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

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Thu July 2, 2009

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The streets of San Francisco
are a little emptier
and Mitch has gone
to Heaven

Karl Malden
1912-2009




Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
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.


C.G. BOND'S SWEENEY TODD AT SPRINGFIELD STAGEWORKS:

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.

DV movie cam on tri-pod and small light on stand
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.

But we are not doing pick-ups.



FOURTH   OF
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The Declaration of Independence


Declaration of Independence

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)

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 colonies:

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 civilized nation.

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 free people.

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, Lewis Morris

      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



Sun July 5, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

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 several times.

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.


K.L. with a min-DV camera.
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD LOCATED AT 430 WAYNE AVE., DAYTON, OHIO, 45410:

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.

Seems like a good place to stick this in:
CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO
THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD
RENOVATION FUND


Meanwhile we had already ripped the false ceilings out of all the basement areas to clear the way for the sprinkler system. That particular fire-retarding work should start sometime soon.

We have a workday planned next Saturday to move more stuff from the Salem Avenue building, which we have to have completely vacated in something like six weeks.


          click on the pictures for larger versions

          Cornering for the frame of the main stage at the Dayton Theatre Guild on Wayne Ave.
          Cornering for the frame of the main stage at the Dayton Theatre Guild on Wayne Ave.
          Cornering for the frame of the main stage at the Dayton Theatre Guild on Wayne Ave.
          Exposed ceiling in the basement, waiting for sprinkling to be installed
          Ditch where handicap ramp will be, from pint of view inside building.
          Ditch where handicap ramp will be.



Wed July 8, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

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.


Barb Jorgenesen, seated in the background, watches K.L. slate Scene 1 Take 2 of 'Leola's.'
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.


C.G. BOND'S SWEENEY TODD AT SPRINGFIELD STAGEWORKS:

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.

Oh well.



Mon, July 13, 2009

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NIGHT AND FOG:
Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
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 Gerald McRaney, due to his work as Maj. MacGillis on Major Dad. 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 military man.

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 members.


SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
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 casting.

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.....:

    Josh Katawick Anthony Hope

    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 Sweeney Todd

    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 Justice Beggar Woman

    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.

    Jessica Broughton Mrs. Lovett

    I've seen Jessica in a few shows, including Creation of the World and Other Business for SSW.

    Bengt Gregory-Brown Beadle

    Worked with Bengt in Catch 22 for SSW.

    Randy Benge Judge Turpin

    Worked with Randy in 'ART' for SSW & Springfield Civic Theatre.

    Ryan Hester Tobias Ragg

    Worked with Ryan in American Buffalo and Catch 22, both for SSW.

    John Weeks Balding Man

    Patrick Bolton Alfredo Pirelli

    Laura Buchanan Joanna

    K.L.Storer Jonas Fogg

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 situations.


Dayton Theatre Guild
xxxx

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.



Tue, July 14, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

Last night we were, for the first time, "OTFS," an acronymic term coined by our director, Saul Caplan, specifically for FutureFest productions, that means: On The £$¢%!|\|@ Stage.

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.


BEOWOLF: PRINCE OF THE GEATS:

Dayton area actor Philip Smyth appears in this indy film in the role of Wulfgar. The movie is screening at The Neon Movies in Dayton on Wednesday, July 23.



Wed July 15, 2009

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NIGHT AND FOG:
Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
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:

STRATTON
I'm a combat engineer, Kevin. There's not much call for that outside the army....

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.


AUDITIONS THROUGH MY AGENT:

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.

K.L. outside picture array for trucking company industrial video audition

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.


ME AND BILLY ON AUGUST 1:
As my trip to Chicago to see William Petersen perform in David Harrower's Blackbird at the Victory Gardens Theater gets closer, I am a bit more pumped.

The review I just read at chicagotribune.com has only aggravated matters for me. It's a rave review about what is clearly an intense and riveting ninety-minutes in the theatre.

Click here for the review: "Mattie Hawkinson wipes the floor with William Petersen in 'Blackbird' at Victory Gardens."

The Victory Gardens Facebook page warned a few weeks back that there will be no late seating.

"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.



Fri July 17, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

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 Springfield StageWorks.

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 memory --

Oh SHIT! What's my line!?

           -- 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.

And check out the cool video about FutureFest




AUDITIONS THROUGH MY AGENT:

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.....


Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
SWEENEY TODD:

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.



Sat July 18, 2009

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Such a loss for more than one generation.

A true example of integrity is gone

from the American landscape.


Walter Cronkite

1916-2009





CAUGHT ON VIDEO:
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.

Greetings,

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, please visit: www.myspace.com/drcreepbenefit

Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

PS: For more info on Dr. Creep and Shock Theater, please visit: www.drcreep.com

For a bit of nostalgia, you can also see lots of old Dr. Creep videos on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/user/shocktheatre



Mon, July 20, 2009

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40 YEARS AGO TODAY

Humanity makes it to the surface of the moon

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldsren, and the lunar module on the moon, July 20, 1969











Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

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 another run.

    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.


Dayton Theatre Guild
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.


Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
SWEENEY TODD:

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.



Tue, July 21, 2009

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REHEARSALS THIS WEEK:
Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009 Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
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.

2. Sweeney Todd -- Tomorrow night.



Wed July 22, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG:

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 not noticed.

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 place.

For the Theatrically Educated, 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 bad.

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 officer.

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.


Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
SWEENEY TODD:

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.



Fri July 24, 2009

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OPENING TODAY


The Dayton
Playhouse
FutureFest
2009

July 24-26, 2009

Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009




NIGHT AND FOG:
Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
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.


SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
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.



Sat July 25, 2009

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SHOWING TONIGHT


The Dayton
Playhouse
FutureFest
2009
Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009

Night and Fog 
by M.J. Feely
July 25, 8:00 pm
*(Fully-Staged)

The cast of Night and Fog in order of appearance:

Geoff Burkman            Paul Scanlon
Jennie Yeaman            Val Thomas
K.L.Storer            Col. Gregory Stratton
Megan Cooper            Rebecca Farrell
David Shough            Kevin Riley
Brad Mattingly            Heinz Leudtke
Cheryl Mellen            Ilse Von Helldorf
Charles Larkowski            Ernst Von Helldorf

production people:          
Saul Caplan            Co-director
Deirdre Root            Co-director & Production Stage Manager
Kayl Spelvin            Sound Designer



Sun July 26, 2009

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CLOSING TODAY


The Dayton
Playhouse
FutureFest
2009

July 24-26, 2009

Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009





FUTUREFEST 2009

Darkroom
by Devon Boan

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.

play synopsis:
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.

Grey Elliot Mark Diffenderfer
Constance Elliot Rachel Wilson
Mitch Macmillan Mark Reuter
Veronical Macmillan Debra A. Kent
Webster "Web" Roy Dave Nickel
Bea Roy Kelli Gilmore
Gus Young Franklin Johnson
Director Ray Gambrel
Assistant Director Greg Nichols

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 Snake cast.

play synopsis:
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.

Alex Woodruff Alex Carmichal
Jeanie Woodruff Becky Lamb
David Kelly Jason Collins
Director Adam J. Leigh
Assistant Director Gregory Carter, Jr.


G-Man
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 website: www.frisinotoohey.com.

play synopsis:
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 tyrant.

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.

Larry Benjamin Norsworthy
Mom Cynthia Karns
Mrs. Johnson Grace Davis
Jack Dave Gaylor
Diane Becky Norgaard
Lady/Girl/Judy Annie Pesch
Pete/voice of Alan/Police Sgt. J. Gary Thompson
Director Fran Pesch


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: mjfeelyplaywright.com.

play synopsis:
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.

Paul Scanlon Geoff Burkman
Val Thomas Jeanie Yeaman
Col. Gregory Stratton K.L.Storer
Rebecca Farrell Megan Cooper
Kevin Riley David Shough
Ilse von Helldorf Cheryl Mellen
Heinze Leudtke Brad Mattingly
Ernst von Helldorf Charles Larkowski
Co-Director Saul Caplan
Co-Director Deirdre Root
Sound Design K.L.Storer

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


Quietus
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.

play synopsis:
"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 bioemporium.

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 fictional.

Elias Hunt Ray Geiger
Hiram Purchase Richard Young
Howard Bell J. Gary Thompson
Mary Moore Sarah Caplan
Director Cynthia Karns


Carve
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.

play synopsis:
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.

Josh Darbin Duante Beddingfield
Jesse Campbell Amy Leigh
Scott Mason Matt D. Curry
Muareen Lisa M. Sadai
Director Alan Bomar Jones
backstage crew Alex Saunders,
Marva Williams,
Gregory "Rico" Parker,
Amanda Miller,
Brett Norgaard

special thanks to -- Washington Township Recreation Center's Jill Reed;
Becky Barret-Jones;   Fran Pesch and the entire FutureFest team


THE ADJUDICATORS:

Peter Filicia -- Peter is the New Jersey critic for The Star Ledger and News 12 New Jersey and he writes "Peter Filicia's Diary" for Theatermania.com.

David Finkle -- David has covered the arts for more than forty years and contributes regularly to the Village Voice and Theatermania.com.

Sarah Lunnie -- Sarah is a writer, dramaturg and the literary fellow at Actor's Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky).

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.




Mon, July 27, 2009

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Dayton Plahouse FutureFest 2009
NIGHT AND FOG WINS FUTUREFEST 2009

Yep, there's the big news!

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 M.J. Feely.

As I posted on Facebook (with some re-writing here):

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.

Here are Terry Morris's articles about the win: "Dayton native's WWII play wins Futurefest's top prize," and "Play by Dayton native tops Futurefest."

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 the weekend.

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.

So we had a good weekend.



Wed July 29, 2009

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SWEENEY TODD AND MY LATEST "DOH!" MOMENT:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Yesterday, about 9:00 last night, in fact, I posted the following status on Facebook:

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 rat's ass.

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 night off.

Que ferez-vous?

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. Gary's call:

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. Free food.

For information: daytonchildrenstheatre@gmail.com.



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K.L. on his MacBook Pro in Indianapolis
Blog Boy blogging in Indy.
WILLIAM PETERSEN IN DAVID HARROWER'S BLACKBIRD AT THE VICTORY GARDENS THEATER TOMORROW AFTERNOON:

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: victorygardens.org/content/node/614.



FutureFest 2009 at the Dayton Playhouse
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My name tag and weekend pass.
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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.
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Charles Larkowski and David Shough of Night and Fog.
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Megan Cooper from Night and Fog.
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Brad Mattingly and Geoff Burkman of Night and Fog.
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Cheryl Mellen and Co-Director Deirdre Root of Night and Fog.
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On the right, Dayton's own Chad Baker.
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Jeanie Yeaman of Night and Fog.
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The ANS office; the set of Night and Fog.
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Me.
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Devan Boan and M.J. Feely.
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Molly Smith Metzler and Megan Cooper.
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Partying after the day is done.

FUTUREFEST 2009

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 appealing.

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 spiritually involved.

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 qualified expert.

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."

Check out the whole article. I'll directly hot-link it here:
www.huffingtonpost.com/david-finkle/futurefest-daytons-new-pl_b_246447.html"

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 Gerald McRaney, due to his work as Maj. MacGillis on Major Dad. 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 military man.

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 toward her.

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 "brilliant."

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 "PROCESS".

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 von Helldorf.

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 well-directed production.

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 performances.

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 Theatre.

Personal pretensions aside, here's looking toward 2010.

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Richard Manley during an intermission.
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Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
SWEENEY TODD:

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 TOOD director Ron Weber, stitting cross legged in front of the stage during rehearsal
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 accent.

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.



Wed Aug 5, 2009

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The Steppenwolf is only a couple minutes drive from The Victory Gardens Theater

WILLIAM PETERSEN AND MATTIE HAWKINSON

IN DAVID HARROWER'S BLACKBIRD

AT THE VICTORY GARDENS BIOGRAPH THEATER

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.

Albert Williams, of the Chicago Reader writes an interesting review of this Chicago production that touches on the ambiguity of just exactly what sins were the foundation of the ill-conceived affair: "In David Harrower's Blackbird, It's Complicated: He's not just a pedophile, and she's not just his victim."

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 long.

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 Gary Sinise 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.

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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 Springfield StageWorks.
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A souvenir from VTG to support the arts, yadda, yadda.
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Making use of my memorabilia in a most practical way.



CHICAGO! CHICAGO! THAT TODDLIN' TOWN:
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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 and owls.

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 blue.

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 wish.

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 fact:

I hate winter and I really hate Great Lakes winters.

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:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
Josh Katawick (Anthony) & J. Gary Thompson (Sweeney) in rehearsal.

Got back into the Dayton area in the afternoon Monday and hit rehearsals that evening.

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.



Thu Aug 6, 2009

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Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
Jessica Broughton (Mrs. Lovett) & J. Gary Thompson (Sweeney)
SWEENEY TODD:

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.



Wed Aug 12, 2009

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SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
Sweeney Todd director, Ron Weber.

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.


Dayton Theatre Guild

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.

xxxx
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 weird.

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 what.

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 back.

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.


STUCK BETWEEN "TO 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 deal-breaker.

*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 90-minute trek).

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 "To thine own self be true" and "Loyalty 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 ambitions.

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.



Thu Aug 13, 2009

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Dayton Theatre Guild
2 3 3 0    S A L E M    A V E N U E

I S    N O    L O N G E R    D T G

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 building.
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.


TINA GLOSS'S LATEST PROJECT -- RESTORATION DOGS:

"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 Pushing Daisies.

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: www.restorationdogs.com.



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HOW COLD WILL IT BE?

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 "stolen."

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 The Covedale.

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.


Dayton Theatre Guild
THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD'S OPENING NIGHT IN THE OREGON DISTRICT IS QUICKLY APPROACHING!:

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! Debra

    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.)


Sun Aug 16, 2009

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CUCKOO AUDITION:

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 for the 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.


A DAY IN DAYTON:

I am now off to spend the rest if my morning and part of my afternoon at the Guild, painting, cleaning, whatever (and of course, shooting DV footage and taking photographs). Then, after an arranged stop at my sister's to clean up and change, I go to the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame and Daytony Awards Ceremony. This year the two Hall of Fame inductees are Gil Martin and Blake Senseman.

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.



Mon, Aug 17, 2009

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[NONE] FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST:

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 Audition.

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.


SOME DAYTONY STUFF:

Let's see if I remember the awards given out that are from the shows I produced.

  • Bob Mills - Award of Merit for Sound Design for The Cashier
  • Duante Beddingfield and Franklin Johnson - Awards of Merit for Supporting Actor performances in The Cashier
  • Patty Bell, Fred Blumenthal, Wendi Michael, and Destany Schafer - Awards of Merit for Properties for Fuddy Meers.

Congrats to all those who received an award last night!

As for the winners connected to my shows, I've probably missed or gotten something wrong, or both, and the correction(s) will be made as soon as I am aware of the need.

Here's Terry Morris's Dayton Daily News blog article from this morning about last night's shin-dig: Click here.


SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Back at rehearsal again tonight after a week off.

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.



Fri Aug 21, 2009

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Dayton Theatre Guild
GUILD STUFF:

  1. 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 of DCP:

    "No Place Like Home: Dayton Theatre Guild prepares to open new venue in Oregon District."

  2. 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 again tonight.

    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.

  3. xxxx
    Michael Boyd & David Sherman practice fencing for the Guild production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, with the director, Greg Smith, looking on.

  4. 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 it yet.

  5. 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.







Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
SWEENEY TODD:

For me, rehearsals are still not up to full-tilt-boogie but the momentum is beginning to build.

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 dialogue.

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 for lines).

This seems like a good way to work.



Wed Aug 26, 2009

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Offical Senate photograph of Edwatd M. Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy
February 22, 1932 -- August 25, 2009






DTG sign - 'Future Home of The Dayton thatre guild' with 'Future' crossed out.

YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT "CRUNCH TIME?"

Dayton Theatre Guild


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 and post).

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 Mirken.

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 stretch.

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.

xxxx
A view of what had been the thrust stage area from what was back stage at the now-dark Salem Avenue location.
xxxx
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.
xxxx
A dork takin' out the trash.
xxxx
That's Mr. Don Bigler up there in that lift, painting the HVAC duct work black on the ceiling of the Mirkin.
xxxx
Dorkboy scrapes old paint.
xxxx
View of the front of the new Dayton Theatre Guild after paint has been applied to the outer entrances.
xxxx
Dorkboy scrapes more old paint.
xxxx
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 jacket).
xxxx
Director Greg Smith gives notes to his Les Liaisons Dangereuses cast.


The DV movie of the sword fight rehearsal:




SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
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.



Thu Aug 27, 2009

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Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
SWEENEY TODD:

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.


Dayton Theatre Guild
Les Liaisons Dangereuses eyes

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 changes."

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.
                                           



LOCAL INDY:

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.



Fri Aug 28, 2009

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OPENING TODAY
AT THE
New
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD

4 3 0   W A Y N E   A V E N U E

on the
L .   D a v i d   M i r k i n   M a i n s t a g e

in the
C a r o l   D .   P h i l l i p s   T h e a t r e S c a p e

LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES by Christopher Hampton at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Dayton Theatre Guild is pleased to open its 2009/2010 theatre season in its new location. Tonight the Guild curtain rises on a new era: The Oregon District Era.

      MID-MORNING UPDATE -- Check out the coverage on "Bucher's Beat" for WDTN Channel 2: click here for video and text.

      MID-AFTERNOON UPDATE -- PICTURES!!:

xxxx
xxxx
xxxx



SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
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.



Mon, Aug 31, 2009

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Dayton Theatre Guild
Les Liaisons Dangereuses eyes
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.


Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
xxxx
Line work -- makin' them flash cards
SWEENEY TODD:

Can't say I am off-book, but real line work has begun for me.

Now I itch to get Beadle out of Stereotypeland.



Fri Sep 4, 2009

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SWEENEY TODD:
Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
Bengt Gregory-Brown as Jonas Fogg.
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 production.

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 fine.

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 duties notwithstanding.


GUILD POTPOURRI:
Dayton Theatre Guild
Les Liaisons Dangereuses eyes

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 necessary.

And here are a few relevant links related to The Guild --



CALLBACK FOR ROUNDING THIRD:

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 Marsha Hanna.

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 Mr. Moore (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.

For more information: tbstride@yahoo.com.



Mon, Sep 7, 2009

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Were he alive,
my father would be
Ninety years old today.

My Dad, George A. Storer Jr., circa 1960, give or take a year or two.
George A. Storer Jr.
1919-1995

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 fifteen years).

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 man.

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 himself.

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.

-- K.L.



Thu Sep 10, 2009

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Dayton Theatre Guild
Les Liaisons Dangereuses eyes
LIAISONS, ET AL AT THE GUILD:

  • 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 the production.

    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.


  • xxxx
    New temp chairs on loan from Muse Machine.
    xxxx
    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 it?

  • 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: (CLICK HERE).

    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.

  • Check out the really nice little piece Marsha Hanna, artistic director for the Human Race Theatre Company, wrote in the latest HRTC newsletter. You'll have to scroll down a bit to "ARTISTIC REFLECTIONS from the corner window."



  • Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    AD Taiwo Jones, Technical Director Wayne Justice, & Director Ron Weber.
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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 tonight.

    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 whole show.

    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 to.


    CALLBACK FOR ROUNDING THIRD:

    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.


    CABARET AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE:

    To quote my Facebook post: "Kudos to the cast and crew of Cabaret at the Dayton Playhouse. A job well done!!!....Some good, very good and excellent performances."



    Fri Sep 11, 2009

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    91101 Emblem

    NOT JUST
    poems and essays on September 11, 2001
















    SWEENEY TODD:
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    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.



    Sun Sep 13, 2009

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    CLOSING TODAY

    LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES by Christopher Hampton at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

    The cast of Les Liaisons Dangereuses
    mostly in order of appearance

    Amy Clase            Madame La Marquise de Merteuil
    Wendi Williams            Madame De Volanges
    Charity Farrell            Cecile Volanges
    Michael Boyd            Le Vicomte de Valmont
    Nicklaus Moberg            Azolan
    Barbara Jorgensen            Madame de Rosemonde
    Amy Brooks            Madame de Tourvel
    Katrina Kittle            Emilie
    David Sherman            Le Chevalier Danceny
    Grace Davis, Nathan Hudson, Randy Mixon, Lesli Nachbauer, Angela Norris, Destany Schafer            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.


    xxxx
    The basement kitchen
    xxxx
    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 was:

    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 other's pathways.

    xxxx
    New kitchenette, the dishwasher at the bottom left.
    xxxx
    Kitchenette
    xxxx
    Kitchenette
    xxxx
    Intermission water
    xxxx
    Intermission coffee pump container
    xxxx
    Intermission coffee pump container
    And then of course, in an entirely unrelated aspect, there is plenty of parking now.
    xxxx
    xxxx
    xxxx



    AUTO LOTTO:

    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 with it.

    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, (StageWorks' home).

    The Guild is even further away. The new location 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.



    Mon, Sep 14, 2009

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    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    Director Ron Weber in Sweeney's barber chair
    -- photo by Wayne Justice
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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.


    AUTOCRAP:

    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.



    Tue, Sep 15, 2009

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    IN MEMORIAM
    Larry Gelbart
    Larry Gelbart

    1928-2009

    Patrick Swayze
    Patrick Swayze

    1952-2009



    Wed Sep 16, 2009

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    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    xxxxxxx.
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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.


    AUDITIONS:

  • 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...



  • AUTODRAMA:

    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.



    Thu Sep 17, 2009

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    SWEENEY TODD:
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    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....


    CHECK ENGINE:

    $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.



    Fri Sep 18, 2009

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    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    Jessica Broughton & Laura Buchanan work with wardrobe
    SWEENEY TODD:

    Note from the director last night to me --

        "The Beadle is the slimiest he's ever been. It's exactly what I want. I love it."

    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 perspective.

    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!


    AUTO-IF:

    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.


    xxxx
    "BILLY" IN ENDGAME AT STEPPENWOLF:

    I just realized that William Petersen will be Hamm in the production of Endgame at Steppenwolf in Chicago next Spring in the Downstairs Theatre.

    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!



    Sat Sep 19, 2009

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    CALLBACK TODAY:
    xxxx
    Doing the dishes and studying an audition side
    xxxx
    That hair cut

    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 callback.

    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.



    Sun Sep 20, 2009

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    CALLBACK YESTERDAY:

    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 to beat.

    Yeah. I don't think so.

    Oh well. On to the next audition.


    CHECK ENGINE:

    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.


    Dayton Theatre Guild
    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.

    xxxx
    xxxx


    Tue, Sep 22, 2009

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    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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 run through.

    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 point?

    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 discombobulation.

    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.



    Wed Sep 23, 2009

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    CAR CRAPPOLA:

    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


    SWEENEY TODD:
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    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 a rental.

    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.


    U.D. LAW GIG:

    Whilst we're on the subject of my overwhelming "professional" acting "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!


    OFF SCREENS:

    Meanwhile, as I position myself to finally 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.



    Thu Sep 24, 2009

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    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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.

    O N E   W E E K . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


    NO VACATION LEAVE TOMORROW:

    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.



    Sat Sep 26, 2009

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    SWEENEY TODD:
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.

    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 American."

    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 product done.

    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 Wayne Avenue.

    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 project.



    Sun Sep 27, 2009

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    Didn't get quite everything planned for the day yesterday done, but I took out most of it.


    Dayton Theatre Guild
    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.

    xxxx
    xxxx
    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 framing apart.

    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 rest.

    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.

    xxxx
    Most of the seats on the old thrust stage floor on Salem Avenue
    xxxx
    John Spitler loads a truck.
    xxxx
    The Salem building now void of theatre seats. It really isn't a theatre any more.



    xxxx
    Myself and Loren in what I'll call "my studio" in my apartment, recording off-screens for Quincy in the Balboni's bar scene.
    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 with that.


    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
          Me (Beadle) & Jessica Broughton (Lovett)      
    -- Photo by Larry Coressel
    SWEENEY TODD:

    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 ahead.

    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 founder.

    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.



    Mon, Sep 28, 2009

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    SWEENEY TODD:
    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org

    Springfield StageWorks www.springfieldstageworks.org
    xxxxxxx.
    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 to be.

    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. --- DOH!




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