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

K.L.'s Blog © 2004-2019 K.L.Storer -- all rights reserved

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Thu, Oct 4, 2018

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CATCHING UP
THIS RANDOM WORLD logo.

Well, Tech Week is wrapped. Last night was Final Dress, rather than tonight (Thursday of Tech Week is customary for Final Dress). The theatre dark tonight, with Director Marjorie Strader giving the cast and crew the night off before Opening Night.

It's been a pretty smooth tech week all the way around, and Tech Sunday went quite well.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Of course, there were many adjustments and tweaks to the sound design, all the way up to last night. Theoretically, I am done, but that doesn't preclude me from deciding that a sound or two needs tweaked after hearing it with the house full of audience members -- their bodies do change the acoustics of the room.

One piece of information that I have been holding out is that 99% of the production music for the show is written and performed by the amazing local duo of Sandy and Michael Bashaw of the Dayton-based Puzzle of Light. At the start of the summer Margie and I discussed what sort of music was favored for the scene transitions, and the opening and closing of the show. She thought something in the new age genre, and I immediately thought of a few choices, some being music that I already had in my library.

Then Sandy and Michael did a second weekend of performances at DTG of the Theatre of Sound "'sound Sculptures" concerts this past June (having done the first weekend in June of 2017). After the performance I attended I approached sandy and asked if they had recorded any new-age sort of music. She d=said they had a meditation CD they had recorded using giant kalimbas drums and the alto and bass flute. She said it's a based in Japanese style. Margie had said she was interested in music that had a Japanese sound to it. So I asked if Sandy and Michael would be interested in allow us to use this music for our production. She said they would be delighted. Then I heard the music and knew instantly it was perfect for our needs. Sandy also played a shorter song with Japanese influence titled "Two Japanese Scales," that also works for our needs. I'm using that for the music into the show.

The meditation CD is 44 minutes long with drum rolls into flute work. There's plenty of places to grab the start of the rolls into the flutes to have something for each of the ten scene changes.

It's the perfect aesthetic marriage.

The curtain music is from another artist. You'll have to come to the show to find out who.

SOUND TECH ICON
Opening weekend I am in the booth running sound. Our crack sound tech, Sarah Saunders, has a previous commitment, so I am on the sound board.

Hope I can get it right!      cool icon

DTG Promocast Production logo
As planned, the principal photography for the promocast was Sunday, between the cue-to-cue and the first full tech run. It, too, went rather smoothly, with the usual nagging problems: the biggest being keeping it quiet on the set, which has to pretty much be the whole area around the theatre house because the camera mics pick it all up. I'm constantly "QUIET ON THE SET!" The other thing to add is that this was actually a four-camera shoot, which may become the new norm for me *(see next entry).

Click here for the promocast.


ADVENTURES IN NEW DV CAMERA PURCHASING:
TOYS ICON
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
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Canon Vixia HF R800

A little over a week back I wrote here about how I had dropped one of my Canon Vixia HF R40 HD DV cameras during a shoot and damaged it, and that I recently bought a Canon Vixia HF R800 to replace it. It turns out I only thought I'd damaged the camera. I actually had only damaged the memory card. Had I done a more thorough check at the time, I would not have missed that. So now I have four working cameras.

I could have returned the new one gotten my money back, but, who's surprised that I've decided to keep it? So my multi-camera shoots have graduated to four-camera from three-camera -- the shoot for the This Random World promocast was the first.

Some glitches came up. Don't they always when technology is involved. First, when I bought the new camera, I also ordered a 32GB memory card, because I forgot that I am using 64GB cards in the cameras. Once I realized this, I pulled the 64GB card from the "damaged" camera to replace the 32GB in the new camera. That's when I discovered that it was the card that was damaged, all along.

So I had four cameras and two working 64GB cards for them. I dropped into Best Buy to pick up two more 64GB cards. I bought two 64GB MICROSD Ultra Plus cards, only to find that these particular cards are not compatible with my cameras. So I had to go back and exchange them for 64GB SD Ultra Plus cards, which, I am happy to report, do, indeed, work.

Now I have four DV cameras. Of course, we won't discuss the fact that at some point I need to upgrade from consumer DV cameras to some level of professional-class DV camera (or, cameras). When I get to the point that I actual start shooting another bonefide movie, I will need a better camera; I'll need a DP, too, but that's another subject.

And, I'm still thinking seriously about getting a good DSLR camera to take better stills with. That which, of course, I could also shoot better video with than I am right now -- even if I'm not exactly shooting horrible video with what I have.


PATTON OSWALT AT THE TAFT THEATRE:
In Concert icon

Patton Oswalt is absolutely one of my favorite stand-up comics working today, maybe of all time. I find all his comedy specials funny as all hell. I told myself that if he ever were to come to a venue close enough to me, that I'd go see him unless there was a good enough reason (read: gig) to keep me from his show.

When I saw that he's coming to The Taft Theatre in Cincinnati, on April 27 of next year, I made sure to grab a ticket as soon as they went on sale. I got a decent seat too. I think I am three rows back, but I'm not absolutely sure of that. But I have a good seat, regardless.

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COMING SOON!
~~IN ORDER OF OCCURRENCE~~
MINI VACATION
ROADTRIP!

coming soon
Comprehensive account
coming soon
A Sunday afternoon at The Wilds


also

David Byrne American Utopia Tour BANNER


BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem




In Memorium
These are less than timely,
but, I wanted to make the acknowledgements,
even if a bit late.

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I figure the first three above are well-enough known, legends in their fields, really, that I need not write any words about them.

But, Geoff Emerick: many may not know who he is. He was the recording engineer for The Beatles. He is far more influential on the matrix of pop and rock music than most would have any idea.

He had to invent and innovate to meet the needs of Sir George Martin, and of John and Paul, because they wanted things that had never been heard before, that had never been tried before -- most especially did John and Paul.

Geoff was known to come up with new, innovative ideas on his own, as well.

Yes, Mr. Emerick had far more of an impact on modern music than most would ever guess.

May he rest in peace

~~ 0 ~~



Fri, Oct 5, 2018

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Opening Today

THIS RANDOM WORLD by Steven Dietz, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Click here for the promocast of the show




COMING SOON!
~~IN ORDER OF OCCURRENCE~~
MINI VACATION
ROADTRIP!

coming soon
Comprehensive account
coming soon
A Sunday afternoon at The Wilds


also

David Byrne American Utopia Tour BANNER


BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem



Mon, Oct 15, 2018

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DRAMATIC READINGS:
Ohio Playwrights Circle
ACTING ICON

This past Saturday I participated in the first of a few dramatic readings I will do for the current play writing class facilitated by Michael London's Ohio Playwrights Circle.

I'm doing four more between now and the end of the year.


THIS RANDOM WORLD logo.
CATCHING UP

The show has now been through two weekends of it's three-weekend run and it's been going quite well. Audience attendance has been a bit anemic, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that it's a newer, lesser-known play. The audiences who have seen it have responded positively, however.

SOUND TECH ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
As I reported earlier that I would be, I was the sound tech the first weekend and I'd love to report that I got through all three performances flawlessly...... I'd love to report that.

Ooops! -- Opening Night I did have a couple "DOH!" moments. First I moved ahead in the script and skipped an upcoming cue that I then missed. One would think that the sound designer, the person who originally built the sound and placed it there, would not forget the cue. Yet, the designer did just that. I also played a cue too early at another spot. But The Saturday and Sunday shows that opening weekend were not hampered by this ridiculousness. As for any further tweaking of the soundwork, there was none.


THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE logo.
NEXT icon
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Now it's time to move on into the next project: sound design for Luke Yankee's The Man Who Killed the Cure.

Tech Sunday is November 11, so I have some time to get it together, I would hope.


FutureFest 2018 BANNER

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FutureFest co-chair Brian Sharp & playwright Carl L. Williams
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Brian & playwright William C. Kovacsik
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Brian & playwright Barbara Snow
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Brian & playwright Randy Neale
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Brian & playwright Jim Geoghan
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Brian & playwright John Minigan
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Helen Sneed (with her award) and co-chair Tina McPhearson -- with co-chair Brian
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Eleanore Speert
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David Finkle
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Peter Filichia
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The adjudicators with Matthew Kagen commenting

It's About Damn Time! -- with frowning eyes graphic

Yes, yes, FutureFest 2018 was almost three months ago; what can I say, priorities are priorities; there've been other things to attend to. So, late to the game as this may be....

Not at all surprising FF18, as have been the past FFs I've attended, and/or participated in, was one of the highlights of my summer.

I'm not at all alone in thinking this was one of the best crops of plays, over all, in quite a while at FutureFest. Of course, I've not been to every single FF, but I have been to the last fourteen, and I think this qualifies as the best group of plays since I've been around. That's not to say there haven't been a few other really good festival line-ups, which enhances the assessment for this year's weekend.

The adjudicators this year were primarily some of the most recurring usual suspects, Peter Filichia, David Finkle, Helen Sneed, Eleanore Speert, with one FF freshman, Matthew Kagen.

Helen Sneed was, in fact, awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for having been a FF adjudicator for twenty-five years, and as Meredith Moss wrote in an article for The Dayton Daily News, Helen "has become a festival favorite known for her perceptive comments and wit."


Here are the shows and their credits:
The synopses are official from FF, not my words

WHAT ARE WORDS WORTH TO A LONG FELLOW?
by Carl L. Williams

*fully staged

Friday, July 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Directed by Debra Kent

A young man intent on living a dissolute, artistic life as a poet becomes infatuated with a new love. But he soon encounters two life-changing dilemmas. Economic necessity, along with the insistence of his older sister, may compel him to forsake his poetic life and accept a mundane, regular job. And secondly, when confronted with the choice, he has to decide if he's willing to sacrifice love in exchange for artistic success. Poetry, love, and self-interest intersect in challenging ways to form the ever-shifting current of the young man's life.

Norris -- Jared Mola
Debbie -- Kayla Graham
Phyllis -- Wendi Michael
Jack -- Scott Madden


FETTERED
by William C. Kovacsik

*staged reading

Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Directed by Annie Pesch

In Maryland, in 1620, a white woman could marry an African slave -- but only if she was willing to become enslaved herself, and to see her children and their offspring born into slavery. So when a poor Irish immigrant girl meets an African slave who has been trained by his master to run a large plantation, and they start to think of spending the rest of their lives together, choices have to be made. FETTERED asks: what is the price of love? And how long will it take before we acknowledge the humanity of everyone in our country?

Town Crier (and others) -- Richard Young
Lord Baltimore -- Michael Plaugher
Nell -- Karley Holdeman
Major Boarman -- Ray Geiger
Charles -- Thomas Troutman
Mrs. Boarman -- Jennifer Lockwood


LATE IN THE GAME
by Barbara Snow

*staged reading

Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Directed by Shawn Hooks

This play looks at the experience of aging from the perspective of Baby Boomers. How does the generation that opposed the Vietnam War and marched for civil and women's rights, settle into their new role as senior citizens? The short answer is, not very gracefully. This is a story of life, death, love, aging, and that most frightening of all experiences: change.

Margaret -- Fran Pesch
Iris -- Becky Howard
Callie/Assistant -- Cher Collins
Donald -- Jim Lockwood
James/John Miller -- Mark Sharp
Gina Mae -- Pamela Byrd
Narration -- Brian Sharp


LAST RITES-DETROIT, 1967
by Randy Neale

*fully staged

Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Directed by Kip Moore

On the second day of the riots in Detroit in July of 1967, three people take refuge from the chaos on the streets in a gas station/convenience store on 12th St. in the epicenter of the riot. While the riots mount, we learn what has brought these people to be in this place at this time, and we watch as all three people must come to grips with their losses as a result of the violence and fires outside, while dealing with each other and their racial and generational differences. Their differing experiences and points of view clash even while they are giving each other comfort, until they reach a point where the violence outside spills over to their refuge. The play examines the roots of what is happening on the streets through the lives and eyes of these three disparate people and raises many questions about how much or how little has changed in the 50 years since the riots.

Ron -- Michael Schumacher
Esther -- Joyce Barnes
Sydney -- Naman Clark


OF MEN AND CARS
by Jim Geoghan

FutureFest 2018 Winner
& Audience Favorite

*staged reading

Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Directed by Dawn Roth Smith

Jim stole his father's '39 Ford when he was four and soon realized some of the greatest events and memories in his life would happen in cars. From the Bronx to Beverly Hills and places in between, Of Men and Cars follows Jim's life and his relationships with all sorts of people including his father. If you want to have a meaningful conversation with a man, especially your father, it's best to do it in a car.

Jim -- Spencer Berta
Dad -- Saul Caplan
Mom/Anna/NY Woman/Dorothy -- Pam McGinnis
Frankie Two Fingers/Salesman/Warren/Shrink/Man -- Chuck Larkowski
Girl Next Door/College Girl/LA Woman/Saleswoman -- Heather Martin
Dominic/Man/Soldier/Jack -- Brennan Paulin
Russo/Pot Head/Dumb Guy -- Michael Boyd


QUEEN OF SAD MISCHANCE
by John Minigan

*fully staged

Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Directed by Richard Lee Waldeck

A play about gender, race, academia, and belonging. Kym thinks she's lucked into the perfect resume-builder for a biracial college senior determined to find a career in academia: helping renowned feminist scholar Beverly Norden finish her ground-breaking book on Shakespeare's Queen Margaret before Alzheimer's makes the task impossible. As the passing months make clear that Beverly's failing memory is not the greatest obstacle to their work, Kym reassesses her connection with Beverly, Beverly's son, and academia itself. What can the Margaret story tell her about her own path forward?

Beverly -- Amy Taint
Kym -- Carrin Ragland
Roy -- Jamison Meyer


FF Planning Committee: Brian Sharp (co-chair), Tina McPhearson (co-chair), Fran Pesch, Matthew Lindsay, & Peggy Mangan.
Play Reading Committee: Jennifer Lockwood (chair), Margaret Baird, Marlene Bireley, Sarah Caplan, Cecile Cary, Joyce Emory, Mary Ellen Griswald, Charlotte Harris, Chuck Larkowski, Heather martin, Jared Mola, Fran Pesch, Pat Ronald, Deirdre Root, DJ Shade, & Gayle Smith.
Final Play Reading Committee: Dodie Lockwood, Debra Kent, Chuck Nickerbocker, Russell Florence, & Sue Eisner.
Production Stage Manager: Logan Dabney
Scenic Design: Red Newman
Lighting Design & Operator: Richard Waldeck
Sound Design & Operator: Hanna Stickel
Program: Stacy Ward

more photos from the weekend:
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COMING SOON!

MINI VACATION
ROADTRIP!

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David Byrne American Utopia Tour BANNER BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Sun, Oct 21, 2018

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Closing Today

THIS RANDOM WORLD by Steven Dietz, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Directed by Marjorie Strader
Produced by Deirdre Root

We want to believe that serendipity brings us together, but how often do we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing? From an ailing woman who plans one final trip, to her daughter planning one great escape, and her son falling prey to a prank gone wrong, this funny, intimate, and heartbreaking play explores the lives that may be happening just out of reach of our own. Following a web of characters whose interwoven lives collide but never quite connect, This Random World shows us that, through the power of chance, we might be closer to each other than we know.

The Cast of This Random World

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Scottie ward
           Jane McBride
Tim ward
           Ranger Puterbaugh
Beth Ward
           Susie Gutierrez
Bernadette Mitchell
           Teresa Lynn
Rhonda Mitchell
           Erin McGee
Claire
           Sara Duibley
Gary
           Matthew W. Smith

The Promocast for THIS RANDOM WORLD



MINI VACATION ROADTRIP! A Sunday Afternoon at The Wilds, Aug 5, 2018 - BANNER

The photos from my excursion. In some cases I might misidentify some species, but, what-a-ya-gonna-do?
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I think this is a Common Eland. Of course, that is another of the open-air tour buses.
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A herd of Common Elands, probably.
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A Greater One-Horned Asian Rhino
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Two Greater One-Horned Asian Rhinos -- one in the forefront and one in the far back, about to enter the water (if you can make it out)
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Parakeet Landing.
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Inside Parakeet Landing.

It's About Damn Time! -- with frowning eyes graphic AGAIN!

When I was planning my little weekend-getaway, mini-vacations this summer, I had originally targeted a return to The Indianapolis Zoo, which I had visited in the mid-nineties. But at the time I was laying down plans for these excursions this summer, someone told me about The Wilds. I was intrigued. I got on the web and looked it up. I was further intrigued. I tried to fit both The Wilds and the Indy Zoo into my schedule but could not quite do it. So, The Wilds won as a destination. It just looked and sounded like such an interesting place; add to that, that it was the choice from the two that I had not yet experienced.

Indeed, the Wilds is, a wonderful place. It's seriously interesting for people of all ages. If you, reading this, have kids, this is a great little road trip for your family -- I guarantee it!

The Wilds is on a large swath of land (just shy of ten-thousand acres) outside of Cumberland in southeastern Ohio, that for most of the mid-twentieth century was mined for coal. It was donated as land for a wild animal preserve by the Central Ohio Coal Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company. In 1992 the first animals, Przewalski's Wild Horses were introduced onto the land, with other species to follow. By 1994, public tours were introduced.

In the 2000s the Columbus Zoo assumed governance of The Wilds and the compound has continued to grow and progress both in terms of animals introduced and facilites built and utilized. For the history page at the official site, click here.

There are several tours offered, I took the Open-Air Safari, which, just as suggested, the visitors are in an open-air bus that drives through the open-range animal areas, where animals, mostly but not exclusively, herd animals, roam. It ran a little more than two hours.

Here's a list of the animals, all endangered, that one can see on the tour:
We didn't see all of the animals, but we saw all but a few. In some cases, they were pretty far off so we didn't get a good look. This was another of the cases, here lately, where I've wished I owned a much better camera than I do, one with a much better zoom lense, for certain.

Some animals were pretty far off and the lack of a good zoom stopped me from getting a good photo. In some cases I took pictures but they are not worth posting here. My lack of a good pair of binoculars also stopped me from getting a good view of such. Some animals just weren't in the area of their designated ranges close to us, the Cheetahs for instance. The Wild African Dogs (African Painted Dogs) where all escaping the sun and heat in the shade of little structures so, though they were relatively close, I couldn't get terribly good shots of them.

Other animals, as you can see in the photos I took, were quite close. The Southern White Rhinos being the most exciting one for me. There was a small herd right by the driving path. We stopped and a couple strolled right up next to the bus. One was so close that I literally could have reach out and touched it.

I fully intend to go back next summer for a more elaborate visit. The Wilds offers several overnight experiences and I have my mind set on two nights on Nomad Ridge, staying in a yurt.

There is a complementary Open-Air Safari included, but I think I want to add on some other events, which one can do at reduced rates. There's the Wildside Tour where one gets up close to some animals and feed or otherwise interact with them, I'm also thinking about doing the Sunset Wildside Tour -- same tour but, obviously, at sunset, and with the addition of buffet dinner.

There's also the Evening at the Outpost, which is similar to the Sunset Wildside tour, but specifically says to "Relax and enjoy the scenic views of our pastures and herds while experiencing our newly-designed Giraffe and rhino encounter areas, where you may get up close and personal with our herds." If I do this as I'm currently planning it's gone to run me just shy of $1000, at current rates, anyway.
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More Parakeets
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More Parakeets
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Another tour member feeds a Parakeet.
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A Przewalski's Wild Horse
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Przewalski's Wild Horses
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Bantengs, aka: Bali Cattle
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I love the Columbus Zoo system's sense of humor!
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The best photo of the African Painted Dogs I could get.
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The open-air buses.
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Fringed-Eared Oryxes
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Ostrich
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The tour guide warned us to stay back when the Ostrich was close to the bus, and to especially not put our hands or faces out the window -- the Ostriches will bite.
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Scimitar Horned Oryxes
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An adolescent Giraffe just after he drank from the water puddle.
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More Giraffes
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Another Giraffe
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The newest Giraffe at The Wilds, only a few weeks old at the time. The tour guide was excited because: 1) the baby had not been that close to the road before; 2) the mother was allowing it to get that close to the road and allowing it to stray a little bit of distance from her.
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The highlight of the two-hour safari was the visit with the Southern White Rhinos, with their pasture just next to the Giraffes'. Once again, our tour guide was excited because the small herd stroled right up next to the bus, which is uncommon for them to do.

She also said that the rhinos knew her and she could actually have been able to get out of the bus and mingle with them but that while doing the open-air tours the guides were not allowed to do that. One big point is that encouraging that behavior from tour members was greatly discouraged because how the Rhinos would react to strangers in their midst was unpredictable.

We also stopped and parked on an incline so she was, under that circumstance, not allowed to stand up, otherwise she would have leaned out the window and talked to the Rhinos, who love to hear what she called "baby talk."

One wonders of they knew she was in the bus, because several of them came strolled close to the vehicle, one right next to us, so close that I actually could have reached out and touched it. It was literally right beside me.
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This Rhino came right up to the bus....
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....right up
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The best photo I could get of the Grévy's Zebras
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Bactrian Camels
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Bactrian Camels
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Some Wilds vistas
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Of course, this being a weekend-getaway, mini-vacation, how could I not at some point in my day have an ice cream cone? Had to do it.

It's become a vacation tradition.

There not being a good ice crem option at The Wilds, I had to drop by Young's Dairy on the way home.

Too bad I don't keep my ice cream consumption limited to my litte expeditions. Although, at least at home I usually do frozen yogurt rather than straight-out ice cream, which is a little better.

{ | - - - - ( 0 ) - - - - | }



COMING SOON!

David Byrne American Utopia Tour BANNER BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Thu, Nov 1, 2018

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David Byrne American Utopia Tour BANNER
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The stage before the show as seen from my seat.
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Benjamin Clementine
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The stage after Benjamin's show and just prior to David's
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Minutes before David
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David at the opening of the show, doing "Here"
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David on the monitor during "Here" -- before David requested the screens be turned off
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The whole band on stage, not sure what song.
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Again, no idea what song
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During "Once in a Lifetime"

Once AGAIN! It's About Damn Time! -- with frowning eyes graphic

In Concert icon
There are a lot of recording artists I've never seen live but have wanted to, some which it won't be possible to see, because the artist has died, truly retired, or the band is no more. I regret greatly that I never saw Talking Heads live, but, in August, I sort of remedied that by seeing their front man, the incomparable David Byrne live at The Rose Music Center -- my first time at that venue as well as my first time seeing David in concert.

The opening act was Benjamin Clementine, whom I had never heard of, though some younger folk who sat close to me were familiar with. Benjamin is a prodigious pianist whose music is a nice blend of folk and R&B, with flourishes of modern production tricks, that he delivers with a distinct second tenor voice and vocal phrasing that reminds me somewhat of Tracy Chapman's delivery.

The pre-show "music," both before Benjamin's performance then before David's show, consisted of recordings of bird songs, that at first sounded like from a forest but gradually more and more as if from a jungle setting. Shortly before David came on, the recording phased into a rainstorm with thunder.

Just as I was sure it would be, David Byrne's show was nothing less than excellent. The stage was completely bare. David and all the musicians were wireless, David and his vocal accompanists had headgear mics. Everyone was constantly on the move in choreographed movements that not only were reminiscent of, but I think, technically were colorguard choreographies. To add to the marching band sort of motif, there was not a single drum kit, but several percussionists that made up the elements of the drum kit work.

It may sound like it was nerdy or dorky, but it was absolutely amazing and just about as definitively cool as it could be. The colorguard movements of the band worked excellently with the music. Byrne has been interested in incorporating colorguard into rock and pop for about a decade now, and has been involved in several previous incorporations in the past. In 2015, David even attended the annual Winter Guard International Championship, which happens in Dayton every year -- and gave it a shout out during the show, by-the-way. He even writes about it at his website. One of his passages is titled, "Colorguard and the Failure of Irony."

I had never seen David live before, as I wrote earlier, so one thing that I was not expecting was for David, since he has such an eccentric mystique to his public persona, to be so normal when he spoke to the audience. I expected little direct verbal interaction with the audience, and what there was, I expected would be theatrical in some sort of strange, offbeat manner. But he was just a guy up there, interacting with his fans, though clearly an intelligent, eloquent guy. One interesting note: about thirty or forty minutes in, he said, "Could somebody turn off the big screen monitors, they're very bright," and then, "the show's here on stage not on the screens." He didn't continue the show until the screens were off. I know someone who went to the show the next night in Cincinnati at Riverbend and she reported that the screens were never turned on. I suspect any such screens were off for the rest of the tour.

In one of his first times speaking to the audience, early in the show, he mentioned Headcount, an organization that accompanied David on the tour, giving assistance and information about registering to vote. He even engaged with a woman down front who was at the show with her young adult daughter, saying to the mother, "I'm sure you are registered to vote," then to the daughter, "Are you?" Then to the younger members of the crowd in general he said, "You young people out there, if you want a future, you need to vote."

As you can see from the photos (and the videos I've linked to, below), David's stage was a clean, open space, there were beaded ropes hanging three sides of the retangular parimeter, what could be called the stage left, stage right, and up stage walls. All of the band's amplification was hidden behind those walls, and the band members were free to enter onto stage from just about anywhere, in their wireless-miked, untethered states.
    The American Utopia Tour band:
    Angie Swan -- guitarist
    Karl Mansfield -- keyboardist
    Bobby Wooten -- bassist
    Gustavo Di Dalva -- drummer
    Daniel Freedman -- drummer
    Aaron Johnston -- drummer
    Tim Keiper -- drummer
    Mauro Refosco -- drummer
    Davi Vieira -- drummer
    Chris Giarmo -- backing vocalist
    Tendayi Kuumba -- backing vocalist
The untethered, colorguard movement of the band, utilizing the entirety of their clean, open stage was quite a theatrical experience. The unique manner of instrumentation, which refers chiefly to the marching-band style approach to the drumming, was striking in that, though it was technically a revisioning of the music, the band still gave us renditions of the music that may have been different from the original recordings but still did not stray from the effect of the original instrumentations nor arrangements by too far a measure. It was really not easy to detect a difference between what we were hearing live and the studio recordings.

The concept of the show was an inventive one that succeeded most wonderfully. Byrne has been quoted as saying that the American Utopia Tour is "the most ambitious show I've done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense."

To give you just a little taste of the show, click here for the opening number, "Here," as captured by an audience member in Houston, last April. "Here" is the closing cut from David's new album, also the namesake of the tour, American Utopia. And for one more taste, also from the Houston show, and clearly captured by the same audience member, Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime." I'm linking the Houston performances on the hopeful assumption that mechanical fees have been paid on these youtube postings. I'm probably grabbing at straws with that hope....
    David's Set List:
    Here
    Lazy
    I Zimbra [Talking Heads]
    Slippery People [Talking Heads]
    I Should Watch TV [David Byrne & St. Vincent]
    Dog's Mind
    Everybody's Coming to My House
    This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) [Talking Heads]
    Once in a Lifetime [Talking Heads]
    Doing the Right Thing
    Toe Jam [Brighton Port Authority]
    Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) [Talking Heads]
    I Dance Like This
    Bullet
    Every Day Is a Miracle
    Like Humans Do
    Blind [Talking Heads]
    Burning Down the House [Talking Heads]

    ENCORE 1:
    Dancing Together
    The Great Curve [Talking Heads]

    ENCORE 2:
    Hell You Talmbout [Janelle Monáe]

Here's a good article from last May about the tour that also touts some more great audience-captured video from some of the shows: "Happy Birthday David Byrne: Performing Talking Heads Songs On American Utopia Tour."

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Closing the main show: "Burning Down the House"
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Encore: "Hell You Talmbout"



COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Tue, Nov 6, 2018

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I VOTED TODAY, how about you?



COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


VETERANS
DAY 2018

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VETERANS DAY




s
COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Wed, Nov 14, 2018

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PLAYWRIGHT WORK:
The Writer icon
Final Draft 8 icon

I have started writing a play that has some good possibility of making it to a final draft since I have lived with the characters, in their universe, for a long time. The play is a three-hander with three of the main characters from that universe of the novel manuscript that lies dormant, waiting for my return to give it direct attention (and the potential novel series that might follow), all that which I've written about here before.

A few month's back, in fact, I wrote some about how I occasionally get obsessed with working on the story bible, which spans 130 years -- the novel series, and any cross-overs, won't ultimately occur over the whole 130 years, the first 60-70 years is for background for the characters and history of the universe. At the time I wrote here about the obsession, I was in the midst of a bout.

I believe I wrote at the time that as I work on the bible, as I come up with events and facts at specific spots on the timeline, I have story points, conflicts, specific moments that occur to me, and some of them are more than simply potential, they have become things that likely will occur, under the assumption that I ultimately write something that happens at that point or later in the timeline of the universe.

A while back, I conceived of a story idea that happens thirteen years after the first novel ends, during an annual event that is a family tradition. I originally assumed that it would end up in one of the planned, future novels. Then at some point, as I got one of my occasional urges to write a play, probably during or just after attending FutureFest, I realized that this particular idea would be particularly ripe as play material.

My first thought was as a two-hander, because the conflict is mostly between two particular characters. Recently, as I was doing dramatic readings for an Ohio Playwrights Circle class, the urge to try writing a play resurfaced. This idea came to mind, again, and I was back on the two-hander idea. Though there are actually a lot of family members present at the event, technically twelve people.

One thing I know is that, in today's market, with few exceptions, unless it's a major musical production by the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda or Jeanine Tesori, a new play, musical or straight, has terribly little chance of getting produced with twelve characters -- unless it's written so a small handful of actors can be cast in multiple roles. Everyone in-the-know that I have talked to and everything I've read, says that five characters or fewer is optimal for a straight play, at least on a professional stage. A new straight play with a large cast might be attractive to community theatres, high schools, even college theatres, and these are actually not bad markets, but professional theatres are going to balk at a large cast size because that means more cost in actors' wages. I also, suspect that serious college theatre programs are more apt to go after small-cast ones when they look for new straight plays because that reflects the professional market.

I started to write this play with pretty much all the family members present at the event on the page. I quickly realized that for the reason already mentioned, plus that it would be a bit unwieldy, I needed to pare it down. I went back to a two-hander, but then realized there was one more character that needed to be an active player, so now it's a three-hander.

The play will be a one-act. My goal is a length of 70-90 minutes. I am at least half-way through Scene Two. I have a working title, but it is not the final one. I haven't worked on it in a few days because I've been currently preoccupied with the sound design for The Who Killed the Cure, *(see below), but I plan to be back at the manuscript soon.


AN AEA FUNCTION: AN EVENING WITH AUSTIN TICHENOR:
EMC Card
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

Monday evening of last week I attended an Actors Equity Association function at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company: "An Evening with Austin Tichenor." Tichenor is the co-managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

The evening was a casual two-hour talk with Tichenor where he told us the background of his career and how he came to his current position with "the other RSC," as he calls it.

He's currently at "Cincyshakes" directing the upcoming production of Twelfth Night, which happens to have Josh Katawick as a cast member -- Josh who worked in the past with Springfield StageWorks, and whom I've shared the stage with there a couple times.

It was a nice evening, though I didn't walk away with many great new wisdoms about either the craft or the business, save for the fact that guest appearances on TV shows are paying less and are less available for unknown actors. Ultimately, I found it worth the 75-minute drive.

The cool thing was that just a few days later, I was watching an episode of Gilmore Girls, the episode, "I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia," and there was Tichenor, in the role of Dr. Goldstein. I'd seen that episode several times before meeting Mr. Tichenor, plus he's got credits on several other shows where I've seen all the episodes multiple times, but I did not make the connections when I met him last week. This has happened to me before when I've met actors with a lot of TV credits. So much for that fleeting fame, huh?


DRAMATIC READING:
Ohio Playwrights Circle
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON

I read again Saturday, the 3rd, at the Ohio Playwrights Circle class. I was originally scheduled to do it, then I got a paying gig, but then that gig was cancelled. I will next do a reading for the class on December 3, then also the next afternoon, which will be a public reading.


INTO TECH WEEK:
THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE logo.

We are half-way through tech week. No big issues. Tech Sunday was a long one for me. The plan was to have only an involved cue-to-cue because there are a lot of sound cues and light changes, and a crap load of set changes. But what we ended doing was a full tech run, with stops and restarts as needed, which worked out well enough.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
I, as is often my practice, spent the night in the theatre from the day before into Tech Sunday, spending most of Saturday finishing the sound design and getting it programmed, with the exception of a set of voice-overs from one actor, that could not be recorded until Sunday evening. It was also later decided to add some music for some scene changes where we originally thought none was needed. I had that added in for Monday evening, as well as the VO work recorded the day Before. There's also contention about one song that is being used and, right now, the disposition of that is up in the air -- it's a question of whether we want the irony of the song we are currently using or not. I am on the side of going with the irony.

DTG Promocast Production logo
The promocast was shot, as planned, on Sunday and was edited to final cut the next day. It's online now: https://youtu.be/DzbAggtlDO0.


PREPRODUCTION:
SHADOW BOX logo.
DTG Producer icon

We had a production meeting this past Thursday. There's little to write about here, save that there will be very little sound design for me to do -- mostly I'll be programming in the music that the director has chosen for the show, and will add some ambient sound for a scene or two.

The only other thing to write about is that open auditions are this coming Monday and Tuesday -- see just below on this page *(until after the dates have passed).


COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Fri, Nov 16, 2018

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Opening Today

THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE by Luke Yankee, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Click here for the promocast of the show




COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


ThanksGiving
 Day, 2018

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Happy ThanksGiving from K.L.







AUDITION ICON
NOPE ICON

I did audition for The Shadow Box, but as you will note below, my name does not appear on the cast list.


THE FIRST WEEKEND:
THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE logo.

The show had a good opening weekend. I was in the audience both Friday and Saturday and both shows went well and had good audience response. I was not there Sunday, but the reports on the Sunday performance are comparable to the first two shows.

Luke Yankee was at the Saturday performance and gave a talkback, and even brought a special guest, Howard Straus, the grandson of Dr. Max Gerson, one of the two main characters of the play, the one who treats cancer patients and his other patients with natural methods as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs.

A video of the talkback, to follow -- along with the video of the talkback Luke gave for The Last Life Boat in September of 2016


The Writer icon
Final Draft 8 icon
On a Personal Note icon
A while back I sent an excerpt to Luke of one of those supplemental materials I have been cooking up to help me with the universe of the character from my planned novel series. This is a fictional interview in the March, 1979 Playboy Magazine with the protagonist. I sent the excerpt to Luke because it deals with L.A. and it deals with fame. Luke is from L.A.and, as his mother was the well-known character actress, Eileen Heckart, he has some insight into fame -- there were a lot of famous folk around all the time; as the advert for his book about his mother, Just Outside the Spotlight, says: 1) Marilyn Monroe babysat his brothers, 2) Ethel Merman taught him how to make martinis, 3) Paul Newman gave him acting tips in his parents' living room.

I wanted to know if what I had conjured up had a ring of authenticity to it. Last Saturday Luke told me it did. He also told me what he had read he found fascinating, which is a good thing, of course. He asked me what I was going to do with it. I told him about how it's just really part of my building that universe and doing some character development. I also told him that I've started a play that happens just a few years after the Playboy interview and that there will be a reference to it in the script.

Anyway, a little personal positive stuff from Luke's visit.


THE BEATLES (AKA: "THE WHITE ALBUM"):
The Beatles

I ordered the fiftieth-anniversary, six CD + one blueray, box set of "The White Album." It arrived yesterday. I haven't listened to all of it, yet, but I have to say that a few of the "2018 remixes" I've heard don't particularly appeal to me.

Perhaps these offending new mixes will grow on me, but I'm not too sure they will.


AN ACT OF GOD AT THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY:
In the audience icon

Last Sunday afternoon, rather than see The Man Who Killed the Cure for the third time, I went to HRTC to see the final performance of David Javerbaum's An Act of God. It's a funny and quite irreverent comedy that, in this production, starred Cincinnati actor and Wright State University acting program alumnus, Sara Mackie as God. Scott Stoney joins her, as the Archangel Gabriel, and Joshua Levine was Archangel Michael.

Mackie was in the spotlight with an impressive performance. Scott and Joshua were strong support, Joshua, especially, since the script lent him some wonderful opportunities to be so.

So, I'd recommend the HRTC production, but, since I saw the closing show, I guess I'll have to recommend you see it somewhere else, if you get the chance.


ANNOUNCING THE CAST:
SHADOW BOX logo.

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Joe
           Brendan Sheehan

Maggie
           Jackie Anderson

Steve
           Elisha Chamberlin

Anges
           Mandy Shannon

Felicity
           Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard

Brian
           Chuck Larkowski

Mark
           Aaron Brewer

Beverly
           Megan Cooper

The Interviewer
           Geoff Burkman



COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Sun, Nov 25, 2018

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Closing Today

THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE by Luke Yankee, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Directed by Jeff Sams
Produced by Debra Kent

The Man Who Killed the Cure, a controversial new play by The Last Lifeboat playwright Luke Yankee, is based on the life and death of Dr. Max Gerson, one of the fathers of natural healing. Two doctors, who are colleagues, friends, and men of science, survive Nazi Germany and make their way to America. Dr. Max Gerson believes in natural healing techniques while his former best friend and new adversary gets rich trying to stop him. This play is about the times we live in, one man's betrayal of another, and a timeless investigation of the hypocrisy that poisons the world of modern medicine.

The Cast of The Man Who Killed the Cure

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Dr. Max Gerson
           J. Gary Thompson
Dr. Rudolph Heller
           David Williamson
Charlotte Gerson, and others
           Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard
Helga, and others
           Kristyna Zaharek
Mr. Carmichael, and others
           Ryan Shannon
Long John Nebel, and others
           Scott Madden

The Promocast for THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE



COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem


Mon, Dec 3, 2018

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PUBLIC DRAMATIC READING:
Ohio Playwrights Circle
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON

Yesterday, I was one of the readers for a public reading of work from the latest play writing class of the Ohio Playwrights Circle. I read in four of seven presentations. It was a lot of fun, and I was able to finally do a scene with local actor Franklin Johnson, after quite a few years. This is the first time since Opus at The Guild in the fall of 2012 that Franklin and I have worked together. It was nice to finally do so again.

One of the characters I did yesterday was one I'd done in other classes, from a play that local playwright Daniel W. Owens has been working on for some period of time. It's a really nice, fun character that I enjoy embodying. Although, and there was a bit of discussion about this yesterday, as much as I would really love to play the role in a full production, it would be against type to cast me, only because the character is in his late 30's. I am not going to be able to sell that on stage visually. For a reading, it's fine to have me in the role -- and, frankly I was very happy with my work. Hell, in the reading yesterday I also played a 20 year-old Asian American, and we know that's not going to fly in a full production.

There will be a public reading, at some point early in 2019, of Mr. Owen's full play, and he has asked if I can play the character for that, which is always flattering -- to have playwrights want you, specifically, to take on the skin of one of their characters.

There were a few other ego-boosting comments about the acting range I showed during the course of four pieces I participated in, which, of course, felt pretty damned good. One audience member asked if I was a professional actor. I told her that I have done some professional work, then I mentioned Banned from Baseball as my last pro gig and she said, "Oh! We saw that!" She didn't recognize me, or make a connection to me, as Dowd, which, to me, is actually a complement.

So, yesterday was a good day for this actor! cool smile icon


PLAYWRIGHT WORK:
The Writer icon
Final Draft 8 icon

I've been having great spurts of episodes where I am on the razor-edged verge of obsessive preoccupation with working on the three-hander play that I've recently started, the one I wrote of in the November 14 blog entry. Not that I think this is a bad thing, whatsoever. I'm into the second scene, and I think that I may be almost done with that scene, but, I may not be. I also think that I might be about halfway through the first draft of the manuscript, and if it stays the one-act that I've planned, then I'm probably right. I also am mostly certain that it will stay a one-act.

I've been having such fun writing the dialogue in scene two and it's going to kind of suck when I go back through to murder my little darlings, which I have already done to some smaller extent for both this and the first scene. But, as I stated on my facebook page, I will be keeping the references, in scene 2, to a rattlesnake rhumba and how rattlers brumate!

Meanwhile, by necessity of the story, I have a lot of exposition that needs to be out there, and sneaking it into the dialogue without it being a blatant maneuver is not as easy as it may seem. I don't want to have my characters saying awkward, inauthentic dialogue, telling each other things they would never tell each other because it's such common knowledge between them, just so the audience will get the information. The best scenario there would be for the audience to say, "Oh, the playwright wants me to know (yadda yadda) -- and that's not good, just the best scenario." The probable scenario is that they'll say, "Oh, jesus, how cheesy and horrible!" I hope I have been working the exposition in, in some sort of logical and natural way, with dialogue that makes sense to have been spoken between those speaking it. I think I have. I guess, at some point, I'll find out.

Speaking of dialogue, over the last few days I have written a monologue for one of the characters that, in length, at least, rivals the likes of one from Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?. I'd love to think it rivals it in quality of prose, too, but I'm not that delusional.

I have to say, it's a good feeling to have my Final Draft software open quite frequently rather than just have the icon, sitting there in my MacBook's desktop dock, taunting me.

So, recently it's been a good period for this writer! cool smile icon


COMING SOON!

BANNED FROM BASEBALL by Patricia O'Hara at The Human Race Theatre Company.
post mortem

It's getting ridiculous, how long it's taking me to get to this. But, I've been preoccupied with a few other projects, and now I am caught up in working on the new play manuscript. I also am waiting for some clearance to use some photographs, an answer on that clearance which has not been given, yet. So, stay tuned, I actually have started some prose for the blog entry.

One thing I will share, right now: the playbill from our production has been accepted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.



Christmas Day 2018

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Happy Holidays from K.L.
























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