This next paragraph was my status on
facebook as of just shortly
after the news of
passing had been confirmed for me. It stands as a good way to start this.
One proof of a person's impact in the world is that
when they depart this mortal coil, that even those who only briefly, and in
most ways superficially, have known them are stricken in the heart with the
sadness of the loss. So strong was Marsha's presence, that this man, who
barely knew her, is most saddened by her leaving.
When one became involved in the theatre world in Dayton it was not long
before Marsha's name became one you were familiar with, whether you had
occasion to meet her or not. If you had aspirations to make it into a
professional theatre setting in the area, you were going to have to meet her.
Marsha was a founding member of
The Human race Theatre Company
(which was brought to reality as Dayton's professional theatre by Suzy
Bassani, Caryl D. Philips and Sara Exley). Marsha was the artistic director
at "The Race" for twenty years. Again, if you were at all involved
with the theatre world in Dayton, Marsha was on your radar in some manner.
Due to her legacy I have no doubt it will still be that way for a long time
I, being one of those who was not in a circle close to Marsha, still had
interactions with her, some I consider to be significant. I don't remember
the first time I heard her name but I remember the first noteworthy talk I
heard of her. A new theatre friend,
(with whom I had just shared the stage in my first production in
twenty-seven years, The Cripple of Inishmaan), had just finished
appearing as a Pigeon sister in The Odd Couple, on the
Victoria Theatre stage, a
production which Marsha had directed. I'm not sure if that was the first
time Natasha had been directed by her, but I know it was not the last, and
she spoke that night, at a belated cast party for Inishmaan, with
high praise for Marsha's directorial skill. That would be nowhere near the
last time I would hear such strong endorsement of Marsha as a director, and
I would eventually get a little taste of her directing myself.
The first conversation I remember having with Marsha was sitting at a table
during a Christmas party that December (2004) at
home. She, fellow actor Lisa Sadai, and I were having a discussion about how
many theatre and film directors will not direct their own words under the
premise that the script needs another eye, beyond its composer, to form a
full, robust interpretation. Over the next six years I would have a few more
occasions to discuss the art and craft of theatre and acting with Marsha in
mostly social settings, but in a few cases during one classroom setting when
I took an advanced acting course she taught through The Race's educational
programming. It was always stimulating and informative to share thespian
concepts with her. Marsha knew her stuff.
My first true experience with the power of Marsha's professional presence
came on May 1, 2006, when I gave my first professional acting audition in
front of Marsha: the general audition for the Human Race 2006/2007 season.
I don't mean it was my first professional audition in front of Marsha, I
mean it was my first professional audition, period. Needless to say, despite
that I was no kid, I was forty-seven at the time, I felt more than a little
anxiety. I walked into an empty
save for Marsha, sitting at a table just in front of the stage apron, she
smiling in a most friendly manner at me.
During that acting class that I would take several years later she told us
all that any auditor worth working for wants the actor to succeed at the
audition. "We're on your side," she said.
Her smile and countenance on that day in 2006 said the same thing. At this
point, clearly the strongest reference point concerning me was my
The Dayton Theatre Guild,
so she asked me how things were going there, then talked a little about
where I lived and that she had a relative that had lived in the same area.
She made a few humorous observations -- that I am not going to share here --
then, in that Let's get down to business way she had of smacking her
hands on the table she smiled, dropped her head and tilted it up a little to
look at me through her glasses, then with a friendly smile she said firmly,
"So, what are you going to do for me today?" By the time we were
there, which was hardly any time at all, my anxiety was dissipated. With
ease and lovely gregariousness, Marsha had brushed my nervousness away.
In about one minute or so, Marsha had transformed a nerve-wracking situation
into what stands, still today, as one my best audition experiences. I have
stood in front of her several times since, both in later annual generals and
for several callbacks, and everyone has been a good experience, every one
has ranked at the top of my good audition experiences.
One of those later ones could have been a really bad experience, but she
and Kevin Moore did not allow it to disintegrate to that. Here recently, at
my 2009 general, I went up, completely, on one of my monologues. They were
both most gracious about it. They allowed me to take five, regroup myself,
and come back in to start over. When I came back in I did quite well. I am
most grateful for the graciousness they both showed me.
I have directed a few movie projects but as of yet have not auditioned
actors. Sooner or later I will direct theatre and will eventually be an
auditor for both stage and screen. I hope I give as much kindness and
respect to those standing in front of me as Marsha (and Kevin)
During the same time as that infamous audition was when I took the HRTC
acting class that Marsha taught. There was the occasion of my all-too-brief
taste of her as a director. There, through her coaching and guidance at
directing us students, did I (we) fully experience her great love and
enthusiasm for the craft, and her wisdom about the craft. I and my scene
partner, Robert Martin, did a most telling and emotionally charged scene
from Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain, where I portrayed the
brilliant but terminally self-conscious Ned, bullied into submissive
humiliation by the end of the scene by Robert's megalomaniacal Theo.
With uncanny questions she was able to get me to quick understandings of
Ned's emotional place and the dynamics of the scene, and on a deeper level,
the relationship between Ned and Theo.
"Was that really a question," she challenged me at one point,
"or was he (Theo) really telling you something?"
"Yeah, he's saying I'm stupid," I said.
"He's calling you a fool, isn't he? He's the genius, you're the
I can't say for sure that she would take the inquiry that far in a
non-classroom setting, in an actual theatrical production, and I will now
never know firsthand. But I remember her saying during that acting course,
in an earlier session, perhaps the first night, that the truth of her job as
a director was not to tell the actors what to do but to create an atmosphere
where actors could fully understand the play and their characters and reach
within themselves to bring out their best work. That's my interpretation of
her message, but I believe it to be the true essence of what she said.
This was also where she had said that those casting a show want the actors
standing in front of them to succeed. We had this discussion in the next
class after my melt-down audition for her and Kevin, which they had
graciously let me recover from. We talked about the incident in class. She
did point out that there wasn't much chance of that allowance
happening if one was auditioning in New York or Chicago, "But in
Dayton? Yeah, we can be a little more forgiving."
Obviously this class run was another opportunity to share some philosophical
discussions, sometimes before, sometimes after class about the craft and
theatre life. I left that classroom experience with more respect and a
deeper admiration of Marsha. And I left with a hopeful anticipation of
eventually being directed by her in a real production.
Selfishly, I am sorry that I will never experience a production with Marsha
at the helm. More generally, though, I am truly sorry to see this lady leave
the world. I liked her and really respected her talent. In most all ways of
real meaning, I stood on the outskirts of her circles and her world, but I
still will miss her and am sorry I could not have grown a closer friend. As
that facebook status of mine ends: I wish great
comfort to those who were truly close to her and feel a loss I am not privy
INTO TECH WEEK FOR RAVENSCROFT:
Down to the wire now, two more tech rehearsals before the opening this weekend. I
did not attend Monday's or last night's rehearsals but I was there for both dry tech
and the tech run with the cast on Sunday. The day went well.
I must admit, some of my time was spent getting the podcast re-posted to
The Guild's facebook page.
My goal, which was not met, was to have the video in final cut and posted to both
facebook and youtube
by early morning Jan 1, at the latest. I did not get to the final cut until about
2:00 am Sunday. So I rendered the facebook version first and uploaded that to the
DTG facebook account -- *the "version" has to do with file size (which,
unfortunately, also means video quality) and aspect ration (in this case, a 16:9
widescreen video letterboxed in a 4:3 full screen mode).
Since I suck at proofing my own text, I spotted -- after the video was live --
several errors in the closing credits including the misspelling of orchestra as
"ochestra," and the lack of inclusion of a tech credit for the show. But,
I was due at the theatre shortly for the dry tech so I deleted the video, corrected
and rendered the movie again, then left for DTG. Since we have high speed Internet
there, I started the upload again, only to have it pointed out to me, while it was
uploading, that I had also spelled someone's name wrong.
Upload number three was live at facebook late afternoon Sunday. The youtube version
-- a true 16:9 screen format -- was live about 10:30 that night, and is what is
Screenshot of start of podcast closing credits.
The set up for the actors' comments for the podcast video.
The set up for the actors' comments for the podcast video.
No word yet about the Permanent Collection casting. I'm of the mind that
were I to have been cast I would have been offered the role by now, but was told
that it usually takes a couple weeks. So, I guess I will not yet assume I was not
I got a call this afternoon that I somehow thought might be The Race calling
about said casting; it was, rather, PC-Goenner
calling about a movie audition this weekend at the Dayton office. I'd planned to
be out of town but with the information about the nature of the audition I think I
am changing my plans. It all boils down to what the production dates are. And if I
can at all accommodate them I most certainly would.
I really wasn't present much during the Tech/Dress week rehearsals. I was there
Wednesday and Thursday, but wasn't feeling well either night so I left early.
Likewise, I missed Opening Night, sick again. But I do know that there was a decent
house size: seventy-one, or about 60%, which is not bad for an opening night. There
was a standing ovation, which is a good sign.
Last night I was there and we had a good show with the cast doing well. The audience,
somewhere around the same size, liked the performance. So, we are off to a good
I have been told that at this point I have to still be vague, so here it goes,
in a vague manner....
Yesterday I did an audition through my representation
for a sweet supporting role in a full-length SAG feature. If cast, I'll only be in
one scene, but it's a key scene in the story line; it's the big-bang starting point
of the plot conflict, and it's a great scene for an actor to make his or her debut
in a professional full-length feature. There's a lot more to tell, but right now
"prudence" is the word. And, for myself and many compatriot auditioners,
waiting is the game.
I cancelled a trip west to Indianapolis for yesterday's audition. I had
rescheduled to next weekend. Now, it looks like I am pushing the trip back another
week as an audition for short-subject narrative has come up next Saturday. I sent a
pic and résumé yesterday, to the producers. Just waiting for word on
the appointment time, and location.
Still no word yet on the casting of Permanent Collection at the
The Human race Theatre Company. I may
contact the company manager during the week and reiterate my need to know asap if I
am not cast. I'm sure I would know asap if I were.
MARSHA HANNA MEMORIAL:
It's doubtful there is anyone in the local or regional theatre community who is not
already aware of this, still it bears repeating. There will be a memorial for
Marsha Hanna at The Loft Theatre on Saturday, February 5.
Click here for the details.
Short-Subject Film -- The production company,
Physis Films, has sent me the screenplay
in order to look at the role I am auditioning for this coming Saturday. It's a nice
little script, currently titled Gold. Probably will run about ten to fifteen
minutes. I and another actor would play the same character at different ages, so this
is a hyper example of looks counting toward casting -- the two actors really ought
to resemble each other quite a lot.
Permanent Collection -- Via email this morning I
reaffirmed my request to be notified as soon as possible about the casting decision,
obviously, in the event that I am not cast. And I don't think I am cast, least I
would have, I'm pretty sure, already received a call offering me the role. So I want
to know for certain whether or not Blackbird is free and clear for April.
The Big Deal Movie -- Despite great anticipation and
hopefulness, I'm trying to keep my feet solidly planted on terra firma and am trying
to remind myself that being cast is as much a crap shoot as it is a condition of
talent. And while I make this attempt to live in the cold hard truth there is this
schizophrenic-like debate thundering inside me.
The pessimist in me is convinced that I have a look and presence that casting
people just do not cotton to. Meanwhile, my head is playing out a scenario where
just having this gig as an entry on my résumé will instantly alter
the perception of many casting people. It's all quite neurotic.
As for the actual screentest I did last Saturday, I was neither horrified nor
ecstatic about it. As I left I felt that I had done "well," that it was a
"good" audition. Now I am second-guessing that and wondering if I blew it.
To quote myself: "It's all quite neurotic."
More Voice Acting -- Got a call at lunch today, in
fact, as I was writing this blog entry, from
Audio-Rabius. Inc. about another voice
acting gig; I think possibly for the same client as last time. Tentatively we
record tomorrow in the late afternoon/early evening.
U.D. Law --
I have some kind of courtroom acting gig coming up next week. As yet, there are no
I'm all for listing a lot more next to the
"a paying gig" icon. Most assuredly I would be more than thrilled to list
"Big Deal Movie," from above, in such a spot.
Last night I did another voice acting gig for John Rabius at
Audio-Rabius. Inc. This was another
chapter in the same marketing campaign for the company
Teradata. I was the same character as I was
in the studio session last month.
This one was essentially a cold read. The script was not ready until sometime
during the afternoon yesterday so I did not see it at all until I got to the
studio. I literally read and rehearsed each line right before we recorded it, with
John often coaching me as per context, etc. We got it wrapped in about and hour or
It too was good for me to perform professionally for a gig on the same day that I
got the news that is discussed next.
WELL, UM, NO, NO BIG MOVIE FOR ME:
Yesterday I found out that the casting people for the big deal movie have asked to
see more actors audition for a couple roles, one of those being the one I auditioned
for. They did not see anybody they liked in round one, which was my round. So, I am
I was most disappointed and felt quite disheartened and discouraged by the turn of
events. This was/is a big deal for us actors in this area and, like many others, I
was greatly excited about the opportunity.
For the rest of the day yesterday, save for while I was at the voice gig, I allowed
myself to wallow in what I'd at least measure as a mid-grade level of self-pity.
But now, it's time to rally back. I gave myself a day to feel somewhere in the area
of despondent about not getting this great opportunity and experience. It's time
now to remind myself that a lot of others have gotten or will get the same bad news.
And for any of you whom may be reading this, for what it's worth, I grant you all
the same right to feel sorry for yourselves for a little while. And piss on anybody
who gives you grief about it!
I still feel a dull but not-too-small pang of disappointment, I will not lie. But
it's Move On Time. And I'll gradually pick up steam as I go. But I still will employ
some of my coping mechanisms.
For one thing, I'll tell myself how this is just more
proof that casting people can make serious errors in judgement just like anyone
else. And maybe they possibly diluted the value of this movie, if only by a tiny
little bit, by screwing up and passing me over.
PRODUCTION OF DTG PODCAST 1011-06 BEGINS TONIGHT:
The table read through for our next DTG production is tonight and I will be there
to start production of the accompanying podcast video promotion of the show.
The cast list announcement is not officially released, yet. After it has been made
public via The Guild, I'll post the list here.
The radio news reports will be recorded in the next few weeks and will I produce the
My hope is that I have enough stock music on hand to throw behind the commercial
copy that I don't have to write and record, or pull out of the vault and
record, anything, or at least much of anything.
It's a time thing and an impatience thing.
There's also the question of voices for the commercials....
CAST -- PODCAST:
As planned, I did the first of a series of shoots for the show's podcast last
night as the cast gathered for their "table" read through. I put that in
quotes because the reading was in the boardroom office, and it was a bit nippy. So,
put them in a semi-circle around the space heater.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We
cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied
as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police
brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the
fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and
the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's
basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed
of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be
satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New
York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not
satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like
waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and
tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of
you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by
the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the
faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go
back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of
our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be
changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of
today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in
the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that
all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together
at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists,
with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition
and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white
girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and
mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the
crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With
this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of
our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will
be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be
free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a
new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee
I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from
the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening
Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring
from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we
will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and
white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at
last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Yesterday I re-edited the music video for "Seems Like A Crime." It is
essentially the same video that I posted last month on my
facebook account, save for the lack
of any holiday graphics or messages, though I don't think a lot of people even saw
I uploaded it to my YouTube
account in the early, early hours this morning then linked it on facebook
So, here it is, for what's it worth:
Permanent Collection -- I got word (not
but a few minutes after I had posted the orginal version of today's blog entry,
in fact) that I am not cast in this one. I don't who did get the role of
Paul but I do know that
Alan Bomar Jones
is cast in the lead as Sterling North.
Gold -- Saturday I drove to Mason, Ohio to
audition for this short-subject movie, Gold. I suppose it was a good
audition but I am not cast. That honor goes to another actor, a most talented
Peter was waiting in the rafters as I was auditioning. I had a feeling he would
be cast; he really has more of the sort of presence that the screenplay calls
for, in my estimation and apparently in the producers' estimations, too. I left
the audition predicting it might be Peter. Plus, depending on who is playing the
younger version of the character, he may look more like that actor, which really
needs to factor in as much as possible.
The director was in Toledo, so the audition was performed live on-line through
cam to cam through a messenger software, I think perhaps Windows Live Messenger.
Not the first on-line audition I've done, but the first that was real-time live;
the rest were recorded on some sort of pc video recorder,
at least one time, then the file was later emailed or FTP'd to the client.
SO NOW IT'S BLACKBIRD SINGING:
So, now that we know that I am not cast in the Thomas Gibbons play, which I was
skeptical in the first place I would be, it's on to David Harrower. As an actor it
was good to know that I was absolutely guaranteed to be on stage this spring in a
good role. The question was would I be Paul Barrow in Permanent Collection
or Ray in Blackbird at The Dayton Theatre Guild?
Now we know that Blackbird will absolutely run for one weekend, April 22-24
of this year at The Dayton Theatre Guild. There will be at least three shows but I
suppose, it could be bumped to four shows. Right now it's three.
I wish it was a full run, but there is some concern that nine performances of such
a touchy script might not be tenable.
If you're one of the few who visit here often you may notice that the
Blackbird icon is a new one. This one is also not yet the official graphic,
but it may be, or is very close to what may be the official art work for the
This is proving a most successful run for The Guild. We had really nice houses the
first weekend. This weekend every performance was sold out. And the audiences
have enjoyed the show greatly.
I sat in the audience for yesterday's show and can report that the cast did well.
It's a good production of a good script.
Tonight, after the gym, it's
all about getting the facts for tomorrow's gig firmly engrained in my memory cells.
At this moment, I don't have all the facts yet provided to me, but the rest
should be coming along during the day, today.
The gig starts tomorrow at exactly when I'm scheduled to get off work at the
bill-payer, so I arranged to leave and hour early tomorrow and make that up by
working a half-hour later each of today and Thursday.
I've been intending and postponing and intending and postponing to get over to
Indianapolis to see one of my best friends in life, Dave (whom I believe you have
read about here before, if you are a "regular.").
First there were different aspects of pre-production for Ravenscroft,
including getting the podcast to final cut. Then, those movie screentests came up
on consecutive weekends. You know, The Ides of March* and then Gold.
*I think the beans have been spilled locally about the
Now, I finally have a free weekend and Old Man Winter is snickering at me that he
wants to make it at least a little difficult. Big issue is that I'm renting an
economy class car for the drive. Let's hope the roads are good by the time I hit
the road, circa 4:00 or so tomorrow afternoon.
And, according to the news, the possible snow fall has been upped to six inches
from the max five that the National Weather Service states above.
Interesting evening playing a guy accused of attempted murder, felonious assault
with a deadly weapon, felonious assault to commit bodily injury, and aggravated
assault. Unlike some of the scenario set-ups, this one was simple and
straight-forward, so I didn't have to write a copious amount of flashcards to
memorize all the facts of the case.
Yeah, well, by this point, as I stated above, the beans are totally spilled, the
cat is all the way outta the bag, the word is heard, the news is dusty and moldy.
The "Big Deal" movie that I and many other local and regional actors
auditioned for back on January 8, was the script
The Ides of March,
based on the 2006
by Beau Willimon.
It's the big George Clooney
project that starts shooting next month in Oxford and Cincinnati, Ohio as well as
some locations in Michigan. Clooney is, if you aren't aware, directing and producing
and has the major supporting role of the presidential candidate Gov. Morris.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the
executive producer. Ryan Gosling
has the lead role as Stephen Myers.
The reason I am pretty sure I am out, as I wrote in previous blog posts is because
a few days after the screentest I was informed that the casting company wanted to
look at more people for the role I had auditioned for. Now, it's been pointed out to
me that that may not mean that someone from the original round of screentests won't
be cast, and I suppose there's merit to that. Still, I think there was a broad
enough net cast that first day, in several different agencies around the state,
that they got a big variety of options. So I'm jumping to the conclusion that they
didn't see an option that appealed to them. I am, as always, way more than willing
to be wrong about that, but I am not holding my breath. But, man would it have been
a sweet role to have landed because the character is an important element in a major
event in the story line.
Farragut North is the one play that I did not see during the 2006 FutureFest
weekend, which I attended as an audience member only. That was the Saturday
afternoon show and I had an audition for a short-subject narrative film that
afternoon and missed it. I came back to the festival to a raving buzz about the
Drove one-hundred-and-some miles west to Indianapolis in a
twenty-five-pound, economy-class rental car. A cheaper rental to be sure, and
probably thirty-five MPH on the highway (if not forty). Fortunately the highways
were not snowy or icy or the little matchbox I was in would've been a problem.
My own car is a bigger mid-size and seems to do well in snow, and relatively
well on ice. But it's an older car and though it could easily do the two-hundred
mile round trip, if it's going to break down within two-hundred miles of
driving, I'd rather they be two-hundred miles of driving right in my own
Returned to the text of Blackbird to begin the process of serious
line study for the April production. I have lot's of lines but I have some time
to get them down and I might as well make that process as easy as I can. I got
no further than highlighting Ray's lines with my yellow highlighter, but,
forward is forward.
Looked over the specs for an audition that was coming up back in Dayton on
Monday afternoon *(see below). Not much to look over so it demanded but a few
minutes of my time.
Most importantly, I got to hang with a good friend and his lovely daughter
(and for a few fleeting moments here and there: his teenaged son), my
soul brother and niece-and-nephew-in-spirit.
A section in the older part of the
Indianapolis Public Library
where the Indy folk and I spent a few hours Saturday
afternoon. I didn't snap a lot of pics in there but I gotta
tell you, it's a really nice library.
Dave cookin' up a fine Saturday night dinner.
A terminally cool dork.
Again, during the little mini-vacation to Indianapolis I took over the weekend, I
had rather loose plans toward work on the Blackbird script.
My goal was to keep the time in Indy open to whatever fell down as the action of
So, I brought the script but had no goals except that if there was free time to do
any work on it I would seize it.
What happened was what I reported above; I at least got all of Ray's lines
highlighted; which, of course, reminded me that I have HALF the lines in an
Recording myself reading the script, using
as the recording software and my
built in mic, for the sake of convenience and ease, since a high
quality sound file is not necessary in this instance.
Could be worse: could be George in Who's Afraid
of Virginia Wolf.
When I got home late afternoon Sunday, I did begin to get the lines down in an audio
recording, however. This, for the mp3's I intend to listen to constantly for weeks
and weeks. Not my only way of learning the lines, but one of the points of attack.
Which reminds me, I need to finally procure that
iPod I have never gotten around to getting.
I'd hoped to finish the recording last night to be ready for the next step: to edit
the audio files to a rendition that will better serve my purpose. I had to do an
audio edit job for a friend however, as a favor, and that ate up the evening.
It completely slipped my mind to do it while in
Indianapolis, where I could have easly got the edit job all finished and wrapped
The iPod is for, of course, mobility, so I don't have to be confined to my laptop
or the tower pc at the bill-payer job, in order to listen to the files.
I'm making two versions. The first will have both mine (Ray's) and
(Una's) lines. Then I will graduate to a version where my lines are dropped out and
all there will be is Heather's lines to cue me.
I am doing what I have done a few times in the past with my reading of my lines on
the recording -- a flat, almost deadpan delivery to help me focus on words and not
influence my line interpretation. The second is most important to me. I have found
that when I listen to the lines in deadpan delivery I am able to better think about
the varied possibilities for what might be going on emotionally and mentally with the
character. It's a better line study for me. In fact, it jumps into character study.
Now, of course, I will still make and veraciously use my trusty index-cards (flash
cards). But, the audio files will be good for all those many times when I can't
practically use the cards. And having the lines in my ears on a frequent bases for
a while is nothing but a very good thing.
I was going to finish off the initial raw recording tonight, but probably won't get
to it because I have been ask to do a favor tonight which may get me home too late
to finish the recording off.
About and hour before I left for Indy on Friday I got call about an audition for
the Hoosier lottery. So, ironically, I came back from Indianapolis -- capital of
the Hoosier State -- to audition for a commercial for that state's lottery back in
Dayton. I went yesterday afternoon. I'm not turning cartwheels over my performance
but I'm not ready to tie a noose, either.
who directed the Hoosier Lottery audition yesterday, invited me to participate in
his portion of a presentation about auditioning and casting calls for the regular
Tuesday night meeting of the Film Dayton organization. I have been meaning to
investigate and possibly connect myself with Film Dayton for a couple years now.
The problem is there has almost always been something to do on the Tuesday when the
collective's meeting happens. I believe it's the forth Tuesday of every month.
I know at Least one other actor who is helping out Shaunn tonight.
A ROUSING SUCCESS:
I don't know the exact numbers, but Ravenscroft has officially taken the lead
as the best attended production at The Guild's new home.
It got good critical review.
The audiences responded well to the performances.
It was a hit.
Congratulations to all involved.
PRE-PRODUCTION FOR PODCAST 1011-07:
Have been in contact with the copyright administrator for William Gibson's estate
and I'm waiting back for word on whether we can use any of the text from the play
in the podcast.
As it turns out I was able to knock off the rest of the raw recording of the
play's text last night when I got home.
Now to do some engineering and mixing. There are a few things that I will do to
enhance the recording. For one thing, there are various spots in the script where
lines overlap in a rather choreographed manner. When I read for the raw recording
I took all of Ray's lines and all of Una's and read them in blocks, out of sequence.
I'll go back and separate and edit them all together so they meet the placement and
pacing that the script suggests.
I also will electronically bump up the pitch of my voice on the Una lines, where I
already raised my timbre some as I spoke them. There are also a few false starts
where I read part of a line wrong and had to repeat it to correct. Those errors will
be edited out, of course.
As an added bonus, as I am in this process of editing the final sound files, I will
be in the midst of line study as I attend to the text I am editing.
Enjoyed the evening last night at the monthly Film Connections meeting of
Film Dayton. If you remember, Monday,
invited me to participate in a demonstration of film auditioning for the film makers
who may not have ever held an audition. My partners in crime were both actor friends
whom I've worked with,
and Dave Nickel. Saw a few people in the audience I know, including
Chris Tung, who helped
with a few shoots for that infamously unfinished improv movie project, and one of
the fellas from Physis Films where I
recently did the screentest for the short movie, Gold.
We read sides from one of the Pumpkinhead productions -- I don't know which
one, but I believe it was one Ms. O'Reilly was attached to. Shuann had Megan show
the contrast behind small acting for the camera, which is what a film maker wants,
and the broader performance the stage needs. She did it forst the right way then did
a stage peformance that, on the big monitor looked like bad, over-acting.
Dave and I read the same part in the same scene to illustate how the director will
get different interpretations that are viable based on what the director needs, or
possible based on who else might be cast in an adjacent role. I did pull my
performance down from what I'd do on stage, but Shuann asked me pull it down even
more. I thought my character should be a bit viscerally aggitated and I went a
little bigger than Shuann wanted. But, I pulled it down.
The room appreciated all of our work, so that was good.
The only other goof on my part was that I had a black shirt on. Not to purposely
demonstrate what not to wear, but because when I got up to go to work yesterday
morning, this event was temporarily off my radar and I did not choose the clothing
I would have for an audition. I always go with earth tones or other muted colors.
That aside, it was a nice evening and perhaps I will now actually investigate
joining Film Dayton, since I need very badly to greatly increase my flim making
As any "regular readers" may
know, I started in motion, somewhere in the fall, if not late summer, of 2009, a
move to get a production of David Harrower's excellent full-length one-act play
Blackbird up at The Dayton Theatre Guild, as an extra production.
I had seen a production of Blackbird at
The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago
in August of 2009, starring
William Petersen and
Mattie Hawkinson. I was blown
away by the finesse in which Harrower was able to delve into a sensitive and taboo
world and make a compelling story in which any thinking audience member has to
challenge their preconceived notions that will inevitably attack their hearts and
minds in the early part of the play.
The script is intelligent and gripping with twists and turns that take one to a
finale that is not at all foreseeable. Petersen and Hawkinson were magnificent in
their portrayals of the two damaged souls in this play. I left the theatre that day
with a strong desire to mount this show with myself in the role of Ray (the male
Actor Heather Atkinson
and I had occasion to help each other prepare for an audition for a show for the
2009/10 season at The Guild and during the course of such we discussed my hopes to
present this one. Heather knew Blackbird and equalled my strong passion to
do the play. In a very informal and really unintentional way, she more-or-less
auditioned for the role of BB's Una through her performance as the woman she
was prepping to audition for in the other play. We were, you see, rehearsing our
auditions for the other play by reading and acting scenes from it off each other.
By the nature of the conflicts in some of those scenes we both saw that we could
work well together. I clearly saw that I had found a perfect woman to play Una.
Thus, Heather was on board in the role of Una against my Ray. We got together a few
times to dramatically read it as we were looking for a director. I approached one
person I thought might make a great director for the project, but, he doesn't really
like to direct and only does it because he is sometimes required to.
Meanwhile in discussion with a couple DTG board members, the idea came about to
present a private staged reading of the play as part of the proposal to add it as
an extra show. As we were getting that in line we brought in fellow actor
Natasha Randall to
attend a rehearsal of the staged reading. We had already given the script to her in
her capacity as a member of The Guild's play reading committee. So she came in
having read the script. She enthusiastically offered to direct, having already
given this complex and emotionally charged play some considerable thought, thoughts
which she shared. We enthusiastically accepted her offer. I also officially took
the mantle of producer -- I really already was.
I set up the private reading for the board in April of 2010. About a dozen people
attended. They liked the performance and, even if made uncomfortable by the text,
admitted it was well-written and forceful theatre that meets the high demands of
the better work we present at The Guild. The next weekend at the board meeting it
was approved as an extra during the 2010/11 season. It wasn't unanimously approved,
but the professed objection did not regard the quality or even the sensitive nature
of the play; it was a concern that we already had a full enough season of
productions. But, I'll point out that the slot we proposed it for was already
allotted for an extra show and was a slot approved unanimously by the board when the
season was originally approved.
We picked April because it met several needs. First, it was -- we thought --
out of the way of any professional productions at
The Human Race Theatre Company that
any of us were hoping to be considered for. Also, the consensus is that
Blackbird will attract college students and their contemporaries, and if we
waited until summer, a lot of that target audience would be gone. We knew that
Permanent Collection would be up during the time we wanted, but we were
erroneously under the impression that it was an all African American cast. We were
So, we applied for the performance rights for Apr 22-24, 2011, shortly after the
board accepted the show. The first response from Dramatist Play Service was that
they could not yet grant a license, we had to contact them again after June.
Not long after we reapplied for the rights, I was informed by The Human Race that I
had a callback for Permanent Collection. I immediately researched the play
only to find that the only possible role I could be considered for was most probably
Paul Barrow, who is a major supporting role and the antagonist.
Despite the fact of the size of the Barrow role, my first instinct was to walk away
from the callback. But everyone, including Natasha, Heather, and some members of
The Guild board, advised me I shouldn't pass on such a plum opportunity on a
professional stage. They were, of course, correct.
Not but a day or two after I got the news from The Race about the callback did we
get the news that the rights for Blackbird were approved. So, now
Blackbird was approved by the board and the rights were granted, but there
was a conflict, which we had originally thought we avoided. But now it's a moot
The actual callback for Permanent Collection wasn't until just a few days
before this past Christmas, so, the ultimate fate of Blackbird in April was
in limbo. I was notified on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (quite apropos considering
the storyline of the Race show) that I was not cast. I was pretty skeptical, as I
have written and said many times before, that I would be cast. I think a director
would consider it a big risk to put an actor who's never appeared on a professional
stage into such a big role. Not that one might never do so, but, I think the odds
are not in favor of such. But I was considered viable, and despite my desire for
Blackbird, I went and give it my best because it was a great opportunity.
Well, now it's Blackbird, free and clear. I am quite happy about that. As
much as I don't want to seem like I would have been miserable to have landed the
role at The Race -- I most emphatically would not have been -- I would have been sad
about the delay of Blackbird, and even a slightly-potential loss of Ms.
Atkinson if we could not coordinate a reschedule that worked for her. I would have
tried my hardest to avoid that, and would have only and most reluctantly accepted her
absence if she, herself, made the decision to bow out.
Our co-star, Heather, by the way, is about to begin rehearsals at
The Gorilla Theatre in Tampa Bay for
Sweet Storm by
Scott Hudson. It is another two-person play, so she's starring in two in a row. The
Florida gig runs a bit longer, Feb 24-Mar 20 and is a professional house, though I
don't know if it's Equity. I wish her broken legs and such!
Meanwhile I have more luxury than she in learning my half of the words for
Blackbird and, as reported before, I have begun. To give an update on that:
a couple nights this week I've been mixing the raw recording I made of the script,
six master audio files, each that cover about a sixth of the pages. I did exactly
what I'd planned, I created a copy 2 of each master sound file, and on the copy I
bumped the pitch up and am using that one for the Una lines on the mixed master --
Una being channel 2 (the bottom channel of green blocks) in the screenshot on the
right. The original master files are for the Ray lines -- Channel 1.
It's taking some time to create what will be the finished sound files. I've created
the first finished aif file, "Blackbird text sec 1." That was several hours
of work and it's only sixteen minutes. So, there's a little time to go before I
have the whole play in my earphones.
For one thing, I have caught a few line errors I made, and, no less, while reading
the friggin' lines straight off the page. Fortunately they've all been line errors
I could fix simply by editing. In two instances I added superfluous words,
"that," in once case. It was simple enough to just edit those words out
of the sentence on the mix master. I also forgot to record a drop in word by Ray
at one point, the word, "okay." Fortunately, there is the same word later
in the script, so I just copied that second instance and used it where the first one
There are many instances where Ray and Una overlap, and I just simply recorded all
of one character's lines and partial lines together then the other's, then cut them
up and laid them on each characters audio track in the strategic spots that the
script dictates. So I have a mix with the overlaps and interruptions in a pacing
that is suggested by the text on the page. This is a major reason why this mix edit
is a little laborious.
However, this slower, patient assembly is affording me some opportunity to attend to
the text at a casual pace that gives me some time to begin to investigate what is
going on in each line. It's the bare beginning, but I really feel like it's a good,
On the other side of it, April 22 is T-Minus 83 days and counting.
BLACKBIRD, FEATURING HEATHER ATKINSON AND
K.L.STORER WILL BE SHOWING FOR ONE WEEKEND ONLY, APRIL 22-24, 2011 AT
THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD.
Woke up to a text message saying that work -- (the rent-payer work) --
was delayed until 10:00 this morning, due to the iced-over roads. So I got to
go back to bed for another hour and a half. Then woke up, again, to a new text,
another version of the message above. So, let's see what the rest of my day
HIGH-TECH LINE STUDY, PART 2:
My mixed audio files are finished, rendered, and I am, in fact, as I key these
words, listening to one right now, "Blackbird text sec 1," one of four.
I finished off the audio mixes Sunday; it was pretty much my day. It was a little
more tasking in a couple places because there were more of those mis-reads by me,
but this time they were goofs that could not be simply fixed with an edit or move
around. I had to re-record the readings of a couple sections to get the correct,
Now, with the exception of the majority of Una's
seven-page monologue*, the whole play is in audio form. That section is the only
place I truncated, using the first few lines then the last few, cuing into Ray's
lines that follow.
I played the four files in a loop all of last night and the night before while I
was in bed, and did so much of today and yesterday. I will be doing this frequently
for a while.
I have a systematic repeat sequence in an iTunes playlist so I hear section 1, then
1 & 2, then 2 & 3, then 3 & 4, then 4, then 1 though 4, then back to
the start of the cycle. **See to the right.
I still haven't bought that iPod, but it's
on my agenda.
And now it's time to move into the "low tech" stuff, the index cards,
i.e.: my flash cards. As well, there's that plain, old fashion work with the pages
of the printed script.
Coming sometime in the near future will be some dramaturgy and other background
building, for the character work in general.
*) Granted, the poetry-like layout of the text extends the pages
the monolgue spans; yet, it still would be at least three to
three and-a-half pages in a regular actor's script layout.
So, yesterday was the second of two days in the midst of the
cross-continental winter weather extravenganza, myself, here in the
eastern part of the mid-western United States. It was, my second
day, like many, many, many others, home from work (the bill
payer, that is). Could be worse; could be Chicago, points
parallel west of that, or New England.
Yesterday afternoon I ventured out for groceries. I had to let the
car run for about 20 minutes in order let the defroster attack the
quarter-inch sheet of ice on the windshield before I could start
chipping and then make the trip. That IS ice on the road, in the
to IGA & back from pics above.
MORE NEWS COPY FOR THE OUT-TAKE SHORT:
Been grabbing small town news off the web to adapt some news stories for the copy
for the Trying Out Robert movie.
And remember, I am not at all convinced that Trying Out Robert will be the
final title, any more than the horribly generic The Audition was.
Lines -- Though still not quite yet at the
aggressive level, I am continuing to listen often to the lines. I will
probably, at lunch today, begin to get the lines onto the index cards to
get my flash cards going.
Post card -- I have created the layout for a
promotional postcard. I haven't decided if this is the finished layout yet,
but I hope to have it locked soon. Then I'll get some printed and will be
sending them out to freinds, family and colleagues, especially those in the
The lovely weather has gotten in the way of the rehearsals for this show. Tonight I
will be there to shoot copious amounts of material for the podcast. Probably
tomorrow and maybe Saturday (pick-up rehearsal). Though I hope to do most, and maybe
even all of the editing Saturday evening.
The creation (writing) of the flash cards began yesterday at lunch, just as I
Took out a few more last evening before the cast showed for the Fat Pig
rehearsal. The photo to the left is me at the box office console at
DTG placing pen to index card.
When I left off last night, I was at card number 54, and was thirteen pages in.
After lunch today, where I worked at it again, I'm at card 72, on page 24, the
seventeenth page of text. At the moment, not counting the full pages of Una's
lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng monologue, there are 54 pages left. At the current estimated rate,
I have somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 200 to 250 more cards to create.
I am in that early place where as I look at the words and contemplate how I have
only the bare beginnings of memorization accomplished, I think to myself:
How in the HELL are you going to
learn all these lines!?
Truth is, memorization is hardly where I am at, or, having anything memorized is
hardly where I'm at. I have, perhaps a few lines, but mostly, where I am at is that
I at least have a pretty good familiarity with the story. But it's early.
But, again, on the other side of it, April 22 is T-Minus 77 days and counting.
As the cast played catch-up, last night, on lost rehearsal time, I played catch-up
in terms of shooting material for the podcast. And I'm not done. I need to shoot
more today and tomorrow.
On the off chance that there'd be time available to get the voice over comments
from the cast, I brought my sound equipment last night, and, indeed, we did get
the cast comments for the podcast recorded.
My actual intent was to plug a microphone directly into my laptop and use
to record their comments. However, I could not find the approriate 1/4 inch to
3.5 millimeter mono adapter to plug the mic into the laptop. All I could find was a
stereo version, which the mic cable's 1/4 inch plug will not fit into.
Fortunately I had the tape recorder with me, that which takes the native 1/4 inch
input from the mic cable and taped their words.
So, we set up in the DTG board room office with two lamps, in order to avoid the
hum the mics pick up from the florescent lights in the ceiling.
I got nice soundbytes from all four cast members -- the director declined to make
any comments for the video.
Naturally, within an hour of getting home, not only did I find the correct 1/4 to
3.5 mil adapter, but it was hidden away in a case that I had with me during
I believe that just a few posts ago, up there, in reference to the Fat Pig
podcast, I wrote, "...I hope to do most, and maybe even all of the editing
Saturday evening." That was a lovely goal, but it was not, as it turns out,
Let us remember the production axiom:
Whatever you reasonably estimate as the production time will be much less
than what it actually will take.
I finished principal production on Saturday, with more than 500 photographs taken
during the course of that rehearsal. My grand total of stills for the project was
just shy of 1100. In order to make assembling the edit much more manageable, in
terms of finding appropriate images for any given moment in the edit, it was
necessary to re-named each picture file from the generic file names the digital
camera gave them to something that at least identifies who is in the photograph.
Such as "SteveWendi039.JPG," as an example, rather than something like
Somewhere around 6:00 Saturday evening I began the process of re-naming, or
labeling, each picture. In some cases, deleting pictures that did not turn
out. In fact, I illuminated about 100 shots that were too blurry or had other like
problems. That whole process was much more laborious than I had anticipated. It was
my whole evening Saturday, and my whole day Sunday.
Yep, a thousand-plus pictures take a bit longer to scrutinize, even if briefly,
than I would have guessed. That goal of having the podcast on-line by today --
by yesterday, actually -- is not met. In fact, I haven't transferred the
actors' comments from Thursday evening from analogue to digital as of yet. Though I
do have most other elements ready for the editing to begin.
I have some background music for this particular podcast. At my grousing about not
finding appropriate music from my usual sources for royalty free material, including
my own limited repertoire of original music, he suggested
and I was able to find a nice piece there at a reasonable licensing fee. This is a
nice new resource to add to the arsenal.
Love to say I'll have the final cut wrapped tonight, but that's not practical. For
one thing, I have to drop by the DTG theatre to orientate the sound folk for the
show to the odd little audio setup in the booth. Right now, my goal for the
podcast's postings at
is: before Friday.
Got the movie finished Wednesday evening and sent it uploading to
YouTube as I hit the
sack. Woke up the next morning and watched it on YouTube to judge the quality of the
compressed file. Still have some complaints about that issue, but it was
"okay" enough. Next I uploaded the
version. Again, and as usual, the facebook version was originally rendered at a lower
quality yet manifests at better quality one on-line than at YouTube. But the big
problem were a few small proof reading errors in the closing credit scroll --
"Go figure, " he says with no little irony in his voice. First I
noticed that I had not capitalized theatre in Dayton Theatre Guild, which I was
going to tolerate until I later saw that I had put the wrong zip code in the
TheatreScape's address. So I deleted both on-line files, fixed the errorsm
re-rendedered and re-posted.
And there's still a proof-reading blooper. See if you can spot it.
Well, here's to a good run and many broken legs to the cast and crew.
The Guild hard-track promotion hasn't begun yet -- they have two shows ahead of
Blackbird to promote. However, my personal promotion of the show is now going
into a higher gear. That includes this "unofficial" postcard that I've
designed and will have printed this week.
And, line work is continuing.
T-minus 67 days, and counting.
Meanwhile, on February 24, Heather opens in Florida, co-staring with
Chris Jackson in
We seemed to have a good opening weekend for the show. The audiences on Friday and
Saturday were positive. The cast felt good about their work. I was in house
manager host mode, so I didn't see but a few moments of the show each of the first
two nights. And I have purposefully never attended to the end of the show, so I will
be mostly surprised when I sit in the audience; allthough someone inadvertantly
spoiled the end for me to some extent.
Yesterday, I stayed home to work on other things, including Blackbird.
Last night I did one of those "one-hour" naps that became a
several-hour nap. I seem to be quite famous for those. I had the audio of the lines
playing during this event. So, I was up at almost 11 p.m. and worked more on the
index flash cards. I am now past my biggest monologue and should be wrapping the
flash cards soon.
Last night I finished the creation of the flash cards.
A two and one-sixteenth inch stack of 294 cards covering 273 lines -- some of the
longer lines and monologues cover multiple index cards.
So, I've been listening to the recordings of the play (the lines) for over a week
now, and will continue to do so. But now, I up the gears by starting the rote
learning of the lines. Then I'll use the index cards to drill sections as I have
finished the relevant rote sessions.
It all works toward the goal. Writing the whole play on the index cards was a part
The rote work is the meat of the memorization. The rote will be burning the words in.
I'll still be deliberating on the reading of the lines while doing that. I will
continue to listen to my droll recording to help with interpretation, as well as
some reinforcement of memorization.
I feel a bit ahead of the game but I must remember that there is a two and
one-sixteenth inch stack of 294 cards covering 273 lines and that opening night is:
T-minus 64 days, and counting.
Voice-over Work -- Received the paycheck for the
voice acting I did in January for
Audio-Rabius. Inc., with the lovely
surprise that the wage was bumped up 50% because the role was larger than had
originally been anticipated. So, that was nice.
U.D. Law Gig --
Next month I'll reprise some roles for
Judge Mary Huffman's
criminal trial practice law class. This will be, I believe, the third year I have
appeared in this class doing these particular four roles that span two different
cases and class sessions. I do need to brush up on the facts, etc., but, with the
megathon of line work I have for Blackbird, it's nice to not have completely
new facts to ingrain.
THE CAST OF THE BOYS NEXT DOOR:
Lucien P. Smith
Mrs. Fremus, Mrs. Warren, & Clara
Mr. Hedges, Mr. Corbin, & Senator Clark
*Greg Smith was later replaced by Mark Jeffers in the role of Mr. Klemper
Congratulations to the cast!
On another front, this morning I initiated contact with Tom Griffin's agents to
request permission to use some text from the play in the podcast. The arrangement
of podcast shoots also has begun.
In a related note: I have yet to hear back from the lawyer for the estate of
William Gibson as per the use of text from Golda's Balcony in the
promotional podcast for that show.
WAIT! MIGHT TRYING OUT ROBERT (or whatever it
ends up being titled) MAKE IT TO FINAL CUT IN SOMETHING MORE OR LESS LIKE THE
As a manipulation of myself, I have scheduled the recording of
Ms. Wendi Williams'
voice-over work as the news announcer on Bellcreek's WACI FM ("Lite 97.5").
This forces me get all the news copy written before then.
Deadlines do work.
And though not directly related to the news broadcast that will run as part of
station programming in the background of the scene, it also motives me to get the
damned radio commercials I need for that same programming done, too. This is all I
need to get Trying Out Robert to final cut. That, and a better title.
IN SOME GENERAL PRODUCTION RELATED NEWS:
Artist Moby has a cool site set up for
independent and non-profit film makers, offering free music he has composed and
recorded to use in non-commercial productions:
You can even apply to use the works for commercial projects with the fees going to
the Humane Society.
What a cool thing! I have created a user account. This may be great for both my
improv movie project and for DTG podcasts which need royalty free music in them.
SUNDRY HARROWERING THINGS:
Rote Memorization Has Begun -- Thursday
evening I began the process
(That's right S.C., I said "process") of
memorization by repetition. I started whilst doing the dishes. Got a
little more study in on Saturday and a bit more on Sunday. So far I
haven't yet delved terribly deep into the script, hardly but a few
But one reason to start this process early is that the lines are
fraught with built in stammers and incomplete sentences and nervous
repetitions, much of it well choreographed by Harrower's prose.
I am shooting for verbatim, so spending a lot of time on smaller
sections is the way to go, in my mind.
T-minus 60 days,
Postcards -- I have printed several-dozen
copies of the postcard in 4x6 size for promotion. I also ordered some
custom mailing envelopes, which fit to the 4x6 size, through a cottage
company, Creatively Invited.
The envelopes arrived Thursday and they are perfect for the job!
Friday, out went the first small postal mailing of cards in the fitted
envelopes -- before the U.S. Post Office
completely shuts down; right?
DTG PODCASTS & OTHER PRODUCTION STUFF:
Tonight I'll shoot the first footage for the Boys Next Door podcast. This
will be b-roll shot at the read through, though some audio of the lines from the
play might make it into the DV movie, provided that the clearance to use text from
the play comes through.
There will be other work going on this week that I'll shoot. The first week of
rehearsals are taking place in the home of the director, that
Natasha person, who, as I
understand it, is directing another show at the Guild this season.
I also need to shoot footage for Golda's Balcony this week. So, I'm juggling
between the two. I haven't heard back yet about clearance on the text of this one
for the podcast, either. So, I have to, in some ways, just shoot in a zen state of
mind and then edit together what I am able to. I have to edit next week so I have
to shoot as much footage as I can as quickly as I can. I've shot none, yet.
A big thing for both of these is the copyright clearance to use the text in the
podcast. Without the permissions, it can't be done. A lot of producers do it. On
occasion they get themselves sued; and they lose in court. The idea that on-line
podcasts and video trailers that are promotions for a legally sanctioned performance
are "Fair Use" is false. I, as you will read in earlier posts to this
blog, once was of that assumption myself. I was incorrect. I will assert that indeed
I do believe it is an unnecessary and short-sighted lack of fair use. I believe
such use of the text ought to be covered by Fair Use. But, it's not. So, clearance
I likely won't, by the way, seek clearance for Blackbird from Harrower.
My concept for that podcast does not call for the text to be used whatsoever. I may
change my mind; probably won't, though. May b-roll some rehearsals, but there will
be no audio of the lines from the play. Which reminds me: I will need a camera
operator for this podcast.
The second weekend seemed to go well, too.
Again, I wasn't on site on Sunday, as another board member graciously took the
hosting duties from me for the day. I notice that whenever that happens, it is,
for the most part, someone from the same small group of names who do that. The same
ones of us to habitually show up for other work days at the theatre?
Why should the board of directors for a community theatre company be any different
than any other volunteer organization?
But, I digress.
The play, itself, leaves many a bit uncomfortable -- but we knew it would do that.
Wait till they sit in the seats for Blackbird; this will be Easter
Parade in comparison. Two comments from audience members after the show
this past Saturday:
"Those were some pretty harsh people on that stage!"
"Well, I liked it better by the end. But the actors were really
Those are common and predictable responses to the material.
What follows is an official announcement from The Dayton Theatre Guild that I am most
sorry has be made. I know Mrs. Jorgensen was anticipating this production and I saw
enough of the rehearsals to know that she was going be great.
"DUE TO UNFORESEEN REASONS ALL PERFORMANCES OF GOLDA'S BALCONY HAVE BEEN
"We hope to be able to bring this production to you at a later time.
"If you have already purchased tickets we will be contacting you. We will offer the
option of transferring your tickets to our next production, The Boys Next
Door, or refunding your purchase. If you purchased via your credit card and you
choose a refund, your credit card will be credited. If you purchased via check or
cash, we will send you (or your group organizer) your refund check.
Well, I get onto the set of The Ides of March, as a stand-in, today and
However, I'm not going to be able to blog about it as that is not permitted.
The most I can say is that I got the job.
That's at least good news to report.
LINES LINES LINES LINES LINES:
The word crunch continues. I do feel like I ought to up the pace a little. I am only
at page 33 (26 pages into the script text). Granted, we are talking just under two
months from opening night, but I need it be virtually or almost perfectly off-book
when rehearsals start on April 4. We will have, at least on week nights, only
twelve rehearsals. It's not inconceivable some weekend rehearsals are thrown in
The gradual ingraining is suiting that purpose of verbatim execution of all the
built-in stutters and starts-and-stops. But, I much want to approach the rehearsal
period with a high confidence and comfortability with the words. there's so much
else to work on in that short window, and struggling to much for the words will
inhibit all that other emotional and character development.
T-minus 50 days, and counting.
THIS JUST IN, THE NEWS REPORTS FOR TRYING OUT ROBERT:
Last night I recorded myself for the several soundbytes from various news stories
from that report. I'll process my voice to change it up somewhat more than I
already had, at least for two of the three soundbytes I recorded.
Sometime soon I'll have to record the news intro music.
And there still are the commercials to produce as well.
I shot more footage for the podcast this week.
I lost some good footage last week because I was sick at the end of the week and
there were a couple nights of prep work for the cast that would have been good to
have as possible material. But, you know, it is what it is.
Okay, so here's an attempt to blog about this experience in an innocuous manner
that does not violate any restrictions on blogging about the experience. That means
no details of significance about the production or about anyone involved. Certainly
I will say nothing about the contents of the scenes shot; and no dirt or gossipy
type things. This is going to be very general observation and more reflective of
the artform than of the specific production. It focuses almost completely on what I
saw "craftwise" in a quasi-generic sense.
So, if you're web surfing looking for inside info on the
movie, you are not going to find anything here. Sorry. I am not going to be party to
First of all, being a stand-in on a big-time movie set with major players was really
cool -- but, god, now the desire to be a guy with my own stand-in on such
a set is tickling me so hard it's a flaming sword in my gut.
I was the stand-in for character actor
Michael Mantell who plays a
Democratic contender for the Presidential candidacy, Senator Pullman. I did get to
talk with him a little. Seems like a pretty nice guy.
I think it's safe to say that I got to watch
George Clooney switching hats from
actor to director; and I was most interested in watching him as director -- he does
have an Oscar as a director, you know. Kinda interesting watching the actor work,
too. Kinda cool to be there watching him do both!
I got to see him in both capacities on both Thursday and Friday. Though later in
the day on Friday he was done as actor and was in his civvies to direct some other
actors -- we'll get to them. Since they are known cast members, you bet I am going
to name drop! But, no dirt -- I really have no dirt, but even had I....
So, here's a scenario: mid-afternoon on Friday, not terribly far away in front of
me, several people were watching the video playback of the scene just shot. Those
people were: Naturally, the director, Mr. Clooney, as well as
Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was
really an awesome moment for this green, star-struck, movie-set novice.
I'd love to tell you about the great meaningful connection I made with one or more
of these men. Alas, I can't report that. My direct communication with all these men
was very slim and very incidental. The general rule on any set is not to initiate
conversations with any of the principals or the director.
George asked me once, on Friday, how I was holding up as I had been standing in the
same spot for some time while the crew set the lights and some camera angles. I
happen to run into Ryan Gosling as he was entering on Friday and we exchanged quick
how-you-doing? greetings. I had one other very brief exchange with him later. I
shared a brief jovial conversation with Paul Giamatti in the lunch line. My exchange
with Mr. Hoffman was just hello since we made eye contact while he was sitting and
waiting to be called on set.
Now, I wanted to at least tell these men that I love their work. I especially wanted
to tell Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman this. In fact, as I was nodding my
head hello to Phillip, what I desired was to grab and shake his hand and tell him
that I believe he is one of the most gifted actors to ever appear on screen. The
man has such an impressive range as an actor it almost makes me hate him from envy.
But, I don't, I am in awe of the man's brilliance. I was a little sad that I had to
keep quiet and not tell this man how much I admire his work.
They all seemed quite nice, certainly not rude or self-involved. But they were at
work and didn't need that kind of fandom type stuff thrown at them on the job. They
needed their space respected. And we were all, quite rightly, expected to give them
that respect for their working space.
I have to tell you, I wished I had been in a situation with any -- or, let's be
real, all of them -- where complementing their work would not have been
inappropriate. I kind of was, at lunch, with one of them, but elected to err on the
side of caution.
As for watching the Oscar winning director direct. As a hopeful, barely freshman
movie maker, myself, it was one of the most advantageous things about the two days.
George set a wonderful tone, in my mind, on the set: professional, down-to-business,
yet laid back and amiable. And the guy's just charming. He was enjoyable to watch
as he addressed the large crowd of extras who were on set Thursday, and the smaller
crowd on Friday. He had them eating out of his hands.
Seeing him in the wheels-turning mode as director was one of the things I will
remember the most, and, watching him work things out and relay his wants for shots
was edifying, too. I witnessed many exchanges between him and his first AD,
David J. Webb, and, of course,
with many other crew members. Really interesting was to watch George make a few
on-the-fly decisions about shots or blocking or involvement of featured extras in
the scene. And it was obvious that he has a crystal clear vision and knows how to
see that to fruition -- which is certainly as it ought to be. Those
"on-the-fly" things were obviously not pulled pall-mall out of the air;
they spoke directly to Clooney's vision for the movie, or at least for the scene.
They were created toward specific purpose.
The thing that I took away from this, in terms of my blog's agenda of "Things
Artistic" is that the artistic processes for the director and the actors
and the rest of the creative team are the very same as they are for me, just with
bigger and better equipment and much more skilled experience.
I was but a peon on that set, yet, I left with heavy invigoration for my possible
future as more than such on another similar set in the distance, some tomorrow.
* I THINK I haven't written anything that can be considered
leaking confidential information. I certainly was deliberate about not
mentioning the content of the scenes I saw shot. And I can assert with
certainty that nothing private about any of the celebrities mentioned here
was shared (Really, I am privy to none such). So, I hope I shared
creatively and with discretion about these two days and won't cause myself
It all went smoothly. Since this was the third time I had acted the scenarios for
both cases in this trail practice class all that was necessary for study was to
refresh my memory on the facts and such. As I believe it was last year, if I
remember correctly, I played both the plaintiffs and next Monday I will play both
LINES LINES LINES LINES LINES:
Harking back to the big days on Thursday and Friday last, I did stick some flash
cards in my pocket in an attempt to work on at least a little line memorization
while I stood there as the stand-in. Needless to say, it was not at all fruitful.
It was like when I was in college and would take weekend social trips where I
brought text books and materials to do some study. It never happened.
I actually did make the effort last Thursday to work on lines, but there was so much
cognitive stimulation surrounding me that I soon realized it was futile to think
I'd retain any of the lines while in the midst of all this. By mid-day Thursday I
had surrendered to the inevitable.
Otherwise there is steady progress being made. However, as I see the date of
first rehearsal approaching I am feeling even more like I need to up the pace. I'm
still less than half-way through the script. April 4 is less than four weeks from
today. And, as for Opening Night:
T-minus 44 days, and counting.
THE NEWS REPORTS FOR TRYING OUT ROBERT:
The radio news reports by Wendy Davis (AKA:
for Bellcreek Ohio's WACI FM ("Lite 97.5") are in finished, mixed form.
Through editing different portions of some different takes I was able to make the
two separate news reports unique to themselves. All the stories are exactly the
same news copy save for one, which has an original report and an updated report. But
by using different parts of takes with slightly different inflections on some words
or phrases, we now have two live broadcasts.
I doubt the second newscast will be a part of Trying Out Robert; it will
more likely surface in the next segment of the full-length, which features
Natasha Randall and
That segment takes place in the same space but in timeline directly after, with the
station programming still on the hallway monitor speakers of the WACI building
and running in contiguity from the previous segment.
What's left for the short (and for the full-length, considering the next sequence)
is still to build a few radio commercials and then I should be ready to do a final
cut on the short.
I will shoot footage at least one night this week for the podcast, now, number
1011-07 rather than "-08."
I have not heard anything back about permission to use text in the DV movie, so
that may turn out to not be an option for the podcast content.
I haven't shot any stills whatsoever for this one, and I am thinking I won't. The
only stills will probably be actors' headshots, which I use SOP.
The 2011/12 season has not been officially announced yet, and stay tuned for that,
but I have already agreed to be producer for two productions.
As soon as we go official, I will re-post the announcement here.
I was to have an audition for some sort of industrial this past Saturday,
but the client has delayed everything. Sometime soon, I guess, it pops back onto
There's a small indy movie auditioning in Cincinnati next month that I may email a
résumé and pic for. It is slated to shoot in May. Just so long as
it doesn't threaten to be in the way of Blackbird in any way, it is an
The second installment of
Judge Mary Huffman's
criminal trial practice law class is tonight. This evening I will be the defendants:
an accused arm robber and an accused ponzi schemer.
LINES & STUFF:
Though I am only slightly panicked right now, I am on the verge of full-blown
panic. At present I'm just a tad more than 51% into my memorization. That does not
feel far enough along to keep me on my goal of virtually off-book, if not
completely so, on April 4.
I just working on the first monologues of relatively significant lengths. I am now
into a section with several of those. And after about twelve pages of that comes my
longest monologue. Twelve pages with lines for Ray that is. There are also in there
major monologue which is, I must admit, longer than mine by a long shot, at least
with no interruptions.
Seriously. I need to gain decent ground every day. That April 4 start day for
rehearsals is three weeks away. And, as for Opening Night:
Got soundbytes from the principals and shot more rehearsal footage last Thursday. I
also shot a few minutes of set construction on Saturday.
I still need a soundbyte or two from the director and possibly the rest of the cast.
My only concern is keeping the time of the final cut down. And I have to shoot more
rehearsal footage after the cast is off book, just to have visuals of them without
the script in their hands.
And, by-the-way, from what limited time I have spent witnessing the rehearsals, I
can guarantee this is going to be a good show. This cast is top-notch all the way
My flashcards with all my lines (and the cue lines) for
Blackbird. On the left are the lines left to memorize, --
*as of 9 a.m. this morning -- and on the right are the cards
for what I have committed to memory. This represents about
65% of the whole that I've taken down!
This above was my facebook status
early yesterday evening. I did plenty of work last night to improve upon the
*By the way, the L in my name above is lowercase
because the facebook interface won't seem to allow me to have an uppercase L.
This won't mean much to many but I am now buttressed up against Una's
mammoth monologue. And I am soon to be into my own. Mine gets broken up a bit by
interruptions by Una but still, I'll be spending some time on my (Ray's) version of
events -- that being what the two big monologues are: Una's then Ray's stories
about the key episode from their past.
As for last night, I actually recorded
Criminal Minds rather than
watching it, so I could take down those pages of the script up to Una's story. I
may do the same tonight with CSI
By piecemeal, I've been working on the lines while at work, too. Whenever possible
I grab an index card, or open the script, and concentrate on a sentence or such for
sometimes an extended period of time, since I am competing with cognitive demands
from the job. Travel on foot from one place to another at work always involves the
flashcards; and I always grab a chunk of the stack containing the latest part of the
play I have in memory to drill on during lunch time. And I usually have been adding
new lines to the mix for the lunch sessions.
This has resulted in a more significant progress to the goal than one might guess.
I haven't been listening to the audio files lately but will be returning to that
once I have the whole show in memory cells. At least once a day, usually at least
three times, I run everything from the start of the show to wherever I have
completed memorization, with also more frequent repeats of the later parts of the
Would that I had the luxury of this kind of time ahead for all plays I am in.
Wished I'd had it for American Buffalo; I had a couple performances with
some rough moments.
Beyond the lines, I am now starting to do some producer duties. And we are all
patiently awaiting the return of our lovely Una from her successful run in
Sweet Storm at the
The Gorilla Theatre, in Florida.
T-minus 36 days, and counting.
I know, I know, I am so often a wet-behind-the-ears, dorky, green freshman!
But I can't help displaying little trophies of the little hallmarks of any
I received my first paycheck ever from the production of a major motion
I look forward to such checks being much larger, for more significant
participation and for my reaction to be oh so blasé.
And, how fitting that I cashed that check, for
participation in a cinematic project titled The Ides of March, on March 15.
Gotta tell ya, I've been periodically dropping into rehearsals
and seeing great work being done. And these guys and gals aren't even fully
rehearsed and at their peek with this show yet. It's a gonna be goooooood!
I'm happy to report that I have taken down the first and the longest section of the
longer monologue. Actually, it's what I see as a longer compartmentalized monologue
where Una interjects some dialogue and Ray responds with a few shorter lines then
finishes off the longer monologue. That may not be technically true, but it's what
I'm telling myself so I can feel like
isn't saddled with the one mammoth monologue of the play. Granted, Ms. Atkinson
may see it differently.
I have also conquered those "few shorter lines" and am into the
considered second part of the longer monologue.
It still feels like getting completely off-book with the whole play will be tight,
but I think I'll make it before April 4 and the first rehearsal. That is my goal.
At the moment I have roughly less than one-third of my lines left to defeat.
Rehearsals begin just shy of two weeks from now.
Tomorrow afternoon I have an audition for a
Safe Auto commercial. Not the first time I've
gone up for a spot for this company.
I guess, sooner or later.....
So, I say: "Sooner rather than Later," like
This Week !
A SPECIAL FULL-RUN REHEARSAL:
Director Natasha Randall about to snap a picture while she mingles
with caregivers and residents at the meet & greet before last
Friday's first full run rehearsal.
Friday I was back to shoot more footage for the podcast.
It was also a really nice night to be there because the cast had guests for the
rehearsal: residents from several homes for mentally challenged people. They were
really very lovely and, as a matter of fact, a good audience.
There was a dinner in the lobby beforehand and members of the cast and crew
mingled with the residents and their caregivers. Though I took a few photographs
during the eat, meet and greet, I shot no video of that.
I did shoot a little bit during a period when some residents were with some cast
and crew in the theatre space before rehearsal started. A few seconds of that may
end up in the podcast, depending on what direction the DV movie edit goes. I shot
more "set-building" footage on Saturday, too. Just a little more footage,
including some more soundbytes, and I'll be ready to edit.
Lately I've missed a bit of theatre that I wanted to attend, partially because of
my schedule, but more directly because of cash flow, or the proverbial lack thereof.
Ironically I did get to see the most expensive of the recent productions,
The Human Race Theatre Company's
mounting of The Drowsy Chaperone at
The Victoria Theatre. That opportunity
was afforded thanks to theatre colleague and Drowsy Chap cast member,
Saul Caplan who had a comp ticket
that he could float my way. And I much appreciate the favor and kindness.
The show was a lot of fun. It's pretty light on plot, but, as Man in Chair, i.e.,
the narrator (AKA: actor Wally Dunn)
says at one point -- and I'm paraphrasing here: musicals are like porn;
there are insubstantial plot points, usually how to pay for a pizza, in the case
of porn, whose only purpose is to carry you between the exciting parts.
I thought everybody did very good work and I was especially impressed with Mr. Dunn,
who was just hilarious as Man in Chair. As a fellow actor put it, he's a comedic
actor who knows how to use silence; and I would add how to milk it to the very
precise correct portion.
By the way, see the next item. Saul's auditions for Mauritius continue
but end tonight. (Weird that the seeming contradiction is still true).
AUDITIONS FOR MAURITIUS:
Auditions finish tonight at 7:00 p.m.
It is directed by Saul Caplan and produced by Debra Kent.
Production dates are May 13-29, 2011.
The director is looking for three men and two women:
Jackie - 23-30
Mary - 35-42
Dennis - mid-30's
Phillip - 45-60
Sterling - 45-60
Actors will be asked to read from the script.
Head shots & résumé are not required but are encouraged.
The video I have embedded here is, I understand, a few years old. It's back and I
think will become quite viral due to it's overwhelming relevance to the indefensible
attack and bashing of teachers in general that is being fostered by the members of
the political right who have little integrity and are embarrassing themselves,
their more noble constituents, and our country as a whole.
The video was introduced to me several days ago, and now I can say that after seeing
a few more of his clips on YouTube, I have
become a Taylor Mali fan. This guy is just
Rehearsal starts in ten days. I have 55 lines left to memorize, 56 index cards
(because one longer paragraph is on two cards), 11 pages.
Tight? Yes, but to be fair, some of those lines are only a few words; some as simple
as "No." And I have found many instances where I have come to a particular
line, few words or not, where simply from having read the play on occasion over
the last year, and from the period a few weeks back when I was listening to the
audio of the script a lot, I already knew the line. So, that is good.
It also does not hurt that I am familiar enough with the play that I am coming into
each new page with a strong understanding of what's going on and have a good start
on what's up in Ray's head.
So I have the luxury of being rather bitchy with myself about precision. A few
nights ago, rather than run the lines I have studied thus far, without looking, I
sat down with the book and read the play from the start to the point where I still
need to pick up memorization. I found a lot of spots where I have been making
consistant errors. Things like missing the written repeat of a word. Such as where
But I, I told her what my life was like then. I wasn't in a good way."
I have been consistently saying, "But I told her what my life was like
then," leaving out the repetition of "I."
In other places I've been doing slight paraphrases or saying "I" rather
than "I've" or "we" rather than "we've." Things like
Small things, I suppose it can be argued, but, as a writer, albeit mostly in limbo
from that craft, I am conscious that the repetition is written there and that David
Harrower is using Ray's starts-and-stops, his repetitions of words, his unfinished
sentences, as part of the construct of Ray. It's also part and parcel of the rhythm
and poetry of the play and its dialogue. So, a few strays from the written text
here and a few others there add up to more than a small thing. And my aim is a 100%
verbatim bulls eye. I may not -- probably will not -- hit that, but the stronger my
aim is, the closer my strike will be.
Despite my usual stingy resistance, I took a vacation day Wednesday so I could both
focus better on the script for the audition in the afternoon as well as to continue
work on the Blackbird script.
The first alarm for the morning was set to 9:00, I tend, you see, to need
more than one alarm going off in the morning to finally get me out of bed.
Wednesday morning, however, I woke up just a few minutes after 7:00. I ran
Blackbird lines, then memorized the short script for the audition.
The agency suggested that my
attire might include some sort of jersey -- under a sporty dress jacket. All the
jerseys I had were either black or very dark blue -- not good for camera work except
in specific circumstances. So I left for town early and dropped into a thrift store
and picked up an earthy blue and a medium gray jersey.
Then I decided I had enough time to grab a haircut.
As it turned out, we went with the blue jersey, over my tan shirt, under the
brownish-blue dress jacket. I also brought one of my microphones as a prop, since
I was auditioning for "Announcer."
Like I said, I've been rallying for a short-cropped beard for Ray in
Blackbird, though if cast in the commercial, any growth of Ray's beard is
untenable because the commercial will likely shoot in mid to late April, and
Announcer can't have a beard. That postponed audition for an industrial, that I
wrote of in the March 14 entry, would probably kill the beard, too, if it comes
back around before BB closes.
Oh, and, I think the audition went well.
Podcast production tonight.
What I hope is the last of the footage shot so I can start editing tomorrow.
Though I am contemplating shooting some during the tech run on Sunday. But Since
that would be b-roll, I can start the edit Saturday, still, then drop shots from
Sunday in alter in the post-production process.
Virtually: in effect, all but, more or less, practically, almost, nearly,
close to, verging on, just about, as good as, essentially, to all intents
and purposes, roughly, approximately; informal: pretty much, pretty well;
literary well-nigh, nigh on.
Where I place the measurement is approximately 95-98% off-book. I have technically
made it all the way through to the end of the script in my memorization process,
but still have drilling to do to fully commit it all. And I have various spots
through out, especially in the second half, where I am still too loosely
paraphrasing, or switching words around, or substituting a synonym.
And in one case, as I sat down with the actual printed script yesterday to run the
whole play, I caught a line exchange toward the end that I'd missed, that wasn't
in the index flash cards. Those lines are there now.
I have now begun to listen to the audio files again, the dry, almost monotonebaritone
audio files where the Una voice sounds like a baritone ET. My co-star requested
copies of these sound files; I can only imagine how weird they sound to her. I'm
wondering if she's been able to use them without it being too weird and too
funny to concentrate correctly.
And we have tentative plans to do some pre-rehearsal line work with each other this
Did line reading with
last night and we will do a couple more before rehearsals start Monday.
I'm fidgeting some to close that gap between my "95-98%" and the coveted
One-Hundred Percent. I ran the whole play with my flash cards late last night and
though it was really pretty good, there were still snafu's. I think closer to 95%,
or perhaps a little lower than that, is accurate.
Yesterday I had an audition for a minor principal role in the full-length feature
Perks of Being a Wallflower
that shoots in Pennsylvania in late spring and summer. That issue of too much
movement on camera, that I sometimes am too kinetic as I was James Carville's
brother or something, came up. I don't know that it was a crap audition for me, but
I don't know that it was a fabulous one either. Whatever.