The streets of San Francisco
are a little emptier
and Mitch has gone
NIGHT AND FOG:
This past Monday and Tuesday nights rehearsal went well.
I'm hardly close to off-book, but then, off-book deadline is next Monday night. I
have an extended weekend to get to off-book, and not a major amount of lines to have
to deal with. I have no concerns. Besides, off-book day is off-book day. So, what
you do is you come in off-book. That's just the way it is. I doubt I am perfectly
off-book this coming Monday, but I will be not too far off bull's eye.
This last Tuesday I discussed some thoughts on Stratton with director Saul Caplan
in relation to a term Stratton uses: "ass deep in alligators." My thought
was that clearly this indicates that Greg Stratton is a southerner, probably from
Florida, Alabama, Louisiana or Texas, one of those states that have such creatures.
As I discussed this prospect with Saul Caplan he related that just a few days back
someone told him "ass deep in alligators" is an old military expression.
So now the origin of the phrase is in question in my mind. My thought now is that
it likely came from perhaps British military occupations and campaigns in Africa and
may have originally been "ass deep in crocodiles" just as easily as
"alligators." But maybe that's just a bias of my British Isles heritage.
Otherwise, in general, Saul told me he thought my Stratton was "coming
along." In general, I guess I agree; but, there's more to develop, I know.
Tonight we run the whole show, our last rehearsal with books in hand -- those of us
who still need them.
I've made arrangements with the ST director, Ron Weber (whom I've appeared
in several shows with for SSW), to do an early audition next Monday afternoon and
then come to the regular auditions Tuesday evening so he can pair me with others
who are auditioning. Monday Ron will have me read several of the monologues he's
pulled as sides from the show. I have told him that my interest is in Sweeney,
himself, and Judge Turpin.
Despite that Monday eve is the first off-book night for Night and Fog, I am
sure, with all the time off, I can both get off-book for the show in rehearsal and
well prepare myself for the Sweeney auditions.
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
This is likely a pipe dream but the plan is to finally
chronicle all the shoots that I have not recounted yet, and fold last weekend's into
that. The Idea is I will do this over this long weekend I have coming up.
One point I will mention right now. We were having problems with camera 2 at the
shoot last Saturday. The camera would not zoom. So we placed it as the static camera
on Marcus (Duante Beddingfield) in the seated position he has for the bulk of the
scene. The camera has more serious problems. I found when I was looking at the
footage later that the first several minutes of shooting on that camera was blank
and silent. The good news is there is enough coverage and some editing work-arounds.
The bad news is that it's most probable that for a time in the scene Marcus will
not be on screen for at least a few lines that I think I'd rather he be.
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them
with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the
separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of
nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of
the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes
destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or
to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation
on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed
to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long
train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object
evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is
their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to
provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the
patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity
which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of
repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the
establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove
this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary
for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and
pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his
assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly
neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them
and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public
records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance
with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with
manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause
others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of
annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their
exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the
dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for
that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners;
refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and
raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his
assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of
their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of
officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the
consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior
to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his
assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders
which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring
province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and
enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and
fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and
altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his
protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns,
and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries
to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already
begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled
in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high
seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners
of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored
to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian
savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction
of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress
in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered
only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by
every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We
have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature
to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded
them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We
have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have
conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these
usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and
correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and
of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity,
which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest
of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America,
in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the
world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by
the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish
and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to
be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all
allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection
between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be
totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they
have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances,
establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which
independent states may of right do. And for the support of this
declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes
and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams,
Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William
Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis,
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis
Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin
Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George
Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles
Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson,
Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot
Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr.,
Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Rehearsal was okay for me Thursday but nothing fabulous.
There was a lot of good stuff but it came from the others. One problem I'm
encountering is a blocking move my Stratton makes that is much quicker than Director
Saul Caplan wants. I need to build in a stop to interfere with my instincts because
I am urged to be swifter. The note to hold it, by maybe a half second, has come up
Beyond that, not much discernible progress but I hope that changes by tomorrow
evening. I've been woodshedding my lines and will be off-book by then. I also hope
to have much further developed Stratton himself considerably by then. I'd like to
have a stronger sense of who is standing there, much more than I have now, though
I have worked on it some over the weekend.
Friday afternoon I went into Dayton to shoot video and still photographs of the
progress of the construction at the new theatre building.
I'd hoped to shoot workers on the job but they apparently took the Third off as
part of the holiday weekend, as did many places including my employer.
So what's the progress?:
The ditch that is the precursor to the handicap ramp in front of the building, right
on Wayne Avenue, has begun. The white stuff that looks like snow is concrete. Since
I know almost absolutely nothing about construction I could not explain what the
little pools of concrete are about.
The corners for the actual mainstage theatre area are in place, too. My
understanding is that the walls will not be a part of the Phase One work so Les
Liaisons Dangereuses, as well as several further productions, hell, perhaps all
the productions for this 2009/2010 season, may not see solid walls. The most recent
information I am privy to is that we have $162,000 to go to have a finished theatre.
Guess I should check the Megamillions web site to see if
I am giving a fat check to DTG as well as producing that SAG movie.
Monday night was, of course, that first, struggling, Oh
Jeez I thought I had this, off-book night for Act I.
There was no one who did not have to call, "Line," whatsoever; it was a
fairly evenly spread-out spectrum between rarely and frequently for the cast. I
did pretty well, though we ran the show twice and both times I dropped the adjective
incredibly for a particular line.
Without the book in my hand I was able to be more engaged with my scene mates,
particularly Jennie Yeaman (as Val Thomas). Though we still got a note to lighten
it up. There's been, apparently, some miscommunication on precisely what that
means. My initial take was that Stratton was to be more chummy with Thomas. This
would mean that I would need to change my approach to Stratton because the Stratton
I believe is in the script would not be as familiar as what I thought I heard he
should be. It's clear, for one thing, from the dialogue that they are newly
acquainted, or else Val Thomas would not need Stratton to reveal to her many of the
things he reveals. Monday it was clarified that the idea is that their tone
become more conversational. I still think I have to adjust him to bring him to the
level of conversational that Saul wants. My reading places him a bit stiffer even in
the "banter" portions of the scene. But I will give abandoning my
interpretation to some extent the trial I should. It's that
"Principle of Collaboration" idea. On
the other hand there was that part of Saul's note Tuesday that I am bound by my
approach to acting to heed with strong earnestness. He invoked the idea that we be
less "theatrical" in the conversation, which is a goal that I usually
shoot for unless the particular play (such as Catch 22) demands not be the
case. We are back to "Less 'acting,' more 'being.'"
Tuesday was Act II off-book night, but I missed that due
to Sweeney Todd auditions.
IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
So we have another weird little technical glitch concerning
the footage from the June 27 shoot. I have two longer clips from the shoot, the
camera 1 and camera 2 footage of the entirety of scene 1 take 2. Both run about
twenty-two minutes and the movie files are each a little more than four gigabytes.
I cannot copy either clip over onto my portable hard drive that I use for backing up
movie projects. I even tried recapturing the footage off of the tape, working with
the theory that the original clip files were somehow corrupted. The problem
remains. I may cut both movie files in half, to have a part 1 and part 2 for each.
It seems like it's the file size that is the problem, which I find odd. I have
copied whole folders that were lrger than 4 gigs over, so I am not sure exactly why
the size is the likely issue; yet all evidence points to that.
Meanwhile, I try not to think about what comes next in this whole process of getting
this project to whatever final cut there will be, least I be overwhelmed by the
thought of it. And the essay has --
is anyone surprised by this? -- not yet been started.
Went to Director Ron Weber's place Monday afternoon to read three monologues as
audition. I went and read with other auditioners last night. I was targeting either
Todd or Judge Turpin. I was read only once last night for Todd so I'm thinking that
I have more of a chance as Turpin than Todd. Kinda wish I could have read more as
Todd, I think I had some reads that were worth seeing.
A mixture of good and "eh" for me at
Thursday night's rehearsal. Some progress in the performance but one major
crash-and-burn on a monologue.
Like I indicated before, I needed to change up ol' Greg Stratton in order to have
him be as conversationally relaxed as Herr Direktor wants. Sometimes in my search
for the personification of the character I am to play I will start the process,
beyond looking at the text to see what it demands, by casting the part in my head
with an actor I think could fit the billing. From there I experiment and adjust as
I better understand the character in the text and as I work with my collaboration
with the director. I almost immediately cast
due to his work as Maj. MacGillis on
The text of the play seemed to suggest such an approach to Stratton, i.e. a similar
man in Stratton to that of MacGillis: a little uptight and quite reserved; pretty
much always in control of his emotional appearance; very proper and a buy-the-book
I started with McRaney's MacGillis as a model and set about adding and subtracting
as seemed appropriate. Mind you, I was not imitating McRaney's work, I was simply
visualizing him in this role but still being Storer, not McRaney. I don't know if
that makes sense to anyone but me, but there it is.
In my realignment I am focusing on the actor
J.K. Simmons (currently Chief Will
Pope on The Closer). Again,
I'm not trying to do a impersonation of of Simmons as Pope, I'm just using that as
a springboard. I think I've written about this before and touched on how I doubt I
would come off like any of these actors I am borrowing-stealing-channeling-(or
whatever) from, even at the beginning. I also do soon abandon my need to see
them in the roles. It's just a jump starter.
Maybe some day I'll not need to do this. I suppose I don't really care one way or
the other. It's a trick that works.
Tonight we are on the actual Dayton Playhouse mainstage for the first time. I
believe it's one of only three times, maybe four times, that we are on the main
stage before the actual performance on July 25. I'm not sure if it's three or four
because I am not sure whether we are at the playhouse this coming Thursday or we
are using one of the other facilities we've been in, provided by various cast
I have what pretty much amounts to a pseudo-cameo in this production --
"pseudo-cameo" because a true
"cameo," by today's standards, is a brief appearance by an actual
celebrity with great star power. In that case, it's a type of stunt
Director Ron Weber cast me in the role of Jonas Fogg, who has one scene in Act
II. As I shared with someone a couple days ago, when it
was only a possibility that I'd be cast in that role, Jonas is a character role
that gives an actor license to ham it up with impudence. I can go quite over the
top and know that Ron wants such.
I cannot deny that, egomaniac that I be, I wanted Todd or Judge Turpin, but, too
bad. This will give me a bit more free time from rehearsals, anyway, which I can
well utilize to focus on other things, like post-production for the improv movie.
And it will be a fun role. I sooth my ego by thinking of great actors like Anthony
Hopkins who took the relatively minor role of Van Helsing in Coppola's
Dracula. Mind you I'm not comparing myself to Mr. Hopkins. It's just a
ploy upon myself to bolster my sense of importance.
And, the Sweeney Todd cast.....:
I've not worked with Josh but I saw him do a mighty fine job as
Hamlet in that SSW production just a few months ago.
J. Gary Thompson
Gary I recently met. He took the call to be a back stage crew
member for the
Dayton Theatre Guild
production of Fuddy Meers.
Crystal debuted as an actor in my improv movie, though this show
will be her debut to the world, since the movie is not going to be
out before this show closes. I met Crystal at the same time I met
her husband, Wayne Justice -- also in the movie -- which was during
the production of Endgame for SSW,
where she was house manager and Wayne was the other lead with me.
I've seen Jessica in a few shows, including Creation of the
World and Other Business for SSW.
Worked with Ryan in American Buffalo and Catch 22,
both for SSW.
Since I missed the Monday night auditions, I don't have the whole story on this
aspect, which was spoken of in detail that night. Ron has created an improv
troupe to perform pre-show and again at intermission. He asked at the end of
auditions on Tuesday who was not interested in that -- I assume now he
meant as one's only involvement. I indicated that I was not, and really I meant
"as my only involvement." Of course, I was hoping I'd be either Todd
or Turpin, so my master plan was it would be irrelevant. Ron said to me, and I
almost quote: "Oh, yeah, I assume you would not be." He did
put me in the troupe, I think because my résumé lists improv work
and classes. Ultimately I am all right with this under the present circumstance.
He has me in character as Fogg. The rest of the troupe is:
Brent Eresman, Cheryl Eresman, Michael Eresman, John L. Hall, Nancy Mahoney
(with whom I work in Endgame), Carrie McKeever,
Sarah Smith, John Weeks (as the Balding Man).
There'll be sparodic rehearsals the next few weeks. The table read is tonight, but
I'll be absent -- Night and Fog rehearsal.
On a related note, I feel a bit critical about some of my performance in the
audition process, most especially when I did the monologues at Ron's place. It goes
to that whole concept of "making the bold choice." I have this
bothersome inhibition to getting to "the bold choice" with anything like
spontaneity. Ron, as I have indicated, wants most of the characters played big and
broad. I can get to broad and over the top but I often have to build to it. I find
that a hindrance. Oddly I usually don't have this problem, or at least as
pronounced of such when I have done improv work. I suppose it was because I was in
a particular situation and environment that encouraged such immediate bold choices.
All the times I was working with Jake Lockwood who is fab at creating such an
atmosphere. I need to be able to create such a place for myself in all my acting
MOVING DTG OUT OF SALEM
I spent a few hours Saturday morning to mid-afternoon helping pack up stuff on Salem
Avenue for the move to the theatre on Wayne.
Think about this: Les Liaisons Dangereuses opens on August 28. That is only
forty-seven days from now.
Last night we were, for the first time,
"OTFS," an acronymic term coined by our
director, Saul Caplan, specifically for FutureFest productions, that means:
One could make it "on the FINAL stage," which might work up until
that first rehearsal on that main stage when one realizes that some portion, perhaps
some large portion, of one's blocking needs to be changed since the placement of
often damned near everything has changed. At that point, "final" does not
address the situation well for most of us.
Between some character/acting work and a lot of readjusting our bodies on the
"final" stage, we did not get to
run the whole show. There was a bit of repeating particular moments for character or
movement finessing; plus we had to be off the stage by 8:30 to make way for another
FF show and their time OTFS. The rehearsal was by no means whatsoever a waste of
time, yet it was one of those times where a lot of productivity was accomplished
but it really did not feel so.
We skipped some scenes or parts of scenes that no one felt needed the sort of
attention we were administering. And we skipped some portions of particular scenes
since one actor from those was absent from the rehearsal, unless the others in the
scene needed to address something.
I don't believe I can report any progress on my Stratton's persona, but I have a
nice list of movement adjustments and such. I have a couple crosses that need to
start sooner as well as some business that needs to start sooner. Stratton takes up
the luggage of Rebecca Farrell's (Megan Cooper) and then soon has an exit. Last
night we worked with the actual luggage for the first time. Grabbing the luggage at
the point which I had been, now slows me down too much. Then there's a point earlier
when I pull out a map of Berlin to explain something to Val Thomas (Jennie Yeaman).
Getting it to the table and starting the dialogue connected to it was not tight
enough last night. I need to pull it from my pocket sooner.
I also had a clunky exit last night because I turned to walk out a door that is in
a slightly different place than the imaginary one we've been exiting. I also caught
myself, at least twice, moving (walking) in a manner that I do not like. It's a
sort of hesitant, uncertain lumbering I have a habit of doing on stage that I think
looks terrible. Who knows how many times I did it and was not conscious of it.
Another new element I need to work on are the hand cuffs on Ernst Von Helldorf
(Charles Larkowski). I need to be able to un-cuff him and cuff him with ease,
as if I do it all the time. There needs to be as much speed as possible. I also
want to be sure that when I cuff Chuck, I don't render him uncomfortable. My first
attempt last night was such a case where the cuffs were on badly and it was hurting
him. The cuffs are real, by the way, and there is only one key, a point of fact we
are all attentive to, I am guessing, Chuck more than anyone else.
Tonight we are doing a line reading, with our scripts. No blocking, just all the
cast sitting and doing a dramatic reading of the play. Thursday we are back
OTFS and can no longer call for lines. Our first tech is
Sunday. I need to have sound design done by then. I have the airplane fly overs. I
need several other things, including an appropriate telephone ring, a cell door
clanging shut, and a couple other sounds.
AUDITION FOR AN INDUSTRIAL:
Thursday morning I'm going to Columbus to audition for an industrial for a trucking
company. Got the call from
Peter Condopoulos at PC-Goenner Talent Agency
yesterday afternoon. Right now I cannot as easily get away from the rent-paying job
because of a few deadline-sensitive projects. I have had to turn down a couple
auditions lately. After consulting with my supervisor I called Peter back this
morning to let him know I can make this one. There's also some chance that an
audition for an indy film may float my way.
Last night we did that dramatic reading with our scripts. Director Saul Caplan
actually said he wasn't as concerned with the acting being turned on full and we
had a mixture of the levels of acting people brought to it. Most of us, like I, did
read the lines with our characters fully present.
We did stop on occasion to discuss things of various natures: what we thought was
going on in the moment on a particular page; what a character might be referring to
in another section; how long should a sound effect last in a section; several
ideas about changing blocking and business in sections; yadda yadda.
It was, I believe, a valuable evening. A big plus was that we all saw places where
we were getting lines -- that we thought we had verbatim -- slightly wrong. The one
of mine that comes to mind at the moment is one where I have been dropping
"Kevin." It's supposed to be:
I'm a combat engineer, Kevin. There's not much call for that outside the
Tomorrow night we are again "OTFS" on the
DPH main stage and we are now solo-flight as far as lines are concerned. If we go
up we must work around it. I would guess there will be line notes when we are done,
but that depends on whether Co-director/Stage Manager Deirdre Root is there. She
out of town and may still be tomorrow.
My hair is longer
right now than in my headshots so today at lunch I went into the woods by
campus and grabbed a few shots to use for the
audition tomorrow in Columbus for the trucking company industrial. Since I'm
auditioning for a trucker I took a few with a cap on. I'm going to send a 5x7 two
picture array, one with the cap, one without. I've sent off a print order and will
pick it up after work today.
I'm looking gruff in the array pictures because that array is targeted
specifically at the trucker role for the particular audition tomorrow.
I also may need an 8x10 for an audition this Saturday for a play in Cincinnati.
Peter Condopoulos at PC-Goenner called yesterday afternoon with this one, though I
may not be able to pull it off. The rehearsals are fast tracked and start this
Monday, July 20. I clearly could not make the first week of rehearsals since
Night and Fog is up on July 25. I clearly cannot miss any rehearsals for
that and the nights I'm off I need to be woodshedding my lines rather than
concentrating on a brand new play. So, I've left a voice mail for the producer to
get back with me to see if I should even trek down to Cincy. I also need to clear
the way with Ron and Sweeney Todd, though I'm thinking I may be good since
this Cincy show will close on Aug 22, which gives me six weeks to rehearse my one
scene in ST. Before I even broach this I need to talk with the Cincy
producer. Missing that first week of their rehearsals may be a deal breaker for
even bothering to read for a role.
"This particular emotional roller coaster wastes no time getting started and
there's simply not a natural moment to sneak in latecomers," it says in part.
I cannot wait!
MEANWHILE, THE REAL KING OF POP IS ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT:
Paul McCartney, whose genius creativity
and artistry, whose song writing savvy and whose rock and pop vocal styles all
reach deep, as a tantamount influence, into the fabric of pop music and
rock-and-roll, will make his first guest appearance on any of incarnation of a
David Letterman show, tonight.
And by the way, Paul did not self-appoint himself to his status as rock and
pop royalty, and his status is based on more than simply a couple top-selling albums
that got their numbers because of some well-produced music videos on a new
forum of commercial communication.
Last night was what can be called the first dress
rehearsal, though it was more like a mostly dress rehearsal. Not everyone
was in costume and some were in incomplete costuming. Myself, I am missing a few
elements of my costume. I need Colonel's insignia for my collars and, as it was
pointed out to me, it's Berlin in September, so I need a jacket. I'm hoping to
find an officer's suit jacket rather than a generic army jacket. For one thing, I
have a bit of salad of my father's I'd like to wear and I've already confirmed
that such is not worn on a soldier's shirt. I plan to pop by a local costume store
and see if I can get the insignia. I'm betting I can get a suitable military jacket
in the wardrobe loft at The Guild.
I'll be checking St. Vincent's Thrift Store and Goodwill for a proper-looking
belt, too. My shirt and pants are those that I used for Catch 22 at
During notes in the greenroom at DPH, Saul expressed that he was quite pleased with
the rehearsal and told us that, and this may not be an exact quote, but it's darn
close: "everybody looks like their character on stage and you can all be
proud of your work."
Always nice to hear.
This was, of course, the first night we could not call for lines, and there were a
few times various of us struggled, but there was no crash-and-burn moment. Twice, I
was about a beat or two late with the line because I had that momentary lapse of
Oh SHIT! What's my
-- and I straight-out flubbed at least one line. I'm supposed to say,
"Just give me a second to get your bags in the
jeep." What I said was, "Just give me a
second to get your things in the bag--uh--the car."
Otherwise I feel pretty confident about Stratton, though, I, self-critical as I am,
wouldn't mind if he were portrayed with a little more brilliance.
But I think we are 99% performance ready, just in terms of the acting value.
Just as all my other trips to Columbus to audition for a commercial, this one was
that same ol': Drive for an hour; audition for 90 seconds; drive an hour back
home. I say "commercial" rather than "industrial video"
because even though it was touted as an industrial, the cold text I read in Columbus
seemed to me to be advertising copy. I think it was an audition for an insurance
commercial, and though the name brand was not in the copy, I am sure I know what
company, because I have auditioned for that company through the same casting people
in the past. It makes no difference to me. Industrial video, television commercial,
whichever, I'd be fine with the gig.
On the other front, this possible new play in Cincinnati that Peter Condopoulos at
PC-Goenner turned me on to is a no-go. I talked on the phone with the producer
yesterday before I headed over to Columbus and, indeed, not being available to
rehearse next week is a deal-breaker. She did tell me to send the pdf of my
résumé and a good headshot j-peg to her, for future projects.
Unfortunately my attempt failed because her email in-box is full.
Well, the Cincy play still being on the plate as a possibility would have
complicated the next item some.....
There's been a switch up in the casting. Bengt Gregory-Brown
and I have switched roles because he has scheduling problems that prevent him from
committing to enough rehearsal time for the role of The Beadle. So he is now Jonas
Fogg and I am Beadle.
I must admit I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into Fogg; and the time to
devote to post-production on the movie would have been more than welcomed.
Still, Beadle is a good character role and, of course, more of a principal one, so
it's all good.
It does make it cleaner that the Cincy thing fell through, because I would have had
to contemplate hard giving it up had it still been on the table.
The guy in the video, by the way, ends up being correct, more or
less. It does end up being an mp4. Only he thought the camera would
create an mp4 but it created an mpeg. But I ended up converting the
final video to an mp4 to cut its size in half from the .mov I was
going to embed here.
Several months ago I bought a used Cyber-shot DSC-W50 for $100. I have not set aside
the time to get to know the camera and use it until most recently.
I took it with me on the trip to the audition in Columbus Thursday and decided to
give the movie feature a try.
So I shot a few moments on my drive to the audition.
Not really too bad a video for a little camera.
I see possibilities, especially for visuals without sound.
Shot a bit of video with the little thing at that Night and Fog first --
"almost" -- dress rehearsal Thursday night, too.
DR. CREEP NEEDS HIS PEEPS -- LOCAL
DAYTON CELEBRITY NEEDS HELP:
With his permission, I am regurgitating most of an email message from a
fellow named Rob Boley. This will only be of interest to those in the Dayton area or
those who once lived here.
Odds are, if you grew up in Dayton in the 70's or 80's, then you likely have
many fond memories of Dr. Creep, played by Barry Hobart. He was host of the
Saturday TV show Shock Theater from 1972 to 1985, and also co-host of
the children's TV show Clubhouse 22. Dr. Creep has also been very
involved in the community, taking part in parades, visiting sick children at
Children's Medical Center, and participating in the Muscular Dystrophy telethon.
Lately, Dr. Creep has faced health and financial difficulties. He's had five
strokes, has a balance problem and suffers from congestive heart failure. In
addition, he's taking care of sick family members. His many fans in the local
area have organized a benefit, Chaos in the Park, on his behalf. The event will
include food, games, raffles, vendors, and music. It will be held [today],
from noon to 9 pm at the Snyder Park Band Shell in Springfield. For more info,
Admission is free. Donations are welcome.
PS: For more info on Dr. Creep and Shock Theater, please visit:
Yesterday was our tech day. The plan was that we'd do the
cue-to-cue at 9:30 without the cast, then do a stumble run with cast at about 11:00.
It did not happen that way.
Mr. Sound Designer --
Saturday I finished off the bulk of the sound work for the show, but there was
some fine tuning that needed to be done Sunday morning.
There are many airlift flyby's in the show and sound operator Scott Bachmann
requested I reprocess them all so their sound levels matched. Saul had the closing
song and we edited it together with one last flyby. There was also another sound
byte Saul wanted that it took me a while to find. I found what we need and have
about five minutes from which we need about twenty seconds. We cherry-picked the
twenty we wanted. There's also a double flyby that needed to be an edit of two
planes on one sound file. All this sound sweetening happened on site Sunday
morning, on my lap top.
And to top it off, I burned everything to a CD-RW, but, DPH has an older CD
player that doesn't like them -- much like the situation we had at the Guild
until last year. Fortunately I was able to transport all the newly sweetened
files, via a thumb drive, onto Scott's lap top so he can put them into/onto
whatever medium he needs.
Actor Boy --
Not much to report. Re-sweetening the sound and a few other tech set-up
things went longer than planned and most of the cast had shown a bit early, so
Saul went ahead and had the cue-to-cue be with the actors, then we did not do
His sentiment was that we are in good shape, so it wasn't critical to not
miss a run yesterday.
Still, Megan Cooper did organize a line through that we did at Tanks Bar &
Grill over mid-afternoon dinner. I was held up at the theatre finishing off the
sound work so I missed the start of the line through, thus I missed the wealth
of my lines. I was told I was brilliant in the scene.
There ya go. I finally did brilliant work as an
actor and I wasn't even present to basque in my greatness!!
Tomorrow night is our Final Dress, then, though we have a couple line run
rehearsals planned, we likely will not do a full rehearsal again.
SHOOTING THE DTG MOVIE:
We cleaned out the Salem Avenue building a bit more on
Saturday and I shot a little footage there and at the theatre (I have to learn to
start referring to 430 Wayne Ave. as "the theatre" since Salem is
permanently dark now).
I also snapped a few stills of the work on the ramp for handicapped in the front of
the theatre, which will processed, probably tonight.
Meanwhile, there was close to an hour of footage I have shot over the last several
months that I had not dumped onto my computer. I dumped it all last night. There
may be some other footage on a cassette somewhere in my office, too. Guess I ought
to look. I plan to edit the first, shorter video, next week.
Thus far I have not been at a rehearsal but that changes this coming Wednesday.
Then I'll be back the first three days next week then scattered days in August.
1. Night and Fog -- Final Dress rehearsal tonight. And it's open to the
public for a suggested $5.00 donation. We plan to start at 6:00. Then we do line
work Thursday, with or without the book, I am not sure. Then a line run for
certain (WITHOUT the book) Saturday afternoon before the performance.
Last night's final dress/tech went mostly well with some
snafus. Several of us actors had some line flubs and there were a few tech issues.
In at least two instances that I am aware of, I had line screw-ups, one perhaps not
noticeable to the audience, one likely noticeable. The one the audience would not
notice is when instead of saying, "Time was I was
with him in a foxhole, on Kwajalein it was...," but what I said was,
"Once I was with him, in Kwajalein, in a foxhole...."
The other one was more problematic. Von Helldorf (Charles Larkowski), who is a
prisoner on death row, requests that my Col. Stratton remove his handcuffs during a
visit by Kevin Riley (David Shough). I do so while Von Helldorf says some line.
Then he has a brief pause and then one more brief paragraph of lines before
Stratton speaks. I jumped his cue and started my line which is supposed to be:
Herr Von Helldorf, I assume I don't have to remind you that there are two
MP's, with riffles, just beyond that door and they'll....
I started my line, early, then realized I'd just stepped on Chuck's line, then
allowed myself to be thrown by that and went up on the rest of the line. So I had
to just pull a paraphrase out that would get the correct message across. So what
came out was:
Herr Von Helldorf, I assume I don't have to remind you -- brief
pause whilst I go up and then regroup -- that
there are armed guards just outside....
There were only a few line flubs by others that I noticed and none were of a variety
an audience was likely to notice. Though, there were a few other actors who stepped
on lines as I had done and a couple talked about their line screw-ups which I had
Garden variety Final Dress issues, really. But the big point in a new play festival
is to make even a more vigerous effort to speak the lines verbatim from the text.
The performance is about page to stage and avoiding paraphrases or dropped lines is
paramount. I always shoot for word-perfect anyway, but here it's more important than
its usual importance.
There were some tech issues, but when you have only two tech runs it's just the
nature of the beast that there will be tech flubs unless you have almost no tech
cues and nothing of those few that isn't straight forward.
Another personal problem was fighting with the map I need to take out and unfold as
Stratton explains some things to journalist Val Thomas (Jennie Yeaman). There was a
little tear in a fold crease that caught and it must have taken me 15-20 seconds to
unfold the damned thing; that's a long time on stage.
We had a small audience and their feedback was good. As well, our notes from
Director Saul and Co-director Deirdre were positive and affirming. Saul once again
gave me good notes for my performance during long sections of the jail scenes
where I have no dialogue but need to be engaged in the scene. It could be easy to
zone out or at least appear as if I have zoned out. Plus there are times that
Stratton needs to be attentive since he is essentially the chaperone for the visits
between the journalist and the condemned man. And a few times I must jump into the
action to intervene if any physical contact between the other two threatens to take
I have good "internal dialogue" going on in those scenes.
Tomorrow we have a line through, without the books, which is I think the
best way at this point. No blocking, just sit down and run the show's lines.
Then there's a reception for the FF playwrights, adjudicators, officials,
volunteers, casts and crews (and maybe others for all I know), which I think most
of our cast is attending.
Then one more line run Saturday afternoon, then, the performance.
One other issue is the length of my hair. It is far too long for a colonel in the
U.S. Army in 1948. My initial plan was to get a military haircut last Saturday
afternoon. However, on my way home from working at
The Guild I realized that it
behooves me to not change my appearance from that I had when I did the screentest
last Thursday at the commercial audition. For screen work, especially, you are
cast as much for how you look as what you've done, and in some cases far more so.
If two or more actors all do a good, pretty equal job, of bringing the character to
life in the audition, the role will go to the one who most looks the part. In
commercials especially it is likely to be whatever is perceived as the stereotypical
look. A house wife needs to look like what it is generally agreed a house wife
looks like, a banker needs to look like that accepted image of a banker, a truck
driver needs to look like a truck driver, etcetera, etcetera. Depending on who the
target audience for the commercial is, the casting directors may narrow that
stereotype even further based on age, race, ethnicity, and physique.
In other words, if I am cast, it is not unreasonable to assume that the particular
length of my hair fit a particular vision the casting director, the producers and
the ad agency has in mind. To walk in with a different hair style might just be
At breakfast before cue-to-cue last Sunday, I spoke with Saul and told him I needed
to be sure I wasn't cast as the truck driver in the commercial before I got
Stratton's hair cut. Actually, what I figured was that the commercial would shoot
quickly and that I'd still be able to walk on stage Saturday night with the
correct hair. Saul's response was that I should acquiesce to the needs of the
paying gig. If I am cast and the shoot is after Futurefest and they want the longer
hair, then Stratton will just have to have hair a little too long for a military
Monday I called
Peter Condopoulos at PC-Goenner Talent Agency
and asked if he knew if the casting decision had been made and explained my
quandary. He advised me to wait until Thursday. So, I will assume at end of business
tomorrow that it's okay to get the haircut unless I hear otherwise. I may wait until
Friday afternoon to get the cut just to be sure. Our line run is at 6:00 Thursday
and I would want to consider 5:00 tomorrow as the close of business Thursday. That
would not give me a lot of time to get the haircut and make rehearsal on time.
My personal thought is that, given the product I am sure I auditioned for, my
experience is the commercial productions are fast tracked. There was no production
date given for the project when I auditioned but my guess is that it has already
been cast and is shooting this week.
So I am 99.99999999999999% certain I leave the rent-paying job on Friday and kick
off a week-and-a-half of vacation with a haircut. Then I head to a little pre-FF
gathering at Mr. Caplan's home.
Tonight is my first night at rehearsal, as I have said, for
the next show. I have not even looked at the script yet since auditions. It is a
blocking session, so I am not terribly concerned about coming with a character.
Still, I don't need to be there until 8:00 so I will look at the script some earlier
in the evening.
Then, at least two rehearsals next week that call for Beadle.
Good speed-through line run last night. Though there was a scene I slowed down in as
I was trying a new approach in that scene, since Director Saul felt the scene needed
something different, I believe he was correct.
Went to a little pre-festival reception for all involved and had a nice time
socializing with folk.
Tonight, at 8:00 p.m., Dark Room by Devon Boan.
On the hair length topic, I received no indication of being cast in the commercial
so I will be getting my military haircut after work as planned. Then I'm off to the
dry cleaners to pick up my costume then on to the little pre-show shindig at Saul's.
Rehearsal Wednesday night was short and sweet. We blocked one scene between Judge
Turpin (Randy Benge) and myself. Short scene, too. Ran it a few times. I doubt we
worked longer than forty-five minutes.
Turns out that I don't have to be back until next Wednesday. I thought I was
needed Monday but I miss-read the schedule.
Devon is the author of the book The Black "I": Author and Audience in
African American Literature, as well as essays, reference articles, short
stories, theatre criticism and poetry. Devon also acts and directs for the stage.
In the spring of 1964, Grey Elliott, an award-winning photojournalist with a
reputation for getting close to danger, has a disturbing dream about a lynching he
witnessed as a child. When he receives a visit the next morning from an itinerant
gardener looking for work, a series of coincidences convinces him that the man is
the ghost of his long-dead father. Now, after years of hiding his mixed racial
heritage, Grey must examine himself and confront the implications of continuing his
deception, a journey that becomes only more complicated when he learns that his wife
is pregnant. Grey retreats to the place he knows best to find the answers -- his
darkroom -- but the dreams continue and their outcomes grow more dire and sinister,
leading Grey to make one final bold move to try to stop them, or fulfill them.
Debra A. Kent
Webster "Web" Roy
special thanks to -- Steve Heman; Video production: Greg Nichols,
Shawn Green, and Jerime Kenne
A Snake That Eats Itself
by Chad Baker
Born in Beavercreek, Ohio, Chad now attends DePaul University in Chicago. His other
plays include Brothers Don't Say It, Spin Alley, At a Crosswalk,
and A Bad Day at the Office. While still in the area, Chad worked in stage
productions with the Snake director Adam J. Leigh as well as all the
Five years ago, the brilliant but unstable filmmaker Alex Woodruff suddenly and
mysteriously retired, and he and his wife Jeanie disappeared from Hollywood without
a trace. No one has been able to find them since. That is, until David Kelley,
Alex's former producing partner and best friend, shows up at the doorstep of their
rural Indianan home. He's finally tracked them down, but is he here for a friendly
visit, or is he trying to coax his old friend Alex out of retirement? Secrets and
true motives are revealed in this drama that unfolds over the course of a
progressively dark, twisted, and shocking thirty-six hours. As this trio of friends
discovers, there are some things we cannot run from.
Adam J. Leigh
Gregory Carter, Jr.
by Rosemary Frisino Toohey
Rosemary's plays have been seen all across the U.S. as well as in London and Canada
and she's won or made finalist in dozens of national competitions. The Body
Washer, her much acclaimed play about Iraq, has been done twice
Off-Off-Broadway as well as in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and several other cities.
Her drama, School Shooter, had a reading in London's West End and won her a
grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. She is anchors news on WTOP radio in
Washington, DC and as a SAG actor appears frequently on film and TV. See her
Trim, fit, and very neat, Larry is the "G-Man," a garbageman. If other
people have a problem with his job, too bad. He likes collecting trash just fine.
He's fairly successful with women, although it's mostly one-night stands. Frequently
he's with his easy-going buddy, Jack, a busdriver. He also regularly visits his mom
in a nursing home and that often brings him into conflict with the home's
supervisor. Still, it's nothing he can't handle. His well-to-do sister can't bring
herself to go. She still worships their late father, a man Larry remembers as a
But his orderly routine is disrupted when the boss switches his shift and Larry
makes an awful discovery. It triggers an ill-timed visit to the nursing home, a
run-in with the supervisor, and ends with his arrest. He's soon released from jail,
but he can't shake the memory of what he found in the trash and he finds it
impossible to go back to work. Then help comes from an unexpected quarter. It
leads him to a new job and the blossoming of a real relationship.
Pete/voice of Alan/Police Sgt.
J. Gary Thompson
Night and Fog
by M.J. Feely
M.J. was born and reared in Dayton, Ohio where he graduated from Alter High School.
He earned his BA in Theatre from Creighton University in Omaha and his MFA in
Playwriting from UCLA. His work has been recognized by the American College Theatre
Festival (the David Library Award for Best Play on American History) and UCLA
TDonald Davis Award for Best Play). M.J.'s play, Bookends was a finalist at
Futurefest 2006. Visit his website:
The year is 1948. The Soviets have blockaded Berlin, attempting to force the Western
powers out of the city. The Airlift, the Allied attempt to keep the city alive, is
barely two months old -- and it is failing badly.
Into the blockaded city comes Kevin Riley, chief foreign correspondent for the
American News Service. He has not been in Berlin since 1934, when he was expelled
by the new Nazi government. He's come back now at the request of an old friend from
that time, Ernst von Helldorf -- who is now a condemned Nazi war criminal about to
be hanged for his crimes.
But Kevin has come back only partly because of Ernst. He's also come back to face
the ghosts and monsters of his own past, ghosts and monsters that have pursued him
since he left Berlin, pursued him from war zone to war zone since 1934 and who have
now, finally, brought him back full circle to where it began.
Col. Gregory Stratton
Ilse von Helldorf
Ernst von Helldorf
special thanks to -- Dayton Theatre Guild; Playhouse South;
Staples Copy Center; Wright State University;
Middletown Public Library; Shannon Fent;
A VERY special thanks to Pontecorvo Ballet Studios
by Richard Manley
Richard began life as a writer in college and loved it, and from the praise and
prizes won, he'd say he was good at it. But then he took a long hiatus to develop
what is commonly called something to fall back on. He has, in recent years,
structured a lifestyle that allows him to write full time. His play, Matches,
took first prize in 2008 in the annual playwriting competition of the Oglebay
Institute's Stifel Fine Arts Center in West Virginia, and also had a reading by
Equity actors in a studio of the Manhattan Theatre Club.
"The new cadaver...will be referred to as a neomort. The ward or hospital in
which it is maintained will be called a bioemporium...." Willard Gaylin,
"Harvesting the Newly Dead," Harper's Magazine, Sept. 1974.
The play takes place today, or a few years into the future. A wealthy and
influential group of investors has taken advantage of existing laws and the
interpretations of a more libertarian court to open the first for-profit
After a year of relative calm, the enterprise is gearing up for a major Initial
Public Offering (IPO), in advance of opening new centers across the country. The
CEO, hired for his ethical reputation and previous financial successes, is paired
by the Board with a younger, more aggressive president. The play begins during the
week of the IPO launch, which is filled with critical presentations, as well as a
visit from a team of investigators representing The President’s Council on
Bioethics. The team is headed by a philosophy professor with impeccable academic
credentials and a great deal of Congressional clout.
Albeit for very different reasons (secular progress / a business legacy/ money and
power), all three of the key players want this endeavor to succeed. A wrench is
tossed, however, when it is discovered by accident that a family member of one of
these players, brain-dead because of a botched suicide attempt, is alive and
protected from all procedures within the facility. The resulting conflict of
convictions forces to the surface all of the issues that have kept such a facility
J. Gary Thompson
by Molly Smith Metzler
Molly is the playwright-in-residence at The Julliard School. Her awards include The
Kennedy Center National Student Award, The Mark Twain National Comedy Award, The
David Mark Cohen Award (ATHE), the Goldberg Playwrighting Fellowship, and guest
residencies at Sundance Theater Lab. Molly earned her MA in Creative Writing from
Boston University and her MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of Arts.
Molly is the playscript editor of American Theatre magazine.
When a New York gallery debuts his gruesome painting "Carve," struggling
artist Josh Darbin finally thinks he's hit the big time. But when the fictional
female subject of his painting appears shivering, angry, and most definitely alive
on his Brooklyn fire escape, Darbin is forced to confront his long-time assistant
and lover Jessa, and the dark secrets they've both been harboring. In this
suspenseful, romantically offbeat comedy, Darbin and Jessa are forced through the
rabbit hole to figure out how a supposed figment of Josh's imagination has bloomed
into vibrant, desperate life.
Eleanor Speert -- A past publications director for
Dramatists Play Service,
Eleanor is a playwright and the founder & president of Speert publishing which
offers self-publishing services expressly for playwrights.
The play got a great reception from the adjudicators after the performance on
Saturday night, but then two other plays did, too. My prediction was that the
Sunday afternoon play, Carve by
Molly Smith Metzler,
was going to win. It is a sharply written and well constructed play. It was
certainly a strong contender as was Richard Manley's Quietus with some
incredibly rich dialogue and interesting characters, both features that were able to
pretty well carry one over the abundance of words spoken. Adjudicators and some
audience members alike had some suggestions for both those plays, but I was not at
all preparred to count either out as the adjudicators' pick. And I would not have
felt we had been robbed if either had taken the prize.
But, despite the adjudicators pretty unanimous advice to consider re-writing the
front end of the play, they gave the win to
As I posted on Facebook (with some
Congrats to playwright M.J. Feely as well as my fellow cast members Geoff
Burkman, Megan Cooper, Charles Larkowski, Brad Mattingly, Cheryl Mellen,
David Shough, Jennie Yeaman, and the production crew Saul Caplan & Deirdre
Root (co-directors) and Shannon Fent. Night and Fog winning was no
shoe-in: a lot of good writing and good acting over the weekend.
It was a nice weekend that I'll detail better here soon.
I'm on vacation all week so I likely have some good time to dedicate to recountng
Yeah, yeah, you don't have to remind me that I make
these sort of weak promises all the time
Right now, I'll add that beyond the win, Night and Fog went over most
excellently. The cast as a whole was complimented profusely, by adjudicators and
audience alike. I got lots of personal complements and was present often when this
or that fellow cast mate was complemented. And our playwright, Mr. Feely, was quite
pleased with our representation of his words.
Yesterday, about 9:00 last night, in fact, I posted the following status on
K.L. Storer is on vacation, OD'ing on pizza and parmesan garlic bread, and
rootbeer, and being far less productive than I'd planned and I don't give a
Unfortunately, the truth was that I SHOULD have been just about finished
with rehearsal at about 9:00 last night.
Yep, for the first time that I am aware of I missed a rehearsal call. Actually, I
may have missed one once when I was sick, but I have never been a no-show without
legitimate and proper notice. Fact is, I overlooked it on the schedule when I
transferred the dates and data from the original email notice of the schedule into
my iCal. When I consulted my calendar for the week it looked to me like I had last
The good news is that at least the Beadle's role in the scene was minimal and it was
no detriment to the rehearsal that I was AWOL.
I shall, indeed, be there tonight, as scheduled.
CALL FOR EXTRAS FOR A MOVIE PRODUCTION:
J. Gary Thompson, who did a great job
as Howard Bell in Quietus at
FutureFest 2009, and
is Sweeney Todd in the forthcoming
Springfield StageWorks production
of the C.G. Bond play version, is casting director for the short narrative movie
Sunday Spin. There are shoots this weekend that need extras. Here's J.
Wanna be in a film? Looking for extra's for the Sunday Spin movie
shoot. Locations are Oakwood and Wright State University. Friday and
Saturday at noon. Dress is business casual (look nice). We need all ages.
I'm in Indianapolis and tomorrow morning my friend Dave and I will hit the road north
to Chicago to see this award winning play.
There is some kind of a chance, though I think not very much of a chance that I may
be able meet this impressive actor. I have a slight acquaintance with VGT
resident director Andrea J. Dymond. But truth be told, there's only that one slim
chance and looking at it all, I doubt very much that meeting William Petersen is
truly in the cards.
First off, we are seeing the 5:00 show. There is an 8:00, but this is really intense
drama and I have to think it's pretty draining on him. In between the two shows he's
not likely to want to entertain a meeting with a fan, and I don't at all blame him.
Plus, this man played the central character on what was the most popular television
show in the world, and still is pretty high up there. People are trying to meet him
all the time. If he's gotten a little weary of that, again, I cannot blame him. And
my acquaintance with Andrea is simply that, an acquaintance with a woman who barely
knows me so there's no reason to think she is any sort of a good door in nor should
I expect her to be. In the end, though hope springs eternal -- I cannot be
disappointed if I do not get to shake Mr. Petersen's hand and tell how impressed I
am with his work, but I'm all for it if it materializes.
William Petersen is an actor who gets it that less is more and that a subtle,
understated performance is often most effective and strong. Gil Grissom was
effortlessly real and a lot of actors who get paid a lot of money can't present
such a performance.
Meeting Mr. Petersen or not, I will have what I am most confident will be a great
theatrical experience tomorrow.
And, for as long as it's active, check out the video excerpt of a scene from the
play that is posted at the Victory Gardens Theater web site:
My name tag and weekend pass.
The playwrights minutes before the closing meeting and the
announcement of the festival winner. The winner being Mr. M.J.
Feely, the second from the right in the picture.
Charles Larkowski and David Shough of Night and Fog.
Megan Cooper from Night and Fog.
Brad Mattingly and Geoff Burkman of Night and Fog.
Cheryl Mellen and Co-Director Deirdre Root of Night and Fog.
On the right, Dayton's own Chad Baker.
Jeanie Yeaman of Night and Fog.
The ANS office; the set of Night and Fog.
Devan Boan and M.J. Feely.
Molly Smith Metzler and Megan Cooper.
Partying after the day is done.
This took a bit longer to compose than I expected. I actually have had
to continue it and then finish it while out-of-town.
My bio for the FF09 playbill starts off with "FutureFest is one of K.L.'s
favorite theatrical endeavors...."
The opportunity as an actor to originate a role is an explicitly strong enticement to
audition for FutureFest each year, and I have to say this attraction is my number one
draw toward the festival. Plus, as was the case for those connected with the, I am
sure, soon-to-be-celebrated Farragut North by Beau Willimon, it would be a
exquisite feather in the cap to have been one of the first to perform in a future
theatrical supernova. Add in the arts-festival atmosphere and FutureFest is most
The year of Farragut North, in fact, I was not on stage at the festival. That
was 2005 and I was audience only. And, wouldn't you know it, the Willimon play was
the only play I missed that weekend -- I had an audition for a short narrative
movie, a part I did not win, by the way. That July weekend in 2005 hooked me, though.
Seeing a half-dozen new plays over a three day period, that may vary from mediocre
to excellent, feeds this artist's soul. It's vital and electric to be there in an
early stage of a play's public life and know I am witnessing and participating in
what is often, even usually, the virgin rising of the words off the page and onto
their feet in production. The "participation" I refer to here is that of
the audience members, since a play is an experience of story-telling intercourse
that succeeds best when the audience is present and mentally, emotionally and
Then there is the thirty minutes or so that occur after the curtain drops for a
FutureFest entry. There is tangible enjoyment in listening to the adjudications of
the contending plays. It's a delectable artistic and intellectual pot luck for me
(and I know I am not close to alone).
An adjudicator may make a salient point that is right at the top of my list. Or he
or she may make an equally salient point that has not occurred to me, so I learn
something. She or he may also be the one to say that thing that needs to be said,
which it might be possible will not otherwise be said.
The best example I have heard of this last item, though I was not present when the
words were uttered, was when an adjudicator said something along the lines of:
Every now and then every playwright has that play that they should just stick in
a drawer and forget about. I think this is one such play -- again, that is not
verbatim, but all accounts I have heard suggest that the idea was not off mark.
Of course, one of the satiating pleasures is to absolutely disagree with a point or
the whole opinion of an adjudicator about a particular play. The more lettered in
theatre, the more qualified to render such judgment, that he or she is, the more
fun it is to think she or he is wrong, wrong, wrong. Must admit that when it comes
to relishing this particular esthetic and cognitive clash I am a lightweight
compared to a few FF regulars I know. But I do still enjoy the occasional
"What does he/she know?" thought after the pontification of such a
David Finkle, New York theatre critic and I am relatively sure the adjudicator who
has returned to FF the most (at least certainly one of the few to have been here at
most of the weekends) has just posted an article about our Dayton Playhouse's little
festival at The Huffington Post.
He'd said on Sunday last that he would be doing so, and the article,
"FutureFest, Dayton's New-Play Competition, Thrives,"
is now posted. One of his observations is that FutureFest is "unique in that
it's the only new-play competition run by a community theater in the United
States." It is true, I'll add, that the
Humana festival, sponsored by
Actor's Theatre of Louisville is
relatively close by Dayton and happens every winter, but that is an Equity house.
Finkle continues, "The actors, directors, designers and crew receive no
reimbursement for their work, only the thrill of preparing and bringing off three
full productions and three staged readings of six plays chosen from (this year) over
200 submissions by playwrights eager to get a gander at what they've wrought..."
Then, as kudos to our local thespian pool, he declares, "the caliber of the
acting is unexpectedly high."
Then, now, my personal experience this year, mostly as an actor.
Now that I think about it, completely as an actor.
I don't know about other actors involved, but both my vision and my experience of the
whole weekend are strongly influenced by the fact that I am a cast member in one of
the shows; whether that is good or bad or simply an "is," I don't know;
yet, it is fact.
This is the third year in a row I've been in the festival play directed by Saul
Caplan and FF is the only venue in which we've worked together. Night and Fog
certainly was a good script to work in, but I must admit last year's Zipper in
Bill Hollenbach's Inside the Gatehouse
was meatier and more interesting than this year's Col. Gregory Stratton, though
Stratton was not at all a dreadful experience.
As was I think true of the other roles in Gatehouse, Zipper was a lead role.
Inside the Gatehouse consisted of four lead roles in an ensemble cast. I
list him as a lead on my résumé at any rate and do not whatsoever
believe I am misrepresenting the role. In Night and Fog, Greg Stratton is a
utility role, however, serving the purpose of exposition early in the play and he
represents the military establishment throughout. He's an auxiliary character whose
role is to help tell the story and move it along. On one occasion, with one simple
question, he plays a role similar to the Greek chorus.
That he's utility and auxiliary is not to propose that he's not rich with
possibilities for the actor stepping into him. Making the bold choice, on the other
hand, would be, in my opinion, a mistake and a grave betrayal of the text. Precisely
because he is the icon for the military, the representation of that establishment,
Greg Stratton needs to be disciplined, on target, keenly aware.
Our playwright told me he'd read my blog and knew I had been struggling with Stratton.
"Struggling" I don't think is the right verb; Searching seems more
appropriate. There was certainly a little work involved, but I don't think there
was a fight. I don't even believe that I was in what could constitute conflict with
Saul when he was re-directing me slightly in that first long scene with Jeanie
Yeaman (as Val Thomas). My work on Stratton was malleable enough that it was simply
an adjustment I had to make that would accommodate both his needs for the scene and
my understanding of Stratton.
As for the thespian construction of Stratton, sometimes I find it handy to think of
an actor, usually a pro from the movies or TV, whom I would cast in the role I have
been cast in. Often when I do this, which I don't always do, by the way, I think of
several actors and then concoct a blend of them. On at least one occasion I went
more after particular characters the actors played. For my Dick Jensen in The
Best Man I chose Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler and Bradley Whitford as Josh
Lyman, both on The West Wing.
Clearly when I have done this casting-in-my-head tactic I have already had an idea or
two about the character from the script or I would not have a notion about who I'd
cast. I'm not sure if I can defend the practice, for that matter, but it is one of
the ways to get started on a character and the times I have done it I do know it has
helped get a center of gravity for the persona. It has helped me make a template
that I can work out from and build upon. And all that is germinated from this is
always predicated on what I have read and gleaned of my character from the script.
I cast in my head like I would cast as the director, to meet the needs of the
character in the text and to meet the needs of that text, itself.
Aside from loaning me a reference for what I am building, I don't think there's much
resemblance between whatever I do and what the actor I've virtually cast would do,
even in the early stages when I am visualizing him -- or them -- a lot. I doubt
very much that my "borrowing" is at all transparent or that anyone could
identify the particular actors I'm pretending to channel. I am sure no one would
know what I was doing save for that I usually reveal it.
It's simply one tool of many.
Some will know that I used that tool for Night and Fog, casting first
due to his work as Maj. MacGillis on
McRaney's work as MacGillis seemed to me to fit the bill for a way to start my
approach to Stratton. As I wrote several weeks back in this blog, I saw a similar
man in Stratton to that of MacGillis: a little uptight and quite reserved; pretty
much always in control of his emotional appearance; very proper and a buy-the-book
But the wealth of Act I, Scene 1 is Col. Stratton and Val
Thomas in thick conversations that serve as the predominate portion of the
exposition. It's a long scene and it is most certainly exposition-heavy. Saul's
thought was that Stratton and Val needed to pal around, be very familiar, in order
to keep the audiences interest up and ready for the action to follow. It would not
be natural or in character for the Stratton I was developing to have as familiar an
interaction with a woman he'd just met as what Saul needed. And I know how
pretentious this makes me, but I could not go where Saul wanted me with this concept
of Stratton in the works. I needed to adjust him in order to properly collaborate.
So I re-cast my center of gravity to
J.K. Simmons and his current work
as Chief Will Pope on The Closer.
Modeling to some degree on Simmons' Pope, I had a Greg Stratton who, though still
reserved and still fitting the military brass tacks that I believe Stratton needs,
could still be less formal with a newly acquainted woman. It later occurred to me
that what I needed to do is allow Stratton to be attracted to her, that that would
free me and him even further.
I shared that last point with Saul and he rightfully pointed out that a man can be
most informal with a woman without being attracted to her. My response was that he
needed to let me get to where he needed me to be in the way I needed to get to it.
And, for the record, my Stratton, even the new version, can not get to the level of
informality and familiarity with a new female acquaintance that Saul needed in the
scene unless Stratton was attracted to her. That's not to suggest he was going to
act upon it, but it gave him the impetus to take more liberties in his demeanor
M.J. Feely told me that what he saw was that I got Col. Stratton down and then had to
work on Greg. I can't argue with that. I suppose the whole McRaney/MacGillis to
Simmons/Pope, the let's throw in attraction, and all the development that was
in course with this, and that development that was independent, was all to that end
of building the soldier and then building the man behind the soldier.
I should add that to some extent I threw Lt. Col. George A. Storer into the mix, too. I
mean consciously so, not simply because DNA makes such, to some extent, even if
microscopically, impossible to avoid. Dad wasn't a large ingredient in the Col. Greg
Stratton stew, but he was at least a spicing.
And it is always wise for me to remind myself that I might
just be taking myself a little bit too seriously. The last several paragraphs here
seem to suggest such, but what-a-ya-gonna-do?
So now that I'm finished pontificating as if I am
an Artiste, I
will say that I think I brought off Stratton reasonably well during the
performance. Mr. Feely liked the work and I got kudos from quite a few people. Have
to report that I did not feel as if it was "fabulous" work, though.
I will share that slightly before the festival started a fellow told me that he and
some others were discussing, at some point, the casting of the various shows and that
one of those with him opined that he or she did not think I had a military demeanor.
The man I was talking to had seen our dress and said that I certainly had a military
demeanor that night. My response to him was that I, K.L.Storer, did not have to have
a military demeanor; Col. Gregory Stratton had to have a military demeanor -- that's
why we call it acting. Would I have to be homicidal and manic to successfully
portray a homicidal maniac? I'd like to think that Anthony Hopkins would be safe
person to be alone with. The fellow in the conversation with me, of course, agreed
with me; that was the point of his mentioning it; it was an affirmation for me. He
did not share who had the lack of faith in me, which is as it should be.
Now I add that another friend shared with me that after the Saturday performance she
was asked if I had ever been in the military because I had the whole deportment
down pat. So, for whoever it was that, I guess, thought I was miss-cast,
I send out a
raspberry to you.
Yet, still, despite defending myself, I do not feel wholly satisfied with Stratton
and I can't say exactly why, but it's probably because I am so damned self-critical
and wish to be
Further I am quite pleased to say I was in the midst of a strong cast with at least
two really stellar performances, as well as having good direction from Mr. Caplan --
and here's a shout out to our co-director, Deirdre Root and her copious sticky notes
to mark the line notes during that portion of the rehearsal process.
That's right Saul, I employed the word
In terms of our actors and our production, we were given strong kudos from the
adjudicators and others. David Finkle even when so far as to suggest that one
actor's performance, had it been on a New York Equity stage would be a contender for
an award at the end of the season. He did not identify the actor but our consensus
is that he referred to Charles Larkowski's work as condemned Nazi war criminal Ernst
Night and Fog took the contest prize and, to steal the sentiment from one of
our people, I would not have been shocked if it had not won but was certainly not
thrown a kilter when it did. You see, the play had serious competition. Molly Smith
Metzler's Carve was categorically strong competition and I would guess was a
photo-finish second place. It was hands down voted the audience favorite and I don't
think anyone who was conscious during the weekend can be surprised by that. It is a
well-written and well-crafted play and was served up in a well-performed and
Richard Manley's Quietus was another one that I believe was a strong contender
for the $1000 check. People had not thought that before its Sunday morning
performance. Before then, the concern about Quietus had been that it is
fraught with long monologues that threaten to bog it down. Manley is clearly in love
with language, however, and the prose is all of eloquent, smart and often poignant.
The monologues do in some cases drag on the momentum, but it is not at all to the
extent that had been predicted. The language and dialogue are so smart and the
characters are intriguing enough that the wordiness is usually overcome. At
intermission I discussed with another Night and Fog person how Act
I did not exist in the slow-motion time warp that had
been anticipated, that we were watching something that was indeed interesting. The
assumption we had made was that Carve was the only serious obstacle. We
decided we were incorrect. And Quietus had a commanding cast, too.
I am not at all suggesting that the other three plays were lousy. Actually, I can
only speak about two of them since I had to miss one due to an obligation.
Regrettably I saw only the very end of Chad Baker's A Snake That Eats Itself,
so since I don't know what built to that portion, I can make no valid judgment of
even the ending, except to say that what I did see was performed well.
It's also relevant to point out that Chad is twenty-two years old and has already
written several plays with some productions under his belt. Adjudicator Peter Felicia
pointed out Chad's age as the impressive fact that it is and added that he was
surprised to find out that a man of such youth had so successfully tackled the
themes of A Snake That Eats Itself.
The opening show, Devon Boan's Darkroom, certainly has a good concept and
employs an ambitious approach, with Boan mixing in some measure of surrealism and a
small portion of magic realism. The adjudicators and many audience members felt the
play needs work and some changes. It was pretty universal, with myself in the crowd,
that naming the lead character, a photojournalist of Caucasian and Negro interracial
origins, Gray is heavy-handed and too obvious and easy. There is also a party scene
that it was generally advised should be edited at least in half as well as refocused.
And there were other criticisms; still, I believe there's a really good play here.
Likewise, I think there's a really good play in G-Man by Rosemary Frisino
Toohey. I agree however with the suggestion that the lead character, Larry's,
gruesome discovery should happen earlier in the plot as well as being played more
centrally in the weaving of the story. It happens at the end of the first act then
is ignored far too long into the second act. When it is finally invoked, and as a
theoretical key component to most of Larry's Act II
conflict, it has lost any weight as a strong plot point for me. I also think the
romance aspect at the end comes too much out of nowhere. Ms. Toohey needs to give us
perhaps a little foreshadowing of the romantic development, or at least more
foundation bedrock to set it up. That said, watching the play certainly did not
make me groan. It was far from an unbearable afternoon in the theatre.
Both Darkroom and G-Man, by the way, sported some excellent
The popular notion is that this festival had a good batch of material and some
mighty fine performances. My opinion was there were no stinkers this year.
Can't close off without admitting that another thing I enjoy is socializing with the
adjudicators and all the playwrights, as well as the other actors and festival
attendees. For a little while over each FF weekend I pretend like I'm some sort of
player of import who gets to hobnob with impresarios of the
Personal pretensions aside, here's looking toward 2010.
Richard Manley during an intermission.
Now it's time to start concentrating more closely on The
Beadle and this production as a whole. We don't have to be off-book for a while
but it's not a bad idea to start that process soon.
I brought my script and index cars with me on my trip. Whether I'll be productive
on that score depends on time.
Rehearsal Wednesday night went well. I as blocked into the scene I'd missed on
Tuesday because of my DOH! moment and then we
reviewed my other scene in Act I, that which we had
blocked last week.
Actually I am in another Act I scene, I am part of what
is called a "dumb play," which is an enactment within a play, pantomimed
to illustrate a story a character is telling. In this case it's the rape of Todd's
wife, Lucy, as told by Mrs. Lovett.
Sweeney Todd director, Ron Weber.
Director Ron Weber gave those of us in the dumb play, who were present Wednesday
evening, a cursory idea of the blocking for that. The actual blocking session will
happen this coming Monday night.
As for any character work on beadle, I have yet to hardly begin. The only thing I've
thus far done is affect a voice, as I have told J. Gary Thompson, our Sweeney, I am
purposefully doing a crappy bad imitation of John Lennon with a slight cockney
Other than that I have done no work or study or given this guy much thought. Ron
had read me as him at the audition and I am at the moment giving him the same
beadle I did at audition. Whether than changes drastically or not is something I
can't predict at the moment.
I'd love to be able to write a little here about shaking William Petersen's hand
and the nice little chat we had, maybe even, with his permission, have posted a
picture of us over on the left here. The chances were very slim to almost no chance
-- if not indeed no chance -- that I could and would have the opportunity,
as I have already said. And, I did not get that chance to meet him. Too bad, but,
oh well; not unexpected.
After having seen the performance Saturday afternoon, I would not have minded the
chance to also meet and congratulate Ms. Hawkinson on her performance as well. Both
actors did excellent work.
Blackbird, which won the 2007
Laurence Olivier Award
(essentially the British equivalent to the Tony) for Best New Play, is a frank and
stark look at an unacceptable affair between a man of forty, Ray, and a twelve-year
old girl, Una. The play takes place about fifteen years later as the woman comes to
the place of employment of the man, now pushing sixty. Whether she is there to
confront him or confront something else is an opaque matter that the play questions
but purposefully does not answer. That what occurred in that past was pedophilia is
not a cut-and-dry, black-and-white determination in the text that unfolds on stage.
Ray insists he was not a predator and Una reveals that she was perhaps a bit more
sophisticated in her thoughts and desires than a pure victim is likely to be.
Technically, Blackbird is a one act play; truthfully it's a one scene play:
one, eighty-minute, jump-in-running, dramatic shot-gun of theatre. It demands a
total emotional and intellectual commitment from the two actors as their characters,
the man and the woman, parlay, relate, advance, retreat, conflict, connect, and
struggle toward whatever resolution is supposed to materialize. Petersen and
Hawkinson were up to the task when I saw them. They were superb. They performed with
such emotional honesty and presence and energy that when they took their bows at
curtain call, I could have sworn the performance had only been about forty minutes
They were awesome!
Even if I didn't get to meet "Billy," and Mattie, it was worth the trip
to my favorite big city.
And, since it's in the neighborhood, my buddy Dave and I drove down by the
Steppenwolf theatre on our way back to
our hotel. Then, while Dave went shopping at the Barnes and Nobels down the
street, I grabbed a few snaps of the theatre
co-founded. Now here's a minor thing, but I still, as self-absorbed as I can be,
find to be most cool: in the 09/10 Steppenwolf season are two plays I have had a
lead role in, American Buffalo, up at Steppenwolf December 2009 through
February 2010 and Endgame, April through June 2010.
I know it's not really anything important or
impressive, but I am easily thrilled by tenuous, flimsy connections between myself
and prestigious things.
Oh, and by-the-way, fellow actors of our non-Equity ilk: both VTG and Steppenwolf
are Equity/non-Equity houses. For whatever that's worth.
From Steppenwolf's 2009/2010 season -- I've had leads in
two of the plays. I was Teach In American Buffalo
& I was Clov in Endgame. Both for
A souvenir from VTG to support the arts, yadda, yadda.
Making use of my memorabilia in a most practical way.
CHICAGO! CHICAGO! THAT TODDLIN' TOWN:
Now to muse into a ramble (or ramble into a muse), I really like Chicago.
But, basically, I am pretty much a hard-core rural kind of a guy. With every day
that I age I am less inclined toward urban life. When my windows are open at night
I want to hear the sounds of biological music, the songs of tree frogs and crickets
I want my nightscapes to be void of city glow and rather richly painted with
thousands and thousands of sharply distinct, brilliant stars piercing a deep, dark
The little village I live in has probably a population of about five thousand, and
though I'm a simple two-minute drive from farmland it's still too large and I'm a
bit too close to cities and city lights. I'm still a little too urban for what I
Having laid down that foundation, I still really like Chicago and I occasionally
contemplate the idea of moving there, or close to it. No argument, a big part of
that draw is that it might be a better opportunity to attain more real
professional credits on my résumé.
How my level of thin experience at my age factors in adversely I am not sure, but I
know it has to, at least to some extent. On the other hand I can't imagine there is
any place where it has no impact.
Setting aside any issues of skill or experience as an actor that might make it a
bit vainglorious to think of moving to Chicago to try my wares, there's also this
I hate winter and I really hate Great Lakes
On occasion I'm emotionally urged toward a psychotic melt-down rather than tolerate
the winter in southern Ohio; consigning myself to winter on the shore of Lake
Michigan is not on my short list. Discussing this dilemma on the trip home my buddy
Dave pointed out that we adjust and get use to what we need to. So, yeah, okay.
Then there's the cost of living in Chicago. Certainly not the worst in America, but
more than a little bit higher than good ol' south-west Ohio; about 30% higher, in
fact, with less than a 10% boost in wages for my rent-paying profession.
The financial consideration is certainly not a big red X in a circle over the
Chicago icon, as neither is that friggin' wintertime up there, but they are both
factors to be conscious of.
The real issues here, I suppose I should be forthright about, are: how far outside of
my comfort zone would I be willing to go? How big a risk would I be taking and
would I be willing to take? What of real value can keep me where I am?
Yikes! - - - CONFRONTATION!!
SWEENEY TODD REHEARSALS:
Josh Katawick (Anthony) & J. Gary Thompson (Sweeney) in
Got back into the Dayton area in the afternoon Monday and hit rehearsals that
Was off last night.
Have rehearsal tonight.
POTENTIAL FOR AN AUDITION FOR A SHOW IN CINCINNATI:
Well there is an opportunity to
audition for a paying theatre gig in Cincinnati but I have a potential schedule
conflict with the audition date. I will see what's what and possibly work it out.
I'd like to go after the gig if I can.
Jessica Broughton (Mrs. Lovett) & J. Gary Thompson
We reviewed Act I last night,
with the deficit of a few actors -- their presence not their work. There
was no new blocking. If I read my schedule correctly, I am only needed on Monday of
next week. But, I already missed one rehearsal through misunderstanding and I don't
care to again.
Several actors are moving toward being off-book. I have not begun that phase at all,
myself. No worries; I start that work soon. I'm likely to have the index flash cards
finished and in my hands whenever possible by end of the weekend. And we don't need
to be off-book until after Labor Day, anyway.
So I may be currently behind some of my castmates, but I will be ahead of the game,
schedule-wise; as it appears shall be a healthy portion of the cast.
COMMERCIAL OR "INDUSTRIAL," OR SOMETHING:
I forgot to mention that just before I left to head to Indianapolis, the
talent agency called about submitting my
résumé and headshot for what I think is a commercial for a hospital
or healthcare facility in Cincinnati. It'll be a none-speaking role, so, no
audition. I did have to warn them that my hair is a bit shorter right now than in
my head shots.
In fact, I need to get some interim shots taken. Then again, a couple people have
suggested that I keep the hair its current length. One person even went so far as
to suggest that this current look might open up more roles to me. That has my
attention. So maybe these won't be as "interim But I do note that I can get
hair cut shorter in a matter of minutes. It can take weeks, or longer, to grow hair
to a desired length. And that can figure into things.
Just me and J. Gary Thompson (Sweeney) Monday night at rehearsal. The other actor
called was home sick. We blocked two scenes, that lead to the "unfortunate"
demise of Beadle, one with Director Ron Weber standing in for our missing actor.
I didn't spoil a plot point for anyone did I?
Blocking the one scene, the Beadle-demise scene is a bit precarious at the moment.
It deals with Sweeney's murder-chair and the trap door and the set is not yet built.
We got a nice little routine we are going fine tune the choreography for with some
nice gags involved.
A lot of the blocking is loosely defined at the moment because we are not exactly
sure of the set. A good amount of time was spent last night noting the placement
of parts of the set in order to have some scenes work correctly.
I double checked that night to confirm that I indeed am not called again this week.
M O V I N G T O W A Y N E
Last Sunday I spent some time both at the Salem Avenue building and on Wayne Avenue.
At Salem it was pulling down and packing and some transport. At Salem what was
happening was painting.
I shot quite a bit of DV footage and took loads of snapshots but I've hardly been
able to attend to processing. But here on the right is a photo of the entrance
ramp way for wheelchair access that is complete.
There are photos from the last session I was at, on July 25, that I'll throw in
at the same time I add last Sunday's pics. As well, I'll be at the Salem building
this evening to document the complete exodus of DTG from the structure. It will be
There was a workday on Sunday August 2, but I missed that one. It was the 2009
version of the annual picnic, annual meeting and Murphy Awards. I was first in
Chicago, then driving to Indianapolis, then hanging out and working on the blog post
about Blackbird. The Aug 2 event was a "bring your work clothes"
day where the invitees were put to work painting and such.
Not being there I didn't paint and there or not I didn't win any awards, wasn't
eligible for any. In fact, now that I think about it, I have no idea who did win
We have all sorts of workdays coming up. Next weekend is especially busy. There is a
contingency going over to West Virginia to pick up some theatre seats Saturday. I am
torn between that and a conflicting opportunity. There's work at Wayne both Saturday
and Sunday. If I don't go to WV I still can't make Saturday and I had planned to
record off-screen dialogue for an scene in the improv movie.
Then for Sunday there's also the fact that if I come into Dayton to work, I have to
find a place to shower and change for the
Daytonys and Dayton theatre Hall of Fame
reception later that day -- I really do not want o drive in then dive home then drive
As for work at the new building, there will be work going on quite frequently up to
the opening of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This Saturday and Sunday there will
be painting and other work going on starting at 10:00 in the morning. If you want
to come help: 430 Wayne Avenue in Dayton --
(CLICK FOR MAP).
You can also drop by afternoons during the week; Les Liaisons director Greg
Smith will be there working from about 2:00 every day up to his rehearsals at 7 p.m.
If you're in the neighborhood and wanna give a hand, feel free to drop by.
THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE" AND "LOYALTY
TO THE CAUSE":
As for me being torn between taking the road trip to
West Virginia for new theatre seats and a conflicting opportunity, I have been
made aware of a paying theatre gig in Cincinnati and if I want to avail myself of
the opportunity I will have to schedule an audition down there this Saturday,
whilst the DTG crew is on the road to the Mountain State.
The opportunity is for Dale Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as
produced by the
Covedale Center for the Performing Arts.
The show runs October 29 through November 15. The rehearsals will start October 5,
which is the week of the second set of performances for Sweeney Todd. That
would mean that I would not be able to rehearse in Cincy Thursday or Friday of
that week, and probably not Saturday unless I was wrapped early. That rehearsal
is scheduled to end at 4:00, but with an 8:00 curtain in Springfield, that might be
cutting it close.
Sweeney director, Ron Weber, has already said that if there is a brush-up*
rehearsal on Wednesday the 7th, that it would be all right for me to miss that, and
the Covedale producer said that missing those few early rehearsals would not be a
*Brush-up or Brush-up Rehearsal: More common in Community Theatre than
professional companies, a Brush-up is a rehearsal after a theatre production
is up and running. It is usually only a line run to keep the actors sharp
on their lines; rarely do the actors rehearse their stage movements and
even less rarely in costume. Brush-ups can be very informal and may be
spontaneously scheduled by the cast to take place in someone's home and
have even been known to take place in a restaurant or bar.
The role that I would audition for (and I am likely to audition) is Dale Harding,
the role played by William Redfield in the film. This is a paying gig, though I don't
believe it's Equity. Still it will count as professional stage work and I'd like to
get such onto my résumé.
This a weighing-the-costs situation. It'll be a 150-mile round trip to each
rehearsal and performance, which will amount to somewhere around 4500-5000 miles and
run me in the neighborhood of $500-$600 in gas. Not to mention two-and-a-half to
three hours of my day on the road. I'm doubting that the pay is much more than a
stipend so I probably would be down a hundred bucks or more. Plus I would have to
take several hours of vacation every week in order to report to the rent-paying job
a little later in the mornings and still not leave later in the day. I need time to
sleep enough (i.e.: up later) and work on lines (i.e.: afternoons before my
But the benefit that I see outweighing the costs above is that I would get a chance
to do a great show in a more professional setting, I'd get that first professional
stage credit for my résumé and, I would have the professional
stage credit on my résumé when I go to the
Human Race Theatre Company callback
for Rounding Third, which be anywhere from days to only a couple months after
Cuckoo closes, if not just before it closes.
The dilemma for me, the conflict that has me stuck between
thine own self be true" and
to the cause" is this: I feel at least a little bit of an obligation to
take the West Virginia trip this coming Saturday with the Guild folk. Not just do I
have an urge because I'm a board member but as the film maker who's been shooting
the whole move from Salem to Wayne and all the progress at Wayne, for a year now,
getting footage of this trip is a prime opportunity. So there's an artistic aspect
to this dilemma of mine. And I also want to go because it's a great adventure for t
he board members and assorted other volunteers who go.
Yes, I do want to honor my loyalty to DTG. But, here's the thing -- when I realized
I had to come back to acting, it was acting I was coming back to. Becoming the
member of any particular theatre's board of directors was not part of my goals or
This gig is a good move for my primary goal as an actor, which is to somehow beat
the odds and become an actual professional-level actor.
So, despite that I will feel some level of guilt, and little bit of the sense that
I am missing a cool adventure, I am more than likely going to end up down by the
Cincinnati River this coming Saturday.
But Sunday, I'll be painting (or something) at The Guild.
As of today, 2330 Salem Avenue is technically and officially no longer The
Dayton Theatre Guild. It's an odd and bitter-sweet thing. I did drop into the Salem
building yesterday in the early evening to shoot that DV footage and take those
photographs for the DTG new-home movie. More than a few times, I choked up.
The theatre space on Salem Avenue after The Guild vacated the
One long take I shot became more emotionally charged than I expected. I turned on
every light in every room and then took a long walking shot (technically called a
"shuttle"), starting in the upstairs greenroom. For the sequence I turned
each light off, with my hand on the light switch in frame. From the greenroom,
I worked my way gradually to the front lobby, where I turned off that light then
walked out the front door, securely closed it, then walked down Salem Avenue, away
from the building, with the big DTG logo getting smaller in the horizon. It is a
sequence I am sure will be in the movie. As I shot this particular footage, the
finality of the era of the Dayton Theatre Guild on Salem Avenue, and era that almost
spans my entire life, had come to an end, hit me in an especially profound manner.
CINCY NOT WV:
Meanwhile I made the hard decision -- in the direction I was leaning toward -- to
forego the trip to West Virginia with Guild folk to get the new theatre seats. Instead,
I will audition for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the
Covedale Center for the Performing Arts
in Cincinnati. I have not yet set up an appointment but will do so shortly,
probably right after I post this, in fact.
"In London 1671, during a plot to steal the Crown Jewels, things go horribly
wrong in this re-imagined transformative parody of Quentin Tarantino's 1992 cult
classic Reservoir Dogs," is the pitch line for the latest project of
Tina Gloss, who was the female lead in
Still Me and who had the recurring
role of Ned's mother on
Tina appears in and is a producer for this short narrative movie version of
Restoration Dogs. Chase White,
who was the doctor in Still Me, directs. They are using the short to pitch
for something bigger. "The ultimate goal," the short's web site says,
"is to have Restoration Dogs produced as a feature film."
There is also a play version in development at the present time. For more
information, check out the project web site:
Earlier in the week I ordered a copy of Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest through OhioLink. The copy I was to
receive for borrowing was from the University of Cincinnati. Wednesday night I
checked my work email only to find that the U.C. copy could not be delivered
because it was "not on the shelf"; that's library speak for
So I went back into the on-line library catalog and re-ordered another copy in
OhioLink from another institution. This time the lending institution was Ohio
University. This morning, however, the item was still "in transit,"
which threatens to place me in the situation of doing a very cold reading for Dale
Harding tomorrow at
Well it's early afternoon right now and I just checked. The script hasn't arrived
yet. We do have the DVD of the '75 movie but I really don't want to refresh myself
with William Redfield's version of Dale. My memory is that it was a pretty strong
performance and I don't want it fresh in my head when I read tomorrow. If the
script does not arrive today, I will just have to do a very cold read.
Either way, I am there in Cincy tomorrow at noon.
THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD'S OPENING NIGHT IN THE OREGON DISTRICT IS
Here's a call for volunteers from our V.P. of resources, Debra Kent --
August 28th is just around the corner - but we still have a lot of work to do
to get ready for it.
The dry wall has been put up in the new auditorium on Wayne Ave., and will be
ready to be painted beginning Monday evening. We will appreciate any help you
can give us!
Work hours next week (for painting theatre walls):
Monday evening (8/17), beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday evening (8/18), beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Thank you in advance for your help - see you there!
And a reminder - work hours for this weekend:
Work begins on Saturday (8/15) at 9:30 a.m. on Wayne Avenue.
Work begins on Sunday (8/16) at 10:00 a.m. on Wayne Avenue.
(There is painting to be done, and also cleaning.)
I did go down to Cincinnati yesterday to audition for Director Greg Procaccino for
the role of Dale Harding in Dale Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Covedale Center for the Performing Arts.
The audition was at noon but I left my apartment at about 9:30, despite that the
drive was, according to Yahoo Maps, a
ninety-minute trek. I allowed myself the extra hour in case I got lost, which I
did, and so I could arrive early anyway. Because the copy of the play that I
had ordered to borrow through the OhioLink
library system had not arrived in time for me to peruse to study up on Dale, I
wanted to get some time in looking at the script at the theatre before the audition
yesterday. I got there somewhere around 11:15 and was able to look over several
sides (seven separate sides to be exact).
At he start of auditions there were five of there. Procaccino had us read one scene,
between McMurphy and Harding, in pairs. Each pair did the scene twice, switching
between the roles. Only one reading as Harding for each actor.
In what is uncharacteristic for me, I actually feel pretty good about my audition.
At least once I caught myself moving in what I think of as that awkward lumbering
walk that I don't like from myself, but despite that, I was happy with my reading.
Now, ultimately I don't what that means beyond that I was happy with it.
I pretty much went with more-or-less the same character, or at least the same
character type as I executed for Serge (or, in our case, Stefen) for 'ART'
for Springfield StageWorks
back in 2006. During Greg Procaccino's coaching before we read, it was clear he is
thinking alone the same lines. I want to believe I got a vibe from him that I did
what he was looking for.
Now, the wait.
KATE, KISS ME, DAMN IT!:
Friday night I saw the outdoor production -- The Theatre Under the Stars performance
-- of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate, done at North Park Ampitheatre in
Springboro for Playhouse South.
Saul Caplan and David Shough, both whom I just finished working with in
Night and Fog were in the show, and had, in fact, been flip-flopping
rehearsals between these two shows, though giving Fog more attention until
it was wrapped. David had the male lead as Fred, who in turn had the male lead as
Petrucio. Saul was the thug, affectionately known as "Man Number One."
They both did good and it was a fun evening, despite the bugs and some competition
from forest night noise, which at one point briefly included some courting felines,
fortunately a little off in the distance.
Sometime during the day, between Guild work and my sisters I would imagine, I need
to at least get the footage transferred from the mini cassettes onto my hard drive.
That includes the footage I shot on Salem Wednesday night. The DV camera is due
back on campus by 10:00 tomorrow morning.
At least this one, writing this, will not be flying over. Got an email this
morning thanking me for auditioning. The thank you is in the subject header. You
don't get "thanked" for auditioning if you are cast. Just like a director
does not make a point of telling you what an "excellent" read you did if
he or she is going to cast you. Well, these are probably not always the particular
case in question but neither rarely is not the case.
And in this case, It's On To The Next
It was going to be a long haul to drive anyway. And, I do have beau coupes of post
production on that movie thing to attend to.
One would think that I would be better studied at my lines, but I am not. I think a
problem is that I have been so sporadically in rehearsal that I don't have that
feel just yet that I am "in a show." I have not yet been completely
blocked, for one thing.
Well, I am sure to start attending more to the work now.
Duante Beddingfield's article in the Aug 19-25, 2009
(vol.6:no.35) issue of Dayton City Paper
-- Duante, for those outside of the local area arts community, is a fellow Dayton
actor (with whom I have worked several times), a local writer and, as of
tomorrow, officially a new member to the board of directors for the Guild. He
has a nice feature article about our move and our opening in the latest issue
Work to do -- Getting the place in shape for the
opening next week. It's going on every day, afternoons and evenings on week
nights. I had to skip this Monday through Friday due to Sweeney Todd
rehearsals. But I was there last evening, painting a door, and I'll be there
For anyone who wants to help, we'll be working, starting at 9:00 a.m. both
tomorrow and Sunday. It'll mostly be painting and cleaning. And the same this
coming Monday through Thursday, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Michael Boyd & David Sherman practice fencing for the Guild
production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, with the director,
Greg Smith, looking on.
One week out -- Les Liaisons Dangereuses
opens in one week.
I haven't been around much to see rehearsals but I have heard from several who
are attached directly to the production that they are very pleased.
I can tell you, if you aren't familiar with the Dayton talent pool, that the
cast is damn good.
Last night, Natasha Randall was there, acting as the production's fight
coordinator, to help choreograph a sword fight between Valmont (Michael
Boyd) and Danceny (David Sherman).
What they were doing last night looked really good, and they have not polished
A DTG movie -- I have taken the long sequence shot I
wrote of last Thursday, August 13, and have made it its own independent short
movie. I doubt I'll b able to use the whole thing in the final movie I have
planned and I did not want to waste it.
I need to recreate a different movie file with a different codex to replace
what's at YouTube since there are video quality issues with what sits on the
DTG YouTube page
right now. But at least there's a version to view, if not as clean as it can be.
The movie is, I think, most effective for those who have a strong connection to
the Guild and to the Salem location. Those with some distance from it all may
not be affected much, if at all.
For me, rehearsals are still not up to full-tilt-boogie but the momentum is beginning
As it turned out, Monday I didn't really need to be there, but since I was, we
blocked a scene that had yet to be blocked -- Act II,
Scene 3, to be exact. It was an easy scene to block, however, and we disposed of it
quickly, then I went home.
We worked all of II on Tuesday and all of Act
I on Wednesday. I still had my book in my hand and my
nose in my book, but then, we are not scheduled to be off-book until September 2.
That is not at all a tall order for me, especially only having five scenes with
We have the rest of our schedule and will be rehearsing, mostly Monday through
Thursdays. Ron has us doing something that I see as quite productive. We are going
to work one night on one half of an act, doing the scenes multiple times and
working on things, the next night the second half with the same care; the next
night we'll run the whole act. We will do that into the off-book period.
We also have close to two weeks of being off-book but prompted (i.e.: able to call
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy
February 22, 1932 -- August 25, 2009
YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT "CRUNCH TIME?"
My my, what a hectic weekend the last one was at the new digs; and from all
reports it's been so this week -- though I've not been there to see or
participate since Sunday.
As I originally key this paragraph I am not sure how many of the plethora of
photographs I've taken that I will be able to have readied to post with this entry,
but I hope at least some. (I still have some from previous work sessions to process
Last Thursday through Sunday I was there quite a bit, as we painted and moved
things and threw out things. I am more the a little sure I at the least made a
couple people in particular unhappy with me by my frequently interrupting whatever
"work" I was doing to pick up the DV camcorder or my digital camera to
grab footage and stills. Oh well; too friggin' bad. The video and the pictures
deserved to be taken and I'll be damned if I was going to pass up the chances.
There've been some varying degrees and doses of stress and anxiety as the Grand
Opening of the Dayton Theatre Guild's Carol D. Phillips Theatre Scape and the L.
David Mirkin Mainstage, in consort with the Opening Night for Les Liaisons
Dangereuses all rapidly approach on the near horizon.
There was quite a bit of painting left to do. Actually there will still be more for
weeks or months to come, but this immediate need was for the cosmetic sort that we
need for the opening. The dry-walling of the mainstage space was not dome on the
outside when I left Sunday night and we dealt with drywall dust all weekend. In
fact the ladies in the LLD cast had not dared to wear their elaborate costume
dresses in the space for fear of the dust. The sound and light booth area was
still an empty hole Sunday evening and no lights were yet hung from the grids in the
Nerves have been frayed and differences of opinion about what's next or how to
triage it all have been a little more pronounced in their expressions; but I don't
think there was any blood shed, save for a couple minor injuries in due course of
moving large things from one place to another -- and, I believe in at least once
case, whilst rehearsing a sword fight. No one's been alienated or voted off the
island; and no noose has been fashioned. So it looks like all the tension will fall
to the wayside and we will look back upon this and celebrate the great transition
we are experiencing and executing.
By-the-way, you should check out the video, shot by Craig Roberts, of Michael Boyd
and David Sherman rehearsing their sword fight from the show. It's below, under my
pictures of recent DTG activity.
The work has continued this week, and, again, I've not been able to be a part of
this last stretch due to my Sweeney Todd rehearsal schedule. During these
weekdays leading up to 8:00 Friday evening, I am feeling a bit
"out-of-the-loop" because I haven't been there to help in this last
I will be there in the early afternoon Friday though. I've arranged to work a half a
day at the rent-payer, and I will be at the Guild by about 1 p.m. to start faking
my way through house management in the new arena.
I keep wanting to still differentiate between
"The Guild on Wayne Avenue" and "The Guild on Salem Avenue";
that distinction is no longer necessary.
A view of what had been the thrust stage area from what
was back stage at the now-dark Salem Avenue location.
The lobby as seen from a loft. The wall to the left is the
outside of the Mirkin mainstage. Note the copious amounts
of drywall dust on the floor.
A dork takin' out the trash.
That's Mr. Don Bigler up there in that lift, painting the
HVAC duct work black on the ceiling of the Mirkin.
Dorkboy scrapes old paint.
View of the front of the new Dayton Theatre Guild after
paint has been applied to the outer entrances.
Dorkboy scrapes more old paint.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses director, Greg Smith, directs
actor Michael Boyd while other cast looks on as well as does
the stage manager, Destany Schafer (to the right in denim
Director Greg Smith gives notes to his Les Liaisons
The DV movie of the sword fight rehearsal:
Sweeney Tood rehearsal: Crystal Justice, K.L.Storer,
Ryan Hester, J. Gary Thompson, John Weeks & Sarah Smith.
First, an explanation about the black-and-white image over here on the left.
Remember a few weeks back when I shot that dorky little video of myself on my way
to Columbus to audition for a TV gig? The one I shot with my little Cybershot
digital camera? Well I tried it again Monday night with a scene from rehearsal. The
movie function on the camera needs very good lighting, however, which essentially
means: the luminosity of a sunny day. It's a tad dim in the State without stage
lighting so the exposure on the footage I shot was not great. I played with color
correction and brightness/contrast but got nothing that looked good unless I killed
all the color. So, this image over here is a b&w still.
As I said last week that we would, we focused on Act I,
Scenes 1-4 on Monday then the rest of the act last night. Tonight we'll run that
whole first act. I still had my book in my hand and will again tonight. Next time
we do Act I, I won't be able to do so.
It's seems that predominantly I am approaching Beadle in a manner that Director Ron
Weber approves of, since he's not re-directed me a lot. At this point, though, I
have hardly begun to get to whatever and whomever I will get to. I know this guy is
a character drawing written with no real depth. And I also know that Ron's vision is
a big, broad, over-the-top performance from us all, but I do still have a goal -- at
the risk of over-thinking this -- to play him as true as I can. Beadle ain't Hamlet,
yet I do wish for there to be an authentic person showing through the stereotype and
the broad presentation; well, as authentic as can be allowed.
Right now, mostly what I'm putting out is the stereotype. Well, hey, October 1 is
more than a month away.
Last night went well. I still had the book in my hand, but I hadn't had having it
out of my hands as a goal.
One new development: there is a little dumb play illustration in the last scene of
Act I, which no one had noticed until J. Gary Thompson
finally did so. It involves Beadle, Joanna (Laura Buchanan), and Jonas Fogg (Bengt
Gregory-Brown), though Bengt is probably not aware of it just yet. He was not called
for rehearsal last night since no one realized he was needed. We did worked this
new mos action in -- ("mos" is actually a movie production term,
meaning "without sound" and usually more precisely meaning "without
dialogue"; I'm borrowing it since it is appropriately used, here).
Tonight is Act II:Scenes 1-5. I've been home sick today
and I wasn't sure if I was going to call off tonight or not. I have decided I am
going to go. I have to go shopping as house manager at the Guild, anyway, so I'll
just leave early for rehearsal and do that on the way.
TOMORROW AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW,
RACES FORWARD AT ITS HEFTY PACE*
Here's a quote from Guild President, Carol Finley, in response to my email asking
about the progress of things moving toward tomorrow night: "Most everything is
cleaned and painted.... We are in pretty good shape -- you will be amazed at the
I can't wait to walk in tomorrow afternoon.
People have been working diligently in these "Eleventh-Hour Days"
to get both the house and show ready for tomorrow night's debut. Again, I have been
chagrinned to not be able to participate the last several days.
This opening event has suddenly rushed upon us all -- Guild members, cast members,
and volunteers, alike. The stress and anxiety will soon begin to dissipate and we'll
all be able to fully revel in the birth of the next epoch in the history of the
Dayton Theatre Guild.
Here's to a strong final dress tonight for Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
(*): Please do forgive me for the
weak attempt at poetic license.
There was a production team in
The State Theatre last night having an early
production meeting for a independent full-length feature they will be shooting there
later in the year. So, I may be auditioning for a movie soon.
Myself & Josh Katawick (Anthony) photo by Larry Coressel.
Rehearsal was short last night. I was home by 8:00. A couple actors had to leave
early and two others were not able to attend.
So I have moocho-mucho work to do this weekend. My weekend will be about getting
the Beadle's words in my head, whenever I am not House Manager for DTG; I may
spend some time editing DTG Opening Night video footage. too.
THE OPENING WEEKEND FOR THE NEW THEATRE SPACE
AND FOR LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES
Now it's real. The Dayton Theatre Guild is a living theatre at 430 Wayne Avenue. We
have a weekend of production to prove it.
There is some humbleness to this beginning. Liaisons has no theatre lighting;
we are using the house lights. Though we have purchased and retrieved the new
theatre seats from the movie house in West Virginia (remember that road trip I had
to miss?), we still have to refurbish them before we can install them, so we put up
temporary seating -- wooden folding chairs we borrowed. The acoustics are not
anywhere as close to perfect as we will get to. There's still a lot of sprucing to
do around the place. There's are roof leaks that keep popping up.
Fortunately, the show got along well without an elaborate lighting design.
Unfortunately, the wooden chairs were not as comfortable as we would like. But a
solution to that is in the works and by this coming Friday we will have different
chairs, again borrowed, that are much more suitable for our purpose. And the goal is
to have out permanent seats in before The Sunshine Boys opens.
We still have some sound buffering and acoustical molding to do. Some carpeting on
the risers for the seats will help. Other ideas are being bantered about, too.
The roof is just going to take some fund raising. The sprucing is simply a matter
of some more weekends and evenings from the board members and other volunteers. I,
for one, have made the decision to purchase and donate a garbage disposal unit. As
house manager I have a p-o-v that says we need one.
As for house management, I faked my way through the first weekend of a production
with the help of some other board members and one volunteer. Who knows when I'll
nestle in comfortably with the new place.
Since I don't get to see the show until August 12, I paid as little attention as I
could to the performances over the weekend. The audiences liked it. I know or a fact
that even one patron who left at intermission because of the seats thought the show
was very good and hopes to come back to see the rest of it.
All things considered, we are off to a good start.
Line work -- makin' them flash cards
Can't say I am off-book, but real line work has begun for me.
Bengt Gregory-Brown in the role I originally had of Jonas Fogg.
Rehearsals were done for the week on Wednesday, mostly because our director and a
few of our cast members are also in a special production of She Stoops to
Conquer that is up this weekend in Springfield, at The Fair at New Boston,
sponsored by the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association.
And here's a "Break-a-leg" to that
I've made some progress in developing Beadle. Tuesday night I concluded that
somehow my Beadle has evolved into a bit too upper-class in his deportment. I spoke
with Ron before I left and told him I wanted to class Beadle down. He said that was
Wednesday -- our first off-book day -- Beadle was a little less refined. A
lot of why I felt he was too classed-up has to do with some of Beadle's grammar.
As an example, Beadle says at one point, in response to Judge Turpin,
"Talk to who, your Honour?" as opposed to
"to whom?" Upper crust Brits seem to be most particular about the
Queen's English. If Beadle were as upper-class as I had ended up playing him,
before I down-classed him, he'd never have said "to who."
So, as I did my one scene Wednesday night where Beadle had lines, I did it with my
more common Beadle. Didn't take him as far as cockney -- still pronouncing H's and
such, and in fact I actually didn't change the accent but rather I un-refined
his voice and mannerisms. J. Gary Thompson, our Sweeney and actually an Englishman
advised that I "keep the accent but make him gruffer," which is pretty
much what I have done.
My off-bookness was pretty good Wednesday night. To be upfront I must admit I had
terribly little to have committed to memory. I was only in two scenes and the first
of them only had me pantomiming as illustration to Mrs. Lovett's narrative in the
dumb play of Act I:Scene 2. And in Scene 3 I had a total
of nine line, several of them consisting of one word. This coming Monday I have
another two scenes, one again being a dumb play. We do all of Act
I on Tuesday.
Act II is then split between Wednesday and Thursday. So I
really don't have to be completely off-book until Thursday, but I am going to get
there this weekend, especially since Monday is Labor Day and I have the whole day.
I can take out all my lines in the play over this long weekend, Liaison
Les Liaisons Dangereuses starts its second weekend tonight off of a strong
opening weekend and three very good reviews *(see below).
Tomorrow night's show is sold out and ticket sales are overall picking up.
Other good news is that Muse Machine
has loaned us chairs for the remaining two weekends of the run -- chairs that are a
much more comfortable than what we had for the opening weekend.
Speaking of chairs, as soon as Liaisons closes the task of refurbishing the
seats we purchased will begin. The goal is to have them ready and installed before
The Sunshine Boys opens October 9.
Meanwhile, Mr. House Manager Guy is still
mostly improvising his way through it although last night he did buy a thunderload
of what we'll call "back-up cookies" for use during intermission when
And here are a few relevant links related to The Guild --
Dayton Theatre Guild web storefront for merchandise at Cafe Press. Made-to-order
shirts, hats & caps, bags, mugs & coffee cups, and other items
(including a HD Video recorder), each with official Dayton Theatre Guild logo.
$5.00 from every sale comes to The Guild.
Wednesday I was called by the company manager from
The Human Race Theatre Company to
officially set a callback audition for Richard Dresser's Rounding Third. Now,
I knew I was on the list, but I have received notice in the past that I was on the
callback list only to later be informed that the show was cast before callback
auditions occurred. That's what happened with Moonlight and Magnolias. So, I
knew that I might just not actually audition for Rounding Third.
But, as it turns out, I am. This will be the second time I have auditioned for the
director, Tim Lile - a resident artist at The Race. I was also up for the coach in
another baseball-oriented play, Take Me Out, which Tim co-directed with
This callback and several other factors renders that possible audition for an
independent movie, which I mentioned last week, voided out. First of all, the
audition is the same day, but moreover principle photography is likely to last into
the rehearsal period -- as well possibly the production dates -- for Rounding
Third. I also have a probably eye on auditioning for my Guild's production of
Shining City, which would be closed before I went into rehearsal for The Race
show, if cast in both (or -- either).
I'm not naive. I don't assume whatsoever that the odds are in favor of my being cast
in The Race show. On the other hand, they ain't nil, either. I do have a callback,
which at least means Ms. Hanna and/or
(and, for as little as I know about the process, perhaps Mr. Lile, too) saw
something worth giving a shot. If nothing else, at least faith has been shown in my
talent and ability to afford me the opportunity to grab for a lead role on a
professional stage. That in itself means something to me.
There is a major gulp-factor here, too.
Either role is one-half of a full-length play. Some forty-five minutes or so of
dialogue. I'm sure I've touched on this before about this particular prospect, but
it is just quite intimidating to imagine myself on the Loft stage in such a major
principal role. The bottom line -- however -- as I am sure I have stated before, is
simply this: if I am too intimidated to give it a shot and overcome the dread, then
I need to hang it up and forget this acting stuff.
Screw it. I'll be there. I'll audition. If the unlikely but welcome event happens
and I am offered a role, I shall be up for the challenge.
AS FOR THE CASTING CALL FOR THAT MOVIE:
The casting call is at The State Theatre on
September 19, 10:00 am until they are done. The movie is tentatively titled
The State and here are the vitals:
Auditions and shooting will take place in The State Theater
19 S. Fountain Ave.
Springfield, OH 45502
Speaking Roles Available --
1 Male age 18-22
1 Female age 18-22
1 Male age 30-40 (Lead Role)
1 Female age 25-35 (Lead Role)
1 Male age 30-50
Plus, Several Other Secondary Speaking Roles, and Roles for Extras.
The State: Paranormal investigation isn't merely a hobby for Chris and
Claire Poole; it's their means of coping with a devastating loss. As fate would
have it, the last stop on a fruitless true-haunting tour of the Midwest lands them
in Springfield Ohio's State Theater. It's the right place at exactly the wrong time.
Even if Chris and Claire weren't burned out from disappointment and road weary,
they'd be ill prepared for what's waiting inside The State.
Principal photography begins on Saturday, November 7, and will run until March or
April 2010. Mostly weekends with some weeknights.
Were he alive,
my father would be
Ninety years old today.
George A. Storer Jr.
photo from somewhere in the
late 50's to the very early 60's
Today may be Labor Day, but for me, my father's birthday is
of more importance. In the last two decades of his life,
he and I, though not completely estranged, were more often
than not at odds with each other. He was never totally
blameless in the parlay, but understanding his culpability
is not nearly as important as knowing my own.
It was getting better between us, with a couple ugly
moments thrown in on several unfortunate occasions. But he
died before things were really settled and resolved as they
could have been. The last twenty-some years of his life, he
and I were not the same as the fifteen before them (my first
In a key moment in the history of our family, Dad suffered
from a crisis, the same crises the whole family was caught
up in during my mid teens. Our family went through a very
odd sort of divorce that it would take tens of thousands of
words to begin exploring.
What I did not recognize then was my father's sensitive
heart. He dealt badly with the chasm that wrenched between
himself and my mother. Having idolized him from the moment
I was born, I translated his emotional and spiritual
distress and some of the oddly crazy words and deeds these
maladies evoked from him as something pathetic and weak.
I was disenchanted because he dared to be a human being in
anguished straits. I was horribly lacking in compassion for a
man who was in trouble and needed from me something I didn't
even know how to give -- if I had it to give. I was mad at
him because he handled his crisis (our crisis) badly.
The irony is that, despite his attempts for most of my life,
especially my younger life, to hide that sensitivity of his,
he was a most sensitive man and also was a man who struggled
with his demons in his attempts to be an ethical and moral
The irony is that I inherited -- and learned -- that
sensitivity from him and usually am terribly thankful for it.
And all my battles to be or maintain myself as a man of
integrity stand on the shoulders of Dad's noble war with
It is indeed sad that I did not truly come to understand
these things until after he had died. It would have been
the greatest act of love and kindness I could have ever
done to admit my errors about him to him.
Ah, fathers and sons.
It's too late to tell him I loved him still. It's not too
late to admit it to the world and to myself.
Tomorrow begins the last weekend of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
As for the second weekend of Les Liaisons, it went as well as the first
weekend -- with the exception that it went even better in terms of the comfort
factor as the audiences were far more comfortable in the new temporary seating.
Attendance was good; we had one sell-out, one close to sold out, and the last house
was still at around 75% capacity. And the audiences have responded with kudos for
I still have yet to see more than just snippets of the performances. I'll be in the
audience Saturday. My disjointed impression is favorable, but then I am probably
prone toward favorable.
Still, if I may be so bold, I do believe we have brought off a great initiation of
our new digs.
New temp chairs on loan from Muse Machine.
One stored stack of our permanent theatre
seats, waiting to be refurbished and installed.
On the right here are the new, temporary chairs so generously loaned to
us by the Muse Machine for weeks
Number Two Three of Liaisons. Just below them are our new permanent theatre
seats we hope to have readied and installed within the next few weeks.
Opening weekend of Liaisons I had determined I was finished shooting for
the DTG documentary-esque movie (save for some interview material I want to get). I
then changed my mind. I decided to get a tad bit of footage of the Liaisons
performances to drop in late in the movie. They'll be absent any dialogue, or at
least any substantial amount, so we can avoid a moronic infringement claim (and in
context it would be quite moronic as well as highly unlikely to actually occur).
Of course now I am looking at two damned movies in post-production. Well, if this
one isn't yet, it probably won't be long before it is. I also will be editing out
another short from this DTG footage. I did Lights Out, now I am going to its
companion piece, "Lights Up" or something along that line.
And we won't discuss exactly when I
dig fully into post for the improv project, or, for that matter, when I edit the
outtake short from that, which I have planned; but that's a non-DTG item, isn't
Meanwhile there's loads left to do that will be done soon and there's loads
left to do that will take the raising of more money:
Beyond fixing up and installing the permanent theatre seats, there's more painting
and cleaning to and organizing to do. There are new curtains to come in -- we have
vinyl curtains hung right now, which a serving but need to be switched out as soon
as we can.
There is still the matter of theatre lights to be hung and dimmers to be bought and
installed. Actually we have our old analogue dimmers which we can use for the moment
but we will not be up to full capacity until we have new digital dimmers purchased
and in place.
Some needed appliances have and are coming in via donations. We just had a dishwasher
installed and both a washer and dryer as well as a garbage disposal unit are all
pledged and on the way.
AD Taiwo Jones, Technical Director Wayne Justice, &
Director Ron Weber.
Yesterday I did something I have never done before and hope to keep to the most
absolute minimum I can: I called off sick from a rehearsal; but, I was in wretched
shape and it was necessary. I was only scheduled to be in one scene that I am
probably in good shape with. However, there was also some technical directing
akin to fight choreography that happened last night and there is at least one
scene where Beadle is certainly to get this TD.
Missing was ultimately minor and I had to miss, but I loathed my absence.
As I write this I don't feel absolutely fabulous but don't expect to miss
As for otherwise, rehearsals (Mon & Tue) were good. I was in the neighborhood
of 99% off-book, but with the amount of lines I have that was not really a grand
achievement. Last night would have been my first off-book work in Act
II and I would have been in the high-ninety percentile.
I did take the opportunity, though feeling fairly crappy, to work on my lines
yesterday, and I now place myself at about 99.something% off-book on the
The characterization of Beadle is coming along. I don't believe I am quite finished
with his formation but it's coming. I'm still playing a bit with the actual voice I
will use. I am conscious of not replicating John Heminge from The Beard of
Avon. It may really not make much difference to anyone but me, but I do wish to
not do the same work here as I did there. I really don't believe there's danger of
it, but it is something I am conscious of, or have at least given a small thought
I received the sides for the Dresser play on Tuesday -- one monologue from each of
the two leads and two other scenes. No decision has been made on what role I or many
other actors called back are being auditioned for, so I am to study all of them for
the September 19 audition. And so I will.
Jessica Broughton (Mrs. Lovett)
& J. Gary Thompson (Todd)
Well, last night, that so-called "99.something% off-book" didn't
quite work out. Turned out to be more like 90 or perhaps 80%.
Part of my problem was that my line study time after work was stolen from me by
the car trouble I had to deal with. I spent my time, first trying to get my
"new" car running, then working on a tow for it. I ended up driving my
"old" car to rehearsal, and it's barely running. I may have to drive
it in to house manage at The Guild all this weekend, too.
The rehearsal itself was a bit disjointed. A few actors were not there and several
others had just as bad a time or worse with their lines as I.
And I still am not settled on Beadle's voice. I am also less enthused with the
character I am presenting than Director Ron Weber is.
Servants in the Mertuil, Rosemonde, Tourvel and Valmont households
We closed our first Wayne Avenue production today and it was a most successful
run and a very good beginning for the new Dayton Theatre Guild Carol D. Philips
Theatre Scape and L. David Mirkin Mainstage.
Yesterday, I finally got to sit in the audience to watch the show, which can be
called Les Français Cruels du Dix-Huitième Siècle:
("The Cruel French of the Eighteenth Century"). I was thoroughly
entertained by the unfettered debauchery on stage. Really fabulous performances that
lived up to all the rave reviews.
The basement kitchen
The china coffee cups. They were actually left by the Dayton Gym
Club when they vacated. They left one-hundred cups. which we are
going to use.
ON ANOTHER DTG NOTE:
As house manager I must declare that it is very nice to be able to do such things a
clean out the coffee pot before the performance is over and not be worried about how
much noise is made. All one needs to do is take the coffee pot down to the basement
kitchen, that where the garbage disposal unit will be installed here sometime in the
relatively near future.
It's also nice to have a lobby that is not the size of a shoe box. The audience
members are not crammed together during intermissions.
I also need to send out some big strong kudos to fellow board member Brian Buttrey
for pitching in and innovating some augmentations to how we host that are most
valuable. At a board meeting it was brought up that we ought to start serving
coffee in actual china coffee cups. My visceral but mental response to that idea
Okay. Then I suggest you cart
your hiney (yes, I did really use another word)
down after every show to wash them.
Brian's first contribution to deal with this was to purchase a dishwasher, which I
believe is a donation, though don't quote me on that as I
MAY BE WRONG. His second action was to buy seven coffee pump canisters.
So, as of last Friday's performance, we don't pour cups of coffee for intermission.
the audience members who want coffee serve themselves. There are several major
advantages to this. One, we don't have to try and time pouring the coffee close
enough to intermission so that it's not too cool. We can cut down greatly on the
cups we use -- in fact, we're thinking about switching to paper cups for the punch
since they are less expensive than styrofoam cups. When we move over to the china
cups, not pre-pouring and letting the patrons pour only what is needed, will cut
down on the amount of cups that need to go into the dishwasher. Also, the host
can pour the coffee from the pot very early, since the canisters keep the coffee
warm for a long time, and can have the coffee pot emptied and cleaned often long
before intermission happens (since we can do it downstairs and not worry about
noise). One less Act II clean-up project to worry about.
Our little kitchenette behind the box office area -- where the dishwasher is -- is
a vast improvement over the old setup, too. The kitchen was back stage on Salem and
between trying to be quiet during performance and being on the same path as the
players, it was sometimes a problem. There is still, of course, some issue
of noise, but it is nothing like it was. And hosts and actors are not in each
New kitchenette, the dishwasher at the bottom left.
Intermission coffee pump container
Intermission coffee pump container
And then of course, in an entirely unrelated aspect, there is plenty of parking
L.A. isn't necessarily the only place an actor needs a car to be "working"
(whether working means pay or not). I need a working car pretty much for
everything. My car of the last several years is on it's deathbed. I bought a new
one -- new to me -- before I left for Chicago a month ago, then picked it up on my
return. It's in the shop with the mechanic having problems diagnosing what's wrong
Springfield StageWorks, with
Sweeney Todd rehearsals, is a relatively short nine miles from me. I don't
live in a major metropolitan area, however, so there is no city bus line. If I can't
drive, I either have a reliable ride, I'm shelling out for a taxi, or I might as
well live nine-hundred miles from The State Theatre,
The Guild is even further away. The
may be three miles closer to me than the old one was, but it's still twenty miles.
And there I have board member obligations.
For that matter, my paycheck job is eleven miles away. With no bus line and as
un-green as it is, I pretty much must have a fully functioning car.
Right now I am in a rental car but that obviously needs to be a temporary thing. I
only rented for the weekend because I needed to be in Dayton at The Guild for
Liaisons and it would be a big risk to push the older car into that forty
miles per round trip. I did drive it Friday night, but was prepared to sit on a
highway at 1:00 in the morning waiting for a tow truck via my AAA membership.
Fortunately that did not occur, but I felt like I was limping along in danger of
a conk out at any minute.
So, I need my car fixed -- though I'm sure I'll have about $8 left in Savings once
it is (!!!).
SHORT NARRATIVE MOVIE:
There's an audition coming up in Cincinnati for a college production of a
narrative short film. I emailed my résumé and actor's photograph to
the producer ("headshot" rarely fits, anymore, sine the photo is usually
at least a medium shot of the body if not a full one). Whether I make it down or not
depends on my car situation.
Director Ron Weber in Sweeney's barber chair -- photo by Wayne Justice
The Sweeney Todd set is up, though it may need adjustment. It went up while
rehearsals were dark over the weekend. There have been concerns that the barber shop
doesn't have enough square footage for good -- and safe -- movement. We shall be
doing my scene in the shop tonight, so I guess I'll have first-hand experience and a
qualified opinion for my next post.
The barber shop is elevated several feet, too. See Ron sitting in the barber
chair, over here on the right. You can't readily see, but he is on a platform,
about four feet or so up.
Over the weekend I hardly went over my lines, I was so busy with the last weekend
of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at
The Guild -- (and I must admit part
of that included a party Saturday night). However, last night I drilled myself, and
though I was not word-perfect, I did pretty well. Also did okay on my drive to work
this morning with Act II. which is up tonight, and I just
did quite well at the start of my lunch break here at the ol' rent-payer.
Have to keep the friggin' rental for another day. I could take the rental back and
give my wounded secondary car another try, but that seems like a bad idea. So at this
point I'm out just shy of $120. If I have to extend it again tomorrow, it'll jump a
bit more because I lose the weekend rate for the fourth day.
It's clear that the next time I am in the position with cash-flow I need to bite the
bullet and buy a car that's younger than ten-fifteen years.
Monday night I was still a bit sketchy on lines in a couple places, nowhere near as
"off-book" as I believe I should have been. Don't want to make it seem
worse than it was; I could have made it through without calling for lines but I
wanted to be word perfect so I asked so I wouldn't say "horrible and
viscous" rather than "dangerous and wicked," or some such.
LAt night I would have been perfect had our director not stopped us during the
midst of one of my lines and threw me. I had to start it over to get it back. I
did indeed get it word perfect after starting over. As far as I know I was
otherwise word perfect.
Don't be too terribly impressed, I only had lines in one
scene, and not a great amount there.
As for my interaction with the new set, I have not had to alter my blocking as
dramatically as others have. I did have to make a few rather minor adjustments,
especially in my scene with Jessica Broughton (Lovett) in the pie shop. It's much
tighter in there than we'd expected. But with a little work it'll be no problem.
I suppose I am working out Beadle's character. I am not sold that I have him down
just yet. Maybe I'm thinking too hard or too much about it but he doesn't feel
just right to me yet.
I have the sides for the Rounding Third on saturday but I have not
looked at them much yet. That is my evening Friday night.
Also have sides and an appointment to screentest for a short narrative
film shooting in Cincy. Right now I am not 100% confident about my car
situation. I have my "primary" car back, as of this afternoon, but I'm
completely sure it's good for a 100-plus mile round trip. The screentest is 3:00
Monday afternoon, so I'll drive the few days and see...
Depending on how it's figured, and what accounts I draw from, I have between a
little more than $100 to a little more than $1000 to spend on auto repair.
The "a little more than $1000" is pretty much all my spending power at
the moment (and that includes my available credit on my VISA card).
The car was supposed to be ready yesterday but there was still some sort of fuel
line problem. They finally discovered what was wrong and the car is ready for me to
pick up after work. I don't have the dollar-damage yet but I'm looking at several
hundred bucks at minimum. I did extended rental for another day yesterday (and I
lost the weekend discount for the fourth day and shelled out just shy of $180 for
the rental). On the hope and prayer that my car would be done today, I took the
rental back and picked up my limping old car. Not a great idea to drive it, as I
have said, but the rental was already becoming untenable. But I would have used it
if I needed to.
One way or another I make the rehearsals and the auditions *(well, let's hope I
make the Cincy one on Monday).
But as I said, I have the main car back and hope the ailments are really gone.
I usually love living rural; right now being urban and on the bus line would be
good. Of course it wouldn't cure getting to rehearsal in Springfield unless that
was the urban I lived in -- then I'd have get-to-work problems as well as
get to DTG problems.
I am my own little poster child for the argument in favor of a European mass
transit model in the States.
Second half of Act I last night, a little out of order
because one principal had to be late.
I did not go up on any of my lines but I did flub once. I was supposed to say,
"Pulled a tooth in the marketplace the other day,"
but what I said was: Pulled a tooth in the court, um, uh,
uh, Pulled a tooth in the marketplace the other day....
$400-plus later I still have some concerns, especially about a trip to Cincinnati.
On the way to rehearsal last night I still had a choking problem that still has
something to do with the fuel line. After a little sitting, with no horsepower
whatsoever, it ran okay. This may be bad gas. I stopped on the way to rehearsal
and topped it with 93 octane. After rehearsal it only hinted at the problem
behavior. This morning I turned it on and let it run for a few before I left for
the rent-payer. It seemed okay and I did not see the "check engine"
light come on at all -- though it may have while I was inside closing down the
apartment. The check engine light has been briefly on when the car has been gasping
for air -- or gas, or whatever,
I am hoping I don't have to cancel the Monday screentest.
Jessica Broughton & Laura Buchanan work with wardrobe
Note from the director last night to me --
"The Beadle is the slimiest he's ever been. It's exactly what I want. I
So......That seems to be a good thing.
I suppose I am relatively happy with Beadle. I still think there's more work to do.
I am sure I am missing some opportunities yet that I will come to see. And I am
still not settled on the voice I have given him.
Last night we ran all of Act I as well as doing some
wardrobe work with our costumer -- (whose name I don't know at this very
moment). We also gave dropping down into the hole from Sweeney Todd's barber
chair some trial runs. It's a snap and looks pretty cool from the audience's
As for my own off-book factor, at least for Act I,
I do not believe I made an error. I got a note about "the germ," or
something, but I have no idea what was being spoken of. I'm not too sure it didn't
really belong to another actor or that there was some kind of bad-handwriting
situation going on and "germ" meant something else.
But the note had no significance to me.
Show opens in thirteen days!
Yesterday the car behaved better. The "check engine" light has still
briefly come on when the car is started, but I have not been having the choke out
problems. I am still working on the theory that I have bad gas that needs to be
continually diluted and eventually burned out. I have not made my final
determination about going through or canceling the drive to Cincinnati on Monday
for the short-movie screentest. It's still: monitor the car's behavior.
THAT STILL AS OF YET UNTITLED IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
What! There's actually a post
about that movie that we all have been sure this guy lost all interest in?
AAH! It's just gonna be some lame crap about how he promises something is going to
happen soon -- with the usual BS qualifier that HIS version of "soon" and
ours are likely not the same.
Actually, next Friday I will be recording some off-screen dialogue with Loren
Goins. It's incidental dialogue by Quincy in the bar scene. I'll probably script
some of it, half-ass script some, and we'll do some improv, too. He'll converse with
me and I'll likely process my voice in a few different manners to alter it into
several different off-screen bar patrons.
Thing is, the picture here on the right. that's the one I snapped in August when I
went to see Petersen in David Harrower's Blackbird at the
Victory Gardens Theater. I'd dropped by
Steppenwolf and took pics. The season poster in this picture clearly states that
Petersen is in Endgame, but I did not notice.
Well now I know and I am happy to report that any productions I may be cast in are
free and clear of at least the first major portion of the Endgame run; I am
working on the road trip right now!
Now it's just past 1:30 am, Saturday morning. I have to be at a DTG board
meeting at 9:00. So, despite that I feel like I need a bit more work on the sides
for today's Rounding Third callback for
Human Race Theatre Company, I am
hitting the sack.
Spent tonight/(last night) rehearsing them. Cut a bit more out of the evening
than I'd have preferred by taking a nap that ended up lasting much longer than it
should have -- you know the drill: set alarm for a 90 minute nap, wake up a few
hours later and don't even remember turning the alarm off. No disaster though,
despite that I didn't start studying in earnest until after 10:00.
The first thing I did was enlarge the font to 24 point and make it bold on all four
of the sides I was provided. I'd like to be relatively off-page with this
stuff but was sure I would not be, even if I had all evening. But I am familiar with
the words, yet will still need to look at the pages. And I don't want to have my
glasses on. Since the sides came via email as word processing documents, I could make
the print large enough to refer to without my glasses on.
So I at least read through each of the four sides aloud for a couple hours last
night, so I won't have to keep my eyes buried in those 24-point, bold letters at
The other thing I did was get that Gregory Stratton haircut after work yesterday.
The close military style cut. I figured at least the character Don, from this play,
might have it, and it won't hurt to have it reading as Mike. And if I do trust my
car for the screentest Monday in Cincy, one of the two men I am reading for is a
retired "hot shot pilot." He may have such a cut. Again, the other one
character does not get hurt by the short cut.
Whereas I don't believe I did at all badly in the Rounding Third audition at
The Race, I also am more than sure I
will not be cast. I was one of those who was dismissed early, rather than asked to
stay around for further potential reads and pairings. In other words, it sure did
look to me that I was eliminated from the competition.
The ego holds on to that ol' gem: Maybe not; maybe something was seen that was
all that was needed and others will be compared to that and mine will be the reading
Yeah. I don't think so.
Oh well. On to the next audition.
As for that "next audition," the jury is in concerning the one that
was to be next. I have cancelled my scheduled audition for the short
narrative movie in Cincinnati tomorrow. The car is still acting up, especially when
I first start it. I've had that same choking problem, when I started it this
morning to drive in to Dayton to do my laundry that I have been having, and again
coming home. Same deal of the "Check Engine" light on during this choking
of the fuel line or whatever it is. And that "Check Engine" light came
back on during a couple stoplight stops, with the accompanying gasps and chokes
from the car.
SOMETIMES YOU'RE NOT DONE WITH A CHAPTER YOU THOUGHT WAS CLOSED:
You may recall that on August 12 I went to the Salem Avenue building to take photos
and shoot DV footage, that from which I cut the short movie
Going Dark. That was
the eve on the last day that The Guild was in possession of the building.
I thought I'd never set foot in that building again. But, yesterday I did just that.
City Wide Development, who bought the building, doesn't want to keep or deal with
the theatre seats so we decided to take the opportunity we missed to take them.
Yesterday Blake Senseman, Debra Kent, a fellow from City Wide named George, and I
took apart most of the seats. We will be back next Saturday to finish
disassembling a few that are left to breakdown, then haul them over to The Guild.
We ran the first half of Act II last night, twice. I have
one scene in that section, AII:S3. Did pretty well the
first time through and was almost word perfect. The only text error I am aware I
made was saying, "Take a bit of friendly advice, Son," instead of
"Look Son, take a bit of friendly advice." --
not exactly a horrible line error. And with the exception of one line that I have
decided needs to be delivered differently, the Beadle was pretty good that first
The second time through was a big, hairy snafu. Once I had said "Sleet
Fleet" instead of Fleet Street the rest of the scene derailed
exponentially from there. I went blank on some lines and garbled words in others.
And since I was suddenly brain-dead on the lines I also lost some characterization
as well as some established interpretations of lines at various moments. Though,
since it was on my mind, I did execute that changed delivery as I'd planned.
AD Taiwo Jones didn't even bother to give me line notes -- what would've been the
I did get an acting note about not delivering a line as officiously as I should
have. I pretty much ignored that note since I have delivered it correctly for more
than a week now and my bad delivery last night was due to my state of
Tonight is AII:S6-11. I'm in scenes 6 & 7. In fact,
that is the most dense portion of my lines for the play. I think I'll not have
such a derailment on these two scenes tonight as I did with the scene last night.
Probably a bad idea to have made that declaration.
The saga of the sick car is not over. I took it back in the day before yesterday for
the same symptoms as before, this fuel line choking and stuttering problem. They
worked on it and then called to say it was fixed. And, for a period of time the
car behaved well, according to them, and I don't disbelieve them. But I started it
up for a trial run and it behaved as it had been.
I did take it. We are now going to see if the and gasoline theory will stand. I am
to drive it until it's almost empty then fill it up. The growing suspicion I have is
that I may need a new fuel injector.
I cancelled a drive to Cincinnati Monday for a screentest. I have decided to brave
essentially the same trip for one on Friday. *see below
Michael McDonald, Randy Benge, & J. Gary Thompson
Made a couple really stupid line omissions last night. Both were key lines and I am
more than a little dumb-founded that I left either out. The second one I left out
was the worse of the two. I failed to mention "the stink" coming from
Fleet Street. That stench is close to a character in the damn play and it's pretty
significant to drop reference to it from a line.
The other one was in the same area, actually the same paragraph. It was a sentence
drop that isn't as important as "the stink" but also is not unimportant.
I'm always surprised to learn I've made those dumb errors, too. I wonder if in
moment on stage, due to stress or whatever, if the mind doesn't think the phrases
that are dropped but the mouth steps over them and the mind doesn't realize they
were not spoken.
Had a couple places where I stepped on someone's lines, too.
I also had an scene mate drop a sentence in a line that I am to directly respond to.
I was about to improvise a response to another sentence in the same line that would
have worked, the scene mate remember the dropped line and tagged it onto the end.
As for Beadle's characterization: eh, it was okay I suppose.
COMMERCIAL AUDITION FRIDAY IN COVINGTON:
PC-Goenner Talent Agency sent me info on a
commercial audition taking place in Covington Kentucky Friday. As stated above, I
am going to risk the drive this time, or, I may rent a car for the day, but the
second scenario is not as likely. I'm thinking that once the car starts and gets
going the fuel line choking is not an issue. It has been at some stop lights but a
little press on the gas pedal seems to solve that.
So I'm going to gamble that the car can make down, then start and make it back.
Unless it acts very badly between now and then. In that case I may consider
Also, I had half planned to not shave and open Sweeney as The beadle with a
week's worth of stubble. The casting the commercial people are doing precludes
such so I guess the Beadle will be clean shaven.
Whilst we're on the subject of my overwhelming
"career", I am slated to do two sessions next month as an improv actor for
the U.D. Law Clinic intrasessions.
That house on a cliff in the Bahama's is just that much closer!
Meanwhile, as I position myself to
move into post-production on the improv movie project -- Still No Title -- I
have to give some thought to what I'll have Loren S. Goins say in the off screen
dialogue we are recording Friday evening. The original idea was to at least have
some script and though I can't say that won't happen, it's not looking likely.
I am determined to start dedicating time to the post-production in earnest as soon
as Sweeney Todd closes.
Ran all of Act II last night. It went pretty well. I
was reasonably satisfied with Beadle, though I did notice I slipped up the class
scale with his speech a little. No major line errors though I did substitute some
synonyms at least twice.
I said "complaining business" instead of "complaining nonsense"
at one point; then later I said "good health" rather than "your
health." Minor stuff.
Tonight we run the whole show. Guess I'd better set my TV to record the CSI
season premier because I doubt I am in front of the set at 9:00.
So we haven't run Act I for a week. For me that's not so
bad since I have fairly few lines in the act -- not that I'm going to be complacent
about it. As soon as I have the time today I shall be running lines for
I and II.
PC-Goenner Talent Agency emailed me later in
the day yesterday to tell me that the commercial audition in Covington is cancelled.
There are auditions today but I could not get off from the rent-payer today.
This does mean I can give that scruffy beard a shot for Beadle.
Thursday night we ran the whole show as was planned. It was a long night and the
show ran longer than it will. There were some stop and starts and a lot of places
where the pace and cues will be picked up.
It was a night for a lot of humorous snafus, most dealing with the Sweeney trick
barber's chair which is currently broken.
In fact, the line of the night came from J. Gary in a scene when part of the chair
came off and he said, in character as Sweeney, "Next time I'll buy
A sequence of guffaws came during a scene with me and J. Gary when the beadle comes
to Sweeney's shop to interview then arrest him. I (Beadle) is about to sit when that
same part dropped off again -- it props up the seat of the chair and if it's dropped
the chair will not hold an occupant. At that point all the lines just fit to the
present circumstance and the whole room was on the floor:
The chair part drops
TODD: No! Don't sit! (We all laugh)
BEADLE: And why not? (More laughter)
I fix the chair
TODD: It -- uh -- it may be dangerous!(More laughter)
BEADLE: Dangerous? Not while I have my pistol Mister Todd. (I
sit very gingerly on the chair and the room is laughing. The chair holds but I
am laughing rather hard. Then I get hold of myself)
There, see Now? I am quite safe (Now we are all
laughing anew. I finally can calm myself and I assure AD Taiwo that I DO know
my next line) Now what is there about this chair that
makes you so afraid?
I made a couple minor line errors but nothing that would have been detected by an
audience. I guess Beadle was otherwise okay. He felt okay, anyway.
On a related item I have an idea for a short promo video for the play that will
avoid any potential copyright infringement problems. We tech the show tomorrow and I
plan to shoot it then. I might even be able to post produce it tomorrow and have the
Meanwhile, while a lot of people did the Thursday run at least partially in costume,
I had taken my shirt, vest and jacket home Wednesday and then dropped them off at
the dry cleaners Thursday afternoon. I'll pick them up this morning before I head to
Dayton to finish the work of getting the old
DTG seats from Salem Avenue to
Tomorrow is tech cue-to-cue in the afternoon, then a full dress run in the evening.
OFF SCREEN DIALOGUE FOR THE IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
Had to move the off-screen dialogue recording until this evening. Still came up with
no specific script but we will be okay. I mean, after all, it's for an improv
Didn't get quite everything planned for the day yesterday done, but I took
out most of it.
THE GUILD'S OLD THEATRE SEATS
A few of us DTG board members got the Salem theatre seats completely uninstalled
and transported to the new theatre. The procedure didn't take that long, but it
was "real" work, believe me.
It was Blake Senseman, Barb Jorgensen, John Spitler, Garry Dowell (John's partner),
new board member Wendi Michael, and I. We loaded up Blake's and John's trucks and
all cars and were able to get it all over to Wayne in one trip.
Disassembling them had been stripped down to a science the previous Saturday. George
from City Wide Development had a power drill with which he would unscrew the bolts
from the floor. Then we'd pull the row down so the seats were on their backs. I'd
then go through with a hammer, when necessary, and tap on the male/female inserts
where the seats were attached to the chair framing, then take the seat sections
off. Debra Kent or Blake would then come though with ratchet wrenches and take the
We had just one row to finish this procedure on yesterday. Blake and I took that
out in only a few minutes whilst the rest of yesterday's crew began loading the
At the new place we got all the broken down parts into the little sauna room --
check it out on the right. With the exception of two seats we had originally
taken and not broken down, intended as artifact display, all the rest of the Salem
seats -- eighty-seven of them -- are in that sauna.
After we had wrapped the task, I think a few of us, myself included, would not have
minded a little time utilizing that sauna for its previous purpose.
I suppose I should interject here that Guild president Carol Finley was on sight
at Wayne and was part of the unloading brigade.
As for how weird it has been to revisit the Salem building, I personally was a bit
detached these last two trips in. I guess that would be because I had said my
goodbyes on August 12, the same time I shot
Going Dark. It was
a weird thing to see the building completely stripped of the seats, however,
(see below). In a way, it was like walking through my old elementary school
for the third or fourth time after decades away -- the amazement at how little
everything is (in the school) has faded some and the building is now only a
blunt poke at the memory.
It's also like one of those rare amiable break ups where there is certainly some
sadness and regret but no deep wounds or horrible grief to deal with. Then the two
of you meet again and though there is the twinge of the history lingering in the
background, you are okay.
Or maybe I'm just riffing to fill some vertical space
for the photo layout
One task that did not get done last night that was planned was the editing of the
companion piece to Going Dark. Frankly I'd had a long day and when it came
time for that work, I was ready for the sack. If it weren't for my compulsive need
to write an entry for the blog, I'd be doing that editing right now.
But here I am.
Meanwhile, below are some more pics from what I now am sure is my last visit to
2330 Salem Avenue.
Most of the seats on the old thrust stage floor on Salem
John Spitler loads a truck.
The Salem building now void of theatre seats. It really
isn't a theatre any more.
Myself and Loren in what I'll call "my studio" in my
apartment, recording off-screens for Quincy in the Balboni's bar
OFF SCREEN DIALOGUE FOR THE IMPROV MOVIE PROJECT:
Loren S. Goins dropped into my place last night to record off-screen dialogue for
his character Quincy in the Balboni's bar scene for the improv movie.
The idea is to have his off-screen dialogue, and most all other such, be isolated
sound so it can be dropped in strategically to keep it away from key dialogue by
the principals, regardless of whether it's low in the background.
I would have loved to have had a stronger plan but I must admit I gave almost no
thought to the specifics of what we'd be doing. But like I've already said, it is
off-screens for an improv movie, so it's not unfitting for to have improvved it.
We recorded about twenty minutes of dialogue, including some direct discussion of
what we were doing, which I believe I can drop very low as just bar crowd ambiance
with nobody being the wiser.
I also shot the session for the behind the scenes footage, which I finally
transferred all of over into a Final Cut project last night.
Of course, I'm going to record more off-screens just with myself and I am
contemplating taking the tape recorder with me today to Sweeney Todd tech
and dress and randomly recording the cast crew. Since I am taking a DV camera to
shoot the little promo I may just grab some dialogue from our ST ensemble
Me (Beadle) & Jessica Broughton (Lovett)
-- Photo by Larry Coressel
It's 10:20 Sunday morning. I'm listening to "Hamaguri" by
Sushi Club on
Groove Salad. Tech cue-to-cue
call is slightly more than three and a half hours away, at 2:00.
I have it my mind to at least start the edit of the DTG movie I wrote of earlier
just as soon as I finish this entry -- and have made my usual feeble attempt to
copy edit it.
I will drill my lines a few times 'tweenst now and then also. Though cue-to-cues
have a habit of throwing one off by the nature of the start and stop and the jumping
For those who don't know what a cue-to-cue is:
"Cue-to-cue" is a technical rehearsal where the sound and light and
any other technical cues are the focus. Whole scenes are not done, only the
parts that have some sort of technical action happen, whether that be lights up,
lights down, some special light (such as a lamp that the actor pretends to turn
on, but is really turned on from the light booth), a sound cue (scene change
music, a car honking, a gun shot, whatever) or any special effect that a crew
member might effect from unseen back stage. Only the lines or actions that cue a
technical event are executed. Then the next cue is jumped to.
Sometimes an actor's off-book preparedness is compromised because the continuity and
flow of his or her lines is thrown off.
After cue-to-cue we break and meet back for a run at 7:00.
Somewhere in there, perhaps after cue-to-cue, I plan to shoot the short promo video
I wrote of yesterday. I might even be able to get a good chunk, if not all of it,
edited together during the break. I don't plan to shoot much and the promo will be
quite short; it might not make thirty seconds. But I think it's a cool idea and
Larry Coressel agrees.
Larry, as you may know, is the Springfield StageWorks
By the way, just for the anal-retentive sake of completeness and accuracy, I should
point out that after the Guild work yesterday I did pick up my Beadle costume from
the dry cleaners.
Crystal Justice (Beggar Woman) & John Weeks (Balding Man)
It was a long and often stressful Tech Sunday for me. I'd be dishonest to make it
seem I was alone in either of those attributes.
A major problem is that Sweeney's trick barber chair is simply not working right.
It's broken. The gag of the victims being dropped into the hole will not work and
threatens to be harmful to the actors. There's a lot of disappointment going
around because of this.
There's discussion of a possible other chair but whether that is likely, especially
at this eleventh hour, is questionable. There is a work-around solution but it
lacks both the pizzazz and the effectiveness of the chair dropping dead characters
into the hole. But now it is our task to make it work as effectively as we can.
Some of us, including myself, were also frustrated because not everyone was there.
It was one thing for cue-to-cue but the tech dress run should have had all cast
members. I do not believe we have had one rehearsal with everyone there that needed
I usually don't gripe and moan in this blog -- or not often anyway -- but I have a
serious pet peeve about people who commit to be in a show then miss some significant
amount of the rehearsals they are needed for. If a person will have to miss a lot of
rehearsals, especially toward the end, then they should not have accepted role or
the crew position.
As I've said before, people who have the attitude that It's only
"Community Theater" are people I'd rather not work with.
Off my soapbox now and moving on, the actual run last night went reasonably well.
that despite that we have just incorporated our work-around solution for the chair
debac and also despite that some of us were not peaking in our enthusiasm.
I got a good note from director Ron where he couldn't read his handwriting to know
what is was he'd really liked, "But I really liked something."
Three more rehearsals.
By the way, I did not shoot the video footage last night I'd planned to because
I brought everything I needed save for DV mini-cassette tapes. ---