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

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Fri, Oct 3, 2014

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Opening Today

GOOD PEOPLE by David Lindsay-Abaire , at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

CLICK HERE to veiw the promcast.

DTG Producer icon
Tech Week is now wrapped and the show is on its feet tonight. The show is, I'm happy to report, in good shape. As producer I am also happy to report that it looks like we will come in under budget -- always a good thing.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON
It went from "highly probable" that I would be sound tech for this show, to affirmative. I am running the sound board, or, I guess, in our case at The Guild, "the sound keyboard," since we run sound from a computer program -- as do most theatres, anymore, now that I think about it.

If I remember correctly, the last time I ran sound for a show was A Tuna Christmas, two years ago.

DTG Promocast Production logo
NOPE ICON
xxxx
A screenshot from Tuesday as I edited the promocast in Final Cut Pro X.
If you have watched the promocast DV movie you will note that there is no dialogue from the script heard in the movie. I did not receive a signed copy of the clearance agreement from David Lindsay-Abaire's agent in time to edit the movie to include the dialogue. The only time I could do the editing was last Tuesday. Nothing had arrived yet so I had to go with the b-roll with voice-over option. Anticipating that this might be the case, I had recorded Director Debra Kent after the tech rehearsal on Sunday. I was half expecting the irony of coming in on Wednesday, after the promocast was in final cut and posted to The Guild You Tube channel, to find that the signed agreement had finally arrived. But, no.
xxxx
Heather Martin, Rachel Wilson, & Wendi Michael during tech/dress rehearsal Tuesday evening.
xxxx
Shyra Thomas, Rachel, & Shawn Hooks, also Tuesday evening.
xxxx
Alexander Chilton, Wendi, Rachel, & Heather rehearse from Act II on Tuesday.
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Running sound off my laptop during a rehearsal last Saturday morning; not a full tech rehearsal but we did run the priest voice-overs (ala: Saul Caplan) to start working on cue timing.
xxxx
I wanted city street ambient sound for a scene in the show that takes place in an alley. But I didn't want "heavy traffic." I had nothing in my library that worked. So, I opened a front window in the theatre's boardroom and recorded the traffic on Wayne Avenue. The sound file fits perfectly in the scene.
xxxx
My lovely little TASCAM DP-03 8 Track Digital Portastudio Recorder setting on a table in board room as I recorded the Wayne Ave. street ambience; it was also what I used for all the voice-overs.



MOVING NOW ON TO THE NEXT PROJECT IN EARNEST:
George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Now I can start focusing full on the sound work for the Romero show; although, "sound design" is really not an accurate label for my work on this show. I'm really going to be more of a traffic director for the sound, as there is licensed music and sound provided for the show.

This coming Tuesday is a stumble-through rehearsal for the designers and technicians. By then I'll have listened to the mentioned provided sound files and will have looked over the script to determine where they are executed. Of course I'd rather be actually designing, but what-a-ya-gonna-do?



Mon, Oct 6, 2014

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OPENING WEEKEND:
GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Producer icon
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
The first weekend has wrapped. The audiences weren't the biggest but were of "respectable" size. Regardless, the cast gave fine performances and those in attendance have loved the production. As is always the case with live theatre, there were glitches, most especially technical stuff (that pesky production gremlin): uncooperative props and set pieces and such. The two of most note were a wine cork that decided to not come out of the bottle during a scene, and a wheel caster on a set wall that decided to break and make the stagecrew's job of flipping the wall for the next scene most difficult. Still, a good opening weekend, despite the glitches.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
As I wrote the other day, for the first time since A Tuna Christmas, in Nov/Dec, 2012, I'm running the sound, myself. I'd rather not, but, one must do what one must do. I wouldn't go as far as say I had any miscues over the weekend, but the timing was a bit hinky a couple times, at least not "spot on."

For sound, the pesky production gremlin pulled his shenanigans at the start of Tech Week, on Tech Sunday, as a matter of fact. The play has two scenes that take place at a bingo game. There is a priest calling the numbers; it's pre-recorded with each of the calls played on cue. Saul Caplan is the voice of the priest. I once again upheld my occasional tradition of spending the night at the theatre the Saturday eve of Tech Sunday. That Saturday was the day I had set aside to accomplish the bulk of the sound design for the show. I had already recorded the actors for the needed voice-overs: Saul, as well as Natasha Randall and Georgette Spelvin; Late Saturday evening into early, early morning Sunday, I was putting the final touches on editing and processing the priest cues -- there are seventy separate sound files of the preist calling bingo, spread over the two bingo scenes.

What did I discover when I ran through all the cues in Show Cue Systems on Sunday morning, right before we were to start our dry tech? Only that just under the last half of the priest sound files were silent. There were files but they seemed to have no audio information in them. I could get each sound cue to play, meaning: with sound, from Final Cut Express, but I could not save viable files from FCE. My work-around was to use another program I have, Record Studio Pro, to capture the audio as I played each cue from FCE. It put us back some in our planned schedule for the day; but, there was also some light focusing and other lighting tweaks that Lighting Designer Jason Vogel was doing, as well, so, some of my emergency recoup was during the same time as Jason's finishing touches. Without going into detail, I later discovered that my problem saving to files in FCE seems to be restricted to only one particular parameter, or configuration, albeit one that I have in the past been able to successfully save while in such. But the important thing is that the solution was readily available on Tech Sunday morning and we were able to do the Dry Tech, then later the cue-to-cue with the cast, then a full run of the show -- as well, as getting though the rest of Tech Week without this particular gremlin tease going on.



Wed, Oct 8, 2014

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George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Last night I watched the stumble-through for the designers and techs. I shot the rehearsal on DV so I could have a video reference when plotting the sound design. If you remember (or read it) I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that we have been provided a series of sound files attached to the script that we are to utilize, most especially the recorded musical accompaniment to the closing song -- yeah, you read that right, there is a closing song, this is a campy send-up, you know.

So, I have all these provided sound files, mostly flourishes and moments bumps, but it's a little cryptic as to where most of them are to be cued off the script. It actually seems like theres an allowance for exactly where to use many of them, and there seem to be slightly different versions that can be chosen from for most spots. I decided that as I try to place the cues, having a video reference of the play's action will be most helpful, albeit it's a looser, rehearsal run, with many moments where director Geoff Burkman stops the action to explain what should be there in terms of lighting, sound, and other technical aspects. That last one is obviously a benefit to me in context of my purpose for the video, as the video is serves the same purpose as the stumble-through it represents.



Thu, Oct 9, 2014

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Happy Birthday John & Sean


Fri, Oct 10, 2014

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Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
The Art of McCartney

I just pre-ordered the forthcoming collection, The Art of McCartney. Of all the intriguing matches of song with artist on the list, what I am most excited about is B.B. King doing "On The Way," a deep track off McCartney II that is an under-known gem. The album will be out in about a month. The B.B. King track is enough, but the list as a whole generates more excitement and anticipation in me.

The Art of McCartney Track Listing:
  1. Maybe I'm Amazed - Billy Joel
  2. Things We Said Today - Bob Dylan
  3. Band On The Run - Heart
  4. Junior's Farm - Steve Miller
  5. The Long and Winding Road - Yusuf *(Cat Stevens)
  6. My Love - Harry Connick, Jr.
  7. Wanderlust - Brian Wilson
  8. Bluebird - Corinne Bailey Rae
  9. Yesterday - Willie Nelson
10. Junk - Jeff Lynne
11. When I'm 64 - Barry Gibb
12. Every Night - Jamie Cullum
13. Venus and Mars/Rock Show - Kiss
14. Let Me Roll It - Paul Rodgers
15. Helter Skelter - Roger Daltrey
16. Helen Wheels - Def Leppard
17. Hello Goodbye - The Cure featuring James McCartney (click for the official video)
18. Live And Let Die - Billy Joel
19. Let It Be - Chrissie Hynde
20. Jet - Robin Zander & Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick
21. Hi Hi Hi - Joe Elliott
22. Letting Go - Heart
23. Hey Jude - Steve Miller
24. Listen To What The Man Said - Owl City
25. Got To Get You Into My Life - Perry Farrell
26. Drive My Car - Dion
27. Lady Madonna - Allen Toussaint
28. Let 'Em In - Dr. John
29. So Bad - Smokey Robinson
30. No More Lonely Nights - The Airborne Toxic Event
31. Eleanor Rigby - Alice Cooper (click for the official video)
32. Come And Get It - Toots Hibbert with Sly & Robbie
33. On The Way - B. B. King
34. Birthday - Sammy Hagar

Vinyl and Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
  1. C Moon - Robert Smith
  2. Can't Buy Me Love - Booker T. Jones
  3. P.S. I Love You - Ronnie Spector
  4. All My Loving - Darlene Love
  5. For No One - Ian McCulloch
  6. Put It There - Peter, Bjorn & John
  7. Run Devil Run - Wanda Jackson
  8. Smile Away - Alice Cooper



Sat, Oct 11, 2014

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MORE GREMLIN STUFF:
GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
etectera
So the production gremlin was in semi-hyper shenanigan mode last night, everywhere from the phone line for the credit card machine at the box office to the actors' memory of lines in a scene.

Then there was, naturally, a gremlin problem with sound. I have a speaker back stage for a TV that is blaring in another room in a scene. Last night I was not able to get the speaker to sound. Fortunately I discover this during the pre-show test. I reassigned the TV sound to the up stage house speakers, which was a decent enough workaround but not as good an effect as the sound coming from behind the up stage door on the set. My trouble shooting after show, which is not quite complete, eliminated the speaker itself as the problem; nor is it the sound wires running from the booth to back stage. That is a good thing, a very good thing, because the wires run across the top of the theatre, so fixing that would, well, it would suck!

I haven't completely isolated the problem but it's one of three things: there's a problem with the a sound driver in the computer, the sound box out of the computer and into the amp, or the mixing board has finally gone bad -- it was old when I came on board at The Guild in 2004. I'm betting it's the last one. But, I'll have to go in early today to finish my investigation.

The actors had a problem doing one of the bingo scenes, one of those peppered with the bingo-calling priest (Saul Caplan). Someone went up during the scene and threw the rest of the cast. All of a sudden I was not getting the verbal cues to play the sound files. The cast got caught in a cycle and, in an effort to save themselves, started doing relative improvisations. During the first minute or so of this cycling I played some of the sound files in sequence, despite not getting the correct line cues, just to help keep the scene going. Then I decided I needed to jump in the Show Cue Systems queue to the priest bingo sound file that follow an important moment in the scene that I was sure that the cast would work their way to. The instant I clicked on the file to make it the next active sound cue, one of the actors jumped to that moment in the script. I have no idea if the audience could tell there was a problem or not. But, the important thing was the seen was saved without a meltdown.

Meanwhile, the show has received a good review from Russell Florence, Jr.: "'Good People' Review - Dayton Theatre Guild - Boston Bliss," on Dayton Most Metro.


ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The Cast of ISN'T IT ROMANTIC

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Janie Blumberg            Angela Timpone

Harriet Cornwall            Lauren Caldwell

Marty Sterling            Wayne Wolfe

Tasha Blumberg            Marcella Balin

Simon Blumberg            Richard Young

Lillian Cornwall            Dorothy Michalski

Paul Stuart            Dave Gaylor

Vladimir            Scott Huffman



Sun, Oct 12, 2014

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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO "HMMM"
GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
etectera

Yesterday was a weird day for the gremlin tease stuff. I was somewhat involved in the trouble-shooting of a credit card network problem that presented itself Friday. I was to call a number where I would be walked through the steps to update the software for the credit card phone line machine. However, after the pre-recorded message was done and had given me three menu choices, the call was cut off. Happen several times, so I was not able to be a part of the solution. Barbara Jorgensen then made a separate call to another number and went through some steps to reboot the hardware; that worked.

Now, as for the sound problem with the back stage speaker. I did go in a little early yesterday to finish isolating where the problem was. I think the problem was what I'd suspected: the mixing board. Thing is, when it was all said and done, the original configuration was working again. I do not know why.

Having already discounted problems with the back stage speaker and the sound wire running from the booth to back stage Friday, I brought in one of my small amped speakers from home to hook into both the mix box that come out of the computer, and to run the mixing board directly into. As it turned out, both successfully received a signal and output it.

So, at this point, if the problem was with the mixing board, which was my earlier guess, it was no longer. I reconnected the original configuration and it returned to working. I'm not sure why, but I still think the mixing board is going bad and needs replaced.

Let's see what happens today.



Tue, Oct 14, 2014

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GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Producer icon
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON
Apparently, on Sunday, the production gremlin was off making mischief for another production at another theatre, or it was napping somewhere in a corner or a hole in the building, because the final performance of the middle weekend had no glitches of any significance, technical or otherwise.

There were better houses, too, which is generally the case for the second weekend of our shows. Again, like the first weekend, there were good response from the audience.


George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Though significant portions of the sound for the show has been provided, that material is all musical bumps and flourishes. Other SFX (sound effects), clearly needed, are not part of the package. I have started the process of gathering those SFX sound files, most which are already in my library. There are a few things I need to record from the cast: a scream and some zombie moans.

I also need sit down with my crude DV recording of last week's stumble-through to determine which of the provided bumps and flourishes work best, where.


ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
DTG Promocast Production logo
Recently, I officially signed on to design sound for this one. Since I didn't actually "sign" anything, would it be that I "spoke" on, or would the more grammatically appropriate, yet somewhat mundane, "agreed" be the diction to employ? I also have started a search to find the person, people, or entity that controls the rights to Wendy Wasserstein's works, so I may seek clearance to use dialogue from the play in the DV promocast. I've emailed a performance rights agent at Dramatists Play Service. They don't handle DV clearances but will know of whom I do need to contact.



Fri, Oct 17, 2014

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George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Ducks-in-a-row has proceeded to begin.

Recording the voice-overs will happen Monday.

Have some ideas that will be some pretty good gags.

Did I mention that this is not a serious drama?


ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo

The performance rights agent at Dramatists Play Service provided me with the contact information for the Wendy Wasserstein copyright administrator.

Tuesday I sent my clearance request "To whom it may concern" at The Gersh Agency. Now I await the "Yay" or "Nay." It has been a few days; if I don't receive response soon, I will contact Gersh again.


Here's one....
Note Addendum PS icon

Meet my new obsession, the band Puddles Pity Party, featuring Michael "Big Mike" Geier as Puddles, "the sad clown with the golden voice." I was exposed to the video below, yesterday. At first I wasn't sure what to think, but I can tell you that when I was finished watching it all I could think was: "Mother-fuckin' WOW!"

The Puddles schtick may be from Bizzaro world, but you can't argue with the fact that Geier has a great voice, and this may be one of the best interpretations of Leonard Cohen's modern anthem that I have ever heard.

Puddles has several "singles" at iTunes; I bought them. I await a full album by Puddles, or Michael, and if I have the opportunity to catch either live, I will seize upon it.



Sun, Oct 19, 2014

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Closing Today

GOOD PEOPLE by David Lindsay-Abaire, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

THIS PRODUCTION CONTAINS
ADULT LANGUAGE

The Cast of Good People
CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Margaret            Rachel Wilson

Jean            Wendi Michael

Dottie            Heather Martin

Stevie            Alex Chilton

Mike            Shawn Hooks

Kate            Shyra Thomas

The Promocast for Good People

What's the Agenda? I will post an endbit tomorrow, or shortly afterward.

*OCT 30 ADDENDUM: TURNS NOT, NOT SO SHORTLY AFTERWARD



Tue, Oct 21, 2014

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What's the Agenda?

GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.     George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.

In the audience - Not in the audience animated gif icon     PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

That George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™ Live sound stuff is occupying the mother load of my time right now. So, I'll get a post ready and uploaded when I can....

Oct 23 addendum: it's gonna be a little longer.


Thu, Oct 30, 2014

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What's the Agenda?

GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.     GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON     George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.

On Set icon     In the audience - Not in the audience animated gif icon     PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

George A. Romero's
Night of the Living Dead™ Live

WHICH, BY-THE-WAY, OPENS TOMORROW
is still demanding most of my time and energy right now.
Stay tuned, all this and more will eventually be here.


Mon, Nov 3, 2014

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CATCHING UP

And There's a Lot to Catch Up With....





POST-SCRIPT
GOOD PEOPLE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
Let's start with that damnable production gremlin! Yes, indeed, the little bastard was back Sunday, October 19, to help us close the run, and he was back in spades!

First up was what threatened to be a very big problem with sound during the performance. In between Scene 1 & 2, in Act I, the sound cut out. Right in the midst of the black-out as the crew was changing the set for Scene 2 the music suddenly stopped. The decibel meter bars were still jumping in Show Cue Systems, but there was no sound emanating from the house speakers. This was not the previous problem from the antiquated sound board, either. The problem was with the software, a driver file, or the out-board eight-channel sound card. I believe it was the sound card.

There were several points in the show when I had long spaces between sound cues; in one case an entire scene that lasted somewhere round fifteen minutes; another, very long scene -- more than half of Act II -- with that much time in between the three sound cues in the scene. Act I, Scene 2, of course, is not one of these situations, That being the scene we went into after the sound inexplicably stopped on us.

No, Act I, Scene 2 had four sound cues in rather close proximity to each other, the first up about two minutes into the the scene, the next at approximately two minute intervals, as well. The fourth was a few minutes later. These were the TV blaring in another room sound cues that I had problems with earlier in the run, in that case because of the sound mixer. As last time, the first three cues did not happen on stage for the actors., and, as last time, the actors managed to smoothly cover the loss of the cues.

Meanwhile, up in the booth, I was rebooting Show Cue Systems, that action which made it impossible to give them the three cues. I was up and running by that fourth one, so, as last time, at least the scene got one "blaring TV."

Scene 3 had no internal sound cues, only bookend scene transition music, into and out of, and it was that fifteen-minute scene I mentioned above. I took advantage of the time to completely reboot the computer system. After that reboot there were no more gremlin-tease shenanigans, however, I had also unplugged the external sound card and then plugged it back in back, actually when first addressing the problem in Scene 2, so I am not sure which action was the solution. And I can tell you with no hesitation that I breathed many a shallow, sharp breath until the last cue of the show was successfully executed!

Gremlin BS aside, this was a most successful production with fine, sometimes downright excellent work from the stage and a well-received showcase of creative work, otherwise.


THAT BASTARD GREMLIN WASN'T DONE YET:
TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

One of the now several video production things I do for The Guild is shoot the archival video of our productions. I shoot them from the tech booth during one of the actual performances before an audience. My standard practice, which has a history of problems -- mostly Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), is to record the audio separately with mics out in the theatre space in order to get slightly better audio for the final cut.

Earlier this year I bought and began using the Tascam DP-03 8-track digital portastudio recorder for this task. What I had done previously was run the mics into a small 4-channel mixer then into Garageband on my laptop, via iMic. That, you five who actually, occasionally read this blog may recall, was during the time when I was having the annoying RFI problem. The Tascam resolved that issue.

The Closing Sunday for Good People I shot the archival video, with the Tascam in tandem. As always, it picked up the audio like a charm with no Spanish radio station in the background -- ie.: the past recurring RFI problem. The gremlin shenanigans happened later, at home, when I was migrating all the information, video and audio, onto my computer. There are two ways to migrate audio off the Tascam into a computer. One is to use the export command which will save a WAVE audio file to the SD card. That can then be copied to the hard drive of the computer via a USB connection. The other way is to connect the machine to the computer and use audio recording software on the computer (such as Garageband to re-record the audio on the computer while playing it from the Tascam in real time. I usually opt for the re-recording choice, though I have exported the WAV files a few times.

That Sunday evening I opted to export. In the midst of the Tascam creating the WAV file on the SD card, something bad happened. the Tascam displayed a message that said the SD card was not properly formatted, which could not be correct, since I had recorded a lot using that card. The only option I had was to reformat the card; that, of course, erased all the audio I had recorded for the archival final cut.

I checked the card in another device to verify that it was the card where the problem resided rather than the Tascam. Fortunately that was the case. Still, no better audio for the archival DV movie of the Good People performance. Plus I had to buy a new 32 gig SD card.

Damned gremlin!


"A HELICOPTER AND A FEW THUNDER CLAPS":
George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

All right Burkman. I know you read this silly-ass thing on occasion, so I write this AT you as much as somewhat ABOUT you.

"Hey, K.L.," Geoff Burkman says, several months back, maybe as far back as last Spring, I don't remember; (much has transpired in the last several months). "Are you interested in doing the sound design for Night of the Living Dead*?" (I.E. George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™ Live, of which GB is the director). "It shouldn't be too complicated" he said, "a helicopter at the top of the show, then a few thunder claps."

Let me repeat that:
"It shouldn't be too complicated. A helicopter at the top of the show, then a few thunder claps."

To be fair, when I was approached about this project, the landscape of the planned production had some significant topographical differences that it's more than a little unfortunate had to be abandoned. At that time, the performance was going to be scored with live original music. It was later discovered that, due to licensing issues, there was provided music that needs to be used. This turn stepped up my involvement some, as all the pre-recored scores and dramatic stings, etc., had to be programmed into a cue system. That took it a bit beyond "A helicopter and a few thunder claps," but still not too hairy.

The SFX for the show, on the other hand, was always going to be a bit more than just "A helicopter and a few thunder claps." The director was, well, let's say, inaccurate, in his estimation of the SFX that would be involved. There are more than one-hundred-thirty manual sound cues that the sound tech fires between the opening of the house and the end of the curtain call. Add to that a total of at least seventy-five cues that, usually in clumps of three to five, auto start off of particular cues; the total is probably closer to ninety to one-hundred of those auto start cues, truthfully. This was not a show that was going to demand little of me.

"It shouldn't be too complicated. A helicopter at the top of the show, then a few thunder claps.".... HAH!

All superficial whining aside, the production has turned out pretty damned well. I am happy about the sound work, both our incorporation of the provided musical stings and such and my further contributions to the project's sound plot.

Opening Night and Saturday night'sThe show opened this weekend and I attended both Opening Night and Saturday night's sophomore performance. I am happy with the sound balances, and, Jessica Opper, who has ran several of my sound designs at The Guild, was on top of things, as usual. The cast is doing a fine job with this spoof; really a lot of funny, funny moments.

You locals should check it out. It runs for three more performances, next weekend.


In the audience - Not in the audience animated gif icon
In the audience icon
Of course, technically, both this past Friday and Saturday night I was "in the audience" for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™ Live at DPH. Since I was attending to the performance, I guess these do count. I was also, as designer, scrutinizing the sound balances, but that did not stop me from actually being an audience member. So, as I wrote above: nice work from the cast with many, many well executed comedic moments.

Friday, October 24, I was privileged to see the opening of the short run of the Les Misérables staged concert presentation as produced jointly by the Dayton Playhouse and the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, performed at the Dayton Masonic Center. It was an assemblage of good to excellent vocalists, and the symphony was wonderful. Hats off to DPH & MVSO for this lovely presentation!

Sunday afternoon I went to Cincinnati to see the incomparable Bruce Cromer take on An Illiad in his final performance of the one-actor show at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. To no surprise whatsoever, Bruce was absolutely amazing. I have seen Bruce carry a full play by himself before, with great, impressive success: I Am My Own Wife at the Human Race Theatre Company, and, the play that introduced me to his enormous talent, and that being when I met him as I was the sound tech for the special production of such, Underneath The Lintel at The Dayton Theatre Guild. In An Illiad, Bruce was on stage for a straight one hour and forty minutes, pulling no stops, journeying the spectrum of emotional and intellectual dynamics, holding our attention from the first to the last moment. I told him after the show that if I could garner one-fourth of his stage presence I'd be a happy actor.

What's the Agenda? If my wallet (& time) allows it, I'll shortly see a few productions....
Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Beavercreek Community Theatre.

Mame at Human Race Theatre Company

The Breakfast Club at The Playground Theatre.

Not in the audience icon
As always, it seems, there have been several recent local productions I wanted to see, but for various reasons, financial or otherwise, I did not get to. Purely because I didn't pay close enough attention to the production dates, I missed Three by Tennessee at Springfield StageWorks. So far I've missed all the productions from Dare to Defy Productions. I missed Three Tables at Yellow Springs Center Stage. I don't think I've failed to mention anything, but I probably have.


NEWS ABOUT GREG NICHOLS' MEDICINE:
MEDICINE teaser 01 image
On Set icon
YaY!

Greg Nichol's horror short, Medicine, which he wrote as well as directed, will be part of A Night of Horror International Film Fest in Sydney, Australia later this month. Some of you five may remember that I am in this one, along with Alex Carmichal, Charles Larkowski, and Ayn Wood (sort of pictured to the right, here).

As Greg recently wrote, "This is a big fest for this film and I'm really happy that we were selected to be a part of it. Some big horror and sci-fi films from Sundance and South by Southwest will be making Australian debuts at this fest, so it's good company to be in and will mean a lot of exposure for the short." Greg also pointed out that it is the first International fest he's had work in, "and," he says, "it takes place in the land of Mad Max!"

Also attached to the film are Matt Hayden (sound editor), Jacklyn Alexa (makeup artist/special makeup effects artist), and Carol Narigon.




MORE COWBELL!:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

And now I move on to yet another sound design gig, of the none-paying sort, of course. I haven't read the script, yet, that happens this evening, but I am betting this will have less complexity than the last design I did.

Probably won't even have a helicopter in it.


PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS
FOREVER'S END, a J.C. Schroder film, staring  Charity Farrell, Lili Reinhart, and Warren Bryson

In full-length feature news, Charity Farrell's starring-role vehicle, J.C. Schroder's Forever's End, the "apocalyptic psychological drama," will be available later this month to purchase.

The film, which also features Lili Reinhart, Warren Bryson, and David Wetzel has an official release date of November 25. It will be released on VOD, streaming, digital download, DVD and blu-ray, as well as available to rent on iTunes, Amazon.com, YouTube Movies, and other services.

Meanwhile, the sound track will be available November 11 at iTunes, Amazon, etc.

*Just a reminder this can only be a small sampling of the professional work of my friends and colleagues. I'm simply not going to be aware of all their good fortunes. Plus, I may screw up and learn of something and forget about it -- I can be that way, easily. But if I know (and remember), I'll give a shout out for the pro gig successes!

YaY!


Tue, Nov 4, 2014

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I VOTED TODAY. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014; ARE YOU VOTING?




"Political polls don't measure reality. That's not their purpose. Polls, especially the ones pushed relentlessly by agenda driven organizations aren't designed to reflect reality, instead they exist to shape reality by doing exactly what they are doing -- i.e., creating a self-fulfilling prophecy through manipulation of your perception. The bottom line here is this: if you think you're defeated, if those polls make you think you're defeated, you are. If those polls and your sense of defeat coupled to voter intimidation and deliberate attempts at disenfranchisement keep you home [today], then they've done exactly what they were designed to do...." -- Jim Wright

Click here for the full Jim Wright commentary from which this quote was extracted.


And further, from my own keyboard:

Ignore the polls. Ignore the foolish Talking Head Pundits who steal their paychecks with their blah-blah BS. Don't Not Vote because it's supposedly clear that your candidate or your issue isn't going to win. If that's your attitude then I challenge you to take a look at your citizenship and your sense of civic duty. As for me, my guy/gal may loose, my issue may be defeated, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to vote my conscious. If the other side wants to win, they need to match and best my vote in the count, PERIOD.







AND THE NEXT SOUND DESIGN STINT BEGINS:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Last night, after the last of my political research, so as to be an informed voter this morning, I looked though Act I to identify both script dictated sounds and music and other potential such. At lunch I will look over Act II.

Looks to me like sometime soon I will be scheduling a recording session with various cast members, as I have already identified almost a dozen voice overs that the script specifically calls for.

Tonight I drop by rehearsals to begin discussions with Director Marcia C. Nowik about the sound plot we envision.


Goodbye, Clack
Tom Magliozzi (June 28, 1937–Nov 3, 2014)


Wed, Nov 5, 2014

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ROMANTIC STUFF:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Last night I spoke with Director Marcia C. Nowik about the sound design and we have a good start on a plan of action. One hope is to record as many of the answering-machine and other voice-overs as possible, this coming Saturday. There are likely to be other recording sessions needed, but the more important goal is to get them all recorded sooner rather than later, be it Saturday or another day.

There's some coordination to be done in terms of practical sound and recorded sound: voice-overs for the answering machine, coming from a speaker in such machine or through another speaker not attached; there may be one practical doorbell and one from a sound file over a house speaker; an actor will use a live mic on stage going into a hot, amped speaker; the telephones will likely all be practical.

This one isn't going to be lighter design work, even if not the most complex I've done to date.

DTG Promocast Production logo
The clearance, for use in the promocast of dialogue from the script, is all but secured. Several weeks ago Dramatists Play Service provided me with the contact information for the Wendy Wasserstein copyright administrator, The Gersh Agency. Through a series of emails and calls to Gersh I finally discussed the clearance with a member of their legal department and should be receiving a letter of consent sometime soon. The only thing up in the air is whether we will be obligated to take down the promocast after the show closes. We have had to meet such requirement before as a term of the limited license. Not what I'd prefer, but not an unreasonable term of agreement, either.


4000 COPYRIGHT STUFF:
4000 & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo

I decided to get an early jump on securing clearance for dialogue use in the promocast for the January production of 4000 Miles, but, I have not been able to find contact information for Playwright Amy Herzog. Then I discovered she has the same agent at William Morris Endeavor as does David Lindsay-Abaire. I have drafted a clearance agreement as I did for Lindsay-Abaire's Good People, and have mailed it with a cover letter to that same agent as before.

For the record, I did finally get the signed agreement for Good People, unfortunately it was too late for me utilize the consent; the promocast had already made final cut. So, I sent this new agreement out yesterday in hopes to allow enough time. Of course, the agent may have to consult Ms. Herzog, and there is the holidays to consider as well. I don't start shooting this promocast until the second week of January, so there likely may be enough time to get the hoped-for affirmative response in time to be of value.


DTG SOUND TOY STUFF:
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The Guild's new Behringer XENYX QX2442USB mixing board
Dayton Theatre Guild

TOYS ICON
"TOY" is probably not the most accurate term; "Tool" is probably better.

Now let's return to the gremlin tease paradigm, one that has been a situation since way before Good People. In light of the clear death rattle our Guild sound mixing board has been making, in some sense, for most of the time I've been involved with the theatre, and especially in light of the gremlin-esque escapades during Good People, I've been on the hunt for a new mixer, and recently proposed at a board meeting that we get a new one. I'd already looked at some on-line as well as dropping in to Sound Force, just a mile up the road from the theatre, and got a reasonable estimate on a used mixer.

What I knew we needed was a mixer that could put out each of eight channels from the external sound card for our computer, individually. That way channel 1 will send sound to a specific speaker, channel 2 to another, etc., etc. After the first look at the particular used mixer, I was not convinced it would do exactly what we need satisfactorily, and I told the Guild board that. The Guild board approved a new mixer, up to a certain dollar amount, even if it was not that particular used mixer I eventually procured.

It wasn't that particular mixer that I procured, either. It turns out it didn't meet the need. A few days later I ordered a Behringer XENYX QX2442USB from Sound Force. It CAN send each channel to a specific speaker. Because of Tech Week for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™ Live, all I could do was drop the board off at the theatre, after it came into the store.

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The placement of the four house speakers, with channels 1-4 running from the mixer, through the main amps, into the designated speakers.
Well, to be honest, I dropped it off Tuesday, October 28, and probably could have took it out of the box and at least hooked it up, but I may have missed the tech rehearsal for ...Night...Live had I done that; yeah, I'm sure I would have.

After I got back from seeing Mr. Cromer in an An Illiad at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati last Sunday, I went to The Guild and hooked the mixer up, coordinating channels to speakers, and then doing some test runs. Channels 1 through 4 run from the external sound card, into the mixer, out through the two amps and on to the four house speakers. Channel 5 through 8 each go into the mixer than will go out to amped speakers each set up specifically for a particular production. For instance channel 5 might run to an amped speaker behind the set to be the sounds of the city. 6 might run to another speaker, perhaps inside an answering machine on stage. Essentially, channel 5 and higher are best considered "auxiliary," in terms of sound design, or perhaps better considered "remote."

Actually, to run 7 & 8, the card must be set in surround mode. I did a test in that mode and I was not able to get much signal out of channel 7. That needs further investigation. Right now I have the card set in six-channel mode, and only the channels 1-4, the four house speakers, running from the mixer to the amps, hooked active. Looking at Isn't It Romantic, I may need to employ both channel 5 and 6.

At this point there seems no need to have more than six channels utilized, but it is good to have the expandability. Now if I can discover the root of the problem with channel 7 and solve that.
For any of you five who have enough of a geek in you to be interested, here's a chart of the sound designations for the new system:

Channel Number in Mixer Sound Card Designation:
Physical Location
"Name"
Theatre Stage Designation
Channel 1 Front of House, Left
"Left Front"
Down Right
Channel 2 Front of House, Right
"Right Front"
Down Left
Channel 3 Stage Presidium*, Left
"Left Surround"
Up Right
Channel 4 Stage Presidium*, Right
"Right Surround"
Up Left
Channel 5
*not routed through main amps
flexible
"Center"
as assigned
Channel 6
*not routed through main amps
flexible
"Sub Woofer"
as assigned
*Note that, as shown above, the Stage Presidium is at the back of the thrust stage area, often the farthest Up Stage border of the actors' playing space, with the space behind being "Back Stage" in those cases.

More pics of the new Behringer board, including the inputs and outputs for the channels that allows individual fade control for each between the board and the speakers
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VETERANS DAY,
2014

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ROMANTIC STUFF:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
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Spreadsheet on my laptop of the production list for the Isn't It Romantic voice overs.

Saturday I took out a big chunk of the recording of the VO work. There are quite a few answering machine messages by characters who otherwise are not in the play. I got all those, employing the talents of Natasha Randall, Craig Roberts, Rachel Wilson, and special guests, George Spelvin and John Spoorman.

Further, there are more answering machine messages by principal characters, and I got some of those, too. One I didn't even realize I was going to be able to get on Saturday. All in all, I got 70% of the VOs recorded.

So: YaY!

The plan is to grab the rest tomorrow night. I do have a ticket for Mame at HRTC that night, but it's an 8:00 curtain, the Romantic rehearsal starts at 7:00, and I will wrap by then, regardless of whether I have all the remaining 30% or not. And The Race is a two-minute drive from The Guild. So, I'm golden.

Director Marcia C. Nowik and I have discussed some musical direction ideas for the show and I have gone about realizing that. I'll be dropping in to the Guild today to rig two practical phones on set, as well as what may or may not be a practical answering machine. If I can get enough juice to a speaker in one of our prop answering machines than the answering machine VOs will come from that. If I can't, I'll rig an amped speaker right under the dead prop with the VOs mixed to sound like they come from an answering machine speaker.

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Many of the elements for the practical phone riggings
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The voice-over microphones
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Obligatory photo of the recording machine set-up



YIKES! AND OTHER NEWS:
George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead Live & Dayton Playhouse combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

So, Saturday night, I walked out for intermission during Sweeney Todd, see below, and walked into one of the minuscule zones where I can get, at most, weak service for my cell phone while at that theatre. I got a text, quite delayed, from the ...Night... stage manager, Melanie Davis, that said, "We got it fixed." Uh oh, I thought. ...Night..., which had an 8:00 curtain, was at this point, supposedly into Act II, and me, the sound designer, getting a text saying, "We got it fixed," clearly indicated there was some sort of sound problem. I texted back, "What?" then about two seconds later I got an alert that I had a voice mail, one that Melanie had left well over an hour earlier:

K.L., it's Melanie. Please call as soon as you can. We have a problem with the sound. We're getting no sound whatsoever, so call me back as soon as you can.

I tried to call, but I lost signal immediately. At least there was the "We got it fixed" message, which was the first thing I had received. I could at least enjoy Act II of Sweeney. My signal stayed too weak for a call but I was able to send to and receive from some texts with Melanie: they'd rebooted the computer and that had solved the problem. I later found out that sound cues were missed for about fifteen minutes at the top of the show that evening.

Next day I was at the closing performance, and am happy to report that no sound malfunctions occurred. I'm also happy to report that the run was a great success. There were, in the half of the shows I saw, as well as though I didn't, some technical blips; when a live show is this dependent on sound and special effects, some snafus during performance is much less than surprising.

Still, it was a highly successful run and the cast and crew brought it off with great acumen and skill. The script is just damned funny and the company brought it off more than successfully. The audiences enjoyed it immensely. The show was a hit.

Kudos to the cast: Marcus Simmons II (Ben), Jill Lynott (Barbara), Jared Mola (Johnny/Vince/Tom), Adam Clevenger (Chief McClelland), Noah Shane (Harry), Christina Lewis (Helen/Jody), and The Enzomble™ (William Boatright, Jr., Maggie Carroll, Alex Chilton, Matthew Clifton, Tamar Fishbein, Maxamillian Santucci, Eric Specht, and Lauren Stubbs).

Kudos to the production staff and crew: Geoff Burkman (Director), John Beck (Producer), Kelly Engle (Assistant Director), Melanie Davis (Stage Manager), Chris Newman (Set Designer), Patrick Hayes (Make Designer), Nick Vanderpool (Lighting Designer) Eric Specht (Special Effects), Carolyn Palmer (Make Up), Gary Spencer (Lighting Technician), Jessica Opper (Sound Technician).
*I'm taking this crew roster off an old list, so there may be errors. I'll verify them soon and make any corrections needed.

Oh, yeah, the sound designer: "Hirche Thrallvin," I think, is his name.


In the audience icon
Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Beavercreek Community Theatre -- As I wrote above, I saw this saturday evening and enjoyed the evening much. Kind of jealous that I wasn't in the cast.

Mame at Human Race Theatre Company -- See this one tomorrow night. Looking forward to it.



Fri, Nov 21, 2014

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Opening Today

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC by Wendy Wasserstein, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.


Sat, Nov 22, 2014

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STAY TUNED!!!

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
In the audience icon



4000 & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
The Cast of 4000 Miles

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Leo Joseph-Connell            Jared Mola

Vera Joseph            Barbara Jorgensen

Rebecca (Bec)            Lindsey Kortyka

Amanda            Anna Prince



Wed, Nov 26, 2014

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CATCHING UP





ROMANTIC STUFF (OPENING WEEKEND & ETC.):
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON

The first weekend is over. I was there for Opening Night and Night 2; I missed Sunday's show. It was, overall, a good opening weekend, though of course, with some meddling from that punkassed gremlin. Regardless, the Friday and Saturday audiences had fun; I suspect the Sunday audience did, as well.

Going back, though, in our CATCHING UP mode, to Tech Week1, there was a good share of tweaking on the sound design throughout the process. There was, of course, the always-present "getting the sound levels correct." This time there was also the need to have particular songs, for particular scene transitions, start at an appropriate point in the song for a better impact or feel. There was also one song that was switched out a few times.

Because of my sound work for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™ Live at DPH, I did not get much design started until during the week before Tech. I had recorded most of the voice-overs on the Saturday of the weekend before Tech Sunday, then the rest on the following Wednesday, but the processing of all that came later in the week running up to Tech. I also had a long list of Top-40 hits from the early 80's to gather together for pre-show and intermission play, comparable to what I always do to complement the setting of the script when I design sound.

Believe me, it was difficult to hone the pre-show and intermission play lists down to something manageable and practical. My standard practice is create play lists for both periods that are much longer than what is needed, then program each to chose randomly, so each performance has a different pre-show and a different intermission play list. For the thirty-minute pre-show I create a list with about two hours of music, and for the theoretical fifteen-minute intermission, there's usually forty minutes to one hour of music to chose from. This time, there was a lot of music that appealed to me and both lists threatened to be far more robust in size than usual. I had to start getting ruthless with myself and deny many of my whims.

By the Saturday of Tech weekend I had all the processing done and had gathered all the sounds, save for a couple I'd missed identifying, but those few were either in my library already or easy to acquire. So Saturday afternoon into the evening I assembled the program for the sound cues. Okay actually it was Saturday afternoon into early morning Sunday; I was "finished" at around 3:00 a.m. I did my not-infrequent ritual of spending the night at The Guild. I came prepared with sleeping bag and accouterment since I'd already known it would likely be a long night and that I probably would want to be back in the booth by mid-morning Sunday at the latest. I saw no reason to add the hour of travel time a round-trip back home then back to the theatre would cost.

Sunday was a mix-bagged for me. In the morning I was able to get the first of the tweaking accomplished, the longevity of those tweaks tenuous and at the mercy of the rest of Tech Week. But by noon, the SCS program was in its then-current "finished" form and the practical phones, plus the hidden speaker masquerading as the answering machine speaker, were rigged and working. There was a paper tech with Director Marcia C. Nowik, Stage Manager Melanie Davis, and all the designers. Then we went to dinner and came back and ran the show with the cast, putting the tech features intio the mix. Marcia elected to not do a cue-to-cue because our sound technician, Jared Mola, was out of town and would not be there until the next night. So cue-to-cue work was done both Monday and Tuesday before the runs. I personally would have liked a dry tech on Sunday. The paper tech was fine, but after we met and discussed the cues, etc, I would have liked a fast hands-on for the cues, as well. I suppose it all worked out, regardless.

To be expected, I tweaked a lot Monday through Thursday. Mostly what I tweaked were those fore-mentioned volumes, but there were a few starting-points in music that needed to be tweaked, as well. I also had to generously cut down the amount of bird call sounds I had in the two park scenes. At first there were just way too many; as Marcia put it, it sounded like "a bird sanctuary." It was taking no time at all for the birds to become an acute, annoying distraction. So I greatly reduced the population and the occurrence of birds in the scenes.

As for Gremlin Bitch, it did mess with lots of stuff, to one degree or another. Actually over the course of the last few weeks it screwed with the lift truck, making the focusing of the lights a frustration for designer Jason Lenhart, as he tried working with a lift that would sometime not, well, lift. We have had some malfunctions of moving set parts, both during Tech Week and in performance last weekend.

Though not many, there have been some gremliny glitches with the sound.The worst was Wednesday of Tech Week when at one point, the answering machine voice-overs would not sound. The VU meters in the SCS program and on the mixing board were showing signal, but no sound was coming from the speakers. The rehearsal came to a halt for a few minutes as I rebooted everything but got no good result. I did notice that the other sound cues were firing. I checked the hidden speaker and it seemed fine. Marcia had rehearsal resume with our sound guy, Jared, reading the phone messages. But he only had to do that once. As I checked the sound cord lines from the stage back to the mixer, I discovered that the sound cord had been unplugged from the mixer. The mixer had been slightly moved and the cord was taped down coming up to the mixer, with barely any slack. I re-taped it to create much more slack.

The more bothersome one was a particular sound cut that kept not working. For a scene transition in Act II we're using a specific instrumental, which is a gag based on some references made in the script. The recording has a short prelude section before the main melody begins. In the interest of both time and pacing I decided to cut that prelude so the song starts right at the melody. I did so after the Wednesday Dress. Thursday, when Jared fired the cue it started right back at the beginning of the song, at the start of the prelude. So I again went into the SCS program and reset the start of the cue. Opening Night it STILL fired at the very beginning of the instrumental! Apparently I was making the change in the program but not saving it. Nah! it was that bastard gremlin! I fixed the damned thing after the show Friday and when I was back Saturday, it was as it should be, never mind that the particular sequence was otherwise an epic fail all the way around. The set was rotated at the wrong time which discombobulated all the sound and light cues as well as the actor's entrance which follows.

Ahhh, Live Theatre!


In the audience icon
A couple weeks back on the 12th I saw Mame at the Human Race Theatre Company. It was the first time I've seen this on stage. I was, you may know, hoping to be cast in this, but alas, no. Kudos to the cast and crew, and especially to Robb Willoughby whom I believe made his HRTC debut with this.

Last Saturday I supposedly attended Isn't It Romantic as an audience member, and I did go through the motions of giving my ticket to the house assistant, sitting in a seat throughout both acts, and mostly attending to the performance. But let's get real. I anticipated every sound cue and scrutinized the sound volumes and balances; and almost left after the epic fail, described above. Still, nice work from the cast and crew, despite that one thing.


Film Dayton icon
Last night, for the first time in months, I attended Film Dayton's Film Connections, the November meeting featuring Local Film Maker Henrique Couto, for whom several actors I know or have worked with, either directly or indirectly, including Geoff Burkman, Amy Taint, Adam Clevenger, Joni Durian, Joe Kidd, and Marylee Osborne, the latter whom I actually don't know from either the world of film or stage, but from the rent-payer.

Couto's talk last night was more about getting your film hooked up with a distributor than about actual film making. He's taken ten low-budget features to final cut, most of which have a distribution deal. The most exciting of those, right now, is A Bulldog for Christmas, which has international distribution, has already released in Great Britian, including a television release, and will release within weeks in France. Most of those mentioned above, if not all of them, are in the film. Ms. Osborne has the key role.

On another note, I made sure to introduce myself to Henrique as a local actor, and one who has worked with several of his past cast members.    cool icon


ThanksGiving Day 2014

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Happy ThanksGiving from K.L.


Fri, Nov 28, 2014

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PINCH HITTERS:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND TECH ICON

Tonight marks the beginning of Weekend 2 of the run.

Tomorrow night I pinch hit for Jarred Mola as sound tech while he pinch hits for Father Scott Wright and Patty Smith, our two alternating lighting techs for the show, neither who can work tomorrow's performance.

Ms. Smith -- who, by-the-way, is The Guild's new House Management Coordinator -- has, I believe, the holiday family obligations. Father Scott, has some excuse about conducting a Mass....Well, okay, Father, if you must....smiley icon

I have my own family stuff going on but was able to manipulate a hole in the itinerary to work the performance.



Mon, Dec 1, 2014

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IN THE BOOTH & IN THE LOBBY:
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND TECH ICON
Saturday, as I earlier reported that I would, I substituted as sound tech for Jarred Mola as he substituted for both of the production's swing lighting techs, Father Scott Wright and Patty Smith, both who had obligations keeping them from the booth. I also brought cookies for intermission, as assigned -- okay, mini brownie-muffins from Kroger.

I'd say running it went something like 98% smoothly. There were a couple spots where the timing had been tweaked a little ofter I was off the board and Jared was on; I wasn't dead on with some of those. These weren't what I'd call "errors," so there's that.

Yesterday I then was in the lobby as the House Manager, also doing the house assistant hosting duties.


THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
AUDITION ICON
Meanwhile, Back at the Rehearsal Hall:

I have begun to prepare to audition for a role that I am more than a little doubtful I am correctly typed for, but I am going to audition for anyway. I have gone after this role before, to no avail. I will use the same material I used last time, only it will need to be truncated, as the specs of this audition call for it to be shorter....FILM AT 11.


PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS
I've already mentioned both these recently but they bear repeating. For some actors I know, here's some good news about their screen work.

FOREVER'S END, a J.C. Schroder film, staring  Charity Farrell, Lili Reinhart, and Warren Bryson
Charity Farrell -- the J.C. Schroder film starring Charity, Forever's End, has made a name for itself on the festival circuit and became available through VOD, streaming, digital download, DVD and blu-ray, as well as available for sale and rental on iTunes, Amazon.com, YouTube Movies, and other services. And the sound track is available from iTunes, Amazon, etc. I purchased my copy earlier this morning from iTunes.

CONGRATULATIONS!



A BULLDOG FOR CHRISTMAS, a film by Henrique Couto
Amy Taint -- Ms. Taint has appeared in several of Henrique Couto's films, but A Bulldog for Christmas is of special note as it now has international distribution. It is currently available in Great Britain -- at least -- and is, in fact, showing on television there, and it will, in a little more than a week, be available in France. The movie also features Joni Durian, with whom I have worked on at least one project, and it features Marylee Osborne, whom, as I wrote a few days back, I have never worked on stage or screen with, but I know from the rent-payer.

CONGRATULATIONS!

*Just a reminder this can only be a small sampling of the professional work of my friends and colleagues. I'm simply not going to be aware of all their good fortunes. Plus, I may screw up and learn of something and forget about it -- I can be that way, easily. But if I know (and remember), I'll give a shout out for the pro gig successes!



etectera
As is usually my habit, I have this year again featured some Christmas holiday material from the dormant site proper -- or "Winter Season" holiday material, if you prefer. It is, of course, heavy on Christian and pseudo-Christian stuff, but not all of it is directly "Christian Christmas" related.

By-the-way, I haven't really been taking writing submissions at the lit site for quite some time, but if you send some good "Winter Season" holiday prose or poetry, I may add it: writing@thewritegallery.com

In the meantime:


The WriteGallery Creative Writing Web Site

Winter Holiday Feature

"Before The Unwrapping Begins"
a Christmas poem by Cynthia DiSciullo and William Zigmont

Christmas Poems by Kathleen Patricia Egan

Christmas Stories (and an essay) by Leola Claiborne Carhee

"Let Me Come In (a Christmas poem)" by Richard Bugg

"My Little Friend" by Malathi Nidadavolu
*illustrated by Rambabu Arle

"The Spirit of Christmas" by Butterflypoet



Fri, Dec 5, 2014

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THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
AUDITION ICON

Still gearing up for an upcoming audition. I still am not at all sure I am correctly typed for the role I want, and I can think of at least one most-talented actor who is probably better suited for the role, an actor whom I am willing to bet will audition. I am still going after the role for the usual several reasons: 1) I might have a different idea than the director about my fitting the type; 2) auditioning is a skill that takes practice and I need to keep in practice; 3) I have, as of yet, for various reasons, including schedule, never auditioned at this theatre and it's time I did.

The audition program I will employ is going to push past the time limits specified on the casting call, but I already contacted the director and was told that it would be okay.

....details after it's over



Sun, Dec 7, 2014

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History Channel - Pearl Harbor Day - http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor








Closing Tiday

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC by Wendy Wasserstein, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of ISN'T IT ROMANTIC
CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Janie Blumberg            Angela Timpone

Harriet Cornwall            Lauren Caldwell

Marty Sterling            Wayne Wolfe

Tasha Blumberg            Marcella Balin

Simon Blumberg            Richard Young

Lillian Cornwall            Dorothy Michalski

Paul Stuart            Dave Gaylor

Vladimir            Scott Huffman

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
AUDITION ICON
I have spent some portion of my weekend rehearsing for the forthcoming audition, though not as much as I wished. My slight sore throat isn't helping things. It made me spend most of the day yesterday just medicating my throat with Throat Coat tea, with cough drops and honey added in, and the occasional gargle with lemon juice and salt in hot water.


Mon, Dec 8, 2014

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REPOSTED FROM DEC 8, 2010:
THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY: JOHN LENNON John Lennon

Thirty-four years ago today, I was twenty-two years old. I was, and still am, a major Beatles fan, as was, and are, most of my friends whom I grew up with. I had just recently been on the phone with one of my friends, whom I've known since first grade, Jerry Spencer. A few years earlier, Jerry had moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We had talked of the merits of John Lennon's new album, Double Fantasy. Of the pros and cons of him sharing space equally with Yoko Ono, and of the surprisingly good B-side to the single, "Starting Over," a song written and sang by Yoko, titled "Walking On Thin Ice." It stands, still today, as the best thing Yoko has done musically, and actually good enough that if I were to catch it while changing stations, I'd actually stop and give it a listen. Not that there's much chance that would happen.

Jerry and I also talked of how excited we were that John was preparing to announce a U.S., then international, concert tour to support the new album.

We were stoked!

December 8, 1980 was a Monday. For whatever reason, I had gone to bed earlier than usual that day. I was still living with my parents and after I'd been asleep some period of time, my mother came in and said, "Jerry Spencer's on the phone."

Groggy, I picked up.

"Hey man, did you hear about John?"

In a fog I said, "Who?"

"John Lennon. Some nut just shot and killed him! Howard Cosell just announced it on Monday Night Football."

"Yeah, right. And we know it's happened because he's barefoot on the front cover of the album, right?"

"No, man! It's true! Some nut shot him and killed him."

Still, really not totally awake, I sort of acquiesced to the fact and said goodbye to Jerry. I remember that I lay there for a moment and thought: Well, guess I'm not going to ever meet John Lennon. Then drifted back asleep.

It was getting ready for work the next morning and hearing the report on the news. That's when it hit me. It was as if I had just found out that one of my best friends in the world had died. The impact was overwhelming. I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and wept.

John Lennon is dead.

John Lennon is dead!

JOHN FUCKING LENNON IS FUCKING DEAD!

Even as I write these words, three decades later, I feel the drop in my gut, the hole in my chest, the sorrow.

"John Lennon is dead."

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, are to me, like many others, my major artistic influence. I don't simply mean my major musical influence, I mean that they had, and despite that many don't believe it, Paul still has, an artistic approach that basically says, "Why not?"

As one in thousands of examples: Why not end a pop song with a major sixth chord and dissident vocal harmony? ("She Loves You").

I was pretty young when the Beatles came out. I turned six in June of 1964, so, though I was certainly aware of pop music, that the Beatles were injecting rock and pop with a radical new twist on the genres was beyond my thought processes. But I remember what in retrospect I think was my first aesthetic appreciation of John. It was when I heard "Rain." I say "think" because I know that in the studio, The Beatles were very democratic about the arrangements and the process of recording their songs. Any good idea to make the end product better was considered and often chosen. John wrote "Rain," and as I got older I developed great poetic appreciation for the message of the lyrics.

But as a kid, my first impression and what appealed to me was the sonic presentation. There is this powerful wall of sound that stampedes like a title wave of dark rich guitar chords and booming bass. It's one of the first times I can remember really recognizing artistic craftwork. Somewhere in the same period I heard "Eleanor Rigby" and I was starting to know there was something special about The Beatles.

Of course, being the age I was, The Monkees were more my speed (inspired by The Beatles movie Help, which, though I don't dislike it, is my least favorite of all Beatles movies). The Monkees existed, in fact, because The Beatles had no interest, whatsoever, in an offer to make a sitcom in Hollywood.

Well, then, in 1967 my older cousin Greg bought the album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and was fanatically raving about it. My family and his spent a lot of time together in those days so I heard the album a lot. And my enthusiasm for The Monkees as my favorite band began to quickly fade. By the time I was ten, I was a die-hard Beatles fan.

I personally have a little bit more of an affinity for Paul McCartney, but don't be mistaken: my love of John Lennon as an artist and human being is strong. And there is no question that lyrically, John Lennon is the strongest of The Beatles. He is, I believe, one of the best lyricists in rock and pop history.

Sometimes beautifully poetic, other times, straight-and-direct-to-the-juggler plain spoken.

"Words are flowing out
Like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away
Across the universe

Pools of sorrow
Waves of joy
Are passing though my open mind
Possessing and caressing me"
-- "Across The Universe"

"You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow"
-- "Revolution"

John was probably a bit pretentious in his early 1970's anti-war presentation, because, as anyone who's studied Beatles and/or John know, his ego was pretty big and strong and certainly matched Paul's, and really, in many ways dwarfed Paul's. That doesn't mean that there was anything insincere about John's anti-war sentiment. It was not a PR stunt. And when John said, Hey, the press is going to be following us (him and Yoko) around, anyway. We might as well use the space they're going to give us, no matter what we are doing and saying, to do and say something of value, when he said this, it was not disingenuous.

As for his personal life, John was open in both his art and his interviews about most of it. The raw honesty of his 1971 album Plastic Ono Band makes it one of the greatest artworks of his career. Just as Paul had done with his home-grown McCartney album the year before, and The Beatles had done with their last released album (second to last recorded) Let It Be, John also returned to a simpler presentation of the music: the arrangements and production were bare boned, even more so than McCartney. The opening cut, for instance, "Mother," is a solo vocal, a piano, a drum kit and a bass guitar, recorded live in the studio. No over-dubs. no double tracking. The only production trick is the bongs of the tower clock at the start, which John slowed down and edited on.

That album is lyrically raw and relentlessly honest and unapologetic. In "God," he basically says, among other things, "Suck it up fans, The Beatles are over. I'm not a Beatle anymore.":

"God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I'll say it again,
God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I don't believe in magic,
I don't believe in I-ching,
I don't believe in bible,
I don't believe in tarot,
I don't believe in Hitler,
I don't believe in Jesus,
I don't believe in Kennedy,
I don't believe in Buddha,
I don't believe in mantra,
I don't believe in Gita,
I don't believe in yoga,
I don't believe in kings,
I don't believe in Elvis,
I don't believe in Zimmerman,
I don't believe in Beatles,
I just believe in me,
Yoko and me,
And that's reality.
The dream is over,
What can I say?
The dream is over,
Yesterday,
I was dreamweaver,
But now I'm reborn,
I was the walrus,
But now I'm John,
And so dear friends,
You just have to carry on,
The dream is over."

In the famous interview on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder in 1975, he explained that as a song writer all he's ever been doing is, "reporting on the state [I am in] at the time."

In an interview not long after The Beatles broke up he was straight forward about being a professional musician and a pop star. Asked if he was ever worried of being accused of "selling out" his response was, "Selling out to where? Any rocker who signs a contract with a record company is selling his wares. 'Now I'm singing for my supper.' To think you're not is to be fucking lying to yourself." (I'm quoting that from memory but I'm pretty sure it's verbatim).

With the last album that John saw through to the final product, Double Fantasy, his honesty was much less radical but no less straight forward. The songs, mostly written toward the end of his self-imposed five-year hiatus from the business showed the migration of philosophy toward a middle-aged man who was at peace with himself much more than he'd ever been in his life.

The philosophy of "I don't believe in Beatles" is clearly less important than the idea of his family. There is an inherent message of being a husband and being a father. Granted, the love-torn, "I'm Losing You," is on the album, but that was written during his separation from Yoko in the mid-70's, when he was bar hopping with Harry Nilsson to escape his misery. Lennon included the song because it's a good mid-tempo rocker, a good track.

Along with McCartney and some others of his generation, John is so incredibly important to the movement forward of rock-and-roll and pop music in general because of artistic inquisitiveness and his ability to think outside the box. If he's not THE leader, he is one of a very few on a very short list. Lennon didn't think there was anywhere that a rock artist couldn't go musically and artistically. Anything was fair game to throw into the mix. This was why he, McCartney, and George Harrison, (who is arguably the first to be responsible for the fusion of Indian music into rock and jazz), were so compatible artistically. *I didn't include Ringo here because I'm addressing songwriting and major musical arrangement.

As one of my cultural icons, John Lennon transcends his musical appeal and innovation, by his intellect and his use of his fame as a platform to ask for, to appeal for, to try to influence us toward a better world, one where love rules and hate and war and greed are relics from a yesterday.

I can't believe the world has been without him for over three decades. I feel my weeping for him that morning so long ago as if it had been this morning.

I'm still saying Goodbye, today.

*originally posted on Dec 8, 2010, this new version has been updated only to reflect correct time frames




THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
AUDITION ICON
Well, the Throat Coat tea, with cough drops and honey added in, and the occasional gargle with lemon juice and salt in hot water has helped greatly with the compromised voice condition, but my vocal abilities are still not up to par, so I will delay my audition for a day, as I have that option.


Here's one....
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

I missed the Friday and Saturday performances of the closing weekend of the show. I was there yesterday to conduct some business related to the show, which included being there to help with Strike. It turns out the cast and crew had an interesting Saturday performance. The dolly platform, that rotated to change the settings for different scenes, broke down. It was not reparable. So the cast and crew had to adapt the scene changes for the rest of the Saturday show and then for all of the Sunday show. They did adapt well, though. The Sunday audience was none the wiser that something was not as it "should" be.



Tue, Dec 9, 2014

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AUDITION ICON
fb post - "Okay. So I spend the day not talking then see if I can actually have enough vocal capability to sing an audition tonight.....we'll see"


Wed, Dec 10, 2014

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AUDITION ICON

I don't know why I felt the need to be cryptic about what show I am auditioning for, but for some reason I have felt the need. Whatever the reason, I'll let you in on the "secret" that I auditioned last night for Kitt and Yorkey's Next To Normal at Beavercreek Community Theatre.

Well, despite having a troubling sore throat, I had a successful audition, though it was challenged and marred by the throat difficulties. I got a tickle in my throat that seemed to grow exponentially as my song progressed, and it did effect delivery adversely. In fact, the worse of it was actually on the front end of the song, where I almost couldn't finish a couple of the early phrases. They certainly were not as strong as they should have been.

Also, because the accompanist was playing my sheet music cold, some of the dynamics I am use to were missing, and I allowed that to throw me. I sang the Paul McCartney Beatle song, "You Never Give Me Your Money," which I have used before to target this particular show. I had to tone down the more raucous vocalization toward the end because I needed to adapt to the energy from my accompaniment. I had no chance to show the more rock-vocal aspects, which I still had the capability to do, even with the throat condition. I had rehearsed to see what I had to do to get there with the compromised vocal abilities, and had discovered what I needed to do, but I did not get to do that.

Please don't misunderstand; I'm putting none of this on the accompanist; she was playing the song cold, probably having never seen the music before; if I got somewhat thrown because I didn't get the energy I had anticipated, that from the performance from the original recording, that's on me. I am the one completely and solely responsible to ride the wave that comes my way. If I got locked in and had trouble altering my take, that's something for me to work on. At least I did adapt, if falteringly, after a bit of a discombobulation; I think I may have missed a pick-up toward the end of the performance, and I didn't get to go out with the rock-and-roll scream I had planned. I'd grade my performance as C+. C'est la vie.

On the other hand, I got a call back, so there ya go. To be honest, the call back is a pleasant surprise; I did not expect it. Now, of course, I woke up this morning with a little heavier congestion in my chest, and the call back is tonight. I'm not going to work at the rent-payer, but I wouldn't have been going regardless of the call back.



Thu, Dec 11, 2014

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NEXT TO NORMAL CALL BACK, LAST NIGHT:
AUDITION ICON
WAITING

Last night I went to the call backs for Kitt and Yorkey's Next To Normal at Beavercreek Community Theatre, Despite still having sore throat problems. My vocal ability was still compromised, plus I was called back for the doctor, so got pretty familiar with all his songs, but they had all the older adult men sing Dan (the husband/father) songs. I faltered some because of that. I am not the world's greatest sight-reader; in fact, I really am not a sight reader; I essentially can't read music. I did have the chance, while other characters were auditioning, to listen, via headphones, to the songs from the Broadway recording, stored on my phone, but I was still shaky on the melodies, so my performance would have been tentative even if I'd had full vocal capabilities.

It's done now, so we wait for the word.....



Fri, Dec 12, 2014

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I AM NEXT TO NORMAL IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN THE USUAL REALITY OF MY LIFE:
NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON

Director Matt Owen called late-morning yesterday to offer me the role of The Doctor in Kitt and Yorkey's Next To Normal at Beavercreek Community Theatre.

So: YaY!

The first rehearsal, the read-through (table read), is this coming Tuesday. Then, I believe, we are dark until the new year.



Mon, Dec 15, 2014

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DUCKS IN A ROW:
NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON
One of the best things about the rent-payer is that when auditions are coming up I can almost always get the script from our collection, thanks to the acting program in the Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures department. The collection of scripts in the library is pretty damned good and quite up-to-date. Usually if the play isn't absolutely brand new and it has had any sort of notoriety, there's a copy. Sometimes there isn't; sometimes there is but someone already has it checked out. But my average at getting hold of a script I want is high.

I also sometimes check out the material after I am cast, especially for musicals -- which has meant, until now, only professional gigs at The Race. I like to get the libretto (at least), the vocal score (if I can), and I love to get the master score. I did get the libretto for this show; the vocal score was already checked out; the library doesn't have the whole score, which is not uncommon. Often the publishers won't let the whole production scores go to any but those producing the show.

So at least I have the libretto (the dialogue and lyrics), and, of course, I've had the original Broadway cast recording for a couple years -- every since I found out The Race was doing it (I.E. my first go at trying to be cast). There is a little musical moment missing: Diana's delusional perception of Dr. Madden when they first meet. She has these moments of hallucination where Madden belts out short rock-vocal lines. Those aren't included on the sound track. I managed to find and capture the segment on-line, recorded at a live performance.

So now I have an assemblage of Next to Normal material by which to study my role(s). I write "role(s)" because "Doctor" is actually two doctors: Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden, Madden being more prominent.

We have the table read tomorrow night. Tonight I will prep myself a bit. I'm certain we are not singing tomorrow night, but I plan to sing a capella the little rock-doctor interludes I wrote about above. After the table-read we're off until Jan 5, and I'm actually off until Jan 6, because I'll be shooting the promocast video for DTG's production of 4000 Miles on Monday, Jan 5. But in the meantime, between this Wednesday and January, I have a lot of time to get familiar with the music and the script in general. To accentuate the opportunity, I am off from the rent-payer from December 24 through New Year's Day, so there's a big window of study time.


By the Way
Final Draft 8 icon
This both sucks and doesn't suck. For some reason I got the urge to start writing a play script Saturday evening. I was watching an episode of Wallander from Season 1 (the British version with Kenneth Branagh) when the voice of the Muse tickled my soul strings. By the way, I recommend the WALLANDER series, highly.

I didn't start off with a strong story idea, but a strong setting with two characters -- place and mood.

I have the mixed emotions about this because it's something else to demand time, energy and commitment.


4000 & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
As for the promocast shoot for this one, I did get clearance to use dialogue in the DV movie. That means that some of that time off from work will be spent attending rehearsals so I have an idea of what to shoot on Jan 5., and how to shoot it.



Tue, Dec 16, 2014

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that there is a 90+% probability that, starting in late January, I'll be in another Advanced Acting Techniques class with Kay Bosse through The Human Race Theatre Company. This would be that eighth series with Kay that got cancelled a few months back.


NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.

Table read tonight.

I also will post the cast list soon. I just want to be sure it's okay before I do so.




Wed, Dec 17, 2014

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READ-THROUGH & CAST LIST:
NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.

Last night was the read-through. It went well. We did not sing; we listened to the appropriate songs from the sound track when they came up in the script. I did actually sing the rock-doctor hallucination moments, a cappella. And, of course, most of us could be heard singing along with our own songs, if sometimeS quietly.

Meanwhile, here's the cast list:

CHARACTER
      ACTOR
Diana       Becky Barrett-Jones

Natalie       Abby Land

Dan       Geoff Moss

Gabe       Desmond Thomas

Henry       Brandon Ramos

Doctor       K.L.Storer

cast list updated 02/19/2015 to reflect addition of Geoff Moss as Dan

The production team, thus far, is: Matt Owens (Director); David McKibben (Musical Director); Emily Phillips (Stage Manager); John Falkenbach (Producer & Lighting Designer); Jenn Clark (Accompanist); Kathleen Carroll (Costume Designer).


DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
I have contacted the Eugene O'Neill Foundation to see of they can help with the dialogue clearance for the DV Movie.

I await a response.



Thu, Dec 18, 2014

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ANNOUNCING THE CAST:
DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

CHARACTER
      ACTOR
Ephraim Cabot       Dave Nickel

Abbie Putnam-Cabot       Danielle Dowler

Eben Cabot       Alexander Chilton

Simeon Cabot       Mark Anderson

Peter Cabot       Scott Knisley --
 01/11/15: Scott later left the production due to scheduling conflicts

Sheriff/Old Farmer       William Styles

Fiddler       TBA

Young Girl       Brianna Caron

Man       Harry Shepard

Woman       Sarah Saunders



Sat, Dec 20, 2014

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NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.
fb post - "So, the vocal warm ups then driving to an appointment singing



In the audience icon
Last night I went to Wiley's Comedy Club in The Oregon District, the club being not too far from The Guild, to see the late stand-up set by native Daytonian Ryan Singer. Ryan is a long-time friend of local film maker Greg Nichols, and is one of the principals in Greg's full-length, The Wonderland Express. Also on hand was Chicago-based comedian Beth Stelling, as well, native to Dayton.

Both comedians had a good set. Ryan's set was a bit loose, but I liked that. He seemed to be playing a bit and the spontaneity worked for me.

There was actually a last-minute add-on to the show, who was also funny; I am embarrassed to admit I can't remember her name.



Wed, Dec 24, 2014

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Portait of Ralph Dennler

Those of you reading this who are familiar with the theatre community in Dayton, Ohio will know that this past Saturday evening we lost one of our elder statesman, a man who was one of my colleagues at The Dayton Theatre Guild, Mr. Ralph Dennler.

I am putting my thoughts together about this tremendous loss, and I will post something, most likely on Friday, the 26th.


on a more seasonal note:

HAPPY CHRISTMAS - War Is Over, If You Want It



Christmas Day 2014

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS from K.L.






Sat, Dec 27, 2014

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THE PASSING OF AN ELDER STATESMAN
Portait of Ralph Dennler

As I wrote Wednesday, those of you from the Dayton, Ohio area theatre community already know that Ralph Dennler, long-time veteran of theatre in the area, passed away last Saturday evening, one week ago, succumbing to cancer.

Ralph was a long-standing board member at The Guild, making it his home theatre almost fifty years ago.

Those of you not from the area, let me tell you about Ralph, at least that which I know of him. He had several stints as the board president, and I believe, the chairman as well. Up until a couple months ago, when his failing health finally made it too difficult, he was our current Theatre Ops VP. He also, for years, was the point man for securing the many beneficial and generous private donations that have greatly helped keep our theatre more than solvent. In conjunction, Ralph was always coming to the board to get approval to invest in money markets and other stock ventures. Until he was no longer able, Ralph came to the theatre everyday to check on things, to make sure the building was secure and had no problems, and to bring the mail in.

Ralph was a driving force in the move from the old Salem Avenue venue to our current location. For a few years it was to be the move from Salem to the dreamed construction of a new theatre on property purchased at Fourth and Patterson, in downtown Dayton. Ralph was an active part of growing the Building Fund to meet that goal. However, the cost of construction kept staying too far ahead of the funds raised. The ground breaking did not seem close in sight. By the time of this realization, I was a board member and part of the decision to turn our focus to finding a new structure that might fit our needs. Ralph was still in the forefront, setting aside the idea of building a new theatre and embracing the search to find a building we could repurpose. When we found our new home on Wayne, Ralph was one of the leaders who assured we would transform an old gym club into a theatre space to be proud of. He was one of those instrumental in the achievement of paying off the mortgage in only a few years. He's been instrumental in keeping the building fund in the black. And Ralph spearheaded our new marquee, which is one of the last of many great contributions he's made during his decades of leadership.

Of course, as is true of most board members at most non-professional theatres (and maybe at many professional ones), Ralph was an actor, who appeared many times on The Guild stage and other stages, including some professional gigs on stage and screen. He was also a director. During my thus-far brief tenure with The Guild, I was only on stage in two productions with Ralph, and I was never directed by him. I was first on stage with him in I Never Sang for My Father at The Guild in 2006, where he had the role of Tom Garrison. The other time was when he appeared in one or two performances only of The Best Man, also at The Guild. Ralph stepped into the role of President Hockstader when Burt Staub, who was cast in the role, fell ill and was relegated to bed. Of course, with no rehearsal under his belt, Ralph had to appear on stage with the script in his hand, but his performance was engaging and audience members soon stopped noticing said script in said hand.

I only knew Ralph for a brief ten years, but these last ten years seem like a lifetime as I have re-embedded myself into the theatre arts after far too long away from it. Ralph was a constant in this new life of mine, whom, I realize now, I often allowed myself to take for granted.

In those ten years, Ralph was always a gentleman who conducted himself as a true statesman would. He was a man of integrity who kept the integrity of The Guild as an upmost goal. I know for a fact that if he thought a script was beneath The Guild's standards he was not impressed if the production of it brought in money; he still would have preferred we had not done the show. Yet, when the play reading committee voted to recommend such a show and the board voted to produce such a show, Ralph would throw his support behind it. Because he was a gentleman.

In board meetings Ralph very often played the devil's advocate when we were discussing actions we might take, most especially when those actions involved spending money. Honestly, I will admit that on occasions I would get a little annoyed when Ralph started sentences with such things as, "Have we considered...." Yet, as annoying as I might have sometime found his devil's advocate stance, the truth is that quite often he forced us other board members to consider a possible negative ramification that we otherwise would not have contemplated.

He also was very vocal that we maintain good stewardship concerning when, how and why we spend our money. Financially, we have often been greatly in the black, usually we are, in fact. Again, Ralph's savvy as a fund-raiser has contributed heavily to that condition. He still was always a voice endorsing prudence in the spending of any money. He was one of the voices in the discusion calling for justification of whatever purchase. If it wasn't a necessity or a true enhancement, why should we spend the money?

I believe now, when we are in board meetings discussing actions and/or expenditures, one of the questions we need to ask ourselves is: What would Ralph's objection be?

xxxx
The dark marquee
Speaking of objections:
One of the last of the long, long list of Guild achievements that Ralph was instrumental in bringing about was the digital marquee that went live last May. As tribute to Ralph, we darkened the marquee this past Tuesday afternoon, just shortly before his viewing began and kept it dark until Wednesday evening. Of course, Ralph would have objected to that. I can hear Ralph 's protestation:

"Well, I appreciate the gesture, but my concern is that we have a show to promote."

Sorry, Ralph, some things just have to be done.

One of the achievements I am most proud of as a member of the DTG board is that Ralph had come to view me as a colleague whom he respected, trusted and relied upon. As kind as Ralph was, he didn't really suffer fools. He would never be unkind nor rudely dismiss them, but he wasn't going to call upon them, either. If Ralph had a high opinion of you, you knew he believe you proved it a worthy assessment. That Ralph had a high opinion of me and respected me is a tremendous compliment, which makes me feel most honored.

I certainly have a high opinion and great respect for Ralph.

Goodbye, dear sir. We will honor your dedication and integrity in all we do to maintain and enhance that which you spent nearly fifty years engaged with. May we live up to your passion.

CLICK HERE FOR RALPH'S OBITUARY.






SOME HICCUPS, BUT STILL, EARLY WORK IS IN MOTION:
NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.
xxxx
The library copy of Next To Normal, which I borrowed until the read-through rehearsal, when I was given one by our director.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
HEALTHWISE ICON

Today I start the full-on work learning dialogue lines and much of my vocal melodies for the show. The hitch is that my sore through relapsed back somewhat. It was on the mend, but went into reversal. It got worse, in fact, as I got a chest cold.

I'd had that whole action going where I did my vocal warm-ups then dropped my "White Album" CD into my player and sang along with the first nine or so songs from the album, to work out my voice. Then my throat health went south and it became a counter-productive endeavor.

The last two days I've spent medicated up and sleeping a lot. My voice is now again on the mend, somewhat, but nowhere close to par, and I still have congestion in my chest. I may work on melody and lyrics, but work on full-voice phrasing will have to wait. Today will mark the start of line work. We'll begin with the famous index-card flash cards.

The good thing is that in a musical, there aren't a lot of lines. There are the lyrics, but as I study the melodies on the CD, those will be worked on, too.

My next rehearsal call is Tuesday, January 6. I may not walk in off-book, but I plan to be at least somewhere in the neighborhood.


Joe Cocker, May 20, 1944-Dec 22, 2014

I would be remiss if I didn't pay tribute to the "Mad Dog & Englishman." For those of us who were/are conscious of pop music from the late sixties, the seventies, and the early eighties, Joe Cocker was a strong and unique presence of that era. He was a unique voice in Rock & Roll, both figuratively and literally.

And let's face it, Joe's "With a Little Help From My Friends" is the quintessential Beatles cover. It set the bar, and arguably, though others have come close, no one has matched nor cleared it.



Wed, Dec 31, 2014

OCT-DEC, 2003
JAN-MAR, 2004
APR-JUNE, 2004
JULY-SEP, 2004
OCT-DEC, 2004
JAN-MAR, 2005
APR-JUNE, 2005
JULY-SEP, 2005
OCT-DEC, 2005
JAN-MAR, 2006
APR-JUNE, 2006
JULY-SEP, 2006
OCT-DEC, 2006
JAN-MAR, 2007
APR-JUNE, 2007
JULY-SEP, 2007
OCT-DEC, 2007
JAN-MAR, 2008
APR-JUNE, 2008
JULY-SEP, 2008
OCT-DEC, 2008
JAN-MAR, 2009
APR-JUNE, 2009
JULY-SEP, 2009
OCT-DEC, 2009
JAN-MAR, 2010
APR-JUNE, 2010
JULY-SEP, 2010
OCT-DEC, 2010
JAN-MAR, 2011
APR-JUNE, 2011
JULY-SEP, 2011
OCT-DEC, 2011
JAN-MAR, 2012
APR-JUNE, 2012
JULY-SEP, 2012
OCT-DEC, 2012
JAN-MAR, 2013
APR-JUNE, 2013
JULY-SEP, 2013
OCT-DEC, 2013
JAN-MAR, 2014
APR-JUNE, 2014
JULY-SEP, 2014
OCT-DEC, 2014
JAN-MAR, 2015
APR-JUNE, 2015
JULY-SEP, 2015
OCT-DEC, 2015
JAN-MAR, 2016
APR-JUNE, 2016
JULY-SEP, 2016
OCT-DEC, 2016
JAN-MAR, 2017
APR-JUNE, 2017



BEST LAID PLANS...:
NEXT TO NORMAL & Beavercreek Community Theatre combined logo.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
HEALTHWISE ICON
Today is Declared a NO TV ZONE
I still am sick. I have spent all of this time off from work sick and have executed little of my plan to study on spoken lines, lyrics and melodies for Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden. I'm going to give it a try this afternoon and evening. I don't really feel like going out and celebrating New Years Eve tonight. There's a large chance I'll be asleep at midnight.

Whether or not I work on vocals much today is, as it was the other day, dependent on what shape my throat and larynx are in after treatment and warm-ups. I'd hoped to start attacking the vocal phrasings during this break, but it's pointless with compromised vocal health. First, my voice needs to be in shape in order to pinpoint what I'll do with a healthy voice; second, pushing my voice when the voice is not in shape exasperates the problem. Again, though, I can still work on memorizing lines, lyrics and melody lines.


The WriteGallery Creative Writing Web Site

Winter Holiday Feature

"Before The Unwrapping Begins"
a Christmas poem by Cynthia DiSciullo and William Zigmont

Christmas Poems by Kathleen Patricia Egan

Christmas Stories (and an essay) by Leola Claiborne Carhee

"Let Me Come In (a Christmas poem)" by Richard Bugg

"My Little Friend" by Malathi Nidadavolu
*illustrated by Rambabu Arle

"The Spirit of Christmas" by Butterflypoet




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