About Me

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I dig jazz and single-malt scotch.  I write plays; I direct them too. I love STAR WARS more than is healthy. I walk my dogs every day, unless it's raining or terribly cold.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Theatre Linina's Summer Shorts Fest (my buddy Greg is one of the playwrights)

LiminaLab: Summer Shorts III: Double Vision

Original Scripts. Staged Readings.
By Various Playwrights

How does the director's interpretation affect what you see on stage? Find out this June! Back at the Bryant Lake Bowl for the third year, Summer Shorts features original 10-minute scripts directed by emerging local directors. This year's Festival will feature a new twist: each script will receive two separate, autonomous productions involving a different director and cast; these “paired” productions will be performed back-to-back. As in past years, audience members provide written feedback for each production and vote for their choice each week to receive a second performance as part of the “encore night” at the end of the month.

Where: Bryant Lake Bowl Theater 810 W Lake Street, Mpls
When: June 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 30th (ENCORE NIGHT), 2006
Time: Mondays 7:00PM - Encore Night Friday 7:00PM
Tickets: $12 (Call for group rates)

Order Tickets by Phone
Call the BLB at 612-827-8949

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Your ballot for the Tonys...

Make your Tony Award predictions at NYTimes.com.

Hartford Stage's Frankie and Johnny - the designers shine brightest

Last night I went with friends up to Hartford Stage to take in their season finale Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrance McNally. We had a fun night out, but it was the company i was with as much as the show itself.

This Frankie and Johnny played by Robert Clohessy and the single-named Portia were a good pair, especially Clohessy, who seemed most comfortable in the role and in the large space at Hartford Stage. It took longer to warm to Portia's Frankie, partly because she was prone to shouting for the first fifteen minutes or so, and the other part due to passive stage dynamic.

This show is built and designed for heavy-wieghts to tackle, and anything less is a little like yesterday's fish.

Which may be why whenever this show is written about the first paragraph or two is always devoted to the previous pairings -- Kathy Bates and Kenneth Welsh; Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci; Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano; or the film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.

This show was good. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't rocked by it, it didn't hit me in the gut, and I believe the play has the potential to pack a wallop. This production tickled me.

There were times that I found myself more involved with the details of the realistic set than with the action of the play. "Hey, the refridgerator light works, but the refridgerator doesn't run. Probably means the food isn't actually cold." "Hey, that's real water running in the sink. Wonder how they rigged that? Do they turn off the valve at night after the show?" "Lookit the pepper -- it looks ike they started using that one on Thursday, they'll have to use a new one tomorrow, and what happens if they run out of bread?" And so on.

It turns out that all of my friends had similar thoughts turning thru their heads too.

Why doesn't Frankie eat more of her sandwich? Why is Johnny's bread toasted too (we concluded that something was going wrong with the toaster)? Is that a real stove? With all of this reality, couldn't they have taken an hour or so of rehearsal to instruct Mr. Clohessy in the proper way to slice vegetables (since it is remarked upon about how skillful he is with a knife)? Hmmm.

At the top of the show there was the coolest effect of a car passing below the warehouse loft, it's lights shining past the giant glass windows in a stream. It was used twice at the top of the show, and once at the end. A nice trio following the rule of three, and a nice deign choice. Also, the sunrise and the ever brightning and defining NYC skyline was beautiful. But I found myself watching that rather than the actors.

So, we had a nice time. If you go you'll probably have a nice time too, but my feeling upon leaving the theater is that the stakes were not dire at the Hartford Stage last night for its mismatched lovers, it was n't all or nothing, it was medium-rare, pleasant, but nothing special.

Tickets to Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford, CT will be available by calling (860) 527-5151. For more information, visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cyrano De Almost Worth It...

Cyrano De Bergerac is the final show of the season at Trinity Rep -- and it was almost good. I was impressed with the production and found my self surprised at how fun the production was -- until it ground to a halt with the final scene.

Oh my freakin' god...couldn't that lame duck--wrap up the plot points--die Cyrano DIE ALREADY-- scene be adapted -- or better -- cut from the play?

Up until then -- the production works. After that point it dies dies DIES! Gack! Blech! An otherwise fine production was pretty much ruined by the meandering stale end.

Oh well. Nice try.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Podcasting from the American Theater Wing

An Earful for Theater Lovers
Podcasting the Great White Way
By June Thomas
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006, at 3:27 PM ET

The hosts of Downstage Center, XM Radio's John von Soosten and the American Theatre Wing's Howard Sherman, are both knowledgeable, poised interviewers who bring years of theater expertise to the conversation. Their guests are the cream of Broadway and beyond. Recent visitors include actors Patti LuPone, Jill Clayburgh, Cherry Jones, and Jonathan Pryce; directors Doug Hughes and Susan Stroman; composer/lyricist Jerry Herman; authors John Patrick Shanley and Paula Vogel; and the Public Theatre's artistic director, Oskar Eustis.

Because the interviewers seem to have seen every show and memorized every cast album from the last few decades, the guests always appear completely at ease as they chat for 35 to 50 minutes about their careers and their latest gigs. It's a master class in interview technique as much as anything else.



Charles Wright quote -- good for poets or playwrights

"--Time is the great destroyer. Time is what feeds us and takes it away at the same time. Time is what starts us and time is what ends us. We live in time. We would like to live outside of time. But we can't, of course. And so the clock is what we all write about. Our lives are all about the clock. It starts at 12, and it ends at 12."

-----------American poet Charles Wright during an interview from 1998

read the entire interview from the PBS News Hour online archive.

SITO @ Looking Glass Diary

Swimming in the Ocean is agoing to be staged at the Looking Glass Theater in NYC as part of their summer director's forum in June.

So far so good. The director has had some really great ideas and I am impressed with her understanding of the play. i might travel into the city to see this one.

This particular play has been performed many times -- this is about its 15th production. it is a short play, so i never make any money from it, but it does get done.

With this production I just got word that the director would like to include a live violin to create the sound effects. i said "Go for it." It's an exciting idea -- and will either be brilliant or potentially annoying as hell -- but that's the chance you take. I think it's a great idea, and its one of many things that is fueling my interest in seeing this production.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Postcard Plays

Check out these POSTCARD PLAYS at the EMPTY SPACE.

My friend Greg is one of the playwrights -- based on some work we did in Florida at ACA -- the "Unstageable Play" exercise.