Monday, December 28, 2009

Ah, the classics...

Yesterday's read was The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney. I had not read the Philoctetes before, which includes fascinatingly negative portrayal of Odysseus. Which of course, I rather like. Heaney's language is pointed and really hits on the question of what is the right thing to do.

I love about classical plays that everyone is guilty of something, no one is ever completely right or good. It is all about the shades of gray. Philoctetes is at once both sympathetic and detestable. And I love a good chorus. I am a HUGE han of the choral voice and love that this script is written with that as a suggestion.

Some quotes that stuck with me:

"Philoctetes. Hercules. Odysseus.
Heroes. Victims. Gods and human beings.
All throwing shapes, every one of them
Convinced he's in the right, all of them glad
To repeat themselves and their every last mistake,
No matter what." - Chorus

"Scruples are self-indulgence at this stage." - Odysseus

"Whose side are the gods on?
What are human beings to make of them?
How am I to keep on praising gods
If they keep disappointing me, and never
Match the good of my side with their good?" - Philoctetes

Friday, December 25, 2009

Burlesque and Carnage

Ah, with Christmas break comes some welcome quiet time to read. I finally finished the Gypsy memoir today. A truly fascinating read, really very interesting and sooooooo helpful in preparing to direct the show. Some of my favorite quotes:

  • "Start thinkin' about what your goin' to be tomorrow - not what you were yesterday."
  • I wanted to say good-by to someone, just once, who was sorry to see us leave.
  • "God will protect us. But to make sure, carry a heavy club."

After I finished that, I read God of Carnage - Yasmina Reza's latest hit. Funny, funny stuff. A show I'd love to do in eight or ten years. I love the rapid disintegration from proper and polite to way-too-personal mud-slinging and fit-pitching. I guess vomiting on the coffee table will do that to an evening.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Lover and The Problem

My next acting project with theatre KAPOW: I'll be playing Sarah in The Lover and the Wife in The Problem.

theatre KAPOW opens their second season with the titillating pairing of The Lover by Harold Pinter and The Problem by A.R. Gurney Jr. at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry, NH. The shows are directed by Matthew Cahoon and I play opposite Brian Kennedy.

Pinter’s The Lover is about a middle class couple who live a secluded life in a respectable English town. The play, written in 1962, explores the repercussions when dull domesticity and sexual fantasy collide. A.R. Gurney’s The Problem is a quite funny American take on a similar theme and written just a few years later in 1969. A husband and wife are caught in a complicated and perverse spiral of sexual fantasies that enable them to keep their marriage alive.

It is an interesting pairing of scripts and will make for a truly "tKAPOW" evening.

Performances are Friday, September 11 at 7:30 pm and Saturday September 12 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry, NH. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Stockbridge Theatre Box Office at (603) 437-5210, or online at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I love doing theatre for young audiences. It has been while since I did it, and this week I had the chance to return to the put-the-show-together-in-a-week process I cut my teeth on several years ago. I directed Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for the summer series at the Stockbridge Theatre. I was reminded of several lessons.

It is not easy to put together a show in a week, but it is possible. Keep it simple and come prepared- that's the key.

Young audiences are great audiences. They challenge you to hold their attention. Keep things clean and clear and active.

Ensemble is so very important. You have to enjoy one another and help one another. Like I said, it is not easy to put together a show in a week, but it is possible. Creativity from the first rehearsal is essential - because by the second rehearsal you have to be solidifying things!

The simplest stories are often the best. Take Alexander and the THNGVBD, based on the wonderful book by Judith Viorst. Everyone in the audience - parents and grandparents and children alike can relate to Alexander and his day. Sincerity is most important ingredient to the book, and to a successful production.

It was refreshing to go through a quick-and-dirty process like this again, and relive some great memories of my past experiences.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Anna and the King of Siam

I finally finished reading it! It did get better in the second half.

What makes it a compelling story is the last chapter: the long-term results of the influence Anna had over the Prince, and ultimately the culture of Siam. I find it interesting that the musical adaptation focuses much more on her relationship with the King, how it changes eventually to a friendship, even hinting at more.

I wanted to read it because I was hoping for some really wonderful descriptive passage about the Palace and the city to inspire me for the design of the show. They were few and far between, since the book is really centered on Anna’s relationships and the social circumstances of the people she meets.

I watched the movie again a few days after finishing the book, and was reminded what a really breathtaking number “Small House of Uncle Thomas” is, and how incredibly amazing Jerome Robbins work is.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes.


Read it at lunch today. Matthew liked this one much better than I did.


My initial reaction was yech! Too weird. As I am thinking about it more I am intrigued by the theme of dreams throughout the piece. Is she telling him about a dream? Is the whole thing perhaps a dream? The end (which is really the part that made me dislike the whole thing) makes a lot more sense if the whole thing is a dream.


Perhaps it makes much more sense in production. Especially when the playwright is directing.

I'm still slogging my way through Anna and the King of Siam. Every day another chapter...

Pause. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Laughing Wild

I've been remiss... last week I finished Laughing Wild. I have to say that I have not enjoyed my past experiences with Christopher Durang (which I admit are limited). But I thoroughly enjoyed this script. I like the varied iterations of the tuna fish sequence the best. And the Sally Jesse Raphael is dead bits cracked me up, too.

I remembered upon starting to read it that I once used a selection of the opening scene as an audition monologue (the tuna fish incident actually). I don't remember what I was auditioning for.

I continue to slog my way through Anna and the King. NOT a riveting read.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Fourth Wall

This evening A.R. Gurney Jr's play The Fourth Wall was on the menu - the revised edition. I wonder if it will be revised again next time a Republican is in office. I did laugh out loud several times - mostly at the absurd theatre jokes. Quite enjoyable.

The only other Gurney pieces I have read are The Dining Room (which I performed in my freshman year of college) and Love Letters. I like this comedy better than Dining. It is a very different type of show from Letters, apples and oranges.

I feel the need to sing a random Cole Porter tune. There's a little bit of GYPSY in me...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Latest reads

There is always side reading going on in addition to the big list. Yesterday at the beach (while getting a slight sunburn) I read:

- The Moonshot Tape and Poster of the Cosmos by Lanford Wilson
- Reunion and The Dark Pony by David Mamet

The Wilson was okay. Very graphic at points. I am not I really like the character of Diane - it was not a particularly sensitive writing of her.

Enjoyed the Mamets very much, as usual. Reunion is beautiful at points - very poetic. Heart-breaking truthfulness and reality to both the father and the daughter. Dark Pony is an interesting piece - I'd love to see it done - to hear it, actually, since it is a very auditory piece.

Hopefully this week I'll start on something from the reading list.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My summer reading list

Just the beginning, and all to prepare for design or directing jobs. I'm looking forward most to reading GYPSY.