Pong Poster: Near-Final Draft

Pong poster draft v2All right, I made my choice on the direction to go with the graphic.

Here’s where Ryan’s gotten to. There are a few little tweaks to make still, but this is basically what it’s gonna look like. The guy does great work, and I told him I feel lucky to have access to his talent.

I hope to make it public (like for real) in the next couple of weeks.

He’s got a kid on the way too (due December 18th), so here’s to you and Jaimie, Ryan…

Live(-ish)blogging the ScriptWorks Fling

SW logoWe get the three ingredients for the Fling tonight, and I have to say that this is still one of my favorite writing events. It’s fun to write with the random ingredients, and it’s also fun to be in a competition to get produced in the spring.

There’s a small meetup planned for 6pm tonight at Central Market, where we’ll share the ingredients, and then get to it.

Usually my process is like:

  • mull
  • mull
  • land on a potentially good concept
  • sleep
  • write
  • decide if it’s good by Saturday afternoon
  • edit, write, edit
  • sleep
  • decide if I’ve screwed myself by taking the wrong path and if I have just give up
  • edit
  • edit
  • send

FRIDAY

3:19pm: A glimmer of excitement is in the air!

3:20pm: Oh yeah, back to work…

6:15pm: Here are this year’s ingredients:

1) An object lost 20 years ago is found
2) At least one character must experience a reversal of fortune
3) The play must include a folk dance

7:15pm: Lots of potential with these ingredients. The first two leave a lot of room for almost anything. But that folk dance. That’s tricky. How to really integrate it without it being a throwaway (e.g., “Hey, let’s dance” at the end of an otherwise non-folk-dance-y play)

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My Slow Descent into Madness

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the comforting, uniform ridges of California

Somewhere over California, I began to have this sinking feeling. Or rather this falling feeling. My fear of heights kicked in and I felt for sure we’d be plummeting soon. I recently had a terrible dream where I was giving my son a driving lesson and he took a wide turn on a mile-high overpass way too fast. He overshot the curve and I didn’t reach out to correct the wheel. The car slipped over the edge of the railing and we began to fall. I grabbed my son by the shoulders, looked him in the eyes, told him I loved him more than anything, and waited for impact.

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Kitchen Cabinet?

Kitchen cabinet

Well, I find out in a week if this is happening.

Had an informal chat with my buddy tonight, and he asked me to be on his kitchen cabinet as an adviser:

The Kitchen Cabinet was a term used by political opponents of President of the United States Andrew Jackson to describe his ginger group, the collection of unofficial advisers he consulted in parallel to the United States Cabinet

 I told him I’d be honored, and we’ll see what happens next.

I’m excited for the guy. Will be a big David vs. Goliath thing, but…. worth doing if he decides to go that way. I’d be a kind of outside-the-loop consultant, but I read a lot about numbers and trends and stuff, so hopefully would be able to bring something to the table.

Change is coming. Maybe…

Liveblogging Night Two of 14/48 (2017)

1448-veteran-badgeBack in the game. Got my randomly assigned slot #, actor quantity and theme:

  • Second piece tomorrow night
  • Write for four actors
  • Theme is Witches

Is that a theme? I guess it is. We were asked to try to use it metaphorically because seven plays in a row about witches could leave the audience a bit short of…. spellbound.

10:03pm: Okay, I have the germ of an idea, action packed, takes place in a kitchen…

10:48pm: Page one written. Four characters are brilliantly named B, C, D and F. The producers are trying something new this year where we don’t get assigned the genders of characters. To be more inclusive and less specific about why a character needs to be male or female. So this lettering should work okay.

On to page two…

11:48pm: Page two is down. It’s becoming quite farcical, some similarities to Fugue for Five Waiters. Too many similarities?  Enh, let’s see…

12:34am: Stuck. Is there enough conflict? Enough interesting stuff? Not sure I know what I’m doing. Tired.

1:08am: Frustrated. How am I going to wrap this thing up. Maybe the wrong direction. Want to lie down for a bit…

5:43am: Oy. Took a nap to clear my head. Just over an hour left. Changed everyone’s name to something real to make it clearer. Ben, Chris, Donna, Freddy. Struggling with ending. Want it to pop. Wish my damn printer worked…

6:16am: Getting there. Have very rough draft, gonna read through it, add a few logistical things, worried it will be too tough to memorize.

6:50am: Okay, read-through (to myself) went okay. Props I think we’ll need are:

  • big oven mitts
  • extra large bowl and spoon
  • frog
  • a few bowls and cups to make it look like a kitchen

Let’s read through this bad boy again…

7:12am: One last read-through, then I gotta send. Will have kid check it out when he’s awake, give me his honest opinion, then head in to meet my fate with the director.

7:25am: Okay, sent it in. Will see how it goes over. Too hard to stage in such a short time? I dunno. Eek.

**********

UPDATE: all worked our pretty well. Happy with it. Actors and director were great. Got a nice thank-you from a couple of audience members for representing the reality of food service work. Here’s the best shot I got from the show.

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Collaboration with the Kiddos

Pong image

Been spending a good chunk of time this weekend partnering with the boys on music for the big climactic song for this year’s FronteraFest entry. They’re using the software Ableton Live to create tracks and beats to fit the overall feel of the script.

I don’t know that it’s going to be the most memorable piece of music in the history of theater, but it sure is satisfying to have them be a part of it.

I’ve got two of the actors in the three-person drama committed, and I’m working on one more. We’re going to meet for the initial read-through at the end of the month, if all goes well.

Whatever happens, I love the thought of these guys listening to the project they put together and having the audience react. Another new creative collaborative phase for us. I’m totally ready to go on tour with these dudes as soon as I get my chops back in shape…

Processing Gibberish

final stage

It’s been over a week since the play closed, and I’ve had a lot to think about and discuss with people.

As far as official critical response goes, we got a great review, a really good review, and a not-so-great review.

I’ve also had another theater in upstate New York ask to see the script, and got a lot of nice comments from people who’ve had similar experiences with family members in the autistic community.

I had one connection in particular with the mother of an autistic woman whose art was displayed in the lobby. Her daughter (the artist) died just one year ago at the age of 31 and I worried about the emotional impact she and her husband would feel in seeing the play, especially whether the humor might seem insensitive somehow. She was very sweet about the whole thing and wrote a really nice note she added to a copy of the book she and her family put together based on her daughter’s art and poetry.

I’m having a debrief with Lisa next week too to talk about what worked, what didn’t, what we might do differently if we work together again.

I’m relieved it’s over in some ways, bummed it’s not happening anymore in other ways, happy it got the positive reactions it did, and also excited to move on to the next thing, which should be a little lighter (I hope).

I imagine my thoughts will keep evolving as discussions about the experience continue…

A crucial scene from the tech rehearsal before the stage was done

A crucial scene from the tech rehearsal before the stage was done

 

Three days till we open

tech week GMHad a chance to stop by the theater tonight. This one’s coming down to the wire. Still some challenges left, and plenty of work to do in the next 48 hours, but lots of great stuff too.

This is the cast going over notes with Lisa and Jen after the tech run-through, with the skeleton of the set just built.

Here we go……

Oh, P.S., a few of us were on KOOP radio last week to discuss the play and a bit about our backgrounds. You can find episode 430 of Off Stage and On The Air here. Skip all the way ahead to the 47-minute mark to hear our discussion of the play, and then there’s a podcast addition beyond the hour mark where Julie, Holley and I talk to Lisa about more personal stuff.