Thursday, August 26, 2010

Opening Night

tonight is opening night.

tonight begins the four performance run for the 2010 10x10 festival of new plays. my nerves are steady. but then i'm still at work. a volunteer brought me "good luck" opening night flowers. lovely....

so my nerves are in check.

i have finally seen my piece... at dress rehearsal on tuesday.

i see it again tonight.

i'm the second play in the second act (bad position... i'm just sayin').

i COULD give you my opinion of the play now. the acting. the direction. but i want to see it in front of an audience. audiences can always make a HUGE difference on how a piece plays.

as a professor told me once: "without an audience, theatre is simply masturbation."

so you shall read my thoughts late tonight or, hopefully, tomorrow. no later than saturday (i promise).

and, as always, i'll post my thoughts on all ten plays after the run.

okay... my throat is starting to close up. maybe my nerves aren't in check.



Monday, August 23, 2010

AAAH! Scorpions!

sooooooo...... my director asked me for musical suggestions to open my play at the 10x10. it takes place a few days after a hurricane... a couple sit, hot, no electricity... no wine. a conversation begins about the direction of their relationship.

i instantly thought of "stormy weather." why not? weather. storms. kinda lazy..... sent her the lena horne version and an even better billie holiday version.

i always think of old jazz pieces for my comedies. classical for my dramas. it's the same genre of music i use to write each.

so guess which piece my director decided to use.........?

"wind of change" by scorpions.


ummmmmmmm....... sure, okay. i can see the thought process. i mean... billie holiday to a heavy metal band is quite an easy jump, right?

one song is a bluesy ode to a lost lover... the other is a cheesy 90s rock ballad about war and the fall of communism.

i mean, she's clearly interested in carrying through with MY vision, right...?

oy vey... so quickly forgotten are the opening remarks of our initial 10x10 meeting: "directors are here to honor the vision of the playwrights."

i still haven't seen it. maybe tomorrow night...?

(i may develop an ulcer.....)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Please Welcome to the Stage....

claire madelyn.

yes.... younger brother and kelly the second welcomed their second daughter into the world on wednesday.

apparently the delivery was fast. i assume that's good for the woo-woo... but, really. what do i know?

so the specifics people want: claire weighed in at 8 pounds even. 20 inches long. dark hair. apparently, the exact opposite of my other niece, leah.

claire is skinny with long fingers and toes. apparently, as i'm informed by my parents, she has some of my features.... this mostly including the long fingers and toes.

now, before i begin the official mourning period if, vishnu help us! she looks like me! i assured my brother i had nothing to do with it.

oh... and i guess she "poops" a lot. apparently i shat a lot when i was a baby too. (there's actually a story and a nickname there but... fuck you!)

so i'm an uncle again.

i still adore leah..... and now claire.

will i adore her too? will i develop a favorite? what if claire's dark hair indicates a dark and twisty demeanor later? she could become my favorite?

and the second born is often the gay one... so she could be the dyke of the family. but then there's my friend steven's theory that all leah's are lesbians. and i can't imagine my brother being responsible for two lezzies in a row.


so congratulations, mom & dad. lesbian or not....

mazal tov!


New Experiences

so i think i mentioned that i've entered the cock-sucking realm of producer... yes, that horrid individual that is responsible for money and worrying about what works and doesn't work....

and essentially sucking the life out of art.

well... fuck that noise. i'm a new kind of producer. allowing everyone to create and express........ while still worrying about money and making a profit and casting and rehearsing and.... ganesha help me! it never ends.

but i've had some new experiences over the past couple of weeks as we really hit hard on advertising our production.

press releases
my father was a newspaper man his entire adult life. a copy editor for most of that time. i grew up knowing every copy editor mark for the editing process.

so you would think press releases would be easy for me...!


first task? write a long press release. okay.... so i had to dissect a video for quotes. listen to sentences over and over again to make sure i got the exact words. i had to fish through synopses and construct the story of the production, the plays... all in a coherent fashion that would make people interested in possibly writing a story about the production.

then i had to create a calendar/event listing press release. short and to the point. this is the show. here. when. how much. done.

and then a third press release which is a shorter version of the long one but a longer version than the short one... for those that want a bit more than the bullet points for the listing but not a graph on every play.

it was... exhausting. and i've spent the last week or two sending them out, tracking down email addresses and submission ports for websites and generally spending all hours of the evening doing this.

fucking crazy. and a lot of late nights.

but i've learned a lot. (and i feel good about what i created.)

yes... now i'm neck-deep in graphic design. two of the other producers have been working with an artist on the poster/program design. i haven't even seen anything.

so i approached a friend to design a logo for our production company. we have a website... but it needs some serious work. i told him we were looking to rush...and he rushed. came up with three good graphics.

LOVE the first one.... but it needs some tweaking.

the second one is a bit corporate for my taste. not creative enough.

third one is good... the graphic could be better but the concept (with some tweaking) could make a fabulous letterhead.

anyway.... trying to get feedback from the other three producers. trying to send the designer the feedback.... then receiving even more feedback from someone who isn't even part of the production company.

and it's been crazy, as well.

but all these new experiences.... marketing. branding. networking.... these have been fucking great lessons for me.

in the matter of a week i've had two individuals (now three, actually) ride my ass about marketing myself better and getting my name and my work out there. i'm taking this seriously.

i need to make a move. going to work everyday and doing work that i believe in but don't necessarily love anymore... while all this exciting theatre work is out there for me. when i'm casting and rehearsing and seeing my plays performed.

it makes that day job hard.

so... i'm trying to do what it takes. i even got (hold on to your hats...) some better pictures of myself taken so i can have a decent headshot to send out. (and you know i hate having my picture taken.)

i'm working on getting a website. i'm updating my resume. and i'm getting my fucking name and work out there.

it's a lot of work and it's stressful. but it's also...... incredible.

and i still have so much more to tell you!

more. soon. (i promise, my lovelies.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010


okay, so.... i entered the scriptwriters/houston annual 10x10 festival of new plays again this year.

i know, i know.... i swore after last year's debacle i was through with the 10x10. but i had several friends entering and they encouraged me to enter and we would take over the 10x10!

plus.... they changed artistic directors. brought in someone younger. brought in younger directors. it felt like something new. like it had promise this year.

so i entered.

and somehow, quite beyond explanation, i was accepted. yes... my profane-laden plays have made it into the 10x10 festival for five straight years.

now, the 10x10 felt very different from the beginning. the old troll was replaced and the new artistic director was brought in. yes, she seemed a bit full of herself. she was bossy. but one of the first things she said was "we're returning to the 10x10 to serving the vision of the playwright."


yet.... after that initial meeting. after the auditions... things started to slip. most of the directors are new but most of the playwrights are repeat winners. and i know most of them.

and most of them have told me the same thing: "i attended the initial read-through but i haven't been to a single rehearsal since."

well... i went to the first read-through but haven't been to a single rehearsal since.

my director - who i have great faith in - has pulled together a fabulous cast for me. top notch, from what i can see. and both actors were our top choices. the director seems to understand the play. the actors seem to understand it and agree with the direction.

at least, from what i can tell... but this is well over a month ago. and now we're just over a week away from tech week. in fact, the show opens two weeks from TONIGHT!

so i'm feeling a bit disconnected from the entire process.

my director has scheduled rehearsals for 1pm every wednesday. my director nor my two actors work. i work. 8am-5pm, monday - friday. so i haven't been able to make rehearsals.

so i'm feeling a bit disconnected.

what have they been doing? do they understand the characters fully? have they found the humor in the piece? what direction have they taken my creation?

i have one last chance to see a rehearsal before tech week... that would be this coming wednesday. i'd have to take off work. my director asked me to come an hour late to a three hour rehearsal to give the actors a chance to warm up....

fuck it.

i'm waiting for tech week... i'll go in and see what they've done. it might be horrible? it might be the best 10x10 i've had! who knows...? but i know i haven't been stressing over it.

but i also know i've been wondering why a director and actors wouldn't want to take advantage of their play's author when the author is available. i don't want to direct. i don't want to give line-readings. but i'd like to be involved.

even if it just means being there to watch. to answer questions. to affirm my director and her direction of my play.

but i'm disconnected.

so.... i'd like to make a promise now (and i hope i can keep it) - that i'll blog about the first run-through, tech rehearsal on tuesday, august 24th. (the 23rd will be cue to cue and i'll have NO idea what they've done. cue to cue is along, boring, horrible rehearsal.)

luckily the show i'm helping to produce is taking up all my time and stress.

so more on THAT... soon.