I'm most comfortable with the play ZACK, which I'm next scheduled to direct. It is a silly comedy in the best British tradition ... (and absolutely nobody does silly tradition on purpose better than the British.)
It bothered me somewhat that, the way the play is constructed, funny sequences are implied, occurring off stage. (Not at all uncommon for plays written in the 1930's.)
So I have designed a set where silly can be appreciated to the fullest extent.
I have been asked to edit Shakespeare's A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM for production by a local theatre group. Someone from their group (apparently) saw my staging of RICHARD III and approved of the deletions I had made in that work.
"Bring A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM down to under two hours," I was asked, "and shorten the monologues."
I nodded and agreed. Since Shakespeare's comedy is only about 75 minutes long, I knew that length would not be an issue. (When I edited RICHARD, it was to bring the running time down from five to two and a half hours.)
Editing the monologues is another matter altogether. I see two small paragraphs that appear redundant. The more I study this playwright, the more impressed I become. He approaches an issue from every angle. And, for some reason the light has been turned on, and I'm looking at Shakespeare from a fresh, rather than my normally jaded, viewpoint. My impression is that Shakespeare may be OVER analyzed, so galloping ignorance is not always a bad thing. My inclination is to simply sit back and enjoy the ride.
Aside from that, I'm starting to put together the first notes for the other play I'm contracted to direct at the theatre where dear RICHARD was staged, The play is called ZACK, written in 1920 by Harold Brighouse. I've never heard of it. Have you? The saving grace here is that I appreciate the British humor from that time, so I anticipate that ZACK and I will get along just fine.
This is my favorite time of the year. Mosr of the theatres available to me have now picked their next seasons, and will soon be looking for directors. Since I've been fortunate enough to be involved with two "hits" in a row, I'm in a good position to get the shows that are of interest to me.
Enough for now. Corners of the night sky have now streaks of dark crimson. Morning is not far away and my bed is calling.
It’s one forty-one in the morning, and the topic for tonight is the obvious and monumental decline of the United States of America as a world power.
There. I’ve said it. Are you happy now? We’ve had it. Done. Bye-bye. Auf wiedersehen!
There’s only one problem here.
I don’t believe it.
It’s not that I’m super patriotic – “my country, right or wrong!” (Oh. Excuse me. I think that was Germany.) We secretly want to believe that everyone in the world would be better off if they thought like we do, and that everyone yearns for a democracy exactly just like ours.
(And perhaps that’s part of the problem. We don’t actually live in a democracy. We live in a republic. You know, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic …” Oops. My bad.)
In any case, as a country we are not always the most diplomatic. But this is not a sign of decline. We’ve always been that way. In 1958 a novel was published called “The Ugly American.” Set in a fictional Asian country, it chronicles “innate arrogance and the failure to understand the local culture.” We definitely like to impose our will on our friends. (Case in point; we talked our best friend country into joining us in some prolonged for real war games. It worked for awhile. The Prime Minister who agreed to this (at the time) is now diplomatic attaché to a community of yak herders in Outer Pango-Pango.)
Perhaps the pessimists see us in decline because of our economy. I can certainly agree that it’s a mess. “Worst since the great depression,” they say. True true. But they don’t actually listen to what they are saying. It’s not “worse THAN the great depression.”
(Consider this one fact alone. In the 1930’s we were a largely pacifist nation. I don’t think anyone would question that we now have the greatest war machine on earth. I don’t think our most serious nuclear foe would want to put that to the test.)
So – seriously – how can anyone say we are in a decline that will permanently affect our status as an influential authority on the world scene? Isn’t that for history alone to decide? Pardon me. Let’s not even go that far. Tell me, o great sayers of the sooth, what’s the political climate going to be like in two weeks? Should I wear my radioactively shielded raincoat?
“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.” We see emerging nations as our replacements, when they are what they have always been – a challenge. China is an industrial leviathan, but with a flawed government. How much farther can they go before they implode? Japan is fast on their heels and, in my opinion, much more stable. We should seriously make an effort to understand their culture … but we probably won’t.
After some thought on the matter, I can see Germany becoming the dominant force in Europe. Their influence and pressure is already growing. Because of this, I see England becoming stronger. The balance. They have risen to the occasion so many times before, I see no reason why they won’t again. But it ain’t gonna be easy. It never is.
Okay. I’ve now solved the problems of the world, looked under rocks, and heaved a few at cultures I generally like. But am I right? Could be. Or could be not. Could be next week the governor of Pango-Pango will announce that his yak butter is the cure for the common cold …
Great. It will give us a whole new direction in which to lurch.
In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure-dome decree: where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground with walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Jack Bunny is the alter ego of a playwright, theatrical director, and drama critic. If you are at a party and see a 150 pound rabbit at the punch bowl, it might be him!
(On the other hand, it might also mean that perhaps you should step away from the punch bowl for awhile.)
ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY (Full length)
THE REVENANT (Full length)
CORIE (Full length)
MORGAN (Full length)
VOLLEYS (Full length)
ELYCE TIMES ONE (Full length - written with J.E. Ocean)
THE DISENCHANTED FROG (Children's One-act)
THE ART OF BUILDING BRIDGES (One-act)
FROM MY VANTAGE POINT (One-act)
THE TRIAL (One-act)
WHAT'S NEW IN LATHERDUE? (Reader theatre One-act)
ROUGH DRAFT (One-act)
THE GRAND GILDER (One-act)
Old friend remembered
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I hate writing, I love having written.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
It must be summer. I can smell California burning.
Starbucks is where certain relationships go to die.
I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question, 'Of what story do I find myself a part?'
Walmart always makes me cry ...
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
The Bible in the hand of one man is more dangerous than a whiskey bottle in the hand of another.
Can people stop dying please? Just for a little bit. maybe.
Mettle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless person is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a Congress.
Wearing underwear is as formal as I get.
"Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain ..."
Our revels now are ended.
These, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.