"'We hold these truths to be self-evident,' they said, 'that
all men are created equal.' Strange as it may seem, that was the
first time in history that anyone had bothered to write that down.
Decisions are made by those who show up. Class dismissed."
-- President Josiah Bartlet, (as written by
The West Wing,
Season 1: episode 22
"What Kind of Day Has It Been?"
Let me repeat that one line: "Decisions are made by those who
This is virtually the same post I did last Fourth of July. It seems
like it bears repeating. The situation is more dire for The United
States this year than it was last year. Some people don't believe
it, maybe some of them are in denial. But people in power in our
government, especially the executive branch, have created
where they are purposefully abusing children and their parents; they
are ripping families apart as a deliberate act of cruelty. They are
knowingly, deliberately violating basic human rights and attempting
to dehumanize an entire group of people. A larger swath of
"Americans" are going after "the other," too.
They are systematically progressing a devaluation of gays, lesbians,
transgenders, women, African-Americans (though, that's not exactly
a new sport in America, is it?), Muslims, other foreigners (especially
non-white, non-European immigrants), the disabled and, for God's
sake, Jews -- this mostly being various of the federal, state and
local governments. The people who poo-poo the clear parallels to what
the Third Reich did in the 1930' and 1940's are not paying attention,
or have been taught the erroneous story that it wasn't really that
bad, or, of course, that the Holocaust is a hoax. Or maybe they
refuse to believe that such could ever happen here, not in modern
times. These comparisons are a stretch to them. Sure, we've had our
"checkered past," but we've grown past those things -- you
know, the genocide of Manifest Destiny, the slave culture, the
internments camps, Jim Crow laws, such things as these. I'm not sure
I know how such a stance accounts for brazen neo-Nazi rallies
happening in present-day America or politicians and clergy unabashedly
calling for the execution of homosexuals. I don't know how we can
have grown past it when we are seeing acts by the executive branch
that correspond virtually perfectly to those of the Chancellor of
Germany and his government just prior to World War Two.
There are too many in government, with the help of particular of the
uber-rich, who are threatening the very fabric of American democracy,
and not inadvertently. The arduous path toward the ideal America
that the document we celebrate today set us upon those 243 years ago
is seriously threatened. An American oligarchy is almost firmly set
in place and the democracy that was founded and then grew into something
miraculous that has always promised to get more miraculous has been
compromised, has been wounded.
I think far, far more of us Americans don't want this than do want
it. Yet, I, personally, feel mostly powerless. I am not sure what
effective action I can take to make a difference, to help us get
back on that path, trudging toward the ideal America, one we have
never arrived at, if we're honest with ourselves, but the one we
have struggled toward and have, in many ways, made great strides
toward. As for what I can do now as my part to help us get back on
that track, I can't even hardly throw money at anything, but I need
to have some sort of engagement, even if it's simply to make sure I
go to the polls and encourage everyone I can to do the same. Though
I am worried about how compromised the election will be due to some
in power here (again, federal, state, and local) and by foreign
entities. And isn't it interesting that those in the government who
are actually trying to secure and protect our election process are
getting stonewalled by others in our own government?
I guess the answer is that with all the meddling and the
chicanery that will be happening, the best hope for America is
overwhelming voter participation. Let's face it, a degraded
SCOTUS has just co-signed undemocratic gerrymandering, and voter
suppression is a big game in many places. Is there any reason
whatsoever to believe that the foreign (i.e.: Russian, mostly)
interference and influencing, as well as hacking, is going to be
any less than it was in 2016? I'm afraid it's going to be worse.
Overwhelming voter numbers are our best chance.
It also might not be bad idea if all that need for the purity of
a candidate, "or I ain't votin'!" foolishness be set
aside. It's prevalence in the last presidential election, by far,
wasn't the only reason we have the current occupent of the Oval
Office that we have, but anyone who thinks it wasn't a contributor
isn't thinking well on the subject.
I could go on and on, but, I'll stop here with this reiteration:
"Decisions are made by those who show up."
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them
with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the
separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness.
--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more
disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right
themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under
absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw
off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future
--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such
is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former
Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great
Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all
having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny
over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and
necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and
pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till
his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has
utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of
large districts of people, unless those people would
relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a
right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public
Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for
opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to
cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers,
incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large
for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States;
for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of
Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their
migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new
Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing
his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure
of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither
swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies
without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and
superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction
foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws;
giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any
Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a
neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary
government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at
once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable
Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his
Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns,
and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign
Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and
tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the
high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the
executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall
themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has
endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress
in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been
answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus
marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their
legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and
settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and
magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common
kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably i
nterrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been
deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must,
therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our
Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies
in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,
in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of
the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name,
and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly
publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right
ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved
from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political
connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and
ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent
States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract
Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things
which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of
this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in
the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
The Narrator and his beard
I wouldn't say this will be the deepest, most thorough
post-mortem of a show that
you'll ever read, but I have to write something about this fine, fine
experience. When I read the script it seemed to me that I was best
typed as the narrator. I was far too
old to be either Ransom Foster or Liberty Valance, and a little bit too old
to bring off Bert Barricune. I think I also could have played the Marshall,
but for whatever reason, my focus was on The Narrator. The ungodly,
pretty-much-out-of-control beard I had going was prime for the role, too.
When Director J. Gary Thompson called me to offer me the role, he even said,
"There's one condition: you have to keep the beard." I don't
think the beard was the reason I got the role, I'm confident I gave
a great read in audition, but I
don't think it hurt my chances, and it was perfect for The Narrator.
As for The Marshall, which I did not read for, I could have pulled him
off successfully, I have no doubt about that, but I think we were
extraordinarily fortunate to have had Jim Walker step into the role. His
work was nothing short of dead-on fantastic. Yeah, I believe I could have
made a decent Marshall, but I am so very glad Jim got to give us his version.
There were so many stellar performances in the production: Mike Beerbower
as Ransome Foster, Kelli Locker as Hallie Jackson, Mark Diffenderfer as
Bert Barricune, Austin Vega as Jim Mosten, and Zach Katris as Liberty
Valance, these especially were outstanding performances.
The rest of the cast turned in good work, too: Trenton Napier (Jack Dowitt),
Josh Richardt (Deputy), and the ensemble members (Mark Goodwin, John Juergens,
Jamie McQuinn, Dan Raridan, and Steve Varu). What could be called the weakest
performance was only comparatively so and was not "bad" work, at
All the way around this was a production it's very much worth having been a
[art] of. Another great set from Chris "Red" Newman, costumed
well by Barb Jorgensen and carol Finley, crack
production crew, in general, which,
along with Chris, Barb, and Carol, also consisted of Mellissa Kerr Ertsgaard
(assistant director), Mellanie Shannon
(production stage manager), Scott
Wright (lighting designer),
Sarah Saunders (my co-sound designer),
Brian Erstgaard (who subbed for Scott Wright as light tech
during a performance),Brian Buttrey (sound tech),
with Adam Randolph and Sarah saunders filling in on sound the first weekend,
Logan Dabney (stage crew &
gun wrangler), Scott
Madden (weapons specialist),
Gary Minyard (fight choreographer),
and Adam Randolph (again) and Alaina Martin, both who filled in the last
weekend as crew for the show when our AD, Melissa, had an important conflict
and couldn't be there.
And, of course, Director J. Gary Thompson guided us toward his wonderful
vision for the show.
As for my overall assessment of my work on the show? I certainly am happy
with the soundwork Sarah and I
contributed to the show. I am chagrined that my favorite
sound effect from the show --
a bullet hitting the saloon piano -- was Gary's idea and not mine!
I am also, overall, happy with my Narrator. I'm not quite as happy about
the times I flubbed lines or out-and-out went up.
My personal disaster show,
which I blogged about in the June 18
post, does not thrill me the least bit, either. Still, I am most happy with
the Narrator that I constructed, and that Gary let me construct on my own.
One of the other actors in the show told me he thinks it is hard to create
a strong personality for a character that virtually never interacts with
the other characters in the show, and he thinks I infused great personality
into the Narrator. I greatly appreciate that compliment, though I am not so
sure it's a greater task to create a personality under those circumstance,
but I am thankful he thought I created such a personality for the Narrator.
However, the insecure egomaniac in me does note that during the many
standing O's we got for the
show, the audience did not stand until later in the
curtain calls, after I had
already taken my bow -- meh.
Now, I move on from The Narrator to John Adams
*(see the next entry)
The performance last Saturday at Caesar Creek Vineyards
went quite well. It was an outside performance and it was hot and humid,
so we did bake just a little bit in our full period costuming -- okay, more
than a little bit.
I think all of us tripped over a few lines during the
reading, and a few lines
were dropped. I actually said
a wrong word at one point -- I don't even remember what word it was or
what I said instead. Toward the end of Act II
my mouth was so dry that I mangled a couple words, not getting all the
consonants out of my mouth.
Those little snafus aside, it was a good night and the audience of about
two dozen liked it, so....
Tomorrow night we do a cue-to-cue
for the performances this Saturday and Sunday at
Jefferson & Adams: A Stage Play, written by Howard Ginsberg,
is the story of the turbulent 52-year friendship of Thomas Jefferson,
John Adams, and Adams' wife, Abigail. Based on the collection of
letters between these prolific founding fathers – and one equally
astute wife -- the play fuses compelling political thoughts with
passionate personal beliefs. By focusing on the unique relationship
between the characters and the spirit of the time, the play reveals
each of the three as thoughtful, persevering, dedicated, innovative,
relevant -- and human.
The first show was an outdoor performance at Caesar Creek Vineyards
the last weekend of June. Probably about a dozen people, maybe a few more,
were in attendance, on the patio at the vineyard. It was a hot day, somewhere
around 95° -- though with us actors in full period costuming, it felt
like 100+° -- and it was a tad muggy, as well. I, in fact, despite having
a glass of water usually handy, still had several spots where my mouth was
so dry that I swallowed some consonants as I spoke; these were all moments
when I was up from my desk and was down center,
and thus, away from the inviting, wet drink of water that I needed at the
moment. My two castmates, Mike and Amy Taint, had similar dilemmas, but we
all soldiered through. The audience liked the show, so, there ya go!
The next weekend we had two nice performances at the
X*ACT theatre to reasonably full houses.
It was a nice venture and I'm glad I was approached and that I decided to
Of course, there's always a wrinkle in the fabric. This time it was my
being hit with an attack of summer allergies during the week leading up to
the final two shows. Adams yells a bit in the show. But, you know,
you push through. It wasn't too terrible, but I had a few unpleasant
moments. I made it though and some audience members said they could not
tell, so, I may be exaggerating the problem, in my head.
SO HERE'S HOW I KEPT MY LIFE A LITTLE HECTIC
POST-JEFFERSON & ADAMS:
Somewhere during the time I had started rehearsals for Jefferson &
Adams, I started seeing posts that FutureFest 2019 was in need of a
for the forthcoming festival. As time went on, the call kept being repeated.
Eventually I contacted the powers that be and asked if they still were in need.
They were. I said I'd do it, but that I wouldn't really be able to give it
attention until after Jefferson & Adams closed. I also insisted
that I not be the sound tech;
the only time I don't want to sit in the audience at FutureFest is when I
am on stage for a FutreFest production.
Unfortunately, I was not paying close enough attention to the calendar
when I made that caveat about when I could start. Jefferson &
Adams closed Sunday, July 7. I'd failed to recognize how close on this
heel FF2019 is. It opens Friday, July 19. That means that the first
would be Friday, July 12, with five more following over the course of the
next two days. I had only given myself four days to meet with six
directors and find out their needs, then harvest and curate music and
(and likely have to build some sound),
then program the sound cues for six productions -- and during a period of
time when I had no
leave to spare, so I could not take off work to attend to this stuff.
The good news is that three of the six directors already knew what music
they wanted, for
and production music,
with some of them not needing various of the three categories due to the
nature of their shows. The next good news is that most of sound effects for
all of the shows were either ones that I had already in my
or was able to easily acquire. The little
I had to create was not difficult. The three shows I had to curate music
for were also not a challenge. One was especially easy since I went with
Mozart for all of pre-show, intermission, and all production music.
Still, despite that things could have been far more tasking than they
fortunately have been, I have been dedicating all my time away from the
(and sleep) to FutureFest 2019 sound design since Monday the 8th.
We've moved into the dress rehearsals,
(two a night), and will finish that up late tomorrow evening. Of course,
there are tweaks to the sound going on. In a couple cases there are some
sound added that either I or the director missed and realized such during
the techs over the weekend.
Friday the festival opens. So, however ready the sound is, it's go time,
I'll be shooting a DV movie Thursday evening. I'll share more about this
Despite how busy I have been with the sound design
for the six shows in this weekend's
(see below), I have still managed to do a small bit of tweaking to the
third draft of my stage play.
What happened was this: a few days back I suddenly got clarity, for
whatever reason, for how to clean up a particular clumsy piece of dialogue.
Well, you know how it goes, once I was in there.... I didn't get obsessed
and suddenly allow this to rob my attention from other things, (aka:
but I have slightly re-written a line here or there, usually making it more
concise -- though people don't always speak concisely so some more wordy
dialogue has thus far been left alone.
Clearly the fact that I've been involved in the productions of six new
plays this past eleven days has some significance on why I was thinking about
my manuscript, and why I had an urge to fix something. Not that I don't
think upon it at times when I'm not actively working on it as the main
artistic project of the moment, but the last week-plus has magnified that.
It's an easy bet that I will come out of the intense, condensed weekend of
living and breathing new plays and socializing with the playwrights, the
adjudicators, and all the FF
community, on fire to get back to working on mine more rigorously and move
myself just that much closer to a
At the moment only one person has read the whole play; she read the first
draft and we haven't really talked about any critical response. She actually
will likely read one of the roles when I eventually get to a
reading. A veteren theatre
person (acting, et al) has a copy of that draft, as well, but last I spoke
to him, he had not read it yet. Someone else has a copy of the second draft
and promises that she'll finish it sometime soon and respond with her good,
bad, and uglies.
Ready or not, the game is on tonight. So if the sound is not ready, then
it's not ready. But, I think it's ready. It's been a busy eleven days
getting it all together. I'm looking forward to being just an audience member
for the weekend, but I'll probably be pretty conscious of the sound design
and whether or not it's working. Tonight, First show up is The Princess
at Midnight, by Linda Ramsay-Detherage.
Last night, FF19 had one of FF's occasional bonus pre-festival events.
Fractured, that she commissioned playwright, and past FutureFest
to write. Ms. York also directed this performance. It's a really great start
on a very fine and interesting script, with Annie giving a stellar performance.
As was pointed out several time last night, once they have a chance to do
of the script and Annie has more miles logged performing it, it's all going
to be even more impressive.
Annie's performance of Fractured was the DV movie gig I referred to
in Tuesday's post. It was an actual paid gig,
and I really socked it to her with my fee
quote! Now I can get that Lamborghini Countach! -- cherry-red, of
For preproduction, I
audited her Wednesday, late-afternoon rehearsal, did some test framing and
came to some conclusions about how I should shoot, including how to best
record audio. I shot two-camera,
with one camera stationary on a tripod for the
master shot of the stage,
and another, also on a tripod, but one I was using for closer shots and
pans to get a little more intimate with moments in the performance. I used
two mics to record the audio with my
Tascam Dp-03 8 Track Digital Portastudio Recorder.
When I get into post,
next week, I'll sync that audio with the footage from both cameras, then
edit to final cut from there.
I was stationed in the center of row D, the fourth row from the front, so,
between the master-shot camera and the one I actively operated, as I stood
next to the other, I did obstruct the view of the stage from quite a few
seats behind me, in the center. Though there was a good-sized audience,
fortunately, it wasn't so large that people had to take one of those seats.
It was the best spot for me to get good footage, so that was that.
You know? Once you get back into working on a draft, even if it's just
little this-&-that things, you got this momentum going, even if it's at
molasses-drip speed, and you keep doing your little revisions and tweaks.
If you're lucky, all you're doing is rewording things to make them more
concise, as I wrote about in yesterday's post, or you're cutting things
(murdering little darlings),
or re-wording things for more clarity.
The bitch comes when you have a manuscript that is already much longer than
you intended, than you want, and you realize you need to add something.
Even if it's only a four-word sentence, you cringe, at least emotionally,
as you begrudgingly key the words. Now you're calculating what you can
sacrifice to make up the difference.
The Princess at Midnight, by Linda Ramsay-Detherage
The slaughter of little darlings
(as in "to murder your little darlings")
has begun. It's not quite yet a massacre, but give it time. I'm working on
what I still consider draft number three. On this pass the focus has been
this trimming, as I wrote in the last post.
Now that FutureFest 2019
is on the books, I plan to give most of my attention to finishing this
Draft 3 and then I'll schedule that first
In the progress since last I posted, I'm still adding to the text here and
there rather than cutting, the latter being the goal, of course. But what's
been added seems necessary, and more is being cut than added, so the end-sum
is still a lower word count.
I'm into a challenging spot at the moment. I've just worked on a scene
where a character tells a relevant story and thus has several long
monologues. My goal is to cut
into them significantly without losing much substance or information. This
pass through I am not sure I cut significantly enough. I probably will
make another pass at some point and try for deeper excision. I'm coming up
on monologues by the other characters that will be under the same knife.
It hasn't thus far been that massacre of little darlings, mentioned above,
may be about to commence, but at some point it will probably come to that.
I would like to get the play down to a 80-90 minute
one-act, as I believe I've written
before; that'll unavoidably mean that I'm going to cut things that I hate
to see go. I've done a little of that the last few days, but I know it'll
likely get worse, if not in this draft, then later.
I've murdered my little darlings,
though I doubt that's a process that's done as of yet. I've re-written
some passages. I think it's time to declare that Draft Number Three is
locked. Mind you, this is not anywhere close to the
final draft, of course. With
the exception of one time when I did so, alone, just to get a decent
timing on the full-length, this play has not otherwise been spoken out
The next step is to remedy that, because I need to hear how it plays as it
is. I'm in the midst of arranging the first
table reading of the play.
I have secured two of the three characters, have a hopeful request in for
the third, and am contemplating who to approach about reading the stage
directions that will be necessary to be read.
Who else to invite is the other consideration: those with the ears to
hear the play and give feedback and criticism worth my attention. For a
reason I won't spell out here, I have to be careful who I invite to the
reading. There are some, whose input I would find most valuable, whom I
have to keep away from the play, who cannot know anything about it. My
guess is that anyone from the Dayton theatre community who happens to
read this will likely suspect what that reason is. I'm not blatantly
stating the reason out of some weird, pseudo-superstition (or, maybe:
My goal is to have this table reading within the next couple weeks. My
other goal is to not touch the manuscript again until after the reading.
The reading will be this
Sunday evening. I have all four readers, three for the characters and
the narrator (to read the necessary stage directions).
I've also invited a few others to attend and give me feedback. Again, as
I've written before, there's a certain sector of the Dayton theatre
community that I have to keep away from this manuscript, even though some
of members would have feedback in which I'd find value. But, despite this
particular restriction, I'd like to have about six to ten people, whose
thoughts I can trust, in the room hearing this draft and responding to it.
Though my goal to have the table read has not yet been thwarted, my goal to
not touch this draft before it's read did not make it unscathed. At least
the changes were minimal, and most of the few that I've made were simply
copy-editing changes, mostly fixing typos. I did change a couple words in
one place -- I replaced "quite literally" with "really,
actually." The former may be more literate, but the latter fits the
context much better.
Congratulations are in order to everyone who won a
Daytony Award for the 2018/2019
season. DTG was one of the
theatres that did exceptionally well at the awards ceremony this past
Saturday evening. 85 awards were given out for DTG productions. That's not
too damn bad, at all! Here are the Guild Daytonys for the 2018/2019 season:
PRODUCTION DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
*Awards of Merit
David Shough: Nice Girl
Chris Newman: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Excellence
Chris Harmon: The Little Foxes
Ranger Puterbaugh: This Random World
David Shough & Chris Newman: The Shadow Box
*Awards of Merit
David Shough: The Shadow Box
Scott Wright: Our Mother’s Brief Affair
Marjorie Strader: The Man Who Killed the Cure
*Awards of Excellence
Jason Vogel: This Random World
Tony Fende: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Merit
K.L.Storer: This Random World
K.L.Storer: The Man Who Killed the Cure
David Shough & K.L.Storer: The Shadow Box
K.L.Storer: Nice Girl
Sarah Saunders & K.L.Storer: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Merit:
Olivia Hildenbrandt: This Random World
David Senatore: Nice Girl
*Awards of Excellence
Carol Finley: The Little Foxes
David Senatore: The Man Who Killed the Cure
N. Lynn Brown: The Shadow Box
Carol Finley & Barbara Jorgensen: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Merit
Jovan Terrell: The Little Foxes
Deirdre Root: This Random World
Wendi Michael: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Rick Flynn: The Shadow Box
Deirdre Root: Nice Girl
Rick Flynn: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Merit
Marjorie Strader: This Random World
Jeff Sams: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Debra Kent: Nice Girl
David Shough: The Shadow Box
J. Gary Thompson: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Excellence
Kathy Mola: The Little Foxes
PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*Awards of Merit
Jeff Sams: The Little Foxes
Gail Andrews Turner: The Little Foxes
Erin McGee: This Random World
Matthew W. Smith: This Random World
Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Ryan Shannon: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Kristyna Zaharek: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Tim Rezash: Our Mother’s Brief Affair
Kerry Simpson: Our Mother’s Brief Affair
Heather Atkinson: Nice Girl
Scott Knisley: Nice Girl
Jim Walker: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Excellence
Don Campbell: The Little Foxes
Libby Holley Scancarello: The Little Foxes
Zack Katris: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Geoff Burkman: The Shadow Box
Cassandra Engber: Nice Girl
PERFORMANCE IN A LEADING ROLE
*Awards of Merit
Saul Caplan: The Little Foxes
Dave Nickel: The Little Foxes
Susie Gutierrez: This Random World
Jane McBride: This Random World
Ranger Puterbaugh: This Random World
Jackie Anderson: The Shadow Box
Megan Cooper: The Shadow Box
Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard: The Shadow Box
Chuck Larkowski: The Shadow Box
Mandy Shannon: The Shadow Box
Kathy Campbell: Our Mother’s Brief Affair
Mark Sharp: Our Mother’s Brief Affair
Carly Laurette Risenhoover-Peterson: Nice Girl
Mike Beerbower: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Kelli Locker: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Excellence
Cheryl Mellen: The Little Foxes
Dave Williamson: The Man Who Killed the Cure
J. Gary Thompson: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Brendan Sheehan: The Shadow Box
Mark Diffenderfer: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Merit
This Random World
The Man Who Killed the Cure
The Shadow Box
Our Mother’s Brief Affair
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
*Awards of Excellence
The Little Foxes
Wendi Michael and Chris Harmon: Set Dressing for The Little Foxes
The Little Foxes
The Shadow Box
I'll also post the link to the complete comprehensive Daytony list for the
Dayton theatre community in general as soon as one is available.
Also congratulations to all those who won Murphy Awards at our Dayton
Theatre Guild in-house ceremony, Sunday. Here is the list of winners:
Best Set Design -- Chris Newman: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Best Lighting Design -- Jason Vogel: This Random World
Best Sound Design -- Sarah Saunders/K.L.Storer: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Best Costumes Design -- Carol Finley/Barb Jorgensen: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Best Properties -- Jovan Terrell: The Little Foxes
Best Supporting Actor -- Zack Katris: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Best Supporting Actress -- Heather Atkinson: Nice Girl
Best Actor -- Dave Williamson: The Man Who Killed the Cure
Ugg! Another revision period is
upon me, with some portions most likely being full-blown
rewrites. There's the
factor: the "rewrite." I'm going here with the differentiation
popular in writers' circles: a Revision deals with changes that will make
the text tighter, cleaner, clearer, but not significantly change the story
or any particular section of the script. A Rewrite will involve some major
change that may alter the story or some portion of it. The rewrite will
usually be more than simply cutting or adding or rewording something. It
will usually somehow change the story, often taking it down another path,
or at least rerouting the story for some period of the script, even if it
comes back to a place it had gone to in the previous draft. I guess the
factor is that "rewrite" part, since, in all reality, the
manuscript has been in perpetual revision since I started it.
Sunday evening, the 4th, I had the private reading
of the third draft. I held it in the boardroom of
The Dayton Theatre Guild
-- and here's a little piece of somber trivia: literally around the
corner and two-tenths of a mile from
Ned Pepper's Bar where less than
twenty-four hours earlier the well-publicized murder of nine people
happened on the street in front of that establishment. But rather than
postpone the reading, as I had considered for a little while, I decided to
focus on some art, on an artful thing, and to not allow a madman to interrupt
or interfere with life anymore than was absolutely necessary.
I brought in three actors whom I like very much on stage, (in alphabetical
order): Jenna De Gruy, Jared Mola, and Mandy Shannon. For a
cold read they all did fine jobs.
They had copies of the scripts ahead of time, but no rehearsal at all.
There were also two others present. Listening was helpful. I had to attend
a little more to the script than I wanted to because the person who was to
read the stage directions, etc., had a last minute problem that prevented
her from being there; so I had to read them.
This was, of course, a brand new experience for me, hearing other people
reading my words out loud, hearing other actors give their voices to
characters who've only been given voice by me, internally, up to that
point. It is an odd experience. Of course, it's not fair to be too much in
the "that's-not-how-to-say-that" camp, since it was a
cold read. I await the point when I get to hear actors speak my words after
a rehearsal process.
WHAT!? TECH WEEK'S
ALMOST OVER?!?!..... HOW'D THAT HAPPEN?:
The sound design for this one
has been pretty easy, too. There are a total of 23 sound cues. I do have a
few more automatic cues that are fired after a few of those 23 manual cues,
but not many. By and large it's a simple sound plot. There are only six
production music pieces,
all instrumentals. One at the top of Act 1, one out of Act 1, one into
Act 2, and then one out of the second act, the
curtain music. Then there
are two versions of the same song used as music from a radio at various
points on the show.
As is my usual practice, theres about two-hours worth of
pre-show music, and about an
hour of intermission music,
with Show Cue Systems set to
randomly play from those collections. So, each 30-minute pre-show and each
15-minute intermission will have its own specific play list.
I only found out this past Friday that I need to be the sound tech
until the second weekend of the run. That our official tech for the show
would not be available until then was known early but there was a
misstep getting that information to me. It's a bit of a bummer for me; I
had plans for the Saturday of Opening Weekend that now I'll have to move
to the next weekend, which is unfortunate because that is Labor Day weekend.
What I wanted to do is go to the
Cincinnati Zoo; that seems like a
crowded weekend for a visit. Back on the sound teching, it's me all through
Tech Week and all of the first weekend of shows. The good thing is that it's
a simple sound plot and our
official sound tech will be able to pick it up in a dry tech before the
show on that second Friday.
The promocast is done and up. I
did not seek clearance to use dialogue from the script in this one; I went
with selected moments of the physical comedy from the show, and won't be
using any dialogue. When I write "selected" I mean just that.
There is a lot that I have to deliberately avoid showing so as not to put
spoilers in the DV movie. I show none of the jmurders -- if there ARE
any -- and there are a few other surprises that we're leaving for the
audiences in the theatre.
Then, our area was hit with several tornadoes on the eve of Memorial Day.
The "DAYTON STRONG" sentiment carried through. Now, the
community is still declaring our Dayton Strong attitude after these
I wrote the following about the murder spree on my
facebook page the next
day, after I had heard the terrible news. I plan to come back with another
little essay on this. I just don't know yet what those words are -- or, at
least, what all of them are. Here's what I wrote on August 4, unabridged,
not altered in any way:
I am just dumbfounded and more than a little pissed off. For my
facebook friends from around the country whom this will be relevant
to, this terrible event happened relatively close to
The Human Race
and just down the street from my home theatre, the Dayton Theatre
Guild, and only about 5 miles from the
And I know many, many people, some of them theatre friends, some of
them friends from other parts of my life, who frequent
the Oregon District,
which is where this took place.
I've seen many of those I know who have had to mark themselves safe
because of another one of these insane and absolutely unnecessary
mass shootings. The notices have been steadily popping up as I have
been composing this. But, today, as I sit here, there's some kind
of real chance that when the names of the dead are released, I'll
That both saddens me and really pisses me off!
This is just too goddamn close to home. I always cringe when I read
about these, as do so many other Americans. But, this, this is
literally my goddamn back yard!
This evening, I'll actually be right around the corner from where
this murder rampage took place, within a short walking distance for
I know I'm not just speaking for myself here. I know these thoughts,
this reaction is happening to many people whom I know, some who live
right down there, in, or close to, the Oregon District. And I know
that every time one of these murder sprees happen, there are thousands
who go through what I am right now. And I know there are always
those who are so much closer to the tragedy. Who have lost someone
to a madman. There are frantic friends and families, right now, in
Dayton, gathering to find out if their son, their daughter, their
sister, their brother, their husband, wife, lover, their best friend
is among the victims. So, I'm not putting myself out there as having
some unique right to speak out.
But goddamnit, I'm angry and I'm sad and like so many people from
my little circle of the world, I've just joined a tragic club that
is becoming less and less exclusive all the goddamn time, and that
is just not acceptable.
It was a good final dress rehearsal
last night. No sound issues for me as designer or tech. Well..... I did
decide to adjust the volume of a couple sound cues, but other than that it
was all good. Show opens tonight with me in the booth
on the sound board.
The creative team responsible for a recent Broadway flop, in which
three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious "Stage Door
Slasher," assemble for a backer's audition of their new show
at an exclusive Westchester estate. But the infamous "Slasher"
reappears and strikes again and again. As the composer, lyricist,
actors and director prepare their performance, a blizzard cuts off
any possibility of leaving. Bodies start to drop in plain sight,
and the bumbling police inspector who snowshoes in to investigate
helps solve the mystery in the nick of time and the "Slasher"
is ultimately unmasked.
The Cast of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
Elsa Van GrossenKnueten
Ken De La Maize
The Promocast for The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940