The characters page in the manuscript describes Tully as "War veteren,
keeper and company of the dead." I am reprising the role from readings
of scenes from an earlier draft of the play that I did for the OPC during
a playwrights workshop in April/May of last year. To quote myself from
the May 7 blog entry, Tully is "big and broad and maybe just a little
bit crazy." It's a lovely chance to go over the top yet not actually
be "over the top." Tully is a fascinating character and I'd be
more than willing to step into him again in a
Stay tuned for the exact date and exact location.
ROUNDING THAT BEND AND MOVING TOWARD THE LAST MILE STRETCH:
All of a sudden I look up and there are less than three weeks until
Opening Night. I've not been
called upon much as producer to address any problems or issues. The biggest
concern has been one that actually crosses over to more of a sound
engineering issue. I also was not one-hundred percent sure that I had my
sound tech signed on; I didn't
get a complete "yes" until today.
Sound design has been a focus of the last few days. It's been a lot of
tracking down the music I need to choose all of the
production music and the
pre-show and intermission music.
I asked the three main principals
to each give me a list of their characters five favorite recording artists
(or composers) as a way to inform me of music to choose for the show and
the pre-show/intermission. I advised them that I would not necessarily be
bound to their choices but that i was not likely to dismiss them out-of-hand,
either. Naturally, many of the recording artists I was given were not already
in my personal library, though a couple I think should have been; I've been
running work by these artists down, from various sources.
Though I have confirmed my sound tech, she will have to miss a few
technical rehearsals and
possibly a couple actual performances, so I may have to pinch hit.
And I AM
looking forward to seeing this band later this month. I admit I know little
about them but I have liked very much every thing I've heard by them.
The rehearsals are going well, by the way. The cast is on top of their game
and this is shaping up to be the standard excellent fair that a DTG
production usually is. I attended the Monday and Tuesday rehearsals this
week, wearing all my hats for this production:
producer, sound designer, and
I missed rehearsal last night but I am back this evening, still wearing
all three hats.
It's not out of the realm of possibilities that I wil be there before the
10 a.m. call on Sunday, depending on how much ground I gain on sound design
between now and then. The big issue at the moment is settling on
production music. I have
only chosen a few songs, the song that opens the show, and
some scene transition music. I have a strong idea for the end of the
show -- going out of the last scene and then a separate choice for the
curtain call, but I have not
settled on that music.
One of the things I've been doing this week is judging and measuring the
tone of the scenes as I experience the actors playing them, rather than
just relying on the written word, to get a better sense and feel for
what sort of music or specific song will work well at each point. Just as
importantly I need to rule some music out. I need more than a dozen songs;
I've created a pool of about ninety potential song choices, with no guarantee
I still won't go outside that pool for a scene change or two. This is what
my Friday night, tomorrow, is going to be about: picking the production
The sound effects stuff, like doorbells and cell phone ringtones, etc.,
were no challenge and have all been found -- had it all in my library. Some
of it's actually already programed into the
Show Cue SystemsLuna Gale
Tonight is my last chance to get the feel and tone of each scene, especially
the starts and, more importantly, the endings of each scene. Then it's off
to drive myself crazy with the pondering of the pleathora of musical options
I've plowed upon myself. The monkey wrench, of sorts, is that the director,
Debra Kent, decided not to do full runs, either last night or tonight, but
to rather run only Act I last night and only
Act II tonight. Which means, since I could not
be there last night, I missed what I thought would be my last chance to
"experience" the performance and tone of each scene in
AI. So as I make my decision on musical choices,
I have to go on more memory for AI than
Tonight I do about five minutes of
for the promocast, shooting, well,
actually, probably less than sixty seconds of footage to get one actor who
will not be there on Tech Sunday. The rest of the principal photography will
be done Sunday afternoon. I have chosen all the moments and we will likely
buzz through the whole shoot in about fifteen minutes, or fewer. That's been
my experience thus far this season with this new production method.
Another monkey wrench, also minor. I realized after I arrived at
the rent-payer this morning
that I didn't grab the HDDV cameras and stick them in my car trunk. The problem?:
I skipped the gym yesterday so I must go after work today -- I will miss
two days in a row this weekend (Sun/Mon) so I can't miss two days in a row
this week. I will not have time to go home after the gym and get to the
theatre in time, so I have to go home and get the cameras at lunchtime. Which
means, of the two meals I packed, the peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, with
a container of assorted veggies, will be my lunch, and the chili, again with
a container of assorted veggies, is dinner, nuked in the
greenroommicrowave, when I arrive
at the theatre. I was going have the chili for lunch, but I can eat the
PB&J in the car as I drive home at lunch.
Unfortunately, this means I'm 99% sure to lose my prime parking spot at
work when I trek home for lunch.
Opening Night is six days away.
From this point forward it's all tech rehearsals.
Thursday evening was the last of the "pre-tech" rehearsals. I was
there as I said I would be, wearing all three of my hats as I said I would.
I actually, kind of, wore a fourth hat, as well. Neither the
AD nor the SM
could be there Thursday, so I was on book
for the rehearsal. Just in case you're interested, keeping up with the
script while making line notes
as the actors keep moving through a scene -- this is a skill, one that I
am not as accomplished at as others are.
Tomorrow is Tech Sunday. Am I
ready? I am not quite ready, completely, but I am confident I will be when
the 10 a.m. call comes around.
Stage Crew Member Still Needed
As of the posting of this entry we are still in need of a volunteer
production stage crew member to work with our stage manager, Deirdre
The crew will be required to help move wheeled set trucks during
scene changes, as well as other usual
Production stage crew members are needed for the following rehearsals
Sunday, Jan 15 -- Tech Sunday, 10am-(approx 6pm)
Mon-Thu, Jan 16-19 -- Tech rehearsals, call time 6:30
Fri, Jan 20 -- Opening night, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
Sat, Jan 21 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
Sun, Jan 22 -- performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00
Fri, Jan 27 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
Sat, Jan 28 -- performance, 5pm curtain, call 4:00
Sun, Jan 29 -- performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00
Fri, Feb 3 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
Sat, Feb 4 -- performance, 5pm curtain, call 4:00
Sun, Feb 5 -- closing performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00 -- *strike after final curtain
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We
cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied
as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police
brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the
fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and
the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's
basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed
of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be
satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New
York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not
satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like
waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and
tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of
you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by
the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the
faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go
back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of
our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be
changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of
today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in
the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that
all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together
at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists,
with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition
and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white
girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and
mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the
crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With
this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of
our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will
be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be
free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a
new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee
I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from
the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening
Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring
from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we
will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and
white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at
last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Tech Sunday is behind us and we
are almost finished with Tech Week;
tomorrow night is Final Dress,
and for a few invited guests also an unofficial
The show is in great shape. It's going to be another stellar production for
DTG belt notching. We've received some good pre-show press, too:
Sound design is also in great
shape. I still have some tweaking to do, of course, but overall we're
good. I'm happy with the production music I ultimately chose, I think it
all fits quite well, each between the scenes where they rest -- and of course
opening the show, closing Act I, opening Act
II, and closing the show.
The songs I chose were a blend of artists I got from the the three lead
actors (given me the names of recording artists that their character likes)
and my own choices. I did let the actors choices inform me somewhat about
my choices, so I think we have a good, creative collaboration between myself
and these cast members.
Tonight I cover on the sound board; Sarah Saunders, the show's
sound tech, can't be there. I
may cover one or two performances for her, as well.
As planned, I got the bulk of, and wrapped, the
for the promocast during Tech
Sunday. I wasn't watching the clock, but I think we got it all in about my
projected fifteen minutes; it might have been a little longer, but it wasn't
much so, if it was longer.
This new approach I'm using -- not that it's original to me -- of picking
the moments before I shoot, and then having the actors perform those
outside of a rehearsal run and specifically for the camera is much better
than my previous practice. That practice was to shoot a lot of footage from
a dress rehearsal then go back and chose the moments from all of that.
I generally would shot all of Act I and perhaps
some portion of Act II. Since I shoot
cameras going at the same time) I always had more than three hours of
footage to sift though. Granted it would be about an hour of material from
each of three camera perspectives, but still, it made the editing process
daunting at times. Plus, I had less control over movement of the actors. I
also was somewhat restricted on placement of the stationary cameras and my
movements with the hand held. Since the actors were in the midst of a Tech
Week rehearsal, where they are trying to fine-tune their performances, I
did not want the cameras or the camera man (me) to intrude much onto the
set, to be too close while they were practicing for a live performance.
When we set time aside for them to act the moments specifically for the
cameras, I can get more intimate when the lens, and I can control far more
elements. I can be sure I have a camera set up to capture an actor who
turns away at some point in the moment. I can have the camera physically
closer for a close-up rather than zooming the camera in for one -- the
first option looks better, take ny word for it.
The new way also provides for a more focused and thought out selection of
moments. I've always had at least a reasonable idea what moments I thought
would be best to capture and use, but this new way pinpoints things much
better. And editing is a much faster and easier process. I know, going in,
exactly what I'm going after -- the only thing now is to chose the best
camera angle for each portion of each moment. That's the big wild card
now, but even with that, I know what footage awaits me because the camera
angles were all deliberate shot set-ups -- save for some of the hand-held
footage which is mostly pre-determined but still has some of the spontaneity
of documentary-style camera work.
At any rate, the promocast principal
production was wrapped on Sunday. The editing was all completed by Monday
afternoon, except for the last few seconds. I needed the group cast portrait
for the end of the video, and that could not be taken until rehearsal Monday
evening -- a cast member was not at the Tech Sunday rehearsal. So, the DV
movie made it to final cut late
Monday evening after I got home. It was at
YouTube by about 2:00 a.m. Tuesday
and posted to the
DTG facebook page
by mid-morning Tuesday.
Good Opening Night! Virtually
a full house and an audience that responded quite well. In fact, a large
percentage of the audience stayed for the Opening Night gala, which is an
indicator of a collective appreciation of the show and the performances.
As is usually the case with opening night, though I was there, I was pulling
house manager duty, so I did
not get to see much of the show, save for when I was able to sneak into
the booth to grab some publicity
photos to post on the
DTG facebook page.
A representation of those pictures is below. It wasn't until I processed
the pics for this blog entry that it dawned on me that I wasn't able to
snap any pics of Cassandra Engber while she was on stage; her scenes all
came at times when I was engaged with house management.
I did actually sit in the audience on Saturday, since it was a smaller house
and there were empty seats. We had something like half a house, perhaps a
little more. They did like the show, however.
I wasn't there yesterday but I am confident it went well
So after sitting in the audience Saturday night I, of course, had to tweak
a couple sound levels. There was a cell phone ringtone that wasn't quite
loud enough and the volume on the curtain call
music needed to be a little louder, as well. It being the smaller house that
it was Saturday night, the applause definitely drowned the music out far more
than it should have. Don't be surprised if the next post after I have sat
in the audience again has another report of a tweak, especially if there
is a bigger house with louder applause.
Here are a few of the photos I snapped Opening Night:
Timothy Moore (Cliff) & Cheryl Miller
Cheryl, Kayla Graham (Karlie), & Andrew Poplin
Here is the "clownery-type of news" I wrote of in the last blog
post. I will be seeing Puddles Pity
Party (aka: the "sad clown with the golden voice," aka:
Big Mike Geier) in a
little over five weeks from now at the Taft Theatre
For those who are not initiates of Puddles, the best introduction to him is
the one I had: the video of his amazing cover of
Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
It is both bizarre and awesome.
The location and the exact time for the dramatic reading of Brett Shane
Cooley's The Lesser Light is set. Don't think the whole cast is
finalized, so stay tuned for that.
THE CAST OF THE ELEPHANT MAN:
In order of appearance:
Belgian Police officer/ London Police officer/ Porter
Pinhead Manager/ Snork/ Lord John
Pinhead/ Miss Sandwich/ Princess
Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard
I was 12 when
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
debuted. Not only was Mary Richards (and MTM) a role model for young
women, she was a good example for young men. I guarantee that she
is part of the reason I grew up to like smart, independent women.
I've admired Mary Tyler Moore, her talent, her tenacity, her good
social works, for all of my adult life. There are a handful of actors
(and other artists) I really would love to know personally. She was
definitely one of them.
With the exception of one character, the cast has been filled out:
The show this past Monday evening in Cincinnati was magnificent. There were
twelve exceptional performers on that Taft stage. The musicianship was
excellent. The vocal work was fantastic. The showmanship was topnotch. It
was just simply a great, fun time. I will see Postmodern Jukebox live
every opportunity I can seize.
Before last Monday I was intrigued by Postmodern Jukebox (aka: "PMJ").
I found them interesting. As I wrote before, I don't know a whole lot about
PMJ but I've loved everything I've heard by them and I've loved every video
I've seen from them -- check out the video at
the end of this entry. Now, post-concert attendance, I am a true
So I still don't know everything about PMJ but I have learned a few things.
First, Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox isn't a "band," as much
as it is a concept, or a show. Scott Bradlee is a pianist, arranger and
producer who is the architect behind Postmodern Jukebox. PMJ isn't a set
band, but rather has a dynamic, rotating roster of musicians and singers
-- a cast.
Bradlee takes modern and contemporary pop songs and revisions them with
jazzy arrangements that belong to the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's. Sometimes he
takes rock songs and puts them into the Mowtown groove. He actually started
doing this before PMJ but eventually his projects evolved into PMJ. For
several years now, once a week he has posted a video on-line featuring a
group of revolving musicians and vocalists performing a new song that has
received this treatment. The line up (the cast) for each video is different
to at least some extent and often almost completely if not totally different.
Bradlee is, I believe, usually on piano in the videos.
The PMJ YouTube channel
has more than one-hundred videos at the moment, and more than two-million
subscribers. Some of the videos have had a phenomenal number of hits,
including the PMJ version of
Puddles Pity Party
on lead vocal, which has had more than fifteen-million hits.
Puddles, whom, of course, I will be seeing on
March 1 at, again, The Taft Theatre.
A couple years ago Bradlee started booking PMJ tours and has put the show
on a couple extensive international tours. He doesn't tour with the PMJ
shows, but rather just casts an ensemble of excellent players and vocalists.
There actually can, and has been, more than one PMJ tour going on at a
time. For instance, there could be a European leg and a North American leg
going on at the same time, with a show in Hamburg and one in Indianapolis
on the same night. And the roster of cast members on a particular tour
often changes to some extent during a the tour, with sometimes a significant
change for the last show stop from the first.
Though the PMJ line-ups revolve and evolve, it seems clear from my brief
exposure to more information about PMJ that some fans have their favorite
cast members. No need to worry for the fans of many of the regular performers
-- or ven those who are not so frequent -- as a lot of them have their own
albums and tours apart from PMJ, as well as, of course, their own
professional websites, as attested to by the links in the cast roster from
last Monday's show.
Back to the show Monday, I assume it's clear to you that I was most impressed.
The level of musicianship was high. All of the musicians were on top of
their games. But I was especially impressed with two of them, for different
reasons. The main bassist, Chris Anderson, who is also the musical director
for the tour, was a particular interest to me, since once upon a time I was
a bass player -- though never at his level. He was most excellent. The
reed player, Chloe Feoranzo, was the musician who impressed me the most. I
thought she was the standout in a group of standouts. One solo she
played, in particular, which is shown in a pic below, just blew me away. I
swear she was at one point playing a complex run of 32nd, maybe even 64th
notes. She sang one song to, and did a fine job there, was well.
All the vocalist, especially the three main female singers, Robyn Adele
Anderson, Dani Armstrong, and Brielle Von Hugel were exceptional. Our master
of ceremonies, Mario Jose, was damn good singer as well. He was also a very
affable and fun loving as our host. And Casey Abrams, who is the male
vocalist at the beginning of the video below, was great, especially the
several gritty blues vocals that he did during the show. And he's a good
bass player to boot, as you'll see in the video. By the way, the band did
"All About That Bass" at the show, and he and Anderson did the same
doubling up on the stand-up bass that he does with the bassist in the
It's my understanding that there is always a tap dancer at a PMJ show. Ours
was Anissa Lee, and Ms. Lee has some serious skill...serious skill.
Abrams is the only PMJ cast member from the video below that was at the show
Monday. Here is the roster from the show:
Full disclosure: I did not catch everyone's names as they were introduced
at the show. I went on-line to search the roster out, to no avail. I then
used the email form at the PMJ site to ask if I could get the list. I got
a response with the roster within minutes. My assumption is that they get
such a request frequently and have the information at the ready.
Here are some of the photos I took at the show. I was in the second row. I
actually didn't realize I was so close. I would have preferred to be back
a few rows, but, you know what? Second row was just fine. BTW: don't ask
me which songs go with which photos; I am not sure at all.
The audience gathers in the lobby, waiting for the
doors to open
As the seats fill for the sold-out show
The podium stands for Ms. Feoranzo & Mr. Finzer
Chloe Feoranzo dances with Anissa Lee
Robyn Adele Anderson
The S&L board operation, right off stage
Casey Abrams on bass with Chloe Feoranzo on her
Clarinet and drummer Martin Diller in the back
Our MC, Mario Jose
Casey Abrams classes it up, with a sneak peek at
Nick Finzer up front for a solid trombone solo
whilst Casey Abrams kicks some bass violin
Casey Abrams, Brielle Von Hugel, & Mario Jose
at the mics
Chloe Feoranzo taking no prisoners on what I
remember as an amazing clarinet solo, with Casey
Abrams holding the mic for her
Chris Anderson, Robyn Adele Anderson, & Dani
Chloe Feoranzo, Casey Abrams, & Nick Finzer
Brielle Von Hugel
Logan Evan Thomas
Chris Anderson, Dani Armstrong, Brielle Von Hugel,
& Martin Diller
Robyn Adele Anderson, Chris Anderson, & Brielle
Robyn Adele Anderson & Casey Abrams
Drummer Martin Diller has a beat contest with Tap
Dancer Anissa Lee
Chris Anderson, Robyn Adele Anderson, Brielle Von
Hugel, Martin Diller, & Mario Jose
Robyn Adele Anderson, Brielle Von Hugel, Martin
Diller, Mario Jose, Casey Abrams, & Dani
Dani Armstrong, Brielle Von Hugel, Martin Diller,
Robyn Adele Anderson, & Bob Hamilton
Yesterday I booked a gig for this coming Saturday morning as a witness in
a mock trial for the University of Dayton School of Law.
It's a new case for which I've not previously been an actor.
I actually will play two different witnesses. I haven't looked over the
material yet, but I have between now and Saturday morning to get it all
down, so I have more than enough time. I'll probably start the work at
So there's one non-professional theatre
audition that I am hot to go after. Another that I will likely subsequently
audition for if I don't win the role in the first one. The second is a
non-pro musical, so I have to
prepare ahead of time for it even if I don't end up auditioning. I need to
have the song practiced and I'll need to have a back-up son, as per the audition
specs. As this musical audition is the only the next week after the
straight play, I can't just
wing it and try to prepare at the last moment -- not in a week's time;
actually, probably less than a week, as I might not find out if I'm cast
in the first one until a day or so after that first audition closes. I
do have some interest in the musical, but it's the first of the two
that has the role I'm chomping at the bit to win.
I was on the fence about whether I would do the General Auditions
for the Human Race Theatre Company's
2017/2018 season, which has just been announced. I am not sure there's much
for me there, but, there seems enough to at least give it a shot. I've
reached out to a couple people about age anges, etc., and didn't get replies
that dash all hope. I have a little while to contemplate; the setting of
appointments won't happen until probably April, and the actual Generals
probably won't happen until May.
And we still go back to the principal that keeping myself in front of the
professional eyes in town isn't a bad idea -- it certainly has paid off
This is likely also the year that I get back with an agency and start
auditioning for professional screen work.
Plan to catch the Can Night performance of
by Eric Ulloa at
HRTC, tomorrow night. And
if I want the better chance at a good seat that means I need to get there
early, and it means I need to skip the gym after work tomorrow. But I'll
have had four days in a row at the gym before that, so it's not an issue
Currently, I'm getting together all my facts and vital information to be
memorized. I'm a little behind on the progress I'd like, but I'm still in
good shape with no need to panic.
My plans for Friday evening have, however, had to be adjusted. I had planned
to go see a theatre production, but that will have to wait until Sunday. I
need to be home with the final sessions of prep for the Saturday morning
Last night I saw the
Can Night performance of
by Eric Ulloa at
HRTC. It's a well-done
script, written much in the fashion of
The Laramie Project,
and presented thusly in this production. One major difference is that the
fourth wall is down for the
entire show, with all the characters addressing the narrative directly to
the audience. They do interact with each other, but they are doing so with
a conscious knowledge they are sharing those moments with the audience.
The characters are explaining themselves and narrating their stories to
the assembled listeners.
The actors did a nice job a stepping in and out of multiple characters,
including slight to significant dialect changes.
I recommend the show.
By-the-way, in this instance, the cash donations made as part of Can Night
go to a foundation connected to Sandy Hook that promotes education about
such shooter events as happened there -- especially, I believe, information
than can be proactively preventative of such a tragedy.
Gary Thompson has come on board as narrator. The role of John Lee Tanner is
still not cast, but should be soon. The table read
is pending until the first date that all actors can make is determined.
The gig came off without a hitch. I've probably made a statement like this
before, but, once again I was concerned that I didn't have some details
committed to memory well enough but there were no problems that arose.
there were a few times when I thought particular students could have done
some things a little better -- in my layman's opinion, of course. In a
few redirects, for instance, I think the particular students could have asked
me to clarify or elaborate on some answers so that a better light could have
been shed on things. I had good answers that would have helped their cases.
I think however, with those redirects it was probably a question of the
students not being sure to trust the actor to give a good response, which
was legitimate concern, since these were not things that we'd gone over in
prep for either side.
There was also a point made during a cross examination, that supposedly
rendered a pint from my testimony irrelevant, was an intellectual red herring,
and neat debate trick, but not really a germane point. Had I been on the
jury I would have had the same thought that was pulled from me during
redirect. I want to be very vague about all these points because this case
is a lesson plan and I don't want this to be searchable by future students.
That's probably hubris on my part, but what-a-ya-going-to-do?
* 02/06/17 addendum: I forgot to mention
that a woman serving as a "juror" came up to me after I was done
and said she "hated the bad guy [I] played," referring to the
DEA agent I played. I did play him a bit cocky, but I didn't intend on him
being "the bad guy." ---- oh well.
Not for nothing, but, one year ago today I returned to work at
the rent-payer from my extended
medical leave. I did part-time for a few weeks (25 hours, per) before going
full-time by the start of March.
I was also just about to start almost four months of cardiac rehab sessions.
Those sessions were essentially, well, literally, actually, me working out
in a gym at a rehab facility staffed by nurses. I was on cardio machines
with monitors hooked up to me. Did that three times a week. After graduating
from that I have continued to hit the gym, at the rent-payer, on average,
three or four times a week, sometimes more. Every other session includes
resistance training (weight lifting, etc). I'm not being aggressive with
the weights, I don't think I'm allowed to, but, I am at least doing some
muscle work as well as cardiovascular.
So, to report on my state, today, I'm feeling pretty damn good. My resilience
has improved greatly -- I don't tucker out the way I was doing so for quite
a while after the events of December 2015. My blood pressure is good; my
heart rate is good; my blood oxygen is acceptable. These are all things I
monitor daily, along with my weight, which has stayed down to a good number,
though not yet at my goal number. I do a very good job of watching my
sodium and cholesterol intake; not so good at my sugar intake, but, also
not cavalierly horrible, either.
So the point is:
Our playwright, Shane, has sent the draft that will be used at the reading.
I don't think I have specifically stated how much I like this script. I've
alluded to it or more or less insinuated that I like it quite a bit, but
let me categorically say that this is an excellent play and I am quite
pleased to be a part of helping get it out into the "Greater"
After navigating everyone's schedule conflicts, the rehearsal schedule has
been set. Our table read will
be next Tuesday evening at DTG.
We do have a couple rehearsals where at least one person is absent, but we'll
be able to cope with it.
While I await rehearsals to begin, I'm studying the script. I don't have
to be off-book for this, it being
a dramatic reading, but I
probably will be partially off-book, or at least very familiar with my
lines on the day of performance. Truthfully, I'll have it pretty well
memorized -- that's the plan. The language is beautiful but, by nature of
the culture depicted, somewhat convoluted, so the better memorized and
practiced I am, the better the performance will go.
Kudos to Director Saul Caplan
and his cast: Julie Hauwiller, Dave Nickel, Shawn Hooks, Mary Snapp, Skyler
McNeeley, and Peter Wallace. Kudos also to the musicians: Ken Coleman,
Dave Diller, Dennis R. Harris, Sara Kasten, Darrel Leister and the music
coordinator, Mike Rousculp. Let's not forget the scenic designer Chris
Harmon, the lighting designers John Falkenbach and Shannon Michalak, and
the sound designer, Gary Thompson. Plus the rest of the production crew and
• Unfortunately, I was not able to get to
Xanadu at the
Dayton Playhouse. Too bad,
because all reports are that it was a fun time.
• I have or will miss a few other local productions as well. It's that
same old song: lack of enough time and enough cash flow to facilitate all
the theatre I'd love to attend.
Theoretically we received the final draft of the script, yesterday. Since
the table read is tomorrow
evening, let's hope that theory pans out. Betting that this is the last
draft we'll get, I have highlighted my lines in my printout, as I can be
seen so doing in the pictures to the left.
Meanwhile, Tully sings a set of lyrics a few times in the play. I emailed
Shane to ask if there was a specific melody or if I was to create one. There
is a specific melody, one that Shane created. He replied that he'd
call me the next day to sing it to me. So I bought an app for my
iPhone to record conversations.
Although, after hearing the melody I realized it was simple enough that it
wasn't completely necessary that I'd recorded it -- still, I did.
My evening tonight will be focused mostly on this script, as I voice Tully's
lines out loud. I pretty much have a vocal identity for Tully, since I've
played him several times before. Now it's time to start getting into study
and trial with reads on his lines during the progress of the story. I've
already made some mental notes as I've read through the drafts, but tonight
feeling out the emotional and mental intentions is the name of the game.
Practicing the words coming out of my mouth begins in earnest tonight, as
Plus, I have that melody to work on.
If you've not yet watched
Santa Clarita Diet,
the new Netflix series, starring
Drew Barrymore, I highly
recommend it. Please pardon all the intentional puns here, but it is a
deliciously gory dark comedy, that might be an acquired taste, but is
witty, off-beat, brilliantly executed, and ultimately, easy to digest.
Rehearsals begin in earnest tonight with our table read
at The Guild. This will be
the first of only five rehearsals, but we have a Class-A cast so we're in
good shape. The performance is only twelve days from today. Perhaps that
amounts to some pressure, but not any significant dose.
As was planned, Shane called me yesterday to give me the melody to Tully's
song in the play and I recorded it. Last night I edited that phone
conversation to reduce down to a recording that just contains the melody.
Then I worked on the song as well as doing some general work and study on
the script. I didn't get in as much work as I wanted; at some point, one
must say, "Time for bed." At least I got through the script once
and was able to experiment some with emotional and mental intent, naturally
vocalizing the lines in Tully's voice -- his dialect and his vocal register.
But, see, I want to show up for this table read tonight with Tully close to
performance-ready, which is really only about my perfectionism and ego.
I feel a need to be deeply opaque and vague about this, but, I recently
found out something about a particular professional development opportunity
as an actor that I have been hoping would come to be. I now have confirmation
from a most reliable source that this opportunity will be available later
this coming spring.
I will be taking advantage of this opportunity when it comes into
....more details when I know information about the opportunity has been
The table read at
at The Guild, last night
went well. Our Jude couldn't be there, and Lee John isn't yet cast, so I
took up those roles, as well as Tully. Our playwright wasn't able to be
there, either, due to work obligations.
It's clear that the big challenge for us all is mastering the language so
the words aren't clumsily tripping over our tongues. I had a little bit of
a leg up on everyone last night since I am a bit more familiar with the
script and my character. I also had rehearsed my lines the night before at
home so my read wasn't cold like some other's reads were, as they just got
their scripts at the table read. That all said, it was still a productive
and promising read-through.
Our next rehearsal is this Friday. I can't speak for the rest of the cast,
but I kind of guess I am, anyway, but I will be rehearsing my lines
as part of my script study between now and then.
Then I have to also mix into the balance some preparatory study for the
upcoming non-prostraight play audition that
is coming up now in less than a month. Plus, as I stated before, I have
to also workshed some songs and also do some script study for the
non-pro musical production that
auditions a week later, and that I'll likely audition for if I am not
cast in the straight play.
With these divisions of my creative attention it seems clear that my recent
inclination toward ingesting a steady diet of a large handful of various
television series on both
Netflix and Hulu
needs to be placed on a temporary moratorium.
Three rehearsals down (one table read
and two rehearsals on our feet at the readers' stands). At the last one, we
finally had our full complement of actors as Josh Richardt is now able to
join us -- plus he has had that last character, Lee John Tanner, added to
his casting. We have two rehearsals left, then it's game day.
Things are coming along quite well. We are all mastering the difficulties
of the vernacular. We've been correcting ourselves when we've made errors,
but as of the next rehearsal, this coming Thursday, we're supposed to not
do that; if we stumble or get something wrong, we are supposed to move on
unless it's a critical error that must be corrected. We've been charged to
rehearse our lines at home to help with this, and also to get more familiar
with the lines so we don't have to keep our eyes always on the pages during
the performance. I don't really think any of us needed to be told to do
this, on either account, however.
Although I haven't done so yet, I do plan to work some on memorization, to
get myself at least in the neighborhood of off-book,
which I believe I have stated before. I'll probably start tonight.
Meanwhile, here's the updated flyer graphic I have bootlegged-up for the
That actor's professional development opportunity that I was opaque and
vague about a few posts back is an advanced acting class at
The Human Race Theatre Company
this coming May/June. Jennifer Joplin
is at the helm again, and this time teaching an advanced class, which is
where she better belongs -- and I wrote so in the evaluation for the
introduction class I took from her last Fall, that in which I only enrolled
because she was the instructor.
The 2017/2018 Dayton Theatre Guild season was officially announced on
Saturday evening. Here it is with the likely audition dates:
All My Sons
by Arthur Miller
During World War II, Joe Keller and his business partner
were accused of knowingly shipping damaged airplane parts
that led to the deaths of 21 servicemen. While only his
business partner, Steve Deever, was convicted of the crime,
Keller was guilty as well. When both the Keller family and
the Deever family find out the truth, it damages even further
the relationships among the children of both families,
resulting in the Keller son's confrontation of his father.
This play received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award
for Best Play.
Directed by Debra Kent
Show runs Aug 18-Sep 3, 2017
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, June 26 & 27, 2017*
by Jordan Harrison
In the not-too-distant future and the age of artificial
intelligence, 85-year-old Marjorie is trying to cope with
the loss of her deceased husband through the use of a prime,
an exact replica programmed to interact with her in
human-like ways. What would we remember, and what would we
forget, if given the chance? Would we rewrite the past? This
play explores loss and memory, the mysteries of human identity
and the limits (if any) of what technology can replace. This
play was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Directed by Jared Mola
Show runs Oct 6-22, 2017
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Aug 21 & 22, 2017*
by Lucas Hnath
Pastor Paul's modest church of twenty years ago now has a
congregation of thousands, classrooms for Sunday school, a
coffee shop, and much more. But today Paul will preach a
sermon that will shake the foundations of his church's beliefs.
What happens when something we believe will always remain
the same suddenly changes? A finalist at the Humana Festival
in 2014, this play opened off-Broadway soon afterward. In
2016, it was chosen as the eighth most-produced new play
by American Theatre Magazine.
Directed by Lorrie Sparrow-Knapp
Show runs Nov 17-Dec 3, 2017
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Oct 9 & 10, 2017*
Stella and Lou
by Bruce Graham
Lou's South Philadelphia bar is the kind of place where the
same faces sit on the same barstools seven nights a week,
drowning their sorrows into countless mugs of beer. Lou is
happy to run the place and enjoy time with Stella when she
stops in. But Stella has decided they need to take the next
step in their relationship -- or she's moving to Florida.
This funny, wise, and tender story is a mid-life portrait
of friendship, and maybe more. At the play's premiere at
Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2013, it was cheered by
critics for its humor and honesty.
Directed by Gary Thompson
Show runs Jan 19-Feb 4, 2018
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Nov 20 & 21, 2017*
The Other Place
by Sharr White
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life is
coming apart. She receives phone calls from her missing
daughter, has a breakdown while delivering a speech, and
believes she has a brain tumor. When she visits "the
other place," a cottage on Cape Cod that the family
once owned, the pieces start to fall into place. Fact blurs
with fiction, past and present collide, and the truth about
Juliana comes to the surface. This play premiered off-Broadway
in 2011 before running on Broadway, where it received a
nomination for the 2013 Tony Award.
Directed by Kathy Mola
Show runs Mar 16-Apr 4, 2018
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Jan 22 & 23, 201X*
by Stephen Sachs
Maude Gutman, an unemployed bartender, lives in a trailer
park and has purchased a painting for $3.00 at a thrift
store that she believes to be an unknown painting by the
great Jackson Pollock. She hires an art expert to verify
the painting. Lionel Percy, a stuffy New York arts expert
and a self-described connoisseur, goes to Bakersfield,
California, to render his verdict as to whether Maude has
a Pollock or a fake. This smash-hit comedy premiered in
London in 2016 and has already had several productions
across the United States.
Directed by Doug Lloyd
Show runs May 11-27, 2018
Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Mar 19 & 20, 2018*
*AUDITION DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Season ticket packages go on sale at the opening of
The Elephant Man, Friday March 17, 2017
Individual ticket sales: To be announced
430 Wayne Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45410
Remember that in the last post I said I would probably start on Monday
evening to get Tully's lines at least partially memorized? Yeah, that didn't
happen. I started to get a scratchy throat during the day and then started
to feel a little poorly. So, after the rent-payer,
I went home, warmed up some chili, adding some cayenne, black, white, and
red pepper to the pan -- to attack my throat with a little extra spicy
heat, dropped an antihistamine and went to bed for the night. I put some
extra pepper spices into the chicken curry I had for lunch the next day, too.
Plus, I pulled out the bags of Throat Coat tea.
I'd decided this sore throat and buggy-type stuff needs to be out of the
way before Sunday.
In fact, I've since spent the rest of the week sick. Tuesday night was then
pretty much the same, only I went to the gym before heading home. But, still
feeling a bit unwell, after arriving home I ate dinner then went to bed and
slept through until morning. That was again a pepper-spice enhanced dinner:
extra various peppers in the ground chicken for the tacos. And yesterday's
lunch was more peppered-up chili.
By Wednesday it was clear I had the flu. Either I caught a strain that my
flu shot in October didn't vaccinate against, or I haven't gotten as sick
as I otherwise would have, but I was (am) still sick. Either way, I skipped
the gym Wednesday and then again slept all evening. I woke up around 10:30,
with the flu bug having taken a stronger hold on me. I missed work Thursday
and most of Friday.
Thursday evening was our fourth rehearsal, with just one more left, this
afternoon. I did make the rehearsal Thursday night, delivering the
warning that everyone needed to keep their distance, of course. It was our
first rehearsal at
The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center.
Of course, with all this asleep-in-a-sick-bed time I haven't been able
to get as greatly familiarized with the script as I had planned, though I
did rise for the day at noon Thursday and give the afternoon to script work
-- with Groove Salad Radio
on in the background for much of the afternoon.
We were also down an actor Thursday, so some scenes were skipped. It was a
productive rehearsal despite this unfortunate hindrance, though I was not
able to give it my all. We have our last rehearsal this afternoon, again
at the Philips Creativity Center and though I feel better, I am not back
one-hundred percent. But I'm hoping by this afternoon I feel a little more
on the mend. I'm still debating whether or not I will go to the gym. I
haven't been there the last few days while in the midst of this crud bug;
I'll decide in the next few hours about that. Meanwhile, I have a line
study to get at.
You five regulars will know that I am about to audition for at least one
upcoming show, two, if I don't get cast in the first one. The first one is
a straight play, the second,
a musical; both are
I'm very interested in the role I'm typed for in the straight play; I'm
not yet sure what role I'm interested in for the musical. The director
may have one in mind, because he has asked me several times if I am
auditioning for him. I told him I would if I don't get the first role. I
also am assuming he might have a specific role in mind for me; he's neither
said nor even hinted that he does.
Being sick the last few days, I have been taking it very easy on my voice.
That dosen't address the fact that I have, as a whole, ignored keeping my
voice in shape with regular warmups and vocal exercises, which I only seem
to remind myself that I ought to be doing when an imminent need to do so
occurs. I think the term we're looking for is:
undisciplined. I am laxed at keeping my
vocal instrument in shape, at least the singing functionality of it. But
let's be candid, I do poorly at keeping in great shape for an actor in
Today, however, for the Lesser Light rehearsal I will do very gentle
warmups but will not push my voice. The performance is tomorrow and I want
to do what I can to be sure I have a voice at performance capacity.
Now excuse me, I have to heat some water for some Throat Coat tea.
Our final rehearsal went well yesterday. Everything came together in a
strong manner. I had worked on the script for quite a while late morning
through early afternoon yesterday. I was still sick, as we know, but I was
much better than I had been. My voice was still a little froggy but only a
little so. I went to bed not long after I got home last night.
Today is the dramatic reading
and clearly it's safe to say that we are ready. As soon as I post this I'm
going to rehearse a bit here at the abode. I still have the flu but I'm on
the back end of it. My voice is still a bit froggy but I'll be able to get
a good Tully out of it, nevertheless. Of course, I'm not pushing my voice
until the actual performance.
The dramatic reading of
The Lesser Light on Sunday was a great success. We cast members
performed well, if I do say so, myself. There was a full house in the
Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center,
which, admittedly, isn't a large house, but still, a full house is good.
I'd love to say that I was totally recovered from the flu -- that which
my flu shot was supposed to have prevented -- but I was not. However,
I was on the other side of it, heading toward recovery, so I was able to
give an up-to-speed performance as Tully.
The audience received well both the play and the performances. They had
some complaints about the script but all the problems they identified
There was also a big consensus from the audience that the language of the
play is beautifully poetic, and I concur, as I know do my fellow cast members.
It might have been a challenge for us to get those words to the point that
they tripped fluently over our tongues and through our lips, but it was a
honor and a privilege to speak them.
As I said before, if I had an opportunity to play Tully in a full production,
I'd do it.
Ah, yes, tonight I head to Cincinnati to see "The Sad Clown With the
Golden Voice." Though on the mend to a great degree, I am still a
little sick. In fact, I took yesterday off from work
and pretty much slept the whole day. This is a general admission event, so
I'll have to get to the Taft Theatre
at least a couple hours ahead of time and stand around in the elements.
Fortunately it's not supposed to be too terribly cold this evening -- the
prediction is somewhere in the lower 50's -- so I probably am not risking
a backslide of my recovery.
"Be Ready, Be Brave" will be our motto for this advanced
adult acting class. Students will be required to arrive at the first
class with a monologue they know backwards and forwards. We will use
these pieces to venture outside our comfort zones while learning to
quiet our inner critics. Classes will include exercises in movement,
improvisation, character exploration, vocal expression, relaxation
techniques, energetic connection, and emotional recall, with an intense
focus on working in the moment. The final day of class will include
performances for family and friends.
Last night I attended the auditions for the Beavercreek Community Theatre
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,
by Christopher Durang. I
went after the role of Spike, because I seem just perfect for the role of
a twenty-something, eye-candied, himbo. . . . .
Of course, I am joking there; I auditioned for Vanya, which I'd obviously
love to win, if for only the three-page monologue that I call "Vanya's
I used a cut of that monologue at the
Human Race Theatre CompanyGenerals a few years back,
when the show was on the slate for the upcoming season and we were permitted
to use material from the shows on the season. I was clearly showing my
interest in the role then, though I recognized that the odds of my even
being considered for such a principal lead on an Equity
stage were pretty slim. But, hey......
Back to Beavercreek now, I missed the Monday night audition session because
I backslid some in my recovery from the flu -- that which has held me
captive for more than two weeks now. I prefer to be at both nights of
audition, but, I just did not see it as a good idea to go on Monday. I
didn't make it out of the house at all, except to go get a haircut,
which I got specifically to appear more Vanya-like. I only did that because
I had not done it on Sunday when I had planned, because I was already into
the backslide on Sunday and pretty much slept all day.
Nevertheless, I've auditioned now. "How'd it go?" you ask? Meh.
It didn't go horribly badly, but I didn't feel on top of my game at all. I
was feeling better, but "better" is a relative term; I was still
sick. I was told by someone there that I did well, but I know I was
certainly not up to par. On the other hand, I don't feel like I tanked it.
One thing I unfortunately am pretty sure about: if I don't rally off this
illness stuff poste haste, I will not be auditioning for a musical in the
event that I am not cast in Vanya and Sonia.... I have not been in
shape at all to work on the songs and may not be so in time for it to be of
service to me.
Though it's in dark lead, I have "pencilled" rather than
"inked" in another University of Dayton School of Law
acting gig for the start of April. It's "in pencil" and not
"ink" because it would be a little bit of schedule conflict with
rehearsals for Vanya and Sonia... as I would be, at best, late on
that day to rehearsal. I told the UD Law actors' coordinator,
that if I am cast as Vanya I would defer to the Vanya and Sonia...
director's wishes. If he feels that my lateness or absence from a rehearsal
at that point in the process is not acceptable, then I would cancel out of
the U.D. gig -- even though it's a paid gig.
I also assured her I will let her know as soon as I know if I need to
cancel on her. I put this all in the audition info, as well. You just don't
surprise the people who are hiring or casting you, unless it's justifiably
This UD Law gig, by-the-way, is one I've done at least twice before, so if
I do get cast and Vanya and also have Doug's blessings to keep the gig, at
least learning brand new information for the UD gig won't compete too
heavily with getting off-book as
Vanya. All I need to do for the UD gig is refresh my memory some.
What came as no surprise to me: the Puddles Pity Party show was a blast!
The show, Wednesday, March 1, was the fun time I expected it would be.
Puddles (aka: Michael Geier)
is a strong comedic showman, and , of course, an amazing baritone. I had a
bit of worry after hitting a significant slowdown on I-75 during my trip
down to the show. Since the seats were general admission I was concerned
about getting a good seat. I was not sure what the crowd waiting to get in
would be like. =The doors opened at 7:00; I got there a little after 6:00.
As it turned out, I was just fine. I was, in fact, the first person in line.
No one else was there when i arrived. Actually, a father and son was there,
but they thought the show was at 7:00. They went to eat, which left me in
the number-one spot.
Like I said, the show was a blast! Puddles puts on a great show. There
was a bit of audience participation, with Puddles pulling people from the
crowd to sing to, or to have drink a cup of coffee or eat a cupcake, and
such things, while he sang.
A particularly clever novelty work from the show was his pairing of the
lyrics for "Pin Ball Wizard" with the melody and country
instrumentation of "Folsom Prison Blues." It was funny and it
The highspots for me were his renditions of "Royals," for which
his version with Postmodern Jukebox
has had tens-of-millions of YouTube
watches, and "Hallelujah," also with millions of YouTube watches.
The second one, especially, was very touching.
The Puddles show was a good time. And now, some pictures:
That mob at the front gate when I arrived
The Puddles Party People.
The Taft Theatre staff sound & light guy.
Note the Puddles Mac Powerbook with the A/V
for the show, in the upper left border of
Yes, I did shoot some video. At some
point it'll be available.
I've also done quite a bit of what would usually be called
on the promocast. For the most part, all I have left to edit in is the
footage from the rehearsal tomorrow night, once I have that. I already have
the introductory segment and the closing credits segment assembled. When I
edit Tuesday evening, it will take much less of the evening, and I just
might actually have the rendered final cut
that can be uploaded to the
DTG YouTube channel.
With the unfortunate lack of a potential schedule conflict with the
rehearsal that night for the show I was just not cast in, the U.D. Law gig
for early April is now "inked" rather than "penciled"
on my calendar.
I shot the
for DTG Promocast 1617-05 The
Elephant Man last night during the
tech/dress rehearsal. I
shot during the length of Act I and during the
first scene of Act II. There is not an
excessive amount of total footage; the sequence I'll edit together for the
promocast will only be about a minute or two, so I have plenty to choose
Since there will be no dialogue, I did not have to be judicious about
exactly what I caught in the footage, either. There was no need to capture
good sound bites. All I need for this is interesting visuals to synch with
the score music, in this case, Bach's "Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor,
As I wrote in the last post, I've already edited the start and the ending
of the promocast; all I need to do now is put the footage from the tech/dress
into the middle then add the music. That happens tonight.
We have final cut! Though there
had been a chance that the final cut and the publication to
YouTube, et al, might have been
delayed by a day. The plan had been to go to the gym after
work, then head to
The Guild to set up the
booth camera, that feeds the performance on stage to the TVs in both the
greenroom and the lobby, then
go home, eat dinner and add the rehearsal footage to the promocast editing
project in Final Cut Pro X.
It didn't quite work out that way.
I decided to hedge my bet, to give myself more time to get the DV movie to
final cut without chancing staying up too late. I cut the gym and went to
The Guild straight after I got off the clock at work. Plus I realized I
had to do some grocery shopping, which was another reason to cut the gym
time out of the equation. So after the fifteen minutes or so that it took
to set the booth camera up -- and also to change the theatre marquee
slightly to reflect "our current attraction" rather than
"our coming attraction," I did some quick shopping then it was
off home to eat dinner then edit a DV movie.
I did manage to finish my dinner before I drifted off to sleep. In the
mix of being in the flu-recovery mode, the addition of my flu medicine, and
the general side effect of drowsiness that my blood presssure and cholesterol
medications propel onto me, I'm not sure if I made it but a few minutes
after my last bite of dinner.
At about midnight I woke up. I was not happy. But after a little while I
realized I was not going to be going right back to sleep, so I got up and
started the process of editing the rehearsal footage into the video. I
could at least get some of it done, if not a lot of it. Turns out I got it
all done. At about 2:00 I had the final cut rendered and was able to upload
it to YouTube and then post it to the
Dayton Theatre Guild facebook page.
Since I didn't shoot an enormous amount of footage I didn't have an enormous
amount to sift through to find what would work. As you may know, we were
not granted clearance to use dialogue in the promocast so I had no need to
identify and capture soundbites of moments in the play. What I needed was
compelling action. This is more of a talky show than one with much physical
action by the characters (read: actors). Moreover, Director David Shough
and I shared a conviction that the promocast not blatantly reveal the physical
manipulations that actor Jared Mola employs to achieve the poetic suggestion
of Merrick's appearance. I had shot a lot of footage of Merrick (Mola) from
In the end, there was little compelling action that would stand up well
unless it was underneath voice-over
(of cast members or the director speaking about the show). There is no
voice-over in this one, only music, graphics, and rehearsal footage sans the
audio. It became clear early in the incorporation of the rehearsal footage
that the way to make the DV movie visually compelling was to do a montage
of shots of Merrick, all with him obscured from full view. There is only
one moment of action that ends up in the DV movie that does not have Merrick
in it, because it is quirky and compelling. Merrick is in all other shots,
but we still do not see but just a little bit of what Mola is doing to give
us Merrick. If you want to fully see what he's doing, come see the show.
I had every intention of going to auditions this past Monday and Tuesday
evening for the closing show of our DTG
2016/2017 season, David Lindsay-Abaire's
Wonder of the World,
but was a bit sidetracked from that plan. Toward the end of the DTG board
meeting this past Saturday morning, I was struck with an acute episode of
vertigo, much like I had suffered twice in the weeks leading up to my heart
attack in December of 2015. Like the second of those two bouts, 9-1-1 was
called, only this time I spent a few days in the hospital rather than only
getting ER treatment then being released.
The ER doctor invoked the words "brain stem stroke," which was
not something I liked hearing, at all. My stay was until early Monday
evening. During the stay I underwent both a
plus various motor coordination and metal acuity tests, and a stroke was,
thankfully, ruled out.
Of course, the first things done were an
and other tests to rule any heart issues in or out, due to my heart disease
history; and, happily
such was also ruled out.
At the moment, the medical consensus is that I have
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
(BPPV), due to either a small stone (bone) in my inner ear that has moved
out of place, or because of an infection or inflammation in my inner ear,
any of which will cause false information to be sent to my brain which
then gets the message that I am spinning. I learned from the attending
physician in the hospital that this is what is known as peripheral vertigo,
rather than central vertigo. Central means that it is a problem with the
brain -- such as from a stroke. Peripheral means it's not of the brain and
is from some other portion of the head, which is usually the inner ear.
In order to get a more precise, definitive diagnosis, I'm supposed to see
an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, but at the moment I can't get in to one
until next Wednesday. I'm looking to see if I can find someone who can me
sooner. I'd like to still have some of the symptoms when I go in, and am
afraid it all will have all dissipated by next Wednesday. That would mean
that the doctor diagnosing based solely on the medical reports and anecdotal
information from me, rather than being able to do a hands-on examination.
Currently, I am still experiencing some vertigo, though rather mild, and
also some mild loss of balance on occasion. Does the fact that I am
carrying a cane, in case I lose balance when not close to something to
grab for stabilization, mean that the law firm commercial I did a few years
ago, where I was "man with cane," was prophetic? Hmmm.
During the day Monday I sent a text to the Wonder of the World
director, Saul Caplan,
to say that I had the intention to audition Tuesday evening, if I was up to
it; when the time came, I wasn't. I was functional enough to drive, but I
don't believe I could have auditioned very well, so I didn't.
I guess I'll have to see what's next; maybe it'll be a FutureFest show.
ANNOUNCING THE CAST OF WONDER OF THE WORLD:
Meanwhile, on the subject of Wonder of the World auditions, here is
the cast list:
REVISITING THE ISLE OF INISHMAAN, THEN LATER, AN EXCERSION
TO A SUMMER HOUSE BY A POND:
The Cripple of Inishmaan
-- This past Saturday I went to the
Eclipse Theatre Company in
Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Colombus, to see
The Cripple of Inishmaan for the second time. Of course, it's my
third involvement with the show, the first being my premiere as a full-blown
adult actor, back in 2004, in the celebrated
Dayton Theatre Guild
production that marked my return to acting, in the role of Johnny Pateen.
As was that production, thirteen years ago, this new one was directed by
now a Columbus-area resident and also one of the founders of this new theatre
over there. Hats off to all involved in this production; it was well done
and worth the trip over. Another ex-Daytonian theatre person, Molley Burgo
Collins, was in the role of Kate Osbourne, it was nice to see her on the
boards again, and doing a fine job as usual. Jim McCullough took on my old
role as Johnny-Pateen-Mike O'Dougal, and also did a fine job. It's always
tricky to write a response about another actor's performance in a role I've
taken on; I don't think I usually can step away far enough to form an
analysis that is neutral enough to merit sharing. It is weird, as I
believe I've stated in past similar circumstances, to watch another actor
employing his interpretation and acting style, and it's interesting to
watch, too. Everyone was good but I want to be sure to mention young
Ms. Madison Garvin Lee
whose Helen McCormick impressed me very much.
Of course, you five will know that I will again be a student in an
acting class at HRTC
with Ms. Joplin at the helm, (the third time), coming up in May/June; and,
this time it's an advanced class: "Be Ready, Be Brave" is the
motto for the class.
We've had two successful weekends of our latest production, with rave
responses from the audiences. None of the official reviews seems to be
out yet -- I can't even personally say if the critics have been to the
I haven't sat in the audience for a perfomance yet, myself. I plan to do
so this Friday evening.
It is clear, however, that DTG has another strong production to add to its
seventy-plus-year canon of such.
I've made my appointment for the
Human Race Theatre Companygeneral auditions for
the 2017/2018 season. Not doing a song this year, mostly because I am not
typed for any of the characters in the musical HRTC is doing, Legendale.
On the other side I may have a shot at being cast in one or the other
of two of the straight plays,
A Christmas Story
Brighton Beach Memoirs.
If not, at least I'm back to actively doing at least one professional theatre
audition for the year, having skipped last year. Again, of course, on
second-guessing what HRTC or a particular director will see me as good for:
I could be incorrect in either direction -- with the exception of things
like obvious body-type or age-range mandates.