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.

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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

Husband and Wife to Direct First Play: Can Marriage Survive

Here’s the haps.

My wife and I are going to direct a play together. Neither of us has ever directed anything before, but I entered this playwriting contest and in order to get it staged you had to have a director, but you could direct it yourself.

So anyway I put out some feelers and people couldn’t fit it into their schedules so I am doing it. And then I thought it might be cool if my wife and I did it.

That starts this afternoon. My plan is to blog about this for the next few weeks until show time on June 17th. It’s a one act entitled “The Maltese Duck and will be one of several The Reedy Point Players will put on in Delaware City.” It’s a semi-comedic mystery.

More to follow

Bullworth — An Overdue Review

Somewhere along the way – I’m not sure when it happened – I missed a great movie; 1998’s Bullworth. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118798/. It stars Warren Beatty and Halle Berry. Beatty is titular US Senator and Halle Berry a hit woman sent to do him in as a contract killer.
The movie is a lot of fun, but with topical racial overtones, which sadly, still seem relevant– racism, healthcare, graft-loving politicians from both parties, and the omnipresent chase of cash.
Berry is tremendous as the 26-year-old hit woman disguised as a hotty with informed political opinions from the poor side of town (aka the black side).
Beatty– who co-wrote the script – is clever in that he allows the main black characters to make the salient points, which Bullworth later co-opts co-ops for a fall down hilarious political interview.
It is a farcical look at politics and race relations that will have you hooting and thinking – rare these days for a movie.
I guess some call it socialist propaganda, or liberal baiting, but it seemed to go deeper than that. Regardless, as we move full bore into the election season this film is worth another look,