Friday, October 28, 2005

Mars Attacks!

This Halloween night, I'll be on hand to narrate the invasion. This dramatic reading draws from the H.G. Wells classic, incorporating scenes and characters absent from the well-known film, TV or radio adaptations but essential to the author's vision.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Making Christmas

"Time to give them something fun they'll talk about for years to come. Let's have a cheer from everyone. It's time to party. Making Christmas...." So, now I'm a carpenter! Well, not really, but I have been helping to build the set for A Christmas Carol. We built a massive platform that elevates the actors to increase our visibility (not to mention making us look taller and more important). We're thinking of calling this revolutionary structure a "stage". But that's just the beginning. If you saw a Black Box Theatre production earlier this year and come back for this one, you'll be amazed at the transformation. I'm just amazed that I'm doing construction work. It's the first time I've done anything like this since flunking wood shop in the seventh grade. But I'm doing so well they've given me the all-important job of sorting screws!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Hollywood Zone

On Thursday I got a frantic call. The actor who plays Robert in the Hollywood cast of Tales From the Shadow Zone couldn't make the Friday night performance. Could I please, please, please step in? Well, in the proud tradition of Underdog and Mighty Mouse, I answered the cry for help. Actually, I just seized an opportunity for a few extra minutes in the spotlight, but I can pretend like I'm some sort of hero. So tonight I found myself playing a familiar role with an unfamiliar cast in an unfamiliar venue. It was very interesting to experience how their personalities and choices affected the onstage dynamics and caused me to make different choices in reaction to them. Okay, it was still about four people in a cabin surrounded by monsters, but it had a whole different energy—not better or worse, just different. It was a clear demonstration of the living, organic nature of theater.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Inside the CD Club

Hey, I'm a casting director! Well, maybe not, but in the past few days I've been helping a technophobic director complete the cast of a play by posting notices online, screening applicants and scheduling auditions. So, like everyone else who has been involved in that side of the casting process for more than a minute, I now have advice to offer actors. How much is that worth to you? Nothing? Well, that's what I'm charging. These tips pertain particularly to actors using online casting services. Tip No. 1: Smile! I want to work with happy people. Besides, if I don't see your teeth in at least one of your photos, I'm going to wonder if they're little, brown, crooked and pointy. If you have little, brown, crooked, pointy teeth, you might as well let me see them now. They may actually be what I'm looking for. Tip No. 2: Provide an e-mail address. You're online. I'm online. Wouldn't it be great if I could reach you right now -- online? Oh, wait, there's another actor with comparable looks and experience and an e-mail address. I wonder which one I'll contact first. Okay, so two tips is all you get. It's free, and I told you I haven't been doing this long.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Brush With a Brush With Fame

So I'm at the Westwood Brewing Company (which isn't a brewing company at all) with an actress you've never heard of when she says, "I'm going to talk to Marisa Tomei" and leaves the table. A few minutes later she comes back and announces, "I just hugged Marisa Tomei," as indeed she had. Kind of makes me wonder how many other Oscar-winning actors I've been within hugging distance of without realizing it during all my years in and around L.A. Even when I've been on sets with famous people, I'm slow to recognize them. Well, there you have it: my first celebrity name-dropping. Pretty soon I'll resort to pictures of cute, furry animals.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Girlz and I

Hey, that was all right! We had 18 people in the audience, which may not sound like a lot but for a show that got very little promotion opening in a 49-seat theater in the back of an office building in a nondescript area of Anaheim, ain't too shabby. After a brief introductory scene came the first of four self-contained episodes, "The Girlz," in which I play a nerdy scientist with a couple of dedicated personal assistants. The girlz and I have really hit it off. In fact, they demanded I step into the role after the original lead left the cast, and now they say I'm perfect for the part, which is kind of flattering and insulting at the same time. The second sketch, "The Virus," I'm not in, so it can go to hell. Then, after intermission, comes "A Date in Time." I can't say too much about my role in that, but it involves holding still for what seems like a very long time. My last appearance was in "The Woods Beast," which I was worried we hadn't rehearsed enough, but other than lights going up and down at random, one character having to exit through a window because the door was stuck shut, sound cues that consisted of silence or white noise, and my own Wizard of Oz moment (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Thanks a lot, Toto!), it went great! We just stuck with the characters and and did our best to keep the energy up and move the scene forward, and the audience seemed to enjoy it on one level or another!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Curse of the Woods Beast

Wanna hear something really scary? One of the vignettes mentioned a post or two below this one hasn't had a full cast rehearsal for three weeks. Perhaps I shouldn't broadcast the fact on a public blog, but since judging by the lack of comments no one but me actually reads the damn thing, what the hell. Anyhoo, I was on my way to a rehearsal tonight when one of the other cast members calls to tell me she was having car trouble. Aiieee! Then, while I'm sitting alone in the dark parking lot, the director -- who has the keys to the building -- calls to tell me his car broke down. Aiieee! Eventually, another cast member shows up and says he only came to audition for another play. Aiieee! We open Saturday. Aiieee! Will the cast show up? Will we have rehearsed first? There's only one way to find out! Tales From the Shadow Zone, Second Stage Theatre, El Rancho Plaza Suite 140, Saturdays through Oct.29th at 8 p.m., 714-502-2249.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Here We Come a-Caroling

I just got back from the first read-through for A Christmas  Carol and I am definitely feeling the spirit. It's a very faithful adaptation, meaning all of the great lines are intact and undiluted. After seeing so many modern retellings I'd almost forgot how powerful the original is and filled with cheer, pathos, and wit, often in a single paragraph. And although the world has changed much since Dickens' time, the issues he addressed are just as relevant today. I'm going to enjoy immersing myself in this for the next several weeks.