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

Chapel Street 24 Hour Play Festival

 

20170429_154132Kate and I sat at in the darkened Chapel Street Players Playhouse at about 8 p.m.. The house was mostly full.

 

When Bethany Miller laid down, wrapped in an old Army olive drab Army blanket my chest tightened a bit. She coughed and next Lacey Eriksen came on stage. And off they went

 

I held Kate’s hand so tightly, she wriggled it from my grip, shook it and the held mine again.

 

The actors threw themselves into their roles; the entire theater seemed rapt. I moved and twisted my body with every syllable; like a bowler trying to body English a spare from a 10 – 7 split.

 

The night before five other playwrights and I were partnered with five directors and the writers eventually picked actors from a group of talented trusting and wonderful people. Then the writers went home and wrote a ten minute play.

 

I started my writing at about 830 p.m.; not a lot of time to chart things out or meticulously plan anything; barely enough time to start typing. Somewhere around midnight several of the writer text or Facebook IM’d each other.

 

I took a two-hour nap from 0230 to 0430 and started whacking way at it again. I won’t go into the angst of looking at your page and realizing you were in deep trouble, but it was too late to switch, so you just had to power through.

 

At about 0700 some of the writers met at the Chapel Street Theater and kevetched; we all made the deadline and six shows were on tab for the night.

 

I trekked over to Brain Touchette’s –my director – house to give my last thoughts and have coffee. At about 0930 the actors arrived and they did a cold reading. That would have been enough for me – I was bowled over. I left them to do their magic and took a nap.

 

I later went to the tech rehearsal and the director had specific goals he wanted to achieve. He wanted to restrict the lighting and make the space as enclosed as he could. I watched amazed as they ran through the ten-minute show. I was transfixed.

 

The rest of the afternoon dragged; I wanted to see the show.

 

I more than watched; I silently cheered. Every word, every sound, each movement were purposeful. There were no wasted steps. It was graceful in its austerity. It was better than I hoped.

 

 

 

While You Weren’t Looking The National Security Council Changed

Lost in all falderal about the refugee bans and protests at airports was an Executive Order, which reorganized the National Security Council (NSC). That reorganization excludes the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs (CJCS) from regular committee meetings and instead has him attend only when his/her expertise is needed. Moreover, it installs the controversial White House adviser Steve Bannon as a permanent member.

This is an especially worrisome development as the military members are specifically trained to develop estimates and play the role as the strongest advocate AGAINST their own position. The CJCS provides presidents and the national command authority apolitical continuity.

The second part of order is the ascension of Mr. Bannon as a permanent member. Mr. Bannon is a longtime rabble-rouser and purveyor of questionable journalistic products. He has been accused of catering to white nationalists at Breitbart News.

It is important to remember that during the campaign Mr. Trump was quick to remind that he “knows more than the generals.”

While council and committee assignments lack the visibility of protests at airports, it is in these bodies that policy and priority are determined. Assigning the right people matters. By adding Mr. Bannon and subtracting the CJCS president, Trump may be creating a body that lacks the gravitas needed for complex, dangerous decisions.

Touting a Hokum Mandate

For the past several days I’ve heard a dump truck full of hokum about a supposed “mandate” the Republicans think they’ve earned from the recent election.

I warn my Republican friends not to be counting too many chickens just yet. All data suggests any mandate is as illusory as the Clinton Blue Wall. It Just doesn’t exist.

I’m not saying they can’t build a mandate, but one doesn’t exist today.

Consider that a mandate implies an overwhelming moral authority. Consider that a mandate implies an obviousness; a huge victory.

That just didn’t happen. While Mr. Trump surely did win the electoral college (by a lot), most people did not vote for him; the senate Republicans lost seats; and the house of representatives Republicans lost seats as well.

So – to my mind – here is what the Republicans need to do; take a deep breath, step back, and see what can be done to truly serve America. And maybe, just maybe the imaginary mandate they are touting might become a reality.

However, hubris won’t cut it.

If we’ve learned anything during the Obama years, it is the American people will take an imaginary mandate and shove it down your throat within 24 months (consider the Obama first mid-terms). He crushed John McCain only for the Dems to get their heads handed to them.

So before Republicans get tendonitis from patting themselves too much on the back, they need to beware. Suffering Americans don’t have a whole lot of patience with illusory mandates; they want our elected leaders to get to work and not take victory laps.

I hope Mr. Trump does well. And maybe he can, but the Republicans who are water skiing in his wake need to be careful or they will end up being tossed on the rocks.

Pop TV’s Wolf Creek is Great

wolf-creek-tv-posterI have a guilty pleasure I need to confess.

Maybe I should start with a prayer, Naaaah it’s not fitting given the topic.

Anyway, I have a dog. Just throwing that out to set the stage, because the heroine of this guilt pleasure also has a dog. Her name is Eve and she is the protagonist in the bleak Outback thriller “Wolf Creek” on PopTV.

Set in Australia, an American young woman relentlessly hunts down the killer of her family; a serial killer named Mick Taylor. Eve is played by Australian actress Lucy Fry. She plays the role with both vulnerability and strength (a rare combination).

Mick Taylor is menacingly play by longtime Aussie TV staple John Jarret. He has a long list of credits and it is hard to believe he once hosted a lifestyle show on Australian TV

Anyway, the cast of characters populating the show is fairly unusual for the kind of slasher/revenge flick we’ve grown used to. Even so, the story moves so fast and the Outback so bleak there is something special about this production.

I think that is the power of the show. The characters are so unusual that you never get bored. There is the drug lord chasing Eve , not because she stole his money (she did), but because he thinks she would provide the perfect DNA for his future offspring. There is the cop who is obsessed with her because his wife is cheating on him; there is the soiled dove women from some kind of strip/non strip club where the women walk around suggestively, but never take their clothes; and finally there is the useless dog that never seems to be around when trouble erupts.

If you like your tension mixed with cornucopia of oddball characters, this is the show for you.

 

 

Why We Should Be Listening to Trump Supporters

I have long ago come to understand, no one is ever all right or all wrong. That’s kind of where I start with the Trump movement. He is as flawed a candidate as has ever been, but yet, he tapped into something that is real.

I think it’s the idea people believe no one cares about them and they have become little more than units of economic output working to line the pockets of the wealthy.

There is something to that. Trump voters have legitimate concerns; they see factories closing and it seems all the jobs that once led to a good middle class life are going overseas. They see a changing world-scape where America exceptionalism is global commonness.

They are not quite sure whose fault it is, but it is somebody’s. And they may be right that it is the political elite doing most of the damage, but as someone once said, “The messenger becomes the message.”

And because of all things Trump he probably won’t win, but we shun the message of his supporters at our own peril. They are on to something to here. There is a bubbling beneath the surface we all need to come to grips with if we want to move forward as a nation and an economic powerhouse.

Trump supporters are not outliers, they are educators.

Recharging the Important

I have a dog.

He is a double dapple longhaired Dachshund.

His name is Spike.

He and I are pals.

barnes1 (1).jpgThat has nothing to do with this blog, but it is always good to start a blog with a dog reference. So there it is – my dog reference.

Sometimes a fellow needs to reset. I did that today by spending the day at the Barnes Foundation http://www.barnesfoundation.org. If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend it.

My wife and I got there at about 11.

The building is about as artful as the collection. You are immediately struck by the use of water in the landscaping. A small reflecting pool dominates the entryway in front of the gray concrete building. The highly polished doors open to a darkened hallway, which eventually open to a bright atrium.

529_600_bf811_i2rThe atrium – lit by a series of skylights – is about the size of half of a football field and filled with artsy cushioned benches. The entrance to the collection is non-descript, but when you enter the main gallery you are bombarded by several paintings, but Georges Seurat’s Group of Figures dominates the room.

The collections of more than 3,000 works of art incudes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis, and 7 Van Goghs.  I was overwhelmed by the colors, themes, and variety of the work.

As I move from room-to-room, I remembered things of which I had lost sight:

  • The importance of art in our world and humanity
  • The five components of the visual arts: Color, Line, Unity, Balance, Shape
  • How art is as fundamental to society as economics and religion,

It’s funny how you remember the important things when you step away from the important day-to-day things. There is a difference even the two, but that is for a different note.

By the way Spike says, :Hey.”