"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oops.


Fantastic afternoon in Akron, yo. Marked improvement over when we drew 6 people for the 2008 tour (okay eight - but two walked out.) A great crowd - girls from Elms who dragged their parents in to check us out, students from Tallmadge High who have created their own adaptation of Dracula for the stage (Vlad Dracul) and even an author who was written bout John Polidori!

THANK YOU, LISA AND BERNADETTE! We were welcomed with open arms and a really big, red dolley to move things into the awesomely awesome hall at Akron Main Public Library ... only bonehead here put our already seriously abused but otherwise charming little table onto the dolley, just letting it wobble there until we hit a ramp and it went crashing into a rail. Snapped a leg right off and damaged the drawer.


It's an important table. We keep props in it that are used throughout the show and I put Dusten's face into it. Emily and Lisa worked feverishly with wood glue and a great clamp - it's great because it looks old and you can barely see it. We will get that back to you, promise!


The company of "Vlad Dracul"

The post-show discussion was great - thanks in large part to our author - going over aspects of the show which haven't been brought up much since we began. Never, for example, has the term "Terrorist Chic" yet entered the conversation. And this was the first time someone asked if I had a rationale for why Porlock ages.


Note for tomorrow: If you are coming to see us at Fairview Park Library, please arrive early. We were full up last year ... and that was for Chekhov.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Show Cancellation

Our performance today at the Cleveland Sight Center has been cancelled. This is very disappointing, I love that venue. But the snow just keeps coming down, if we went ahead with the performance I would be concerned there would be no audience.

See you in Akron.

Snowpocalypse III (in 3-D)

GLTF demystifies vampire craze with touring production
John Eldridge, The CWRU Observer
February 26, 2010

Modern American popular culture is on a vampire binge. From movies like Underworld, Blade, and Daybreakers over the past decade to the HBO series True Blood, and of course Stephanie Meyer's popular Twilight saga, there is no end to the material that is flowing off shelves and through the television. Why the craze? (more)
Performance today at the Cleveland Sight Center ... we think. Almost everywhere else in the world, all the schools (all of our residency schools, my own kids' schools) are closed due to the weather. The entire company expressed a desire to perform at the Center - it's always one of my favorite venues - and for it not to be cancelled. I just hope people make the journey to come and see it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rockynol

It's all about Dusten ...


The Giaour


The Count
(Find the rat.)


The Interview


The Dusk


Thank you, Rockynol. We have a 10 am performance tomorrow in North Ridgeville. Good night.

Evaluation

Following every performance we have a brief discussion between the audience and the company - and we ask that people fill out a survery included in the program. The comments so far have been very positive, I wanted to share a few of them:
"This was great. My granddaughter had a blast and thank your cast for staying and talking to them after the show."

"I have attended many GLTF productions before, but not the outreach. It was great. I'm sure the area students would love it."

"The one costume needs to be fixed for the young man."

"We really do need more arts and culture in our community, thank you so much!"

"It was wonderfully awesome."
And this answer to the question 'what was least effective about the production':
"It could have been longer."
By the way, here is an interesting fact: We do not use smoke in our production. It is water-based fog. Your coughing is psychosomatic.

The Goths of Amherst

When I visited Dave Cotton at Workshop Players a month ago to prepare for the tour, he expressed his desire to fill up the place for us (and they did) but also his hope that this show in particular might attract a younger audience. Like so many theaters today, their crowd skews a bit older. He promised then that he was going to take the posters and flyers we provided to the high school right away to generate attention.

Last night Emily pointed out to me that almost the entire back row was filled with teenage girls, with long, straight, black hair.

#SADGIRLWIN!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comedy of Errors

Mistakes were made.


May I begin by saying our hosts at Workshop Players were stunning fabulous, resourceful, helpful and, might I add, cheery? This was a first-time venue, the GLTF Outreach Tour had never stopped here. An old, small schoolhouse, converted into a state-of-the-art community theater-in-the-round in Amherst, with a staff on hand to help us load in, set up and load out - and they made delicious, hot soup!


Honestly, this 100 seat theater has the cleanest, best appointed green room I have ever seen. And because it's downstairs, they have these cameras to keep an eye on the stage. For our purposes, tonight, however, we lost a bank of seats to make room for our set. Even so, there was not much room, and setting up and performing was a bit of scramble.


We also had a deeper, narrower stage with people on three sides, which made blocking a challenge. Some of the words coming out of our mouths were a challenge, too. I do not know what shook me at the outset but I kept bobbling words in a manner I was not used to. But the response from the full house of 90 (yes! another full house!) made it emotionally possible for me to shamelessly chew the scenery during The Interview.

A prop was misplaced ... something was said twice ... but we didn't break any furniture (that happened yesterday) and really, considering the sheer weight of costumes, props, sound cues, blood and fog, I think we are managing things pretty well.

It helps when we get soup.

On the Trail of Dr. Fang



There are a few gags in the show which are for the enjoyment of hardcore vampire fans. The following exchange comes to mind:
MARIA: You miss your land very much.
PORLOCK: Truly ... though I have brought some of it with me.
Get it? Get it? Meh, what do you know from funny, go look it up.

However, the biggest inside joke I put in the script arrived thanks to GLTF homeboy and benefactor Tom Hanks who gave an interview with Scott SImon back in October which recently aired on PBS. After being asked about high school, he shares that the first play he saw his friends in school do was Dracula, and how the teacher-director decided to adapt the text to fit the fact that he cast an Asian-American student to play the part of Van Helsing (see clip.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hey Ladies!

Okay, let me begin by saying this tour is really wearing me out. We have performed seven performances in seven days (traditionally we get Saturdays off, Jennings was a bonus) and I have not been engaging in any other extra-social business. I try to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. But waking up I feel like I have been hit by a bus.

Driving home from Akron today was a real grind, I kept nodding off at stoplights. Okay, not really. I don't want to worry anyone. So really, I didn't. Not more than once.

Now ... is it the load-in, load-out thing, the lifting heavy objects - or is it the show itself? No idea. The heavy lifting thing isn't really a big deal, the set for Seeing Red two years ago was much more strenuous, much heavier, much more awkward.

But we need to set up and tear down:
A curtain
The set facade
Racks for 18 costumes
A tub loaded with props
Fog machine
Plenty of odd make-up extras and wigs
The sound system
And then there's the show itself. Not much time to stop and breathe.

We have been blessed to have assistance at many locations. Clague ended with a lot of good friends helping us tear down. And today the girls of Our Lady of the Elms were extremely helpful in helping us pack it all together and load it out.

And today's performance? Man. I love that venue. Those girls really surprised me last year, which was our first visit to the school. We were performing Two By Chekhov, a set of the Russian playwright's hilarious one-acts. How well they would go over for a modern high school audience was a mystery.

Well. The girl at Our Lady of the Elms were prepared. They had actually read the Chekhov plays prior to our arrival. They knew what to look for in the performances - and I swear they laughed at absolutely everything.


This year, however ... a vampire play? It actually made me nervous, some of the questionable discussions about faith and God, there are some charged phrases in the production, which have really popped with the high school audiences.

As Elaine mentioned yesterday, the satire settles down a bit in the third arc, and what is at stake becomes quite serious. I think this is good, there's actually something to be afraid of, eternal damnation perhaps, that people take seriously in a way they may not all the vampire stuff.

But oh, that final arc. I was concerned the teenage audiences wouldn't like it, that it might feel condescending. I tried very hard for the conversation to be realistic ... only Emily and Dusten take it to such a level it is impossible not to laugh. And it did really seem like the girls today were laughing at every single word the actors said.

That was a good day. Well worth all the effort.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vampire Public Radio

All Things Considered:
For Love Of Do-Good Vampires: A Bloody Book List
by Margot Adler

Listen ... and learn.

(thanks, Laura!)

Full House!

The Good News: We had a full house at Clague! A long-time venue for the GLTF Outreach Tour, and always very supportive, they were forced to turn away a large number of people. This was no doubt due to the fact that 1) they always have a great showing for our tour 2) a positive write-up the the PD and 3) it's got vampires in it.

The Bad News: We were forced to turn away a lot of people! I hope people who were not able to get a seat show up at one of our future venues - see sidebar for a complete listing.

HOWEVER, may I point out that last year (when there were no vampires) we had standing room only at Lakewood Public Library, Fairview Public Library and Cleveland Heights Public Library. If you are intent on coming, and plan to bring a large group with you, may I suggest the following large venues that have a history of not only enthusiastic audiences, but also large auditoriums with plenty of available seats:

Sunday, February 28 - Akron Main Public Library
Tuesday, March 9 - Olde Town Hall in North Ridgeville

Also, we have two new venues which would be well served by a huge turnout for their first tour visit:

Tuesday, February 23 - Workshop Players in Amherst
Friday, March 5 - Actors' Summit in Hudson

Today's audience was outstanding. They got everything ... I just love the reaction during the Nosferatu sequence. During the discussion Elaine made note of Arc Three, when the satire abruptly stops, and things get kind of serious for a little bit. I am glad she saw that.

Everyone at Clague was super, it's always a challenge figuring out how to get our set to work there - it is an intimate space and we always arrive during a run or just before one and often there is a realistic set on the stage we need to work around. Not only were we (with the help of the always fabulous Ron Newell) able to get the set up, and the sides well-masked, but the weird configuration backstage kept the three of us in the cast on our toes. I think that and the full house really pumped up our performance.

Vlad Dracul

How cool is this?
'Vlad Dracul' at Tallmadge High School

'VLAD DRACUL', a new play based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula" will have its World Premier on March 4th and will run until March 6th at Tallmadge High School.

Written by Eric Vanderpool, a student at Tallmadge, the story follows Jonathan Harker, an English real-estate agent who comes to Austria in order to help Count Dracula sell his house. However, he soon finds himself and his family in the way of Dracula's plan to spread his power to England.

VLAD DRACUL is directed by Greg Grimes, Eric Vanderpool, and Michael Dages. This production is the FIRST ever student directed production in the history of Tallmadge High. This is an event not to be missed. Tickets are $5, and orders can be sent to Grimes.Gregory@stu.tallmadge.k12.oh.us, or Vanderpool.Eric@stu.tallmadge.k12.oh.us. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

All proceeds benefit the "Relay for Life", another great reason to come out and see this phenomenal production! Donations will also be accepted at the doors of the theater after the performance.

VLAD DRACUL runs March 4-6 in the Tallmadge High Black Box Theater (another first!), located at 140 North Munroe Road in Tallmadge. Seating is general admission. The show begins at 8:00 PM for all performances. There are only 196 seats per night, and tickets are going fast! Order yours today!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend


I wasn't sure about turn-out for an early afternoon performance at the Jennings Center. Who goes to a 1.30 show on a Saturday? But we had a really great mix of residents and visitors - not only children and grandchildren (yes! kids! in the audiences!) of folks who live there, but also some really good friends, too.

Brian, who read my roles in the first reading of the script back in November, brought his eleven year-old daughter. She loves vampires (real vampires - not ones that sparkle) and she said she enjoyed the show. Win!


Got a new fog machine, but this one makes a terrible sputtering noise when it is doing it's work. Sometimes that doesn't matter but it is an unhelpful distraction. Our company of three has been working together very well unloading and loading the set, it's really getting down to a science. Instead of showing up two hours early, we may soon only need a 90 minute appearance before shows.


Did you see the review in the paper today?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Frisky Seniors!

Successful evening at East Park Retirement Community Center. But first:
HYSTERICAL CAMPY FUN!
- Tony Brown, The Plain Dealer
Also, I am "beady-eyed" and at my "perverse best." Thank you. Tonight some of the ladies remarked at what startling and creepy eyes I have.


And what a night! The folks at East Park were really up for a vampire show this evening. Just before the show started, one of the audience members got up on the stage (which, though it has a proscenium and is raised from the main floor of the dining room which serves as the auditorium, it feels much more like a living room than a theater stage) and lay down on the chaise lounge, inviting women to come up and suck his blood.

Blew a fuse on the fog machine right before the show ended, so we lost the Edwyn Collins tune, which was a bummer, but at least that was all they missed.


Lisa ran her first talkback for this production this evening. Point: When asked, teenagers admit they want to live forever, even or especially if it means being a vampire. Senior citizens to do not want immortality under any circumstances. Discuss.

Brief Interlude



My friends Kelly and Josh presented their Shakespeare stage-combat cabaret KILL WILL at CPT's Big Box last month. It is hilarious, and they have put their foot in for a couple fringe festivals this summer.

This video is part of the show, that's Josh playing Macbeth and Kelly as Macdonwald. During the live performance they are playing this video game, the results of which make Kelly extremely irritated.

I offer it here as an excuse to promote my friends' show because as this blog is currently promoting the Great Lakes Theater Festival Outreach Tour, I thought it only appropriate to include some Shakespeare-oriented material.

And hey - Max Shreck wins the Dracula on Film poll!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hard-core.


The tour came to Lorain Admiral King High School today. Loading in we had the assistance of maybe a dozen volunteers who were pressed into service to help us move large bits of the set and help us get everything up and ready. The three of us have yet to put the whole thing together or tear it down by ourselves - in fact, it's usually Daniel orchestrating the load-out, which is something to see as he is the guy wearing the suit every night.

This was our first high school audience - true there were students at LCCC last night, but it was largely a mix of old and young there. We had a larger than usual audience, it was reported that there were some 8th graders with us. LAK doesn't send the entire student body to witness the outreach tour ... but I am still mystified as to exactly which students come to see us and why. A few joined us afterwards to help load out, asking us what the show was about. We pointed them to the blue sheet in the program listing future Lorain County locations (you can see the column at right.)


As for the performance itself, it went over very well. I believe this will be a trend - the high school students will watch patiently through the first two arcs and then bust out in surprise at the final two. Daniel warned me about the arcane nature of Arc One: The Giaour, and how it might go right over the heads of the high school audiences. It doesn't go over their heads exactly, but I am worried they think the entire show is going to sound like that and check out. He prepped them during the pre-show speech to let them know what the play was about - and how it eventually reaches more contemporary material.

Something else ... teenagers can read something dirty into almost anything. And today was the first time an audience really got creeped out by the old bald Count coming onto the Maria in Arc Two.


It is going to be very, very hard to get out of these high school shows within 90 minutes of the end of the talkback. So many kids want to talk to us, to sign autographs, to talk about the play! And the girls keep hitting on Dusten. Pity poor Dusten.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We got groupies!


Very good second night, at Lorain County Community College. Okay, it is true, we had one drunk guy who answered his cellphone and took the call during one of my narrations, so I told him I would wait until he was done. But he didn't get the hint and Daniel had to escort him out. What is this, TV?


However, the rest of the evening was just fabulous, and a real education. There were a number of folks - younger ones - who showed up because of the Morning Journal article on Sunday, and were out to see some vampires.

During the first arc, I was worried we may have lost them, but apparently the opposite was true. What do you expect, when you came for something Twilight related and instead we begin with a pithy riposte like "my intentions are all one might expect on such an occasion" (that's original Polidori) you might be turned off. However, the teens in attendance were apparently rapt, thinking, "okay, this is new, but I'm with you." By the middle of the Dracula sequence, they were loosening up, and I think they knew there was some comedy involved.


So, by the fourth arc, we had them. Lots of positive feedback following the performance. One guy really liked the fight scenes (yay-bo, Dusten) and a girl asked ... well, I can't really say what she asked, without giving away some secrets. But Emily and I had an interestingly cryptic back-and-forth during the discussion -- honestly, Emily, you can say absolutely anything you want.
Ozen Yula's Facebook status update, 2/17/2010

"On the Dark Side of Twilight"ı seyrettim. Çok basit bir dekoru vardı. Ama David Hansen'in teksti çok güzeldi. Polidori, Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer'in vampir hikâyeleri bir parodi çerçevesinde birbirine eklenmiş.Postmodern kan içmeyen vampirlerle son buluyor ama o da ilk hikâyeye,200 yıl öncesine bağlanıyor. Bildik film sahneleri art arda dizilmiş. Aynı sözler ama bu defa gerçekten komik!"
Translation: "On the Dark Side of Twilight" I watched. There was a very simple decor. But the text of David Hansen was very beautiful. Polidori, Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer's vampire stories attached to each other within the framework of a parody. Postmodern ends with blood inside, but it is not the first vampire story, 200 years before connect. Familiar movie scenes repeatedly arranged. Same words, but this time, really funny!"

Thank you, Google Translate! Komik!

Did you hear ..?

Check out GLTF Education Director Daniel Hahn and I being interviewed on yesterday's Around Noon.


Dusten and I taping a scene from DARK SIDE for "Around Noon"

Opening Night

Well. I think that went all right.



Very nice turn out at the Alcazar tonight, a nice mix of residents, friends and family, theater people and vampire freaks. Does the show work? I think it does. The nicest thing an audience member said following the performance was, "I was surprised more people didn't come out for curtain call."


The director enjoys the performance from afar.


My little girl aged seven, was in attendance. I am looking forward to talking to her about it, during the performance I had enough self-awareness to think, "Ew. Is that line going to bend her mind?"



Most of the time, however, there was not, in fact, time for such reflection. I think there is a brief moment during the first arc where I stand stood still for a few seconds backstage thinking, "Really? Shouldn't I be putting something on/taking something off/hitting a sound cue/wiping something up?" Other than that I was mostly doing one of those things at all times, and so was everyone else.

It took five of us forty minutes to get everything out of the space. What the hell will three of us do tomorrow? But it does pack up nicely.



And holy crap! Turkish playwright Ozen Yula was in attendance to see the opening night of my show! Yeah. I think that went all right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We open ...


Andare _ Ludovico Einaudi

Monday, February 15, 2010

Final Dress

First off - it's an hour five. And I am okay with that if you are.

Secondly, in all of our experiences managing the GLTF Outreach Tour, we have never been afforded the opportunity to have the final dress in the space in which we will open. Tonight we did a double-run in the Alcazar. Thank you, Alcazar! I can walk into the space tomorrow relatively relaxed and with no pulled muscles.

Speaking of which, of my. That set is cumbersome. But beautiful.

And then there's the matter of my voice, which I always tax the night before any opening because I am entirely unprofessional. Check in and see what state my state is in by listening to AROUND NOON tomorrow (Tuesday) to hear myself and GLTF Education Director Daniel Hahn!

Come and join us ... on the dark side.

Wait, wait!

A woman from North Pole, Alaska calls NPR quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me!" -- and no one believes her. (See: Bluff the Listener.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lorain!

A Vampire stars in Lorain County:
Great Lakes tours famous tales of (bloody) romance to Workshop, LCCC, elsewhere

by Laura Kennelly

Great Lakes Theater Festival has a great big, very red (kinda bloody) valentine coming for Lorain County audiences. It’s all about the legends of vampires, romance and obsession as seen in four super-popular vampire tales. It’s all about theater, too ... (more)

The last place on earth


I do not know if a record has been kept of all of the design elements of all 20 previous GLTF outreach tours. However, I am guessing we are setting a few records. No less than eighteen distinctive costume looks, we added most of those on Thursday night. For the most part, we rocked them. Then last night Richard added sound. I have not counted the sound cues, but they will be executed, in their entirety, by the three of us. We do not have a stage manager, or if we do, that would be me.

And I wrote this monstrosity. This is all my fault.

On Monday we will have a much clearer idea of how long it is going to take to set up and tear this show down. Until then, I am just tossing in my sleep over it. I was happy to have the opportunity to spend a brief, casual, social moment on Friday night following our extended rehearsal. I am very happy with this company.

Andrew appears to have been having fun with this production. There is a terrible amount of cracking up going on during scene work. This is not unusual for the outreach tour, at least not the past several years. Blame me and Andrew, I guess.

The discussion turned to source material for the script last night and I made a connection I had previously been unaware of - or had forgotten. In choosing North Pole, Alaska as the site of our final scene, a place remote and distant enough, a place someone like Eddie would head to to hide, I was making a link to the establishing setting of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, on a ship commandeered by one Captain Walton.

His destination? The North Pole.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Dress Rehearsal



Arc One: The Giaour



Arc Two: The Count



Arc Three: The Interview



Arc Four: The Dusk

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Glaciers melting in the dead of night


Big night - our first run-through. Kind of. It was the first time we put the entire show together. Richard was there to see it, and plot sound with Andrew, that will be added tomorrow. Esther brought the costumes, those will also be added tomorrow. And blood.


We open a week from yesterday. That's it. I do not mind saying I am a little freaked out. Three people running a show with the largest number of costumes and props I have seen in a GLTF outreach tour ... and I wrote it. Brilliant!

And hey - Count Dracula wins the literary vampire poll!



Vampires play baseball. Whatevs.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

One week until opening.


Pleasant dreams.

Gettin' kinda Kinski



SPOILER ALERT!

One of the central twists in Murnau's Nosferatu is how the vampire is not chased down by the men (as in Stoker's novel) but rather lured to the Mina character's chamber as she offers herself as a sacrifice to save the larger community.

To make this even more obvious, I thought I remembered Murnau having Orlock almost escape with the encroaching daylight, but that Mina drew him back to her to make sure the job was finished. However, upon my last viewing of Nosferatu I was confused to discover that this is not the case.

Because that's from Werner Herzog's 1979 Nosferatu the Vampire! Ah-HA!

This is the cource for a pivotal moment in Dark Side ... though whether or not the lady's intentions are entirely pure are left to interpretation.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dusky



Teen heart-throb Edwin C. almost vomits at the sight of new student Lucy.

Tonight we stage a Matrix-style fist-fight (or whatever) and maybe answer the question of exactly how you stab a vampire with a stake to the heart and not hurt any of the actors.

I need to look up some blood recipes. If anyone has any to share, they are strongly encouraged. These need to to edible, if not tasty.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

North Pole, Alaska


Incorporated in 1953, this Alaskan city was named North Pole in the hopes that some major toy manufacturer would locate there to have the opportunity to label their work MADE IN NORTH POLE. This never happened, but they have had the chance to draw a certain amount of touristy attention, anyway. And as you can see, the light poles all look like candy canes.

The city website lists several recognizable chain stores as major employers and recognizes both the North Pole and Beaverbrook Malls. I have been to Fairbanks, and I think I know what this city looks like. Saying "like Fairbanks, only smaller" is akin to saying "like Tim Gunn, only nattier."

North Pole, Alaska is the setting for the final arc of this play - The Dusk. If the trip from Phoenix to Forks seemed like day and night, imagine a teenager relocating from Lahaina to this place.

No, I have never been to North Pole. But that's all right - Stephenie Meyer had never been to Forks.

TAKE THE LITERARY VAMPIRE POLL!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Girl Like You

Media

We received a call in the office from a very interested high school teacher with a lot of questions about the production. She was interested in bringing her students to one of the public performances. One of the long-standing contacts for GLTF's School Residency Program, she called Lisa and she immediately handed the phone over to me. Yes, she's read the blurb, but it doesn't explain what the show is. What to expect. What will they see?

This is a teacher's job, to find out answers. For things to be clear. I respect that.

I began by explaining the origins of the piece, the original idea, to tell the story of the two-hundred year history of vampire literature. Four short plays inspired by four pivotal pieces of vampire lit.

She asked if that meant they would each be brief versions of these stories. No! They are all original, they follow the tale of one vampire - named Aubrey Porlock - though each is in a different style, representations of each of these stories.

Will it be confusing to the audience. No! We have a narrator ... as in the novel Dracula - which is made up entirely of "source" material, diaries, letters, newspaper articles, all first-person accounts - the narrator seeks to uncover the mystery by sharing such antique documents with the audience, and explain just where and when we are.

It all became very clear and we are working with this educator to find out how to bring her students to a show, to make sure they arrive at a venue where they are guaranteed of a seat.

Speaking of those "source materials," we had a great surprise this week. As the story winds on, these media become more technologically advanced, from hand-written letters and journals to newspapers and cassette-tape recordings to blogs ... and one radio broadcast. I cannot say who is featured iin the broadcast. But I can say it will sound very professional.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Nosferatu Dances to 'Poker Face'



Revisiting The Count/Nosferatu last night. Hilarity! My inspiration for the script was based much more on the Dracula stage play than either the novel or the film, and Andrew has been treating it accordingly. While the first arc is arcane - a gothic voyage into an unfamiliar land, in so many ways - The Count is meant to be stagey, broad, very showy. Andrew made comparisons to the performers in the movie-within-the-movie The Purple Rose of Cairo.

And yes, we finally blocked the final scene from Nosferatu. I need to clock those moves in front of a mirror.

HAVE YOU TAKEN THE LITERARY VAMPIRE POLL?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

TAKE THE POLL

Straining to get this script out of my hands ... the scenes are easy, dialogue is easy. Narration is hard. Andrew has me on a very precise track for "The Narrator" but I am unhappy with my own results. Is he Rod Serling, Robert Stack, Tim Keo? I have no idea. What he isn't, or should not be, is hesitant or bookish. Hmn. Good luck with that, Dave.

The rehearsal space is so tiny ... I must remember to take a look at the scene Dusten and Emily are creating between Aubrey and Xanthe. SO much of what is going on involves glances, and stupid me, I am hanging behind the set-wall waiting for my entrances, it would take half a second (literally - half-a-second) to pop out, take a look and head back. The way these tours work, that's my only chance.

See the new poll at the right? TAKE THE POLL!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Breaking 'Dusk'

"My home ... what had been my home, a little island, perhaps, but wrapped around it the many climates of the earth, volcanic, balmy, constant showers, desert, rainforest, everything but cold. Not cold, never cold. No walls, no windows, and every space a contour, undulating, constant motion in the stillness of one tiny hunk of lava. " - Lucy
The invitation had been extended at the outside - I would be open to any and all editing. This fell out pretty fast, and faster and faster as the arcs stacked up. And I did write them in order, so it is glaring to me that the last piece was put together a bit hastily.

And yet, tonight Andrew announced it was his favorite arc. Unlike the previous three scenes, this is the only one where no one says exactly what they mean, or at least not often. It's all about what is in-between the lines. I was glad to hear that.

But the editing ... I never mind suggestions to make things shorter. What I don't like is rewriting - that's like ... work. I changed a few things in the first two arcs since rehearsals started, no one else asked me to alter anything, though. Working The Interview yesterday, however, I needed to change a few lines, some humorous comments that just weren't flying. And tonight Andrew finally asked to cut an entire paragraph, when we are meeting Lucy for the first time, as she compares her home in Hawaii to where she has just moved - the city of North Pole, Alaska.

"Yes, Emily, there is a North Pole, Alaska." She thought her character was being snarky, but no, that part is true.

And here were are, two weeks before our first performance, with the shape of the show more or less blocked out ... except for the fights. And the blood, the props, the costumes ... and Nosferatu.
He looks up, behind his back to the window, she reaches out and draws his face back to her neck, and he resumes feeding. A yellow spot appears, and grows in intensity. Sunlight. He stands, turning towards the window in horror. He moves for the door, as he crosses the pane of glass, he is struck by the full-force of the light. He turns, clutches his chest with one hand, raises the other to the heavens, and disappears.
We'll get there, Andrew. Make it work.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Writer

In our breathless pursuit of getting this piece on its feet in no less than two weeks (oh yes, I keep reminding myself - two weeks) we gave some shape to the third arc: The Interview.

The third part of this story diverges considerably from the first two. The truth is, each stylistically quite different from each other. But as this piece is the first from a modern era (the 70s and 80s) it will not seem as unusual as the first two.

However, that is its own trap. The first two are so much fun precisely because they are larger than life. As we bring the vampire to our modern era he has the potential to become smaller - I mean think about it, he has to a large degree, a point which will be made painfully clear by the time we reach The Book That Must Not Be Named.

And yet, "Arc Three" is more of a ghost story than a vampire tale. And it is the piece that references the most true history, and the most real places. This can be interesting ... or talky. I hope its not talky.

Because the language is contemporary, tonight was the night I felt - as playwright - most like jumping in as director. "No, no!" I was thinking, "That's not what I meant!" In The Count its all so obvious. Here its so ... hip. Ironic. Sarcastic. Unclear. A lot like having a conversation with ME, I imagine.

But hey, there's also a bunch of physical stuff. We've been kind of and then a miracle happens whenever we reach a piece of necessary choreography (see: the Nosferatu sequence) but we did work the strangling scene ... and Dusten and I do a lot of heavy breathing on each other.

Assessment

One week into rehearsal, we open two weeks from Tuesday. Remarkable how much we could get done in only four nights of work - and me, with three grants due tomorrow. Watching Dusten shift gears from sunny cluelessness in the first arc to bullhead indignation and self-righteous posturing in the second is great fun. Emily I know less well but I have been impressed by her sense of humor onstage in other productions and have been surprised at how meticulous she is in rehearsal - I suppose I shouldn't have been. She gets to play three parts in the first two scenes, Dusten only has to play one part at a time.

And me. Jesus. I have written myself some ridiculously turgid passages. What I need right now is time to memorize my own words.

The way Andrew tears through this is amazing, the hours fly by. I can't wait to see where we are this time next week.