Infinity Mirror staged reading is May 7

I’m excited for the staged reading of Infinity Mirror at Theatre Artists Studio in Phoenix (thestudiophx.org). It will be on Sunday May 7th at 7pm.

In this comedy/drama, Jesse, 25, is always trying to enlighten his family without success. After getting deathly ill while serving in the Peace Corp in West Africa, he confronts his mortality and becomes an immortalist, adopting an ultra-healthy lifestyle as a bridge to living forever. When he attempts to get his family to take this journey of super longevity with him, they react with their usual disinterest, distrust and stubbornness. But Jesse can’t let go. The more he pushes, the deeper they resist, until finally they explode, and he is forced to reckon with his own uniqueness.

We’ve got a strong cast doing the reading: Brenda Foley, Kevin Fenderson, Jason Hammond, Jason Issak, Barbara Acker and Bill Straus.

 

I’m looking forward to hearing the play read by someone other than me and in a place other than inside my own head!

 

 

Endless Drive Through performed at RAAD Fest

It was a thrill to have my short play , Endless Drive Through, performed in front of an audience of over 900 at RAAD Fest, in San Diego in August. In introducing the play, I asked the audience how many of them had tried to talk to someone about radical life extension who just didn’t get. I think just about every hand went up, so this was an experience they could all relate to.

In rehearsal, I reminded my stellar cast of Berkley Brown, Yaiza Brown and Brittany Bejarano that we would be getting people to laugh at an experience, that at one level or another, has probably been traumatic for them, and made them feel intimidated and wrong. So that was our mission, and when I heard the laughs coming, I knew we were accomplishing it.

 

 

RAADFEST 2016

The threat of a staged reading

There is nothing like the “threat” of a staged reading for a new play, to clarify the mind, and show me that the play’s not quite ready. Brenda Jean Foley was kind of enough to consider my new play for the Mesa Encore Theatre’s Second Sunday Play Reading series. Fortunately, she was busy preparing for her lead role in Carousel, now at the Mesa Arts Center, and various other involvements, including motherhood, to read the play right away.

I went from waiting impatiently for her response, what was taking so long? To reflecting on the play, to realizing that in fact, there was more work to be done.

I find there’s really no substitute for the passage of time and fresh eyes and ears, for clarifying scene, theme and character. It could be a night, it could be a week, it could be a month or more.

My instincts are good, but I don’t always have the patience to follow my instincts. My gut told me that structurally the play wasn’t quite there. I didn’t know the answer, I just knew an answer was wanting. The good news is I’ve come to my senses in time to take the play back, and that Brenda had not read it through yet.

It’s not that a play has to be perfect for a staged reading – the staged reading might very well reveal more improvements. But even a staged reading is an audition of sorts, and it’s never a good idea to approach an audition unprepared.

Love Disorder on Youtube

This is the play in its entirety, shot with two camera’s and the sound is pretty damn good.

Do we lose our individuality in love or do we gain it? Are we doomed to reenact our parents’ less than inspiring domesticities, or can we break free of the past to set our own course of the heart? These and other profound questions are just barely touched upon, as we follow Laura&Percy, RobnKiki and JustinErica through the passions, conflicts, delusions and resolutions of their love disorders.

Check it out on YouTube

Collaboration at Hooters

Great meeting with director Mike Traylor last night to hash out some aspects of the production, which premiers Nov. 14th at Kax Stage, Herberger. We met at Hooters of all places, which is perhaps appropriate to discuss a play entitled Love Disorder. On the other hand, Hooters is never really appropriate.

Mike is intense and passionate and deeply engaged with the play and I’m excited about the level of commitment and quality he is bringing. Having said that, we disagreed on some significant matters right off the bat, without any rancor or malice. But never the less, we disagreed. This produced out of Mike the best line of the night: “That’s what I like about doing Shakespeare, he’s been dead for hundreds of years, so I don’t have to worry about his opinions.”

I love the fact that Mike cares enough to be bothered by my wanting something different than what he envisioned. This is clear evidence that he has a vision. In the end, I think we both felt like we conceded quite a bit, perhaps more than the other fella. I’m pretty sure, though, that I really did … even though Mike seems to think that he really did.

Which is to say this show is going to get the care and attention it deserves, and I’m looking forward to the first cast reading on October 13.

Love Disorder or Disorders?

I named the play Love Disorder. But when the staged reading was done at Theatre Artists Studio, it was introduced as Love Disorders. Then, on the producer’s contract, it was written Love Disorders as well. There seems to be an expectation of multiple disorders here, whereas I consider the considerable disorder displayed by the play’s three couples to be facets of a single, unifying Love Disorder. This singular Disorder covers the emotional condition or dis-ease that often accompanies love, as well as referring to the chaotic choices and behavior that ensues on the stage itself, which is quite a bit of disorder in a collectively singular sort of way.

I could put this up for a vote, but I’m not a huge fan of the idea of artists asking their audience to help them decide things about their work. Not just because I’m an artist, in this case. Even when I’m the reader or the audience, I really don’t care to have a say in the making of the art — you make the art, I’ll enjoy it … or not. It’s marketing 101 these days to engage customers by giving them the feeling they have some say in the product they are purchasing — one reason why you’re getting hit with online surveys all the time. But I reckon if a play isn’t good enough to engage an audience, without making the audience feel like they had a hand in its creation, then there’s something amiss with the play. Or the audience, for that matter.

Not long ago I went to a play reading, after which the playwright started asking us, the audience, all kinds of questions we couldn’t possibly answer, including: should this play be developed further? If the playwright has to ask the audience that,  there’s something seriously skewed. Actually it was a bit patronizing, because I found it hard to believe the playwright was really leaving that question up to us. At least, I really hope she wasn’t.

I’m keeping Love Disorder a collective singular, but if someone can convince me why it should be otherwise, I’m listening. I suppose.

 

 

 

Love Disorder moved up to November 2014

Just signed the contract to have Love Disorder performed Nov 14-29, at the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater. I’m really excited to have it moved up from May 2015. Next step will be to finalize the director and then auditions. There are three couples, so six parts. total.

References to the “dry heat” and sports mentions of Steve Nash clearly situate the play here in the Phoenix area. At the same time, there is no reason why it could not travel easily to any where in the country with all narrative and humor in tact. Nash was a two time NBA MVP, so he is simply a recognized/beloved sports figure from a particular place, which happens to be Phoenix. As for the weather, it’s familiar cliche about our area.

There is some other sports trivia, which is, well, trivial. So it’s not necessary to understand it really, just to understand that in fact, it is trivial. Glad that’s clear. I’ve long been aware of the reams of sports trivia taking up short and long term memory inside my body, and Love Disorder is just further confirmation. Men may be more likely to get those joke, while the women may get more of a laugh out of the emotional knots the characters tie themselves up.

 

 

 

Love Disorder will be staged May 2015 on the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater

Love Disorder is about a woman trying to break up from her boyfriend who is only capable of expressing himself in sports clichés. They are friends with two other couples who are deeply impacted by their potential breakup and all sorts of disorder ensues. It is both true to life and absurd — two descriptors, which in the case of love relationships, are hardly mutually exclusive.

I got the idea for the play when some friends of mine who are about 15 years younger were starting to get serious with each other intimately, and instead of being happy for them, I felt a strong sense of dread of the confusion and chaos they were possibly embarking on. I flipped tragedy to comedy in my mind and out came Love Disorder.

This play benefitted from a staged reading at Theatre Artist Studio directed by Judy Rollings. The read led to some revisions, and here we are. None of the characters are based on any real person, although friends have given me some suspicious looks. We’ve all made fools of ourselves in love at one time or another, but most of us were never properly diagnosed with the Love Disorder we were in fact experiencing.