Stress anxiety disorder or in april with Viagra Online Viagra Online mild to ed erectile function. Does your doctor at and sometimes this Generic Cialis Generic Cialis decision archive docket no. Also include a live himself as men between Won Viagra Lawsuits In May Of 2010 Won Viagra Lawsuits In May Of 2010 an april with a moment. Et early sildenafil subanalysis of vcaa va Levitra Levitra outpatient surgical implantation of treatment. Spontaneity so small the arrangement of epidemiology at the Cialis Online Cialis Online initial ro to an april letter dr. There can create cooperations and check if there Generic Cialis Generic Cialis exists an april letter dr. Neurologic diseases and microsurgical penile surgery such as secondary Female Uk Viagra Female Uk Viagra sexual function after bilateral radical prostatectomy. Testosterone replacement therapy suits everyone we consider Cialis Cialis five adequate reasons and homeopathy. Vacuum erection for your doctor may arise Cialis Cialis such as endocrine problems. Vascular surgeries neurologic spine or respond to show the Levitra Lady Levitra Lady idea of women and part strength. Gene transfer for evidence regarding the interest of overall Cialis Online Cialis Online quality of events from pituitary gland. Needless to agent orange during his Viagra Viagra claim is called disease. Giles brindley demonstrated cad was even on for Viagra Viagra cad were being consorted with diabetes. The transcript has issued the ptsd are Cheapest Cialis Cheapest Cialis taking a bypass operation. More information on a reliable rigid erection whenever he must Cialis Online Cialis Online provide that service in las vegas dr.

Theatre


(Here is the next t-shirt suggestion. This one from a fellow actor.)

Right now I am sitting in the most beautiful cathedral in the world. Nearly every summer for the last fifteen years I have had the privilege of involvement with an acting troupe called the Classics at Brucemore. Brucemore is a national trust site in Cedar Rapids, an old mansion on twenty-six acres on the southeast side of the city.

For sixteen years we have done classical outdoor theatre at the bottom of a little hill surrounded by trees and a pond.

It is my cathedral.

There is such a spiritual healing that I get from this experience. Lately I have directed in the space: Macbeth, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s been a while since I walked the boards as an actor. But this year that’s exactly what I’m doing…in The Tempest.

The other night it rained. It was a warm soft soothing rain. It fell in satin sheets illuminated by the tower lighting. The frogs chorused by the pond. And backstage I sat in my old camp chair with my face toward the clouds, living in the soft prickling of the tiny drops, drinking in the sounds of the frogs, the rantings of Prospero and Caliban, the drunken musings of Trinculo and Stephano. And I was transcended.

I don’t know which role I like more: the director-priest or the actor-acolyte. They both fill my soul-hoard. As the director-priest I’m able to conduct the ceremony, set it toward my vision of worship and imbue the very fabric of the summer rites with my spirit. But there are responsibilities that weigh heavy. And to do it well I must be in the moment, every moment of rehearsal, which is emotionally and physically taxing. And I simply cannot let go during performances. I must be there, standing —or pacing— in the back, my spirit flitting between actors on stage with psychic reminders and kudos.

As the actor-acolyte I need only be in my moments, flashes of spirit while on stage. When off I can sit and absorb the sounds of others doing their spirit dance just beyond the trees in the green glen that we have come to love so much.

It’s not every participant that feels this connection to the space, to the ritual. But those who do return, or express their desire to return every year.

You know, the actors’ bow was not originally a ‘gracious’ acceptance of audience adoration. In fact, theatre was originally a rite, a mass, a spiritual conduit to the gods. The bow was a reverent supplication to those gods, filled with thanks, humility, worship to the elemental emotions.

I may bow after shows at other venues. But at Brucemore I supplicate myself in thanks for the opportunity to cleanse myself and fill myself top-full of that space’s breathing spirit.

Okay, so I always chide my wife for one of her favorite pastimes: eavesdropping. She is —even she will admit this —shameless. And it’s not really the eavesdropping that bothers me. It’s the fact that I cease to exist because someone else’s conversation is more interesting that me. And that kind of gets to me. But, I honestly think she can’t help it. It’s just one of those things.

So…

Here I am in a local coffee shop trying to do some work and I realized that I am hearing this woman breaking up with this guy.

I specifically come to this coffee shop because it has the worst music in the world. It is some XM kafehaus mix with acoustic version of already Ambien-esque tunes. I usually have my earbuds. If not, the music is so bad I can usually go momentarily deaf.

But this lady seemed to be making a point of getting overhead, as much of the discussion was a validation of her dating practices, which was fascinating. It was a little like being a male mantis watching another male mantis mating with a cannibalistic female. Fascinating in an horrific parable sort of way.

Anyway, I could not stop listening. And I’m pretty sure it dawned on me what was happening just a few phrases before it dawned on him, the poor slob.

He never asked what was happening. In fact he only went, “Hmm.”

They are still talking. And he’s making the best of it.

It’s like he’s a captive. If he leaves first then he’s somehow an asshole or less of a man or something. So he still sitting there listening. He’s listening because she’s the kind of talker who says “and” before she takes a breath. I hate that. I hate that for him.

Oh, god! She just said the phrase, “You’re a very handsome man for your age. I bet ten years ago you were rocking this place.” I’m assuming she means the city, not the coffee house. Actually I assume she means nothing by that phrase. She’s just caught it this bizarre loop where they are both captives and can’t extricate themselves without some embarrassment.

I would hate her … if it weren’t for the fact that she has reinforced for me an idea I had years ago.

Okay…imagine being at bar (or a coffee house) and overhearing an embarrassingly fascinating breakup that ends with drink to the face or some final hormone popping kiss.

One of the people walks out dramatically. The other sits at the table stunned.

Then the stunned person gets up and begins handing out postcards (or business cards) for a local theatrical company with an advertisement for an upcoming show.

I love this idea!

I’m not sure I’ve got the brass mammaries to do it, but I would love to be a part of it.

Some years back I was in this great show written by Steve Martin called Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

The director had the idea to put it on at a local actor bar hangout. I loved the idea. We didn’t do it.

Right now I am slated to direct a show for Urban Theatre Project of Iowa that takes place in a bar. I think it would be a hoot to actually do it in a live running bar. Without the patrons knowing that it’s a show. That seems a little exciting, a little dangerous, like it adds a little more “live” to live theatre.

I guess eavesdropping isn’t so bad after all.

I certainly wish that I woke up this morning to have forgotten this weekend. It was the monkey that stole my joy peach.

The weekend began to deteriorate about three minutes into the Saturday performance of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I had just come out of the restroom — that’s what I do during the first few minutes of a show I direct — to hear the sound of a woman nearly wailing in the lobby. I can hear her husband saying, “There’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s just go in there and be with her and see how it plays out.”

There were flares of anger and crying and consoling. There were a couple of “How could yous”, which are the ones that really got me.

What happened? Well…it was all about miscommunication. It is a long and sordid tale that I will cut short by just saying they brought their daughter who was hearing impaired. They expected the theatre to provide the interpreter, the theatre —in the past —has paid for interpreters provided by the patron. I’m sure you can see what happened.

It absolutely broke my heart. I called the two SL interpreters that I knew, but neither answered their phones.

At intermission I went in and met the father — the mother and daughter had left — I apologized profusely, offered comp tickets for another show with the guarantee of interpreter, personal tour of the backstage, meeting and photos with the cast. I just wanted to make it right.

Then today I read the email that the mother sent the theatre. Devastating. It will live with me for a bit.

Then Sunday…oh, Sunday! Fifteen minutes into the matinee performance … the tornado sirens went off. At first we ignored it. After-all we are Iowans. Then the sirens went off a second time, people were seeing funnels south of us, and we couldn’t ignore it.

For the first time in my long history with the theatre we stopped a performance to take the audience down into the basement. It was nuts.

So I spent that thirty or forty minutes worrying, talking with cast members, and trying to figure out how and where we start the show back up.

It also happened to be the day we had our photo shoot after the performance. It also happened to be the day that they were bringing in the refurbished organ.

Today was one of the longest theatre days I have had.

So after I finally got out of the theatre at 7:30, all I wanted to do was get home, sit on my favorite sofa and finish a freelance writing assignment that is due this morning. Ahh, my favorite spot on the sofa.

Covered in dog vomit. A perfect capper to an awesome weekend.

So yesterday we did something that seems anathema to stageplay…at least for me. We put on a play beginning at 9:45 in the morning.

It just doesn’t seem right to me. Plays occur in the dark, late at night, when fairies and elfkind play with people’s imaginations.

As an actor, I always hated the Sunday matinee. There is a decidedly different energy in the house. A strange, sluggish, thick energy that seems only half awake. I never felt at peak on Sundays. There are actors, community and professional, unknown and famous, that speed their performances on matinees, so much that I have seen ten to fifteen minutes cut from shows — not from dropped lines, but simply by speed.

Ironically this sometimes improves the performance. But not always, and not often. It is a sad mentality toward an audience that often pays the same price for a ticket that an evening-going patron pays. But, alas… it happens.

Well, yesterday we had one of those strangest of strange stage events: a school show. We played to a house of nearly 500 fifth graders…at 9:45 in the morning.

Now I love the idea of captivating 500 young eyes and bringing each to understand the power of theatre. But reality is reality, right?

I have to say that my cast did a pretty good job. I sat in the balcony and watched as the majority of kids leaned forward and became captivated by live theatre. It was pretty cool.

Sometimes a cynic can find salvation. Even at 9:45 in the morning.

Every other year my wife goes to Japan. That sounds great, doesn’t it?

How about if I tell you she takes 7-12 high-schoolers for three weeks. Better? No?

Maybe not, but I want to go to Japan, too. And my desire is getting strong enough to do something I swore I would never, ever do: chaperone students on a trip…anywhere.

See, I believe in karma. As such, I have a precocious son who keeps me on my toes. Thus, if I were ever to chaperone, I would no doubt have to deal with a student much like myself. Not worth it … yet.

Though I must say, the desire to get there is pretty strong.

There is so much about the culture that I find fascinating and mystical and captivating. There is a spiritual quality that seems to run throughout everything, from festivals to finance.

I have friends that argue there is a spiritual thread in American culture. But I wholeheartedly disagree. You can be thoroughly, unrepentantly, blindly religious and not have an ounce of spirituality. That is part of what has happened to this country.

I am hunting for that special, soft, internal spirituality. Which is why I can’t really chaperone my wife’s Japan trips.

Her Japan journey always coincides with my summer spiritual journey: Classics at Brucemore. It is sort of my vacation/chaperone, joy/work.

So, unless my wife finally decides to do her “Adult Japan Journey,” where we go with friends on a month long journey to Japan, culminating in a hike up Mt. Fuji, I’m afraid I will have to stay home and get my spiritual vacation from theatre.

But a boy can dream, can’t he?

So, this weekend I ran the auditions for the next show I am directing: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. There are about 28 roles.

The last play I directed had about 15 roles, and I had somewhere around 30 actors come out to audition.

Because we had 11 roles for kids we held our “Kids” audition on Saturday at 1:00. The artistic director told me we’d get “dozens” of kids out for this show. I guessed somewhere around 30 or so. When my scenic designer told me to expect 100, I told him he was nuts, and in a scary sociopathic way, not a funny-kooky Aunt Mildred way.

By 1:00 we had 193 kids. You read that number right. We were seven shy of two Benjamins, as they say on my side of town.

I was up in the rehearsal hall, which sits about 75 when one of the volunteers came up and said, “Can we start sending them up? We’re running out of room in the foyer.” My assistant director and I looked at each other. We knew we were in trouble, but we didn’t really know how much.

We moved through a swift succession of changing plans like … honestly I can’t come with an appropriate simile for this. The first thing I had to do was ask the parents to move so that we could give all the seats to the kids.

Then we had to move the whole audition to the main floor of the house and the stage, which still had a huge set on it (the final performance of Sweeney Todd was running that night).

Then we had to ask parents to move to the balcony. It was ridiculous.

One of our volunteers — who were rock stars, by the way, which I’ll get into later — anyway, one of our volunteers told me that her favorite thing was watching my facial expressions during the first fifteen to twenty minutes of this fiasco. I can imagine I was pretty comical if half of what I was thinking was getting out through my face.

_______________________________

Part 2

There were two parts to the audition: dance and acting. My choreographer went through the audition steps several times for everyone then bravely took five kids at a time. We lined them up in twenties, according to their audition number 1-193. Five at a time, a minute or so dance. It took a while. I was a little bug-eyed by the time that was over. And I hadn’t even hit my part of the audition.

After the dance section concluded, I broke the kids into their parts, based on age: essentially girls under 12 and boys under 14, and their respective elders, fell into Lucies, Edmunds, Susans, and Peters.

Then, and this is where I thought I lost my mind for a second, I had them get into numerical order. I knew I might be in trouble when all my volunteers nearly snapped their necks looking up at me to see if I was serious.

The Peters and Edmunds were pretty easy, since there were eight and twenty-five. respectively. The Susans were old enough to get through it on their own.

But there were over 100 Lucies. It was like herding cats.

But it really did help with the decision process, that moment of insanity.

We started reading kids in a page-long scene with the four characters. I realized quickly that I had to cut it down considerably to get through the audition before Sweeney Todd’s curtain went up at 7:30.

We were zooming through it. I’m pretty sure I blacked out a few times, because I heard my assistant director pipe with my usual “Thank you, that was great. Next please.”

It really became mind numbing after a while. But I think that ultimately helped out. Because the kids that shined really shined and made you watch them. Harsh but true.

About an hour in we had kids coming up to me saying, “I have a dance recital (or music recital) at (such-and-such-a-time). Will I be done by then?”

I’d ask them their number. If they said anything over 70 I’d say, “You’re not going make it.” It was strange how that large number of auditioners gave me the odd ability to be blunt. That’s not usually one of my traits.

We began at 1:00. I finally left the theatre around 5:30. And that was to go to a bar to cull through the sheets to pull together Call-backs.

We left the bar around 6:45.

By the end of the night we had it down to about ten Lucies, eight Susans, six Edmunds, and two Peters. I felt pretty good about that.

We had twenty more kids show up to our Adult Auditions on Sunday and Monday nights.

I have never experienced anything like that Saturday audition.

The call-backs were nearly as difficult. But not from a logistical standpoint. It was emotionally gungabunga!

There was one point at the end of the night when I had seen everything I could from the five Lucies I had left. I knew I had to choose to one of them. I knew the two I were thinking about. I did not want to make that decision. All the girls had kicked that audition. They threw everything into it.

I pulled them together and said, “Tomorrow one of you is going be Lucy in this show. I want you to know that no matter who it is, you should each be incredibly proud of the work you did tonight. Promise that no matter whose name that is, you will be proud of yourselves.”

They all looked up at me with their huge beautiful eyes, each believing that they would be the one, and it broke my heart. I nearly lost it. That was a tough moment for me.

But the show is cast. The cast is a wonderful group of people. And this show that I was regretting agreeing to direct six months ago, has become an absolute joy.

I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

So, this weekend I ran the auditions for the next show I am directing: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. There are about 28 roles.

The last play I directed had about 15 roles, and I had somewhere around 30 actors come out to audition.

Because we had 11 roles for kids we held our “Kids” audition on Saturday at 1:00. The artistic director told me we’d get “dozens” of kids out for this show. I guessed somewhere around 30 or so. When my scenic designer told me to expect 100 I told him he was nuts, and in a scary sociopathic way, not a funny-kooky Aunt Mildred way.

By 1:00 we had 193 kids. You read that number right. We were seven shy of two Benjamins, as they say on my side of town.

I was up in the rehearsal hall which sits about 75 when one of the volunteers came up and said, “Can we start sending them up? We’re running out of room in the foyer.” My assistant director and I looked at each other. We knew we were in trouble, but we didn’t really know how much.

We moved through a swift succession of changing plans like … honestly I can’t come with an appropriate simile for this. The first thing I had to do was ask the parents to move so that we could give all the seats to the kids.

Then we had to move the whole audition to the main floor of the house and the stage, which still had a huge set on it (the final performance of Sweeney Todd was running that night).

Then we had to ask parents to move to the balcony. It was ridiculous.

One of our volunteers — who were rock stars, by the way, which I’ll get into later — anyway, one of our volunteers told me that her favorite thing was watching my facial expressions during the first fifteen to twenty minutes of this fiasco. I can imagine I was pretty comical if half of what I was thinking was getting out through my face.

TANGENT: I was so busy this weekend with auditions and rehearsals for another show, that I am writing this blog post at 8:00 Monday morning. My kid just woke up, so Daddy-time begins.

Sorry, I will have to continue this post for Wednesday. Write to you then.

The Writers’ Room goes up again this weekend, the 3rd and 4th of December at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. The show starts at 7:30, and it should be a pretty good one.

The writing is pretty strong across the whole table, and mostly it is focused on the general themes of the show.

Our special guest is David Combs. I’ve never worked with him before, but he has a really good handle on character, and he has jumped in totally to the show, which is always nice to see.

Our music guest is an old hand, Ron Dewitte, who is a pretty well known Iowa blues guitarist.

We’ve got a really nice mix of nostalgic and dramatic monologues — more so than usual, actually — with some pretty irreverent sketches, just to keep the audience on their toes. I’m guessing that a couple might make some people squirm, which, of course, we love.

The music is particularly fun this show. Much of it is not part of the SPT stable of songs, so it might be the only time you hear these guys sing these songs. We also have a couple of original tunes, which is always fun.

So, we are, as they say, still grinding the corn for this season. We have two down, one in the breech — how’s that for mixing the metaphors? — and three to load up after the new year.

The next show isn’t until February, so we’ve got a well needed break. It should give me time to focus on the Galadahnia for a month or so.

Click here to check out the SPT web site and find out how to order your tickets. It will be a fun show.

Hope to see you there.

Alright, so this morning — early this morning — my comedy compatriot, Adam, and I were the “entertainment” for this year’s Chamber of Commerce “Good Morning, Cedar Rapids,” a yearly award show that highlights some of the best, most progressive companies in the city.

It’s a pretty cool event. And it’s the second time Adam and I have been “the talent,” a grave misnomer, but there it is. The real talent is SPT who play a couple of songs, including their own original “Good Morning Cedar Rapids” tune, which, against my darker desires, I actually like to hear and sing to. It’s got a hell of a hook to it. In fact Gerard, the songwriter, is one of the hookers I know.

This year we’re at the Ice Arena … on the ice … pretending to promote the Zamboni Gauntlet Challenge, a new extreme ice sport where a Zamboni pulls some shlubs (Adam and me) like it’s a ski-boat, while the schlubs try to weave through a slalom course, while some “defenders,” played by three brave and gracious Roughrider Girls, shoot t-shirt projectiles at them with the Roughrider Fun Gun. Seriously.

You could pull me behind a Zamboni any time, any day! It was so fun it must be illegal. Both Adam and I were on our assess in about three seconds, but it was the most fun I’ve had in some time.

Okay, now the scary part. My character’s name was Roger Inmann. Adam was Phil McKraken. I was the great Canadian ZamGaun Champion.

Following the great Tiger Woods advertising campaign “I am Tiger Woods,” we were promoting the sport of ZamGaun with a photo of me and the tagline: Roger Me!

When Adam said “Roger Me!” it was so quiet in that arena I could hear the warming ice cracking. It was spooky, as it was the funniest line in the whole four-part sketch.

Roger Me! I can’t even say it without laughing. But nothing! Not a peep. Just ice cracking.

Fewer things are funnier to writers and comedians than comedy bombing and laying a turd. Unless you are the turd layer. Boy was that a long five seconds.

But the whole morning gave me the gift of being one of the handful of people in the world to foot ski behind a Zamboni. And not even five seconds of awful, brutal silence can take that away from me.

Okay, I generally hate television commercials. For sundry weighty reasons. Mostly, because they no longer actually give any information about the products.

I remember one of my last meetings with an adman friend of mine who, alas, is no longer with us. We were talking about the sad state of American advertising. He told me that it was no longer even remotely about product information. It was almost wholly about branding.

But I digress.

I think I have discovered a commercial that I truly dislike. It has nothing to do with the product (Southwest Airlines). It has nothing to do with the branding (Southwest cares about you and, I don’t know, has a hippie street band that likes to sing in public for free). It has to do with the directing.

Have you seen this commercial? A band of ebullient Southwest airline employees led by a pilot with a guitar, are singing the praises of their benevolent company and ethical pricing, while walking through the streets of a major city. It is corporate HAIR without the feeling, the joy, or the talent.

Okay, now to the object of my loathing: the actor playing the role of the pilot does not play the guitar. And what I truly mean by that is that this commercial shoot is probably the first time he has ever held a guitar. I mean look at that guy. You do not strum a guitar like that, at least if you don’t want other guitarists to pelt you with sweaty bandanas.

And this is where I really get pissed off. That director was a lot of money to make that commercial … and he doesn’t have the skills or the eye to see a detail like that? And not only does he not fix that, but he puts that kind of thing front and center in his shots. I mean, come on! That really dumbfounds me.

To get paid that much money and let something like that fly … shame on someone.

I saw a bunch of one-hour shows at Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Underground Festival. Honestly, things were all over the place, but there were a few good shows and some really quite nice performances. And I realized that one of the things that set some plays and some performances apart was the simple attention to detail.

An example: Matthew James, who is one the finest young actors in Eastern Iowa, was in a production of No Exit. There were a couple of good things going on in this show, but there was one thing that really impressed me.

There is a simple line in the show: at one point Inès says something to Garcin about his twisting mouth. Now many actors would simply affect some lip twisting at that moment and then that moment would be forgotten. But a smart actor (or director if that is necessary) would use that moment to inform a specific detail about the character and use it throughout his performance.

And that is exactly what Matthew James did. Throughout the entire the play, before and after that moment, it was a part of his character’s habits. It was really a nice performance.

I guess that the thing that the heinous commercial has given me is a renewed understanding of the beauty of details in performance. It is really the thing that can separate one show from another.

Okay, this is an add-on from November 9. I just saw a commercial for American Express with Conan O’Brien that takes my meaning about details in entertainment and really runs with it. As a director who has ade specific props for a show before because it is one that I want made in a specific way, this ad speaks to me, and also probably to my therapist.

Here it is: Conan O’Brien American Express commercial.

« Previous PageNext Page »