Archive for December, 2005


Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Now, I’m not trying to say that my friend Steve is responsible for anything untoward. Steve is a good man, and a great doctor.

But, what I can tell you is that my friend Mac, about a month ago, found himself written upon.

If you look close, you will see one of the prime suspects, Amy, who pretty obviously has the pen in her hand, and who seems to be faking sleep. Here’s a closer look.

And just so you see the context, here she is, clearly in the same room and same bed with Mac.

Now, clearly, not only is Amy a suspect. Carrey might be as well a suspect. She *is* in the room. But here’s the thing, a picture can say a thousand words, and if you know my friend Steve, you will *know* that, while words may be written on Mac’s face (and a hell of a moustache) GUILT is clearly written all over Steve’s face.

Some Pictures

Monday, December 12th, 2005

So, I was gonna write to my friends and bitch about how they never update their blogs and I realized that I don’t update this one nearly enough. So. here are some comparison/contrast fotos for you.

This is our dining room after we pulled up the shitty sticky tile and poured concrete floor where it was uneven.

This is the same dining room after we tiled a chunk of it.

This is the full cast of our latest show……taken during the show with no flash. Here is proof that grab-ass is a theme in our shows. St. Ignatius Hanukah Pageant…
And Fleet Week, The Musical…

And yes, there are some actors in both shows. We are a hopelessly loyal bunch, and we, all three of us, have a bunch of actors that we just think are fantastic. The skinny girl in both shots, Laura Perloe, was also in our other play this year, and she has proven to be just intensely good at everything we’ve asked of her, even when she had to be the anti-Christ.
She crawled out covered in blood screaming like a baby, despite this being, essentially, a workshop production

Yeah, we’re very loyal, and I’m sure everyone who knows the three of us takes this as a given. We always invite our friends in to audition, we always seem to be very nice people. But I’m here to tell you, there is a sick underbelly. We remember every single slight. We can recall verbatim every single mean thing you’ve ever said about anybody. We keep two lists in our heads, just remember that. Two lists. And whichever list you think you’re on, you’re probably on the other one. Unless you think you’re on the shit-list, then you’re probably right.

Recent theater outings

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

In the last two or three weeks, Jordana and I have made it a priority to go see the theater our friends are doing, and in some cases “friends” means we worked with them five years ago and haven’t really spoken since. Which is never done maliciously, I don’t really have any bad feelings about anyone right now, but there are only so many people you can keep in your head, and for me that’s probably a smaller number than usual. Some quick thoughts, and I mean quick…

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” – the show isn’t about anything, really, but it is really funny and any moments that aren’t well written are saved by the enormous talent of the entire cast. Leslie Kritser (who I worked with five years ago) is pitch perfect in every single moment in the show, and I would say every actor had their own moment to shine. The production gives off a sense of ease and well-being, the actors cutting up with the audience, that seems to fly in the face of the recent closing announcements. That, and the theater was packed.

The plot barely existed and the music… I have written shows where moments were supposed to be evocative of other musicals and other pop songs because the shows were, on some level, parodies or homages and I was using similar structures to communicate theatrical ideas. The songs in “Trailer Park” are spot on remakes of popular 70s and 80s funk and country tunes, to the point where some things are even in the same key and use the same vocal arrangements. To say that the songs are memorable is missing the point, you could remember these tunes without seeing the show.

“Souvenier” This is fantastic. I found it a constant delight, not at all the one-joke show it could have been. Both performances are extraordinary, the shape of the show makes the time in the theater spin by, and the jokes are designed for both insiders and those who know nothing of music. This is the original Andy Kaufman story, and the fact that it took place before the age of irony is a testimony to the universality of the human experience.

“A Month In The Country” – Theater Ten Ten’s production of this wonderful play was an absolute breath of fresh air. I’ve talked about why people produce certain plays, and vanity stinks to high heaven when you’re in the seats, but this show was designed entirely in service to the piece. I didn’t like the young actor’s portrayal of the handsome tutor, but the performances across the board were just sensational. I love the piece too, one I’d never read or seen before.

I walked away from this piece feeling so refreshed. Everything was elegant and simple, everything designed to be in service to the piece and to the audience. It isn’t constructive criticism to say so, but watching this play felt like drinking a large glass of cold water. Refreshing, invigorating, calming and not overly flavorful. Greg Bodine, who I couldn’t like better as a person, was outstanding in a cast of standouts, and I loved being able to watch him work his craft with such simple precision.

“Scapin”. From Columbia Stages This was a consumate college show. Most of the audience liked the actors that they knew personally, and much of the show was self indulgent and over long, but the entire evening was put together with the kind of passion and precision that only people of youth and leisure seem to be able to afford. I *loved* most of the cast and would slip them higher on the callback list if I saw this particular production on their resume, but the show became more of the same after a while, and there really is only so much Comedia a person should have to endure.

“The Immigrant”, at Westport Playhouse was difficult and not all that rewarding a show. Musically, there are stretches where the audience is forced into arhytmia and atonality, which I don’t mind, but I hate it in musical theater if it’s used when two people are communicating simple ideas to each other. There were moments in this show where I just leaned back and let the gorgeous haunting modalities run over me, particularly during a Sabbath Prayer moment when a young woman is singing to her mother, left behind in Russia.

Tally Sessions who plays the title role, is one of the most approachable and talented actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing on stage, and I’m really proud to call him my friend. Contrary to what you might think, I have a lot of actor friends that I don’t think are all that great, but Tally is an enormous talent, who’s greatest successes are still ahead of him. Any chance you get to see him in anything will be worth while.

The House Of Yes, produced by Ground Up Productions was as confusing as it was transparent. I have never had a very good longview, and I’ve never been very good at self-promotion, but the idea that there is a company out there that produces shows that not only have had Broadway runs in New York in the last five years, but that have also been made into movies starring extremely famous people, purely so that the actors involved can pad their resumes is, frankly, shocking. The fact that this is *honest* self-promotion doesn’t give it any grace in my book.

I should say that in the middle of my distaste for the entire evening, I was at least treated to some really fine performances. Amy Heidt, who never seems to get the credit she is due, was outstanding in this play, reeling off every line perfectly and embodying a woman wholely unlike herself and one she is roughly twenty five years too young to play. As her son, Guy Olivieri was quite good. Both of them were fighting a losing battle of a crappy script in a play that didn’t seem to have any direction, lost in a senseless playing space with akward light shifts and bizarre choices throughout.

It’s impossible for people not to get hurt by what people say of their work, I know that, but far more destructive is silence. Our last play provoked a lot of conversation among people, and some people were disturbed by it, other’s were excited. But there were also a group of people who found the evening distasteful, and none of them spoke to us about it. If there were some way we could all open up a dialogue so that we could critique each other’s work and not get jealous or destructive, it might inspire us to work harder and to actually want to see each other’s shows.