Big Brother 19 Orgy of Bullying

I have been watching Big Brother for years and for the most part have enjoyed it, but Thursday’s episode was horrific. If CBS does nothing about it – by inaction – the network endorses this abhorrent behavior.
Even though Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson may be the worst players ever to play and perhaps the two tilt toward the obnoxious;

the abuse, bullying, and terroristic threatening heaped upon them by the house was repellant, disgusting, and dangerous.

The entire house, except two cowards hiding inside, followed Graf and Nickson to the back yard and seemingly circled they two lying on a Hammock and began hurling insults. It was akin to watching African wild dogs corner wildebeests. Josh Martinez ran around banging frying pans (not unlike psyops in a military operation), Raven Walton hurled expletive after expletive at the two, an through it all Paul Abrahamian danced in the background like some satanic character whose vile plan was coming to fruition.

On to the cowards and there are two and one honorary coward
1. Matthew Clines watched from a far mumbling about how the even was all wrong. Yet he did nothing.
2. Mark Jansen watched from the doorway shaking his head and also did nothing.
3. Honorary coward Kevin Schlehuber the oldest of the group, did nothing as well. He of all of them should know better

These three were aware enough of the situation not to get sucked in, but were too cowardly to act. Shame on them.

The whole thing showed the worst of television and breakdown of decorum.

Dunkirk Review

Saw Dunkirk this weekend.
If you don’t know the history of the event, you will probably love it. If you do know the history, you’ll probably just like it.
The movie is almost too clever for itself. It views the event through the time of the guys on the beach (four days), the flotilla across the English Channel  (one day) and the RAF fighter planes (one hour). The result is a sometimes-confusing view of three different time segments back-to-back. Once you understand what you are look at, it all makes sense.
There is of course lots of action, but the film never explains why Hitler stops his ground attack at the town of Aa, other than a passing reference to the Luftwaffe doing the job by air. The film never talk of the bravery of the French who held German infantry at bay for almost four days giving the flotilla the time to arrive.
The big dramatic reveal of all the civilian boats in the water at Dunkirk is kind of sloppily done and never really hits the right note.
It’s okay, but not the movie history buffs will like. Dunkirk info

Trump Resistance Led By Women

I have in recent weeks come to more respect the bravery of women. They have seemed to show a level of courage sorely lacking in many of us men.
I speak specifically about the courage liberal and conservative women are showing in their approach to current presidential initiatives. From Susan Collins, to Elizabeth Warren, to Lisa Murkowski, to Allison Grimes; all seem to be willing to thwart presidential initiatives in numbers that don’t seem to be reflected in the male population.
From the protest of predominantly women the day after the inauguration to now it has been women, who seem to be leading the anti-Trump charge. They have made mistakes along the way, (such as disenfranchising right to life female marchers) but by-and-large it is women of all stripe that have been leading from the front.
This isn’t to suggest that women who support Trump aren’t brave; how could they be otherwise. They just aren’t the point of this note (maybe I’ll chat about them later).
My only point is the Trump resistance seem to be led by women, while men who should be in the fight sit on the sidelines, seemingly waiting it out until the tide changes, stays the same, or ebbs.
It is at least interesting.

First Night On Stage

Last night, Thursday 18 April 2017 was the first night the cast of “The Maltese Duck) hit the Reedy Point Players stage in Delaware City, Delaware. I’ll talk more about the actual stage in a different post, but it has a proscenium arch and I love that word.

Kate and I (co-directors) watched as the Sherry Stricko, Brooks Black, and Nicole Pierce took to the boards. Since we are a few weeks from the June 17 “One Stage, Many Stories” event, the stage was empty. We got a bench and a few chairs from a back room and simulated the set.

Kate and I blocked the movement on a white board before coming to rehearsal, but we wanted to run it through without blocking to see what the actors did and see if an “organic” blocking was better.

Glad we did.

The actors surprised us with some imaginative things we had not considered; it was really quite beautiful.

Kate and I gave some initial notes and the blocking changed a tad and the actors used different emphasis on their parts. It all went better the second time around.

Being first time directors, Kate and I were a bit hesitatnt to give notes because we figured the actors knew more than we do. On the way home, we talked awhile and had an epiphany.

Part of our job is not only to create a production in line with our vision, but the actors are counting on us to make sure they have a safe place to apply their craft.

Part of making the safe place is to see things they can’t because they are right in the middle of what they are doing and don’t have an outside perspective.

Lucky for me, I chose great actors so my life is easy, but that idea of keeping the stage a safe place is pretty important stuff.

First Rehearsal With Actors

The green room at the Reedy Point Players Theater isn’t green. It’s more of a storage area really. There are chairs, couches, and other assorted furniture from shows gone by. It’s not green that’s for sure.

Even so, three actors, an assistant director, and I jammed our way in, moved some furniture and started doing some warmups to get things started.

“Bend over and touch your toes,” one of use said. “And slowly straighten you back so you can feel every muscle.”

Stretches tongue twisters were the order of the day.

“Red leather yellow leather; red leather yellow leather; red leather yellow leather. And on it went for about 10 minutes.

“Let’s read this through once without any characterization,” I said. “And then go through it again, this time acting.”

Sherry Stricko, playing Jennifer, and Brooks Black playing the role of Justine, started the reading and were soon joined by Nicole Peirce as Moon Dog.

They hopscotched over the main problem of the play being written for two men and a woman, instead of the three women. They brought the roles to life. The second time they added characterization.

“It’s funny,” I remember thinking. “That as soon as you ask the actors to act, how much more smoothly the readings go. Unfamiliar words seem to dissolve and emphasis is put in places you’d never consider.”

After the second read through, the actors discussed back stories for each character and developed scenarios that were quite marvelous.

The one thing I can’t make up my mind is how to have Nicole play Moon Dog. She can go either crazy like Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death or Like Sean Penn in Fast Times at Rigdemont High.

 

Maltese Duck/Reedy Point Players Playwriting Contest Moves Forward

 

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Directors choose actors for June 17th Festival

There’s big doings in Delaware City.

 

Tuesday night eight directors met about 18 actors auditioning for about roles in eight plays a part of The Reedy Point Players Playwriting Contest/Festival, which will showcase the one acts on June 17th.

The directors – a good mix of novices and old experts – watched as the actors brought pieces and parts of eight plays to life in an austere – what looked like a classroom – room with chairs and an old chalkboard which probably need a nun to be complete.

Anyway, the auditions started at about 6 pm. I was a smidge late as I took a wrong turn because I got distracted talking on a hands-free while driving (really state police I had the blue tooth thing going). The actors were wonderful. (special shout out to 12-year-old Logan, who did a great job against all the older actors).

As the actors went in and out the directors (aka playwrights) scored them based on some secret system which was probably neither uniform nor scientific (my God we’re writers. What do we know?).

At about 9:30 the auditions ended and the directors/writers started to divided up actors. (Not the actors themselves, but the stable of actors; I should have said corral).

What I thought was going to be a contentious event turned out to be quite pleasant. We all said who we wanted, swapped some names around, and pretty soon we all had wonderful casts.

My show was originally written for two men and a woman, but (not unlike the Voice) I was able to steal three glorious women actors. I was more focused on making the role fit actors than the other way around. I must do a little rewriting, but who cares. I felt like Jerry Jones must have when he drafted Emit Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irving – I guess I was giddy.

Now it is off to rehearsal. More to follow

 

First of Two Auditions — The Weather Won

 

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Writers and director watch actors at Reedy Point Players Playhouse

Sunday at about 1200 Kate and sat at the kitchen table. I had drawn a copy of the Reedy Point Players stage on a small dry erase board. As she read the script we moved coins – representing actors – across the dry-erase stage to take our first whack at blocking our first show.

 

We lost track of time discussing sightlines, movement, and unit.

At about 1240 we realized we were running late and took off for Delaware City, home to the Reedy Point Players, which is about a half an hour away. We hit all the lights right so we made there only five minutes late.

The stage is in a community center; kind of like an old high school stage adjoining a basketball court. At center court were about eight director/writers/contest organizers of one flavor or another. We all there to watch auditions for what we hoped would be throngs of actors dying for parts in the super big spectacular Reedy Point Play Contest show set for June 17th.

It turned out a little different.

Only four souls dodged the beautiful Sunday afternoon weather to spend time with us. Apparently, we couldn’t complete with such a gorgeous day.

 

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Me thinking about pie.

We now had four actors to divide up between six shows unless more show up Tuesday night, or the writers and directors suddenly develop acting skills – community theater being what it is, it as likely as not that writers and director can act too.  

 

Anyway, these four lovely people acting their hearts out reading from four or five different scripts. It was actually pretty cool.

We will reconvene there Tuesday night, hope for terrible weather, which might drive some people inside where we can ambush them with scripts as they enter the community center.

More to follow