Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
That being said, this was truly one of the stand outs in the WWSS world to date.
Irony of ironies - I got the subject of birth. Now, I could go one of a few ways. 1.) The kitchen sink adorable way. 2.) Offensive humor. Hooray for offensive humor!
I was blessed from the get go with a talented cast - I knew Aimee from past theater endeavors but this was my first time seeing her act. I had it on good reference that she was a strong comedic actor and ran with that. The accent/trailer trash was her add on which I thought was perfectly chosen. I'd seen Doua act once before and liking and knowing his talents - figured he'd be a strong choice for my frantic male double daddy (which he was). I wasn't acquainted yet with Melisa, but went on her resume and had her become my ready to pop, unknowing straight lady - to which she did with great fun and vision.
And Tom. Ah Tom. We have a bit of local history - he'd just acted in a one act with me (directed by Christine) and then acted in my play cycle 'Quiet Bed', and incidentally the morning after the shorts we were the last two men called back for a supporting role in an upcoming play (congratulations by the way - ass hat. Kidding. Sort of. Not really.) Regardless, I knew his comedic timing was excellent and he became my uber perverted doctor.
I couldn't have had a luckier pick of the hat then to get Gretchen Ferris. We've been working together since she AD'd Bludgeon the Lime and her vision, organization, and imagination are a-one. I knew we'd have something fun when, after her initial read, I asked if it was too bawdy. When she said 'no'. I knew we were on. With some fortunate ideas for staging and having it a face off between the two women, she brought to life the funnier actions through out it all - i.e. the ice fight and dual sedation. She also had the great idea of bringing 'Martha' (previously just a creepy fade out chant by the doctor) into a sock puppet and utilizing the mystery prop (pom pom) to great effect. That aside, the pacing, lines, and energy was exactly what I'd hoped for.
Major kudos to writers/directors new and old - this series of work was incredible across the board and really set a new benchmark for years to come (thanks for that guys....jerks....kidding... no I'm not.)
Congrats to all!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Got home and wrote for three hours, discovering things about the characters as I went along- I'd write for about 4 pages, not knowing where I was going, and then get to that point and suddenly see where the next section was. Anne LaMott mentions, in Bird by Bird, that writing can sometimes be like driving at night with your headlights on- you can't see the whole way, but you can see a little bit in front of you, and you can make the whole journey that way- I've never felt that more than in writing this piece.
Finished a first draft at 3am, and went to bed for a few hours- woke up and pored over the draft, cutting unnecessary things and moving things around, adding some foreshadowing, etc...
Stopped off at Staples to print it (the one by my apartment in Queens this time, not the one on 9th avenue that fucked me over last time), then dropped it off. Met my director, Chris Simon (our mutual friend Nick had suggested that Christine not go random and just shove us together- she didn't, but we picked each other randomly anyway). He read the script, we chatted a bit about it. Jeffery, the guy from my play, showed up early so I met him, too- he and another actor were discussing what they might be wearing- not knowing what they'd be playing, they'd each brought some nice clothes and some slobby clothes. I didn't have the heart to tell Jeffery he'd be in his underwear (but glad I made that choice- even hotter in person).
I headed out to my sister-in-law's Noon UCB class show, where my friend Jason mentioned the classic improv book Something Wonderful Right Away, which of course made me think of the WWSS series- I think my improv training from years ago really helps with it.
Did get to sleep some, after all, then headed to the theater. Saw Erin and Jeffery in the hallway outside- Erin said the play was like Chekhov, a sad comedy- I took it as high praise. My show was second, which was exciting- the last two times I've been randomly first- nice to have a warm-up act.
When I wrote the play, I wrote with some of the performers in mind from what I knew from their headshots, and Chris had cast the women differently and perfectly.
The show was great, especially the second time when they got more of the lines I wrote out of their mouths. :)
I actually voted for Nora's piece as Best Script. Jeffery agreed with me, saying it had a It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia vibe. ...but sweeter.
I won Best Use of Event- Ironically, since Christine had intended that it be a family reunion, but I didn't realize that, and did a high school reunion instead.
Monday, October 19, 2009
After receiving my casts’ headshots and resumes (2F/2M), theme (Graduation), and the lines I’ll never forget, I hopped on the 1-train and the M86 back to my cave. I hadn’t eaten dinner, but was too anxious to eat.
I read the resumes and paid close attention to special skills section. Marian Brock’s “International Folk Dancing (16 years experience)” was the first thing I circled. Folk dancing? “Like Hobbit-shit and shit?” And there was the first line to end up in the script. After 5 minutes of research on what exactly folk dancing is, I decided to make her a vegan, hummus wrap eating, cat loving, aspiring poet, dancing in the park for money hipster whose biggest fear in life is getting worms and/or E-Coli from tainted meat. I wrote and wrote and wrote from 12 to 5:30. The script was too short, I knew it right away. But, I did not want to run over time. I woke up at 8:00, proofed the script, rewrote “the line” so that the folk dancer sings it—best decision I made through the entire process.
I decided to stick in a hooker. Why not? Laura Yost, thank you for dressing, very convincingly, as “The Coppertone Baby of street walkers.” She told me the cast rehearsed in Starbucks and were subject to glares from concerned patrons. Thank you all for offending Starbucks costumers. Much obliged.
Needed an Ewok reference, of course.
And since it would be far too crazy to incorporate actual turkey slapping, I made it the title and a character name. For all those who went home (or whipped out those iPhones and Blackberrys) and looked up the phrase, I hope you added it to your lexicon.
Through the day and until it was over, I was fidgety. Couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep.
And I thank everyone who voted for me as the “Best Use of The Line” and to Marian for going all Madonna on it and splitting her jeans in the process.
The night was a success, especially the second performance. Ashley did a great job with cuts and changes. I thank you, Ashley. Although you didn’t get to see the final product, I wish you had.
It’s incredibly rare; a person having an experience and knowing right away, without any retrospect or reflection, that it was important and life-changing. This was one for me.
I enjoyed all the shorts, and I look forward to doing the event again. Maybe next time I can incorporate actual turkey slapping! What do you think, Christine…?
Much like Oliver wrote in his blog, when I reflected on my past scripts in prep for participating this time I looked at what I did as a writer that may have resulted in a jumbled final product. I also thought about what worked in other people's scripts.
I decided that my goal was to write with broad strokes, giving the actors/director room to play. I also wanted to be minimal with dialogue as I felt like maybe memorizing lines I wrote in the past may have been a tripping point for some of the actors...maybe?
So after getting my theme, "Anniversary", actors (2 men, 2 women), line and other instructions I headed off and just let the thoughts marinate as I started texting Christine with my first random thoughts (Anniversary in a Chain Restaurant?) and then read a book about a former Cornhusker turned drug addict on the ride home. When I got home and turned on my computer I realized I had started watching 30 Rock and thought well, I HAVE to finish it. So I watched that and then decided I needed to see Grey's Anatomy from 2 weeks ago - so while Papa Grey was in need of a liver I started googling random info about "Anniversaries" - like what gift went w/ how many years - and scribbling out script ideas feeling like I'd probably been putting off the actual "writing" part long enough! ;)
Cut to 4am when my plan to write minimal dialogue didn't seem to be working and I thought maybe I should take a nap. Oliver texted me to see if I was still awake. "Yes". The phone rang. He asked how it was going. I expressed frustration with my dialogue. He thought he had probably offended Christine with his updates. Just another night of writing for WWSS!
Of course, at 4am things probably look a lot bleaker than they really are and after taking a nap and attacking the script again, I felt a little better by the time I called it "done" at 6am. I set my alarm for 730am - enough time to look it over again, adjust if necessary, print, shower (I wasn't sure if I'd be staying in the city after I turned in my script so I thought I'd better make myself presentable!) and allow plenty of time for potentially crazy subway issues...
After a quick stop @ Cosi for breakfast. (I couldn't wait to go to Vnyl - I was hungry!) It was time to gather with the other writers and and discuss how much, if any, sleep everyone got!
The director draw came and I was matched up w/ first time director (but not a first time participant in WWSS), Graeme Humphrey. I had him read the script. I pointed out writing a handstand in based on an actor's resume but said that was negotiable, I also mentioned "Charles" needing a weird/distinctive voice. Graeme asked how I felt if my script was altered. I told him it was okay within reason. We both agreed that if any major changes were being discussed he'd give me a call.
I never got a call... I guess that's good?! I hoped for the best.
When I saw Graeme before the show I asked how it went- specifically with the weird voice. Graeme said - "He's deaf."
In my lack of sleep stupor I was confused for a beat. "The actor?"
"No - the character."
I still wasn't quite sure what to expect but was thankful that my show was third so I didn't wait long to find out!
The show was performed and I was extremely happy with the results! Although, members of the cast acknowledged they had a great script to work with they definitely contributed to fleshing the play out. (Example - "eyeing" was changed to "eye-banging/humping".) It further proved to me how important every single element of a play production is whether it is produced in 21 hrs or over the course of way more hours than that!
Although it seemed people enjoyed "The Anniversary Special" I wasn't totally sold that we were going to win it - even though others thought so. When we did - Wheeeee! :) It was definitely a collaborative effort and I applaud the cast (Chris Cusano, Ben Klier, Kristen Kay Miller and Jenny Zerke) and Graeme for making the most of my script!
That being said, I know I haven't been to all of the WWSS shows but out of the ones I have been to, I think this has been the most solid show yet!
Congrats to all and now it's time for a nap.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It's 7:05am and I've just finished Frienemies Through Thick, and Thin.It's silly- thank god but not quite 12 pages I'm sure but it'll have to do. It's got everything from a handsy exotic male dancer to some T.M.I. dermatology references. Now I've got to find a Kinkos to print it. Get to the the Beckmann by 9:45 to drop it off and to S.M. rehearsal for Jelly Roll Shoes which opens at 2 PM this afternoon and hope I don't fall asleep at the wheel. Excited! but sleepy...
First draft finished! Currently called "How to Suck Seed While Really Trying", but I think the play outran that title, and I'll probably be going with a Walt Whitman quote instead. Going to bed for a couple of hours to look at the draft with fresh eyes.
I think I preferred having two parameters- it made the ideas come quicker.
AS Adam, early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower, refresh’d with sleep;
Behold me where I pass— hear my voice— approach,
Touch me— touch the palm of your hand to my Body as I pass;
Be not afraid of my Body.
OMG! Writing about funerals has reminded me of the play I wrote for Blake about that funeral project he was putting together and then abandoned without ever telling me and I think I mentioned it in the last blog too but I just remembered it again right now because of all this funeral stuff I'm writing about and having a cast of all girls even though I hate writing parts for girls because their voices are too high and squeaky and now I want to play some Grand Theft Auto IV because I just got it and I'm super addicted to it and it's fun.
Throw a fetus at Blake for me!
Computer doing it's quotidian scheduled hard-drive backup at 1am. Time for a little break. Half-finished with coffee, half-finished with first draft of script.
This has gone in some very strange directions; not at all what I expected when I started writing.
It's 12:38am and I've only just thought of a concept! I've got to write a play by morning !? What was I thinking? Plus, I just realized that Mac's only have TextEdit which don't show font size in numbers (that I know of) so how am I suppose to know how to space out my pages?!(Why didn't I download a Word program beforehand?) Oh well I'll just start writing and think about that later...
Friday, October 16, 2009
Okay, I'm home, I have my coffee (Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut, with cream and extra sugar), my iTunes "writing" instrumental playlist is going (right now Handel's "March in D" from Hercules), I'm in my comfy pyjama pants (red plaid flannel), and the flux capacitor is fluxing.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Naturally AGAIN, everyone has booked other exciting things during the Saturday of the 21-hour plays, so after I drop off my completed script Saturday morning, I shall be attending my fabulous Sister-in-Law's improv show at UCB and possibly attending a picnic.
So get ready. The fun's a-comin'!
Friday, October 2, 2009
So how 'bout my Yankees? Anyone wanna chime in on what you think they should do with Joba?
I haven't decided if I'm going to show up hungover as I did last time I did the short shorts. It seemed to work well, but forcing it seems unnatural. I'll make sure to post if I'm going out drinking that Friday. I can't promise that I'll do anything as miraculous as the hamster costume, but I plan on putting together just as silly a show.
I'll leave you with song.
So for those of you who want to get caught up to speed on what we're doing - check out the blog for WWSS5 at wwss5.blogspot.com.
Obviously in the two weeks leading up to the big day, feel free to blog your thoughts, happy memories from the past and apprehensions. Or haikus. I think Cat Corbett last time was posting haikus.
Regardless, welcome to the blog!