Thursday, September 24, 2009


Oh-h-h-h ...

I am sick. So-o-o-o sick. I have a sore throat to the point where I can't talk.

(Although I've discovered that if you consume an entire box of throat lozenges at one time, not only can you babble incoherently with no effort, but you can also fly for short distances.)

Problem is, I'm directing a show, right? I'm being PAID to direct a show. And I've learned that directing and conducting are not the same thing at all.

Directing is when you instruct people to move here or there, by example and by verbal instruction.

Conducting, I've discovered, is when you wave at an actor on stage, resulting in one of two reactions.

(1) The actor gets the standard "deer in the headlights" look, points to him or herself, and mouths the words "Who? Me?"

(2) The actor drops out of character, smiles because you've singled him or her out ... and waves back.

Ya see why I like writing plays better than directing 'em? I only fight with myself!

(But that's another story altogether.)


And how was your day?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I like stories that are finished.

HARVEY closed this past Saturday. It was a good show, and had a good run. Directing the production was a pleasure.

When I left the theatre (at a little after 2:00 AM) - literally as I was walking out the door, on impulse I turned and took one final picture of what had been my set.

All this is entirely appropriate. One of the people on the stage is Tina Gleason. Tina is a friend, and the director of the next play this theatre will produce, ON GOLDEN POND. Following her will be the musical version of the Dr. Jekyll story, and we will all end up as bound photo albums gathering dust and fingerprints in the lobby.

I'm now a week into rehearsal for INHERIT THE WIND at another theatre. Their present play, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, has another week to run.

When they close, I'll be there to help tear down the set.

For everything there is a season.


And how was your day?

Friday, September 18, 2009

For Samantha ...

Since you persist ...

The one on the right is Don. He's an actual firefighter now. He's about
two years older than you.

If you want to know more,

send cookies.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It’s Tuesday, a few minutes before eleven. The night is quiet. Once in awhile I can hear a car go by on the main road, a block from my front door. I’m looking forward to writing for the next four hours or so …

HARVEY opened this past weekend. Smallish audiences. I expected nothing more. Note to potential theatrical producers – don’t open a play on Labor Day weekend and expect large crowds. Next week they will come …

Held one private audition yesterday for INHERIT THE WIND. Officially, auditions for this play aren’t scheduled until next weekend, but a possible lead player will be out of time then, so …

I miss my writer friends. I do. Directing HARVEY and INHERIT THE WIND is grand fun, but it’s not the same as creating a work, and sharing that creation with others, and hearing – for the very first time – the works other people have created.

I really enjoy the company of writers. There’s a mixture of arrogance and vulnerability. They long to be accepted, and at the same time rush to solitude. They don’t see the world the way others do. I love science fiction/fantasy writers, because they believe there WILL BE a future.

Odd. For the past few days I’ve been writing like crazy. Odd how, when I am overly busy, overly tired … that’s when the time I do have is precious …

I met an interesting man about a month ago. From the way he stood and moved, I could tell he was military – and he was, having retired from the Navy after thirty years. His final tour of duty was aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise … (Did you know a ship can have more than one Captain? I didn’t know that.) Since first meeting him, he has told me about at least a dozen adventures, each more fascinating than the one before.

“Why don’t you write these down,” I ask, with all the sincerity that’s in me.

Almost shyly he looks at me. “I couldn’t do that,” he replies. “I’m not a writer, I’m just a story teller.”

Uh-huh …

The first of October four other writers and I are renting a house on Lake Erie for a few days and just write – no television, no internet, just writing. And eating. And walking on the beach. Heaven. Heaven heaven heaven heaven heaven! (One of our writers is a potential chef who wants to write cookbooks. Now I ask you – can it get any better than that?)

The weekend after the retreat I’m conducting an acting seminar at a local theatre. The group in charge of the event is charging $40.00 a head for people to listen to me talk for three hours. (Are you kidding me?!) One of my HARVEY cast looked sadly at me and asked if I was including a dog and pony show.

Could be …


Thursday, September 3, 2009


I enjoy watching a set for a play being constructed. If it simulates a room in a home, I like to think of it as a place I'd live in, if it was in a real house. (As a matter of fact, I DO live in it for a number of weeks.

Here, then, is my set for HARVEY, as it went from this,

to this,

to this.

I like it. I consider it Art. What do you think?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gypsy life

HARVEY opens Friday.

After being in rehearsal since late July, the opening night for this play is now just a few days away.

I suppose I should be glad. I mean, in the past – by this point – I would be more than ready to move on. As a director I would have by now proven my point (to myself), and, like many of the cast, I would already be anticipating my next project.

Still …

I’m working with an awesome group of performers. As an ensemble, they are a finely tuned instrument, and with every rehearsal we uncover and explore more shadings, more nuances.

Selfishly, it’s gonna be hard to give that up.

Still …

I’m directing INHERIT THE WIND next. Auditions are in two weeks. Already people have started calling, requesting information that, surprisingly, I’m reluctant to give. INHERIT THE WIND is a large cast show. I’m grateful for interest. I know I’m gonna need people willing to throw themselves into the work. I know this.

I’m also aware that HARVEY cast members have other work waiting for them. Two in our show already have been cast in other plays. They start into rehearsal right after our show opens. Several are planning to audition for INHERIT THE WIND. One cast member is starting his own drama school. Two others have film roles in their futures. All this I expected. These people are the best of the best. They are in demand. It’s unusual (and a draw) that they all happen to be together in any show.

This is good stuff. Good stuff! But it all reminds me that true theatre moments and performances are fleeting, illusionary. That is not only their very nature, but also their appeal.

Slowly I become aware of purpose. If we have presented the work properly, then you, our audience, our equal partner, will recognize these as moments as they are presented to you, and hold them close in memory for the rest of your life. Not too much to ask. We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

We freely admit that we are gypsies, melancholy and fatalistic. Ourselves are the only gift we have to give. Ah, but when the gift is accepted, the awareness and experience shared …

in those rare moments …

we are justified.


And how was your day?