss
the consistant interloping of spam for cialis, viagra or an authentic looking
designer wrist watch replica. Apparently I need help with sex and with keeping
track of my time
Wayne Justice in the sequence "The Office" from the improv
Crystal Justice in the sequence "The Office" from the improv
THE "MOVIE MAKER" GUY:
Improv Movie Project (AKA: Barflying) -- Editing has not yet begun,
however, I have started to plot out what I want to do. I've also finally taken
at least initial steps to shoot that last segment and wrap the principal
Still have some (os) -- off-screen -- dialogue and Folley to arrange. As
well, I have much, much music to gather together for the project. Music from
restaraunt speakers, boom boxes and computers as well as probable title music.
There is work by me that I'll be using as well as music by Wayne Justice and at
least one local musician/composer to whom I have been referred.
That idea to edit together an independent clip of the sequence featuring
Natasha Randall and
"The Audition," is still a serious consideration. I'd say it is going
to happen. Okay -- it is.
Wayne Avenue DTG Shoot -- Tomorrow morning I will drop by the Wayne
Avenue building to shoot DV footage and take pics for the eventual movies about
the new buidling. I, in fact, ought to think about editing together something
quick and simple to be posted at our currently dormant Dayton Theatre Guild
YouTube page before our premier of Les
Since last I snapped or shot there has been a bit of progress in terms of the
organization of props, set pieces and costumes. The next phase is getting the
place in enough shape to have our season as of August. That's about to begin.
The contracter will start construction in just a couple weeks. So, I need to
document the latest wave of progress that has happened, plus get in there
before that next wave that is about to happen.
The plan had been to do it today, but by the time I fully woke, the thought of
driving to Dayton did not appeal. An argument to go was that, as I have plans to
go someplace and do my laundry tomorrow for most of the day, there would likely
be little time when I got home to dump the video from the tape into FinalCut.
That, until I remembered that I am, after all, major portable with this trusty
MacBook Pro. I can dump the footage whilst doing my laundry.
I'm having trouble getting a lighting designer. I have a few feelers out there,
trying to grab at several designers who haven't done anything recently at the Guild.
I am close to running dry and am nervous about it all. I have options still but they
are getting slimmer. I'm trying to put together the run crew and have a request into
someone to run lights, too. Yeah, it's begining be a worry that may be premature,
but, there it is.
No, I never did make it to the parks and forestry today.
But I did spend a good portion of the late afternon and early evening in Dino's.
Saw a couple people I know and was at least not home all day.
Set construction starts today. I can't be there -- massive quatities of laundry to
do -- but I am dropping some large sheets of white card-board sort of material off,
which I salvaged from the discard bin at work, that might be useful, if not for
this set, then for a future one.
THE REST OF MY DAY:
Laundry and dumping the footage from Wayne Avenue, at least, if not more.
Spent an hour or so in the late morning Sunday getting the video and stills of
our latest chapter in the progress of the Wayne Avenue location.
Then came the AW JEEZ!
The earliest footage I shot for these little DTG Wayne Avenue movie projects I did
back in September. One of two things is true about this:
since these were the first times I'd used the particular DV camera I may have
not realized that I was shooting with 16:9 aspect ration
I had made a decision to shoot in 16:9 and subsequently forgot that decision.
To be honest, the subsequent footage, between September and yesterday, is not in
the FinalCut movie project as of yet, however, I am almost absolutely sure that all
that footage will be, as is what I shot yesterday, in 4:3 aspect ratio.
So that's just peachy (!)
Now I need to pull out those tapes and dump it all into the project and have a look.
In the mean time I will do a little experimental edit to see what happens when I put
clips of the two different screen dimensions together. Regardless of whether I can
make it work or not, despite that there is probably a work-around; editing 16:9 &
4:3 into the same movie is not terribly desirable -- at least in this circumstance.
Jumping back and forth from the two for various cuts just will not work for me. I
could trim and resize on of the two aspect ratios to match the other but there is a
very real issue of poorer resolution of those images. Either way I go I have to
zoom into the frames and that means larger pixels, less sharp and clean deffiniton.
In other words, I compromise the quality of the pictures if adjust the undesirable
(which in this case would be the 16:9) to the other.
All I can say is: Damn. Guess the
green movie maker has
learned a valuable lesson: either, know your equipment a little better and check
your settings closer -- or, if you make a stylistic decision about the movie, don't
friggin' forget it; write it down or something.
PRODUCING FUDDY MEERS: Last
night was the publicity shoot (Fred Boomer on lens again). We also have our lighting
designer; it is Alex Croker-Lackness, who, you may remember, did The Cashier.
Otherwise we are shoring up the production team, as well. We have two of the
run crew members we need and a possible on at least one more. Costumes (which are
a snap for this show) and props are falling into place. I got bio info and a good
headshot of our playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire though his literary agent.
So, Loren, one of the Ghostbusters in the someday to be released (??????)
Ghostbusters: Spook University,
as well as Quincy in my little improv movie project has a movie premiering at
The Neon Movies in Dayton tonight. As the
section title indicates, it's a horror movie entitled Quiet Nights of Blood and
Pain; Loren is the antagonist -- which certainly means his character is
responsible for the "blood" and the "pain." The film is
written and directed by Andrew Copp. The
showing is tonight, and I plan to attend.
Cheese (AKA: Mr. Stinky Cheese)
GOODBYE TO THE LITTLEST CAST MEMBER:
I am a little sorry to report that the mouse, Cheese, who was cast as the live mouse,
"Mouse," in Act II of The Cashier died
last night. There was concerted effort to be sure he went to a good home after the
production, rather than have something dastardly like him ending up on the menu for
someone's pet snake. Cheese did go to a good home, but, he pass away. The thought,
which has strong credence, is that it was from from acute separation anxiety from
those who were his primary caretakers during the run and with whom he had bonded
quite thoroughly. It's not a very good photo of Cheese, but it was the best one I
could get. I wasn't part of the core of people he was used to so he shied away
whenever I tried to get a good close-up.
View from the window counter at Dino's in Yellow Springs.
We needed a new pair of handcuffs for Christopher Berry and Mark Diffenderfer
(Millet & Limping Man); the set originally procured were for kids and were
cutting off the circulation in the actors' wrists. I dropped into
Foy's Halloween Store Wednessday,
and bought a pair of adult handcuffs -- the real thing, too: there are no fast escape
trip latches on them. But, they work on these men's full-grown wrists. I had
erroniously anticipated that I might have to go to an adult toys store, perhaps even
a little more "adult" than, say, Spencer's, but that was not necessary.
Nope, no Chappelle in the house -- I
don't know him, anyway.
Thursday, before rehearsal, Mark Diffenderfer and I had a meeting with
(carpenter for the Human Race Theatre Company,
theatrical special effects creator, puppet maker and founder of
tHe zOOt TheATre ComPAnY), at his
Front Street Art Complex studio. Tristan is going to create the prothestic right ear
for Mark's Limping Man: "His ear is a twisted mass of
burnt scar tissue." Several different approaches were discussed. The
two plan to meet later today for the fitting.
In the more book-keeper capacity of producer, I have not been getting any
accounting of expenditures from people. This is a situation I need to change. I
need to start having a real idea where the creative production budget stands.
STILL ME AT THE
DEL RAY BEACH FILM FESTIVAL:
Still Me screens at the festival on May 21. As well, the movie is
screening this very weekend at DramaWest in Hollywood. Plus, Director
Beth McElhenny and female lead
Tina Gloss will appear on TV next weekend on
the San Diego morning show (don't have the exact name or station). The film also
will be shown at the Alvarado Hospital.
GREEN MOVIE MAKER LEARNS A NEW TRICK:
Wednesday, between Foy's and stopping into rehearsal for a few minutes, I got
together with Fred Boomer (DP for the improv movie, if you aren't aware) to "help
him" with a couple things in
Final Cut Express.
But, as it turned out, I learned as much new as Fred did. It was really a minor
item that I was going to eventually have picked up. Fred called another of his
friends about a particular thing that friend had done in the software. In the course
of my conversation over the phone with this fellow, I learned to mark points in the
audio tracks in order to sink up audio with video. This is most important to me
when I get to the post-production for the improv movie, since I will be using the
best audio track from each multi-camera shoot, so many shots will be over the audio
from another camera. And we all know how annoying out-of-sync audio is when watching
movies, TV or video.
There's been a bit of activity: the set construction has begun, though it's not far,
far along; Hinky Binky, Millet's sock puppet & alter ego is born; Limping Man's
prosthetic ear is created; the crew is a bit more shored up (and shaken up); and the
directly producer-related stuff.
Set Construction -- Set designer Blake Senseman
started last weekend, and I personally wasn't able to be there. He continued
last Saturday, and I still wasn't able to be there. But I did manage to
lend my own hand on Sunday. Though I wouldn't say it was most valuable hand. I
did put together the basic frame for the set's bed -- though I did not have time
to put the legs on. I had to get home to begin work on the play's sock puppet,
Hinky Binky. I was having trouble drilling the holes for the bolts for the bed
legs anyway -- drilling a 5/8 hole through a 4x4 of oak with a battery-powered
drill takes a bit of time and, as it turns out, just slightly more ability to
charge batteries than we seem to have available at the moment.
But the set is underway....
Hinky Binky -- I took on the task of making the sock
puppet for the show. Hinky Binky is the alter ego for one of the designated bad
guys in the play, Millet (played by Christopher Berry). Hinky Binky is
essentially another character on stage. Over the course of the last few days, I
have been gathering the elements and putting together this cast member. I
finished him Monday night.
When he was done, my first thought was that his eyes sat too high up (see first
pic of him to the right). But then it occurred to me that if the puppeteer
pushes enough of the front of the sock down, in between his four fingers, on
top, and his thumb, on bottom, then both a good mouth cavity for Hinky is
created and that also pulls the eyes down Hinky's face a bit. The second pic
shows what is a pretty good placement of them. I took Hinky Binky to rehearsal
last night but brought the sewing kit, just in case.
loved him as he is, though.
Limping Man's Ear -- I have not seen it yet but I
know that Mark Diffenderfer is stoked for how the prosthetic ear that
Tristan Cupp has created for
the show has turned out. Next step, which I deal with today, is to consult
with a stage make-up expert -- I have one in mind -- to show someone in the
cast or crew how to use make-up to blend the peripheral latex skin into the
real skin on Mark's face. SInce the actors are up close and personal to
the audiences at the Guild, the make-up has to be more finely honed, pretty much
as if for the camera.
Production & Run Crew -- We are still short on
run crew, with only one confirmed member. But we have picked up our light board
operator, actually two. Dara, who has ran camera 2 in several of the improv
movie shoots is on board save that she is unavailable the second weekend. Enter
Mr. Michael Boyd, who has both appeared on stage and directed often at DTG (as
well as serving on the board), for those reading this who are not part of Dayton
On another production crew front, there has been a change-up in the lighting
designer. Seems that Terry Ronald was -- is -- on board as lighting designer,
and wants very much to design the last show in the Salem building. It sucks that
I had approached Alex Crocker-Lakness when it was not necessary to do so, but,
fortunately he's okay with dropping the project from his schedule, so at least
there was no case of offending someone needlessly.
For those not acquainted with theatre in Dayton, Terry has designed the lights
for well over 500 shows in the last few decades. He's mostly retired from
lighting design these days, and focusing on his business,
Basically British. He's also
landed a plum role on a television production,
J8DED which has not aired yet, but
that shoots on location in Dayton and Cincinnati. He has a principal supporting
role, and not a small one, either.
All that is pretty impressive.
However, what impresses me most is from his youth. Terry was born and reared in
a port town on the North coast of England, a city called Liverpool. When he
was younger, he, on more than a few occasions, ran sound and/or lights for a
rather popular local rock-&-roll band who went on to a most impressive,
one might say without hyperbole, culturally and socially historical prominence
in the world of art, pop culture and world events.
Went to the 2:00 matinee Saturday. For one thing, it was again most interesting to
watch another actor do a role with a different approach than I would have, and as
per usual, because we are only somewhat the same type and thus would both have to
play it differently.
Along with at least three other actors I know, I'd been called back to read for the
role Sgt. Carlino, which was won by
Being shorter and smaller than Scott, immediately I would have to be a different
sort of heavy. Mine would have to be more bad-ass attitude --
"Don't screw with that guy. He's friggin' crazy!"
Scott can bring Carlino off with more of an attitude via brute force:
"Look at me, pal. You now I can hurt you."
I have to say I, and I think the audience as a whole, was charmed with Annie
Paul who stepped into the role of Susy Hendrix, made famous by Audrey Hepburn.
Paul made it her own, which can be daunting when it's an iconic role in the career
of an iconic actor. The only real time I've come close to that was, as I have
probably mentioned too many times before, as Teach in American Buffalo --
a role already occupied by Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, and Dustin Hoffman: all most
certainly iconic actors; not so much of an iconic role, though one of my favorites
thus far in my skimpy, belated theatrical canon.
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
Saturday, June 27 is starting to look like the day for the final shoot. Two of the
three actors I need can do it that day. The third has to be more than available for
the scene; her house is the potential location.
ABOUT THAT CALLBACK:
This weekend I read the Richard Dresser play, Rounding Third, for which I am
slated for a callback this coming season at
Human Race Theatre Company. Much to
my surprise, I discover that this is a two-actor play. That catches me a little off
center. It's two men, only, on stage for two full acts. I find myself cautiously
gratified and bolstered to be called back for a principal lead role on a
professional stage, even if it's not a market like NYC or L.A., or Chicago. My
"Positive Mental Attitude" about this is grounded in reality (I.E: not
disillusion) but I feel complemented that I am even being read and that I am thought
to have the potential to carry a show with just one other actor.
Assistant Director Wendi Michael & Director Fred Blumenthal
I watched a bit of the rehearsals last week and the show is steaming along in
its development. The cast is coming along and I have seen a few moments that are
Our stage manager, Destany Schafer -- also the stage manager for The Cashier
-- has now started attending rehearsals, too.
We are still in search for two more run crew members for the show. We have two but
it has become clear that we most certainly need at least four in the crew, along
with Destany and probably at least some the cast's help for a couple scene changes.
Set construction is coming along, though it's really farther along than it looks.
Most of what is done is the preliminaries before the set fills the stage. I was in
Saturday to do some work. Actually, I spent some good portion of that time working
on little handcuffs for Hinky Binky (As you will see
below: played by K.L. Shnorrer).
As per the suggestion of Blake Senseman, I used soup can tabs as the cuffs. I then
went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store to
get some chain. That's where I actually got most of what I used to make him in the
first place, save for the sock, which was from my "wardrobe" and the black
hat, which I believe came from Wendi Michael.
Blake also wisely suggested that we make up few sets of cuffs for Hinky Binky, since
the chances of pieces the tabs breaking off seem relatively good, over the course
of two more weeks of rehearsal and ten performances.
So, I'll be eating a bit of mushroom soup over the course of the next few days.
And I won't even turn those receipts in.
The supply of the small chain is 36-inches in length; since I'm only using about an
inch for each Hinky Binky hand cuff, I have plenty.
My only other major contribution was dry-brushing some new wood boards on the work
bench set piece to age them.
On the way to rehearsal I'll pick up spirit gum, spirit gum remover, and, I hope,
latex make-up finishing spray. I'll drop by
Foy's. The last item is the iffy
one. Mark reports that
told him it often is not in stock and has to be special ordered.
And we are just about to use up our production budget. In fact, I am concerned that
we are going over. I am, actually, pretty sure we are going to go over. This
does not make me happy, especially since I have not gotten one firm answer about
what one particular production person has spent.
>> As per this next item: The concept of Shnorrer Is Mr. Blumenthal's idea.
On another note, you see, he is Klause Lederhosen Shnorrer -- completely different
name than mine, which is, of course, Kewl Laddie Storer.
Shnorrer back on stage
K.L. Shnorrer, back on stage in Lindsay-Abaire show.
Dayton, Ohio - May 25, 2009: Famed sock-puppet actor K.L. Shnorrer will
appear in the forthcoming Dayton Theatre Guild production of David
Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, directed by Dayton Theatre
Hall-of-Famer, Fred Blumenthal.
Mr. Shnorrer has come out of retirement from stage and screen to take on the
role of Hinky Binky, a deranged sock puppet in this bizarre play.
The legendary puppet actor, an original Muppet, is not connected with the
show's producer, K.L. Storer. "We just happen to have similar sounding
names," says the producer, also the Guild's house manager. Storer goes
on to say, "We are very happy to have made such a coup for our last
production at the Salem Avenue venue. We at DTG welcome K.L. Shnorrer and
his charismatic presence to our boards."
Blumenthal praises Shnorrer as a "consummate professional."
"He was the first in the cast to be off-book (to know all his lines)
and has one of the most pleasant dispositions I have had the privilege to
work with. And he brings a real zesty energy to this dark comedy,"
Fuddy Meers opens June 5 at the theatre's current location at 2330
Salem Avenue. The show runs weekends and closes June 21.
The Dayton Theatre Guild will open it's 2009/2010 season on August 28 at
their new theatre building at 430 Wayne Avenue, on the cusp of the
Oregon District. The opening show will be Les Liaisons Dangereuses,
by Christopher Hampton.
I checked out the three-chip mini DV camcorder from
the Wright State Library to grab
footage of some work we were doing at the Guild Wayne Avenue building. I got the
notion this weekend to re-dump the early footage from the improv movie. When I had
dumped it, originally, I was on the old Mac desktop with only a 400 mghz processor.
I was not able to dump more than four or five minute sections of each take. Some
takes ran twenty minutes or more. With the MacBook Pro and its 2.85 gigahertz chip I
can get a whole scene take in one capture.
However, my schedule ended up not allowing me sit down and recapture this weekend,
and the camera was due back by 1:30 yesterday afternoon. But I will re-capture the
early stuff again, in this better way.
One major advantage is I can then take all the better sound tracks for each take
off of the particular camera it's and use for the other camera's versions of
the same take. I know how to synchronize the sound now. I cab make a new raw source
file for the editing, that has both the good sound and the color correction.
Speaking of color correction, I got a good
tip, as per color correction. I haven't delved into the feature much yet, but I have
just been clued in that there is an eye dropper that I can use to match up the color
temperature between multiple shoots of the same action.
Still waiting for final confirmation on that final shoot on June 27.
In preparation for the contractors to come in and start work -- any day now -- on
the renovation work, board members went in and removed the false ceiling in the
basement. That so the sprinkler system can be installed. Work was done Saturday,
Sunday and yesterday. I was in on some of it Saturday.
There was falling and floating dust galore and we all were provided with masks and
safety glasses. We actually got quite a bit done that day. I'd say about half of the
false ceilings were removed, if not a little more. Some folk were back, as I said,
Sunday and yesterday, so, if it's not completely gone, it must be pretty close.
So the contractors are coming in to sprinkle the place as well as a few other
priority constructions, such as the handicap access ramp and other things that will
bring the building to code so we can bring in audiences.
Rehearsals for Les Liaisons Dangereuses begin, probably in July. I don't
know if they will be on Wayne or at the Salem building.
One thing for sure though -- the Salem building is sold: we will have vacated it
before the August 28 opening night of LLD.
By the way, the cast of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, mostly in order of
Madame La Marquise de Merteuil
Madame De Volanges
Le Vicomte de Valmont
Madame de Rosemonde
Madame de Tourvel
Le Chevalier Danceny
Sarah Collier Davis, Nathan Hudson,
Mark Jeffers, Randy Mixon, Lesli
Nachbauer, Angela Norris, Caity White
Servants in the Mertuil, Rosemonde, Tourvel and Valmont households
There are a few auditions in the rafters. I will be auditioning for
FutureFest 2009 this
coming Sunday. I actually will have to miss much if not all of the Tech Sunday
for Fuddy. There are a couple I am interested in.
The C.G. Bond play-version of Sweeney Todd will audition in about a month,
and I am absolutely interested in that. I may have to schedule a special read for
that, if I am cast in an FF play -- I might have rehearsals at the same time.
Last night we delved a little bit into the scene-change work needed from the run
crew. Two more members is most vital, especially for two scene changes close to the
top of the show.
-- that's the email address for those who are interesting in working backstage crew
for our show.
PASS IT ON.
Well, apparently, sock-puppet actor K.L. Shnorrer has slightly dislocated his ---
um, shoulder --- I guess. So, I took him with me after the rehearsal last
night to have him dealt with.
I have to patch sew where an arm is coming off, and then reinforce the stitches all
around both arms. I'm going to reinforce the stitching on his eyes, too. Hinky
Binky gets roughed around a bit in some scenes.
His stand-in -- Dean Stockingwell -- will probably rehearse the rest of this
week for Mr. Shnorrer, whom we have come to know as Kloussy.
My lunch today consisted mostly of microwavable mac & cheese from a large box.
asked for a box as a prop for the set frig. I bought it last night and served
myself at lunch, then resealed the box with a thick sheet of corrugated paper
inside. Another prop for which the receipt won't be turned in. With our
We need one more back stage run crew member, ASAP.
The time/schedule requirements are as follows:
Tonight -- Fri May 29 7:00 pm
Sun May 31 -- Cue-to-cue tech, 1:00 pm (cue-to-cue only; no full run)
Mon-Thu June 1-4 -- Tech/dress -- calls 7:00 -- (times may be revised)
The show performance dates and curtains are:
Fri June 5, 8:00
Sat June 6, 8:00
Sun June 7, 3:00
Fri June 12, 8:00
Sat June 13, 5:00
Sun June 14, 3:00
Fri June 19, 8:00
Sat June 20, 5:00
Sun June 21, 3:00
Crew will need to be there 30-60 minutes before each show -- depending on what our
Stage Manager, Destany Schafer, wants.
Be aware that there is an added show, either on June 14 or June 20, which will follow
the regular performance. We will be feeding the cast and crew between the two
performances that day.
If you are or you know of anyone who is a good candidate please let me know today
... within the hour ... NOW:
Feel free to pass this on!
And, yes, we have picked up two more new run crew members to make it three, in
addition to SM Destany. But we need that one more gal or guy.
At this point I am in the very probably position of working the show as crew, which
is problematic for a couple reasons. The first problem is that I will be host (house
managing) most of the shows. Three of the four scene changes that need all the crew
happen in Act I whilst I will also be working to set up
intermission. It's do-able, but I would rather not split my attention between the
host duties and crewing.
The second problem is really probably easily remedied: the
auditions are at the same time as the cue-to-cue* two or three of the Tech
week rehearsals. Right now I cannot miss any of these Fuddy techs. I'm
working to schedule separate auditions for at least two of the directors. But if I
had my druthers, I'd be at the regular auditions.
*) CUE-TO-CUE: A technical rehearsal specifically for the
technical crew to work fully through the cues, often by skipping
parts of the script
June 2 note: Major
"DOH!" situation.... I was in a bit of
a hurry yesterday when I posted this entry. I forgot that I had set up several
links but had not yet plugged the actual URLs in, as well as not having yet
researched the name of the Sheryl Crow DVD. It's fixed now, and I should just
leave it and not point out the error. But, here I am and there I go.
From a chair in the office of Precision Automotive on State Route 235
just outside of New Carlisle, Ohio where the good news is that my car's
transmission does not seem to be in trouble; the better news is that it
turned out what I needed was a thorough tune up. It was still steep into my
wallet but not a steep as a rebuilt transmission would have been. And as I
told a friend last night, I live twenty minutes -- at least -- from
everything, and in most cases "hours" if I don't have a car.
SO, WHAT'S THE DIRECT CONNECTION TO A "DIARY OF
ARTFUL THINGS," YOU ASK: I live twenty minutes -- at least -- from
everything, and in most cases "hours" if I don't have a car. If
I'm not mobile, I can be involved in essentially no production.
Terry Ronald watches rehearsal Friday evening to program light
cues, with light board operator Dara Bornstein at his side.
Yesterday was Tech Sunday with the cue-to-cue. It went relatively smooth even with a
crew member absent -- our newest stage hand, Gary Thompson, already had a previous
engagement when we picked him up for the show (Gary, by the way, was a cast member
in the recent Springfield StageWorks
production of Hamlet).
Q2Q -- as I have also seen it referred to -- went pretty quickly, too. We
probably started at about 1:15 or 1:30 and were done by 2:30 or so. We didn't do a
full run because Nick Moberg (Kenny) was not there: he was busy graduating from
high school. We did identify the problem spots and there is still a bit of glow tape
application to be done, which gets done before tonight's rehearsal.
So it was off to a bit of cast/crew bonding at
The Dublin Pub.
Great trivia folklore about this bar & grill: In 2003, when Cheryl Crow did
two shows at the Fraze Pavilion,
which ended up as her concert DVD
C'mon America 2003,
she and her band mates dropped into the bar and ended up jamming for several hours
with the band gigging there that night. The story goes that Cheryl actually closed
the joint and that he mates had left before her.
C'mon America, is the DVD where if you freeze-frame at the right moment during
her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," you can see me boogying in
the crowd. Well, I can, because I happen to know that it's me -- you
probably would not be able to tell that it's me. But, it is me, I promise.
Back to Fuddy -- Saturday the set was 99% finished and most of the last of
the garnishes were added yesterday morning before cue-to-cue. In terms of props
and set pieces (and in one case, make-up) there are only a few small loose ends to
Meanwhile, yesterday morning I repaired an arm that was coming loose on our Hinky
Binky sock puppet -- or if we go with the standing
joke: "Famed sock-puppet actor K.L. Shnorrer
returned today to the rehearsal set of Fuddy Meers after recuperating from
having dislocated his shoulder earlier in the rehearsal period."
Rachel Wilson (Claire) & Ellen Finch (Gertie), in Gertie's
As I said before, the puppet gets some rough treatment in a few spots in the play so
this may not be my last medical intervention. I still need to make up a few
back up copies of Hinky Binky's little hand cuffs. Remember I am using the larger
pull tabs, from soup cans. The concern is that when we remove the "cuff"
that is fastened to his hand (the other hangs loose) we may snap off a portion of
it. Not a problem for that particular performance, because once the cuffs are off,
they are off for the rest of the show. Next performance, however, we obviously
need the cuff back on his wrist. We will see what happens tonight.
So here we are, tech/dress week, the last four rehearsals before Opening Night. The
show is pulling together. It was nice to hear Bob Mill's audio design yesterday.
Also really nice to see Mr. Ronald's lighting on the stage. The stage looks great,
too. Blake Senseman and Fred Blumenthal
have a really cool set design going on. I been sort of selective about what I've
posted of the set pics I've taken the last few days as the design as been coming
to its realization. This silly blog doesn't get the tons of hits I pretend it does
as I write it, but there are enough local theatre people who do check in that I
kind of want to protect against spoiling the effect of them walking into the space
and experiencing it with a good full impact. So, what you see here today may be
about as much as you get until the show goes dark.
In just a few moments I am off to Fuddy rehearsal.
Okay, okay.... not ALL of this entry was written from a chair in the
office of Precision Automotive on State Route 235 just outside of New
Carlisle, Ohio; but much of it was.
I am officially a cast member of Night and Fog. The play is by
M.J. Feely, who is a native of Dayton,
now in Los Angeles. M.J.'s Bookends was a FF finalist in 2006. This new
entry is directed by Saul Caplan who directed the former in 2006.
My character is Col. Gregory Stratton, described in the script as "not tall
but has an erect carriage and bearing that makes him seem larger than he is. He is
a combat soldier, caught by a wound and the untimely outbreak of peace in a press
liaison job he hates." And he describes himself, early in the play with:
"My profession is combat engineer. Or it was until
I caught a bullet coming cross the Rhine in forty-five."
The play takes place in Berlin in 1948.
At this point I know I am joined in the cast by Geoff Burkman, with whom I shared
the FF stage last year in Inside the Gatehouse, Jennie Yeaman. who just
finished appearing in The Cashier at the Guild, and Charles Larkowski, with
whom I was in Playing God for FF07. I know who else has been offered roles
but don't have confirmation myself that they are on board. So I will hold off
listing them until I know.
Tuesday evening I'm scouting what is probably going to be the location for that last
shoot to wrap this little trial experiment up. 90% sure we will use the house:
that's what I have told everyone.
The second woman I approached to play the oldest sister in the family is not able
to do it but the first now is available and has come on board.
Barbara Jorgensen is back in this segment as matriarch Leola, and since she is on
stage the evening of the shoot, (June 27), in the Young at Heart Players
production of The Cemetery Club at the Guild space on Salem Avenue, I have
set a hard wrap time for the day of no later than 3:00. (The Cemetery Club
is the last theatrical production up in the Salem space before it goes permanently
At the moment I have only a general idea what I want from this last segment, so I
spend some time in the near future contemplating the specifics of the closing
It's time to start arranging post production, including original music and Foley
sound. I have some local music people to call upon, as well as, of course, myself.
I also have myself and several other resources for Foley, including one of the
crew for Fuddy,
who is also an actor newer to town and in fact has landed roles in two of the staged
G-Man and Quietus. He was also in the recent
production of Hamlet.
Nicklaus Moberg (Kenny), Mark Reuter (Richard) and Linda Donald
The show opened last night to pretty close to a full house and had a good night. The
cast was on fire, the crew kicked ass and the audience loved the show.
It was a really fab start to the run.
There was drama other than on stage. I was en route to Dayton. I'd just exited
I-675 onto I-70/SR 4 when my cell phone rang; it was Fuddy AD Wendi Michael.
She was on her other phone with cast member Mark Reuter who was at the Guild. Only
minutes earlier there was a very bad auto accident right smack in front of the
theatre on Salem Avenue. The emergency crews and police were arriving and the
theatre was essentially cut off from access on Salem.
So my plans to drop into a food joint on the way were nixed.
In the neighborhood of the Guild I managed to cut through some back alleys, park
behind the building next to the Guild, walk around and got in the front door. I
grabbed the key to unlock the back gate of the parking lot. Then I called all cast
and crew Mark had not already contacted, as well as Guild President Carol Finley
and our Box Office Manager Brian Buttrey, to clue them in about detour routes and a
possible delay in the curtain time.
The scene was cleaned up pretty quick though and our 8:00 curtain was not affected.
As well, my concern that audience might not have easy access to the parking lot
when they arrived, proved unfounded as access was open plenty early enough. I did
get pushed behind in my time so was a bit rushed and okay oerhaos a bit flustered as
time marched on. This was one of a few times during the run I am wearing the hat of
both house manager host and that fourth crew hand. Fortuantely I had a new host
volunteer to help out. Still I needed to attend to showing her how to do stuff while
also concerning myself with pre-show pre-sets that I do. That period of time I was
dealing with the wreck was when I'd planned to do the pre-set, knowing my new host
would be there later. I ended up with a few instances of "Oh crap I forgot
to..." whilst showing the ropes to the new person. She must have thought I
was a scatter brain -- or, perhaps more so than she would have otherwise.
Well, sophomore show in few hours. Here's to the rest of the run being as good as
Another good night for the show. Two down, eight to go. Eight, not seven, because we
are doing a special out-reach, private performance for the Fairfield Neighborhood
Organization -- (I THINK that's the name of the group) -- on June 20,
after the regular 5:00 show.
The audience last night was a bit less responsive, or at least less demonstrative in
their reactions to the comedy; yet, the comments at intermission were all favorable,
so they did like the show; they just were more subdued than Friday's crowd.
From what I can tell, though, the cast and crew was doing well.
There were a couple prop issues. One prop, fortunately minor, wasn't where it was
supposed to be so an actor had to adjust some lines -- again, fortunately this
wasn't critical information and the prop was not a key plot point. The sock puppet
-- uh, I mean Hinky Binky
I MEAN: K.L. Shnorrer -- has started to lose
his little black hat, so I brought him home to patch-sew it. I may end up doing the
repair at the theatre. I'm probably heading out not long after I post this. I also
had to replace one of the little handcuffs, as it was getting warn and was on
the verge of snapping in two. I went across the street to the AM-PM Market and
bought a couple cans of corn for the pop tabs on the cans. I only replaced the tab
(or "cuff") that has to go on and come off of Hinky's wrist, since that's
the one with the wear-and-tear issues. The other cuff just hangs loose.
FOOTAGE FOR THE DTG MINI-DOC MOVIE THINGY:
I borrowed a small three-chip DV camera from
school to capture some moments from the last
Guild production on Salem. It'll be used in the movie about the Wayne building. I shot
curtain speech Friday. I didn't shoot anything yesterday, but I plan to do so today.
So opening weekend went most well, with three lovely performances by the cast, with
the production crew doing their work just as well. There were glitches all around,
but, hey, that's live theatre.
So now there are seven more official performances of a Dayton Theatre Guild
production to be played on the little thrust stage at the Salem Avenue theatre. That
building has been hosting DTG work since the 1963/1964. That's forty-six seasons.
Honestly, I expected the houses to be full all weekend simply due to this
end-of-an-era angle, but we had only decent seating on Saturday and Sunday.
For myself, it may be that self-absorbed tendency to think that since something is
a big impact on my life and I see something as paramount, I assume others must, too
-- a lesser, in this case, by-product of that
that does me so many favors.
On the other hand, DTG has a pretty strong and loyal patron base. So, one still
Terry Morris from the Dayton Daily News
was at the show opening night. I figured his review would hit the paper Wednesday or
Thursday, but it was in the Monday edition on-line and is in today's print.
It's a favorable review. Click here for the article:
"Play explores family comforts, horrors."
Be advised that there are a couple of the play's surprises spoiled in the review,
so if you're going to the show this coming or the last week, you might want to
avoid the review.
Meanwhile I believe the cast has a brush-up line run either Wednesday or Thursday.
As it's not a full run, I do not have to be there, which is good since I have
conflicts either night -- Thursday, in fact, is the
Night and Fog
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
I am off to Tipp City this evening to scout the location for the last segment of
this movie. Ms. Jorgensen and Mr. Beddingfield are on board for the June 27 shoot.
My newly casted actor is on board. Fred Boomer (DP) and Dara Bornstein (2nd camera)
are on board.
to want to
make the location work
Because if this shoot does not happen on Saturday June 27, it is not probable in any
stretch of my imagination that it will happen this summer at all.
I still need to sit down and think out the precise scenario of that last segment,
The house I looked at last night is perfect for the shoot, so we are on for June 27.
And I did not even have to force acceptance upon myself. I walked in and
knew in an instant it would work and work beautifully.
It's supposed to be Leola's home (Barbara Jorgensen). Leola is a staunch conservative
and quite old-fashioned. Barb lives in a condo that just would not have worked as
The house we're using is quite literally registered as an historic home, is
paneled with lovely deep brown wood. It looks like Leola would live there. It
looks like a conservative, fundamentalist, right-winger's home -- despite that it
is the home of a liberal, left-leaning family.
My eyes now look forward to that infamous
PRODUCTION period, which I suspect is going to be a long-ass interval of time.
I took a week off from work for the post work on
The Chorus for candice and pretty much spent
all day, every day working on it -- that was a five minute movie. This thing is
going to be between forty minutes to one hour, if not a little longer and there is
much much post production to do. Even a rough cut with little or no Foley sound or
music added will be many hours spent with Final Cut.
At one of the past shoots, I'm not
sure if it was the "Kate & Dave" shoot at Elana's apartment, or the
"Celeste & Grady" at the State Theatre/Bushnell buildings, but at one
of those shoots I made the declaration that I'd probably have a rough cut by
mid-July. An announcement that second camera op Dara Bornstein, who has a degree in
film making, found a little bit amusing.
Yeah, there will be no rough cut in mid-July, not mid-July of 2009 at any rate.
My eyes look forward to post production, with a foreboding fog of intimidation
between those eyes and the finish line.
NIGHT AND FOG:
The table read happens tomorrow night. I am spending time this evening with the
script. I'll voice Col. Stratton, speaking his lines out loud and playing around
with my reading of them.
My neighbors have to suspect they have a schizophrenic in the complex who speaks to
imaginary people, since they frequently have to hear me speaking only one side of a
conversation against dead silence.
I know it's not critical to do a warm read at the table read, but I prefer to
not be too cold. I'd like to already have some ideas for my character cooking in my
odd little brain.
I wonder how many times before I have made the same observation here
about my neighbors overhearing me as I run lines with myself. I haven't
gone back to look nor have a sepcific memory of having mentioned this
before; but, I bet I have.
Good table read last night. We had all but one cast member; Chuck Larkowski is in
rehearsals for James Goldman's The Lion in Winter at the
Playhouse South, which is up
I have noticed this odd propensity I have of not processing words well when I read
aloud text I am not most familiar with. I am not sure where it comes from or what
it's all about. I make these really weird errors involving words that I know or
where the true word or pronunciation is relatively obvious. The best example from
last night is "S-bahn." Now, I had read the script and I know when I came
across that, I knew the word and the pronunciation is ES BAHN; yet, last
night I said, "sbahn."
Weird, and not infrequent for me. I don't know if it's nervousness or carelessness
or some deficiency in my processing. But it is weird and it is seemingly habitual
on my part.
Otherwise my read was okay for a first sit-down in rehearsal format. It was, as
would be expected, a bit stilted and usually lacked the natural, conversational
tone. I think, beyond it being new words that my mouth is not used to yet, I also
am focused on the staid, military formality of Col. Stratton. Last night I erred
toward his stiffness and I'll loosen him up as I come to better grips with his
character and get comfortable in the script.
Our director, Mr. Caplan, even invoked a statement I made last year, on this very
subject of getting the lines out of our mouths with more verisimilitude:
Less acting; more being.
What? Someone was listening to me?
I can hear Saul, now: "Well, that ONE time. Even a stopped clock is right
twice a day."
What's nice about the rehearsal period is that the grouping of characters in
scenes is such that we all will not need to be there all the time. We'll all get a
lot of days of until we get close to the festival and start running the show. There
are play auditions scattered about during our rehearsal period of which various of
us want to attend specifics ones thereof. For me, it's the C.G. Bond Sweeney
Todd in Springfield in a few weeks.
Rehearsal schedule is not firm yet, but I probably am only needed this coming week
on Tuesday and Thursday, maybe only Thursday.
Got a call yesterday from PC-Goenner
concerning a commercial for a hospital in Richmond, Indiana. At first I thought the
Monday afternoon, June 15 time I was being given was the audition. I asked when the
production date was, and the young lady on the phone told me that Monday is
such. The agency sent my résumé and headshot to the client, who will
then cads from that (or not). I assume the roll, as a heart patient, is
non-speaking, probably under a narrative voice-over.
This guy just recently turned
1/2 century + 1 year
or, is that 1/4 of a century minus 1 year?
NIGHT AND FOG:
My first on-feet rehearsal night is tonight. Then again on Thursday. Looks like
I'll have to record the new
Saving Grace tonight.
As for character development, I am only in the infancy of that process, but I do know
I shall follow in Stephen Colbert's
footsteps and get a military haircut. I think I'm going to go for a shorter cut.
I've pictures of my dad in the South Pacific and his hair had a little --
(underscore "little") -- bit of length to it. I think officers were
not required to have a crew cut (he left the war as a major and was promoted to
lieutenant colonel when he was back state side). I believe they certainly could
wear their hair shorter if they chose. I think Stratton would do so.
Meanwhile, I have as of yet to get my lines down onto index cards for the those
flash cards I find so useful for learning my lines -- and of which I highly
recommend as a method to try for any actors out there looking for a new or
Nick Moberg (Kenny), Mark Reuter (Richard), and Rachel Wilson
Another good weekend with fine performances and responsive audiences. We were pretty
close to sold out all weekend and in fact were so Saturday.
It's just starting to fully creep into my brain that we are down to the last four
official Dayton Theatre Guild performances at the Salem Avenue venue. The whole
time I've been connected with The Guild, the goal of moving into a building that
will better facilitate productions has been in the forefront. Of course, most of
that time it's been about building at the lot on Fourth Street and Patterson
Boulevard. This time last year, in fact, we did not know we would be opening the
09/10 season in a new place, nor that we would be in the Wayne Avenue building.
Sunday will close the forty-sixth season to be presented at 2330 Salem Avenue. The
first season there, the 1963/64 season, opened with Tennessee William's Night of
the Iguana, directed by
-- whom I remember most fondly as Ferdie Fussbudget on the local children's
television show, The Uncle Orie Show, on
WHIO-TV Channel 7 in the 50's though the late
60's. Our Fuddy director,
was cast in Iguana as, as he puts it, "a German tourist and perhaps the
worst case of miscasting I know of." I first laid eyes on Fred when he and
Ken starred in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, circa 1975.
I am not the heart patient in the commercial for the Reid Hospital in Richmond,
Indiana. I do have my copy of C.G. Bond's Sweeney Tood: the Demon Barber
of Fleet Street, for that upcoming audition, but I am holding off looking at it
whilst I concentrate focus on Night and Fog. Plus I have still have scenario
set-up for my improv movie shoot on June 27 to finish writing.
I am impatient to get to the place where my Col. Stratton is fully dimensional,
despite that I have only just started rehearsal and have barely begun to put work
into his development.
The text seems to make Stratton formal yet perhaps a bit relaxed in his
formality. Director Saul Caplan and I talked a bit about him at rehearsal Tuesday
night. Playwright M.J. Feely states
clearly in the character descriptions that Stratton is "in a press liaison
job he hates." But Saul and I agree that he's a career military man and he
will bear his assignments no matter how unpalatable to him any particular one may be.
If his country calls him to serve as a babysitter for the press in Berlin, then he
will salute and babysit the press in Berlin.
Only a few pages of Stratton were blocked out Tuesday, his and Val Thomas's
(Jennie Yeaman) introductory scene, which is early on in the play and serves to
continue the exposition from the opening monologue of Paul Scanlon (Geoff Burkman)
on the phone bitching and yelling at the New York office.
In between the concentration on blocking (our movement about the stage), the infancy
of our rehearsal period, and the need to keep exposition from sounding, well, like
exposition, Stratton's voice was stilted and not natural at all. Saul's note to
both us was to get the conversation to a more casual tone. So I can add in that
point that Stratton needs to be casual yet still formal -- or perhaps I'm not
striving for "formal" as much as I am for "military
disciplined" or "military proper."
ANOTHER FUDDY REVIEW:
The show got a rather mixed response from Russell Florence Jr. of the
Dayton City Paper.
He, by no means, trashes the play or the performance, but it ain't an
overwhelmingly glowing review, despite several kudos met out.
end of an era -- The new era and
the continuity in the endgame
Last weekend was the swan song for DTG productions on Salem Avenue. At
approximately 4:50 p.m., Sunday, June 21, 2009, the last Guild cast took the last
Guild bows on that little thrust stage in that little building. The closing
performance of Fuddy Meers closed the forty-sixth and the final season to be
run at 2330 Salem Avenue.
For me there was a certain amount of "heavy sigh" and a most certain
grief for the end of this forty-six years in that humble little structure. This
sense of sadness is, however, well tempered by the new page that is already and has
already been turned to: the opening of a new season in the building that will -- no
arguments entertained -- better facilitate the Guild.
I was one of the last, if not the last, person to walk out of the Salem
building on the day DTG went dark there. Even with the exciting new beginning we
have in front of us, I feel a sense of grief for the passing of the era. And I am,
in all reality, just a newbie to the Guild. What it must be like for those who have
spent decades on and around those particular boards.
Strictly speaking, we are not out of the building yet, but production-wise we are.
Rehearsals for Les Liaisons Dangereuses are 99% sure to be at the Wayne
Avenue building unless remodeling construction proves an obstacle. But we will be
back, walking through the Salem building, to move the last of DTG from there to
Wayne. We'll be, bit by bit, stripping most of our identity from that home that was
for almost one-half century a center-piece for quality theatre -- not simply quality
"community" theatre, but Quality Theatre, simple and
Chuck Scott, who believes he and his wife Kate have attended every production
between the Salem walls, was my director in high school (Wilbur Wright) in the 70's.
At the Farewell Gala last Sunday he spoke of how he used to bring the high school
thespian club to the final dress rehearsals. I was in that grouping for several
productions. Chuck made an assertion on Sunday that I have to take exception with,
even though it was funny. He said he used to tell his students, about the Guild
shows, "This is how theatre should be done, not the way we're (WWHS)
The truth is that Chuck pulled as professional a performance out of an unruly group
of undisciplined urban kids as he could. And those of us who had talent would, on
occasion, give damned good professional quality work to him. His artistic mind-set
was the self-same artistic mind-set of the Guild, and akin to the philosophy I hold
The real difference between "ametuer" and "professional"
has nothing to do with money.
When we young students attended those Final Dress nights at the Guild, we might as
well have been seeing previews in New York. To me it was the logical extension of
what was happening on my high school stage. These people I saw on that thrust stage
on Salem Avenue were class-A actors.
I believe the first play I saw there was The Sunshine Boys, circa 1975 or so.
As I said before, The Sunshine Boys were the late
and the not-so-lateFred Blumenthal.
I remember exactly where I sat. I remember that when Ken came out on stage, the
first few moments I thought "Hey! It's Ferdie Fussbudget!" (a
reference you won't get unless you were in Dayton in the 60's and 70's, especially
as a kid). I soon no longer saw Ferdie, but rather an aging vaudevillian performer
who was reluctant to mend fences with his estranged partner from yesteryear.
I was exposed to a caliber of acting that day that I didn't at the time readily
understand was more than just a little above the fray of what is usually considered
"community theater." The several more Guild shows I saw in those years
were the same. This may be as pretentious and snobbish as some are sure to perceive
it to be, but I don't believe that the Dayton Theatre Guild does "community
theater" as the norm. With exceptions, of course, if you sit in the
audience at DTG you will see a production that is between Very Good to Quite
Excellent and at a caliber that matches professional standards.
There are always lemons. No theatre company is immune to artistic and esthetic
failures. In my short time back, as an adult, I have witnessed a few overall mediocre
productions as well as some unimpressive performances from individual actors on the
DTG thrust. In at least one instance I was that unimpressive
performer; I'm thinking specifically of my atrocious work as Dr. Mayberry in I
Never Sang for My Father, especially during a couple particular performance dates;
others out there may have additional suggestions of crap work from me, I suppose.
Lemons aside, by and large, the Dayton Theatre Guild is overwhelmingly one of the
best theatre companies in the area, probably the region, regardless of whether the
reference is to professional, college, or amateur stages. Nevertheless, the Dayton
area is populated with many fine actors and directors, some just downright
excellent, and since there is only a short list of these who limit their work to the
Guild thrust, there is plenty of good theatre around to see otherwise than DTG.
The DTG thrust is different, though, and even if there are a few who feel no
particular necessity to make it to that thrust, most wait for their chance to get on
that stage. Some portion (your's truly included) prefer it. It's far more than
simply the intimacy of that thrust stage, though that certainly is a large part of
it. The choice of plays put up also has much to do with it. Standards are certainly
not black-listed, yet from a six show season there will probably be only one
standard and usually it'll be something from the likes of Albee, O'Neill or Williams.
Obscure and new plays have a habit of having local or regional debuts at DTG. I had
the privilege to produce only the second full-out production of Paul Lucas's Dice
House in the United States. That was during a season where everything was a
premiere to the Dayton area, and all but one was such to the region. Even the
southern-fried comedies that
is so fond of putting up are not the same ol' same ol', rehashed once again -- not
counting that we did an encore production of Sordid Lives a few years ago
that made it essentially a bookend for that 04/05 season. And we were one of the
first theatres in the country to do One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest after
its Broadway run and several years before the film went into production.
The heaviest element in what makes DTG what it is, is the approach and the attitude
that prevails. There is a sense of professional attitude that is the standard. We
expect ourselves to treat our productions with care and professionalism. We don't
always get one-hundred percent of that from one-hundred percent of those involved,
but the sense of professional behavior is general enough, strong enough, and
pervasive enough that the effect is to raise any faltering participants up to
levels far elevated from what most would expect. One-hundred percent is a mark that
is risen close to more than just occasionally, and sometimes, some magic times, we
are so purely at the mark it is incredibly wonderful to be a part of or to witness.
I would not presume to speak for all those involved with the Guild, or for the
Guild itself, but I will assert that I cringe when I hear people say things like,
"it's only community theater, after all." I hate that. As a
producer of technically non-professional theatre, I seek to bring people on
board who climb to a higher standard than such a half-assed attitude. When I
finally direct theatre -- and I will, eventually -- I will never knowingly cast a
single actor with such a low-rent train of thought, regardless of where I direct at.
In terms of the Dayton Theatre Guild in particular, but not reserved exclusively
for, my opinion is if "it's only community theater" are words one would
use, one is cordially invited to go audition or crew somewhere else. If that makes
me arrogant that's just too bad. The real difference between "ametuer"
and "professional" has nothing to do with money.
In May of 1977, just prior to my nineteenth birthday, I was Psuedolus in the Wilbur
Wright High School production of Sondheim, Shevelove and Gelbart's A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum. Deserved or not, I received the Best Actor
award for that. Then, seduced by my new-found ability to hit the right notes on a
piano ("clang" might be a better word) and to create vocal melodies and
lyrics to go along with that keyboard attacking, I allowed my focus to be lured away
from acting toward music. By my late twenties I was concentrating on writing fiction
and some poetry, which was the main intent of my eventual college degree, though I
did take many production courses for my duel major in English and Communication.
In a story you can read detail of either at the beginning of this blog
or in the essay "The Knowing In Me,"
or both, my subsequent long period of not acting (just shy of twenty-seven years)
finally bore too heavy a burden upon me. When the weight became insurmountable,
where did I go? I went to the Dayton Theatre Guild because I knew I would find an
excellent and professionally esthetic theatrical experience even if there was no
paycheck to be earned.
In a capriciously curious stroke of good fortune I walked into the right audition
for the right play with the right director (Greg Smith) and managed to be cast first
time out. I got to be Johnny Pateen Mike O'Dougal in Martin McDonagh's The
Cripple of Inishmaan. It has thus far been my favorite of my infrequent roles on
the DTG thrust.
Shortly thereafter I was elected to the board of directors. I would say I was
invited to be on the board, but I wasn't. I was asked, by Smith, if I wanted to
"help out," and said, "sure." A few days later I was
congratulated as a new board member.
For the last four seasons I have been the house manager, and continue that role for
at least this approaching 2009/2010 season in our new home. I'd whine (with an
admitted wink of my eye) about the responsibility except that I have some
awareness of the work it takes to be treasurer, box office manager or a few other
assorted positions that take more time and energy than it seems on the surface they
might -- I have no room to whine very loudly.
Last August I was blessed with a lovely special award for being some kind of
uber-volunteer who is reported to sacrifice a lot of time to "show up"
when things need done. It was flattering, but the truth is that there is a core of
several people in particular who show up as much as they can and do as much as they
can; I have good company in any dedication I have to the Guild. And I'm not too
sure I am not outdone on a regular basis.
In my theatre world I am an actor first, though. And I am not one of those who
limits my acting to the Guild stage. In the first place, I have often been
overlooked by directors at the Guild. Secondly, there are not always roles for me
or that I care about.
Since I have been back to acting, most of the work I have done that has meant the
most to me and has been the predominance of my best work has not been at DTG. I
have had the great pleasure to be Clov (Beckett's Endgame for
Stefen (Yasmina Reza's 'Art', again for StageWorks), Teach (Mamet's
American Buffalo, StageWorks), Major Major & Col. Cathcart (Joseph
Heller's Catch 22, StageWorks), Zipper in the new play Inside the
Gatehouse by Bill Hollenbach at last year's FutureFest 2008, and, once again for
Springfield StageWorks, Alexander Woollcott in Work Song: Three Views of Frank
Lloyd Wright, by Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson.
Still, the Dayton Theatre Guild is home. I'll donate my money there first; I'll
give my time there first; if two auditions are up, (one at DTG and one somewhere
else), each equally appealing, I'll give the DTG show preference.
Right now I am in the cast of M.J. Feely's new play Night and Fog, which
will play Saturday night, July 25 at
FutureFest 2009. Our
director, Saul Caplan, asked the cast a few days back if we each thought it might
be tenable to have some weekend rehearsals. My own answer was that I have some
availability; however, as we at the Guild are transitioning from Salem Avenue to
Wayne Avenue there are likely to be some Saturdays and Sundays that DTG board
members and supporters are called upon to spend a few hours in service:
transporting material from Salem, light demolition at Wayne to save money as we
make way for construction needs. As a Guild member and with the Guild as my
theatrical home, I feel obliged to be available as much as I can. I'm sometimes not
able or willing. Tomorrow I have what I hope is the final day of principal
photography for the improvisational dramatic movie I am directing, If there was a
DTG work day called I would not make that call. But in most cases I am among those
who wish to be as big a part of this evolution as we can be.
I am enthused to be a part of this new saga, this new growing that we at the Guild
have upon us. An era has ended, and many fond memories abound. But, we in the
present get to explore the beginning of this new era and build new fond
memories. How exciting it is to be at the spark of this genesis.
How exciting will it be to watch the new theatre blossom. When Les Liaisons
Dangereuses opens on Wayne Avenue on August 28, it's not likely to be in a
fabulous theatre structure. The joke at curtain speeches for the last couple of
Salem Avenue shows has been some variation on how we are opening the new season on
Wayne even if we must do it in the parking lot.
That joke is a bit of hyperbole but not an out-and-out gross exaggeration. The main
stage thrust space may be surrounded with thick curtains rather than the eventual
solid walls. The lights or some portion of the lighting system may be borrowed or
rented. The first things we are addressing are what must be addressed in order to
open our doors to the public, namely that we meet ADA and fire code regulations as
well as possibly other building code needs I may not readily remember right now.
Maybe someday, off in a distant future, for a farewell gala the Wayne Avenue venue,
I may stand, as a decrepit old fossil, and say, "I remember back in August of
Ought-Nine when we opened this building with Les Liaisons Dangereuses. We
didn't have a light grid; we didn't have walls around the main stage; you could
still smell the paint from the painting party we'd had just a few weeks earlier....."
But the most important facte, the theatre work from the actors, directors and crew,
the "Good Theatre Done Well," that will, from August 28, 2009 and onward
be just the very same magic as it has been for the past forty-six years on Salem
Avenue and the eighteen-some years prior to that when the Guild spent most of its
earliest life in a Carriage House on Belmonte Park North.
That DTG swan song weekend was also the swan song weekend for this quirky little
show. It was a good final weekend for the show. The audiences were, surprisingly,
down from the heavier crowds the middle weekend -- we ran at about half houses all
three of the last shows. There was a private sponsored show Saturday night that was
attended rather lightly as well.
The performances themselves seemed to be on target. A couple cast members feel that
the Saturday, 5:00 show was the best performance of the run. I was too busy working
the shows to really form a judgement about the quality of any of the run's
performances. I certainly got no sense of a bad performance, however, in any of the
of the Oakwood Register was
their last weekend and gave the show it's best review. Too bad it came out after
the show closed. But still....
Christopher Berry (Millett)
Mark Diffenderfer (Limping Man)
Linda Donald (Heidi)
Ellen Finch (Gertie)
Nicklaus Moberg (Kenny)
Mark Reuter (Richard)
Rachel Wilson (Claire)
Fred Blumenthal (Director, co-set designer, & properties)
Wendi Michael (Assistant Director & properties)
Destany Schafer (Stage Manager & properties)
Kayl Spelvan (Producer & Sock puppet design)
Blake Senseman (co-set designer)
Terry Ronald (Lighting designer & operator)
Bob Mills (Sound designer & operator)
Dara Borstein & Michael Boyd (Light operators)
Deirdre Root, Gary Thompson, & Nick Vanderpool (Stage crew)
Carol Finley (Costumes & stage crew)
Barbara Jorgensen (Costumes)
Patti Bell (Properties)
John Lavarnway & Tristan Cupp (SPFX Make-up design)
Dr. Barry L. Gridley (SPFX contact lens)
Fred Boomer (photographer)
Special thanks: Bob & Toni Lynch; Sgt. Frank Navarre & Officer Rick Shiverdecker
- Dayton Police Academy; Kathy Schommer - Kettering Rec Center
And, of course, K.L. Shnorrer for giving up his Equity card for this production!
NIGHT AND FOG:
Rehearsed Tuesday night and last night. Tuesday we polished off the last of the
blocking for the show, or close to it. Last night we ran all but the Ernst Von
Helldorf (Chuck Larkowski) scenes. as Chuck had a brush-up rehearsal for his
current show, The Lion in Winter at Playhouse South.
Last summer, with Inside the Gatehouse I was most certainly the first
person off-book. This year that ain't even close to true. No one is perfectly
off-book, but a couple people are doing pretty good.
I have had little time to really begin the memorization process. I have until July
6, a rehearsal I may miss anyway due to auditions for the Springfield StageWorks
auditions for C.G. Bond's Sweeney Todd. And I will shortly have time freed
up to start serious line study, so I am not worried.
I also, like last summer, have taken on sound design for the show. A few air lifts
and a few other incidentals. It'll be a snap.
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
Despite some minor, last-minute threats, it appears the final principal photography
shoot will indeed take place tomorrow at home of actor Debra Strauss and
musician/actor Mike Rousculp (of the Beatle tribute band
Ticket To Ride).
Director of Photography Fred Boomer left a voice message on my cell last night, as
I was in Night and Fog rehearsal, to let me know he had to take his van in
today for probable work on the bearings. Being the trouper and good guy that he is,
Fred was not planning to bail on the shoot, but we were looking at me coming into
Dayton to get him and the equipment for the shoot. Not a problem but not so very
convenient, either. But Fred called me today to say that he rented a jeep.
Time start planing for the next step, post production. I need to get some off-screen
voice work from Loren S. Goins and some others. I need to start planning gathering
and adding Foley sound. There is a whole range of music to be dealt with,
incidental score music, music from radios, PA's CD players. I have local composers
and recording artists to approach.
I also may have some *pick-ups to do. I am thinking I want to grab an establishment
shot outside of an exterior to represent Balboni's. That may wait until next winter.
I think I want snow on the ground. I may grab some other pick-ups,too. I have on a
general idea at the moment about what I want.
Then there's the planned stand-alone edit of "The Audition," the segment
featuring Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts. And there's the actual editing of
the whole thing.
Plus, I still don't have a proper title for the movie.
*PICK-UPS: footage shot after principal photagraphy has
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT -- THE FINAL PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY:
We wrapped principal photography yesterday with the so-called final segment to this
loosely-connected story arch for this odd little improvisational movie. Now I'm
faced with the daunting task of editing together something that is even relatively
cohesive. My challenges are greater than that, actually. I have major color hue and
color temperature corrections between the three cameras to contend with. But that's
all in the future.
As previously indicated, the shoot was in the absolutely beautiful home of
musician/actor Mike Rousculp (of the Beatle tribute band
Ticket To Ride) and actor Debra Strauss,
both with whom I have worked on various theatre productions, the last being Debra
in the Feb/Mar 2008 DTG production of Gore Vidal's The Best Man.
We finished off with a three-character scenario. Barbara Joergensen returned as
matriarch Leola Davenport, Duante Beddingfield was back as Rev. Marcus Washburn,
and Wendi Michael was introduced to the movie as Leola's oldest daughter, Devan
It was another good day, and after a few false starts we shot the whole segment
pretty much in tact, save for that we did shoot some portions out of sequence.
*As is so often the case in movie shoots, the very last thing shot is the very
first action of the sequence.
There was a street fair going on few blocks down in Tipp City and Barb (Leola) made
mention of it in scene, so when we were done with the shoot at the house, by doing
our one exterior, Duante (Marcus) coming up and knocking on the door, I walked down
with the small camera and shot random shots of the fair. So, the first thing you
will see in the segment is a few seconds of the street fair (the last footage shot),
then you'll see Marcus leaving his car and knocking, (the second to the last thing
I'm thinking that, as part of the post-production pick-ups I do, I'll head over to
a Yellow Springs street fair and
shoot more footage. This movie takes place in a fictional small mid-western town
called Bellcreek. I can use footage shot in various little burgs all around the
Plus I have the exterior establishment shots for Balboni's that I have decided
do need to wait until next winter. I have decided I do want snow on the
ground. I've not even settled on what structure I am using. I have given the thought
to the outside of the Guild building on Wayne, but just because the interiors of the
restaurant and the bar area were shot there does not mean that the exterior needs to
be. And the Balboni's office was shot in the Bushnell building in Springfield; the
basement was in the State Theatre in Springfield.
Beyond pick-ups, beyond off-screen dialogue I still need to get, beyond beginning the
process of getting music together (which is several different processes within
itself), within starting to look for and create Foley sound, I have a lot of work on
the video itself.
I have to take the best audio from each sequence and put it with the other video
for each take. There is that color correction that needs to be done, and I think I
am going to be doing some other processing of the video to make it look better. I
have an idea that I think might work.
It's a good thing that I am looking at this as an instructive experience, because
I believe the disjointed connections between the sequences may make the final
cut pretty unfocused to an audience. And believe me, that is nowhere close to
comment on the work the actors gave me. No, no, not at all. They all came in and
gave me real people with real thoughts and emotions and they dealt with the scenes
with great instinct and savvy. Granted, the Natasha Randall/Craig Roberts sequence,
"The Audition," was straight-out played for comedy, and is actually kind
of out-of-place in the movie, they still brought great stuff to the table.
The goal is to work hard to make the movie look as good as I can and to edit a
story worthy of the work the cast and crew has put in. Yes, now I have to edit a
lot of footage so the final cut will match the caliber of work all my collaborators
have given me. My worry is that I will not be able to do that. My solace is that
there is a banquet of educational nutrition in the whole process for me as a movie
maker to consume.
And yes, I am still aware I have yet to write accounts of the
January 31, February 22, and March 8 shoots.
NIGHT AND FOG:
It's almost noon. I still have improv movie footage to import onto my computer.
But I still dedicate a huge portion of this day to line study. I will get the lines
onto the index cards -- No, I have not done that yet.
Then, as I am doing some badly needed house work -- seems I have written this
sort of thing before -- I'll start the memorizing crunch, which as yet has not