collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
This week, thus far, has been one of the most pleasantly boring much of the time of any I can remember.

After all the agita of getting the shows together to open last week, we are now pretty much settled on all of them, and can spend our days sitting back and relaxing until it's time to go to the theatre and run a show, remembering whatever disposable props we have to buy anew or get ready for the evening show (different shows need certain props that have to be prepared each time as they are used up or destroyed in them -- fresh bread, olives, chocolate-covered cherries, a vintage photo, a 1985 Ukrainian Communist Party Card, sliced cucumber, fake liquor, incense, 78 rpm records to be smashed, and, for one show, a big pile of blood squibs).

This will change a bit starting tonight for the next few days as we run more than one show a day -- two tonight and Sunday, three tomorrow -- but we're pretty together on what we need to do and get done. And next week we have ONE show a night from Tuesday through Friday. That's NOTHING!

So now I'm getting antsy enough at home waiting for the show each day (and worrying that there's something I need to do for it, which there isn't) that I'm actually getting some massively necessary housecleaning done.

And I mean that literally. Every year, as we do the shows, our apartment becomes a horrifyingly squalid mess as we use the place just for sleeping and working between theatre time -- and this past year, we were busy enough that we never really did the top-to-bottom Fall and Spring cleanings we had in previous years, so the place is pretty awful right now, but I'm now full of enough nervous energy that I should have it cleaned up by September. Maybe. Well, I got part of the kitchen done . . .

This morning, prior to the Random Ten, I've been chilling with the first three Steely Dan albums and going over the various press and notices the shows have received as yet . . .

I've already mentioned the fine fine superfine notice of George Bataille's Bathrobe by Michael Mraz at Nice. He liked it. Even better, he GOT it.

We now have -- and it has made some of the cast quite happy, of course -- a mostly-good, and reads-better-at-first-than-it-really-is-if-you-read-it-again-closely notice from Rachel Saltz in the New York Times (!!!) for George Bataille's Bathrobe and Blood on the Cat's Neck. She seems to have generally liked them both, but preferred the Fassbinder. Some stuff I don't agree with, of course, and almost no usable pull quotes (maybe "a wry dinginess"?), but she actually helped me understand a bit more consciously WHY these four plays this year, and how they go together (that is, under one of my three main repeated obsessional themes that I'm just beginning to understand exist, "The Treachery of Language" - the other two, as I think of them now, are "The Heroism of 'NO'," and "Figure on Ground: Man In and Against The City").

Aaron Riccio at That Sounds Cool didn't really like either Blood on the Cat's Neck nor A Little Piece of the Sun. S'cool. His problems mostly seem to be with the texts, with some additional quibbles (some of which are probably justified). Don't agree with him in general, of course, still. So it goes. Some nice amplifications from Aaron and George Hunka in the comments there, too (maybe I should have noted that while Fassbinder's Phoebe is obviously slightly inspired by the O'Donoghue/Frank Springer comic character - and I slightly based the image of mine on theirs - she's still a VERY different character, even down to the name -- the original character has a hyphenated last name: "Phoebe Zeit-Geist.")

Apart from reviews, Matthew Freeman simply had a nice little blurb about the Times piece (and thanks again), and Martin Denton at the nytheatre i lists us among the OTHER theatre things to do in NYC right now apart from the Fringe (thank you, thank you, thank you, Martin). And PennywiseNYC (cheap things to do, or recommendations from an Evil Clown?) had an entry on us as a good cheap cultural thing to do in NYC.

And hey, wow, I just checked the ticket site and we're actually selling some tickets today! And, of course, mainly for the two shows reviewed by the Times. Eeep. Hope someone will actually come to the shows of Sacrificial Offerings. That's going to be the poor little orphan this year.

You can get tickets online for the shows HERE.

Discount packages for multiple shows can be found HERE.

If you're around in NYC, please come on by to whatever sounds interesting. It is.

Meanwhile, let's have a Random Ten again, as we missed last week's. So what comes out of the 25,608 tracks in there today?

1. "Lucky Day" - Tom Waits - The Black Rider
2. "Just Another Fool" - The Abused - Loud and clear 7" EP
3. "Smelly Tongues" - Snakefinger - Eyesore: A Stab At The Residents
4. "Battle of the Planets—Main Title" - Hoyt Curtain - Battle of the Planets
5. "Flash, Crash And Thunder" - The Farmer Boys - Hillbilly Music...Thank God! Volume 1
6. "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" - Elvis Presley - The Complete 50's Masters
7. "Gotta Great Big Shovel" - Sammy Davis Jr. (as Shorty Muggins) - Laughin' At The Blues - A Hilarious And Scurrilous Collision Of R&B And Comedy Like You've Never Heard!
8. "Pêches à la Crème" - Dorine - Ultra Chicks Vol 6: Vous Dansez Mademoiselle
9. "Her Majesty" - The Beatles - Abbey Road
10. "Yellow Girl (Stand By For Life)" - Yoko Ono - Onobox 3: Run, Run, Run

And the kitties haven't been all that happy with us for being away in recent weeks (often leaving them at home at 9.00 am and returning home at 2.30 am for days on end), so they've been all over us this week as we've been home. They've also been crazy. Here they are, playing with, and breaking, a blind in the living room:
Hooker & Moni Discuss Blinds

Not so crazy? Look at these eyes . . .
Hooker Through the Blinds

Okay, time to start getting ready for a two-show evening. Audience?

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
And I'm (sorta) back and it's (sorta) begun . . .

We opened A Little Piece of the Sun to a nice-sized and appreciative house last night. It's hard to tell what people make of this show -- it kinda hits you in the face with a big load of nastiness and doesn't let up -- but they actually laughed at the (very dark) humor when it was there, and a couple of people, strangers (always nice), were quite effusive in their praise outside afterward.

It was a good performance, but still a hair shaky here and there in spots, often with people so determined to get their lines right that they were jumping in and stepping on other peoples' the moment there was a (deliberate) pause. But it was a start, and a good one. Nothing to be ashamed of, at all. The first performance of thirty-six we're doing this month (nine performances each of the four shows).

More info on Little Piece and the remaining performances at the Facebook page HERE, along with many of the great promo shots taken earlier this week by Mark Veltman. Wow. Here are a few favorites:

At the Funeral of Lenin (Roger Nasser and other company members):
LPOTS - At the Funeral of Lenin
Andrei Chikatilo sees the Light (Tom Reid):
LPOTS - Chikatilo Faces The Light
The interrogation of Chikatilo and Kravchenko (Tom Reid, Fred Backus, Adam Belvo):
LPOTS - Interrogation of Chikatilo & Kravchenko
Portrait of Issa Kostoyev (Gavin Starr Kendall):
LPOTS - Issa Kostoyev
Portrait of Alla Rakova (Alyssa Simon):
LPOTS - Rakova as Agent
Two stories heading for two trials:
LPOTS - Two Trials

Today we open all three of the other shows in our season of works at The Brick, The Collisionworks. I think we're ready, though I'm still not sure if I may be going on today with script in hand for a VERY sick actor.

I still have to finish one of the programs, and Berit and I still need to get to the space early to finish some props and set stuff, but here are the Facebook pages for the other three shows, and some images from each:

Blood on the Cat's Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Info HERE. Some pictures (mine, not as good as Mark's):

Phoebe Zeitgeist (Gyda Arber) enters a new world:
BLOOD - Phoebe In Her New World
The Policeman (Danny Bowes), The Girl (Shelley Ray), and Phoebe:
BLOOD - Policeman, Girl, & Phoebe
The Teacher (Eric C. Bailey) and The Wife (Samantha Mason) argue, with The Butcher (Roger Nasser) nearby:
BLOOD - The Teacher & The Wife
Most of The Company:
BLOOD - Phoebe, Lover, Girl and All

From George Bataille's Bathrobe by Richard Foreman. The costumes for this one are by Karen Flood (Berit and I handled the design of all else on all shows). Info HERE. Pictures:

Frank Norris (Bill Weeden) in his cell:
BATHROBE - Frank In His Cell
The Man From Another Planet (Timothy McCown Reynolds) dances:
BATHROBE - The Man From Another Planet Dances
A confrontation (Timothy McCown Reynolds, Sarah Malinda Engelke, Liza Wade Green, Bill Weeden):
BATHROBE - Man, Myra, Clara & Frank
Frank (Bill Weeden) annoyed by The Dandy Fop (Bob Laine):
BATHROBE - Frank & The Dandy Fop

And finally, you can get info on Sacrificial Offerings, by myself and David Finkelstein, HERE, and here's some images from David's video, Marvelous Discourse, featuring David, myself, and Agnes DeGarron, which makes up half the performance:




Okay, time to finish up the last of the programs and get moving. Three more shows to open in one day. Phew.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
A reminder and promo . . .


An Annual Presentation of Theatre
from Gemini CollisionWorks

August 7 to 30, 2009

at The Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC

4 Shows designed and directed by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson


A LITTLE PIECE OF THE SUN by Daniel McKleinfeld

The Soviet Union, 1978-1990

Chernobyl Reactor Unit #4, nuclear power plant. Official Body Count: 31.
Actual Body Count: Will never be known.

LPOTS reactor:victims composite
LPOTS Chikatilo light photo
Andrei Chikatilo, serial killer. Official Body Count: 53.
Actual Body Count: Will never be known.

Two true stories of murder.
One true story of lies and corruption.

A documentary for the stage, examining the stories of serial killer Andrei Chikatilo and the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor through a collage of found texts that reveal these two stories of mass death to be one story of institutional corruption in a theatrical autopsy where Art is the only scalpel sharp enough to cut through the mangled flesh of the lies to reveal the glowing fragment of truth underneath it all.

performed by David Arthur Bachrach*, Fred Backus, Aaron Baker, Olivia Baseman*, Adam Belvo, Eric Feldman, Ian W. Hill, Colleen Jasinski, Gavin Starr Kendall, Roger Nasser, Tom Reid, Melissa Roth, Patrick Shearer, Alyssa Simon*

August 7, 12, 15, 21, 23 and 27 at 8.00 pm
August 9, 16, and 30 at 3.00 pm

approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes long (including one intermission)


BLOOD ON THE CAT'S NECK by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
BLOOD Early Promo Mockup
(which is sometimes subtitled Marilyn Monroe vs. The Vampires) is a 1971 play by the iconoclastic playwright/filmmaker in which a beautiful, blonde, vampiric Amazon of a space alien is dropped into a bourgeois cocktail party with an unlikely group of guests in an attempt to learn about human beings, without much success, until her plundering of the guests’ minds becomes a more direct and physical acquisition of their life essences.

performed by Gyda Arber, Eric C. Bailey*, Danny Bowes, V. Orion Delwaterman, Rasheed Hinds, Toya Lillard, Samantha Mason, Amy Overman, Roger Nasser, Shelley Ray*

August 9, 14, 19, 22, 25 and 26 at 8.00 pm
August 8, 15, and 29 at 4.00 pm

approximately 80 minutes long



by Richard Foreman
BATHROBE Early Promo Mockup

An abstract play by that receives its first fully-staged American/English-Language production, interpreted here as the story of an elderly, controversial writer in a prison (perhaps real, perhaps metaphoric) on his dying day, as he is confronted with his memories and regrets made flesh, both tormenting him and attempting to help him pass out of this life with peace and acceptance.

performed by Sarah Malinda Engelke*, Liza Wade Green, Justin R.G. Holcomb*, Bob Laine, Kathryn Lawson, Patrice Miller, Timothy McCown Reynolds*, Bill Weeden*

August 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 28 and 29 at 8.00 pm
August 22 and 23 at 4.00 pm

approximately 75 minutes long



by David Finkelstein & Ian W. Hill
OFFERINGS seance temp promo image
-- a dramaticule -- began as an improvisational performance duet created by the two authors as the basis for a multilayered video artwork by Mr. Finkelstein for his Lake Ivan Performance Group.
Mr. Hill has taken the improvised text and transformed it into the story of a drawing room séance among the upper class, with a version of Mr. Finkelstein’s video (Marvelous Discourse) presented mid-performance as the appearance of the “spirits” into the room.

performed by Eric C. Bailey*, Larry Gutman, Stephen Heskett, Justin R.G. Holcomb*, Kirill Khvenkin, Victoria Miller, Ben Robertson, Eve Udesky*

August 8, 14, 22, and 28 at 10.30 pm
August 16 and 30 at 8.00 pm
August 15, 23, and 29 at 2.00 pm

approximately 40 minutes long


Tickets: $15.00 (except SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS: $10.00)

Or 2 shows for $25.00, 3 for $35.00, or all four for $40.00!

All tickets available at (212-352-3101)

*appears courtesy Actors' Equity Association



1. If you wish to donate by check, they MUST be made out to "Fractured Atlas," with "Gemini CollisionWorks" in the memo line (and nowhere else), and should be given to us personally or sent to us for processing at:

Gemini CollisionWorks
c/o Hill-Johnson
367 Avenue S #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11223

2. You can also donate directly online securely by credit card at
(please double-check to be sure you're at the "Gemini CollisionWorks" donation page)

All donors (if donations are received by August 1) will be listed in all our programs for the 2009 season under the following categories with our current donors (donations after August 1 will appear in our 2010 programs):

$0-25 - BONDO

Edward Einhorn

David Finkelstein
$26-50 - RAT RODS

Lynn Berg

$51-75 - CHROME

Sarah Engelke

Richard Foreman
$76-100 - LOW RIDERS
$101-250 - CANDY FLAKE

Centre Group Holdings

Wendy Coyle

Thomas Reid and Eileen White
$251-500 - FLAME JOBS
$501-1000 - T-BUCKETS

Luana Josvold & Gary Johnson
$1001-2500 - SUPERCHARGERS
$2501-5000 - KUSTOMIZERS
over $5000 - BIG DADDIES

hope to see you at the shows, and thanks for your continued support,

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks

Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Ian W. Hill/Gemini CollisionWorks online:

blog: CollisionWorks on LiveJournal
images: Gemini CollisionWorks on Flickr
info: Facebook page
store: CafePress Store

I'm Tired

May. 29th, 2009 10:03 am
collisionwork: (Default)
The work goes on.

Last two nights we rehearsed the Richard Foreman play, George Bataille's Bathrobe at The Brick, and it was nice to stage the thing in the actual space. We had only a trio of actors (out of eight total) for most of Wednesday - one showed up later - and five yesterday, with, again, one showing up towards the end, so we did some scene work that we could do with the people we had and got some solid work accomplished.

Everyone says the play becomes clearer and makes more sense as we work it. I know it makes sense of a kind, but it's a kind of dream sense, and I don't always know what it is until we're on our feet and doing it (if then). One longish scene - Scene Nine - received a lot of work on both nights, and by the end of last night had come together enough to make it clear the whole thing was going to work just fine.

But we need to keep hacking away at it bit by bit. What makes Foreman work is getting all the little details and multiple possibilities of all the lines all going at once. We don't touch this show again until June 7, when I should have the entire cast together for a rehearsal, finally.

I rehearse the other two shows already in progress (as opposed to the still-being-scripted BBQ) the next two afternoons, then also don't touch them for a week. In between, I'll be too busy getting The Brick set up for The Antidepressant Festival and doing the light design for four of the shows in that Festival: Nosedive's Infectious Opportunity, Ten Directions' ...and the fear cracked open, Sneaky Snake Productions' Adventure Quest, and Theatre Askew's The Tale of the Good Whistleblower of Chaillot's Caucasian Mother and Her Other Children of a Lesser Marriage Chalk Circle (phew!).

And FIRST, tonight, I go and help babysit a benefit going on at the space, with a break in the middle to join my old friend Sean Rockoff in seeing X at the Bowery Ballroom. I'm really happy to be seeing one of my favorite bands for the first time, but kind of tired and weary and wondering how I can bounce around and enjoy the fine fine superfine rock of Exene, John Doe, Billy, & D.J. in this state.

I'm sure it'll all be fine when the music starts . . .

Meanwhile, back in the iTunes (Berit has the iPod today - she's working the UTC#61 festival from 9 am to midnight or so), here's a Random Ten out of 71,285 tracks (so I've added 228 tracks since last week, huh?) . . .

1. "Juliano the Bull" - Jason Crest - Circus Days Vol. 4 & 5
2. "Read It & Weep (live 1975)" - Rocket From The Tombs - The Day the Earth Met the Rocket from the Tombs
3. "I'll Never Let You Go" - Steff - U-Spaces: Way Out Wonders vol. 1
4. "Love Me Like I Love You" - Me & Dem Guys - Quagmire 3
5. "Longarm" - Wall Of Voodoo - The Index Masters
6. "Yo-Yo" - Pylon - Chomp
7. "Modern Things" - Voice Farm - Sleep / Modern Things 7"
8. "The Bride Stripped Bare By 'Bachelors'" - The Bonzo Dog Band - Keynsham
9. "Country Kisses" - Sheb Wooley - Country Boogies, Wild & Wooley!
10. "Segue 5" - The New Power Generation - GoldNigga

Again, no new cat pictures this week.

But meanwhile, in the Cool News of the World -- as someone who's not the world's biggest Obama fan (he's okay, but I'm still fairly to the left of the man and his policies - and believe that those calling him and those policies "Socialist" are insulting Socialists - but I recognize he may be as good as we're gonna get in that office in my lifetime - may be), I am at least quite pleased by the Obamas' choices for new art to display around the White House, as discussed in a Wall Street Journal article HERE.

The only work of art I was aware of being on display there was Frederic Remington's The Bronco Buster (1903), and I got the impression that the style of art otherwise on display there had not advanced very much from that time and style. I didn't know that Hilary Clinton had been personally passionate about acquiring an O'Keeffe and a Henry Ossawa Tanner (whose work I'm not familiar with) for the permanent collection while there -- every administration displays works on loan from various sources, museums, whatever; some works are acquired, under stricter policies -- usually works older than 25 years, from dead artists, so as to not unduly effect the market rates, though the Bushes accepted a donation from Andrew Wyeth. Also, Jackie Kennedy pulled out some Cezannes from the permanent collection there, and Laura Bush had a Helen Frankenthaler on loan for the private residence. But these have been exceptions to the mainly middle-of-the-road work on display at the White House.

I had heard the Obamas had put out a call for more works by minority and female artists, fine, okay, the Dead White Male club could always use some shaking up (and I speak as a fan, primarily, of Dead White Males), but they've gotten a good share of work for display in the White House, some of which surprised and pleased me. There's a Johns, a Diebenkorn, an Albers, a Ruscha, a Rauschenberg, a Nevelson, a de Staël, two bronzes by Degas, and two pieces by Alma Woodsey Thomas, which fulfill both the "female" and "minority" calls while also being abstracts. Currently being looked at for possible inclusion is a set from the Art Institute of Chicago (where the first couple went on an early date) that includes works by Franz Kline and Beauford Delaney.

It's not a big thing, I guess, but it makes me happy to know that the home of the First Family has in this way finally entered the 20th Century.

As for videos . . .

Just because I dig it, here's a video recently linked to on Facebook by Kim Morgan which she described (accurately) as an "Ike and Tina meet David Lynch meet Guy Maddin clip of brilliance." It's a lip-synced performance of beauty that almost doesn't make me think this song is overrated in Phil Spector's oeuvre (it's muddy and overdriven - a Wall of Sludge rather than a Wall of Sound - and sounds better over computer speakers than on record).

Among the Ikettes on this occasion is Ms. P.P. Arnold, who I'm a fan of (and I didn't know she was an Ikette). Two clips of her being wonderful on England's Beat Club can be found HERE and HERE.

What, not more redubbings of the Hitler/Downfall scene? Yup. Here he has some strong feelings about J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot (h/t [ profile] flyswatter):

And here, a meta-commentary version created by Brad Templeton of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (who describes in detail the efforts he went to in being sure his version of this meme was 100% legal in an interesting post HERE), in which Hitler finds out the limits of copyright protection:

And, hey, courtesy of Tom X. Chao, here's a recent photo of myself and Berit, from Gyda Arber's Memorial Day backyard BBQ (Berit is wearing a spare hat of Gyda's to keep herself from sunburn, a problem that seems to have almost vanished for me entirely - though I have a permanent "trucker's tan" on my left arm).

We actually look pretty relaxed, huh? A combo of mead, champagne, cider, Mike's Hard Lime, and (in my case) a some big hunks o' meat will do that to you . . .
at Gyda's - Memorial Day BBQ, 2009

Now to take a nap in prep for a LONG weekend of action . . .

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Well, things move forward on the four August shows.

A Little Piece of the Sun is about three-quarters blocked. I should finish that this coming Saturday. Going fairly smoothly. Once the blocking is done, onward to working the details. Luckily, the show gets tighter and simpler as it goes, so the rest should be a snap. Ha. Ha.

Still a depressing show, but beautiful.

Meanwhile, George Bataille's Bathrobe is still casting a part, and not the part I was last casting. One actress has dropped out, getting a gig somewhere else that actually pays more than travel, but Justin R.G. Holcomb, so much fun to work with on The Magnificent Ambersons, has come in to play the Doctor, as we'd all hoped he be able to. So, I'm auditioning people in the next few days for the last dancer/actress role, Annabelle (one of "The Famous Brundi Twins!").

The show is completely blocked now, at least. In the big moves, anyway - there are dances and other physical work to be choreographed. Tonight I only have three of the company available to me, so I'll do some scene work with them.

Blood on the Cat's Neck moves a little slower in some ways, as the blocking is more difficult and specific to get down right away. The play is in one room in three parts: One actress (Gyda Arber, as Phoebe Zeitgeist) starts the play onstage (from preshow), then one by one, the other nine actors enter, each one having a monologue (some have two in this first section), but all remaining onstage after their first appearance. In the second section, it is as though a party is going on in the room, but we have individual scenes as all the characters except Phoebe have 2-person scenes with each other, but everyone keeps moving around the whole time (and setting themselves up for their own scenes), and it has to be carefully worked out.

Next time, we'll get to the third section, where everyone is interacting at the party the whole time. I may have to work that out with a chessboard or something in advance. Fun show, but the onstage logistics make my head hurt sometimes -- I strive for combining efficiency, clarity, beauty, and a sense of inevitability in my blocking, and I often have trouble getting more than two of those at a time with this.

I've transcribed the improvised performance David Finkelstein and I created and videotaped, and have been working out the script for that as the remaining theatre piece I'm doing in August. The working title is still BBQ, but that really doesn't fit the show now, so I need to find some other title (preferably from the text) to call the thing.

It's become clear as well that I need to show the video piece that David is making of out the same original footage in the middle (or rather, three-quarters of the way through) my theatre version, as my piece is now about a group of people at a fancy-dress party who attend a seance of a kind, but there's a space in the text where the "appearance of the spirits" needs to happen. So I'll make David's video act as the "spirits" in my stage piece. Now that I have the characters set, I need to see who wants to act in this -- it's a short piece, really (the script is six pages long!), but it will involve some work, and being able to do all nine performances, including sitting onstage and watching David's video with fascination each time.

Now it's also on to the next press releases, postcards, and other publicity as I try to sell these mostly downbeat shows. Nobody liked - rightly, I guess - the idea of calling it The Bummer Festival (you can't sell a "bummer"), but I have no better name just yet. I'm back to using lots of bare light bulbs in my designs these days . . . maybe something like Bare Bulbs? Nah.

Oh, and as far as design goes, an anonymous donor has gifted The Brick with computer-controlled irises for our moving I-Cue units! We can now not only move those lights, we can open and close the size of the beam! This has been on my wish list for the space for years, but we could never afford it. Now, we have them. I'll be setting them up next Monday/Tuesday, so I'll have them for the four shows I'm designing in The Antidepressant Festival (and everyone else will have them as well, of course).

Some lovely gatherings this past Memorial Day weekend -- seeing my father and stepmother on Sunday (I made people jealous later mentioning the mojitos and homemade cardamom ice cream, yum) and then a barbeque at Gyda's prior to Blood rehearsal on Monday. With the heat (sometimes) and the humidity (ditto), it all became a dreamy slide of sensation that achieved that equal balance of very enjoyable and very very tiring. Still recovering a bit from that.

Gyda's finished the trailer for this year's installment of the smash hit interactive theatre experience from last year's Brick Summer Festival, Suspicious Package: Rx. I'm pleased to be prominently featured in it (though not pleased by the feature of my prominent gut - yes, I'm dieting and exercising as I undergo PT for the nerve problem in my leg), and Berit's hands actually make a cameo appearance at the end of the trailer.

Here's Gyda's trailer, which is a good leadin to the whole piece -- I've seen just about all the footage, I think, and this should be a doozy . . .

And for sheer cuteness' sake, here's a pygmy jerboa . . .

collisionwork: (Selector)
Cough cough cough. Cough. Cough, c-cough-cough. Cough. Cough cough. Cough. Cough-cough-cough-cough-cough. Hack. Cough.

And that's what things are like around the homestead this week.

Not much is getting done this week. Some research, in both viewing and reading, for Spacemen from Space, but the cold (or whatever it is) that has gripped Berit and myself (in my case, for 12 days now), though on the upward swing it would seem, is still hanging on and taking its own damn time about leaving. And as it began with several days of a nasty cough before manifesting any other symptoms, it's leaving the same way.

So work is happening somewhat on the four August shows, but not as fast as I'd like, as it's hard to concentrate. I've asked some good actors to fill the open roles in Blood on the Cat's Neck and George Bataille's Bathrobe, and, happily, a couple have agreed and another couple are giving it a few days to look it over and see if it fits their schedule, but seem positive. I have to email some more of them back and check in, and sit down with all the schedules I've received and work out a rehearsal/performance schedule. And work out an audition for the two dancer/actors I need for Bathrobe, which is not something I'm looking forward to (I've never auditioned dancers before - help has been offered by Becky Byers, which is appreciated).

Finally found and got ahold of the rights holders for the Fassbinder play (Blood) and found it'll cost me $75 per performance, so I'd better be sure to sell at least 5 tickets for each performance. Now, how many performances of that one do I feel able to pay for? At least nine. As many as twelve?

A Little Piece of the Sun is pretty much ready to start work as soon as I work out a rehearsal schedule and get it set with the actors, so I need to spend today/tomorrow doing that. Have to concentrate and remember to get that done. The mix of (at various points of the day and night) Dayquil, Nyquil, Tylenol Cold and Mucinex D makes this difficult at times.

I hate this sick.

This past week, the main thing was the final episode of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful, three performances on Saturday and Sunday, and it was a glorious conclusion -- excellent performances and terrific audiences, both in size and reaction (we sold out, or nearly sold out, all the houses, and they laughed and shrieked in all the right places).

Here's most of the cast of 22 that performed the episode (minus Adam Swiderski, who had to run to a class), plus Bryan Enk (center) and myself (lower left corner, holding the severed head), so we have 23 out of the 67 actors that have performed in the serial since it began in November, 2007:
PENNY 12 company

The videos for the first 11 episodes are still up at the title link above, and I'm sure the video/synopsis for #12 will join them fairly soon.

It was an honor to work on this terrific serial, and get to direct one full episode (#5), act in a couple of others as George Westinghouse (#6 and #10), design the lights and some other technical elements for all 12.5 episodes (a fun, challenging, and ultimately very satisfying job, keeping a consistent look to the series using whatever I had in the house plot for the mainstage show), and, finally, direct the finale of Episode #12, Act I, where I got to finish the story of the poor little witch/rich girl, mad, sad, crazy Abigail Pierce, The Deb of Destruction, as she - SPOILER ALERT - and her Anarchist friends blow up every single world leader (and themselves) at the King of England's funeral in 1910.

(which is why I'm holding a severed head in the picture above, as I dropped it to the stage from the grid as the final punctuation to this horrible act - and to the 1900s part of the Penny Dreadful story - and it got a very satisfying gasp from the three audiences that saw it, heh-heh-heh)

What Bryan and Matt accomplished was, in the end, a helluva achievement: a mix of what is sometimes referred to as High and Low Art (and isn't it, 9 years into the 21st Century, about time to retire the false distinctions? are they actually useful anymore?), mixing the melodrama and plot of the turn-of-the-20th Century pulp fictions with the richer characterizations and acting of the present, and staging styles that mixed vaudeville and music hall with Robert Wilson and Wooster Group, opera with rock and roll, classical with modern, all in one unified, crowd-pleasing and crowd-satisfying (which are two different things) work of serial fiction that was able to excite both the brain and the gut. This may have been the most - crazy and frustrating as it was to get the tech right a lot of the time - sheer FUN and EXCITEMENT I've had working in theatre in many many years.

I will miss Penny Dreadful. A lot.

Onward to August and beyond . . .

Currently in the iPod: 25,525 tracks. My cleaning out and replacing of tracks I don't need in there with ones I do has now gotten through letters A through F, and X through Z (and songs with numbers starting their titles). Still working on it. Here's a Random Ten from what's in there:

1. "Busy Bodies" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Armed Forces
2. "Inside Outside" - The Knaves - Leave Me Alone
3. "It Serves Me Right" - John Lee Hooker - The Ultimate Collection: 1948-1990
4. "I'll Be There" - Tony Worsley - Before Birdmen Flew - Australian Beat, R&B & Punk: 1965-1967 Vol. 3
5. "Jack Of Diamonds" - The Daily Flash - Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 3
6. "Come Back To Me" - X - Under The Big Black Sun
7. "Lucky Fellow" - LeRoy Hutson - LeRoy Hutson
8. "Bloodsucker Baby" - D.O.A. - Hardcore '81
9. "Blues In The Night" - The Cleftones - For Sentimental Reasons
10. "The Way You Do The Things You Do" - Manfred Mann - Mann Made

And as for today's cat shots, I don't have much in the way of anything new and interesting, so here's a few alternate shots, similar to ones I already posted:
Moni Is a Bridge

Hooker, Thoughtful?

Fun Size:Family Size in Window

With My Foot As Pillow, Again

And one of the fun things about Times:365:24:7, the show currently up at The Brick, is that they have lights all over the place, as they're using almost every bit of the space for performance, including the tech booth, so Berit had a nice little creepy birdie by the light board she could turn on when we were working Penny Dreadful, if she wanted to make a point as she boomed over the god-mic:
Berit Gets Lit in the Tech Booth

Coming up this weekend, more work on my shows, preparing for the benefit for UTC#61's Festival of Jewish Theatre and Ideas coming up next Tuesday (separate announcement to be posted soon for that), and another afternoon of work on the continuing improvisation/video project of David Finkelstein's. I have to write at more length about this work with David, which has been very valuable to me in many many ways right now, but it will take some time to organize my thoughts, I think.

And hey, in the three hours since I started making this post . . . since I'm always doing several things at once online and never make one of these straight through . . . it appears my cold symptoms have reduced to the near-nonexistent. This bodes well.

collisionwork: (red room)
The video and synopsis for Episode 9 of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's live serial Penny Dreadful, "The Terrible Tale of the Black Dragon," is up HERE. The synopsis for Episode 10, "The Science and the Seance: Two Tales of Love and Horror," is up HERE, but no video for that as yet. I've been really happy with the whole series and proud of most of my work as lighting designer and tech supervisor, but Episode 9 was my favorite for my design work all around (and, with Episode 4, one of my two favorite segments of the serial overall).

The video, of course, being a recording of a live show, doesn't at all live up to what the show looked and felt like live, but is pretty good for all that. Two more episodes to go. I've been informed of getting a little something extra and special to do on the last episode, too, and I don't know if I can say anything about that yet . . . but it makes me very happy.

I finished my draft of Richard Foreman's George Bataille's Bathrobe (as I had to add all the characters, settings, and stage directions of my own) for the August production a couple of hours ago, and am in the middle of proofing it before sending it to the actors who've agreed to be in it. I'm happy with how it came out and it all now pretty much makes sense to me. Not entirely, or there'd be no point in doing it, but I know enough to proceed properly from this point. I lost a cast member, who got a bigger gig - not the easiest person to replace, but I can handle it, I think. A couple of other people I asked couldn't do it either, and I must ask others, but am debating who to go to next from the list of people I want to work with.

Now, for fun, here's a video of someone's interpretation of "O Fortuna," from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana:

And two found images (from Modern Mechanix and LP Cover Lover), with varied points of view on forms of transportation:
Helicopters for Everybody

Don't Let the Devil Ride

collisionwork: (Great Director)
The 57th, 58th, and 59th shows I've directed/designed in NYC since 1997 have been put to bed.

Thanks to all who came out and supported them.

I'll have more of a post-mortem soon (if revving up for the Clown Festival doesn't take over my life TOO much), but Berit™ and I are taking two days to do nothing or whatever damned thing we feel like, and I have some ideas.

For example, whenever I've been driving to The Brick and feeling particularly stressed and harried, and it's been a beautiful day as I drive under the Brooklyn Heights and I look across the East River towards the South Street Seaport, and there are boats on the water and it all looks so peaceful and lovely out there . . . I just wish I was sitting over there on a dock or promontory, looking at the water and eating a cone of swirled soft-serve ice-cream-style product. I may try and do this tomorrow. If it's actually a nice day.

In the meantime, show promotion for someone else who deserves it and could apparently use the help:
Michael Laurence in KRAPP, 39

Michael Laurence in Krapp, 39, photo © 2008 by Dixie Sheridan

As I mentioned before, I saw my old friend Michael in a solo show he wrote/performed in the Fringe (directed by another old friend, George Demas) called Krapp, 39, which I loved. Now, some of my love may have come from personal knowledge and shared history, but apart from me, the show was one of the big hits of the Fest, and got great reviews all over the place.

I had mentioned it before, not really thinking I could promote it, as I saw the penultimate Fringe show, and was pretty sure the last one was sold out. Well, I forgot the Fringe does indeed extend the more popular shows that it can, and Michael & George's show will be playing another six shows at the larger Barrow Street Theatre in the West Village, rather than down at the small space at Pace where it was.

So - it's a great show, and well worth $18 if you can spend money on theatre. And especially if you can see it soon . . . they weren't able to announce the extension until today, of course, and the first show is this Thursday the 28th at 7.00 pm, so I know they're looking for house. After that, it plays 5 more times to September 14.

Look interesting? Then it is. Check it out.

Berit™ and I had a nice dinner at the Lazy Catfish after the last show last night and discussed next August.

We are definitely planning on doing Daniel McKleinfeld's documentary play A Little Piece of the Sun, which we worked on the original production of back in FringeNYC 2001 (she stage managed/made props; I acted/designed sets and lights). I am still thinking of doing Foreman's George Bataille's Bathrobe - though it wouldn't be the USA premiere; I forgot Yelena Gluzman actually directed it in the 2nd ForemanFest (I can't keep straight what we did and didn't do in those Fests).

And we're thinking of an original show that has something to do with a 1930s-1950s USA view of science fiction (really space opera). Rocky Jones. Commando Cody. Brass and leather and wood and glass and so forth. Republic movie serials. Professional men and women in snappy suits and hats doing their jobs, but with impossible jet packs and rockets and things. Don't forget your space-beams, men! The Crimson Ghost is planning on magnetizing the entire Southwest! Why do the Radar Men from the Moon need to rob Earth banks for their nefarious plot?

But what is it ABOUT? Don't know yet, but there's something there itching at me. When we go up to Maine, we will research this and see where it takes us.

We also have our long-gestating puppet show to work on.

But first . . . CLOWNS.


collisionwork: (Default)

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