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:
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 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:
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.