Saturday morning, June 17, I was at The Guild
helping out with Cleaning Day. But late morning I took a break and left for
a while. I went over to The Dayton Visual Arts Center
to a small exhibit of paintings by
Ms. Eve Plumb;
yes, that Eve Plumb, from The Brady Bunch.
The exhibit was a small assortment of some of her interpretations of moments
from film noir and western movies. She had just about a dozen paintings
exhibited and I was impressed. You can see some of them behind her and I in
the photo, above, in which she was gracious enough to pose with me.
I was there for about 30-45 minutes, give or take, and with only a few
exceptions it was only Eve,
Kevin Moore of
The Human Race Theatre Company,
and myself. It was the kind of celebrity encounter I'd rather have: quiet,
laid back, somewhat in the neighborhood of private, and a situation where
I was not imposing upon her privacy and time but was welcomed into the
space and the situation.
During my visit with her and her art I did not mention The Brady Bunch
because that wasn't the point of the day, and I really can't think of what
there was to say about it. "Wow! You were a part of something truly
iconic in American pop culture!" is not going to be a revelation to her.
I also absolutely was not about to utter that one phrase made so
notoriously popular by the recurring sketch on
Saturday Night Live
in the 80's. My understanding is she hates it, and why shouldn't she? Even
if she doesn't hate it, why be the 1,350,000th person to say it to her?
We talked about her paintings and about some of the technique for a few of
them. and some galleries she has. We talked about the play
in which she was currently appearing as Elyse Keaton. It was a nice pleasant
30-45-ish minutes She said she mostly does still lifes and she showed me
some photos she took on her phone, during her stay in town, as potential
subjects of future paintings. One photo in particular of a small table and
chair in the corner of a small eatery she'd visited was especially compelling
because of the geometry and the colors.
She also talked some about her stroke technique for a couple of the paintings,
such as one western painting of a man on a horse where all her strokes on
the canvas were deliberately vertical. Some of her paintings are
impressionistic in style, some almost lithographic, especially since they
are in black-and-white to mirror the movies she's pulled them from.
One of my favorite moments from the encounter was when I asked her if one
of the western paintings, very impressionistic in style, depicted Yule
Brenner. Her response was, "If you want to be Yuel Brenner, then
that's who it is."
I was intersted to find out that she has several galleries including one
near Sarasota that features celebrity art work. Check out her web site:
eveplumb.tv/. In Eve's words, "The
main site is a little clunky but there are links to the galleries."
There's alos some samplings of her work there.
Of course, the truth is that it was Ms. Plumb's celebrity and the
opportunity of the meet-and-greet that drew me to her exhibit. And, that I
did not mention it to her does not negate the fact that she was a
part of something truly iconic in American pop culture. On the other hand,
I was interested in seeing her work as a painter. Further, when I've enjoyed
an actor's work in a production, any actor's work, I always like telling
that actor in person that I did so. I was not able to do that when I saw her
in Family Ties the previous Wednesday, so it was another reason to
come see the exhibit, so I could comment to her, in person, about her
As I wrote before, I have remixed the sound for the excerpt being performed
I'll be the sound tech for the performance. I'll be running the sound from
the DTG laptop, which has our
Show Cue Systems software
installed on it now. In rehearsals I have been running from the laptop
rather than the booth computer to practice with the precise tool I'll
be using in Troy.
As you saw in my last post, or if you are local, or otherwise follow
my facebook or
page, you know the show is cast now, and preproduction is in swing.
The table read is next
Monday, and I will be there as producer to take care of producer's business
-- like deadlines and specs for their program bios and headshots, etc.,
and to explain the promocast
shoot coming up at Tech Week.
One of things I am thrilled about, and a little surprised by, is that I was
granted copyright clearance by the Arthur Miller representation to use
dialogue from the play in the promocast.
PRODUCTION STAFF, NOT CAST MEMBER:
I don't think I ever specifically mentioned that I did not audition at all
for FutureFest 2017.
However, I have recently come on board as the sound designer for five of
the six productions.
Meetings with the directors have commenced.
A meeting with their house sound guy comes up this week, so I can get
familiar with the software and equipment environment in which I will be
One production has requested that I run the sound. For the rest of the
performances over the weekend, I will be sitting in my usual FF seat the
Recently I have made it to a couple shows but missed some others.
As mentioned above, I did get to
at The Human Race Theatre Company.
It's a cute script, though not especially extraordinary. It does have an
interesting twist, or, "shoe that drops," if you will, with no
foreshadowing of that development. But ultimately, it was the performances
by the cast that was what was really worth the attendance. They all did
great jobs of making the characters their own, while still maintaining the
spirit of the performances by the actors who originated the roles in the TV
Meanwhile, production meetings
between the directors and myself for FutureFest 2017 have happened, or are
about to happen.
Last night I met with the Dayton Playhouse sound and light technical
director (don't know if that's his actual title, but, it's essentially
what he is), Bob Kovach, and he got me familiar with the sound system, or
at least he got me started -- the rest is up to me.
And I don't want to think about the fact that I haven't really started to
attack these sound designs, and the festival is two weeks from today.
As some will know, we took The Last Lifeboat
to the OCTA Regionals in Troy Ohio on Saturday, July 8, and I must say it
did rather well. In fact, it was chosen to go to the
labor day weekend, in Columbus, Ohio. Several involved also received awards:
• Excellence in Ensemble
• Jeff Sams
Excellence in Directing
• Matt Lindsay
Excellence in Acting
• Mike Beerbower
Excellence in Acting
• J. Gary Thompson
Merit in Acting
• John Faulkenbach
Excellence in Light Design
• Carol Finley
Excellence in Costume Design
• Marley Masterson
Excellence in Properties
So, that's pretty cool. The
Beavercreek Community Theatre's
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
will also be going to State. This is an interesting situation for several
actors in both shows, as some are cast in the Guild production of
All My Sons,
which will have a 5:00 performance that day, while others are cast in
at Beavercreek, which has a 3:00 show that day. Beavercreek has been granted
first performance of their excerpt that morning, at State, and DTG will be
That situation is, in itself, an interesting situation for one of the
actors. Casandra Engber is in both Lifeboat and Vanya, which
wasn't as much of a delima in Troy as the two excerpts were not back-to-back.
But, Casandra is a consummate professional, so she'll do just fine.
Oh, yeah...it seems that the sound
designer got an award, too.
SO, THAT G@|)/\/\/\|\|
DECIDED TO SHOW UP AGAIN!:
Like we have several times in the past, we are utilizing dialect coach
D'Arcy Smith to work with the cast to place everyone in the same midwestern
U.S. region. D'Arcy conducts sessions with cast in Skype
sessions. We've done it several times in the past, wth great success.
This time, it was not so successful, at least not at first, and at least
not in a Skype session. We (*and when I say "we," I mean
"I") could not get Skype to work on the DTG laptop. That was
weird because it had worked before on the laptop, but not this time.
Then we* tried do a facebook cam-to-cam but could not get the laptop camera
activated in facebook. What we ended up doing was a
session on my
with each cast member passing the phone around. It wasn't quite the same as
a Skype session on the laptop, but it did work.
I Haven't really started working on sound for this show yet, except that I
have a pretty good idea what the design concept will be for the top of the
show. Scene change music, though, is a mystery to me at the moment, but I
do know it's all from the early/mid forties.
I start working on this sound in earnest when Futurefest wraps *(see next)
MOVING INTO THE NEXT PROJECT:
FutureFest 2017 officially
kicks off tomorrow evening. There will be a pre-festival event tonight: the
dramatic reading of
play, Adams' Gift.
Of course, the most relevant news, concerning me, is that it's most likely
that the sound design I have done for five of the six plays, showing over
the course of the festival, is finished. I can't say that I was completely
panicked that the designs wouldn't be finished, but I was pretty sure it'd
be down to the wire, and I was correct.
Believe me I've had pretty much no spare time since I agreed to this task.
First i was dealing with the OCTA entry of the excerpt from The Last
Lifeboat, *(see above), then it was onto this with full effort and
only down time when I forced myself to steal moments -- 'cause, you know,
you gotta do that sometimes.
The kind of bad news is that I am now likely to be in the booth running more
than just one show. I was requested to run one, and was not to run any of
the other four I am connected to (and the sixth show is being run by its
sound designer). But because of some misunderstandings about show times
there may be conflicts that leave at least two other shows without a sound
tech. Also one other has some pretty heavy audio/visual needs so I will be
in the booth to be sure all the cues are covered. So, I'll probably only
be in the audience for two of the six shows, and I'm not enthused about
that, at all, but, the shows need sound techs.
Haven't done much for the show and don't have any updates about the
rehearsal process, which has
begun in earnest. This past Thursday night we did have the follow-up session
with dialect specialist D'Arcy Smith via a successful
Skype session (finally) on my
I also just bought the
Bose Companion 20 external speaker system
for my laptop and they are what the kids are calling "Suh-WEET!"
I'd already used them a bit over the last several days and they came in
quite handy during this dialect session as they made it that much easier
for the whole room to hear D'Arcy well.
Still haven't really started the sound design but that happens any minute
now. It'd better: Tech Sunday
is only twelve days away.
As you five (or is 4.5?) regular blog visitors may know, via my recent
whine-fest about it, when I came on board to design sound for five of the
six official FF productions, I was requested to run the sound for one of
them, and was only supposed to be in the
tech booth for that one show --
that being Olga Humphrey'sMagnificent Hubba Hubba. However, due to a scheduling conflict the
person who was supposed to run the other four of my five shows had to miss
one, and the complexities of running both sound and a projector for another
of them meant it'd be better if I was in the booth to help with that one.
So, I was in the booth for half the shows as opposed to only one show.
C'est la vie, no?
As I stated above, it was a fine crop of plays, with Ms. Humphrey's play
was both the selected winner by the adjudicators and the one voted
Here are all the six shows that competed over the FF17 weekend:
Synopsis: Thelma is a colorful and quick-witted 87-year old woman struggling
with her memory. Her devoted daughter Marilyn, with whom she now lives, is
trying to make the best of the situation. When Marilyn asks her neighbor
Curtis, a struggling writer and stay-at-home father, to care for her mother
and her beloved cats while she is at the beach, it sets in motion a friendship
that tethers two families. Funny and heartbreaking, On Pine Knoll Street
is an intimate look at the joy and fragility of life, the meaning of home,
and the things we do for love.
THELMA - Renée Franck-Reed
MARILYN - Cheryl A. Mellen
CURTIS - John-Michael Lander
KRISTIE - Kari Carter
MITCHELL - Raef Norgaard
Director Richard Waldeck both designed and ran the sound for this show.
Synopsis: Our recent election galvanized a tsunami of concerns about race
and healthcare. The CDC reported black Americans suffer higher rates of
disability and preventable diseases than non-minorities. While blatant
discrimination is no longer rampant, stereotyping persists. Hospitals
emphasize the need for cultural diversity but, perhaps, have fallen short.
Inspired by a real case, FIRST, DO NO HARM is the story of two African
American mothers journeying along parallel paths of grief and guilt. It
doesn't attempt to answer the questions raised. There are no easy answers,
and no single clinical guideline is useful in unraveling the spectrum of
human physical, mental, and emotional response to illness.
DR. ELISSA KERRY - A.Slate
DR. ALISON TAYLOR - Shanna Camacho
MATTIE CLESTER - Joyce Barnes
DWAYNE HATCHER - Kip Moore
FEMALE ACTOR - Jennifer Lockwood
MALE ACTOR - Keshawn Mellon
NARRATION - Charlotte Harris
This was one I ended up running sound for because of scheduling conflicts.
Synopsis: Dan and Eric have a new marriage license, a new baby, and a new
house in the country. As they settle into this new life, Dan is having what
seem to be sleepwalking episodes. A ghost story told by a young visitor
leads Eric to suspect that Dan's sleepwalking is actually something far more
sinister -- but is it what he thinks it is? Or are there other forces at
work? Wake is a ghost story for the post-AIDS generation, a play
about marriage, expectations, and the power of narrative to both heal and
DAN - Brian Sharp
ERIC - Mark Sharp
TERRELL - Michael Groomes
ESME- Shyra Thomas
CHARLIE - Jason Penix
Synopsis: A teenage boy tracks down his downtrodden, fiery, and foulmouthed
idol -- "The Magnificent Hubba Hubba" -- an old-time woman wrestler
now over 70 and working as a greeter at a hotel casino. He aims to set up
the rematch of the century between her and her arch rival of years gone by.
But what he really wants is to win the love of her estranged granddaughter,
a high school wrestling star who hates his guts. A comedy about how true
passion never grows old, and sometimes the best partnerships are the most
LUCILLE - Becky Howard
ROY - Thomas Troutman
ALICE - Fran Pesch
LULU - Hannah Stickel
ZANE/ANNOUNCER - David Hallowren
WANDA, NADYA, YOUNG LUCILLE, REFEREE - Melissa Ertsgaard
TEDDY, NURSE, YOUNG ALICE, HOSTESS - Shanna Camacho
Synopsis: In 2007, a committed atheist inherits a collection of rare and
extremely valuable illustrated Hebrew manuscripts, including a prayer book
from fourteenth-century Spain. Financial struggles and a child's recent
hospitalization favor an initial plan to auction the books. A moral
dilemma, historical mystery, and matters of the heart converge, however,
following the discovery that the books, which bear witness to overlapping
Jewish and Islamic traditions, were stolen, some six-hundred years after
their creation, from a library in Berlin. Inspired by true events and a
late twentieth-century court case, and using images from the books themselves,
the play explores the allure of sacred manuscripts, the ethical issues
generated by cultural treasures displaced during wartime, and the power of
art to forge human connections.
JACOB ADLER - Jim Lockwood
JOAN ADLER - Cynthia Karns
MICHAELA ADLER - Kerry Simpson
JULIEN NAZIR - Matthew Lindsay
ALEXANDER ADLER/CHRISTOPHER HOWELL - Jonathan Horwitz
CHANNA WILD - Karin Henhapel
ASSISTANT/LAW CLERK/Stage Reader - Niccole Sue Ann Wallace
Understudy/Stage Reader - Michael Juergens
Synopsis: When Constance, a 1920's jazz singer, chooses to stand on her own,
not only is her name carried on through multiple generations, but so is her
determination to find an identity in an ever changing world. Spanning five
generations, starting in the Harlem Renaissance and ending in present day,
the women from one African-American family struggle to overcome the roles
assigned to them by society in order to find their way home.
CONSTANCE/CONNIE - Carolyn Seymore
ROBERT/CHRISTOPHER - Jacob Smith
ERNIE/MR. HOTCHKISS - Michael Schumacher
MISS DUNSTON - Chelsey Hall
MRS. COVINGTON - Corrine Duperree
MS. JENKINS - Tamar Fishbein
MS. EVANS - Vicki Thompson Tuccillo
I was in the booth for this one because of the tight timing between some
sound and projector cues. The sound tech
was charged to handle both, and few spots were tricky if one had to do both,
so I was in there with him to cover those moments.
Nope, no pictures this year. I didn't take one photograph. Don't ask me why.
I just didn't.
On Saturday, three people were inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of
Fame: Jennifer Lockwood, Gerri Nichols, and Sheila Ramsey. The only of
these I have any real theatre connection to is Jennifer. We have shared the
stage twice, I believe, and she has been in cast or crew of a few other
shows where I was either producer, sound designer, or both. Jennifer's
home base is The Dayton Playhouse,
where my connection, thus far, has always been FutureFest, and where she
constantly serves on the FF committee. Gerri is an elder statesman and
costuming guru at
Troy Civic Theatre.
Sheila Ramsey, I have met in the past, but we've not been involved in any
productions together, as her involvement has been mostly at the professional
level for quite some time, and by the time I started entering into that
world, her health had caused her to drop out.
Well, a tip of the hat to Jennifer, Gerri, and Sheila, as well as all the
actors, directors, and designers who won Daytony and Murphy awards. For
that matter, congrats to all those who have won or are about to win awards
at other theatres in the area.
Okay, not so much "More Toys" as "another toy." For a
while now, at the old, humble homestead, I have frequently had problems
MacBook Pro to the internet.
I have an older build (mid 2012) and enough Wifi routers have popped up in
neighbors' homes that my laptop often can't overcome the traffic jam during
peak times, even though my laptop usually sets only about four or five away
from my wireless router.
and my Apple TV are newer, so the
receivers in them are not hindered. But my laptop receiver is being hindered.
My AirPort Express router isn't sending a strong enough signal to overcome
all the other traffic. I'm not going to buy an new laptop just yet, so I
bought a new
The new AirPort Extreme boasts at least three times the speed of my old
AirPort Express, and it has six antennas: three for the 2.4GHz band and
three for the 5GHz band. so far it has cured the "unable to connect
to the network" messages. I seemed to come close to getting one the
other night. If I do get one, I will be unhappy.
The next toy, which I will buy soon,
will be a replacement CD and AM/FM receiver for my car -- my current one
often, usually, quites playing a CD right in the middle of a song.
That is intolerable to me.
Once again, it's been a while since I posted here -- (the Friday,
Aug 18 post about the opening of All My Sons is a retrospective
post, put up at the same time as this one). So, there's some
All My Sons catch-up, as well as catch-up on other subjects,
including a whole slew of "In Memorium" to various
artists who have passed away this summer.
SUCCESSFUL OPENING WEEKEND:
Though I wasn't there for most of it, I know we've had a successful opening
weekend and that the audience response has been about as postive as it can
get. I was there Opening Night,
but as is virtually always the case, I could not attend to the performance
in any meaningful manner since I was the house manager
and had other things to attend to: such as setting up the refreshments
for intermission, then cleaning that up, then setting up for the Opening
Night Gala, as always, featuring wine and, courtesy of
Wheat Penny Oven & Bar,
gourmet pizza. One other great thing about Opening Night is that it was a
sold-out crowd! I can't speak audience size yesterday or today, but I know
from various cast and crew that the performance went well last night;
there's no reason to think it won't today -- the performance is happening
as I typed this and as I transferred today's entry to the server.
Young Noah Rutkowski (Bert) gave me this model of a
P-40 fighter plane,
(which is relevent to the story of the play), as a gift. I
have it displayed at the box office station for the moment.
Bias as I may be, this is a stellar production with some excellent work
from the cast members. I think all the various design work is grand, too.
The crew is doing great, as well.
Yep, another one of those
stories. That little bastard just likes to be a menace! Recently, I upgraded
the theatre's version of our sound cue software,
Show Cue Systems, and installed
said upgrade on all of the theatre laptop, which I used when we took
All My Sons to the OCTA
Regionals, on my laptop, so I can work on programming
sound designs away from the
theatre, and on the desk top computer we use to run sound in the
tech booth. The upgrade works
fine on both laptops. However, there is some sort of conflict on the desk
top that does not allow one to properly assign channels beyond two. I had
to uninstall the upgrade and revert back to the previous version. There are
a few new features in the upgrade that I like, too. When I have time, I will
research a solution.
Of course, by this time, the promocast
will have made final cut
and be posted, and it is. I went for muted color treatment to give it the
look of early color movies, since the era just post-WWII.
I also did a sepia version, but the muted color version is the one that works.
We have a few tech rehearsals
in the days leading up to the competitive performance. This time I will be
running the sound from my laptop, since the DTG laptop is technically
engaged for the All My Sons production -- we run the lobby movie
from that laptop.
I do have my eyes focused on some theatre auditions coming this season,
some further off, some, closer.
I was invited by the director to audition for a show a little later down
the road; that, of course, is not an indication that I have a lock on the
role, but it does mean I have some kind of a decent shot. It's a good role,
too. There's another show this would be a conflict with, but I don't know
much yet about the second one, so I can't yet measure the conflict I might
have between the two.
We've had one rehearsal for the upcoming
2017 OCTA State Conference.
There are two scheduled during the week, next week. Then, Saturday morning,
we hit Columbus, Ohio and do the excerpt.
I ran the sound off my laptop and through the
Bose Companion 20 external speaker system
I picked up earlier this month. It's not quite the powerhouse I need for
these rehearsals. But I happen top have rented a more powerful external
speaker system to run music from at my high school reunion, which will be
this weekend. I had to pay a minimum rental fee for two weeks, so I might
as well keep it to use for the last two rehearsals.
The cast of Marjorie Prime has been confirmed. Here it is, in order
Obviously, when I wrote in the last post about auditions I planned to do that
were "closer," this was one to which I was referring. I'm looking
forward to this. I like the script and I like the character. To be honest,
Jon is not the most challenging role I've ever had, nevertheless, he's still
a good role. One can also argue that the casualness and the comfort and
familiarity that Jon and Tess (Wendi Michael) have are not as easy to get
to as are things like abject friction, anger, and other strong emotions and
situations. That's stuffs fun, and lesser actors can move over into
over-acting, easily. But, getting the subtle stuff right is much more
-- So, I guess maybe there are some challenges to Jon, after all.
Tomorrow night will be the last rehearsal night before the performance of
the excerpt this coming Saturday morning at the conference in Columbus.
There was a rehearsal Monday evening at the same time that I was in the
Marjorie Prime read-through, so, I managed to get the invaluable
assistance of Sarah Saunders, who has been a frequent
sound tech for many of our
productions the last couple seasons, and in fact, for all but one of the
shows for which I have designed sound. Monday evening Sarah was my pinch-hitter,
covering the operation of sound while I was in a close by room, being an
She and I did a dry tech rehearsal
before both the Lifeboat and Marjorie rehearsals began, and I
have no doubt that she rocked it on the board for them. Tomorrow night, I
am back on the board for Lifeboat, since I am not called for
I will be auditioning in the near future for another theatre production
that will be up later this calendar year.
Who knows, I may just end up going into rehearsals for this next one shortly
after rehearsals for Marjorie wrap, if not directly afterward. That
is not what I would identify as "a problem."
If I am not cast in that one, there's another one auditioning soon I may
There is another adult acting class coming up at
The Human Race Theatre Company,
again with Ms. Jennifer Joplin
as instructor. Unlike the last scheduled class, which was to be at an
advanced level, this one is billed as being for "mixed levels of
experience." That advanced class was unfortunately cancelled before it
started, due to lack of sufficient enrollment -- and I was disappointed. If
you are one of the few who occasionally follow this blog, you may know that
I enrolled pretty much as soon as the class was posted.
This new one runs Sep 25-Oct 30. I have contacted Ms. Joplin about
accommodations for the first two sessions, since I'll still be in rehearsals
for Marjorie, and arrangements have been made for me to leave class
early those evenings. We also discussed me getting more advanced work than
other, less-experienced of my classmates.
If I am cast in that next show I will be auditioning for, I will make the
accommodations with that director, since these classes will already be on
Not much really to report. Had my second
blocking rehearsal Wednesday
evening, this one just Wendi Micael (Tess) and I. Director Jared Mola
blocked a portion of one scene, and we then did table work on another
scene later in the show that we'll be blocking later.
Directed by Debra Kent
Produced by K.L.Storer
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.
So yesterday morning Jeff Sams took his The Last Lifeboat cast, and
some crew, to The 2017 Ohio Community Theatre Association state conference
in Columbus, Ohio where the cast gave a stellar performance of the
30-some-minute excerpt that crossed over from the end of Act
I into the beginning of Act II.
Of course, I was the sound tech
for that performance and it went well. I had to adjust some sound levels
on-the-fly but it was not a problem. I did have a few tech problems during
the final tech/dress rehearsal
Thursday evening. For some reason the software stopped executing the
cues. I had to restart the DTG laptop to get it to function again.
Another problem was the sensitivity of the trackpad; because of that I
erroneously set a wrong cue as next during the run, but simply slightly
touching the pad with a finger. Yesterday at OCTA a made absolutely sure I
did not unintentionally touch the pad.
As for what the rating for the performance at OCTA is, I don't think that
is announced until tomorrow morning.
Will be shortly auditioning for one of those theatre productions that is
up later this calendar year.
I have made my initial outreach to playwright
Lucas Hnath to request
clearance to use text from The Christians in the
Steely Dan is my second favorite band, right behind those Liverpool
lads. The amazing, genius work that Walter Becker and his cohort,
Donald Fagen, put out on SD's nine studio albums is astounding. A
lot of the deliciously dark, sardonic wit infused into much of their
work came directly from the mind of Mr. Becker. Plus, the guy could
Here's to Walter, who help formed my musical sensibilities.
continue. Tuesday night it was Barbara (Jorgensen), Wendi (Michael), and
myself -- or, Margie, Tess, and Jon. Last night it was just Barb and me.
Tonight I am not called.
My electronic calendar designates each rehearsal as being 7:00-9:30 pm. I
have yet to not leave before 9:30, and usually well before 9:30. Our trusted
director, Jared Mola, is not assigning a heavy page count for these blocking
rehearsals. It's usually just a few pages and we have time to make
adjustments as needed as well as to run what was just blocked at least
twice, if not more. Last night, the scene was blocked and we ran it three
times, and we were out of there before 8:00.
A couple of nights we've even been able to revisit scenes previously blocked
and still get out less the two hours after we started. And, I am not
complaining, whatsoever. I've been abe to get home and work on line
memorization and not get to bed after midnight.
On the 18th we start running the numbered sections (which we are calling
acts, though I don't think they technically are such). The rehearsals will
start getting longer. At some point we will be hitting two or two and a
half hour rehearsals as we start doing the full runs. Though I'd say
this one-act play probably runs about ninety minutes when at performance
level and speed.
Here on the left is what the stack of flash cards for my lines for the show
looks like. Fortunately, some of those lines are as simple as "What?"
or "Of course," or "It was." And a few are cards to prompt
me for internal dialog responses.
For those who don't know, I put the cue line into my line, or in couple
instances, my non-verbal, reaction, such as a gesture of "what?",
on one side, then put my line or non-verbal response, on the other. It's
one of the ways for me to work on lines. I can grab a handful any time,
including certain times at work, when I have to take a walk somewhere, and
drill. I usually use them to run my lines before performances during the
production run, too.
I also use them in bed before I go to sleep. I have heard and am invested in
this theory that if I'm working on memorizing lines right before I go to
sleep my mind will process them at some point in my sleep. It may not be
true, but it's still not a bad time to work on the elusive
Also, and I think a very important aspect, is that I know the act of
hand-writing both my cues and my lines, etc., does help with both familiarity
and in some important ways is an early part of the process of script analysis
for me. I have some time to contemplate what my intent might be as I am
writing the lines. There's also this inherent connection made with my
consciousness in the act of physically handwriting the words.
Blocking rehearsals are
now officially wrapped. The last of the show was blocked last night. It was
a scene between Tess (Wendi Michael) and Jon (myself). The night before
Wendi and I were also called for
another Tess and Jon scene. Monday it was Tess and Marjorie (Barb Jorgensen).
Tonight we are dark because
it's our director's birthday -- so
Our next rehearsal is Monday, when we start doing runs,
and start to focus more on the character development, i.e.: the acting,
not that we already haven't been working on the acting. But now that we
have the "cross stage right
to behind the sofa" sort of things out of the way, we can start
more deeply focusing on the emotional intent sort of things about our
During the blocking rehearsal phase the scenes were all done out of sequence
to keep any particular actor from being called for just a brief portion of
the rehearsal -- and think also to take into account some schedule conflicts
there might have been. Sometimes only portions of a particular scene were
dealt with during a given rehearsal. Starting with the runs on Monday, of
course, we will not be doing the show in disjointed segments. Monday will
be what we are identifying as "Act I,"
and Tuesday is "Act II."
As for my off-book progress, I'm
not doing too badly. I'm through all my scenes, and if I were to assign a
quantitative marker, I'd estimate I'm somewhere between 75 to 85%
off-book, perhaps a little higher, but not quite yet into the high nineties.
Certainly I'm in good shape to make the off-book deadline of September 20.
The corners of my flash cards are becoming dogeared, which is a good sign.
Also, I think that Jon Brody (my character) needs some background. For
instance, there's no indication in the script, whatsoever, of what his
occupation is. We know he's a college graduate, since he and Tess met in
college, and somehow I get the sense that the Brodies are, at least,
upper middle class. I just need to decide how he's employed.
Plus, I feel a need to create a family background -- all we know for sure
from the script is that his mother is dead. Does he have siblings? Where's
he from. In fact, where do he, Tess and marjorie live? There's no indication
even of what country they are in, much less what city. For some reason, I
want to place this thing in Canada, if even just in my own defined reality
of the play's universe.
Though the script does not specifically state it, it is still easy to
calculate that the play begins in 2062, because Marjorie is eighty-five
and she says she was born in 1977. The fact that it's a little bit past
mid-twenty-first century does inform some on where I can go as far as
settling on an occupation, and might even help come to an idea as per his
geography as well as that of the placement of the story; in fact, I may be
able to conjure a geopolitical landscape for myself, as well.
Well, that's some of the stuff my weekend will be made up of, along with
further work toward off-book.
TUESDAYS WITHOUT MORRIE...:
...Or, more specifically, "Tuesdays without me as
Thursday of last week, I auditioned for the role of Morrie Schwartz
in the play,
Tuesdays With Morrie,
by Jeffrey Hatcher
and Mitch Albom, and based
on Albom's book of the same title. It's an account of his relationship
with his college professor, Morrie Schwartz. The story centers on
visits Albom made to Schwartz's home every Tuesday, during the last
few years of the teacher's life, as he was dying from
This, of course, was the audition for a
two-hander I mentioned
in the September 7 blog entry as "looming on my horizon."
But, alas, I am not cast.
I was assured that I "auditioned well," however, I only
felt luke warm about my audition. It wasn't horrendous, necessarily,
but I didn't feel like I killed it. Part of that is that I needed
to give the director, that being
Ms. Fran Pesch
(the theatre company founder), a good example of the debilitated
Morrie, at the end of his life, in the last pages of the script.
I hadn't thought to anticipate that it likely would be a part of
the audition, so I didn't really prepare, and that was rather silly
of me, and pretty much an amateur mistake I can't readily excuse.
My impromptu effort on the spot, at the audition was, in my estimation,
pretty lame. Kind of points to a need to sharpen my improv skills,
which have clearly dulled quite a bit.
That I am not cast is not a surprise to me.
Another audition, you ask?:
Yes, there's at least one coming up relatively soon, perhaps more
than one. And there certainly are some on down the pathway this season.
There are a couple roles I definitely have my eye on.
No rehearsals since last report, but I have done some woodshedding toward
the off-book goal. There are
still those sticking points, those lines that just seem to stubbornly avoid
perfectly locking into my memory cells. Every script I've ever worked on has
had them, as I know is a common occurrence for many other actors. Still, I'm
virtually completely off-book, so that's not bad.
As was pointed out to me by a fellow theatre person this weekend, since the
show doesn't open until October 6, I am more than in good shape. As I wrote
before, our first stumble-through
is this Wednesday, and I am not the least worried -- though the perfectionist
in me will, no doubt, be unhappy when I'm not pure verbatim.
The planned background/history work on Jon did not happen this weekend, but
I still have time to figure that out. I should probably get with Wendi on
some things anyway. I should see if she has picked a college. It's understood
that Jon and Tess met in college, night as well be of like-mind about what
that college is, despite that it's not something to which the audience would
ever be privy. Still have to decide what the heck Jon's occupation is, too.
I'm joining the chorus of those singing the show's praises! It is a wonderful
show with lovely music, a good book and great characters. I think it deserves
a nice long Broadway run, then some years on tour. If you can, get yerself
to HRTC and see this show. It runs till Oct 1.
The cast is kickin' some serious butt, too!
Here's to one of the greatest character actors of the last several
Monday and last night were our first runs
of the sections (or, acts, if you will) with essentially the first half of
the show being run Monday night, and the second half last night. I did
reasonably well at not using my book for lines. I did have the book in my
hand, but it was predominantly for blocking
Tonight is the first stumble-through and, at the very least, I am not
stressed out about it. I feel pretty confident about my lines. Oh, don't
get me wrong, I willcall for a line,
and more than once, I am sure. I'll paraphrase some, too, which will perturb
the perfectionist in me to no end, as my goal is always to say the lines
verbatim from the pages of the script. We're doing the second part, which
we did last night, tonight, due to a schedule conflict tomorrow night for
an actor; this portion of the play is better to do without that actor, than
the first part. So our first stumble-through for part one is tomorrow.
Seems weird to think that Tech Week
is kicked off with Tech Sunday
in just eleven days, and that Opening Night
is not far behind, just about two and a half weeks from now!
I've started my background on Jon (Jon Brody). I have him a native of
Chicago, born in June of 2008. He's the son of a Chicago policeman (Sgt.
Mitchy Brody); his mother, Janet, was a health care administrator -- I haven't
gotten more specific than that with her occupation, but probably will. He
has one sibling, his sister, Teresa Brody-Powell, who is a real estate agent
with her husband in Indianapolis. I haven't come up with an idea of where
Jon, Tess, and Marjorie live in the time of the play, yet. There may be an
indication in one of the scenes I'm not in that I have missed, since I've
not studied those quite as closely as perhaps I should have. I also have his
educational background, though I am not certain the disciplines O have as
his degrees will stay as they are. And I haven't yet determined his occupation.
There are few other details I have conjured up. I'm not finished yet, but
he's better drawn and better filled out for me, already. By the way, between
Wendi Michael (Tess) and myself, we decided that Jon and Tess met while
attending undergrad at Northwestern University.
There was some danger that the upcoming adult acting class at
The Human Race Theatre Company,
being helmed by Jennifer Joplin,
would get canceled due to insufficient enrollment. That bullet was dodged,
however, and we are on for our first session, this coming Monday.
If you have read previous blog entries about this, you know that I've arranged
with Jennifer to leave class early the first two sessions due to my 7:00
calls for Marjorie Prime,
the second one, especially important as that is during MPTech Week.
Early, very early, Wednesday morning, September 29, 1982, I was in my
twenties and was a raging, practicing alcoholic, and I was drunk; I was
shitfaced, manic, insanely drunk. It was one of those drunken nights, which
were becoming the norm in my life, where most of the night was irreversibly
lost to the dank, dark, abyss of a series of blackouts. It was a night
where my behavior was, once again, out of control. The police were called on
me, as they should have been.
It was also my last drunk.
A year later, 9/29/83 I had achieved the unthinkable: I was one year sober.
It was surreal. I was amazed.
A whole lifetime has passed since those days. It hasn't been a skyrocket to
stardom or some such, and it hasn't all been happy fun time. But, I have
faced everything without having to turn to a drink, or a joint, or whatever,
which is a pretty amazing thing for someone like me.
So, today, I have reached Thirty-Five years sober. How grateful am I that
I found a spiritual path and a plethora of kindred spirits that have made
it a reality.
Jeesh! So, Tech Sunday is this
weekend! Opening Night is a
week from tonight! This week as been mostly full runs,
with one night that was dedicated to working portions of various scenes.
Last night: hmm, last night was one of those rehearsals! I blew
lines I have never blown before. I never wholly went up,
though I came close a couple times, stumbling and fumbling over a line --
which has NEVER given me a problem, previously -- and I did have to
call for a line, once. I
had been determined that I was done calling for lines....best laid plans,
right? At least I only did it once. But the evening was riddled with line
flubs on my part, or missed words, or paraphrases, most that were new for
me. In the line notes email that
Ms. Sarah Caplan (our stage manager)
sent out, she just wrote to me:
KL, you're off the hook tonight because your
notes fall into the category of stuff I know you know. If it's an
issue during Sunday's run then you'll get a note.
Also, actor friends out there, ever felt like you tanked something in a
scene but everyone else thought it was great? I (or, Jon) has a moment
late in the play, an important and quite emotional moment. Last night I
wasn't feeling it at all. I was just mechanically performing. It didn't
feel the slightest bit authentic to me. I mentioned during post-rehearsal
notes that I knew it was crap.
Jared Mola, our director, and the whole room disagreed with me. So, there
ya go. It brings to mind something I'll paraphrase from the brilliant actor,
William H. Macy:
It doesn't matter what you (the actor)
are experiencing in the scene -- it's what the audience sees your
character experiencing that matters.
Tonight we are technically dark
but some of the cast is getting together on our own at the theatre to run
lines for a couple hours.
Also, have had a little preproduction
for the promocast going on.
Jordon Harrison did not grant clearance to use dialogue so I'm going with
an alternative concept. This will be another montage of stills. I'm bringing
Rick Flynn -- fellow actor, fellow DTG board member, and the house manager
for the Victoria Theatre Association -- who is a fine photographer, to shoot
the Monday evening tech/dress rehearsal.
The first session of the new adult acting class at
The Human Race Theatre Company
went well this past Monday. It was mostly an introductory, get to know each
other evening. Jennifer Joplin,
our talented facilitator, did let us know that we needed to quickly pick a
monologue with some meat to it
to work on. She does expect us to end up off-book
for our monologues.
I'm likely to pick one of Joe Keller's monologues from either Act
II or Act III of
All My Sons.
Once we get into the production runs of Marjorie Prime, I will have
the time and space to get it memorized. Jennifer wants more than just the
60 seconds one would do for an audition; this is course work, so we get to
play more in the moment and the character.
Guess I need to spend some time this weekend choosing the exact material.
Soon I'll start reading a script for an upcoming audition, and I have just
purchased another from Samuel French,
which is on its way, for an audition that is a little ways off.