- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
In the coming months, I'll be using this blog to update more about what's happening in terms of my work and to perhaps link to interesting discussions. As for my own comments (here and on other blogs) I've decided to pull back for the time being. I've gotten feedback of late that indicates that the direction of the blogosphere isn't all that welcoming to my particular sensiblity and that's ok. It just might not be my medium. Better to do it with plays. I certainly don't want to be viewed as anti-intellectual or combative. I don't view myself as a cultural critic: I'm a playwright. Better to express myself with plays. My time is more productively spent mailing drafts and working with other artists in person.
So, feel free to refer to my blog roll for blogs that have more to say about theory, and to keep an eye on this space if you'd like to know my next step is professionally. Otherwise, enjoy the ever expanding theatrical blogosphere and the community that it can create.
Onwards and upwards.
Friday, April 28, 2006
- Over on Theatre Notes, Alison Croggon brings up a Corrie-esque issue. Worth your time.
- John Clancy comments below on the Showcase Code and Actor's Equity Reform issue. Let's keep that conversation going. How can we reform Equity? How can we come together to change the Showcase Code in Manhattan?
- We're 90% cast for "The Most Wonderful Love." Lovely!
- Looking forward to seeing a few unfamiliar faces tonight.
- I suggest, whenever I get a chance, you check out Phantasmaphile because the stuff she's posting is really awesome, contemporary, punchy and creepy.
- My friend Vince Gatton (who performed in my play "The Americans") was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his performance in Candy & Dorothy! GO VINCE!
- Isaac Butler talks Process. Check it out.
- My new favorite DVD is Season 1 of Wonder Showzen. The commentary track for the first episode is "Screamin'" Stephen Hawking, who tells us why he couldn't use the nickname he wanted ("Fireblood") and why being a genius is an agonizing pain we could never comprehend and also about the little tidbits we might miss if we don't watch carefully. Also, he talks about the tattoo on his thigh ("I like what you're doing girl") his left nut ("Keep going") and his right nut ("See other nut.") It's sick. This show gives me a tumor of joy. Also, it answers the question where do babies come from..."Unanswered Prayers."
Thursday, April 27, 2006
It also, unfortunately, creates a series of barriers between producers on a smaller scale and the actors that work on that scale.
I know of many producers that aren't able to rehearse their plays at length or develop the audience for a play because Equity imposes a rehearsal limit and performance limit on "Showcases." Showcases are the standard production agreement for most Off-Off Broadway shows...it allows actors to still be working within the union rules but not have to be paid far more than most companies can afford.
So... does Equity need to take another look at how it approaches the rules for smaller scale and independent theaters?
Talk to me about your experiences with Actor's Equity and what you love about it and what you think could be improved.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Plug! Plug! Plug!
I want to hear what's up and when!
Isaac, tell us about Amulet! Josh...got a reading? Alison, have a book to sell?
Anyone else? Talk to me! COMMENT! PLUG! PLUG! PLUG!
I have gotten as far as getting killed by a Troll so far. (Do not type "Kill Troll." It doesn't work.)
Croggon, this is made for people like you.
Beyond that, it puts a rather large nail in the "Fair and Balanced" coffin of Fox News, which has now served as a recruiting pool for the White House's own staff. You don't get that job if you're, shall we say, objective.
For a few thoughts about what Tony Snow will face, enjoy this little write-up from Media Matters.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Over on Parabasis yesterday, Isaac posted a question about the "ideal solution" and a few of us posted our thoughts. It occurred to me that the essential assumption of that question is that there is a universally acknowleged Problem and that we must work together to solve it.
The essential conflict becomes...just what is this "Problem" and can it be solved and does it actually exist? Is it a universal problem, or is it regionally specific? Are the problems facing theatre in Australia, or Africa or London the same ones faced by New York artists? Are the problems of a playwright in Los Angeles the same as those of a director in Chicago?
Are we, on the blogosphere, each universalizing our personal taste, in an effort to unwittingly (or knowingly) promote change that matches our taste?
Is there a Universal Problem to which there is a Hidden Solution?
Auditions were held for the play this weekend, and we still have more to do. But I think I've had it up to my chin with theatre for at least the afternoon. Last night, Phantasmaphile and I went to the 92nd Street Y to see a lecture on Jungian readings of Fairy Tales. Twas fun and illuminating.
So, in the meantime, considering my brain is full of headshots and the gray day... I think I'd like to talk about something entirely different... entirely unrelated.
Smurfette was created by Gargamel (the Smurf's arch-nemesis) to destroy the Smurfs. Before her, there were only male smurfs, and everyone had adventures, but no one was full of sexual jealousy. Sexual jealousy is really un-Smurfy.
Anyhow... Gargamel creates this little temptress to infiltrate the Smurf's little all-male community and create havoc by doing stuff like bending over to pick up a leaf and expecting the Smurfs to kill themselves carrying her bags and singing really out of key. She was a pill, basically. She also had black hair...a problem that would quickly be rectified.
Her ingredients (which I just Googled) included "The chatter of a magpie, the guile of a vixen and the disposition of a shrew...an adder's tongue...a peck of a bird's brain...the hardest stone for a heart." Gargamel called the introduction of a girl smurf "A ruthless curse that will make them beg for mercy."
Gargamel was going through a really painful divorce at the time.
Papa Smurf (who is apparently completely uninterested in girls) decides to make a real Smurf of her, a good Smurf.
I don't remember what magical brew does it (probably Bacardi) but she is transformed into a vapid Blonde who is permanently attached to a mirror. Sure, the Smurfs still fancy her well-enough, but they also sort of have disdain for her because she's completely self-obsessed and blonde. She's essentially made harmless by being given a frontal lobotomy, otherwise known as "blonde hair on tv."
Now what sort of message did this send to the people of my generation? I beg you to tell me.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I've been on both sides of that table. There is a sense, on all sides, that one must be both careful and open, which is an exhausting balance to maintain.
If anyone in the NY area knows a child actress that you think can handle a rather mature script, you're welcome to let me know her information.
The play has gone from 150 pages, to 130 pages, to 122 pages to it's current draft of 104. It's had two readings, one of them all women. It's been covered in red from top to bottom. I'm finally tired of writing it...I'm just looking forward to making it happen.
After this, I'm working on an adaptation for a new friend and compatriot. And perhaps I'll get back to writing "The Lower River," which is pretty much the complete opposite of "The Most Wonderful Love" in tone and form.
For those interested in a little preview, there are audition sides for the play here, which, while completely out of context, might as well serve as little trailers for the play. Let me know what impression they give you. I hope you enjoy.
Onwards and upwards.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
He was a little lying figurehead for a the most tremendously wide and shamelessly lying mouth in the history of the United States.
His job was to keep the Free Press from knowing things, and obeying the orders of his evil leaders, who would feed him lines through a wire that went up, I'm sure, his anus. He has the impossible role of defending the indefensible, like a Defense Lawyer at the Nuremberg Trials.
So, Scott, we wish you the worst. I hope your actions haunt you, and you fail to sleep at night, and that someday, you wake up sweating with your heart pounding, after a dream that includes you personally blindfolding and ball gagging members of the press corps.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
This blog is about art. About the function of art. About why we perform art. About Theatre with a capital T. I think we all know where I'm going with this... it's just very, very important, theoretical, deep stuff. Rachel Corrie important. That important.
Now don't you feel, at least, a little better?
Monday, April 17, 2006
If you had to define something called "Indie Theatre" who would you do so?
Let's put aside questions of "Is there such a thing" because that's an endless and circular debate. Let's just say there was going to be a new label, and it was called "Indie" for theatre. What would would you say defines "Indie" in the world of theatre?
Think it over. My comments is your playground. Oh, and I'm sure this will be used, by all evidence, here in NYC.
Of course, the nominees weren't exactly stellar. All due respect to the writers, but it seems like the Pulitizer nominations have about as narrow a view of drama as the Tony Awards.
That being said, this is a wake up call all around. What's being produced is lowering in quality, and the attention and knowledge of the wide range of offerings is also quite narrow.
That being said, I feel like we're due for something to break on the positive side. I don't know why, just a feeling. Hope springs eternal.
I'll go on record by saying...it's ain't going to be Tarzan. Sorry Mouse.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Now, I haven't seen this show. Perhaps it's as bad as George says. Reviewing, as I've said, is a balancing act. Reviewing for the New York Times, as George does now, means that you can wield a brickbat to the fortunes of others.
I'd like to say, for those interested, that the Brick Theater is one of the true gems of the Off-Off Broadway scene. Situated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Brick features a fantastic crew of producers, writers and actors that are dedicated to the true Fringe theatre in the NYC area. They present an alternative to the Fringe Festival now, as well, first called "The Hell Festival," then "The Moral Values Festival" and this year "The $ellout Festival." I'm a huge fan of their work, a supporter of the kind of output and attitude they provide, and of Jeff Lewonczyk, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in the "Indie" scene.
I don't mean to criticize the review... I'm sure there are clunkers to be found Off-Off and even from people I adore (I've seen many.) But it was painful to see this so snarkily dispatched in so influential a space. The Brick ( and others who work hard to create oddball pleasures, with shoestring budgets in an overstuffed field) deserve, perhaps, a little less snark and a little more respect.
I'm probably just kneejerk defending a company that I have love for, but I'm only human. This show might not warrant an endorsement, but those involved certainly don't warrant this sort of drubbing. The Brick represents the sort of venue we need to see more of, innovative, undaunted, brave and fun.
So... I'll leave it at that.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Josh and Scott are both great guys, so I'm not going to talk to either of their attitudes, particularly. I will say though, that it's very hard for me to take seriously the criticism of any writing process, let alone one that includes completed work as part of its intrinsic deal.
In my view, conversation is all well and good, theory is nice and fun in its place, but being a playwright and an artist means at least presenting a finished piece on some level at some stage in the game. I'm not even sure why that needs to be stated.
I would rather produce even flawed work, than simply criticism of other people's work. The important word isn't creative ... it's creation. As artists, we create, as best we can, from all the little memes and tricks and symbols that we can Frankenstein.
My mother always said "Done is better than perfect." Perfection is unattainable, universal acclaim comes to no human action ever performed. Some might argue no work is ever truly complete. But at least getting to the end of a play is a step in the right direction.
All naysayers who may or may not feel the need to speak about the creative process, or for the culture against certain kinds of art or theatre... well you have the right to speak your mind. But please, let's remember who is playing the game and who is sitting in the stands.
If an artist, such as Josh, in this new media world of immediate access, has the kindness and openness to expose his creative ideas and process to others, he shouldn't have to defend it. It's a gift, and that's all it is, whether foul mouthed or written like Bertrand Russel. It should be accepted as such, enjoyed. If it isn't your process, that's worthy of discussion. If you don't actually engage in the process as much as you discuss it, then that's something that should be taken into account before you do damage, through derision, to someone else's act of creation.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
It's now not as long. Still a bit on the long side, but about ten pages more pages are sweating it right now, I promise you. Sharpening my knives.
Anyhow, I always feel good when a draft is completed. Tonight, I'm going to the Chip Shop with my best girl at my side!
By the way, on Sunday we're doing a bit of an internal reading at Blue Coyote to gauge feedback. If you're interested in checking it out, e-mail me. We might be able to fit a guest or two.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I am a fan of minimalism, obviously, but I also once saw what I felt was it's practical value. In effect, a play created with a smaller cast and few budgetary needs is simpler to produce and cannot fail to deliver on it's big dreams. If you write "Black stage, No Set, Three Actors Who Do Not Move" your parameters for failure, at least on a production level, are few. You also will not be forced, due to time or budgetary problems, to build a half-assed set as opposed to a full-assed (one might say) blank stage.
Budget aside, though, your parameters for success are also tenuous. Much of the fun and pleasure of the stage, those that are expressed with visual creativeness and a richness of character and good old-fashioned drama... this is harder to achieve. Poetry is complex, obviously.
I used to view minimalism as a sort of solution to, and nod to, my limited resources.
But, in the end, the benefits of a large cast evens out with the benefits of a small one. For example (and this is pure icky untouchable work-a-day thinking) more cast means bigger audience. If you have 20 cast members, and they have friends and family, then you've got a bare minimum audience that is NOT guaranteed with one person on stage or two or three. And yes, those things will add up when you're working on a smaller scale. If you've got $15 ticket prices and not everyone can get a comp ticket... 20 people in the cast sells tickets. I feel dirty for saying so, but it's a fact.
(On the other hand 2 people in the cast, shall we say, means you might be able to perform this piece on a smaller scale and with enough buzz, you won't need to trick yourself into believing you actually have a big audience with friends and family. )
The broader point is...unless you're writing things that simply leave all logic and reason out the window (Stage Direction: "Scene 1. And then the two dragons fight, and the actors run into the town below. Fire is everywhere. Scene 2. Ten Years Later in a Briar. Scene 3. The middle of the ocean, 50 men sing and dance.") you shouldn't be afraid to creatively (the operative word) go where the play requires and places the necessary voices on-stage to create the play in your head. The benefits even out, as long as you're bright about resources and positive creative solutions.
Success and failure should be a function of risk, not a function of carefulness.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Now, here's my question. It's about nuts and bolts:
What methods do you find are most effective for a small company to raise money?
Barring a staff that is dedicated to grant writing and/or wealthy donors or a subscriber base... what do you think is effective? T-shirt sales? Car wash? Bake sales? Free beer with a ticket?
Creative fundraising people.
Everyone can benefit from a little discussion therein.
Friday, April 07, 2006
We love self-determination, we're really a culture about Fate. Manifest Destiny. "I did it because God told me." "I was always meant for this." It's like Abraham and Isaac, except no one stops Judas from killing the thing he loves most.
BUT... there is some really fantastically WEIRD stuff in this recent apocrypha. I actually think it's all amazingly batshit brilliant. It's like Revelations meets the Open Center.
JESUS TEACHES JUDAS ABOUT COSMOLOGY: THE SPIRIT AND THE SELF-GENERATED
Jesus said, "[Come], that I may teach you about [secrets] no person [has] ever seen. For there exists a great and boundless realm, whose extent no generation of angels has seen, [in which] there is [a] great invisible [Spirit], which no eye of an angel has ever seen, no thought of the heart has ever comprehended, and it was never called by any name.
"And a luminous cloud appeared there. He said, ‘Let an angel come into being as my attendant.’
"A great angel, the enlightened divine Self-Generated, emerged from the cloud. Because of him, four other angels came into being from another cloud, and they became attendants for the angelic Self-Generated.
The Self-Generated said,  ‘Let […] come into being […],’ and it came into being […]. And he [created] the first luminary to reign over him.
He said, ‘Let angels come into being to serve [him],’ and myriads without number came into being. He said, ‘[Let] an enlightened aeon come into being,’ and he came into being. He created the second luminary [to] reign over him, together with myriads of angels without number, to offer service.
That is how he created the rest of the enlightened aeons. He made them reign over them, and he created for them myriads of angels without number, to assist them.
ADAMAS AND THE LUMINARIES
"Adamas was in the first luminous cloud that no angel has ever seen among all those called ‘God.’ He  […] that […] the image […] and after the likeness of [this] angel. He made the incorruptible [generation] of Seth appear […] the twelve […] the twenty- four […]. He made seventy-two luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in accordance with the will of the Spirit. The seventy-two luminaries themselves made three hundred sixty luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in accordance with the will of the Spirit, that their number should be five for each. "The twelve aeons of the twelve luminaries constitute their father, with six heavens for each aeon, so that there are seventy-two heavens for the seventy-two luminaries, and for each  [of them five] firmaments, [for a total of] three hundred sixty [firmaments …]. They were given authority and a [great] host of angels [without number], for glory and adoration, [and after that also] virgin spirits, for glory and [adoration] of all the aeons and the heavens and their firmaments.
THE COSMOS, CHAOS, AND THE UNDERWORLD
"The multitude of those immortals is called the cosmos— that is, perdition—by the Father and the seventy-two luminaries who are with the Self-Generated and his seventy- two aeons. In him the first human appeared with his incorruptible powers. And the aeon that appeared with his generation, the aeon in whom are the cloud of knowledge and the angel, is called  El. […] aeon […] after that […] said, ‘Let twelve angels come into being [to] rule over chaos and the [underworld].’ And look, from the cloud there appeared an [angel] whose face flashed with fire and whose appearance was defiled with blood. His name was Nebro, which means ‘rebel’; others call him Yaldabaoth. Another angel, Saklas, also came from the cloud. So Nebro created six angels—as well as Saklas—to be assistants, and these produced twelve angels in the heavens, with each one receiving a portion in the heavens.
THE RULERS AND ANGELS
"The twelve rulers spoke with the twelve angels: ‘Let each of you  […] and let them […] generation [—one line lost—] angels’:
The first is [S]eth, who is called Christ.
The [second] is Harmathoth, who is […].
The [third] is Galila.
The fourth is Yobel.
These are the five who ruled over the underworld, and first of all over chaos.
THE CREATION OF HUMANITY
"Then Saklas said to his angels, ‘Let us create a human being after the likeness and after the image.’ They fashioned Adam and his wife Eve, who is called, in the cloud, Zoe. For by this name all the generations seek the man, and each of them calls the woman by these names. Now, Sakla did not  com[mand …] except […] the gene[rations …] this […]. And the [ruler] said to Adam, ‘You shall live long, with your children.’"
JUDAS ASKS ABOUT THE DESTINY OF ADAM AND HUMANITY
Judas said to Jesus, "[What] is the long duration of time that the human being will live?" Jesus said, "Why are you wondering about this, that Adam, with his generation, has lived his span of life in the place where he has received his kingdom, with longevity with his ruler?" Judas said to Jesus, "Does the human spirit die?" Jesus said, "This is why God ordered Michael to give the spirits of people to them as a loan, so that they might offer service, but the Great One ordered Gabriel to grant spirits to the great generation with no ruler over it—that is, the spirit and the soul. Therefore, the [rest] of the souls  [—one line missing—].
JESUS DISCUSSES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED WITH JUDAS AND OTHERS
"[…] light [—nearly two lines missing—] around […] let […] spirit [that is] within you dwell in this [flesh] among the generations of angels. But God caused knowledge to be [given] to Adam and those with him, so that the kings of chaos and the underworld might not lord it over them." Judas said to Jesus, "So what will those generations do?" Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, for all of them the stars bring matters to completion. When Saklas completes the span of time assigned for him, their first star will appear with the generations, and they will finish what they said they would do. Then they will fornicate in my name and slay their children  and they will […] and [—about six and a half lines missing—] my name, and he will […] your star over the [thir]teenth aeon."
After that Jesus [laughed]. [Judas said], "Master, [why are you laughing at us]?"
[Jesus] answered [and said], "I am not laughing [at you] but at the error of the stars, because these six stars wander about with these five combatants, and they all will be destroyed along with their creatures."
Holy...shit. I love how the lines that are missing are all sort of "perfect." A screenwriter couldn't do it better. "I have given you the key to heaven and it can be found in [two lines missing] under the [five words missing.]"
I love the end.
"Master why are you laughing at us?"
Thursday, April 06, 2006
This is scraps of the manifesto that I found in the pages of the unwritten manuscript of Claude Zednophone, before he was put into a sanitarium for being "too good at challenging the audience."
The Theatre (or "Theater" or "theatre" or "theater") is a cunning snake, perhaps a hydra, without arms, like all snakes, but with many heads, which really makes it a hydra. It is a cunning hydra therefore and not a snake at all. Or, if you will, it is not what we say it is, but it is what we see, for we are only observers on the great stage of snakes.
Nonetheless, Theatre is subtle, deadly, multi-faceted but also no lucrative. It is, at best, a pyramid scheme. Think about what happened to the people who built the pyramids, and then think about the Theatre. Oh yes, I use the capital T.
Hereby, by the power invested in me by paperless publication, I say that Theatre must, like a hydra, shed the skin of its many heads, learn to accept the begging bowl as its true symbol, and build itself a pyramid of semi-heirarchical socialist design. It must become D'Amour Theatrico... the Theatre of Love.
Love is the air we breathe and the blood that runs in our veins. If we want Theatre to be like love, we must have a D'Amour Theatrico. It is so easy to write absurdist political diatribes, rife with the dreadful irony and ennui of our time; or write rich multicultural analyses, couched in exciting new ways to view narrative. This is the stuff of the innocent child, playing with a spade and a bucket in the sand. LOVE is hard to write about. That is why we should do it, over and over. Love, after all...what is it?
Think about it. Really.
The stages of contemporary Theatre (or as one might say "theatre") are overloaded with scenery and costumes, unless they cannot be afforded. D'Amour Theatrico rids us of this concern by placing all actors on-stage with only what God (or the Goddess, or the Great Spirit, or happenstance) gave them. They will be free to express Love, because when a naked person appears to be full of ennui, it is hard to take them seriously. Also, it will sell tickets and is economical.
Costumes gone? So are the sets. Because D'Amour Theatrico is suspicious of sets. They are unruly and often made with rusty nails.
The text vs movement dichotomy in contemporary "theater" has proven insurmountable to most practioners of this bastard art. This is because it's hard to talk and move with all the sincerity of ones heart and soul. Universities and training programs for "actors" often feed them things like breathing, vocal exercises, scene analysis. Directors are taught blocking and how to get actors to say things as if they thought of them themselves. This creates the delusion that either of these two creative forces, on their own, know anything about the all-powerful hydra of Love that is D'Amour Theatrico. I assure you, without this manifesto, Directors and Actors are bases in the woods, being offered so many fruits from the trees of knowledge that they will be thrown out of every Garden of Eden known to Christendom (Or "whathaveyou-dom.")
To practice, with accuracy and grace, D'Amour Theatrico, one must not move unless one is moved to move. And once one moves, one must not cease movement until moved to not move. Movement comes from movement. There's a physicist that supports this. No! A pataphysical parabasicist.
D'Amour Theatrico is all about movements, but if those movements are not born of Love, they are the movements of Hate. And we hate hate more than we love love.
Art, by its very nature, is a big, dirty lie that we are told from the time we are very young. It is undefinable, a turncoat, a traitor to the faith of its followers, and it gives nothing in return for years of painstaking work. We've all had relationships like this. Hence: D'Amour Theatrico.
May one say that Theatre (Capital T) is being used as the chewtoy of immortal film and instantly gratifying television? May one pose that Theatre is often begging for a dog biscuit at the door of men like the Weinsteins? When film stars come to the New York stages (like Julia Roberts) do we not treat them like kings and queens for their charity? And is not, in biblical translation, the word Charity not Interchangeable with the word Love?
Hence, when they come down from their towers made of heavenly chocolate and butter that never makes you fat, when they open the massive bejeweled doors to their fortified castles and say "I Feel Like Doing A Play"... is this not an act of Love?
D'Amour Theatrico encourages phone calls from agents who think it's time to lend their stars to something "legit." Just to keep it fresh, you know? For the papers.
Without Love, you are a Goat. So stay away from Edward Albee. D'Amour Theatrico will be close to him because no practioner of D'Amour Theatrico, naked and moving at top speed, could be mistaken for a Goat. We embrace Albee, and not Goats. Unless we are missing the point entirely, which is possible, because we are not paying attention. We are FEELING, not thinking.
D'Amour Theatrico solves the problem of leadership. Together, the actors and director and perhaps writer come together and read "the text," or whatever else they might find interesting. This is not judged. Judgment is so not D'Amour Theatrico. They come together, not at a predetermined time, but when they happen to meet. Often, it could be, that a troupe will meet because they all share the same apartment. That works well, and makes workspace less expensive.
Then, as the spirit moves them, they remove all distance between themselves and their fellow actors. To facilitate this, have only one small couch. As you read, enjoy the sound of one another's voice. Try to imitate that voice, but not in a mocking way. If one of the actors reads the contents of a cereal box with a slightly Long Island accent, do the same. Let it become all accents. Follow the moment. Love the beauty of working intuitively.
All this time, you may think, is this something like being a hydra? Precisely. Which head is the leader? None. But they all hiss and shed their skin and have no arms. Now, at least, you can be exactly like this, as a team. Also, you can move and breathe and be naked. It is art people, not science.
Because of the relatively minimal principles, it is important to not use a stage manager. They make a mess of all impulses, and insist on things like promptness and a call sheet. The Stage Manager is the bane of Theatre with a capital "T." D'Amour Theatrico is a big picture kind of snake. It does not like all this "what time is it?" crap.
Make sure that one member of your troupe can afford to rent a theater.
Finally, read some Joseph Campbell and then Howard Zinn. That will make you worry only about your own personal journey AND make you feel a part of a collective of poor, downtrodden people who cannot get out from under the thumb of the cruel rich. Internalize both impulses. Then, start moving without clothes on. Do this with as many people as you can find.
And with that, I leave you under cover of darkness.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
David has a book about his marriage coming out in February 2007; and his work was seen in last year's Humana Festival. He's brilliant... I'll be there with some friends. Come to the reading, say Hi to David and Me too. Then, we'll all have a beer.
From the "it's a small world" department...this reading is directed by RJ Tolan, who also directed John Devore's "Total Faith in Cosmic Love."
Monday, April 03, 2006
I actually don't think this is a matter of preference... I think we encourage each other to speak with raw honesty, and then prefer the artful in practice. But that's, like everything, just off the top of my head.
Speaking truthfully and speaking artfully are not, automatically, the same thing (as I said in Boo's comments section).
Should they be separated?
Are they inevitably so?
Is art too coy and dry without the 'honesty?'
Or is honesty sometimes just another word for self-indulgence, and the only true art found in the 'craft?' Do we need to say something we believe in to create something truly beautiful?
Oh, and for the record...I have no idea.
I just know that I went to an acting school that encouraged quite a few of us to breathe and express the fire in our bellies and it made Pinter quite impossible to perform. I did, though, once tear up from hyperventillation.
I was praised for my honesty. That was many moons ago.
These might seem like rudimentary questions...but as they say
"The old questions, the old answers...there's nothing like them!"
What is this difference between expressing your feelings without any self-awareness and making good art? Is there a difference?
My comments section is yours.