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: (Judo)
Oh, man . . . a bad sick has taken hold of me, bit by nasty bit, this week. Starting with a cough on Sunday, adding weakness and wooziness on Wednesday, then nasal problems yesterday, and now general fuzziness of mind and cloudiness of judgment. Great.

And on top of it, I had to deal with doctor appointments for myself and both cats, and also getting my car towed and dealing with two days of bureaucracy and a trip out to Far East Brooklyn to get the car back, which was pretty awful, except Berit and I saw some some inspiringly depressing landscapes and architecture while walking the long, desolate distance between the bus stop and the car impound . . .
Dub Housing 1

For recreation, there is at least a ball field nearby . . .
Dub Housing & Ball Field

Here's a little more view, down Flatlands Avenue, for context . . .
Dub Housing and Landscape

A friendly-looking place to live, right . . ?
Dub Housing - Do Not Enter

. . . which I'd love to try and find a use for in some Gemini CollisionWorks film/video project at some point, Maybe I can write off the whole towing incident on the company taxes as a location scout. If I was ever able to fulfill my dream project of making a film of Jeff Noon's great dystopian novel Vurt, changing the location from Manchester, England to Brooklyn, I now have some definite shooting locales.

Wednesday, during the day, Bryan Enk (co-creator), Timothy Reynolds (set supervisor) and myself had to have a PRE-pre-tech for this weekend's FINAL episode of the Penny Dreadful serial at The Brick (and by the way, for those of you getting caught up online, the video for Episode 11 is now posted).

It's a complicated, double-sized episode, and we have a HARD changeover from the mainstage show up at The Brick right now (Times:365:24:7, which I hear is great and is getting pretty good reviews), so we have had to plan everything out carefully. That night, we ran the show and worked out kinks, but I had to leave after Act I (which ends with the scene I directed) as my illness was getting the better of me.

Today we had our standard pre-tech, setting the light and sound cues without the actors, so that hopefully at least 85% of the work is done before the brief time we have tomorrow to run the show with full dress/tech and make corrections. As has happened at least once before, we couldn't do the whole show in the time we had today, only about 3/4ths of it, so we're going to have to run the first act as planned tomorrow, send everyone off on a longer lunch break while we finish the tech for Act II, then come back and run the rest of the show (it'd be nice if we could call everyone later and finish before they show up, but we lose actors who are only in the first act at 1.00 pm).

At least the show is looking a lot better than I feared it would. The difficulty with Penny, always, has been that I'm stuck using the light plot that's up for the Brick's mainstage show for each episode. Sometimes, I get lucky (my light plot for The Granduncle Quadrilogy, which I didn't plan in any way to work for Penny, actually may have been better for the latter than the former). Times:365:24:7 uses The Brick (terrifically) in a very different, environmental way than usual, which means I don't have very many lights pointed at out stage area (which is where our seating area normally is, and vice versa). Somehow, though, it all worked out, and with the addition of the footlights I'm sharing with the mainstage company, it's actually looking pretty much up to Penny standard.

It's sad leaving Penny and its cast of characters behind, but it's been a good long run since November, 2007, and the story has run it's predestined course. If you are interested in seeing it and you don't have tickets, better get 'em now -- tomorrow night's 11.00 pm show is sold out, and the two shows on Sunday (2.00 pm and 8.00 pm) have between 10 and 15 seats left, and we CAN'T oversell with the setup for the show. And be prompt, there is and can be NO late seating. The door will be locked, you can't get in once it's started. Even if you bought a ticket.

So, today's Random Ten, from 25,641 in the still-being-cleaned-out iPod (with related YouTube videos, where available) . . .

1. "Cry" - The Malibus - Leave Me Alone! - USA Garage Greats
2. "Debbie Debbie" - Gary Wilson - Mary Had Brown Hair (Stones Throw)
3. "I'm Drowning" - Flaming Groovies - Super Sneakers
4. "Right Now And Not Later" - The Shangri-Las - Myrmidons Of Melodrama
5. "Big Leg Mama" - Little Walter - The Chess Years 1952-1963
6. "Mind Control" - Z - Music for Pets
7. "Willingly" - The Shannon Sisters - A Million Dollars Worth of Girl Groups Volume 3
8. "Slippin' And Slidin'" - Little Richard - 18 Greatest Hits
9. "Back To Front" - Stiff Little Fingers - All The Best
10. "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" - Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen

(and now Berit is making fun of me for dancing along to the arrhythmic John Zorn track that followed the 10 above, and says I'm "weird" because of it . . .)

And as for this week's cat photos . . . here's the babies posing in the window again . . .
Sill Silhouette

Here's Hooker planning to once again chew on my Crocs, as they offend his fashion sense (but dammit they're the only things I can comfortably work in all damned day!) . . .
Hooker Plans To Eat My Croc

Here's Hooker confronting his nemesis - the squirty-water-bottle we use to drench him when he's being bad . . .
Hooker Confronts His Foe

And yet another sweet windowsill pose . . .
Glowy Windowsill

Back to work on Penny tomorrow morning at 8.00 am. Oy.

Well, I can't say anything right now about this last one (no spoilers here), but it's a BIG ONE, and I assure all the fans out there it's a more fitting finale than the BSG one (or, for that matter, most double-length series finales).

Now to make some ziti with extra-hot sauce (courtesy the bottle of sriracha sauce I got) to try and keep burning the sick out of me . . .

collisionwork: (mystery man)
The penultimate episode (#11 of 12) of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's serial Penny Dreadful went up at The Brick this past weekend, and was one more and still bigger success. Matt & Bryan have wound up with an entertaining and excellent piece of melodrama with a real following, and it's exciting to be a part of it, and feel the excitement of the returning audience members who just want to know what's going to happen NEXT!

It almost makes me want to try and work out Spacemen from Space as an actual monthly serial to do at The Brick, but that piece - though it's a play broken up into 6 serial "episodes" - wouldn't actually work in serial form without major changes (and there'd be no way to keep the cast together as needed, month-to-month; Bryan and Matt have been able to work around actor conflicts in a way my story couldn't).

Work continues on Spacemen and the other August shows; nothing more interesting to report there. Casting work continues on all of them, to various extents -- suggestions come in, meetings are set up. About a third of the people I wanted for the cast of Spacemen are interested, but either can't confirm or don't think they can do it. {sigh}

I'm meeting this weekend with Trav S.D. at Theatre for a New City where I'll be directing his play Kitsch: Or, Two for the Price of One in November - it's a version of The Comedy of Errors set in immediate post-Wall Berlin, with the sets of identical twins (sent to either side of the Iron Curtain) being babies formerly experimented on by Nazi doctors. Very funny. Really. And it'll be a big thing for me to direct/design at TNC -- a new space, a different kind of play.

So I have a bunch of great plays coming up this year. I am really, really looking forward to getting started this Friday with the first reading of A Little Piece of the Sun by the full cast (assuming I cast one last role by then; I'm seeing a couple of people tomorrow).

Unfortunately, I have to undergo a little medical procedure on Friday before that. It's nothing major, but not all that pleasant, and I do have to be knocked out for it. I've already postponed this once, and it's a pain to reschedule, and at the same time it's almost impossible to get the whole Little Piece cast together right now, so I can't really give up either of these Friday appointments. I'm hoping I'll be recovered enough by Friday night to properly supervise and participate in the reading, and that Berit won't wind up having to read my part.

I may be continuing to think and act like I'm ten years younger and can do things like this with near-superhuman stamina. I'll find out two days from now just how much stamina I have, I guess . . .

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the Penny tech this weekend before the shows, so I didn't get any good shots of my own. Bryan took pictures though, and has posted them on the Penny Facebook site. I downloaded a bunch and cleaned them up as best as I could, but their still not quite what I could have gotten with my own camera.

But I was quite pleased with the look of this month's episode ("The House Where Bad Things Happen" -- a quote from me about the Cyrus Pierce house, where the episode I directed - and this one - almost entirely took place), so here's some of the better shots I could fix from what Bryan took:

PENNY DREADFUL #11 in 15 Photos )



The FINAL episode of Penny Dreadful, "The Last Century," plays at The Brick Saturday, March 28 at 11.00 pm, and Sunday, March 29 at 2.00 pm. We're trying to arrange a THIRD show on that weekend as well, as this will be a big finale (probably in two acts with intermission) and we've been selling out all the shows the last couple of months, even without all of our audience "regulars" able to make it to each performance (hell, now that we've had 65 actors appear in the serial since it started, we could more than sell out one house just with all the Penny Dreadful alums coming back!).

And can I say that I'm really REALLY jazzed that Matt & Bryan have asked me to return as a "special guest director" for one sequence in the final episode? Kinda like Tarantino on Sin City.

Can't say much about it yet - hell, I don't really KNOW anything about it yet - but I guess I get to come back and deal with some of the things that I supervised in the full episode I directed, #5: "The Deb of Destruction, or The Poor Little Witch Girl." Bryan knows I'm drawn to the darker, unsettling or scary parts of Penny, so I'm hoping and thinking they're giving me something good and NASTY to design and stage next time.

Bryan and I are the spoil-sports with Penny. We want to unnerve and upset people while entertaining them with this, and we get a little pissed sometimes at the large amount of laughter the show is getting in - to us - inappropriate places. Yes, it's a melodrama, deliberately overplayed to a certain extent, and over-the-top in general, and with plenty of intentional laughs in it, but we have more and more been getting an audience that comes in a bit drunk and rowdy and finds EVERYTHING funny.

So with #11, there was, in the writing and design, some real effort made to dampen this aspect. Three continuing characters were killed off, including the nominal hero (whose wife had been horribly killed in the previous episode). The two most audience-pleasing comic characters have also been offed in the last two episodes (one, as I had hoped, getting the "Scatman Crothers in The Shining" treatment, rushing to save the hero for the two episodes previous, then getting blown away almost instantly on showing up). As Bryan and I kept saying as we dry-teched #11, at times making it as assaultive as we could in lights and sound, "We're not fucking around here, folks." This is a gaslit, moody, pulpy melodrama, with quite a few deliberate laughs, yes, but it is also a work of horror.

So next time at Penny . . . The Paradise of Destruction . . . ANARCHY!
PENNY DREADFUL - Abigail Pierce and the Paradise of Destruction

. . . heh-heh-heh . . .

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: (boring)
And the year in seeing and doing stuff takes off hard this week . . . big entry, here . . .

This past weekend we put up Episode 10 of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful serial at The Brick, which went just as well as all the other episodes, and played to another two huge houses (the first of which, as happens sometimes when you do this kind of serial work that veers wildly from the comic to tragic, and your audience is made up of a lot of friends, tended to laugh in inappropriate, sadly-emotional moments as well as at the actual jokes).

Berit was back co-designing the lights with me on this one, as well as running the board, which was good, as I had to reprise the part of George Westinghouse as a . . . dream? ghost? some other kind of supernatural spirit? . . . that appears to Nikola Tesla. Two more episodes to go, and a lot of plot to resolve -- we're all waiting to see how Matt & Bryan end this saga.

The episode summaries (through #9) and video recordings (through #8) are up at the page linked above. The next episode, I now see, has been given the title "The House Where Bad Things Happen," and I think that's actually a quote from me about the setting for the episode I directed (#5) which almost all took place in the house of a VERY dysfunctional family, where we look to be returning next time (my episode also came to be known as Penny Dreadful: Fire Walk With Me, which gives an idea of its mood, one I expect to come back next time as well).

Here, behind a cut, are my own usable photos from this episode -- if you're on Facebook, you can join the Penny Dreadful group for an even better collection from this episode (and all the others).

DON'T . . . BE . . . afraid . . . )



Wednesday, Frank Cwiklik and Michele Schlossberg of Danse Macabre Theatrics and Do What Now Media put up a special show, 0109, to celebrate ten years of making theatre in NYC. It was a collage of video and live excerpts from past shows, dance numbers, music, and a new extended comic sketch about how DMTheatrics makes theatre. There were several themed video presentations as well, focusing on aspects of the DMTheatrics style -- a collection of fight scenes, of girls dancing, and of lots and LOTS of cursing (how Frank could leave out my cry of "FOUL FUCKING WINDS!!!" from Bitch Macbeth in that montage however, I will never understand). I appeared in Bryan Enk's original part as "The Candy Butcher" in an excerpt from Who In the Hell Is the Real, Live Lorelei Lee?, which went quite well (it was supposed to be a big secret that I was appearing, but I think word got out a bit).

With the end of the evening came the onscreen announcement that Danse Macabre Theatrics (dead as a company since 2004) is once again back in business, with a list of upcoming productions. Bravo. More from them soon, I'm sure.

Yesterday was an overload of information, starting with an afternoon screening of Godard's Made in U.S.A. at Film Forum, which I had discovered was the last day this almost-never-screened film was playing in a new, restored 35mm print (I last saw this widescreen film in an atrocious, almost-unviewable, and quite incoherent and cropped 16mm print in 1988 or so). As often with Godard, whichever film of his I've seen most recently becomes not only my favorite Godard film, but one of my favorite films of all time, for a few weeks, so I'm still buzzing a bit from this one. I hope it gets a DVD release (Criterion? Please?) sometime fairly soon so I can see it again, preferably with its twin (shot, literally, at the same time), Two or Three Things I Know About Her (my FAVORITE Godard, and a film that changed EVERYTHING for me when I saw it at 17). At least as I saw it yesterday, Made in U.S.A. was a definite end to the crime-movie-loving Godard, a summary of everything he'd done in that style up to 1966 (though it almost has a sci-fi quality in being set two years in the future, in September, 1968), all mashed up and making very little sense except for cinematic sense. It is dedicated to Sam Fuller and Don Siegel, but no one, as far as I can tell, has ever noted the similarities to Siegel's 1964 remake of The Killers (here with Anna Karina in the Lee Marvin part), so I'll just say the Godard was certainly aware of the latter film.

The website The Auteurs has has a number of essays about Made in U.S.A. recently, the most recent being HERE. A good introduction to this great film.

As I said, Godard leaves me walking on air and open to all possibilities for a while after seeing his best films (especially if it's one I haven't seen in a long time), so today as I've been working and writing, I've had, once again, a mini Jean-Luc Fest in the background, with all of his films that I have a copy of (thus far, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, and after a break to do the Random Ten below, I'm onto Masculin-Feminine -- I may not get to the last, Tout Va Bien/Letter to Jane until much later this evening).

The Godard was followed (after dinner) by the new show from Stolen Chair Theatre Company, Theatre Is Dead and So Are You, which, I want to state immediately, was TERRIFIC and you SHOULD SEE IT. You've got one more weekend; follow the links.

It's about death, and it's very very funny, though maybe you need to be able to find the various thoughts about death both very funny and very disturbing (often at the same time) to appreciate it -- I found myself laughing a lot, but also torn and slightly upset by remembrances of human deaths I have witnessed in person or been near to, memories of the funeral home run by my grandparents and the bodies I saw there (which generally gives me a cold, dispassionate eye to mortal remains and cremains), and the increased sense of mortality that has hit me the last few years. A good mix of emotions for a show to give you, though I got the feeling that some people in the audience weren't as pleased by some of what was brought up. Whatever.

One reviewer somewhat dismissed the show as having been done before, and better, by some famous names (a dicey reason for critically dismissing anything, really; at a certain point you can dismiss anything, including masterpieces, as treading ground covered by earlier masterpieces), but what this reviewer was focusing on was far more the "frame" of the work rather than the actual content -- we are presented with an onstage wake conducted by a vaudevillian acting troupe for their fallen leader, who lies in a coffin at stage center (a coffin with many wonderful magic properties, as it turns out); a wake which fairly quickly is somewhat of a wake for Theatre itself. but once the discussion of Theatre as a dead art form is run through, we are taken to a deeper, darker level that is the real meat of the show, our feelings about Death Itself.

The cast, performing this series of acts, scenes, comedy routines, and monologues, is excellent top to bottom -- I was especially taken with Liza Wade Green, who could leap from cute and adorable to deeply creepy with just a slight change of posture and expression, and David Berent, who I know and have worked with at The Brick in his position as leader of The Maestrosities, but whom I didn't recognize at ALL here until I read his bio after the show (big change of character). But the whole group is splendid in their ability to handle both the humor and the scary stuff.

If I had any criticisms, they are that occasionally projection was a problem, especially in songs, whenever people turned away from facing downstage even a bit (the Connelly sucks up sound pretty well), and the episodic nature of the show, as a collection of acts (and I say this as someone who likes to occasionally create shows in episodes and recognizes this as a structural problem whenever you do it), means that you begin wondering more and more how many more "bits" you have to go, even if all of them are splendid, Luckily, right around the time you feel like you've had almost enough, an extended tour-de-force Romeo and Juliet sequence (with the dead body as Romeo) comes up, and is pretty obviously the penultimate section of the show when it does, so you're ready for the ending when it comes, right when it should.

Again, terrific show. Wish I could see it again, but I won't be able to for the rest of the run.

I should also mention that my old friend Michael Laurence's one-man show Krapp, 39 has re-opened, and got a great Times review today, which it richly deserves. Another one I recommend.

Today I worked on the scripts of Spacemen from Space and George Bataille's Bathrobe, which are coming together. I also now have almost completely made out lists of who I want for almost all the parts, so I can start contacting people about interest and availability if I haven't already (and SFS has wound up with a World Gone Wrong-like 21 people in the company in order to pull it off right! Whee.).

Tonight we see Stephen Heskett -- our George Amberson Minifer in The Magnificent Ambersons -- in Mike Leigh's Ecstasy at The Red Room -- it's mostly gotten great reviews, and Stephen's been singled out for praise repeatedly. Good.

Tomorrow, it's the new opera by Robert Ashley at LaMama, Made Out of Concrete. I also have a rehearsal with David Finkelstein of Lake Ivan Performance Group, who has asked me to join him in creating some improvisatory duets that he will, as he's been doing for a while, videotape and transform into experimental video pieces. Doing this kind of work is new, exciting, and scary for me, and it's affecting my acting and other art work in positive ways (always staying connected to the source of what I'm creating rather than ever treading water by letting my skill just go without grounding).

Then, Berit and I are trying to get away to Maine to relax a bit and for me to complete the scripts as much as possible. Maybe a week or a bit more.

Whew. Today's Random Ten, from 26,125 tracks in the iPod:

1. "The Lonesome River" - Bob Dylan with Ralph Stanley - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs
2. "Julia" - The Beatles - The Beatles
3. "Shoot That Girl" - Hopelessly Obscure - 7" single
4. "10:30 Train" - Ugly Ducklings - Too Much, Too Soon
5. "Let Latin Commerce" - Sydney Dale - Dolce Far Niente - 27 Suave Cocktail Classics
6. "Le Grind" - Prince - The Black Album
7. "Standin' Round Crying" - Eric Clapton - From The Cradle
8. "Blue Jean" - David Bowie - Tonight
9. "Turkish Song Of The Damned" - The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God
10. "Angel" - Iggy Pop - New Values

And some kitty photos from today. Here's where Hooker's been almost all day -- as Berit says, "Being a kitty is SO tiring . . ."
Being a Kitty Is Tiring

Meanwhile, Moni lurks, waiting for an opportunity . . .
Moni Lurks

. . . to jump on Berit and demand attention while B is trying to play a video game (Godard film just visible to the right) . . .
Bugging Mom During Game Time

. . . which the little attention-grabber gets:
Getting Attention

And two final images, one from the terrific Lost City blog, a Woolworth counter menu from 1960:
Woolworth Menu

And the sunset two nights ago from our subway stop, Kings Highway, on the Culver line, looking across Bensonhurst from Gravesend, on our way to 0109:
Sunset Over Bensonhurst

More soon . . .

collisionwork: (lost highway)
The reading of The Confidence Man last night went fine - smaller audience than we'd hoped, and a lot less reactive than when we last did it -- Danny Bowes reminded me that it was April 1, 2007 in Coney Island, and that the show had run about three hours with no intermission that time - yikes! - it was almost 2 hours 30 minutes last night.

B & I are off very shortly for an all-day dry tech to have Penny Dreadful Episode 10 ready for tomorrow. It's a big, complex one, with a cast of 21 and two entirely different "mini-episodes" within it. And lots o' tech. And I return, acting, as George Westinghouse (so I've already shaved my beard back to the Westinghouse chops, which also worked well for the Melville reading last night).

The video of Episode 8, for those watching or catching up online, is now online HERE. Saturday night's performance of Episode 10 is sold out, but there are still some tickets available for the Sunday matinee.

Quick Friday Random Ten -- if I get a chance later tonight, I'll try and put some links to the music in there (but I don't think I'll find links to too many of these songs . . .):

1. "Shadow Of Fear" - Last Knight - Psychedelic Disaster Whirl
2. "She's My Baby" - Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
3. "I Feel Fine" - The Beatles - Past Masters, Volume 1
4. "One Of The Boys" - Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes
5. "Bad Little Woman" - The Wheels - Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond, Vol. 4
6. "The Day the World Turned Dayglo" - X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents
7. "Is It Living" - Fems - 7" EP
8. "Chessboxin' In Suffragette City (feat. Wu-Tang Clan) - Man-Cat - The Rise And Fall Of Thuggy Stardust And The Hustlers From Mars
9. "Slave Of Desire" - The New Dawn - The 60's Choice
10. "I've Told Every Little Star" - Linda Scott - Mulholland Drive

And whaddya know? It's the return of Friday Cat Blogging!

Here, Hooker and Moni enjoy their current "favorite spot," one of their oddest - on the arm of, and endtable next to, the sofa, as Berit computes . . .
Computer, Berit, Cat Butts

Hooker in another favorite spot that gets him scolded and squirted with the water bottle - rolling around on the power cords for the computers and A/V equipment . . .
Hooker Likes Power Cords

And, hey, I actually got the little bastards to pose for a nice portrait . . .
H&M Pose, Stare

Gotta run - hope to see some of you at Penny Dreadful . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Between now and August 3rd, Berit and I have only two days without a rehearsal, tech, or performance of one of our three shows opening July 31-August 2. Today is one, the other is the day after tomorrow.

We are SO going to collapse on August 4 and 5.

Well, this is as it had to be. Right now, I'm taking a break from redoing (and fretting over redoing) the rehearsal schedule for all three shows another time. I had to redo things the other night, and thought I'd got something workable, but I didn't have all the conflicts in, and now that I have more (but not all) of those, the new schedule's as bad as the old one. So back to work.

I also have to get in more work on the script for Everything Must Go today, which is waiting until I finish the sched. I got on a real roll with it yesterday, but had to quit to print up what little I had and actually get to rehearsal for the show. I got to hear three pages of dialogue spoken, and it sounds good, so I'm continuing in the same vein. Amy Liszka, who had to leave the show, found her own replacement, Tory Dube, who came in and took over excellently yesterday. We staged and worked the opening and closing scenes - the entrance and exit of the cast from the office - and got them as solid as they can be right now.

I was a hair chagrined by Tory's recounting of Amy telling her about working with me - which was similar to what I've occasionally heard from other actors auditioning for me who have friends who have worked on my shows - which was along the lines of "X said that it was a lot of fun, but kind of bizarre, and sometimes unnerving and weird, and you don't know where it's going and don't think it'll work, but just trust in Ian and do what he wants and it'll all turn out great." This always makes me want to say, "Well, you know, I do sometimes fuck up," but that's just NOT the right approach to take when meeting a new actor (or around your regular ones, for that matter). I'm glad I engender trust, at least. I think I've earned it.

So today is for schedule and EMG, Friday is for Spell writing. Tomorrow, another rehearsal for Harry In Love - the only rehearsal where I'm sure of the show, date, time, and place right now . . .

Elsewhere in the online world . . .

Episode 6 of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful, "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned," directed by Michael Gardner and featuring my performance as George Westinghouse, is now online, along with all the previous episodes of Season One. Catch up with all of them at the Penny Dreadful site HERE. The page for this specific episode is HERE, and the video came out quite nicely on this one.

Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] flyswatter, an update from the world of toys I wouldn't normally know about - specifically about the Playmobil line of figures, which I never had as a kid, but for years thought I did -- I've been confusing them with the Fisher-Price "Play Family" line, also known as "Little People;" I had plenty of those classic stubby little figures that fit into holes in their vehicles or playsets, as well as some of those sets, the airplane, the garage, the airport, etc. Loved those, and while they've been updated to charmless unrecognizability (the ones from my childhood were too easy for stupid kids to choke on, apparently, like so many cool vanished toys), at least they haven't gone with the new topical route that Playmobil has.

For Playmobil has decided to add some new little items to their line to help children get used to the USA that we now live in, These are the Playmobil Police Checkpoint and the Playmobil Security Checkpoint. Nice.

Oh, and hey if those aren't educational enough, you could also get Little Rusty his very own Scan-It Operation Checkpoint Toy X-Ray!

The few comments on each of these at those Amazon links are also worth reading . . .

Back to work . . .

collisionwork: (Selector)
Oy, what a tiring, but fun weekend. Pretty much going all the time from the last post to Sunday night.

Friday - finished that post, went to The Brick, wrote light cues for Penny Dreadful episode 6 for several hours (I hadn't seen a few scenes for the show, so I had to guess on where to light from what I'd been told).

Then make some fixes on Babylon Babylon lights before opening night. The show was looking pretty good, and I think it looks better now - a couple more images from Ken Stein here, featuring Michele Carlo and Marguerite French:
Babylon Babylon - Michele Carlo

Michele is seen in the "Descent of Ishtar" ceremony.
Babylon Babylon - Marguerite French

Marguerite kicks major ass as Fred Backus looks on, confused (and, at rear, Roger Nasser tries to hold his guts in).

Then we had the opening night show and party (all great - audience was maybe a hair too friendly . . . sometime you get too many laughs, and not always in the right places). I played the aforementioned "Babylon" mix at the party, after a similar, but shorter one that Jeff Lewonczyk had made up - though his had a few songs I hadn't thought of as I only did a search on he iPod for "Babylon." He had thought to include "Mesopotamia" by The B-52s, "The Mesopotamians" by They Might Be Giants, and "River Euphrates" by Pixies, so I've now thrown them into my mix in case it ever gets used again.

I left the party earlier than I'd have liked to, as I had to be back at 9 am the next day for tech, and I wanted to shave my beard (which I've been trying to grow out for weeks) into the style as worn by George Westinghouse before going to bed.

So I got home and shaved the beard:

Westinghouse Beard 2

Which, from what I read, was slightly eccentric even when GW was wearing it (and lord I hate how my deflicted left eye looks in photos - I swear it's getting worse . . .). I got no photos from the show otherwise, so I don't have what it looked like when I whitened up the whole beard and hair - I aged several decades and became a somewhat Scandinavian-looking George Westinghouse (the pure white just brought out every bit of Swede there). I'm sure Bryan and Matt - who got photos of the show and me in costume and makeup - can share some with me sometime.

I figured I'd be taking the whole beard off Sunday night, but people have been digging the new look so much I decided to keep it a few more days. Berit said "It's a pity it's so unfashionable, it really suits you," but Roger Nasser (and others) basically said "Fuck fashion, go for it," so I'll give it a spin for a while.

Berit wanted me to go into the Kellogg Diner (which is closed right now anyway) in full Westinghouse hair and 3-piece suit period costume and walking stick, walk up to the counter, and ask for a "phosphate."

I liked Berit's other idea better (but still wouldn't do it), which was to behave like it was "Act Like a Time Traveler Day," and wander up and down Metropolitan Avenue as if I'd fallen through some time warp in the past and wound up in present-day Brooklyn. Eventually, when enough people were paying attention, I'd have to notice an airplane (since The Brick is almost right under traffic into LaGuardia, this isn't hard), scream "EEEYAH! IRON BIRD!" and run off screaming. No, I don't quite have the nerve to do that . . . though someday I'd like to pretend to be a time traveler from a dystopian future, running up to people and asking them the date - "The YEAR, man, WHAT'S THE YEAR?" - and, once getting it, mumbling "Then there's still time . . ." and handing them a small vial filled with liquid (olive oil, I think) and telling them that they'd "know what to do with this when the time came . . . thank you Mr. Preside- sorry! Thank you, sir."

So we teched the very difficult Penny Dreadful episode for much of Saturday - went home to rest a bit, then came back for the show, which was rough as hell, but I think somehow better for it in some ways. It's funny, I think I understand how some of the actors felt on the episode I directed last month - Aaron and Becky both said they felt the show was much better in the slightly rougher evening performance rather than the much more "together" matinee the next day. It's a difference between being a director and being an actor - the director wants to see the whole show work smoothly as a unit, the actor prefers the show where all the performances connect in a way that may be rougher and raw, but works for them.

Oh, Mac Rogers wrote a nice piece of common sense on actors and directors HERE that reflects my own feelings, and how I try to behave as an actor, exactly. Luckily, I pretty much never have to say anything like that to actors I direct - I seem to be good at casting people who are always willing to listen and try things they may not agree with - but I sometimes wind up acting in other shows with actors who want to question every direction from the word go, which is annoying as it usually just winds up wasting a LOT of productive time.

Anyway, pretty good show Saturday night - Sunday morning, I auditioned two good people for Ambersons who I'm going to ask to be in the show (wait, one reads this blog . . . well, maybe he'll get an email before he reads it here).

Another side note - I hadn't done very many auditions for years, but I had to for my August shows last year, and have had to since for Merry Mount and now Ambersons. And I have to say, out of the many many people I've seen, there has only been ONE clunker. It used to be with auditioners, a third would be pretty bad, a third OK, and the last third split between (mostly) really quite good and (a tiny sliver) un-fucking-believably good. All I've seen this last year are almost all in the "really quite good" category with a few "OK"s and the usual number of UFB good. Are actors getting better in general? Or have I just been lucky this last run?

So, matinee of PD and then Ambersons rehearsal all night with the "principals" - the members of the Amberson, Minifer, and Morgan clans. We've now staged over half the show. Looking good. Tonight I just work on the Lucy Morgan/George Minifer sections.

Yesterday, some actual rest during the day (and watching episodes of C.S.I. borrowed from my brother David in Maine) and rehearsal for Everything Must Go last night, which was good. The show isn't exactly moving forward, but is widening, expanding laterally, which it needs to before moving forward any more. I have to go away again for a few days, and I always (for whatever reason) write better outside of NYC, so I'm going to try and get as much as I can done on EMG and Spell while I'm gone.

So, a little more fun today before rehearsal and journey. I've got a ton of backed up video I've been wanting to share, but I'll get to that later, except this one piece right now, William Shatner, Joe Jackson, Ben Folds and friends performing Pulp's "Common People" (the album version's a bit better - The Shat is trying to "sell" it too much in this live performance):

Well, what else could I do? )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (kwizatz hadarach)
Shows that are up or coming or upcoming from collaborators and friends that you should see and they will be fun and relatively cheap and then you can smile and have a good time and then have maybe some cookies or something and a nice glass of something tasty and then we can have world peace or something:

Matt Freeman's When Is a Clock? has opened. The last two pieces I saw of his at The Brick were terrific and hysterical (An Interview With The Author and Trayf) and I plan on seeing this one . . . whenever the hell I can. If, unlike me, you're not rehearsing, like, six shows right now and have some free time, see the damned thing. Runs April 15 through May 10 at Access Theater.

More info is HERE; tickets are available HERE.

James Comtois' Colorful World opens at 78th Street Theatre Lab on May 8th and runs to the 31st. I think they were rehearsing next door to us at Battle Ranch last night -- Michael Gardner asked, "Did I hear Jessi Gotta's laugh?" Apparently so, as a big mess o'cards got left there afterwards. It's a riff on superheroes in a recognizable, real world in the vein of Alan Moore's Watchmen. Again, hope I get to see it.

If you can, tickets and info are HERE.

Coming up at CSV-Milagro shortly is the new entry in Stolen Chair's "Cinetheatre Tetrology," The Accidental Patriot: The Lamentable Tragedy of the Pirate Desmond Connelly, Irish by Birth, English by Blood, and American by Inclination, created by Jon Stancato & Co., which combines Errol Flynn swashbuckling films with Greek Tragedy. Really. April 25-May 17.

Info HERE, tickets HERE.

And at the home territory of The Brick . . .

The season finale of Penny Dreadful - Episode 6: "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned" - will play this Saturday at 10.30 pm and Sunday at 2.00 pm. I'm lighting this one with Berit, as always, and also acting in this one as George Westinghouse (a comment on my usual position as supplier of power to the show?). It's a corker of an episode to end the season with, and will have people eagerly awaiting the return in September.

Tickets are HERE.

Finally, Babylon Babylon has a final preview tonight and opens tomorrow (with big party to follow).

I've been describing this one plenty (as I've also lit this, though it still has another name on the homepage . . .), so I needn't say much more, but the show has really turned out well, and it's quite exciting to see so many good actors (31!) all working together at the same time on the same stage.

Here's a photo from production photographer Ken Stein, taken at the first preview:

Babylon Babylon - The High Priestess 2

I have a bunch more nice shots from the show, but I'll put them all behind a cut here for easier loading . . .

Hail Ishtar! - photos from final dress and first preview )



This show runs from April 18 to May 10. Blog is HERE, tickets are HERE.

That's all for now. More tomorrow. See some theatre.

Reboot

Apr. 14th, 2008 10:31 am
collisionwork: (tired)
I am so damned tired.

I have been on the go almost constantly since last Sunday, when I was up bright and early to record a podcast, followed by about five hours of observing Babylon Babylon rehearsal to figure out the lights, followed by six hours of driving to Maine. The following day was mostly relaxing, true, with a dentist appointment in the middle of it (and I couldn't get the work I wanted done - I need an oral surgeon - but I got prescriptions and some other minor help that will handle the problem until the work proper can be done).

Tuesday, another six hour drive from Maine right to The Brick to continue observing the show.

Then, Wednesday through Sunday have all been work days at The Brick of at least 13 hours each day (and up to 16). Mostly, it's been getting the lights all set for BB, with a first rehearsal for Spell early Saturday morning, and one for Penny Dreadful yesterday from 9 am to 4 pm followed by an Ambersons rehearsal from 6.30-10.30 pm. And I wound up having to run the lights for BB at the opening preview when Lindsay, the (excellent) stage manager got seriously ill.

The good things were that the time has been tiring, but almost entirely enjoyable, surrounded by fine people doing hard worthwhile work and having a good time at it, and also I got in a new shipment of contact lenses on Friday and have been enjoying some glasses-free time again.

So, today I ain't doing much of anything. I have to arrange some rehearsal space, but apart from that, nothing much else. I will watch some movies. We should clean our home (um, it's actually getting kinda smelly, and not just from the cat box), but I'll hold out on that for another day.

But, to expand a bit more on bits of the above:

The podcast was recorded for New York Theatre Experience's nytheatrecast.com, and featured myself, Jeff Lewonczyk, and Jon Stancato in a conversation about theatre that is in some way influenced by/connected to cinema, moderated by Trav S.D. It came out well, I think (the tech is a little dicey - they're not used to dealing with four people at once, really), and can be accessed HERE.

Babylon Babylon had its first open preview performance on Saturday, and it went pretty well. There are still a few elements missing that will be in for next week, and I have a handful of little fixes and additions to make. Went well, though the first audience didn't find it nearly as funny as I did, and I don't know why (well, maybe I do - it doesn't really start funny, and there are very few "clues" to let you know it's supposed to be funny, thankfully - and, also, it gets really dark and unfunny here and there as well).

It's a good show, and worth your time and money. See it. The website with info is HERE - though, um, it still lists the original light designer instead of me . . . have to remind someone to change that . . .

The next episode of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful plays this Saturday and Sunday at The Brick - it's the "season finale," and we'll be on hiatus with that show until September (though there might be a one-off, standalone episode sometime this Summer). This episode is "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned" and is mostly set around the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It features myself as George Westinghouse, Tom Reid as Thomas Edison, Bob Laine as J.P. Morgan, and Roger Nasser as William Howard Taft, with Joseph Ryan and Randall Eliot in several roles, and . . . well, you'll have to see. This one is directed by Brick co-founder Michael Gardner, and Berit and I, as always, are handling the light design and some other technical matters.

The Brick's page for the show (with ticket info) is HERE; the general Penny Dreadful site, with information about the series and synopses/videos of past episodes is HERE.

First meeting for my original show Spell, which will be going up in August, on Saturday. All but one of the 12-person cast was present, and we talked about the show and the issues that have come up in its creation. I played some of the music that was inspirational for the show. New avenues of approach were raised and discussed. Characters were slightly more defined. I laid out the set and put the cast on it in patterns that seemed "right," had movement happen, and scenes appeared from this start. The ending to the show appeared and was vaguely staged (to Brian Eno's song "Just Another Day"). Now I have a scene to work towards and have to earn.

The original intent of the show was to be a look inside the splitting mind of someone who has done a terrible, destructive, murderous thing, and then attempt to understand what makes someone do something so horrible. It has now moved, though, towards being more about The Violent Act that has been committed and a debate over whether there is ever any possible excuse for such actions. This is a continuing debate I have in myself, so I'm trying to settle it in some way through a splitting of myself into these characters.

It is now a more delicate and dangerous show than I anticipated, as there is more chance for failing in the task set out - I can't let it be shallow and pat, and yet it has to be theatrically compelling and go somewhere, and feel satisfying at the close, though there is no way of truly achieving closure with this story.

The cast is terrific - Moira Stone, Fred Backus, Alyssa Simon, Jorge Cordova, Iracel Rivero, Rasha Zamamiri, Jeanie Tse, Gavin Starr Kendall, Olivia Baseman, Sammy Tunis, and Liz Toft - and game. It'll be a joy to work with them. I hope I live up to it.

And a second blocking session for the June Ambersons production last night. I was scheduled to do just a few sections of the big "Ball" scene (and a few other little bits), but I decided to just go ahead and set the blocking for the whole damned difficult scene, at least for the principals in the sequence (as the entire rest of the cast is constantly flowing in and out during the sequence as party guests and servants, and I have to set the main line of flow before I can add in the additional eddies).

So we went ahead and damn if we didn't get through the whole sequence, which is 22 pages long - 1/5th of the entire script! So that was a nice chunk. I also blocked two simple scenes, with very little movement - Jack and George's argument in the bathroom and Eugene and Isabel sitting in the garden. I hope this keeps moving as quickly, with as much fun - this is one of the jokiest casts I've ever had, with suggestions for anachronistic behavior coming in constantly (which never gets old).

This week, more Ambersons and Penny Dreadful, but first, a day of rest. Pardon me, I must get started on that . . .

Mixed Bag

Apr. 7th, 2008 05:26 pm
collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
Various and sundry:

The video and synopsis for the episode I directed of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful is now online at this page HERE. If you don't know the story so far, it'd be best to go back and read the detailed synopses of the previous four episodes. Better yet, take the time and watch the really great videos.

Nice to see this record - I was stuck up in the booth so I couldn't really get a good view of the show - some great acting work here that I was only able to hope was happening - Becky Byers and Bryan Enk both shine in the close-ups. Dina did as good as job as I think could be done in taping this one (there are bits from both performances we did in the video, two different camera setups), but unfortunately due to staging and audience placement, this one winds up being not as good a video as the previous episodes - much more like a standard record-of-a-performance video than the others, which came out so surprisingly well. Oh well, the show's there.

Unfortunately, I've only been able to watch it without sound as yet - the computer I'm on up here has no sound, for some arcane reason, so I don't know how that worked out. I can check it on another computer when I sign off here.

Three excellent posts on the late Charlton Heston from Glenn Kenny, The Self-Styled Siren, and Mark Evanier - I especially like this quote from the last:

Mr. Heston's politics were not mine but I see no reason to believe they were anything but earnest on his part. People do change as they get older. I think the reason he so irked some was not that he "demagogued" but that he was the kind of speaker who sounds like he's demagoguing if he's ordering a tuna melt. Even if you didn't have in mind the image of him as Moses, he had a way of sounding like everything he uttered was chiselled onto stone tablets. It's what made him compelling as an actor, at least in certain roles...and made him seem uncommonly arrogant if he voiced a worldview you found questionable.

I really don't entirely agree with the philosophy behind this, but the man asked for it -- Uwe Boll was made aware of the fact that there is an internet petition up demanding that he stop making terrible TERRIBLE movies. He laughed at the fact that there were only about 18,000 signatures on it, and said that he would only consider it if it got to a million.

The petition is HERE. It's now up to about 64,400 names. Fans of videogames, horror, and films in general may do as they see fit . . .

And finally, Patrick Stewart gives a lovely, sharp interview to someone from New York magazine and includes an apparently serious threat to kneecap her if he's quoted out of context. Don't fuck with Sejanus, lady (or Gurney Halleck, for that matter).

collisionwork: (red room)
So Episode 5 of Penny Dreadful, "The Deb of Destruction," which I directed and designed, went by on Saturday and Sunday and went over quite well. I was really pleased with how it came out. We had good houses both shows, and it's a good thing we've now added the extra matinee for this monthly series - it was getting to the point of having to turn people away from the one Saturday night show, which we probably would have had to do this weekend without the extra show.
PD Title Projection

I really enjoyed doing this script, which had a bit of a Lynchian-Twin Peaks feel to it (one cast member called it Penny Dreadful: Fire Walk With Me) - good broad melodrama, scored with big loud Bernard Herrmann music from Hangover Square, White Witch Doctor, Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, and Citizen Kane (used most often for the scenes involving William Randolph Hearst, of course).

I was busy up in the booth running the show most of the time, so I didn't get to shoot many pictures of the show, but my camera was passed around on the floor (mainly in the hands of Matt Gray, I think), and a few shots came out okay.

Becky Byers was quite impressive as Abigail Pierce, the Deb of Destruction herself:
PD#5 The Deb of Destruction Thinks

The dialogue-free, tense dinner scene (which I scored with the aria from Citizen Kane) was, as expected, the highlight of the show . . .
PD#5 The Deb of Destruction Destroys

Unfortunately, we didn't get any shots of it from runthrus where it was done full-out to its VERY bloody conclusion.
PD#5 End of the Pierce Family

Apart from that, I wound up with just a few behind the scenes shots, like this of Christiaan and Bryan planning something . . .
PD#5 Christiaan & Bryan Plan

. . . this of our William Randolph Hearst and Abigail Pierce relaxing before cue-to-cue . . .
PD#5 Hearst and Abigail Relax

. . . and what I think is a self-portrait by Matt as Leslie Caldwell, Detective of the Supernatural . . .
PD#5 Matt as Leslie Caldwell

Apart from that, the UTC#61 shows at Walkerspace went down, and I got to see Cat's Cradle at least, and we ended the six-episode run of the sitcom for the stage 3800 Elizabeth at The Battle Ranch.

Now, Berit and I can move onward properly to our shows for the rest of the year: The Magnificent Ambersons, Spell, Everything Must Go, and Harry in Love.

Of course, I also have a sizable role in next month's Penny Dreadful, as it turns out. {sigh}

PS As mentioned in the previous post, I've been getting complaints from some friends and family about this page taking forever to load, not loading completely, or just plain crashing the browser (usually Firefox, it appears). I think this has something to do with the amount of photos and videos I've been posting. I've started putting the videos behind LJ cuts, and if that's not enough, I'll do that more with posts containing lots of photos. Let me know in comments if there's any improvement already. Thanks.

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Not a lot of time for much of a Friday post - I need to be finishing the sound and video segments for tomorrow's Penny Dreadful episode.

We ran the episode twice last night in the space, and it looks and sounds great thus far. A "special guest actor" who will be appearing in the next episode came by to record a voiceover by his character that precedes him in this one -- the next episode, directed by Michael Gardner, is mostly a conversation between me as George Westinghouse and this actor as . . . someone else famous. I'm now growing my facial hair out so I can wind up with Westinghouse's distinctive walrusy look by next month - I'll trim it like that for the weekend of the show, then take the whole thing off and go to my new warm-weather look with no beard and lighter hair.

I have to get a little sound work and a lot of video work done now -- and in not much time if I want to see Cat's Cradle tonight. I realized only a couple of days ago that my sickness had knocked out all the opportunities for me to see any of the UTC#61 shows at Walkerspace, as I had Penny Dreadful all the remaining days. Tonight, I was planning on going into The Brick post-Notes from Underground and pre-teching the show before the tech proper tomorrow morning. Well, it's pretty bad form not to see any of the UTC shows (I am on the artistic board of the company, after all), so I'm going to try and make it to the show tonight, then rush over to The Brick and work there from 10.30 pm onward. If I wind up there past 3 am, I'll just spend the night and be there ready to go for the 9.00 am tech.

So here's the info about this cool show:
Penny Dreadful #5
at the Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
L Train to Lorimer / G Train to Metropolitan-Grand

Saturday, March 15 at 10.30 pm / Sunday, March 16 at 2.00 pm

with Becky Byers as Abigail Pierce, the Deb of Destruction
and Bryan Enk as Cyrus Pierce, Christiaan Koop as Martha Pierce, Aaron Baker as Battlin' Bob Ford, Matt Gray as Leslie Caldwell, Detective of the Supernatural, Maggie Cino as Emma Goldman, Mateo Moreno as Alexander "Sasha" Berkman and a Police Officer, Dan Maccarone as a Pinkerton Detective, and Trawets Sivart as William Randolph Hearst.
with The Voice of The Wizard of Menlo Park
and ??? as THE BLACK DRAGON!

written and produced by Bryan Enk and Matt Gray
direction, sound design and video by Ian W. Hill
costume design by Christiaan Koop and Matt Gray
light design and technicals by Ian W. Hill and Berit Johnson

Tickets are $10.00 - advance tickets available HERE


So, here's the first ten random from the iPod of 25,532 this morning, as Hooker circles me, determined to get onto a lap that isn't really there, and where he will just cause more trouble:

1. "Blue Monday" - New Order - Substance
2. "Head Held High" - The Velvet Underground - Loaded
3. "Skinny Minnie" - The Sonics - Psycho-Sonic
4. "Sweeney Todd, The Barber" - Stanley Holloway - Cannibals-a-Go-Go!
5. "Don't Fall Down" - The 13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds of
6. "Time Is On My Side (alternate version)" - The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones No. 2
7. "Batusi! A-Go! Go! - or - (I Shouldn't Wish To Attract Attention)" - Nelson Riddle - Batman - Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album
8. "Why Not?" - Frank Zappa - Civilization Phaze III
9. "Wayfaring Stranger" - Johnny Cash - American III: Solitary Man
10. "Check Point Charlie" - Eddie Warner - Le Jazzbeat! 2

And here's the only cat photo I haven't posted, of Hooker and Moni all cacked out on the couch:
H&M on the Couch

Back to work. See you at the show.

collisionwork: (promo image)
The illness slowly abates. Yesterday began with one of those false start mornings where you wake up feeling almost completely normal and can get suckered in to going about your normal routine, but then the sickness creeps back up on you and you've just made it worse by being active again too soon. Luckily, I was not fooled and stayed inactive.

So, better, but not great.

And I've definitely caught Berit's conjunctivitis and will have to go get a prescription for eyedrops ASAP.

Meanwhile, work on shows slows. Casting nearly done on my four shows for June and August (to recap, June: The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction; August: Harry in Love by Richard Foreman, and two originals, Spell and Everything Must Go), but now I have to focus on Penny Dreadful for the next week and two days. Bryan and Matt, as writer-producers, have been handling a lot of things for me during this sick-week, which has been a big load off my mind.

I've been able at least to plan out most of my music cues for the show. Using all Bernard Herrmann, I think. I'm currently having a big internal debate about whether to underscore one tense, nasty, and dialogue-free scene with nothing but the sound of a ticking grandfather clock - my first instinct - or to set it all to Susan Alexander Kane's aria from Citizen Kane (in a recording where it's actually sung well by Kiri Te Kanawa), which actually times out perfectly with the dramatic beats and rises and falls of the scene. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and each would play better for a different kind of house, but of course I have no idea what the house will be like until the show is running. So I just have to mock it up first and look at it both ways and then see if that makes things easier.

The purity of the scene with just the clock keeps being appealing to me, and I wonder if I like the idea of doing it with the music because it will make the scene seem a bit more "tour-de-force" and directorially showy. Then I wonder if the clock way is too pure, too sparse, and will suck the life out of the scene while being formally interesting, and the music way will keep the scene theatrically alive and give it the power it's supposed to have. I shouldn't be afraid of the grand, showy gesture when it's appropriate. This is a melodrama, after all.

Gotta love a script with a page-and-a-half of nothing but stage directions for me to interpret as I'd like - and actually, the scene before the big wordless scene is another dialogue-free scene of about 3/4ths of a page. So I have about 5 minutes or so of pure movement and sound and light to put together toward the climax of this piece. As much as I love working with actors on getting line readings right, sometimes I just like to focus on eyes, fingers, and body postures and tell stories that way.

It's a pretty easy script to stage, luckily (in the the pure blocking sense of "where does this person move now?" - I can see the best way immediately and don't have to think about it). And it'll work nicely in the front space of The Brick the way it's set up now (with no audience risers). If the space I have to work with in the theatre is a big square seen from above, and you split it with a diagonal line from lower left to top right, I'm putting the audience in the right half and the stage on the left. I can use the staircase and entrance walkway from Notes from Underground as sets in very appropriate ways, and there are plenty of lights available in this part of The Brick now (as opposed to last month's Penny).

Looking forward to showing up tomorrow and starting to direct this thing. A nice feeling, being in just as director on this one - really feels like being jobbed in on a TV show that you really like or something - you know the drill, the format, and you can't break it or bend it so much, but you can have a lot of fun within it. And for once, being in as director/designer means only as director/designer, and not also as line producer or production manager, so I get to just focus on my proper jobs, while Matt, Bryan, and the rest of the regular PD crew handle everything else.


A very excellent Random Ten this morning from out of 25,224 in the iPod. Good way to start the day:

1. "Trem Two" - Mission of Burma - Vs.
2. "Sex Junkie" - The Plasmatics - Beyond the Valley of 1984
3. "Gary and Priscilla" - MX-80 Sound - Out of Control
4. "Alone Again Or" - Calexico - Alone Again Or
5. "Tombstone Blues" - Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
6. "Hang On To Your Emotions" - Lou Reed - Set the Twilight Reeling
7. "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" - They Might Be Giants - Severe Tire Damage
8. "Mamá Cuchara" - Manu Chao - La Radiolina
9. "You Burn Me Up and Down" - We The People - Mindrocker 60's USA Punk Anthology Vol 6
10. "Mom and Dad and God" - Suburban Lawns - Suburban Lawns

And some recent kitty pictures - focusing on the very pretty Moni. Here she is doing her imitation of an apostrophe ('):
Moni Apostrophe (')

Close up of sleeping sweetness:
Moni Sleep

And with a blurred Hooker - but she's the one with the adorable face here . . .
Sweet Moni Eyes

Well, I'm mostly over the sickness, but not completely yet (there's a reason I've been up since 4.30 am, after a couple hours sleep that was apparently spent sweating about five gallons worth into the bedding), which means I need to now go spend another day of forced relaxation (which has actually been quite boring) so I'll be ready to start work tomorrow. Needed a cheery time last night, so we watched Myra Breckinridge, Blazing Saddles, Dark Star, and Kentucky Fried Movie (didn't quite make it to Modesty Blaise, which was next on the playlist). Before that, mainly Warner Bros. cartoons for days on end.

I'm running out of "fun" stuff to watch -- oh, that's right, we haven't stuck to just the happy films: I also watched Peter Greenaway's cruel and amazing film The Baby of Macon and Peter Brook's Marat/Sade, which seem to have joined Ken Russell's The Devils and Godard's Tout Va Bien on a list of "France-related, incredibly depressing movies that have something to do with my original August shows in some strange abstract way that I can't at all articulate yet but when I figure it out will help me crack those shows right open."

An unwieldy name for a list, but as accurate as you can get. Okay, medicine and back to bed maybe.

collisionwork: (captain pike)
1. Still casting for the June-August shows - got a lot of great connections through the actors already cast. Haven't been able to actually do anything with these connections except send out a form email saying, basically, "I'm really busy until Wednesday at the earliest, but I DO want to meet with you and I'll be in touch about it around then." I could be doing this now, I guess, but I need some personal time right now.

2. I need this as the last few days have been a bit nutso, though ultimately rewarding and not as much of a pain at all as I thought they'd be. Friday was the Notes from Underground opening and party at The Brick. I was hoping to set up a bit for Penny Dreadful on Saturday, but that proved to be impossible at the time - the show and the party were kind of more important at the moment, and needed to be handled.

Didn't see the show (maybe this weekend) but the party was great. At least the start of it. I left early as I had to be back early the next day.

Saturday was Penny Dreadful tech from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Longer than usual, but it was very difficult with the restrictions of doing it in the Notes set - as in, Notes is done entirely with practicals and there are no stage lights focused there. So I focused and moved some lights and wound up with six instruments with which I could light the show, including a scroller so I could have some color variation. And it wound up looking lovely, actually, even without the footlights which I had been thinking of as the trademark of the Penny Dreadful "look" - with the audience on all four sides of the playing space, there was no way to use the floor-mount birdies without blinding the viewers. And, of course, I couldn't actually see the show while I was running it because of the setup.

It was nerve-wracking to run the show blind, relying on an audio monitor (which had trouble with soft lines of dialogue), a video monitor (from one corner angle, not seeing all of the playing area), and Adam, the director, shining a flashlight up at the booth to indicate when scene changes had been fully accomplished. But it ran well. I made two sound cue screw-ups, one minor which no one but me and Adam would notice, one major (to me) that no one did notice apparently, but stabbed me in the heart because the moment was so much better with the correct sound cue (thing to ALWAYS watch for when using CD players with Auto-Cue - advancing to the next track at the same time as the machine is doing the same thing, putting you one track off where you think you are; Berit, about the best board op you'll find, notes that she's made this mistake more times than she'd care to admit, and that it accounts for the vast majority of sound errors she makes).

Sunday, I had to cover for Berit as stage manager/board op on 3800 Elizabeth while she made props for Cat's Cradle and Hiroshima. This also went well, and was moderately stress-free, apart from the live commercial that Gyda Arber and I did towards the end of the program - 3800 Elizabeth, being a sitcom, has commercial breaks. So far, these had been parody commercials made on video by Art Wallace and projected in the appropriate places, but creator Aaron Baker has wanted real commercials for local businesses to be done live in there too, and we had our first sale recently, so Gyda and I did the spot, which I had in my head vaguely for a couple of weeks and wrote down quickly for Gyda less than an hour before doing it.

Here's what we did . . . )



3800 Elizabeth - Aaron, Michael, Iracel, Peter
Aaron Baker directs Michael Criscuolo, Iracel Rivero, and Peter Handy.

And that was fun. And I came home to find Berit cheery in her prop building for once - she was pleased that the creators of the first atomic bomb (she had to build a miniature replica) had made it approximately the shape and of a 1-liter plastic soda bottle, making her life much easier for a bit.

Yesterday was the load-in for Cat's Cradle, and I was there to get the video and some sound working and do whatever I could to help. Load-ins are often long, sloggy, unpleasant days, but this wound up being fast, and pleasant and fun and light. A good crew seems to keep it all light, even when wanting to scream about not having as many working dimmers as they had been told. Timothy Reynolds helped me in particular, handling most of the ladder work that he's good at (and I'm not) while I ran around buying cables and adaptors I needed and getting certain things ready.

Cat's Cradle - Edward, Art, & Timothy
Edward Einhorn and Art Wallace, who declared 10 years ago that Edward was "his evil nemesis," put aside their differences to peel up tape from the set floor. Timothy Reynolds smiles at this show of indie theatre brotherhood.

So, long day, yes, but fun, mostly. I had too much coffee and too many donuts and got a classic "tummy ache," abated eventually by a meatball hero and some ginger ale. Got the video working. All good. All fine. OK! I have to go back later today for some tweaks and to install a mic stand on the set's podium. I also have to drive out to Ikea in New Jersey to pick up a table for Hiroshima and go to BJ's Shopping Club in the Gateway Plaza for concession supplies. But I'm trying to put that off till tomorrow.

3. Videos of note that I've seen and wanted to pass on . . .

Now behind a cut for easier loading . . . )



4. Alain Robbe-Grillet died. I'd be a liar if I didn't say I was more familiar with his influence than his work (apart from the amazing script for Last Year at Marienbad), but that influence is large. Large enough for me to have been daunted in actually delving into the work. Maybe I will now. Lovely tributes from Glenn Kenny and Tim Lucas.

That's it for now. Back to work. Or at least, breakfast.

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Openings coming up at The Brick . . .

This Friday, Michael Gardner's acclaimed production of Notes from Underground (previously done in two LES spaces years ago) opens - follow the link for more details.

We keep it legal and on the up-and-up at The Brick -- here, co-founder/co-artistic director of the space (and star of Notes) Robert Honeywell applies fireproofing solution to an important prop . . .

Robert Fireproofs

Behind him is the large wall that has been built (by good ol' Art Wallace) towards what would normally be the rear of the stage - basically, right around where the back curtains usually are. This play will take place entirely in this small area, with the audience entering by going up and down seemingly rickety stairs and across a tight passage on platforms. Nice.

The show has always been popular, and there is limited and uncomfortable seating available, so get your tickets now!

Coming up on Saturday, Episode 4 of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's ongoing monthly Penny Dreadful saga, "Battlin' Bob Ford: Pugilist from the Future!"

Adam Swiderski makes his directorial debut with this episode, and from what I saw at a runthru on Sunday, has done a cracking good job of it. Once again, I'm lighting the thing.

The problem there is . . . we're doing this is the same small walled-off area that Notes is in - but with actual (somewhat) comfortable chairs in there - which is not set up for stage lighting, as Notes is done entirely with practicals. Okay, fine, it's easy enough to hang and cable the lights and get them where I need - since I've always had to work with the house plot or another setup on the other episodes, it actually means I'll have real control over the light for the first time on Penny.

Unfortunately, with the wall and set where it is, it means that there's no way for Berit, operating the tech, to actually see the show. Not a bit of it. Hopefully, all cues can be taken off the dialogue. Even if I put the board on the extension cables, it still won't make it near the stage (and then we'd have to rig something special with the sound, too). We'll probably have to work out some way to actually call the show - like in a real theatre! (ha. ha.) - instead of our normal routine. I've been considering an ingenious system of mirrors. Probably we'll just hook up a video monitor, which always winds up barely working right, with the camera always being in a place to not pick up the visual cues. {sigh} Great.

For those not yet following the Penny Dreadful saga, as always, the synopses and videos of the previous episodes are online. Episode 3, "The Great Switcheroo," is now up HERE. As always, if you're going to watch the video, don't read the synopsis - it's complete and gives away everything. If you're coming to a new episode and haven't seen any of the others, and don't have time for the videos, THEN read the synopses.

I am personally really looking forward to directing Episode 5 in the Penny Dreadful saga. I have no idea what the plot of it is yet - the script isn't finished and I haven't seen a word of it; I will apparently be given a final copy of it at the Episode 4 performance. I've been given a list of characters I will need to cast, though (William Randolph Hearst? Who the hell can I get for that?), and this promotional illustration:

Penny Dreadful #5

. . . which DOES fill me with delight, I must say. At least, having seen a run of Episode 4 now, I know who the "Deb of Destruction" is.

And at some point I will be acting in one of these shows too - Bryan and Matt are apparently still arguing over whether I will be playing George Westinghouse or Admiral Byrd -- or was it Admiral Perry? I thought that's what they said, but it doesn't make sense with the timeline of the show, unless they're doing a flashback of 50 years . . . which is entirely possible -- but wait, Byrd would have been really young at the time of the script. What the hell Admiral were they talking about? Waitaminit, I think they meant Robert Peary. That makes more sense.

Today, we'll be driving around in the rain getting more props for the UTC#61 shows. Also, some people have emailed and called back on my four shows - some are in, some are out - more casting to do there . . .

collisionwork: (goya)
And a day off . . .

Crazy last few days. Got Merry Mount up and running just fine in the Hawthornicopia at Metropolitan Playhouse. Berit made up the maypole for it on Thursday and Friday before we opened Friday evening (so we had it mostly finished for Thursday night's final rehearsal). It became far more elaborate than I had anticipated - B got into it with her usual prop-making fervor and did something quite grand with it. But it did take two afternoons to make rather than one. We spent Thursday working on it at The Brick, toted it to The Battle Ranch for rehearsal, then kept it overnight in Petey Plymouth (I tell you, I don't know if I'll ever be able to not have a vehicle that can carry something 10' long inside it - it comes in really handy). Then we schlepped it over to Metropolitan Playhouse early afternoon Friday, and B went back to work finishing it in their lobby . . .

Merry Mount - Berit Builds a May Pole

(while wearing my 1988 Devo tour shirt - which has been through a lot by now and still holds up!)

We weren't sure if we would need more flowers for the maypole or not, so we didn't get any that morning at the 99-cent store near us that we knew had them. B figured there were places close to the theatre where we could get them if we needed them.

There weren't.

I spent 90 minutes trudging around looking for the fake flowers B needed to finish the maypole (and an hour before that getting the props I had expected to get), finally taking the L train to Williamsburg and getting them there. I was not in a good mood when I returned, and my feet were blistered up pretty good actually (my current shoes seem to be great except for long walks). I was also nervous, as I had expected to have more time to go over my lines -- I had to understudy one of the speaking parts on opening night. So I did what I could with some help supplied by one of the actors in the show, Liz Toft, who works for a certain beverage company . . .

Merry Mount - An Actor/Director Prepares

So, fueled by nerves and Red Bull, I did an acceptable job and the show went well. Went even better last night. Two more to go.

I got home from Friday night's show, sighing, thinking "Thank god I can sleep in tomorrow!" Then I remembered - B & I had to tech the new Penny Dreadful episode the next morning at 9.00 am. Oh, great (B wasn't happy either when I reminded her).

So we got up and did that. I didn't get to see the final performance last night, unfortunately (I was still stuck cleaning up after Merry Mount, but I got to see a semi-runthru at tech, and I got a few nice pictures:

Penny Dreadful 3 - Mister E Checks the House

The Magical Mister E (Clive Dobbs) checks the house before performing "The Great Switcheroo" for the first-(and last-) ever time.

Penny Dreadful 3 - Matt as Leslie

Co-writer Matt Gray as Pinkerton detective Leslie Caldwell, Detective of the Supernatural (as seen in Hearst newspapers!).

Penny Dreadful 3 - Penny & Mister E

Jessica Savage as Penny, magician's assistant, argues with her boss and lover, The Magical Mister E.

Penny Dreadful 3 - Houdini, Viernik, and Caldwell

Harry Houdini (Patrick Pizzolorusso) is consulted by The Amazing Viernik (Fred Backus) and Caldwell in their search for The Magical Mister E (and, tangentially, a vampire).

Penny Dreadful 3 - Jessica as Penny

Jessica Savage as Penny.

Penny Dreadful 3 - Aaron as Bob Ford

Aaron Baker as Bob Ford, Pinkerton agent, apparent time traveler trying to get home, and vampire victim.

Penny Dreadful 3 Penny, Mister E, and Director

Penny and Mister E argue again as director Christiaan Koop takes notes at tech.

I heard it went well last night. I wish I'd been able to light it better - it was okay, but I was really happy with my lighting of the first two episodes, and for this one, as expected, I had to use the lighting plot currently up for Bitch Macbeth, which is great for that show, but not for much else in the radically rearranged Brick at the moment (the seating platforms are gone and a large acting platform is in their place, with the light/sound boards in front of it, and the audience seated in two rows facing each other against the brick walls, with playing area up the middle). I did okay.

If you haven't seen any of the episodes of Penny Dreadful, you can check out the videos and synopses at the link above. It's worth it. I'm looking forward to directing the March episode.

Bitch Macbeth seems to be doing pretty damned well, too - I think the Time Out review helped (as well as nytheatre.com). We were going to see it tonight, but, for various reasons, I think we're going to wait now until next week (hope we can get seats . . .).

I've started doing some research for the graphic design of the postcards for the Gemini CollisionWorks shows coming this year (The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles, Spell, Harry In Love, Invisible Republic) - I want the cards to look like great dust jacket designs from various eras of publishing (Harry should look very 1960s - Catch-22 or Portnoy's Complaint, maybe; Ambersons very 1900s), so I've been reading up on these designs. And as you can see here, Hooker and Moni are helping with the research . . .

H & M Help Do Research

**********

I got a call this morning from my mom to tell me that my uncle John, her brother, had died. I hadn't seen or spoken to Johnny in years, for a number of good reasons, but we were close, he, his late brother David, and I, when I was growing up, and I have many fond memories of those times, all of which are seeming to come back today. So, not a cheery day.

I was more unhappy for my grandfather, who has lost both of his sons and a stepson who was very close to him (two in the past year). I talked to him and his wife, Jennie, for a bit earlier, and they're hanging on, but it's not easy, I'm sure.

I haven't thought very well of my uncle for a long time, but, yes, all those memories are coming back today, and I'm glad that those good times seem a lot more vibrant and real to me now than anything that has happened since.

It's much better that way.

collisionwork: (sign)
Oh, god, four hours sleep, up since 5.00, will need a nap later.

The Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee continues to run just fine, and I've realized I never did any kind of real promo for it, despite being quite happy with my show in it, Marshmallow World, by Marc Spitz. Sweet, odd little play, and I think that I, Alyssa, Aaron, and Jason are doing a damned fine job with it. Follow the link above to The Brick's page for the Jubilee for more info. Good shows, good bang for your buck.

And tomorrow is the second part of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful series (this month directed by Danny Bowes), which started with a great intro piece last month -- if you're going to see Part Two and didn't see the first one, it's available to watch online or download for iPod HERE, just click through and follow the links to the first episode - WARNING: If you plan to watch the video, do not read the synopsis underneath, as it tells the entire story, and it's much more fun to watch Fred Backus do it as a 40 minute-long monologue. If you're planning on seeing Part Two and can't watch the video, then read the synopsis (or you'll be kinda lost). It was damned fun to light this simple, pretty piece last month, and I'm looking forward to doing this next one (footlights! I get to use footlights! we got them working!). Follow the links above for more info (NB: Tomorrow's show is scheduled to go up at 10.30 pm, but the Baby Jesus shows are running long, so Penny Dreadful will probably wind up starting more around 11.00 pm).

Meanwhile, I've been pimping the iPod, changing file types so I can get more music on there in less space with no appreciable loss of quality - now I have 21,260 songs on there and several GBs open that I didn't have before. Here's what's been coming up on random as I type:

1. "Body" - The Presidents Of The United States Of America - The Presidents Of The United States Of America
2. "Greg's Theme" - Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Ubiquity Studio Sessions Vol.3—Strings & Things
3. "Overtime" - Urban Turban - Overtime
4. "Dreamin' of You" - Noreen Corcoran - The Shoop Shoop Song And Other Great Girl Group Hits
5. "President Gas" - The Psychedelic Furs - All of This and Nothing
6. "Reelin' & Rockin'" - Chuck Berry - The Great Twenty-Eight
7. "I Wanna Kill James Taylor" - Ivan & The Executioners - download
8. "Brainless" - The Deadbeats - Kill The Hippies 7" EP
9. "Woman's Gone" - Brainbox - Nederbeat The B-Sides 4
10. "Mirror Man" - Pere Ubu - Worlds In Collision

I've been trying to have a moderately restful few days off between BJ shows, and mostly succeeded, except for a small car accident on Tuesday night - my first ever (apart from tobogganing a Jeep off an icy, deserted road in Maine and into a snowbank, with no ill effects to anything but the snowbank), and thank goodness the damage seems to have been only cosmetic this time. And I have no idea where other aspects of this will wind up, so I probably shouldn't mention it any more. At least I'm perfectly fine (just a little jittery), and Petey Plymouth is fine.

Next year's shows become clearer. Here's how it's looking right now, assuming this all goes OK with The Brick:

1. Merry Mount, Trav S.D.'s adaptation of Hawthorne, at Metropolitan Playhouse (January).
2. The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles (a reconstruction) in The Film Festival: A Theater Festival - though there may be rights issues to deal with . . . (June).
3. Spell, an original play on terror, obsession, perception, and mental illness (August).
4. another original play - movement/dance-based - about business in America, primarily the business of selling things (August).
5. Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville, 1966 "straight" comic farce by Richard Foreman, restaging of my 1999 production (August).

More than enough to think about and work on, and as I'm planning to start work on #2-5 next month (once Merry Mount is settled), I should have enough time to devote to all of them properly. My hope is to have the June-August shows all pretty well together in their entirety by mid-May, and then just keep being able to run them and keep them in shape. We'll see how well this actually works out in practice . . .

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