"It actually verges on arrogance, this tendency to blame arts education for our own shortcomings. It’s an elitist argument that absolves us of agency. ‘We can’t do anything about it! We’ve done all we can! They’re just too uneducated to appreciate theater!’ "
It’s time to blog again. And instead of doing it for my career, or say something about my theatre community… I’m making this about me this time.
I haven’t written anything in a really long time, other than PowerPoint decks, and I need to get back to my voice. It’s been a little lost.
I’ve been working my ass off, I had a kid, my world has flipped upside down so many times in the last few years that I need to find a way to get back to what I think and feel.
This blog is an attempt to do that.
So what am I going to do this time around? I’m going to say fuck the rules, fuck the topic, it’ll just represent me. Maybe it won’t be interesting enough for anyone to read, but that’s okay. It’s for me this time.
“I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately. For the last year I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great. This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!”—Trent Reznor, 5.28.13. New NIN album later this year on Columbia Records. (via nineinchnails)
Okay - well that doesn’t seem like that much when I word it that way, but let’s say all the little things that cascade out of those two things are abundant.
Honestly though, I’ve been blessed to start working with an amazing group of people, not only the theatre company, but also my cast for Moon. Not only are the people I surround myself with colleagues, but they are also my Baltimore family.
I love my day job. I’m good at it, it gives me purpose and it provides for the life that I have. My work in theatre feeds my artistic soul though, and keeps my head in the right place.
Well it’s the holiday times, and Glass Mind has taken on the ambitious goal of raising $5,000 before the end of the year. To do my part, I’m making it my personal goal to raise $600 in the next 3 weeks.
Here’s where my friends and family come in. I need your help.
At Glass Mind, we’re really committed to making theatre accessible - for us that manifests in many ways:
Keeping ticket prices low. By far, this is one of our most important goals during our seasons. Most theatres in town charge around $15 for their discount tickets. GMT’s full price admissions is only $12. We want people from all walks of life to see the work that we do, so we are committed to keeping tickets prices as low as possible.
Opportunities for new artists. We pride ourselves on working with a wide range of skilled artists and providing opportunities for them to experiment and play with their craft. Whether it’s a new playwright, a n00b actor or someone just looking to learn more about theatre, we provide opportunities for these individuals to have access to experienced artists. As a company we want to help our community grow and prosper while challenging ourselves to push our artistic limits.
Exploring the theatrical experience in non-theatre events. Not everyone loves theatre, or at least they don’t think they do. That’s why through our auxiliary season and events we investigate what it means to have a theatrical experience in a traditionally non-theatre event. For example, our recent Open Mic night or our Drag Show over the summer. Theatre is everywhere, and we want to invite the community to explore what it means through various offerings.
To ensure that I can keep track of your donations (and see who gets the baked goodness), please email me at lmorton [at] glassmindtheatre [dot] com after submitting your donation.
TWO WAYS TO DONATE:
Online. Through our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas. They help DIY artists like Glass Mind be able to function as a non-profit.
By Mail. Send a check made out to “Fractured Atlas”, with “Project: Glass Mind Theatre” written in the memo line to:
Glass Mind Theatre P.O. Box 19013 Baltimore, MD 21284.
Please be sure to include your Name, Address and Email with your check so we can make sure to get you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.
All donations will receive a receipt from Fractured Atlas.
Alright, so that’s enough from me. I hope that you don’t hate me for turning a blog post into an ask for donations. It’s just Glass Mind means a lot to me. I feel like I finally have an artistic home, a place to take risks and really explore the next phase of my life as an artist. I hope you’ll join in supporting this amazing group of people I have the pleasure of working with.
There’s been a lot going on in my theatre life lately, almost too much to have time to write about it all (I’ll break it down soon, I promise!). But when someone from your past makes their final exit, it’s time to slow down and reflect on their role.
I recently learned that Rusty Clauss has passed. If you grew up during theatre in Fairfax county, more than likely you had some exposure to Rusty or her work. She was a force who came in a very small package.
I remember when I used to hug her, even then I felt as though if I squeezed too hard I’d break her, yet she had the tenacity of a terrier, always pushing us to challenge ourselves further.
I met Rusty when I attended Edison for high school. Though she had taught there prior, she was not my theatre teacher. Every year as a part of the Folger Shakespeare Festival (I think that’s what it was called, it was a bunch of high schools performing at the Folger) we would prepare a Rusty Clauss cutting of Willy Shakes. Her work taught me about the continuity of storylines, what was okay to throw away and what was vital to keep the audience engaged in what was happening.
Her cutting allowed me to play Queen Margaret in Richard III fifty years before I should have. Her cutting of Hamlet allowed me as a young artist to try my hand at stage managing and costume design. That production also introduced me to Tapestry Theatre Company and Peggy Jones as I needed to go outside the Edison costume room to find what I needed. Tapestry gave me my first opportunity to play an ingenue (and I think probably one of the last times I appeared on stage in that type of role), they also showed me that people were writing plays all the time and exposed me to new play development. I also built a mean castle wall with Peggy and Rusty one day, and though Rusty had a good many years on me, she was as hands on as the rest in the building process.Those ladies popped the bubble of what I thought being a theatre artist was all about. They showed me that you can have artistic fulfillment without having it be your day job. A lesson that I live every day of my life.
Though Rusty’s name was mentioned many more times than I had chances to meet the lovely, kind, supportive artist, I’m glad that I did have my moments with her. Without her, I don’t know if I’d be the artist that I am today.
Thank you Rusty for all that you did. You will be truly missed.
A show that went more for the comedy than the truth of the writing, it tried too hard, was offensive at times and left me utterly unsatisfied, despite a few standout performances and text that oozes with gravitas.
Woolly Mammoth sent me an email begging for donations because the National Capital Arts Program got their budget slashed by Congress. <insert anti-republican statement here>
It got me thinking? Do we really care about the arts any more or are they seen as a luxury? Something for upper middle class people to entertain themselves with, while they “give” to the starving artists that create what they see. Granted, 2 out of the 3 I mentioned above definitely don’t normally employ starving artists (Baltimore Shakes I’m unsure of).
So if I go on the assumption that the arts don’t matter anymore, why don’t they matter any more?
Do we make art for/of/by “the people” or do we focus so much on entertainment value that we miss the true mission of the artist?
Art is a reflection of the society. Our histories are told through the art that people make. Most of the theatre I see I wouldn’t consider art. There are a few exceptions, but most of the time my world view is not challenged or affirmed as an audience member.
I recently saw a production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (on of my fave plays of all time) and I was truly disappointed because the core of that piece is Stephen Adly Guirgis’ questioning of his own faith. The first time I read that play, and subsequent readings since, I’ve questioned whether or not I believed in God and why. Yet the production I saw focused so much on trying to make it funny that they missed the core soul of that piece. It went from being art, to being entertainment.
I’m not the only one that felt that way.
A fellow director on an upcoming project was sitting with me and we got into a discussion about how regional theatre isn’t dangerous and that’s why it bores both of us. We have very different backgrounds, directing styles and even our age is different, but we were able to agree about one thing… Art needs to mean something. It needs to challenge the status quo.
That is why we as artists exist.
So to those patrons who read this blog, I challenge you to see a piece that has never been produced before.
To those fellow artists who read this blog, I challenge you to always make the dangerous choice.
Maybe then we’ll get back the arts that our culture and our children so richly deserve.
So after my last experience at Woolly, I told myself I wouldn’t go back. Yet somehow on Sunday afternoon I found myself driving once again down to D.C. with the boyfriend to take in Oedipus El Rey.
Maybe it’s my love affair with Latin culture, or my obsession with new adaptations of Greek plays, but something made me put aside my experiences and go in with an open mind.
(And just so you aren’t wondering, no bad customer service experiences this time, but I am averaging 50/50 it seems.)
This was the first time I’d seen Woolly’s stage as a thrust, it was an interesting choice, and honestly, the overall design was extremely tight conceptually. It was evocative of the prison and the barrio. It made me draw parallels of how close the two can be.The sound design was edgy and raw, it felt internal and mechanical, just what I would look for in this world. However, I was surprised to not hear the Latin culture infused into the sound design as much. Sound is something that is very important to all cultures, and it is also the thing that can transcend them.
As a director, I love interesting space set-ups, they challenge my skill at creating stage pictures, they also allow you to get right in the audience’s face. I was salivating at the thought of what I was about to experience this Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the actors didn’t live up to my hype. They felt like caricatures of who these people were supposed to be. I was missing the bravado, the color, and most importantly, the passion. I was engaged in watching the play, but I think most of that had to do with the strong design I mentioned earlier. The lead character Oedipus was intriguing, however, I did not see how a man raised in prison and was that skinny could get away with doing yoga in the prison yard. Ever watched an episode of Lock Up?
That also speaks to one of the main things I was missing from the actors. I was missing the danger. Gang life is no easy thing and for these actors it just seemed too easy, like their lives weren’t at stake every moment. As my former Literature of Theatre teacher used to say… “Theatre is about fuckin’ & dyin’”
These actors played their roles, but where was the truth of the situation? Some of the physical characterizations seemed over the top and as though they were playing at something. These are not people that I would be scared of should I encounter them in an alley, and they should be.
The onstage sex scene between Oedipus and Jocasta also wasn’t erotic. It was awkward. They don’t know they are related, which is what is supposed to make the audience feel awkward about that moment. As a director, my inclination, would be to make that as hot and erotic as possible, make the audience queasy in their seats. I need to feel the heat between them to up the ante in the end. Every moment of this 90 minute show should up the stakes a little more, and unfortunately, it failed to deliver.
Also a few random #fail moments:
- The dramaturg talks about machismo in the program and its prevalence in Latin male culture, then quotes the Village People…
- The tattoos didn’t look real at all. It looked like someone had taken a crayola marker and decided to draw on the actors.
I’ve had some really amazing theatre experiences at Woolly, including probably two of the most moving shows I’ve ever seen - Hell Meets Henry Halfway and Antebellum. I guess it was about time I had a less than stellar experience.
Still I’m excited to be going back to Woolly in June (thanks to my lovely friend Elizabeth) to take in Robert O’Hara’s new play BootyCandy. Keeping my fingers crossed that the experience is as striking as Antebellum.
P.S. Of course I ended up picking up the script for Oedipus El Rey and House of Gold. This is not helping my goal of reading every script I have at least once in my lifetime before the end of the year…
Kwame Kwei-Armah was named Artistic Director today by the Centerstage board. Granted I don’t pay attention to much of what Centerstage does, mainly because their artistic choices have been safe for way too long.
I have a lot of theatre friends expressing their excitement on Facebook. However, after watching the video I became less excited about his presence.
One thing I’ve come to admire about Baltimore is that they constantly live in a state of being two things at once. Baltimore is dangerous, yes, but there is such beauty to be found in this city. I was disappointed to hear him talk about the arts as rebranding opportunity for the city. Who says we want to change our image?
Maybe the Visitor’s Bureau does, but the past 4 year of my life in Baltimore have been the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced, and I love the city even more for it. I embrace the danger, because it creates a city that is a ripe crucible for artistic innovation. I by no means am implying that Baltimore’s crime rates are a good thing, they aren’t. But we need to embrace these issues we experience and explore them, be honest with them and ourselves to discover what the true nature of Baltimore is, for good or for bad. No rebranding needed.
I really, really do. I feel like it’s a crutch to “try” and change yourself.
I also think that calling something a New Years Resolution is basically setting yourself up for failure. We all expect New Years resolutions to fail, so why give yourself that mindset at the beginning of the year? That’s not how I want to embrace new opportunities.
So I’m working on changing myself.
Since I moved to Baltimore, I’ve gained a fair amount of weight. A combination of comfort eating and a really bad relationship sent me on a downward spiral. I’ve finally sort of learned how to slow it all down and start taking control of my life again.
So I’m eating healthier. Got a book with some great recipes which has lead to me experimenting more with my food. I also joined a Yoga studio and have a stack of Groupons that I purchased last year, which will give me a lot of variety in the classes I take.
So instead of making a New Years Resolution, I’m just making a change in the way I live my life. I feel motivated and inspired once again by my yoga practice. So here’s to doing something a little different.
Watch TV and help one of my favorite rescue groups!
That’s right. All you have to do is watch an hour of television the Saturday night after Thanksgiving.
For those of you who know me, you know that I have an adorable pitbull (pictured) who is the light of my life. I’ve also been involved in rescue groups for a long time (off & on) and worked at a vet hospital right after college.
I’ve always loved pitbulls. They get a bad rap. The pits I’ve owned and known are always goofy dogs, with bright and shining personalities. Helping them and trying to have my pit be a breed ambassador is something that I’m passionate about.
I’ve also recently started donating monthly to the Villalobos Rescue Center. They are the largest pitbull rescue in the United States and the setting of the Animal Planet show Pitbulls & Parolees. This show has fast become a personal favorite of mine because it tries very hard to portray pitbulls for what they really are and be realistic about what they are capable of. These dogs are no joke and are not for the faint of heart, but they are also unfairly crucified on a regular basis.
Anyways, on Saturday November 27th (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) they are having a special “You Watch. We Give.” episode where money will be donated to Villalobos for every viewer that night. It costs over $800 per day to keep the 200+ pitbulls properly taken care of; that means vet bills, the staff, the food, the bedding, etc.
So if you’re home the Saturday night after vacation, please tune in to Animal Planet and watch this very special episode.
Lucy & I will thank you!
P.S. If you can watch, please consider donating to help pay down their vet bill. More information can be found on their website.
I found this thoroughly enjoying. I hope you do as well!
SEEKING ATTRACTIVE YOUNG FEMALE FOR DORITOS CRASH THE SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL CONTEST
You: More conventionally attractive than not, but supermodel quality not needed. Size 4-6 (not 6-8) or smaller. Bust size should be C cup or larger. Should appear to be between 20-30 years of age.
Acting ability, comedic timing, and lack of inhibition needed. Commercial will require no kissing or nudity (obviously) but may require a shot of you wearing a bra (possibly made of Doritos). Also must be comfortable with rubbing your hands/body lustfully against a conventionally unattractive man’s chest, face, and arms who may or may not have his shirt off. There will be Doritos involved. Lots of Doritos. The lustful nature of your character is strictly tied to Doritos, and has nothing to do with the man himself.
Acts with the Doritos may include:
- Rubbing them over the man’s chest
- Smashing Doritos belly to belly with the man
- Rolling in Doritos
- Throwing Doritos
- Eating Doritos voraciously
- Wearing a bag of Doritos on your head
There are speaking lines as well.
Shooting will commence on Saturday. November 6 and will need your availability to be from 4-midnight that night. We will likely wrap earlier, but it’s good to have a cushion. in a hotel room/rented apartment in or around the Towson area. Footage will be used strictly for the Doritos commercial and will not be used in anyway not tied to the contest.
As far as payment goes, our budget is limited. However, if our commercial is one of the 6 finalists that wins $25,000 dollars, you will be paid $1,000 dollars. That will be the extent of payment to you regarding the contest. Food will be provided and if you need a ride, that can also be provided.
If you’re interested, I need from you a headshot, your measurements, and a resume that demonstrates some semblance of comedic/physical acting experience.
I know this casting call seems blunt and shallow, but we’re not jerks. We’re simply playing to the crowd on this one. My friend and I who are making this entry have made commercials for companies before and have placed in video contests previously. We feel pretty damn confident in this commercial and hope you’ll join us!
About two weekends ago I went to see In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at Woolly Mammoth in DC. I’m addicted to Sarah Ruhl’s work and my next post is going to be about the play itself, but I need to get something off my chest before that.
I’ve have a mixed past with Woolly as an organization, good and bad experiences. I was all primed to write this great post about how I had finally become a subscriber to Woolly and how they changed their archaic policy about no drinks in the theatre, but then something happened…
Let me back up and give the whole story.
Prior to the show starting, I was meandering around the lobby, reading the program, buying scripts (which I’m very prone to do at Woolly) and took a gander at the coming season. Saw some shows I was interested in - namely House of Gold, Oedipus El Rey and BootyCandy (by Robert O’Hara, author of Antebellum). I got to talking with the girl at the season subscription booth and was taking a gander at the options. The Prime Cuts subscription (a three play grouping - Vibrator, House of Gold & Odepius) sounded intriguing, plus I’d get the price of my Vibrator ticket off of the subscription.
So I go in and watch the first Act. I’m delighted, it’s Sarah Ruhl, who wouldn’t be?
During intermission I decide to take the plunge. I sign up for Prime Cuts and add on an Under 35 Pick Three so that my boyfriend (or a theatre friend) can come with me to the two shows left in the Prime Cuts subscription and I can go see BootyCandy as well. I normally prefer to go to Woolly shows on Sunday matinees because of the time and effort it takes to see a show at Woolly, but the pick 3 was restricted to the first Saturday. I was willing to adjust in this case as long as it was still the matinee, because really who wants to drive into DC on a Saturday night. Not me.
I write my check, hand it over and go in to watch the second act. The show was good (more on that in my next post) and I patiently wait for my confirmation email that I am supposed to receive the next day.
This is where my disappointment starts… I open the email from the Woolly box office staff and find that I have been assigned to the Saturday night shows, and the seats kind of sucked.
I don’t go to Woolly often, mainly because of the expense, time and effort involved in going to DC theatre, but with the subscription I was committing myself to something. I also have a tendency to get really awesome tickets. I’m usually in the first 5 rows, whether it’s just me or myself & friends, regardless of when I purchase.
They also specifically mentioned that I was assigned Saturday nights because “the 35 & Under subscription may only be used for the first Saturday performances (where you are seated) or any Wednesday or Thursday night performances.” Well doesn’t the Saturday matinee qualify for that?
I sent an email back about my grievances and told them to cancel the subscriptions, both of them, if they couldn’t accommodate the matinee seating. They suggested the Flex Pass or the Standby pass as an alternative, both are for one subscription just under or above the price I paid for BOTH of mine. Yeah sorry Woolly, the flexible options within those also aren’t attractive to those of us who don’t live in D.C. When I come down from Baltimore, I have to actually plan it.
I guess I’m just disappointed by the whole situation because I would expect a theatre that is so progressive artistically to be a bit more progressive in meeting the needs of their potential subscribers. Like many things in D.C., they are so focused on D.C. It makes sense, I’m sure most of their subscribers live in or around the city. But what about recognizing how they can enable those who want to belong to the Woolly family but may live outside the city limits?
I don’t feel welcome like I once did, am disappointed about what transpired and feel like their customer service was focused on what was best for them, not about building a relationship with their patrons. Curious to see if it ever changes, I hope it does.
(And one last thing about antiquated subscriptions… I know there are some people out there that like having the same seats every show, but for me, I’d rather have better seats every time I’m there than the same seats. Who up for opening up?)
Next up… I will finally get to writing a review of the show. Generals thoughts are that it was awesome, but there were a few things that didn’t work for me. More later.
I think most people like him because he is the epitome of the drug culture in the late 60’s/early 70’s and was almost certifiably insane. For me, I love him for a different reason.
I’ve never been one who was into drugs, I drank a bit in my early 20’s, but all in all I prefer staying sober the majority of my time. For me, my love for HST comes from the fact that he was truly in love with what he did.
He was a passionate motherfucker (excuse my french), who devoured what he did with vigor and a deep love. He was in love with figuring out the American Dream and what that really meant. It’s a phrase we throw around (maybe not so much any more, but in his day I can only imagine) and he was compelled to dig in deeper and experience it.
I think we need more of this. I’m not sure if it’s enough for me to just love what I do, I need to fall in love with it. Head over heels. Be willing to overlook the little things that really don’t matter in the end. A job or career is just like a relationship, it needs to be nurtured and loved so that it may grow into something beneficial for all involved.
I wrote my last post about Dream Casting quite a few days before it was published (something up with Tumblr queuing maybe?), well apparently fellow Cornish alum and theatre blogger Josh Conkel had a similar idea. He just made it way more fabulous.
Glad to know that I’m not the only one being bored by the theatre blogs lately.
I remember an exercise we used to do in my Literature of Theatre class in college where we would cast the play we were reading with well known actors or actresses to help demonstrate that we understood the play and what it was about. There weren’t any real constraints about trying to keep it as though you were casting today, so if you want to use a particular actor circa a particular time in their life, that’s fair game. Well, I figured since I’m going into a dry theatre spell for awhile, that this might keep me occupied and the creative juices flowing.
So welcome to a new series on this blog that I will for now call “Dream Casting”, where I will recast a play that I’ve either recently seen, read or have always wanted to do.
I’m a sucker for the classics. Though I tend to work more with modern literature in my own art, there is nothing like a play that is able to transcend it’s own time.
A Doll’s House is one of those plays. Written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, it examines the ideals of marriage in Victorian culture. Mainly that woman are treated as play things of their husbands, to be molded to suite his wants and desires. Not something that a modern woman would stand for, or at least that’s what I like to think. But then I still think about countless women who live to serve their man. They are not seen as a partner, but more as a servant. There to breed and then raise the offspring. And then I realize the transcendent nature of A Doll’s House all over again.
I have a love/hate relationship with this play. I worked on it my freshman year in college. Spending weeks digging apart every little nuance within the script, I came to appreciate what an amazing piece of literature it truly was. At the same time I hated that I was to play Nora because I knew at that point in my life I was not capable of being as vulnerable as Nora needed to be. I couldn’t understand unknowingly sacrificing any sense of self for another human being. I hated that I wasn’t able to let go enough of my own issues to do her justice. But then, my teachers were much smarter than I, placing me in a role that made me face them head on.
So this piece has forever earned a place in my heart because of what it made me realize about myself as an actor.
Tonight I went to see a production of it. I believe this is the first time that I have actually seen it performed, other than in class. It was a mixed bag seeing these characters come to life. I would say that the gentlemen playing Torvald (Michael Leicht) and Krogstad (Eric C. Stein) were truly standout, followed by Dr. Rank (Gregory Jericho) - though I felt they could have delved deeper into his syphilis to make it more clear to the audience.
The women were a little more disappointing, though I must say that Nora (Karina Ferry) acted her heart out. She is just a little too tough for my taste in a Nora and feel she would make a much better Hedda (she would be fabulous as Hedda). I saw a lot of myself in her trying to portray Nora, I just felt like she never truly surrendered to Torvald.
All in all though, the production was quite solid. The set was beautiful as always in a Sherrione Brown production (though I wish Torvald’s chair had been a little more grand). I had a few gripes with regards to costumes: 1. Nora wouldn’t leave the house without a jacket at the end otherwise she would have literally frozen to death before she reached Kristine’s house and 2. Torvald has always been quite a frugal man, most bankers are, and this would lead me to believe he would have purchased a much more simple ring than the one Nora wore (this may be more of a personal preference).
Most of my hang ups with the show are small and are more of personal taste than any reflection on the production itself. It’s definitely worth the trip to Norway via Ibsen’s lens.
"A Doll’s House" is playing at The Vagabond Players (806 S. Broadway in Fells Point) until September 26th, 2010. For more information or tickets, visit their website.
Lately life has been a little rough. Too much on my plate, always trying to do things on my own, it truly could be a recipe for disaster.
Somehow I’ve made it through though. With the help of my wonderful cast, crew & playwright, Hammarskjold has been able to live it’s life on the stage. Though it started out rocky, I think it ended up somewhere that I can be proud of.
It’s been weird learning to ask for help and receiving it. Most of my life I’ve done things on my own, well, because I had to. I’ve had a very supportive mother and grandparents, but there are limitations to what a single mom raising two kids and my retired loved ones can do. I set out on my own to Seattle, graduated college, made a life, then decided to leave it. That was all pretty much on my own besides the normal financial support my mother was willing to provide during the school years.
This process has really showcased for me the power of working together and being able to say that I can’t do it all on my own. That’s something new for me. Though I’ve always relied on the power of the ensemble, I really leaned into it this time. I trusted that individuals were going to do the work they needed to get done.
So I’m walking away from this process with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. It’ll be nice to have some downtime, but part of me wishes that there were more time to dig in even deeper into the world of Hammarskjold.
Either way, I hope the work that the ensemble created did the playwright, the theatre and audiences proud. We do this work for you.
Once it’s open then it means phase one of my crazy three weeks is complete. Then I jet off to Seattle Friday morning for a friend’s wedding. Come back Tuesday and then I’m off to L.A. on the following Saturday for a work conference that I’m speaking out.
Whew! August is a whirlwind of excitement and I’m loving every minute of it.
This weekend is tech weekend for Hammaskjold and I’m really excited, though can’t I believe it’s happened so fast.
There have been a lot of ups & downs (mainly downs when talking about casting), but I’m happy to say I think we’re in a good place.
We’ve gotten to the point where the actors are starting to dig in deeper and make choices that surprise me. As a director, I love being surprised by an actor’s choice and being there to help facilitate how it fits in the big picture.
So here’s to the final stretch! Can’t wait to see where we go. :)
This documentary documented (b/c that’s what they do) the last 4 days of freedom for Wendy Maldonado before she went to prison for the murder of her abusive ex-husband. So it really hit home for me because (I don’t know how much I’ve written about this) but I was a victim of domestic violence at one point in my life. Never to the extent that Wendy was but hearing her talk about how her husband would beat her and her children really struck me.
It’s amazing how silent a human can be about what is really happening. They showed old home videos and you could see how she would fake a smile and flutter kisses towards the camera to appease him. It seemed robotic, life-less.
Silence is deadly in a situation like that. Usually in the literal sense.
Soon after seeing it, I brought up the documentary in rehearsal for the show I’m currently working on. It’s terrifying what human beings do to each other and the limits to which we push each other. It makes me question whether or not there we are all ticking time bombs, just waiting for the right combination to make us explode. And is it the bomb or the one pushing the buttons who is responsible?
These are kind of deep questions for so late at night as I write this, but thoughts to ponder as I delve even deeper into Hammarskjold.
Now it’s time to get to work and get this show done. It’s been a rocky process because of casting issues, but I also think it’s been one of the more rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how much we learn from adversity.
Btw, the picture is the poster, minus the details that the theatre puts on. If you’re in or around Bmore, please come see it at Spotlighters, August 12 - 29.
We’re doing a talkback on the 29th, so if you have any burning questions about the process or for my awesome playwright, that’ll be the day to join us!
So this weekend I had my first Artscape adventure. I know, I know, I should have participated long before now. I have my excuses, but this is not a post about excuses.
I want to focus on a wonderful little night of theatre.
24 hour play festivals are sometimes hit or miss, but they always produce a strong amount of creativity. There is nothing like forcing a group of artists to produce under time constraints. There is not time for thinking, only doing.
Some standouts for me personally were Stairway to Walbrook (penned by Rich Espey) about a man feverishly trying to stop a bus that doesn’t, The Universe Next Door (penned by Rebecca Wyrick) about what could happen when and Me or You (penned by Ira Gamerman) about two women trying to pick out the perfect man on the bus. Not to discount the others at all. From beatnik poetry, to a girl with serious boyfriend problems, to a woman wrestling with cancer, the other offerings were just as creative.
David Mitchell and the whole team did a wonderful job putting together a delightful night that tried to capture the essence of this eclectic art scene. Looking forward to seeing what else develops.
So in the past week I was able to fill 2 out of the 3 missing roles. The one I’m looking to fill is the hardest by far for sure, which could be why I’ve been having so many problems filling it. I need a man in his 50’s (or at least one I can make look in his 50’s), who is smooth and charming. If you know anyone, let me know!
So the journey continues, but at least I’m a bit closer than I was last week.
Yep you heard right, I have to cast a role again. Just when I think everything is hunky dory I had an actor drop out.
I understand why he did, he was offered a role in his favorite musical and just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. If I was offered Martha in Who’s Afraid, do you think I would stick around? I would at least help find a replacement. ;)
It’s a little different for us directors though, a lot of times it’s easier to convince a theatre to do a show than actually be cast in one. Less competition, though there are fewer slots.
All I can think is thank god my playwright is a Catholic priest. I’ve got faith that things will turn around, even if I am agnostic. ;)
I had the opportunity to see Tragedy: A Tragedy last weekend at Single Carrot (much thanks to Cole for the tickets). I had been excited to see it since Single Carrot had announced their season last year.
SC really does do a great job of picking their seasons and have attracted a very talented group of actors & directors to work in their company.
Tragedy never clicked for me though.
Theatre for me is an emotional experience most of the time, but I was never able to sink my emotional hooks in. Other audience members enjoyed the reporter shtick, but for me I was missing the emotional connection.
I don’t know if I can pin point for me what it was that didn’t engage me, maybe it was the script (I knew the general gist but had never read it), maybe it was the characterizations, I just never found someone to relate to and tired quickly of the similar jokes. I usually enjoy an intellectual experience in my art, but lately I need catharsis and by the time that moment in the script came, I didn’t care enough about what I was watching to be able to have it.
I will say that there were some great performances. The actors were committed, present, made strong choices. I got a sense of who these archetypes were (I’ve seen all those types of reporters, every station has them), they just didn’t progress into people I could connect with.
I will say that a large portion of the audience seemed to enjoy the show much more than I did, so make sure you check it out before it closes. It runs until July 11.
Casting is always difficult, no matter what show you’re in, but for some reason casting my current show is becoming increasingly difficult.
I kind of knew it would be difficult when I picked it though. It’s hard to find 5 men who are available and are good caliber actors, especially when you’re looking for 3 men in their 40’s - 60’s.
What I’m surprised by is that the female is hard to cast. I’ve made now 3 offers for the role. 1 declined because she got a paying gig in NYC (I can’t complete with that), 1 had already accepted another role in a different BPF show and I’m still waiting to hear from the 3rd. I have one lady who I could cast and though she could do the role, she is on the older side of 28, while the male I’ve cast is on the younger side. Both characters are supposed to be of similar ages.
This is turning out to be one of those shows that when people read it, they love it, but for one reason or another can’t do it or something comes up, etc.
I just have to have faith in the process and recognize that all the frustration now will pay off in the end for me somehow.