As is occasionally the case, I am listening to my favorite, background,
newage-ish, streaming radio station, Groove Salad Radio, from
soma fm, as
I compose this blog entry. Just a little unsolicited plug.
Yesterday I attended the three-hour play writing seminar, "Building
Character," at HRTC, featuring
Playwright Michael Slade. It
was a nice way to spend a few hours on a Saturday.
The three hours was mostly a discusion between Michael and us eight
attendees. We did do one exercise where Michael passed out copies of a
photograph of a young man in some sore of small, cinderblock room, made up
like a bedroom, without bars on the window, so not suggesting a prison cell.
Our task was to study the young man (late teen to mid twenties in age) and
the items and furnishings showing, then create an identity, a biography, or
a basic character description (or all three) of the young man.
I did bring a few pages of work to show him, actually I printed out the
play pages I started last years as well as the screenplay for
The Chorus for Candice
and for the longer short movie that is not out of draft yet -- and for
which I have tentative-to solid plans to shoot the end of next summer.
We ran out of time during the seminar but Michael invited us to either leave
him a few pages or email him such, later. I left him the first two scenes
from the play, which only has a partial third scene written, anyway. Again,
I'm not sure what is in those first two scenes shows character well, but
At any rate, I was pleased with the seminar.
PROMOTIONAL WORK THIS AFTERNOON:
Today is Tech Sunday for our
DTG production of Outgoing Tide.
I have chosen a few moments from the show to shoot later this afternoon.
The plan is still do have the actors perform those specific moments more
for the camera in a special shooting session, rather than having myself
capture those moments while the cast runs the show.
The shoot is scheduled for 3:00. Theoretically I have fifteen minutes, and
I think I should be able to "make the day"
as it were, in that allotted time. If I go iver, it will not be by much.
I sent the monets from the script to Director Kathy Mola last night and I
assume she forwarded them to the cast.
One bright spot for this production: since I am not the sound designer, and
am in no other way directly connected to the show, I do not need to be at
any of the dress rehearsals,
even including the rest of today. I can be at home to edit the promocast
during any evening this week, while Tech Week
rehearsals are going on at the theatre -- i.e.: since I have no obligation
to be at the theatre as a designer, consulting and trouble-shooting, it
wont be necessary to take a
day from the rent-payer!
When I originally posted the graphic and the text about my sober anniversary
last Thursday (Sep 29), the graphic and the text both stated I was "32"
Well, I cheated myself out of two years. After having my error brought
to my attention, I changed the 32, to "34," in both the graphic
and the text.
The "Sep 29, 1982" in the text has always been the
correct, it was just my math that was incorrect.
Good math says "2016-1982=34."
I guess my error is either a sign that something approximating humility is
somehow creeping in, or, old age is taking hold. It's probably the latter
rather than the former.
If you are one of the five who inexplicably visit this blog with any
regularity, you might notice that the little definitions footnote window
for theatre and film making terms is absent, and rather the terms are now
hot-linked. I have created the two pages you see icons for here, to get the
clutter off the page, and to reduce the chance of "talking down"
to what I imagine is the majority of the few people who do actually visit
here and read this silly endeavor, and who are just as familiar with most
or all of the terms I frequently use.
You will find if you go backward in the archived pages that I have hot-linked
these terms throughout the blog and have eliminated all the definitions
tables. To the best of my knowledge, I have, and will later convert any I
may have missed.
Both the K.L.'s Theatre Production Terms and the K.L.'s Film,
Television, and Video Production Terms pages are dynamic; I will add
to them, and I will occasionally rewrite a definition if it seems it can
be clarified or corrected to be more accurate.
As well as a link to the specific term being used, both pages will have
these hot-link icons, above, at the bottom of the active blog page.
Last Monday evening, in the Adult Acting Techniques class at the
Human Race Theatre Company,
Instructor Jennifer Joplin
had us play a couple games, one that was very probably from the Viewpoints
school of training. Each of us were charged to, as we milled around in the
performance space, to secretly pick one person as a "threat" and
another as a "shield." The goal was, as we moved about, to keep
ourselves positioned so that our "shields" were always physically
between ourselves and our "threats."
You might imagine that what ensued was a little bit of chaos. Now mind you,
we each kept our shields and threats confidential, so we were each in the
space, attending to our own agendas with everyone else's agendas a potential
conflict or stumbling block to our own, with us unaware of the vital
information about all our classmates.
The two important things I got from this game: 1) in any script worth seeing
on stage or screen, or worth being in as an actor, there will be conflicting
character agendas that will wholly or at least significantly drive the story
and provide the tension; 2) as an actor I must be conscious that my goals and
methods for my performance and the goals and methods my castmates may at times
may at times conflict and I need to be cognizant of this and find ways to
better collaborate with said castmates when it's obvious such is needed.
The other game was for each of us to pair off with one classmate, pick a
line from the scene we are doing for class, then, based on adjectives that
suggest emotional motivation, such as "taunting," "shy,"
"proud," etc., etc. In other words, say the line with inflections
to suggest the intent of each word.
We also spent a good half of the class time with each of us off with our
scenemates working on our scenes, my mates and mine being the scene from
Pick Up Ax,
by Anthony Clarvoe.
My next goal is to start working toward off-book;
time to break out the index cards.......
The show is finishing up Tech Week,
with Final Dress Rehearsal
tonight. As I am not directly involved with the production I have not seen
a full run of the show; I did see
all of Act I and part of Act II
when I watched the run last Wednesday. Everything seems to be going well.
I, of course, was watching to pick the moments I wanted for the promocast,
and I found them. Then, as planned, I had the actors perform those moments
for me during the shoot this past Tech Sunday.
Despite that the promocast could have been at final cut
even as early as Sunday evening, I didn't get to the editing phase until
last night, so no earlier than usual posting of this one.
In the process of that off-book
stuff for the scene from Pick Up Ax,
by Anthony Clarvoe
for the Adult Acting Techniques class at The Human Race Theatre Company,
with Instructor Jennifer Joplin
at the helm. Tonight, and from this point forward, most of class time will
be spent working the scenes. I will not be "off-book" at all,
tonight, but, my familiarity with the words and the character as he is
evolving will be much better. I must admit, I could have been
off-book by now, but I have let other things, mostly not theatre or
otherwise arts related, get in the way.
TIP: don't start to memorize lines while
laying in bed after a long day.
Playwright Michael Slade emailed
a short response to the two scenes from the play I started in 2015, which
I had given to him at the end of the Building Character writing seminar at
He had a few thoughts and suggestions, a couple I am ignoring, but a couple
others I found most helpful and for which I almost immediately saw easy
OPENING THE SHOW:
As is the regular situation, I was there Opening Night, but I was
the house manager so I did
not pay much attention to the show. As is also the usual case, the
audience's response was very positive, so I would say we have another notch
on the Successful Productions Belt. I was not there at all the rest of the
weekend, but can't imagine it was any different.
The Cast of The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
(in order of appearance)
This is the first time I have been completely involved with the casting
process. I have been involved before as Producer, save for a few cases
where I had to recuse from the casting discussion as I had also auditioned
for the show. In those other situations I was only involved in the post
audition discussion. This time I sat at the table for all but the first
forty minutes of Monday night, as I was late by arrangement due to the
7:30 dismissal of the Adult Acting Techniques class. Save for that forty
minutes, I was essentially one of the auditors, albeit secondary, taking
notes and making decisions with some amount of weight toward the show, a
particular scenario I have never been in before.
Yeah, well, okay, as sometimes a competing actor and always as a guy with
the ambition to eventually direct for stage, I always have taken mental
notes during auditions I have attended, regardless of why I was there.
But this is the first time that my notes were written, and the first time
they had any actual relevance to the production the auditions were for.
Now, of course, Director Marjorie Strader is the one who cast the show;
it's her baby; it wass her decision; but she did invite and take my input
and my thoughts. It would be moronically impolitic for me to share any of
those thoughts here; I won't even go as far as revealing if anyone in the
cast was the choice I would have made. I will say that they are all good
choices. No one made it onto the roster that made me want to tilt my head
to the side and say, "Really?!?" which is a reaction I have
had in the past when seeing some particular casting choices for shows --
Anyone who has been around theatre or screen work for more than just a
short time has had this reaction from time to time.
Regardless of my input or influence, the latter for which I doubt was
significant, we're cast. Rehearsals
are likely to begin next Monday evening.
RIDING THE TIDE TONIGHT:
Going to be an audience member tonight for the start of our sophomore
weekend of performances of
The Outgoing Tide.
The itinerary for last night's class was for each group of scenemates to
work on their scenes with each taking turns on the stage area of the
classroom for work with our instructor,
Unfortunately, one of the members of the group I am in was absent due to
illness, so we got little work done on our scene. The two of us who were
there did discuss blocking, to
some extent, as well as our staging,
again, to some extent.
We have all agreed to a special session this Thursday evening to make up
for the lost time last night. I'd love to say that I was
off-book last night, but I was
not; I am not. I have actually begun the process of memorizing my
lines, but "off-book" is more than just a stretch at the moment.
You would think I would be -- it's only eight pages; I have thirty-nine
total lines, and only two of them can be called a monologue,
and neither could be called long ones.
Well, let's see what I can do between now and Thursday evening.....
Tonight is the read-through.
For me, as well as being AD, I will
also do the opening producer's stuff -- disseminating some general information
and some forms to be signed -- as our producer, Barb Jorgensen, cannot make
rehearsals this week.
I'm still not 100% sure about what my duties as AD will be, but I will feel
my way through and try to carve out my niche in coordination with our
stage manager, Melanie Brenner, i.e.:
perhaps take things off her plate so she can better deal with other of her
priorities, as well as my defining whatever other duties I end with on my
I must say several of my classmates impressed me with their work. For
myself, I was mostly happy with my own work. I was a character named Mick,
a fellow who walks on the shadier side of the business world, if not actually
"mobbed up," then something akin to that. I did not meet the goal
of being off-book; I did do the
scene without the script, or, in this case, the sides
in my hand, which meant that I did a whole lot of paraphrasing. Paraphrasing
is something I would rather not do. I did go up
once, but it was such an informal evening, with only a small handful of
guests there for the showcase, that I just simply said, "Is it my line?"
To which a scenemate who was holding is sides said, "Yes." My
response was, "I have no idea what the line is." The audience
laughed, the scenemate prompted me, and we went on. Virtually the same thing
happened to me during the showcase for last acting class I took with Jennifer.
All in all it was an enjoyable six sessions, but I must admit I'd love to
get into a more advanced class with Jennifer. This was a mixed group, with
a lot of enthusiasm from everyone but certainly some class members with far
more skill than others. I'd like to get into a setting with Jennifer at the
helm where all the pupils are on even ground so we can dig deeper into
our skill development together.
THE UNAVOIDABLE BLOCKING OF TOM DURNIN:
Blocking rehearsals began last
Wednesday and should end with the rehearsal this Thursday. Next week is
all about scene work, with Director Marjorie Strader working on character
development with the actors -- and I hope I get to participate in that
collaboration. She has made Monday the
off-book date, but I think the
cast will still need to have their scripts in their hands in order to
refresh their memories on, and to practice, the blocking.
THE UNAVOIDABLY CONTINUING BLOCKING OF TOM DURNIN -- AND,
EMBRACE YOUR INNER TIM (OR TAMMY) TAYLOR THIS WEEKEND:
First things first: We welcome volunteers to help us this weekend with the
construction of the show's set.
This Saturday set building is planned for 11:00 until 5:00. On Sunday it
will be 2:00 until 5:00. The address is 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio, 45410.
We can use all the help we can get, so, if you are one of the visitors here
who is local to me and DTG, check your calendars and see if you can spare
some time this weekend. Looking forward to seein at the theatre! Embrace
your inner Tim (or Tammy) Taylor. If you have an Al (or Alberta) Boreland
in there, that's even better!
I don't really know much about the band
Postmodern Jukebox. I don't
yet have any of their albums, but I have liked everything I've heard by
them. I especially like the version they do of "Royals," with
Puddles Pity Party, as their
guest artists, on the lead vocal.
They are appearing at the Taft Theatre
in Cincinnati next January 23. I'm going. I think I will enjoy myself. It
would be great if Puddles was opening or otherwise joining them.....
I did my early voting this morning. The
plan was to do it yesterday morning before I went to
to help with set construction, but that didn't work out. I read the
Clark County, Ohio, Board of Elections
early-voting schedule incorrectly -- as, I might add, did others -- so I
associated the times of 8:00 am-7:00 pm with yesterday rather than
Monday-Friday of this week. Yesterday the hours were actually 1:00-5:00 pm.
There were a few of us there who had made the same mistake, because we
associated the times with the dates that were above them not below them,
the latter being the correct way to read the schedule. I can't speak for
the others, but for me it was because I didn't start at the top of the
schedule list as such dates weren't relevant to me, so I didn't see the
precedent of the pattern. It was a small thing, but still, my thought is
that people will tend to look for dates first, then times, which is what
led me, and I believe, the others, to our error in interpretation. I am
willing to bet that a lot of people misread the schedule. I spoke to one
such voter, this morning, who, too, had showed up yesterday morning.
Yes, this is another of those blog entries that seems to not have any
relevance to "artful things," but my justification is that who
and what I vote for has an impact on how my community and my government
supports the arts, so a post about me voting is, in the end, relevant.
And, to reiterate from the past, it is my blog....
Worked both Saturday and Sunday on Bruce Brown's set. Actually, though we
were a much smaller crew than we
should have been,
we still made quite a bit of progress. There is tentatively another work
day scheduled for next Saturday; I will post a beg sometime during the
week for anyone who might accidentally read this and have an interest.
In terms of direct work as the AD,
there's not been anything since the blocking
rehearsal last Thursday. Since we are starting the
off-book phase, tonight, with
the cast who are called for the evening, I'll probably work in coordination
and collaboration with our SM, Melanie
Brenner, either being on book or
doing line notes.
I still have not been able to find contact information for our playwright,
in order to seek permission to use dialogue in the promocast.
It's looking like it will not happen. I haven't given up yet, but that move
is coming soon.
This week, of course, is all
where the actors are off-book
but call for lines quite
frequently. Since Melanie Brenner, our stage manager,
isn't doing line notes this week,
there was no need for me to be on book,
or, to take line notes. Next week, I think what we are going to arrange is
for me to prompt while Melanie
concentrates on line notes. By the way, I missed the Monday evening rehearsal
this week; I was home, ill.
On another production front, my last-ditch effort to try to contact
looks to have been fruitful. Where I did not get direct contact info for
him, I did finally discover who is agent is, which happens to be one from
William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
whom I have dealt with before, on this very issue. So that's good. However,
my routine with this particular agent is to send a one-page clearance
agreement for him to sign and return to me. Usually I just rely on email
correspondence to document permission.
Generally, I have not been able to make contact with any of the playwrights
that are his clients, save for
who was the one who first asked that I send an agreement to the agent.
Since then I have come across a couple other playwrights he represents who
were on our docket and have sent him said agreement documents, which he has
always approved and signed. Monday, I sent one for this show, but since
it's so close to principal photography
for this promocast I anticipate
that the travel time between here to New York and back through the U.S. mail,
with the intervening period where the agent opens the envelope and has time
to sign it, will see a signe agreement reach me after the video must be
complete. It might not even get back until after the show has openend. In
light of this, I also emailed the agent on Monday and asked him if he could
email me back with approval, if there will be approval -- don't want to make
assumptions.That way I'll know in time if I can do the DV movie with dialogue
from the show.
So we've done our week of stumble-through,
scenework rehearsals. This week we start running the show. I imagine the
first few rehearsals will still be stumble-throughs. Director Marjorie
Strader has put the theatre dark
this coming Tuesday, election day. We're also dark Friday,
but we have that tentative rehearsal scheduled for Saturday, which I mentioned
before. Then, of course, the next day we kick off
Tech Week with
Today we will likely finish off the set, or almost do so. There are really
only finishing touches left. I will also do much sound work today. Since
there's not a lot to do, overall, for the show's sound plot, I might just
get it all done today, if not all, most.
So, in few minutes, after I post this then make my lunch to take -- I do
that a lot in this low-sodium world where I now live -- I am off to the
You five regulars may remember that I have booked an acting gig for
U.D. Law this coming Saturday
morning. I have been given the material for the case but have not yet began
to study it. I hope there's time later today. I also will have Tuesday
evening, and since I'm off from the rent-payer
on Friday, and the Tom Durning production is dark then, like Tuesday,
I have all day Friday.
I'm not one-hundred percent sure I can abide by this today. I did already
check in once to facebook this morning. And I may break down and watch some
TV, but if I do, it'll be Netflix or
HuluPlus. Though, I run the risk of seeing
an eleventh-hour political ad on Hulu, which goes far to defeat the purpose
of my little TV/facebook hiatus attempt. I'm being judicious about opening
mail today, too. Fortunately, most political email will go directly to my
designated "Poltics" folder, so I don't even have to see the
subject line on those.
It's just a
At lunchtime, it's sound design work for
The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin.
There's not a tremendous amount of work to do, but there are a few things.
There is a bit of building sound tailored for this show, from my library,
some city traffic ambience for instance. I'm considering doing some
Foley work to grab some new traffic
sound, but that obviously won't be done at lunch today here at
This evening is all about getting familiar with the character and the
facts for the U.D. Law gig
that's coming up this Saturday morning.
THE UNAVOIDABLE APPEARANCE OF TECH WEEK ON THE HORIZON:
Tech Sunday is three days and
two rehearsals away. We've got the agenda set for the day.
crew call is 1:00 with a
dry tech to follow shortly. The
cast is called at 2:00 with the cue-to-cue
which should be wrapped by 3:00. Then we do the first
Actually, I'm likely to shoot the promocast
video right before the cue-to-cue. I am again going to pick precise moments
ahead of time and the actors will perform those for the camera, just as I
did for Outgoing Tide.
Several advantages to this: 1) I get good camera angles all the way through;
2) since this time I'm AD, it frees me
up to attend to those duties during all the actual tech runs throughout all
of Tech Week; 3) I won't have
a plethora of footage to sift through to find good moments to use, which
greatly speeds up my editing to Final Cut.
Haven't done much with sound since last I wrote of it, but, no worries.
There will not be that much to do to get it into shape and ready for Tech
I did get a concept of underscoring the last few moments of the play, which
may or may not work -- we're going to try it. I also have the other, very
limited production music choice to make. I have a few candidates but no
decisions have been made. The sound cues, if I didn't mention somewhere in
an earlier blog, are pretty sparse.
NEXT IN LINE:
is imminent, with a production meet scheduled for a week from this coming
Saturday. Let me rephrased that: with a
production meeting scheduled for a week from this coming Saturday. In my
mind, if it's more than thirty minutes, it's too long.
I think I'm close to getting an answer on clearance to use dialogue from
the show in the DV movie. All I need is the exact name of
agent at Creative Artists Agency. Then I
can call CAA and talk with him or her with hope of a resulting "yes."
This will be my third sound design of the season. My intention is that it
be my last sound design of the season -- at DTG or anywhere. I pretty much
did the season at The Guild last year on sound design. I like sound design,
but I don't want that sort of commitment to it this year. I haven't started
even thinking about Luna Gale design yet, and won't get to it until
And remember that auditions for Luna Gale are Nov 21
& 22. *(see "Dayton Theatre Guild forthcoming Audition
Notices for the 2016/2017 season," below -- that is, until after Nov
THE UNAVOIDABLE APPEARANCE OF TECH WEEK CLOSER ON THE HORIZON:
Tech Sunday is now two days and
one rehearsal away. I believe I alluded yesterday to the previously
"TBA statused" Saturday rehearsal without actually stating that
it's been determined that it will happen. We will, however, be one actor
down, but that actor's scenes are pretty solid so it's not a bad thing.
The rehearsal call is 4:00.
It's going to be a busy day for me. I have the U.D. Law
gig until about 1:00, then I am going to try a rush to my gym to get at
least a little bit of a fitness session in. I'll probably get to our
rehearsal just at call time. Then I may stay afterward to finish off
sound design. Somewhere in there I need to fit food into the equation, too.
Nothing has been done with sound since yesterday's post. I plan to do some
today, to fit it in to a busy agenda for this day. I will be at the
theatre today, and I will bring my
Tascam portable digital recorder
to record Wayne avenue traffic out of the front windows, providing there is
heavy enough traffic. I already have a good sound file of light traffic
from that venue, so, no need to duplicate that particular result. But I'd
like to get a good heavier traffic file for use on this show -- and, of
course, for my sound library.
I'm going the theatre today mostly to do some light set work, mostly a bit
of touchup painting, including running some paint over the strip of
gaffer tape that's holding to the floor the power and sound cord for the
speaker I put in the TV. There's also a set of steps that need to be added
to a part of the set, the help the actors, and there's a part of the back
stage where a good, visible path needs to be secured.
Tomorrow morning is the U.D. Law
acting gig. Where I have begun study of the material, a lot of today needs
to be about that, too. I have to finish getting my infamous index, flashcards
ready and then spend some time today drilling myself. I am pretty sure the
evening will be about that drilling. With my gym being
on campus, I'd assumed it would be closed
today, but was happy to find out that despite this being a national holiday,
it's open, so I will finish the flash cards as my next task after posting
this, then take them with me to the gym to study whilst on the elliptical
machine. Then, it's off to the theatre.
The Saturday morning U.D. Law gig
went well. I always feel like I am maybe just a little under-prepared and
it always turns out that I am more than prepared and this was again such a
case. This was my only paying gig as an actor for all of 2016 and will
likely stay so. Let's hope
for some EMC Equity points in 2017!
I shot the principal photography
for the promocast, yesterday, too,
but all I've done since with the footage is transfer it to to the
Final Cut Pro X project
(technically to the "Events" folder) on my computer and
transcode it all to the
ProRes movie file format.
Other than that all I've done is kick out most of the graphics I need, save
for the group cast portrait I need for this and for the lobby movie, the
latter which will run on the lobby TV before each performance.
Since tech Sunday was yesterday, it should be obvious that, save for the
tweaking, the sound design is finished. Despite that it is a simple design
that was hardly a task to put together, I finished the programming only
within an hour of the dry tech. I guess I was the hare, napping on the
side of the path for a bit.
So that "light" set work I was going to do on Friday, I didn't do
until after the Saturday evening rehearsal; well, actually, part of it
beforehand. When I arrived at the theatre I did attach a step to one side
of a platform for easier access for the actors.
Afterward, I painted that step black, as it is in the audience sightline,
and also painted a prop table black, that was to sit in the corner of one
of the voms, also technically in the audience sightline. That table has
since been repositioned to the other side of the curtain in that vom. And
I painted that gaffer tape that holds to the floor the power and sound
cords, running to the speaker inside the TV set piece. The idea there was
that the paint, when dry, would secure the edges of the tape to the floor
better. When I came in Sunday, it was clear that was not the case. So, I
ran more gaffer tape over the edges and that seems to be working.
We are now beyond halfway through Tech Week
and on our way to Opening Night. Tonight we will be doing scene work
on several selected scenes rather than a tech run.
Tomorrow will, of course, be a tech run, the last tech run, the
Final Dress Rehearsal. At the
start of tonight's rehearsal it will be 48 hours till the doors open for
So. Um. Here's the thing. I guess I could easily be considered the
quintessential textbook example of why one needs someone else involved in
the editorial process of their own work. The show
promocast is done. I have
now locked it to a final cut,
despite that there is a glaring error in the information during the credits
at the end.
There actually were two errors at one point -- a point
the DV movie had been published to the
DTG YouTube channel.
One of the errors I caught at that point. I had misspelled our director's
last name. I created a new DV movie edit in which I corrected that error
and then republished the video. The problem is, you can't republish to the
same URL at YouTube. You have to publish the corrected DV movie then delete
the original. If you've already shared the original video you have to
backtrack to be sure everyone knows the old URL is dead and give them all
the new, live URL. I had to do that last night.
-- So, then, this-morn-ing I finally discovered that other error. I
put the run dates as starting on Nov
instead of Nov "18."
I did not want to deal with another replacement URL and the followup to
that, so I edited the information text on the promocast web page and, through
YouTube, added what is called a card to the section of the video where the
run dates are in the credits. A little window pops up in the top right
corner of the video and says, "Suggested: Tom Durnin date correction."
If one hovers the cursor over that window a thumbnail of a ten-second movie
with a still graphic that says, "The correct dates for the run are Nov 18-Dec
4, 2016," with a red box around the "18," pops up. If one
clicks on that they go to the movie. But the whole text graphic is visible
in the thumbnail, so no one needs to actually go to the movie.
Besides this carelessness, it is a pretty good little movie. Oh, yeah,
one more DOH!: I had
selected thirteen moments from the play to have the actors act for the
camera, which I believe has become my new S.O.P. When I started editing
yesterday morning I realized I skipped shooting one of those moments. It
was one I really wanted, too. It was too late to shoot a
I needed the final cut by late afternoon. I would have had to shoot last
night which would have meant finishing the edit today, which would have
meant more taking more
time from the rent-payer, and
that was not going to happen. So, I managed without that lost moment.
Click here to see the finished
promocast, even with its glaring error.
With the exception of tweaking the timing of when specific cues are
executed, the sound design is finished. I don't think any volumes need to
be changed, and I am sure no further sound editing needs to be done.
Actually, as I wrote that last sentence I thought of one little programming
tweak I want to do. I want to shorten the fade in of a crossover transition.
I suppose that means that I am only almost done with sound design.
A view of some of the Opening Night audience only a few
moments before curtain for The Unavoidable Disappearance
of Tom Durnin
Opening Weekend has come and gone. We had a particularly good Opening
Night, with close to a full house and good work by the cast and crew. I
actually sat in the audience, though it was not my "audience
member night," i.e.: I did not make a ticket reservation with my
season ticket package, but there were open seats, so I took one.
Of course, as I sat there during the performance last Friday, I did note a
sound design flaw that needed addressed. And would you, those five of you
who visit here regularly, expect me to not find something that
needed fixed? The flaw?: I had assigned a sound to the
down left house speaker that
should have been assigned to the
down right house speaker. I
fixed it after the show.
Saturday evening I was in the booth running sound because our sound tech
for the production had to attend to some family business. The audience was
a bit smaller on Saturday than any of us liked, but, what are you going to
do? I did not attend at all on Sunday, but the report is that it went
well; don't know what the house size was.
There was a good turnout for the first night of open auditions. Between
those who showed last night and an arranged early audition, Director
Debra Kent already has a decent pool to cast from. Now we'll see what
tonight brings to add to the pool. Tonight's final night of auditions start
at 7:00 pm, at the theatre.
Yesterday I spoke with the assistant to
agent at Creative Artists Agency and I
will probably get an answer on clearance to use dialogue in the promocast
today or tomorrow. This may be one of those that has to be pulled after the
run is dark. That's not really
what I like; I like the promocasts to stay up as a sort of archival thing,
but the limited-posting stipulation is better than a denial of clearance.
FIRST ACTING GIG OF 2017:
Earlier today I was offered a role in a forthcoming
staged reading of a new
play. The playwright is who solicited me and I am more than pleased to
take on the particular role I was offered. I'll give more details later.
Auditions are wrapped and the show has been cast. Boy, were there a lot of
good actors at audition! Many of them were brand new faces, too. Mostly,
the final decisions Director Debra Kent made were based on who looked the
part -- there were, in most cases, multiple actors who read quite well for
a part. But here is the cast, in order of appearance:
It's gratifying to present two names new to the Guild stage on this list:
Kayla Graham and Andrew Poplin. It's also great to welcome back
John-Michael Lander after quite a long hiatus from the DTG stage -- I
believe it's been eleven years, so this is his overdue debut on the Wayne
Avenue, L. David Mirkin Mainstage.
As of late in the morning today, as I start my lunch break, I have yet to
agent at Creative Artists Agency, nor the
agent's assistant about the clearance to use dialogue in the promocast.
I still think that if the answer is "yes," it'll be contingent on
pulling the promocast when the show closes. However, as I wrote yesterday,
the limited-posting stipulation is better than a denial of clearance.
I wasn't there this weekend, save for a little while before the Friday show,
in order to change out the lobby movie for a version that has the
cast list rather than the audition announcement. Reports are that the shows
went well over the weekend, however.
I'll call this "techie stuff" because my computer bag holds my
laptop, my still camera, my audio, graphics, & backup harddrives, and
assorted accouterment, all which are paramount to the tech life I live. Not
to mention that my bag is basically an inorganic appendage to my person.
So, getting a new computer bag very much relates to the General Techie
Stuff of my existence and the interconnected General Artful Things my
techie stuff is geared toward.
I bought the just-replaced computer bag four years ago, at the same time I
bought my current laptop, my
MacBook Pro with Retina display, (mid 2012 model).
It was a great bag with a lot of room to fit a lot of that afore-mentioned
accouterment. Some might say I pushed the envelope on fitting harddrives,
the assorted accouterment, and miscellany into that bag. In fact, some
Essentially: I wore the damned thing out.
And I'm working on wearing out the laptop.
Last year when the strap rings finally got to the point where it was no
longer possible to attach the shoulder strap to the bag, I started thinking
about how I might, just might, just possibly, need a new bag. As the fabric
started to rip at various spots around the bag, I thought more and more a
new bag was a good idea. Frankly, I've truly needed a new bag for months,
maybe more than a year.
Well, I got one now!
Now the question is: how long before this one is beat all to hell?
The Cast of The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
(in order of appearance)
The Promocast for THE UNAVOIDABLE DISAPPEARANCE OF TOM DURNIN
*NOTE: The credits at the end of this DV movie erroneously give the
first date of the run as November 20 rather than the correct
I will see the show from the audience again today -- as well as being the
house manager. Today, of
course, is also Strike, so I'm
there for that as well. I'll be back here tomorrow, or close by, with some
final thoughts on the show.
Rehearsals are now underway without the presence of the humble-servant
producer. As it turns out, I did,
after all, stay for all of the table read
this past Monday evening, that I was not sure I would stay for -- I
needed to fill in by reading for a cast member who had a scheduling conflict
that prevented his presence. I have not been back as of yet.
I have been in active communication with the assistant to
agent at Creative Artists Agency (both
by phone and email) and I await the agent's final decision about the
clearance to use dialogue from the script in the DV movie.
Save for a preliminary look to get an overall idea of what is needed, I
have done little on sound design, but I am about to start into it a bit
more. Working on a determination about music for scene transitions. There
will definitely be music into and out of both acts, and it looks
like there will be scene transition music -- as to what that music will be
is something I don't know right yet. The script doesn't specifically ask
for ambient sound in any scenes, but there are a few that I believe call
I have still to hear back from the assistant to
agent at Creative Artists Agency. We have,
as I reported earlier, had a few phone and email conversations. Theoretically,
an answer on clearance for the DV movie is imminent.
So, how in the heck did I miss the passing of Florence Henderson
last month? I've clearly been avoiding the news as much as possible
Tuesday -- well, technically,
Being a "latch-key kid" just prior to the coining of the
phrase, and certainly having been essentially babysat by television
as a kid, Florence
(i.e.: Carol Brady)
was a big part of the pop-culture of my youth.
In honor of Col. Glenn, here is an essay I wrote about meeting him
and Neil Armstrong in 2003, just before the centennial of the Wright
Brothers' first flight:
I might note that I first met Col. Glenn when I was about sixteen
and he was campaigning in my East-Dayton neighborhood for
re-election for his seat as a U.S. Senator from Ohio. This essay
reflects when I met him again at
Wright State University,
which is on Colonel Glenn Highway in Dayton, as it so happens.
Toward the end of last week I had lunch with the ...Tom Durnindirector, Marjorie Strader, where
we did an informal post mortem
on the production -- a different post mortem than this personal one here.
Some of what we talked about makes it into this, some does not.
There is not going to be any deep analysis, nor will there be any great
revelations in this entry, just some closing thoughts. My first thought is
that it was good to be an AD in a
production where the director allowed me creative input including giving
occasional notes and coaching some of the actors -- doing some minor
coaching, that is; I was the AD, not the director, so the heavy lifting
was not mine. But I did get some generous feedback from some of the actors
about my input on their work, which is gratifying.
The related thought is that it was more gratifying to see the progression
of those particular actors, a bit less veteren to the stage than some of the
other actors in the cast. To see the growth of the characters as rehearsals
moved forward and know that I played some role in that growth brought
significant personal satisfaction, even if the role I played was not all
I'm starting to look forward more than ever to sitting in the director's
Here's our cast:
The cast of The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
-- Standing: Ray Geiger (Tom Durnin); Seated (L-R): Karen
Righter (Karen Brown-Canedy), Tim Madden (James Durnin),
Ryan Kelly (Katie Nicholson) & Ryan Shannon (Chris
Photographs taken by Craig Roberts for The Dayton Theatre Guild
Now that I know what I can work with, I'm moving forward with the plan to
pre-select moments in the play to shoot, with the actors performing for
camera. I'm scheduling
for during Tech Sunday, which
will be January 15. So what's good about that is that since Monday, the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,
and I have the day off from the rent-payer,
I won't have to burn up eight hours of my
leave time to edit the movie.
Yesterday afternoon I found out that one of the actors has been excused
from Tech Sunday (Jan 15),
which throws a small monkey wrench in the works as far as my
plans for that day. The workaround is to shoot the moment, or moments, that
actor's character will be in during the previous rehearsal, which is
currently slated for Thursday, Jan 12. I do not want to shoot that actor
on Monday evening, Jan 16 (Mlk, Jr. Day), because I want to edit the promocast
to final cuton that Monday,
during the day. Remember the whole, "avoiding burning up eight hours
leave time to edit the movie" idea?
I'm going to do a little more documentation of what I'm doing to design
sound for this show because there are couple people who are interested in
learning sound design -- and I
embrace their interest! One of them, in fact, has the goal of designing
for a show later this season and I aim to help him meet that goal. We're
going to do at least one session where they are there with me as I program
the sound cues in Show Cue Systems
in the tech booth at the theatre. Plus I'll give them the written accounts
of what I'm doing, and why, yadda yadda....
After discussion with our director, Debra Kent, I've established that we
are going to use music for scene transitions, even when they are quick. One
of the things I need to decide now is whether the music will more reflect,
1) the social worker, Caroline, 2) Luna's parents, Karlie and Peter, or both.
If it's just Caroline, then I have a pretty good idea what I might do. If
it's the young parents, I'll need to do a little research about recording
artists they might like. I know some more contemporary performers, but I'll
need a bigger list than I can make on my own.
On Sunday, December 27, 2015, a year ago Tuesday, sometime in, or
coming close to, mid morning, I was awaken by a sharp, burning,
cramping pain in my back. I'd had similar pains periodically over
the course of the last several months. Sort of like the pains of a
tooth ache, only not in my teeth, and not always in my back. I'd
feel them in my sides and other spots on my torso, including my back.
In the few weeks prior to this I felt them several times in my jaw,
sometimes almost the entire length of jaw at the same time. That last
one, I had assumed meant I was going to need to take a trip to the
dentist soon. I'd also recently had a couple bouts of acute vertigo
with violent vomiting, one of those episodes, just about a week prior
to this day, which had sent me to the emergency room where I was
diagnosed with a viral ear infection.
On that morning of December 27, as I paced with this cramp in my back,
I would stop and bend or contort my body, attempting to stretch it
out of my back. It didn't work. The sharp, burning, cramping pain
began to radiate a little further up my back -- not moving, but
adding to the real estate that felt the cramping, from essentially
the small of my back up toward my neck, and even a little into the
lower part of the back of my neck. Then it spread left and right
into both shoulders.
Full disclosure here: during those months that I felt the similar
pains in all those other spots, I did wonder sometimes, especially
in the later months, if these were somehow connected to the
I'd been diagnosed with and whether or not they were possible
indications that the potential
I was now at risk of had manifested. But I consistently dismissed
the notion. You know: If I ignored it, it would not be true.....
If anyone reading this happened to have read my
New Year's Day 2016 entry,
you will have read the short essay section titled, "How a
University of Dayton School of Law Acting Gig Saved My Life."
In that I refer to one of the
gigs that used to be recurring and that I did several years in a
row. For these U.D. Law gigs we actors take on the roles of clients
and witnesses in various different learning experiences for the law
students. Some of the exercises are mock trial settings, some are
simply interviewing and counseling sessions. We actors don't go by
scripts but we are given sets of facts, about our characters and
about the cases, that we need to be intimately familiar with. I refer
to these gigs as being guided improvisational gigs and that is as
accurate a nomenclature as I can think of. This particular gig was
a medical malpractice case that starts with the team of usually two
law students interviewing us; then it moves on to a deposition
preparation session (dep prep), then a deposition session where the
opposing team gets to depose us. Next is a trial prep session, where
our team goes over the responses they want from us for both their
questions and for opposing counsel's questions -- and more importantly,
the responses they want us to avoid at all cost. Then finally, there
is a mock trial.
Every year in this medical malpractice case I played a particular
expert witness for the defense, a doctor who is the head of an emergency
department and an expert in chest trauma, and who, accordingly, knows
much about heart disease and, to the point, about heart attacks. In
preparation for the gig, I had to learn a lot about the symptoms of
a heart attack
(myocardial infarction -- "MI").
I did this several years in a row. The first year, memorizing all
the information was a tad daunting, but I did it. After that, each
year it was simply review and reinforcement. The key piece of information
is that a person having an MI does not always suffer from chest
pains. Second is the radiating of burning, cramping feelings that
one may experience. And the last bit, is that pain migrating to the
victim's left arm.
On the morning of Sunday, December 27, 2015, as I had those aching,
burning, cramping pains that started in my back, then radiated and
migrated to my shoulders, I did not experience chest pains. But, as
I tried to stretch the cramps out and it wasn't working, and as the
pain started to spread, and based on my hypertension and high cholesterol
conditions, and based on those nagging suspicions I had ignored for
months, I had a thought:
You might be having a heart attack here.
I grabbed my cell phone but tried some more stretching, which wasn't
working any more than it had before. When the pain moved into my
the upper part of my left arm, I knew it was time to call 911. I
gave the dispatcher my name and my address and then said, "and
I think I'm having a heart attack." I shut my apartment down,
closed up and locked up it, and sat on a chair on my patio waiting
for the paramedics to arrive.
At some point after I had hung up from the 911 call I remember thinking
how I was going to feel pretty silly if I wasn't actually having a
heart attack. The immediate response from the voice of reason in my
"FUCK that, Dude!"
The local police showed up first and shortly afterward the paramedics
truck arrived. They hooked me up to a portable
and then one of the paramedics said, "Yeah, we're going to be
taking you to Springfield Regional
[Medical Center] because you have some issues." Then he gave me an
aspirin and then a
to place under my tongue.
At the medical center I was taken to a surgery theater where the
man who would become "my cardiologist,"
Dr. Akber Mohammed
performed a cardiac catheterization,
inserting the catheter into a vein in my inner thigh. At some point,
Dr. Mohammed told me he was going to put a
into the left anterior descending artery
in my heart because it was completely blocked. I think he may have
performed an angioplasty
on, at least, that artery if not others, too. At that time, or maybe
at some other point, he also explained that two other arteries were
about 80% blocked and a fourth was about 40% blocked.
The bottom line: my coronary arterial health was BAD.
I also remember that at some point later in the procedure I asked
one of the nurses if I had in fact had a heart attack. She said,
and I will remember this quote verbatim, forever, "Oh yes, Honey,
you had a heart attack."
Dr. Mohammed told me that he was calling in a surgeon and that I
would have heart surgery the next morning, and that it would be at
He did not say he was going to consult with a surgeon who might
recommended heart surgery; he said he was going to call in a surgeon
-- whom he hadn't called in yet -- who was going to operate
in the morning. In other words, there was no question the surgeon
would decide to operate. At some point, maybe not just then, maybe
not even that day, but at some point in the next day or so, I
realized the stent was simply in there to keep me alive until the
Dr. Mohammed also inserted a
into my aorta,
which would stay there for a few days so my heart did not have to
work as hard to get blood to my body. I think the ballon was removed
on Wednesday, but it might have been Tuesday.
Have I said yet that through all of this I was pretty damed
scared, and kept getting more frightened as it went on? This news
of a triple bypass made me even more anxious. The nurse who prepped
my that night assured me that Dr. Neravetla knew his stuff. The nurse
said, in fact, "If President Obama were in Springfield and
needed heart surgery, Dr. Neravetla would be the first choice to
perform it." Whether that was simply to boost my moral or was
a gospel statement makes little difference to me; it was some
reassurance that I needed to hear in the midst of the frightening
spectre of being about to undergo major heart surgery.
When I woke the next day from my surgery I was told that once he
opened me up, Dr. Neravetla decided to perform a
That's one of the few details of December 28 that I remember well,
only because it reiterates the point that my coronary arterial health
Now let me take another chance to sing my raving praises for the
nursing staff in the Cardiac Care Unit at Springfield Regional
Hospital. These women -- and at least one man -- rock! Their level
of attentiveness, dedication, and patience was dumbfounding and
impressive as impressive can be. They took good care of me and I
will be forever grateful for how they got me through the next
several fearful days of my life, treating me with care, concern,
and respect, reassuring me and keeping my dignity in tact. I've
always bought the claims that nurses are under-appreciated and
probably under-paid; I am convinced of it now more than ever.
In his post-op counseling with me, Dr. Neravetla told me he did not
want me to live alone for the next several weeks, that during that
critical recovery period I needed to have support from others. To the
rescue came my sister and brother-in-law, Pat and Joe. They were in
the room as I had this conversation with the surgeon. He'd said that
if I didn't have a place to stay he wanted me in an aftercare facility,
which I think translated to "a nursing home." I said I
could stay with my sister and there was no hesitation on her part
to allow that.
So I spent five weeks in my sister's home. They set me up in their
spare room and though it may not have been in any large sense, at
least to some extent my presence disrupted the routine of the
household. But they were, as they always are, accommodating and
supportive. In fact, one of the things I had planned to do the week
I ended up in the cardiac ward was buy a new mattress -- I'd only
needed one for about two years or so, conservatively. After I got
to the place where I was allowed to be in public places, they took
me shopping for that new mattress, even gave me an extra bed frame
they had in their attic. They even "loaned" me some money
to help pay for the new mattress. On top of that, they kept not
taking money from me for groceries while I was staying with them,
saying, "You can pay us back later." Well, they would not
let me pay much of the grocery money back, and they told me to
consider the money for the mattress a gift.
Family's not always a bad thing.
At my Feb. 2 appointment with Dr. Neravetla he removed the
moratorium on my driving and told me I could return to work
parttime the next Monday. After the appointment, Joe dropped me off
at my apartment where I picked up my car and drove it back to Pat
and Joe's. I stayed with them until that weekend. The next Monday,
the 8th, I returned to work.
My recovery has been pretty damned good, and I really have no
complaints, but my theatrical life had to suffer some disappointments,
which, believe me, under the circumstances, I can live with and
accept. They are still disappointments. The first was the sound
design work for the
Dayton Theatre Guild
by Lucille Fletcher,
which I was in the midst of when I had the heart attack. Of course,
I had to pass the reigns on and they were picked up by Tony Fende
who now shares a Daytony
theatre award with me for the show.
The next disappointment was the biggest one. A few reading this will
know that in the summer of 2013 I went to Chicago to see
at steppenwolf with
in the male lead. I brought it back to The Guild play reading
committee for consideration for our stage and it was chosen for the
2015/16 season. I, of course, had every intention of winning the
male lead as it is a perfect role for me. The show was up in Feb/Mar
of this year, opening just two months after my surgery. The auditions
were January 11 and 12, only two weeks after my surgery. There was
no way I was up to going to the auditions and there was no way I
would be in shape for a rehearsal schedule. Slowgirl was
out for me as an actor. However, I did design the sound
for the show, and if I do say so myself, kicked ass.
I did make an appointment for the general auditions
at Human Race Theatre Company
for their 2016/17 season, knowing that my only possible chance to
get on their stage for the season, going on right now, was likely
to be the season opener,
Around the same time I set the appointment for the HRTC generals,
I auditioned for 1776,
which was up in the spring of 2016 at the
Dayton Playhouse. I
was not cast, and that was a large disappointment. However, based
on how fatigued I was still getting by 8:00 or so in the evening
every night, and that being during the time period when 1776
rehearsals were underway, I came to realize I was not ready to
commit to the rehearsal schedule that would have been required for
that show. Then, I realized that if I was cast in Sweeney Todd
it would have meant committing to at least thirty-six rehearsal hours
a week beyond my forty-hour work week at the
and all that starting in mid-August, which was only four months away.
I was not at all confident I would be up to it and really didn't
want to push it. So, I called the HRTC company manager, Preston McCarthy,
and cancelled my appointment. But I'm pretty sure I will
make the generals for the 2017/18 season.
In this year since the heart surgery, I have made one appearance on
stage, during a public reading for the
Ohio Playwrights Circle.
In May I participated in the public reading of scenes from several
plays (works in progress) by several local playwrights. It was
hosted by The Guild. I enjoyed all the roles but one in particular
was an especially fun one to step into and, without revealing too
much, I will step into that role again in the near future for a full
reading of that particular play -- details to follow.
This year has been all about not pushing my recovery. I'm not being
too careful, but I am not going to jeopardize it. Without
getting too maudlin or melodramatic, the point is still that I
almost died in December of 2015 -- that's not a debatable thing.
I now have a statistical chance of not living as long as I otherwise
might have, but that's not the way it has to be, So now I have a
bit of a different life style. I read labels in the grocery store
looking for the levels of sodium, cholesterol, and sugars. I don't
eat fast food, save for the occasional baked potato from Wendy's.
I prepare 99+% of my meals, myself. I monitor my weight, blood
pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen content on a daily basis. I
am in the gym at least three times a week, and more when I can manage
to fit it in. I take my medications as prescribed.
I have no intention of leaving this mortal coil one moment earlier
than is necessary.
On the anniversary of my open heart surgery, I spent part of my day
in the local forestry at
Glen Helen Nature Preserve
John Bryan State Park,
something I haven't done this year nearly as much as I like. One
thing that occurred that day was a man who walked by me wearing
earphones, and all I could think was: why do you need earphones
when you have all this out here to listen to? So I pulled
to shoot video of one of the features of traversing this forestry
that draws me the most, one that is maybe the greatest stress reducer
of all the natural symphonic aspects of forestry: the music of
the flowing river. To the left is the resulting DV movie.
I have to admit: I told myself this week I have off from the rent-payer
was going to be highly productive. That goal has not come to
fruition. There are a few things that have been on the shelf for
a while that I could have attended to, finished in most cases. It's
a question of discipline -- this essay, for instance, was started
early enough that it could have been finished and posted on Tuesday,
the actual anniversary of my heart attack. I'm not spending any time
self-flagellating myself. I've been chillin' -- that's the way it
Hey! It was the anniversary of my heart attack and major open-heart
On that note, here are three from a few dozen photos I took on
Wednesday in the forest:
A selfie at a tree at Glen Helen that I seem
to pose at once every few years.
I like this photograph a lot.
The river that runs through the John Bryan
and Glen Helen parks is
The Little Miami
Oh, and something I've discovered while working on this essay
entry: one of my favorite actors, and a fellow native Daytonian,
underwent a quadruple bypass a little over a week before I had mine.
See "Martin Sheen recovering from a quadruple bypass surgery..."
So, if we ever meet, there's another subject to talk about besides
acting, the latter which you can bet I'd bring up if it were at all
not an imposition on the man's time.
Check out holiday stories & poems from the main literary portion of this