Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another openin', another show ...

INHERIT THE WIND opens Friday. Here's the opening scene. It's gonna be pretty good, I think.

I've enjoyed directing it - 34 people on a 28 foot stage.

I'm ready for whatever is next. Onward and upward. A play Julie and I wrote together is presently being considered at one of the local theatres. One of my favorite people wants to direct it. I can just go and watch and appear momentarily cool.

Life is sweet.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Okay, so I've been telling you for awhile now that I've been heavy breathing over the completion of this play, right?

Yeah, I did. I remember me doing it.

What I may not have mentioned to you is that I entered the first 15 pages of the play in The Writers Digest national play writing competition. (I know I didn't mention to them that I'd only completed 20 pages at the time.)

So ... anyway ... yesterday I received a letter from them, informing me that my play had received an "Honorable Mention."

(Profound relief here. They didn't actually want to read the completed work.)

And, in case I should consider "Honorable Mention" as less that a memorable consolation, the editor of Writers Digest further defined my play as judged to be in the top 100 of the 13,581 plays that had been entered in the competition.

So ... don't get me wrong. I'm honored by their recognition. (I'd rather have won, but I'm still honored.)

And I can't help but wonder if there was any prize given to the poor soul who had to actually read 13,581 plays ...


And how was your day?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A puzzle laid out

I’ve learned that evenings are a good time for writing. I don’t know, maybe the darkness brings out the more mellow tendencies of my nature – if I can’t see the raw world, it’s not there. Is it that way with you?

Today was not a good day. It wasn’t a bad day, in that nothing occurred that would have triggered genuine loss. But it wasn’t a good day.

There are days when I can avoid being influenced by those individuals who are profoundly shallow and self-serving. There are days when I can actually avoid thinking about beloved projects I know I’ll never finish. There are days when the mere act of breathing doesn’t involve rasping dull pain.

Obviously, today wasn’t one of those days.

Two unrelated events occurred today which guided me unknowingly into this present reverie. Then again, perhaps, like Greek tragedy, nothing is perchance, nothing is unrelated.

I got an email today from Lenore P., casual, an everyday event – “let’s get together for lunch soon.”

Let’s get together for lunch. We WERE at lunch, my dear! Don’t you remember?! You were wearing that purple thing, sitting across from me in the little Armenian Restaurant downstairs from my apartment. Don’t you remember? If you’ll give me a moment, I can tell you what we had to eat. Greek salad for me, and a cold pasts dish for you. And we were in school together. College. It was May, I’m pretty sure. And warm. In 1959 the month of May was warm in Bloomington Indiana.

The second event was a comment aimed at my friend Julie’s latest blog. The post was on fear as a part of life, and the comment was, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly for newer and richer experience.”

I think all my realizations today have intelligent design behind them. A puzzle is laid out before me, if I have wit to see it .

Good thing I like puzzles.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Proverbs 11:29

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

In The Eye Of The Beholder

When I direct a play, normally I also design the set ...

Well, that's not exactly true. I can't remember a show I've directed where I didn't also design the set - at the very least in rough form.

But then, I wasn't supposed to be directing INHERIT THE WIND in the first place. A friend of mine was supposed to get the job, I had just finishing directing a play for another theatre, I'm (in theory) writing a play for a contest, blah blah blah, lots of reasons why I took only a passive interest in the physical design for the production.

So when the directing offer came my way (long and largely uninteresting story for another day), I was somewhat disquieted to learn the design of the set had already been assigned to someone who's artistic subtlety I only marginally admired.

It wasn't that the man was a bad designer - he was actually quite good ... in his own way. But his work, to me, is normally very heavy and massive in appearance. (Not that I optioned for something light and airy, but ... you know what I mean.)

So I was somewhat less than thrilled ...

But I saw the finished design on paper. It was the mirror image (for some reason) of the very rough sketch I had first discussed with my friend. Construction followed, and the revised design proved to be quite practical. I liked stomping around on it. Levels. I like levels.

And then the painting started.

Red? A red courtroom? Red?

And then ...

Maybe this won't be so bad after all.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Look

INHERIT THE WIND in rehearsal on the partially completed set.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Out There

This morning I dipped my hand in the restless waters of Lake Erie. Like an old friend the waves eagerly rushed to caress my outstretched fingertips.

I was back.

Many things were exactly as I had held them in fond memory – the promise of shore buried in the rubble of unimagined boulders – remnants of a long abandoned amusement park – now jealous guardians of the surf-gouged shoreline.

Looking past the beach it was easy to see where glaciers had advanced, irresistible mountains of another age. Forward they had arrogantly marched, forward, only to be halted by capricious nature, within inches of where I was standing. Now only their shadows and the myriad creatures they once held dear remain, the only notation they had ever existed at all.

It was important for me to be here. The play I’m writing deals – in part – with the blessed/cursed wanderlust that surfaces within me from time to time, fevering my imagination. Only yesterday I wrote:

“I am a presence in an imagined gypsy caravan. Like fog, we float silently through the forest gloom. Away, away, dreaming past massively aged trees – witnesses to my good and bad intentions. With each mile – each yard, each step – more of the myself I know is left behind. New valleys beckon. I am slowly rushing to quiet.”

For a long moment I'm vaguely aware that I'm holding my breath, distracted, almost crying, absorbing as much as I can. Who knows when I’ll stand here again? The illusion of fleeting peace passes over me. I tell myself that I’m being “one with nature,” and do my best to embrace all the other contrived nonsense that defines my generation.

The simple truth, and I know it, is that I’ve taken a step in a direction.


Friday, October 2, 2009

The Life That Late I Led.

I’m still here. Not much voice, but I’m still here.

It’s been an interesting few weeks. Fortunately I’ve had Wednesday and Thursday off, as well as the week-end. (Good thing. Thanks to the dog I must now rip up what remains of the carpet on the stairs and upper hall.) I planned on refinishing the wood floors in about a year from now … The dog decided that now would be more appropriate.

(Have you ever heard of a dog that EATS carpet? I mean, for real?)

The play INHERIT THE WIND is moving along. (Okay, so that’s not the smoothest transition in the world.) I presently have 31 people in the cast. When you consider that the stage of this theatre is 26 feet wide, it makes for creative directing. (Contrast that with the show I just closed, HARVEY, with 11 in the cast on a stage 38 feet wide.) For the past couple of weeks we’ve been thrashing around in a rehearsal hall. Tuesday we move onto the actual theatre stage, and I’ll give you the blow-by-blow as it occurs.

Tomorrow (actually later today) I’m going to Cleveland Ohio for a three day writer’s retreat. This is a good thing. Directing plays written by other people is fun (and pays well), but during these periods I write very little, if anything. I was reading The Inflammatory Writ the other day, and commented to the author that her subject matter would make a good play, with the implication that she should write it. She simply replied that everything is a play. That hit me, because she is so right. It also occurred to me that if I truly felt the material was worth developing, why was I asking someone else to do it? I need to get back to writing.

In mid October I’m conducting an acting seminar to benefit a struggling theatre in a city about thirty miles east of here. It’s a petite facility. Although they stage wonderful productions, they seat at most 30 people. Consequently, they are always hungry (And – let’s face it. They are interested in producing one of my plays, and if a seminar will encourage them in the right direction, well …) I received a copy of their ad for the seminar, and was jolted. They are charging 40 dollars a head for people to hear me speak for three hours. Uh … I, uh, certainly don’t expect to see many from the crowd I run around with …

And then there’s that. I miss the people I follow and those who follow me. They haven’t left – I’m the one who pulled away, to swat for a period at theatrical windmills. Suddenly I feel the loss. I do miss you, and I will be back …until the next flight of fancy takes me in another capricious direction.

But you know that, don’t you?

Okay, I wasn't gonna do this, but you forced me. The first twenty of my friends who respond will receive, at no additional cost, one slightly chewed square of carpet ...