Saturday, August 30, 2008

More from the Cape

I go to rehearsal, then come home, have a drink and end up going to bed exhausted around 10 PM. I sleep eight to nine hours, get up, write, do some work, and go to rehearsal. Went to a clinic yesterday and I have gotten a touch of bronchitis since I've been here - a big part of why I've been feeling just generally lousy.

The actors have to work all day at rehearsal. Gary has to work. I sit there and chew pencils, yet I feel like I want to be at rehearsal, watch the work that’s going on, see if there’s any chance of improving on the script before it really gets too close to opening. All I’ve done now really is a handful of line changes, maybe a page of cuts overall, a few word changes here and there, and constant conversations with Gary on the ongoing shape.

I’m just never happy. If a lot of rewrites were required, I’d be unhappy. If few are required, I’m nervous. If it’s going well, I’m wary. Rehearsing a new show if you’re the writer is just a misery – there’s no way around it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Later, at the Ranch...

Gary has been released from the hospital at Hyannis and is back resting comfortably. They feel like all should be well now, and it explains why he was feeling crappy all last week. Tomorrow is our day off, and he says he feels fine to be back in rehearsal on Tuesday. Whew.

I Want My Plays to Be Dramatic, Not My Life

Got a call this morning - my beloved director, Gary, who was feeling under the weather all last week, woke up in the middle of the night and was taken to the hospital in Hyannis. Turns out he's got kidney stones. So I'm taking the reins for rehearsal in the meantime. My cast is fabulous - we ran the first act today on the stage, break for lunch, then we'll start on Act 2. G. was feeling the morphine this morning, so we really didn't get into deep discussions of what needed to happen at rehearsal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back in Wellfleet

Been back in Wellfleet for a few days, in rehearsal and fighting a head cold. We ran the first act today. The weather here is August beautiful, and the traffic is maddening. Everyone tells me it changes radically after Sept 1. I'm staying at Jim and Rob's fabulous place in Eastham.

So what do I do in rehearsal while Gary puts them through their paces? A few things from my legal pads, and hard copy revision notes.

'What does Brian leave the stage to go do? Add to fix list.' 'Bear = tacky, but pool table = blasphemy.' 'He doesn't need to look at her when he comes in, he knows where she is and what she's saying.' 'Her memories are right there. No need to reach - they're on the bottom shelf.' 'I'm sorry here does not mean I'm sorry.' 'Chewing tobacco, Slurpee cup - connect the thoughts.' 'Remember - Mexico is full of Mexicans.' 'I'm not in love with this transition.' 'Remember - 'in-laws' is the trump card.'

The rest of the time - I'm taking Nyquil. Stephen sent me some great lyrics for "Effie Jean" - one where he rhymed 'vacation' with 'free trade negotiation.' It filled me with delight.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cast for The George Place

They haven't finished updating the WHAT site yet, but everything is in place for rehearsals. I'm very excited about the cast we got for this play; Barbara Tarbuck, George Hosmer, Frederick Walters, Florence Phillips and Philip Taratula. Performances begin on Sept 11 in Wellfleet, MA on WHAT's Julie Harris stage. This one is brand new. Ticket info is here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Devil in the White City

Here's one I can't put down. (Thank you for the birthday present, Matthew!) A nonfiction page turner about the Chicago World's Fair, its architect, and a serial killer before the term was invented. What's astonishing about this one is you can't believe you've never heard this story before. I am eating it up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Called You So Many Times Today, and I Guess It's All True What Your Girflfriends Say...

Plus the B-52s.

Today I have a ringing in my ears and a dull headache and it was all totally worth it.

I have not smelled that much weed in one room since 1983.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NYC Performing Arts Spaces in Time Out/NY

A fine article by Raven Snook on the downtown space crunch.

Do You Ever Wonder...

Bush is an oilman. Cheney is an oilman. Bush’s father was an oilman. Condoleeza Rice – the worst Secretary of State ever – has an oil tanker named after her.

Now in the (blessed) last days in office for this moron, the most pressing issue on the table is drilling for oil in Alaska, a move which will undeniably enrich oil companies.

Even though the government's own energy people concede that drilling in Alaska - like if they started today - would have no efffect on production for at least twenty years, and would never significantly impact price.

Conservation efforts and research into alternate renewable energy sources will not enrich oil companies. Reducing carbon emissions will not enrich oil companies. And by a fascinating coincidence, these options are not discussed much by this administration.

Like Bill Maher said, if Colonel Sanders was President and the price of chicken went up ten times, you’d start to wonder.

Patti Smith's Dream of Life

Last night- Patti Smith doc at Film Forum with Kirsten. The doc is good, but probably only for hard core Patti fans. Very forward looking, very much what she’s doing now. No archival footage of CB’s, no seventies footage of “Radio Ethiopia.” Nothing like that.

There is a gorgeous scene of her and Sam Shepherd fooling around on guitars for the camera. It’s touching and lovely – there is still this spark of passion between the two of them from forty years ago, and now the two of them are towering figures in their own fields. They are so lovely, so unassuming. He refers to a small tattoo near his thumb, and the only comment from both is – “Yeah. That was a really crazy night at the Chelsea.”

The film is shot beautifully – the guy who made it is a fashion photographer, and spent ten years filming it in between gigs. What’s interesting about her is how she has aged. She was never a model but there was always something beautiful and otherworldly about her. Now she’s a woman close to 60 and she makes no attempt to disguise that. And yet when her face breaks into a smile at times, you see everything – the young girl and the older woman at the same time. I don’t know that any rock star – certainly any female rock star - has allowed themselves to age right in front of their audience, and somehow turned it to advantage.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Superman Returns" = Yawn

Watched “Superman Returns” last night and thought it was pretty dull. I like Bryan Singer a lot, but this one he doesn’t get. Superman has an illegitimate child? What? Superman is basically a sunny optimistic myth. He’s the opposite of Batman – he gets his powers from the sun. Singer tries to do something new by having this whole set up that Superman has disappeared for five years looking for the remains of Krypton. He adds in archival footage of Marlon Brandon, brings out Eva Marie Saint for a few scenes, and she’s gorgeous. But the story isn’t that interesting, Lex Luthor has never been as colorful a villain as say the Joker, Kevin Spacey is OK, and Parker Posey couldn’t be more annoying if she tried. Honestly. She makes me long for Valerie Perrine.

Brandon Routh is beautiful and kind of dull. Plus – if he and Lois had sex before – why don’t they do it again? Once that barrier has been broken, why aren’t they just shagging all the time? Or does he only need sex once every five years? Superman as camel. I found myself wishing they had placed it in the thirties, the time of the Depression and the first appearance of the character. That would have been fun and interesting. The whole visual look of the film is generic and vague. Placing him the world of computers and cell phones seems to work against the innocent, fun, otherworldly feel of the comics.

Monday, August 4, 2008

NYC Theatre Spaces on Facebook

Check out the NYC Theatre Spaces page on Facebook, with links to Lower Manhattan theatre spaces like the Access. (Where I spent Friday evening repainting risers.)