Archive | June, 2013

The Heat & Some Tuneage

30 Jun

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Gwen and Cecily tag teamed some other badass dames, watching “The Heat” tonight, and laughed our asses off in some much welcomed air conditioning.

Listen, people: 90 degree weather doesn’t work well in the Pac NW.  We don’t know what to do with that shit.  And PERFORMING in it with a gillion watts of lights focused on us, in twelve layers before the corsets even hit…and suit jackets and silks and wigs and hats, was pretty much the human limit of human limits.

…It’s hard to be funny when your face is melting pancake and mascara in literal streaks down your face.  And it is hard to be genteel in that instance as well.

Gwendolen does not “wipe.”  She does not “itch.” She doesn’t even “blot.”  She just sits there and lets the sweat drop in lines down the back, off the neck, into the corset, soaking the armpits, as she sits, stands, launches herself at furniture and pretends to be delightful and cool as a cucumber throughout. 

…Nothing was cool.

Even the air conditioned theatre made no difference to us. Not when packed with bodies breathing hot air at us, as we bake under heat lamps. 

…And holding to what became the trend of the weekend, (after our phenomenal house on Thursday), the audiences across these past three days gave very little (and in some cases negative zero) help in energy throughout…whether they happened to be enjoying the performances or not.  Thus, forcing us to manufacture everything from scratch…and sometimes even dig ourselves out of the black hole vortex that they seemed to be sucking us into, in a sweaty, clinging mass of humanity.

Some blamed the heat.

…By today’s matinee, I had totally given up on any responsive expectations, and just went out there to tease and flirt and argue and reason with some characters I know. Played with the team with less feed-back expectation than an average rehearsal… so thus wasn’t thrown when that is what we got. 

…Then it was onto spraying down the drycleaning with vodka-water, laundry in the take-away bag…all the hats and jabots and cravats and cufflinks, earrings and watches, into our holding boxes…shoe-horned the shoes, aired out the corsets, wrote up our costume grievances, and beat it into an afternoon of heat waiting just outside the theatre doors that all but smacked us on our asses.

Gwen and Cecily solved the issue by taking refreshment of giant lemon ice-waters elsewhere, and following up with ice creams, before home and laying about like limp ragdolls until regrouping for movie times.

…A rest-time that included discovering a delightful new talent…her music happily floating from Naughty Girl’s speakers beside me.  A little Regina Spektor, meets Ingrid Michaelson, meets Lily Allen.

…A small collection of music.  She writes her own, and grabs studio time when she can.  I think she’s something pretty smile-worthy, and you might too.  Hear and grab her tunes if you wanna, here.  I’m pretty partial.

…And not just cuz she my Cecily 😉

~D

One

29 Jun

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Early to bed was obviously not in the cards as planned.  Needed sleep will have to be borrowed later.

…As well as the plans for a grandiose gesture of an anniversary greatest hits album of reflections.

SWAL turned one today, you see.

One.

She is at 11,987 reads, with 215 subscribers, from 77 countries, in 352 posts, with one month left on my year-long blog-a-day commitment.

…Who knows what will follow?

Am very happy to call WordPress, my home, you all m’family, and to share the stuff that makes life happen, with you.

Thanks for a very Happy first Birthday, friends 🙂

…Off to bed now. For realsies.

Matinee to follow.

~D

Truffles vs. The Whole Box Of Chocolate

28 Jun

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Just a sick, ridiculously intoxicating audience for tonight’s Actor’s PWYC performance.

…The crowd (made up largely of students), were beyond anything we’ve had before in response.  (And our audiences have not by any means been slackers in that field, to begin with.)

Tonight, it was like theatre on crack.

Intensely interactive…to the point of distraction.  We loved it (do NOT misunderstand me), but with that kind of energy whipping you up, the adrenaline high coming off of it is like an orgasm, sustained across two hours.

…Imagine that for just a second. 

…Now put you on stage while it happens.

…A bit distracting, no?

The trick is to breathe, and center oneself.  Focus on your fellow actors and not get sucked into the tractor-beam of light pulling you out of the show you have rehearsed and falling for the, “If they like it with a little sauce, what if I add a shit-ton extra?” bit. 

…Lets see if I can settle on a metaphor, here.  Feel like I’m running in five directions at once.

It is SO incredibly easy to cater to an audience like this, and feed them more of what they want.  Takes discipline to say “No, I DON’T want this full box of chocolates, I’m perfectly content with these finely made few truffles.”

…”Truffles” are good

“Truffles” are made with care and precision and the finer ingredients that experience has taught you will provide the richest, creamiest, most delectable bite. Every time.  “Truffles” are individule flavors of delicate perfection.

…Whereas an ordinary “box of chocolates” can be of any grade, in any brand, so long as they “go together.”

Sure, they’re tasty, but not as rich, and concentrated.  Not nearly as sinfully decadent.

…And Oscar deserves nothing less than our best.

So we did ours.

…And the audience did theres.

…And we all played together, and nibbled at goodnesses, and had a hell of a time!

Seriously.  I have no idea how in the hell I’m even gonna sleep tonight.  Adrenaline rush, like woa.

…But at some point, I will. 

And get to wake up tomorrow and go work at it all over again. 

…With m’friends.

🙂

Thanks, you PWYC nutters!  It was a hell of a ride tonight.

~D

Ship Edge & Pea Gavel

27 Jun

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So, a reprieve to the day.  About fifteen minutes in all, where the entire office just hydrogen-exploded with laughter, after snorfling giggles as quietly as possible through a series of phone calls with a new customer.

…We will call her “Helen.”

“Helen” is one of 21 new contract-customers whom I called for bookings today.  One of the 14 I Ieft voicemails for, with the usual schpiel of info about requirements and ya-de-ya-duh…and one of the 9 who have since called me back. 

…But apparently “Helen” didn’t know why she was calling, or whom, or for what, or really much of anything. 

To be fair, “Helen” is of the elder generation…possibly beyond the generation you would think of as the eldest, now living on the planet.  If she was 110, I wouldn’t be surprised.  If she was on the Mayflower, I wouldn’t be surprised, either. 

…And though I haven’t the slightest idea how a person with severe mobility issues, and self-proclaimed near blind and deafness could or would, go out alone into the world and purchase one of our products, she did.  Then promptly forgot all about it.  Until she remembered it again.  Then forgot again.  Necessitating several conversations tag-teamed by the WHS Pimp and myself, ending in tears of total gut-wrenching laughter.

…We did try to be professionals about it.  And we managed, on the phone.  Sort of. But that is all.

Here is an approximate run down of the scene:

WHS Pimp: (On phone) [Blah-blah,] this is [who-de-ha]…and how can I help you?

“Helen”: (On phone, screaming so loud that I can hear every word even from my office.) WHAT?! WHAT?

WHS Pimp: Hello, this is [blah-blah], how can I help you?

“Helen”: I CAN’T HEAR! YOU HAVE TO SPEAK UP!

WHS Pimp: HELLO!  THIS IS [BLAH-BLAH]! HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

“Helen”:  I SAID, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” YOU HAVE TO TALK LOUDER.  AND SLOW DOWN!

WHS Pimp: OK. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

“Helen”: WHO IS THIS?  WHAT DO YOU WANT?!

WHS Pimp: MA’AM, YOU CALLED *US.*  IS THERE SOMETHING I CAN HELP YOU WITH?

“Helen” : WHY DID YOU CALL ME?

WHS Pimp: AH! YOU MEAN WE LEFT A VOICE MAIL?  HAVE YOU BOUGHT A [BLAH-BLAH] LATELY BY ANY CHANCE?

“Helen”: WHAT?! WHAT?!

WHS Pimp: A [BLAH-BLAH.]  HAVE YOU BOUGHT ONE.  LATELY?

“Helen”:  WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!

WHS PIMP: I THINK YOU PURCHASED A [BLAH-BLAH] RECENTLY, AND WE HAVE CALLED YOU TO SET UP A BUILD DATE.

Helen”: WHAT? WHEN?

WHS Pimp: ONE MOMENT AND I’LL PUT YOU ON WITH THE OFFICE MANAGER AND SHE CAN HELP YOU.  ALRIGHT?

“Helen”: WHAT???!!

WHS Pimp: ONE MOMENT, PLEASE.

(WHS Pimp puts phone on hold.)

WHS Pimp: Uh. Yeah.  We have a screamer.  She doesn’t hear well, and seems really confused.  You’ll have to talk slow. And loud.

Me: Yeah.

Me: (On phone) HELLO, THIS IS [BLAH-BLAH] HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

“Helen:” WHAT?!? WHAT?!?

Me: I THINK YOU NEED HELP BOOKING AN INSTALL, IS THAT CORRECT?

“Helen”: I DON’T KNOW. I WAS TALKING TO SOMEONE AND HE JUST WENT AWAY. WHAT IS THIS?

Me: WE SELL [BLAH-BLAHS.] I THINK YOU BOUGHT ONE. WE JUST CALLED TO–

“Helen”: (Apparently to herself. Or her invisible friend.) –WELL, I JUST DON’T KNOW, I CAN’T HEAR THEM! WHY DON’T THEY SPEAK UP?  WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM ME? WHAT?!

Me: …I’M SORRY, I…CAN YOU HEAR ME?

(WHS Pimp begins to giggle.)

“Helen”: …I JUST DON’T KNOW.  THEY WON’T TELL ME…

Me: …MA’AM.  IS THERE SOMEONE THERE I CAN SPEAK WITH WHO–

“Helen”: –WHAT?!  ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?!

Me: MA’AM, HAVE YOU PURCHASED A [BLAH-BLAH?] WE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO BUILD THEM.  DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INSTALL DATE?

“Helen”: SPEAK! UP! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Me: (Veins popping out on neck.) OK. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

“Helen”: WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME!  NOW.  WHAT DO YOU WANT?

(WHS Pimp giggles harder. We begin the process of confirmation and build dates. It is a longer process for having to scream and re-scream every sentence of it. Finally:)

Me: …SO YOU HAVE THAT ALL DOWN, THEN? ALL THE REQUIREMENTS?  AND DATE?

“Helen”: WHAT?

Me: YOU HAVE THE DATE?

“Helen”: THE DATE?  IT’S WEDNESDAY. JUNE SOMETHING…

Me: YES.  I MEAN THE DATE OF THE “INSTALL.”

“Helen”: THE WHAT?

Me: YOUR INSTALL.

“Helen”: 14TH.

Me: NO, THAT’S THE 10TH.  WEDNESDAY THE 10TH.

“Helen”: WHEN?

Me: WEDNESDAY.  THE 10TH.

“Helen”:  TODAY?

Me: NO, YOUR BUILD DATE.

“Helen”: 14, JULY.

Me: NO, THE 10TH OF JULY…WEDNESDAY.

“Helen”: WEDNESDAY.  THAT’S *NOT* THE 14TH!

Me: 10th.  10th.  WEDNESDAY THE 10TH.

“Helen”: THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Me: OK. WEDNESDAY THE 10TH.

“Helen”: …AND WHAT WAS THAT ONE THING CALLED AGAIN?

Me: THE BLOCKS? OR THE DRIP EDGE?

“Helen:” YES.

Me: BLOCKS OR DRIP EDGE?

“Helen”: YES! ARE YOU HAVING PROBLEMS HEARING TOO? DO YOU NEED ME TO SPEAK UP?

(WHS Pimp snickers louder.)

Me: NO, THANK YOU. NO. I’M JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT IF YOU MEAN THE BLOCKS OR DRIP EDGE?

“Helen”: YES.

(WHS Pimp snorkles.)

Me: WELL…THE BLOCKS ARE JUST…”BLOCKS”…FOR UNDER THE BUILDING.  THE DRIP EDGE IS FOR THE ROOFING…HELPS GUIDE WATER AWAY FROM THE–

“Helen”: –SHIP EDGE?!

Me: NO, “DRIP.”  “DRIP” EDGE.

“Helen”:  SHIP?! SHIP?! THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT.  WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH A SHIP?

(Whs Pimp starts getting tummy giggles.)

Me: NO, “DRIP.” “DRIP” EDGE.  “D” AS IN “DOG.”

“Helen”: WHAT?! 

Me:  “DOG!” “DOG!”

“Helen”:  WHAT?! DOG?!?

Me: “D” AS IN “DOG”…”DUH-RIP EDGE.

“Helen”:  WELL I DON’T KNOW.  BUT YOU’RE COMING ON THE 14TH, SO I GUESS I’LL SEE WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT, THEN.

Me: THE 10TH.  WE ARE COMING ON THE 10TH.  WEDNESDAY.

“Helen”: WELL, I WROTE IT DOWN *SOMEWHERE.*  ONLY I CAN’T SEE.  MY GLASSES ARE…WELL…I DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE.  BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE THEM, YOU SEE.

Me: AH. YES.  THAT MAKES IT ROUGH.

“Helen”: WHAT?!

Me: THAT’S ROUGH!

“Helen:” SO.  YOU ARE COMING TO MY HOUSE.

Me: WEDNESDAY THE 10TH.

“Helen:” : …TO DO WHAT, NOW?

Me:  TO BUILD THE [BLAH-BLAH] YOU BOUGHT.  FROM [YA-DE-YA-DUH.]

“Helen:”  OK, DEAR.  WHATEVER THAT MEANS.

(She promptly hangs up.  WHS pimp busts a gut.  I glare at him.)

Me: Thanks for that.

(About thirty seconds later, the phone rings.)

WHS Pimp:  [Blah-blah] this is [Who-de-ha], how can I help you?

“Helen:” WHAT?! WHAT?! WHO IS THIS? WHO ARE YOU?  SOMEONE CALLED ME FROM HERE.

Me: (With a grin.) Ahhh…sweet, sweet karma.  The instant fast-food gratification kind….

WHS Pimp: YES, MA’AM.  I REMEMBER YOU.  “HELEN”, RIGHT…?

“Helen”:  HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?! WHO ARE YOU?!  WHAT DO YOU WANT?!

(A near carbon copy of the identical conversation I just had, takes place.  The longer it goes, the harder I giggle…eventually necessitating a bathroom visit so as to not literally mess myself with laughter.  By the time I return, we are at:)

WHS Pimp: …LEVEL.  NO, “LEVEL.”  THE GROUND.  “EVEN.”  “EVEN.” SO IT’S…”EVEN.”

“Helen”: WITH WHAT?

WHS Pimp:  WITH…THE “GROUND.”  SO WE CAN BUILD.  WE CAN BUILD ON ANYTHING AS LONG AS IT’S LEVEL.  DIRT, GRAVEL…

“Helen”: –WHAT?!

(I immediately start snickering again.)

WHS Pimp: DIRT. OR GRAVEL…LIKE PEA GRAVEL…?

“Helen”: T-GAVEL? WHAT?!

WHS Pimp: NO, “PEA.” “PEA!” PEA GRA–

“Helen:” —I CAN’T HEAR YOU?  WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?  SHIP EDGE AND T-GAVEL???

(I laugh harder. WHS Pimp with quivering voice tries *not* to.)

“Helen”:  …NEWFANGLE WAYS. I DON’T KNOW…

WHS Pimp: “PEA!”  “PEA!” AS IN…”PEAS IN A POD!” PEA! GRAVEL!  GA-RAAAAA-VEL!!!!!

(I am crying and holding onto the desk, open-mouth drooling on it, freely. No sound at this point is even coming out.  I am sincerely glad I have already peed. “Peed.”  “P”…as in “Piss myself silly”…)

“Helen”: P-GAVEL?!?

WHS Pimp: NO.  “PEA.” “GRRRRRAVEL.”

“Helen”: …WELL I DON’T KNOW.  IF YOU WANT TO. 

(I whoop a belly laugh.  WHS Pimp smiles and shakes his head.)

“Helen”:…I GUESS I’LL SEE WHEN YOU GET HERE ON THE 14TH.

WHS Pimp & Me:  THE 10TH!

“Helen”: …WELL, I KNOW I WROTE IT DOWN. SOMEWHERE…

WHS Pimp: THANK YOU!

(He hangs up. We totally bust a gut, crying all over ourselves.)

WHS Pimp: I bet she calls every day until the day we build it, wondering who the fuck we are and what we want from her.

Me: No takers.  Too easy.

(Long pause as we calm to silence.  Staring into the depressing abyss, after the one bright spot of our day.)

Me: You know? I’ll prob’ly end up just exactly like that. And this is just karma having a good premonition fuck with me right now.

WHS Pimp: …Yep.

The End.

~D

Naughty Girl

26 Jun

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After two years, I’ve added a new member to the family. 

…Jumping ship to Sprint, for the pure purpose of securing the specific phone I’ve been lusting for, (in a price range I can actually afford), she is now on her way to me.

…And will soon be making others lust after her as well.

…For I have built her a custom case…spending hours tonight, flipping through google pics for just the right image to grace it.

With a pour-out of Scotch, and the Julie London Pandora station on in the background for inspiration, I surfed to my little heart’s content, pulling and pimping pictures from classic films specifically…as I decided her sleek frame and saucy smarts insisted on it. 

Grant and Garbo, Davis and Dietrich…I spent a very enjoyable twenty minutes just on “Classic film kisses” (and highly suggest a decedent play time with that when you have a moment)…moving then into Hurrell’s portraits as a main focus, then full-out Noir.

Noir is where I remained the rest of the evening.

…Wonderful shots…shadows and smoke abounding.  God, they knew how to light in those days, and had these face that just slap you stupid with seduction.

…Which ushered in one of m’fav dames in the good ol’ MGM golden years of cinema. Someone I’d be totally cool with being when I grow up (minus the 3 husbands): Ava Gardner.

If you haven’t yet, you should watch her. Or, hell, even just look at her.

…If you hang around me much, you’ll have plenty of option to, now.  She’s been selected as the new poster girl for the newest family addition.

And as I name virtually everything, (further referring to it upon occasion in my blog), may I introduce you to the new kid in the house, and digital BFF: “Naughty Girl.”

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…We are gonna get into SO much trouble together.  I can’t even wait.

…Especially leaving her face-down on every surface I can find, as a terribly titillating conversation starter. 

…Among other things.

(heh, heh.)

~D

This Is Being Recorded, For Training Purposes

25 Jun

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Open Letter To The Customer Service Department:

Dear [The Place],

I really wanted that thing.

…I wanted it so much, that it was almost worth the 40 minutes of totally wasted time I have spent with you today. Beginning, when your website errored TWICE in the final page of payment…after re-entering all the order, billing, and shipping, info, immunization records and twelve kinds of proof that I am who I say I am, beginning to end, two-times. 

…I wanted it so badly that I even called you up…a thing that I never do…because I spend 8 fucking hours a day on the phone as it is, and everyone who knows me, knows that I freakin’ despise having to be on one any more than I absolutely have to.

….Which is why being put on hold three times, directly after, was super awesome.

…Almost as rad as being hung up on.

Twice.

Two. Times.

After which, I called YOU back.  Both times. 

…Had to wait through the song-and-dance phone tree again, just to get relaunched on the same waiting list pool-from-hell, and listen to the same scripted text as read by a zombie, which apparently you all feel is necessary to reintroduce to people…even ones you have hung up on, who have already heard the shpiel twice, and say so before you even begin for the third time.

…This LAST drop, however, was my limit.

Maybe I don’t really want that thing so bad, after all.

…Maybe almost nothing is worth the total frustration of 40 minutes on a commissioned-sale purchase, which a totally incompetent C.S. Rep is going to pocket even five cents of.

Maybe this is fate telling me to hold back for better things…in different colors…at higher speeds.

I dunno.

But what I do know is:  somewhere there is tape on it all.  It was being recorded for training purposes. (Or so you claimed, no less than eight times in the course of my constant batting from one malfunction to the next.)

…One hopes you at least consider getting in on some.

“Training,” that is.

Just something to think about.

Signed,

A disgruntled Non-Consumer

~D

A Win, By The Numbers!

24 Jun

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Wanna know some awesome?

New stats just in for “Earnest:” 

…At the completion of our second weekend, we’ve pulled into the 4th highest grossing show of the season, (of 6.)  That is not trend sells, that is total box office.  Which means if “Earnest” closed today, we’d be 4th of the season.  We still have three weeks left of our run.

…Further fun?

We are #1 in weekly grossing ticket sales…not just of this year, but of the entire past two seasons.

This (of course) is due in large part to our killer reviews, brilliant designers, amazing direction, hands-on SM wizarding, and some pretty funny people on stage.

…And these numbers are something to be proud of, not ONLY because we’ve yet to even reach halfway into our run, but because Summer is a difficult theatre sell with all the blockbusters hitting the screens, people taking off on vacations, and everyone rather being out in the sun than anywhere else, that is not.  And also the fact that this is not a musical, features no children, and is a small cast.

…As an idea of house projections, for instance…(set by people who watch the trends year after year)…”Earnest” was set at a 38% ticket sell projection.  We are currently holding at a 70% average.

…Uber exciting news in numbers, buckage, AND (not least of all), hope for the future.  Because combining that with “Twelfth Night’s” ALSO surprise final numbers, proves that the classics are very much in healthy attendance and demand in the arts and theatre arena in the area at present.  SUCH a welcome piece of info for so many of us actors in the region.  Good solid scripts, good solid roles, proven over time.  Who could ask for anything more?  Especially with things like “Pride & Prejudice” coming up around the Holiday season.

…And as I finally finished the final press trailer (which posted today)…we can only hope a new bump in sales will follow, pushing us past our often quivering closeness to full-blown sell-out performances.

…Especially Thursday.  As it’s Actor’s Benefit.  And we are all poor.

(hint, hint)

Thanks to the friends and fam who have already come, to those who plan to, for the ones who will see it several times, and the ones who bring fresh blood with them when they do!

These are YOUR sales numbers too!  We couldn’t have done it without yuh 🙂

~D

Much Ado About Whedon

23 Jun

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Or…

“A Quietly Lovely Study Of The Bard, By Some Friends.”

Listen.

…I’ve only been waiting to see this freakin’ movie for over a year is all.  Ever since the first whispers started to gather about the “maybe perhaps” possibility that, “one of the many informal script reads at the Whedon house,” frequented by what has come to be known as his “company,” was at some point, going to be “put on film.”

Then: we were told it was Shakespeare, and who was playing whom, and the torture of the wait really began.

Tonight, after matinees and friend times, it was finally seen. 

It did not disappoint. 

…And not because of gimmicks, explosions, sex scenes, or technical wonders.

It was a quiet film, with focus on the text and relationships, in a very contemporary reality. The script was adapted and directed by Whedon, trimmed by one-third from Shakespeare’s original, filmed in twelve days, in the Whedon household, between wrap of “Avengers” and the beginning of it’s editing.

Branagh’s “Much Ado,” it ain’t. 

It isn’t suppose to be. 

Do yourself a favor and DON’T go to compare.

…There is plenty of room in your home library for both.  And you should want them.  Side-by-side. To show the range and possibility that can be lent to a text that needs but a cast of dedicated actors to make it work. This sounds simple, but is very rarely the norm.

It’s the argument I will always back, that though not EVERY classical piece of theatre lends itself to changes of theme and period, Shakespeare does. Because unlike all classical pieces of theatre, Shakespeare wrote of universal truths: Humanity, at cross purposes of love, hate, jealousy, sex, politics, and war.

…This is why his writing will ALWAYS be releveant. And why his words will work today, tomorrow, three hundred years from now, or even in three hundred centuries. So long as you place it with purpose, and invest your emotions in the text, it can take place in Messina, 1612, or Joss Whedon’s kitchen, last year.

…THAT, my friend, is good fucking writing.

…And Joss’ friends, are good fucking actors.

…These things go well together…and while on Holiday, they made a simply lovely baby, in a labor of love.

As an Actor, I adored watching seasoned family-friends, working together in new capacities, with undeniable joy spilling out all over the screen.

…As a film lover, I adored the simplicity where the story seemed to unfold as if by accident, with no worries of magnificents in technical prowess, just as if the camera were another character cast within the play, who happened to be there at the time, overhearing and seeing whatever conversations seemed to be happening.

I loved the new Benedict and Beatrice history add, and how Acker used it to deepen her work in a new direction of a character rarely seen in such vulnerable light.

…I loved the simple shock and awe of a boy come home a man, seeing a girl now turned to woman, without heaps of dramatics, concentrating more on the wonder of love’s slap across an unsuspecting face, as shown by Kratz.

…Gregg, as Leonato: a delight…that always adorable smiling face, infused with so much trust and affection, such a doting papa, a loving uncle, turned betrayed man of sorrow, but never quite losing the faith in humanity, which infuses the final act of sorrow with an underlying friction of hope despite all.

Diamond: a worthy Prince with a sparkle for mischief played exceedingly well with the text, and in building a delightful kinship with Gregg and Franz, was nicely counterbalanced by Maher as villian Don John.

…And Fillion, of course, was a comedic delight as Dogberry, having a lark making fun of his “Castle” world, as well as reunting with Buffy alumni along the way.

…In fact every role, (down to the smallest speaking feature), was placed in loving hands, surrounded by trusting family members, and simultaneously made the most of, while playing it with a soft touch so as not to break the delicately simple world as created.

…There was only one exception, for me.

…A mountainous surprise of one, in fact.

This Benedict, a long-time alumni of the Whedon tribe, (and proven chemistry-maker with Acker), seemed to be playing at a different sport than his fellow castmates.

There was no question of his understanding the text, or delivering it to a purpose, but the emotional connection with the words and his fellows, seemed lost in translation somehow. Most noticibly (oddly enough) when with Acker…whose alernate emotional working of Beatrice’s usually constant joviality, ached for deeper stuff than surface matters, when in banter.

…It was a surprise to watch her do the emotional lifting for two, not because she wasn’t good for it (tiny though she may be, she is fierce with her intent), but merely because…I know I can’t be the only one who has been so very much anticipating this “Wesley” and “Fred” reuniting on screen once again. It’s been a long, long ache of a wait. And though the final coupling manages to deliver the goods, the road to get there had missed opportunities of intimate wonder, which where certainly set up by Sir Joss, and Acker but never seemed to get picked up along the way…hungry though his co-actor seemed to be to coax, tempt, poke and play with it.

…Analytical much on this one? YES! You. Fucking. Bet.

The Whedon team is Master-class time, you guys. Even in a twelve-day shoot. Even when it (rarely) falls short of the actual spike-mark. These people are artists…they LOVE what they do, they LOVE their fearless leader, they LOVE their extended and ever-growing family.

They LOVE making movies.

And it shows. Pure and simple. On all of their faces. Total, absolute, childlike, joy.

…These are the kids that played with super-8’s filming action figures, and lip synced to records, and made faces in mirrors just for practice. These were the kids who read comic books, and then drew their own, and wrote stories, and did theatre, and doctored other people’s scripts just so they could work somehow, somewhere, in the business. These are the Indie film nerds, who though now juggling multi-million dollar budgets in film and TV shows, managed to still keep their souls and not forget why they started doing this in the first place.

They love what they do. And they love it even more when doing it with friends.

It’s deliciously infectious.

…And I’m not overselling it a bit. I promise you.

Find it. See it. Smile. The end.

~D

Caskett

22 Jun

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Castle n’ Beckett on the TV as I wrap up the end of a long day, with a rehearsal, a performance, and some late-night hang time with buds.

…Am an entire season behind.  I can’t believe I let it go this far. 

…Personally, I feel we have reached the time where I should chisel this makeup off my face, and hit the hay.

Early morning 5 am wakings sorta killed the R & R plans.  But tomorrow we’ve got a matinee, and I’ve got tix purchased Wednesday, for the Joss Whedon “Much Ado” at our art house, post-show tomorrow.

…I’ve only waited like a year for this is all.

…And totally was bummed for a week, missing out on the Seattle film panel premiere.

The battery is dieing on all my devises, as I sit in the farty chair, far from every outlet, trying to wrap this up so I can get these cloudy contacts out of my eyeballs.

Today’s first read was ridiculous hilarious, tonight’s show: terribly enjoyable, and the post-funk, a happy yay.

A good day, friends.  Hope yours was too 🙂

~D

Anticipa…….tion

21 Jun

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Tomorrow, at noon, JM picks me up for the carpool and we motor north for our first read through, where Earnest will be…well…a lot of other people (and I’ll be quite a few as well.)

…And then Earnest, JM and I will return for our evening performance.

There are flip-flopping nerves involved.  Because neither of us are really farce people (as actors), he’s terrified of the 60 characters with varying accents he will be playing, and I’m terrified of just plain sucking.

Actors are so lacking in self confidence, it is amazing how we even get out of bed in the morning.

Even being part of a 5-out-of-5 critically acclaimed show, doesn’t seem to lessen our nerves about tomorrow.

…And meeting new people.

…And reading with them for the first time ever. (As we were all individually pre-cast)

…And the strange knowledge that ‘tween this and about three weeks to opening, we will never be in the same room at the same time again. 

Earnest is getting married directly after our current show, and Honeymooning going into the second.

…So that leaves the rest of the us’s to work around a total weight-lifting role, until he returns to us.

…And then, as it is a travel show, the fun of teching and working it twice, for two different theatres.

Have done a tour only one other time before.  I thought (at the time) it would totally throw me, but the adjustments were actually a really awesome challenge in discipline. In that case we went  to many more locations, with only a few hours tech adjustment before the show, and it will always be one of the most amazing performing experiences I will ever own.

…And with this show, I’ll be back in one of my fav periods: Noir…with all the ridiculous open-house homaging one can possibly fit in.

…Which just brings to mind what an incredibly varied and amazing season I’ve had this year.

A very thankful, tired, Gwendolen smiles in contentment.

…Now: off to bed.

Long day ahead of me, crammed full of fun.

~D

TGIF

20 Jun

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It is Friday, though I am commentating still from my Thursday blog.

Mrs. Johnson decided to show up about ten minutes to curtain, slapped me around a bit back stage, but managed to keep in her place whilst all the important things were happening.  Which was good. For her own sake.

…I pack a mean wallop.

Just finished my little pill cocktail for the risidual pain, and am about to hit the hay. 

Payday.

My own.

…More than a bit despressing to be handing out weekly $7,000 checks to contractors, while I collect my own little piddle amount, for the second time this month…but some is more than none. 

…And I’m treating myself to a new phone.

Upgrade time.  And I’ve spent MONTHS researching exactly what I want.  And, by jumping T-Mobile ship, I get it for $400 less than if I stayed.

I hate change. 

…But I refuse to pay half a grand on something a third-world-nation child makes in a factory for 5 cents wages per day.

…To be frank, even if the kid got $499 of it, I still wouldn’t pay it.

Have you any idea how long it takes me to save $500?

…Me either. Thanks to my never-ending bills, I’ve yet to once ever fucking do it.

So, Hello Sprint and the HTC One.

The end.

~D

Next! (And, In German)

19 Jun

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Tonight, I start work on m’next script, as first read has now been settled for this Saturday before “Earnest.” For it I’ll be playing three rolls in fast-action farce: A German spy, a bookish British smart-tart, and a Scottish country lass.

Circa, London 1935.

…Currently (of course) I’m living in posh period Brit, 1895. So that’ll be a fun mind fuck once we really get running in rehearsals while still finishing “Earnest” performances.

But I’m totally good for it. 😉

…Homework right now is working on the accents so I have something decent to use for the read on Saturday. Never having done a German without Jewish or Dutch influence, means that’ll be a whole new bag to play with for me, as well as digging out a comedic Scottish that you can still actually understand.

Tons of fun ahead.

Tonight: am focusing on Annabella Schmidt…the German spy…the model for which I will (naturally) be using, being Marlene Dietrich. I want her vocal pitch so low she sounds like a man in drag, and her accent so exaggerated she sounds like any Noir period spy supposed to be based in Germany (having prob’ly actually been born in Jersey.)

…It will be awful-beautiful.

I almost can’t wait.

So I’m leaving now to go work on it.

First bus stop on the homework train is this:

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…All aboard!

~D

Funny. Seriously.

18 Jun

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Tonight: This movie. 

…This movie and the Big Pink Ball.

Serious funny has never been so ridiculous. 

…As if my abs don’t already hurt.

A favorite game: trying to tell where the script ends and the improv begins.

In the Madeline Kahn cannon, it’s a very close number two.

(The first being her Lily Von Schtupp. Obviously.)

…Because though this is funny.

…Nothing will ever win this:

Not. Ever.

~D

He Can Benedict My Cumberbatch Any Day…

17 Jun

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First: Ted & Allen & Stacy & Jim say “Hi.” 

…They’ve been bugging me to tell you for days now, and are monitoring my blog at this point. As they have threatened to procreate new spawn if I neglect to tell you “hello” this time, (and as they appear to be now major fixtures in my life), I thought keeping the peace would be the smarter way to go, on this.

…Also, a postcard just came in the mail today from Mrs. Johnson.

…Seems she’s taken a spur-of-the-moment puddle jumper to the islands for a quickie.  Cuz she’s a flipping harlot. Yet, for some reason, she felt inclined to send all her luggage ahead.  It is now being stored primarily in my belly, like a rising loaf of yeast bread, filling more and more pant space every day.

Super awesome, really.

Meanwhile, for m’first night off since Tech week, I started back up with my walks and wars with the Big Pink Ball.  Twenty minutes of Pilates and a six-mile trek was rewarded by a 3D date with my lover: Benedict Cumberbatch.  Star Trek.  Was super.  He was super-er. 

…That voice and his ridiculous elegance of stature (and general yumminess) makes me want to very bad things, very well…if you get what I mean. 

…Because I am always so subtle that I often doubt that you do.

(I mean: sex.)

…And in other “meanwhiles,” I have about a week’s worth of blog subscriptions I haven’t read, so am going to go now and do that.

…Because supporting the Arts is important!

…And so is stalking.

~D

Gwendolen & Cecily Mexi-Fro-Yo

16 Jun

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This evening, Gwendolen invited Cecily over for some girl time. 

…This turned into six hours of multiple short walks, fajita cooking ventures, a fro-yo run, visiting a Hollywood celebrity, eating, watching part of a movie, swilling some wine, and talking about a lot of everythings.

Given how much they achieve in merely two-hours of stage time, it is to be expected that they can easily fill six additional hours with no problem in the least.

…And never manage to run out of conversation.

…Or cake.*

Opening week is now behind us. 

…I’m told we held at the initial weekend average attendance of 77%, putting us already in the black.  And only one of the reviews has come out.  So with the heavy press hit this week, we should be livin’ sweet come Thursday.  Patrons this weekend were buying out entire seating sections for bringing more people to see it again…which I think you will agree is a very good sign that we are on task for putting smiles on faces.

…And the people who don’t smile are prob’ly vegetarians anyway.*

Off now, for a bit of a rest.

…Our costumes, for a bit of a dry-clean.

And as Jack’s face is removed from everyone’s blouses, jackets, and trousers, the women breathe corset free for three whole days.* 

…Not that we mind the restrictions so much as the heat and hideous post-show markings they leave on our bodies. Like canvas-sacked prunes.

…Which is basically how I feel right now.

Back to the Pilates n’ walks again, starting tomorrow. 

…And (I suppose) start looking at the lines for the next show.

…But first: BED!  SLEEP!

And a Monday.

~D

(* show joke entered here.)

Ted & Allen & Stacy & Jim

15 Jun

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No, this is not a Christopher Durang sequel.

…It’s just the names of all four of the brilliantly swollen zits currently gracing my facial region.

There is no amount of cover-up that can mask them.  Even from stage.  I look like I have wart growths all over my damn face.

Not cool.

This Mrs. Johnson visit is gonna be fierce. 

(Whenever the hell she finally stops sending “gifts” like these ahead, and shows up her own damn self.) 

…Meanwhile, her water-weight began as well today, so I should be good and bloated by tomorrow’s show. This is so much better than being bloated on Opening night, that I totally don’t even care.  This time, she gets a “free-bee.”

…Also, maybe some chocolate, before I start back up on the Pilates regime.  Thought I’d give myself the weekend off.  Am pretty wrecked bodily as it is, no need to press it beyond it’s sensible threshold.

…And I’ve literally nodded off twice just “resting my eyes” between lines of writing tonight’s blog.  Which tells me, I need to be done and go finish sleeping. I’m still behind about two days worth of “Z’s,” easily.

~D

The Blog That Wasn’t

14 Jun

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I’m nearly to my year of blog-a-days, and last night (for only the second time) posted naught.

It was Opening, guys…

…I was having fun…

…Marty came for catch ups…

…Post cast hang time at the Mexi-bar…

…Multiple house guests talking of Dr. Who and theatre in general until all hours…

…Passed out humans in various rooms, soon to follow.

In short: It didn’t happen, and I was having too much fun to regret it.

Here is its placeholder. 

“The Blog That Wasn’t”

A joyous cast killed over 5 minutes off the show time in pace, wound up all the one-liners neatly, tied up the ending with a bow, and got its first (stellar) review already on the internet, making the FB and other PR rounds as we speak.

…We are happy peeps.

…And now for a bit of a nap, before the end-of-year theatre patio BBQ and auction, (special entertainment by The Fella), with our (hopefully) sold-out second performance of Earnest to follow.

Huzzah and things!

~D

The Screaming Over-Compensator

13 Jun

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So, we had one of those mostly smiley Preview audiences, who…I am sure…prob’ly enjoyed themselves just fine.

Occasional laughter by all, was heard. Occasional booming ones selectively, from others.

…But we learned quickly, that it would not be quite at the frequency that we were hoping. 

…Which bothered some of us. (Me)

…Which is dangerous in comedies, because sometimes that influences the knee-jerk reaction to amp or over-compensate in some way: An Actor version of poking the audience with a stick in order to hopefully arouse the desired response.

…As if that has EVER worked, in the HISTORY of the theatre, in ALL OF TIME.

(It doesn’t.)

But, Actors are stubborn assholes, who (by the time you see them do what they do to entertain you) have already vested a pretty huge fucking amount of time and effort into a thing.  And so, though we KNOW that over-compensation isn’t going to do a goddamn thing to achieve the kind of endgame we were hoping for, a lot of us will try it anyway.  And for a lot of us, it is an automatic switch that flips, running on it’s own little generator.

Actors have different compensation mechanisms, I find.

…Mine is screaming.

Something in me assumes that if the reactions are slow or silent from the seated sections, it is most likely because they prob’ly just can’t hear what is being said.  So my auto-pilot fix is to amp the volume. About 12 decibels.

…I also like to infuse an extra shot of energy.

…Which, when added to the screaming, is like slamming a 5-Hour-Energy shot, with a RedBull chaser.

Now: do it in an English dialect, while wearing a lot of fancy clothes.

That was basically my Preview performance.

Again, on auto pilot.  It would just kick in. No matter how much I had told myself not to let it, while pacing backstage, listening to one-liner after one-liner, fall into a pit of mostly silence.

I was determined to get up there, and be fine. And I was fine…until the first couple “dings” of missed opportunity hit. Then, I would begin to panic, and project my vocals suddenly with enough speed and power to kick a train off it’s tracks.

…Have you ever attempted a love scene while being intimately yelled at?

Earnest has.

…And it was not one of Gwendolen’s more evocative moments.

Somehow, between tonight and tomorrow, I have got to just calm the frick down.

Nobody is going to get everything that we do.

Nobody else spent a month pouring over and interpreting the text, like we did.

This does not equal failure.

…Nor the need to panic.

For some: it will be the physical comedic angle that’ll get ’em. For others it will be accents and costumes. And for probably fewer than I was anticipating: it will be the actual language content.

It’s period.  It’s British.  It’s an acquired taste to a contemporary palette.

I suppose it would behoove me to remember that.

…And maybe also, to watch the auto-indicator when the anxiety levels start to rush.

Center. Focus. Delight.

I charge myself in ink, to enjoy the hell out of my castmates tomorrow night…to work my ass off…to think of delicious, decedent Gwendolisms, and receive any output by the audience, as a garnish perk.

The end.

~ D

The Madding Crowd

12 Jun

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The Pilates ball has been yelling at me for the past two days. 

…I haven’t had even ten minutes to give it so much as a second glance in that time.

…In fact, the only reason why I’ve even gone into the living room (where it rooms and boards) since then, is to plug in my phone for juicing. So it’s been quite easy to ignore the bubble gum pink elephant in the room.

Look:  It’s been a long two days.

Numbers at work were huge this last weekend…giant, in fact.  We were number one sales in the Nation.  Us.  The shitty little no-man’s-land that is our office (of all things.)  Which is weird. It’s like Twilight Zone, weird. It’s like Alien invasion, weird.  It’s like 120 new contracts weird.

…So I’ve been doing that. Non stop. 

…And yesterday’s rehearsal call was early: so, zero leeway there.  And tonight’s moving to 6:30, with no lunch, meant I needed to uber schedule some serious dinner carbs, or I’d either be falling over or falling asleep only slightly after tonight’s curtain.

…During which time, it became painfully evident that WE NEED A FUCKING AUDIENCE. 

The poor bastards stuck watching us night after night, have done their duty above and beyond in trying to feed our egos with laughs, but lets face it: nothing is funny the 500th time.

…Except if pain is involved.

…And it isn’t yours.

…But this isn’t that kind of show.

…So that is where we were.

If I wasn’t so poor I would personally pay people off the street to come and fill the house for tomorrow’s Preview.  We are in desperate need of reactions…to anything…at any point…for any reason, really.

So if you’re in town: it’s Pay-What-You-Can, which equals “Free” if you want it to.

Curtain is at 8.

I will eternally love you.

…Or at least, owe you a drink.

~D

It Worked! Now What Did I Do?

11 Jun

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Pin pointed some good moments tonight. 

We all did.

…Working our asses off, never looked so esthetically pleasing.

…Nor as funny on apparent total accident.

(It is no accident, these people are funny.  And so is the show.)

Tonight, trying some new wardrobe changes in act two had me doing my hair no less than three times for the evening.  My scalp was a bobby pin nightmare by the end, but it was totally worth it, and I’ve now been locked-and-loaded in all my visual incarnations.

Gwendolen is a very specific creature of very specific style and accessory.

…Which makes owning and flitting about in it, (as if one did so all the time), a total necessity.  And I’m riding that wave tighter every night.

As is usually the case, the rest of the “her” I was looking for, showed up with the costumes, hair, and intimate props.  These are always my final touchtones to the characters I play, which means I am fussy about them, and endlessly futz with them, because they must ultimately become so virtually a part of me, that there is absolutely no question as to the form and function of each and why they are a part of the tool kit the character uses.

…Meanwhile finding “the final look” is often a work in progress.  Fine tuning, rearranging, and adding small details are what seperate the men from the boys in this field…each step of which, influences the actor and their work.  And because this is the late Victorian era, there is a hell of a lot of “detail” to be tuned into.

Much like Oscar’s verbiage, it is not a matter-of-less is more, or more-is-more, but rather: ostintatious-is-the-ordinary.

More of everything, including fringe, lace, jewelry, prints, pillows, tea, and accessories, Art Directed in such a way as to appear completely normal in form.

…And once that is added, the actors adjust, work, and incorporate accordingly.

Due to the total difference in hats and new alterations in costume tonight (for instance), this means I’ll be doing two completely different coifs each performance. 

Because Oscar is a wise man…and no doubt realized what it takes for a woman of the period to change and prep and do such things…I have around 30 minutes (including an intermission) in order to achieve it all.

Plenty of time.

…If still a monster task.

…And the result is (even if I do say so myself) supremely smart, therefor totally worth it.

It is all totally worth it.

…When you hit those moments, the sweet spots, where everything just seems to fall into place, and everything becomes just a little more supremely delicious in texture, and line, and look, and delivery; when you are truly playing with another person on stage, with all the rules assembled, but the open possiblity of surprise sizzling in the air between you: that is what it’s all about.

Finding that with people you didn’t even know three months ago, still blows my mind with wonder.

And the friendships that come with that requirement of total unflinching trust, is what builds the real joy in what we do.

At least it does for me.

Applause ain’t even half of it.

~D

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