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Posts Tagged ‘drama’

The Bad Kitty Blues

In The Daily Drool on May 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

My parents and I are currently living with five cats… that’s two more cats than humans.

It’s risky business.

But this morning we discovered that their little boy cat, Ceasar, has been spraying his mark all over the house for quite some time (pre-me +my 2 kitties moving in) and I had the indelible pleasure of helping scrub away at cat urine with bleach, a toothbrush, and some tough rubber gloves.

I think my nostrils are permanently singed…

You see, my parents have cement flooring (it looks like lovely stone though, I had no idea you could do this with concrete) It at least makes for easier clean up; just pour on the bleach and watch it bubble.  YES.  Cat urine + bleach = a foaming, toxic mess that is sure to bring tears to your eyes.  I had no idea, but I almost lost my senses… seriously, I can’t smell anything right now.  They could probably use the combo to create weapons of mass disruption.  Forget smoke bomb, how about a Urine Bomb.  Blech!

Anyway, after all the hidden potty-places were discovered and scoured, I found that I had quite lost any and all respect I once had for Sir Ceasar… and I just hope and pray that my cats aren’t influenced by his bad boy behavior.

Additionally, my parents are concerned that they may have to give him up if he doesn’t stop doing it… any tips on how to nip this problem?

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Story Scaffold

In Essays, Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I just decided that “Scaffold” is a cArAzy looking word.

But to the point… I’m finally FINALLY into pages on my latest project.  It’s been a difficult progression, a lot of hair-pulling and jaw-dropping “WHAT?”s going on in the course of it’s development, BUT, at long last… to script.

And I’m thrilled.

Because now it gets fun.

Because all that agonizing pre-work… the story-tooling and treatment-writing (and RE-re-RE-writing)… is where you get to hash out your problems, swear off writing altogether, come to your senses and re-swear your undying loyalty to the written word, only to run head-on (again) into the problem that nearly sent you over the edge in the first place… all in the hopes of building for yourself a stable and exciting story scaffold into which you can breathe new life via dialogue.   The only reason to torture yourself with front-loading the pain like that is so that you can enjoy (until you start re-writing again, of course) telling the story in pages.

I think about it like a coloring book: outlining the image can be tedious and frustrating, but once you start using all those magical crayons?  It makes the blood, sweat, and panic worthwhile… or at least, most of it 😉

So I’m in the fun part now.  I can breathe a little.   And I can be happy I was so hell bent to make sense of the thing before I dove into this stage, or else I’d be in for more hair-pulling, more cursing, more panic… with no sight of the joy!

And that’s why we write, after all – for the Joy of the thing.

Ahhhh, what a relief it is.

“Grrrrrrr” said the little bear, crouching from within me…

In The Daily Drool on May 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I hate being taken advantage of.  I know most people do (duh) but for me it fills me with an absolute discordant HOWL of injustice.  And yesterday, when I opened up my very tardy, very innapropriately deducted security deposit, I almost lost my mind.

Gone were the piles of laundry to wash, invisible were the rewrites to tend to, non-existant was my “To-Do” list a mile long… the only occupation before me was how to unleash the bear to satisfying results.  So I sat down and composed that letter, the one I posted yesterday.  It took about 2 hours, and I was hungry, and I was shaky, and at the end, only at the end, did I feel the angry tidal wave inside me subside.

But then again, this morning, I’m hit with it : the shit-stick of bad fortune, when I find out my car is STILL leaking oil, in fact spreading oil to it’s other parts, polluting the water and other lubricants within the engine… my own mini-oil leak, not nearly as devastating as that global crisis polluting the gulf, but annoying on a micro-level all the same.

And I stumble through my day, in complete heartbreak over the weight of all my worries… a cloud I am able to escape now and tehen, but looms, reminding me that I am financially screwed, have lost faith in love, and am angry.  I’m so angry.

I think I have been for quite some time now.

But it takes me a while to find it… to nod my head and admit that yes, this happy-go-lucky, almost always bubbly, person is, in fact, mad.

Mad that I got my heart trampled last year, mad that I let my foolish heart go frolicking in the dark and violent forest when I saw good and well road signs reading “Turn Back!  NOW!”  – Mad that I haven’t been able to get a permanent job… one that allowed me time to write and money to get by on… Mad that I have to weigh every damn decision against a host of variables I’m not even in control of.  I keep looking around myself and asking “What did I do wrong?!”  becuase I am so, enduringly, bummed about my current state of being…

Being broke.

Being sad.

Being lonely.

Being rejected…

Maybe that’s the thing… I feel like the world is saying “No thanks” to me right now on almost every front, and it sucks.

(Big, dramatic sigh)

There is a small light inside next to the bear… a little firebug, perhaps, of optimism and hope.  It whispers to me that “This too shall pass” and that I’m just in the middle of some (necessary?) ugly.  And that good things will come.

But I’m afraid sometimes that the bear is going to swat that little bug into next week, because it’s easier to be angry when the world turns dark and scary.  The bear builds walls and knocks over anyone who tries to fuck with it…  Firebugs don’t have claws, do they?

So I’m stewing… stewing in my own mini-oil leak, this angry perasive cloud mucking up the rest of things.  Threatening to overwhelm me at even the slightest of hiccups.

I’m just trying to listen to the firebug whispering in the dark.

Staring too long

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on March 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

I’ve been working on one particular play, off and on, for the better part of the year.  It is a truly exciting piece of writing, and I don’t just say that because it’s mine… actually I’m probably less wont to say that because it’s mine.  I say it’s exciting because it is, it’s been very well received, people enjoy it, it’s even a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwriting conference (which is the like one of (if not THE) biggest-damn-deal-playwriting conference in the US – also incredibly difficult to get into, so we’ll be happy with semi-finalist and over the moon about anything further)  BUT, I can’t get the ending… quite… right…

And I’m trying to polish it up, because some theatre companies have been good enough to ask me for it, and I don’t dare send them a draft with attached waiver “By the way, I know the ending isn’t as satisfying as it needs to be, so, you know, cut me some slack and have faith that I’ll fix it!”  NO!  I need to fix it first.  But I’ve been staring at the damn thing so long now that the surprises seem less-than, the actions tired, and the grand revelations unimpressive… Because I’ve read it and fiddled with it and then re-read it over and over and over and… (yawn) You get the picture?  I can’t see it anymore!

The problem with rewriting is that you run the risk of landing yourself in Tinker Cove – a hard-to-get-out-of way station where sentences become needles in your eyes and beats echo in your ears, and you just want to throw the damn thing to the sharks!

(sigh)

But I’m making progress.

I took some time away from the thing, and now, coming back at it, I’m able to appreciate my words with some of the respect they deserve.  I’m able to laugh and gasp a little… and I imagine the first-timers will be able to gloss over that one bumpy word that is driving me crazy, with nary a worry of their own.

Because I’ve been staring at it so long that I am seeing only the flaws and hiccups, the good stuff is like “yeah, yeah, whatever.” in comparison to the glowing snags… but I have to admit, those snags are (probably) only glowing in my eyes.  The overall shape of the thing is pretty damn good.

So I’m trying to be kind to myself, even as I hash out these last few ripples… I’m trying to be confidant in the improvements I’ve made… and I’m hoping, seriously hoping, that the play wins a spot at one of these renowned development centers currently considering it, for the play brings one helluva hard-working perfectionist (me) with it.

I believe in this engine, it just needs a few more hands to help get it started.

Bringing it With You

In Essays, The Daily Drool on March 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

It really is amazing to me, the power of transformation that can occur when attending a play, or a movie, a dance… any form of art really.  It’s amazing because you are bearing witness to the same event as all those in the audience with you, yet eveyrone’s take on it will be different – even if only slightly- because so much of experiencing art depends on what you brought into the art with you.

For instance, the movie UP IN THE AIR…  A lot of people have been enjoying the movie, and it’s won its fair share of statues along the awards path too, but I walked out of the theater completely captured by the film, and I knew it was because my life at present seems so very “Up in the air.”  This film spoke to me, moved me, and I felt like I totally “Got” it – in a way that I was hyper aware of… I even thought to myself “Wow, I don’t know if I would have liked this a year ago, it’s kind of a major bummer.”  But coming into the theater with myself and my own current bag of issues?  I thought it was brilliant.

And isn’t art always like that?

You walk in, and depending on your mood or present state of being, you pull different things from the experience than all the other bag-carriers around you.

Yesterday my dear friend Doc and I went to see this crazy Charles Mee play, BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA.  Now, if you know a little more about the artist Bob Rauschenberg, and then you know a little more about the playwright Charles Mee, this pastiche of image and action might have meant… something… more.  To you.  Than it did to me.

I spent the majority of the time I was watching it thinking about my own work.

But, for that reason, I consider the play experience a success.  The imagery and oddness of the text of this play reminded me to break outside the boxed-in thinking that sometimes happens when I’m immersed in a particular work.  I came up with about four different veins of inspiration from those two hours, and that’s pretty exciting.  So my experience of this piece was one of inspiration, whereas some other people in the audience felt moved to cheer, and others still felt like they should get their money back.

This is what I love about art.  And there was a particularly nice riff in the aforementioned play about exactly this…

You know, that’s how it is to deal with art
because art is made in the freedom of the imagination
with no rules
it’s the only human activity like that
where it can do no one any harm
so it is possible to be completely free
and see what it may be that people think and feel
when they are completely free
in a way, what it is to be human when a human being is free
and so art lets us practice freedom
and helps us know what it is to be free
and so what it is to be human.

I think this speaks to the essence of this post – if Art is freedom, then we are all free to take from it what we see- individually.  Sometimes we want to take it all, and sometimes we don’t want anything to do with it.  But the point is, we’re bringing ourselves into the mix, this salient being… we’re donating it to the experiment, shaking it up and down with an eagerness to see what happens.  We can never view art, or the world for that matter, completely free of our own selves, and so we are inherently a part of things

Or, as Charles Mee would say-

But, still, it often seems to me almost miraculous
how we can put things here in the museum
and ordinary folks
my mom and dad and my own neighbors
and I myself
will come to see things
sometimes things that I myself find completely incomprehensible
and really offensive
people will come to our museum
and think: oh, that’s interesting
or, oh, that’s stupid
but they don’t really hold it against the show
they just move on and look at something else and think
oh that’s cool.
And I wonder:
how do we get away with that?
And I think well, we are a free people
that’s why
and we understand that
in a way maybe other people in the world don’t
we like an adventure
often we might think
well, that’s a piece of junk
but that’s how this fellow sees the world
and there’s a certain pleasure in seeing things from his point of view
we are a patient people
no matter what you hear people say
and a tolerant people
and a fearless, open people
that’s how it is for us

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…

In The Daily Drool on February 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

Yes, it’s true.  And I’ve been a cyber-witness to it these past three days.

Remember my post a few days ago about a certain someone posting her philandering ex-fiance’s name and his criminal betrayal, all over Facebook?  Well, she’s been reposting it steadily.  Yes, a daily “In case you missed it, this guy is a total douche!”  I wonder how long the campaign will last?

She’s received several supportive posts along the lines of “Whoa!  What an asshole” and I’m glad that there is a virtual support network getting woven via satellite and cable-modem for her, but wow!  Here be warned, all ye’ potential wrong-doers – the internet is not YOUR friend!

Whoa! Facebook…

In The Daily Drool on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm

This morning I woke up early, convinced that the solution to my recent nearly debilitating (okay, I’m exaggerating there) iPhone envy was to go ahead and get one, keeping my Verizon phone as the talky device and the iPhone-ery as the gadget/talker to At&t-ers device.

Yeah.  We’ve already established that my wake-up brain ain’t always the quickest to light.

But I was so taken with the idea that I hopped out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and price checked the masterfulness via internet.  And do you know what?  It’s actually, price-wise pretty close to what I’m already paying to pretend my little LG is a smartphone.  But then, HELLO, I’d be carting around two devices everywhere I went.

Still, I went back to bed convinced that this was the only way to soothe the screaming muse (The muse is also the one that demands impromptu boot purchases and occasional splurges at Cheesecake Factory.  The fact that she’s been privy to neither of these treats for quite sometime due to our present economic meltdown status, has got her all kinds of twitchy.)  Anyway, what was I saying?  Oh, yes, I went back to bed, 15 minutes later still thinking this was brilliant.

Then I got up, went about tackling the MONUMENTAL pile of laundry residing in my hamper/bathroom floor/doorway/you get the picture, and hopped on FB to see what people were up to.  (If I had an iPhone I could do so from the comfort of my laundry plagued bathroom… like it’s so hard to walk the 15 feet to my laptop. Drama queen in action here, folks) And there is was, one of the most mind-blowing facets of being plugged in to your friends ever-blessed-updates…

“My recent ex fiance, NAME OMITTED, had my therapist be the messenger that he was f*cking some married woman.”

(In case you were wondering, she’s got his name up for all to see and shame)

WOW.

Isn’t it just amazing that we can spread the news of our impending graduation, stolen or broken hearts, and what we had for breakfast, with a few taps of the keys?  We press “Post” and all these little tendrils float out into the cyber world, landing on our friends pages – for them to applaud, commiserate, or just take note of.

I don’t know what to say about my friend’s post.  From the seeming silence, neither does anyone else.

But my sympathies go out to her.

And my lusting mind is temporarily distracted from the iWants.

Picking up and Putting out- Outrageous Fortune comes to the Kirk Douglas

In Essays, Playwriting, The Daily Drool on February 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I attended a wonderfully interesting discussion today at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, hosted by CTG about the current state of theater.  The discussion (which has been traveling the country) is born of the recently published book OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE the Life and Times of the New American Play.  The book, which is a study of the state of (duh) New American Plays, laid out some very interesting facts and figures and while I haven’t yet read the book itself, the authors of those pages were very friendly in distilling it to into a one-hour presentation this morning as an invitation to discuss.  Persons present included artistic directors, literary managers, playwrights, and directors, among others.

And while I won’t even attempt to transcribe that discussion here, what I will say is that, being a burgeoning playwright and literary manager myself, it was most interesting to me to note the differences in philosophies amongst  those present- several spoke of the obvious matter, “How do we close this gap between merely applauding playwrights and actually producing their new works?”  And some people said that the solution was to “DO IT YOURSELF”

Which I thought was fascinating.

Especially when I mentioned that one of the things I felt most helpful was in just plain reaching out to new playwrights- in mentoring them and giving them a support base.  I know I speak from experience when I say that one of the things I find most difficult to navigate (as a playwright) is Where do I go for support now that I’m out of school and in the middle of this financially strapped industry? And sometimes just having a relationship with a theatre company where you can call them up or email them and say “Hey, I have a new script, are there any chances we could do a little reading and discuss it?” makes all the difference in the world… because it’s a step, a small supportive step, and a foothold.   Think of it as a mentorship- the theatre is investing time and some hours in the studio in you and your work.

But, and perhaps I didn’t word it all that fluently (I am under heavy cold medicine), there were some immediate reactions along the lines of “No one knows how to do it (be a playwright, get your work done, etc), you just have to go out and do it!”

blank stare.

blank stare.

Seriously?

Isn’t the topic of discussion here how we can increase the communication and cooperation between playwright and producing organizations?

But there are those who believe that since they’ve fought like hell to get to where they are, the last thing we at the starting line should be doing is asking for support…

And perhaps that’s an unfair summation of their reaction, but it struck me that this very little exchange is representative of two of the warring philosophies behind the many reactions to this study: How do we make this system better, and Well, yeah, that’s the way it is. (which is sometimes followed up with a So find a solution yourself, like I did.)

What is the solution for that disparity?

I think it’s in reminding oneself that theatre is at it’s core a community – it’s a miracle born of passion and fever; fever to produce something that moves us (to laughter, to tears, to actions) We find others who share this vision, this compulsion to create, and we pool our efforts in the hopes that we will find an audience of like-minded individuals… individuals who, if we’re lucky, will pay to watch us… pay for the catharsis of our story, the story we so passionately came together to tell.

And none of that happens because of “I” – it only happens because of “Us” – which is my uber corny way of saying that this study, to me, is a call to action for us to reach out to one another as we struggle to find new and better ways to produce new work.  That we need to rethink the old model, but that we need to think collectively.

In today’s economically impossible times, it’s very tempting to pull up the purse strings and protect one’s own above all else.  It’s easy to let fear steer us into self-preserving waters… but it’s exactly this train of thought that delivers us on the sands of some deserted shore, thirsty and longing for the days that we used to glide (perhaps hungrily) amongst the waves.

No, what we should do is continue boldly into the deep, uncharted waters of artistic expression -whatever that means for your particular organization – and extend our arms to the others entering those waters with us.

Because as someone so wisely said, you are your own best advocate.  Why not become OUR own best advocates?

Take a breath… and… WHEW!

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on January 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Well, we did it.  We opened the show.  And… I feel… EXHAUSTED!

I mean, I feel really, really thankful and happy and excited too- but you can only sustain that much internal intensity for so long before your little guts start to object and the rest of your body orders you to “Take a REST, Godammnit!”

Because I am a tense monkey.

And if I had a job right now I would be at the spa, getting a rub down.

We had a really great opening weekend, but tonight- well, tonight the actors all clicked IN.  It was like, a great breath of relief for me, to be listening, listening, and then hear it- “Ahhhh, this really is working.”  Which was followed by  “Ouch, what’s that terrible pain in my neck!?”  Haha.

I am so proud of these actors, and Mary Jo is director extraordinaire!  The set and sound are so awesome…

But I think one of the main reasons I was feeling a little tense these past couple nights is because we had critics in attendance as well- and I’d love for all of our reviews to be AWESOME… so, you know, a little anxiety there.

So far we’ve gotten one really good one  (the rest haven’t come out yet)- I mean, the reviewer didn’t seem to completely understand the play for some reason… but he had a damn good time!  “Antone’s surreal screwball comedy about human cloning makes for an entertaining and quite definitely “different” evening of original theater.”  (read more here)

And all this to say that now that Opening Weekend has been conquered, I’m taking a big deep breath and sleeping in tomorrow big time  🙂  I think I we deserve it.  I only hope the actors get a chance to rest up as well, because we get to do it all over again in 5 days!

The Dress Rehearsal

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on January 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

I wrote a play.

A fun, interesting play that people seem to like.

A play that has been produced to much applause.

Still, as we head into our final dress (tonight!) I’m reminded of all the little insecurities and whatnot that accompany the powerlessness of being a playwright.  I mean, beyond the words on the page and your staunch endorsement that the actors learn them as they are written, come opening night the play is in their hands.  The designers have put up the lights (beautiful, by the way.  Sohail is a genius) the set is tight (our set designer Marika is pretty friggin’ fantastic!) the director has steered the ship out to sea (I LOVE Mary Jo) – so when those lights come up and the first actor takes her breath… well, you just have to sit back and enjoy the show.

The show that wouldn’t be if you hadn’t written it.

The show that will never bring the same people together again exactly as they are here, because it is LIVE theatre.

The show… the show… THE SHOW THAT OPENS TOMORROW NIGHT!

And I’m super excited.  I’m also super careful not to relax too much, because the jumping beans in my tummy won’t let me.

So, today there are no end to the things on my “To-Do” list to distract me from the nerves, and I’m going to try reeeeaaally hard to focus on them instead of our impending opening.

But this, this feeling right now, it’s one of the best things about doing theatre- the collaboration is coming to fore, the play has become it’s own living, breathing entity, and I get to let it wash over me with the scores (yes, there should be SCORES) of others in the audience enjoying our creation.

Curious?  Get your tickets here!