Thursday, December 27, 2007
As a writer, performer, and English major, the whole idea behind these editions seems completely misguided. It reduces everything to the "narrative line," while eliminating everything that makes the books truly unique and special. A story about a whale hunt is just that, but Melville gives "Moby-Dick" (one of the books in this list) so much more than just a narrative line, and that is what makes it a truly epic masterpiece. In a very American urge to reduce books to the size that can be read during a commercial break, these editions are designed, I can only imagine, for people who want to say that they have read the book, but people who don't actually want to be bothered to actually read the entire book.
This does come around to my primary career, however, because I feel the same way about the cutting I just did of "Romeo and Juliet." The script was cut down very appropriately for school students, but it wasn't exactly the best cut for us actors to work on. Like Phoenix Press, it kept the entire flow of the plot and the "narrative line," but it took out a lot of the poetry, subtle nuance, and reflection that make Shakespeare's play so much more than just a teenage love story. I didn't feel that way when I did "Othello" or "Much Ado About Nothing." Either the poetry in those shows is more central to the plot, or perhaps the cuts were more sensitive to those issues. I'm excited to have a full script for my next show!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I'll try to write more about the tour, but I'm glad to be home. It was a pretty long time to be gone, and a long time to be doing the same show for children. It'll be several weeks before I start on Spitfire Grill, which I am really looking forward to. But in the meantime, I need to find some sort of job to make some money. But I'm not so worried about that at the moment, since I'm really excited to spend the holidays with my family, my house, my cat, and my own bed(!) Tonight we're going to see a Sherlock Holmes play in New York, which I'm excited about. And then early on Sunday, I'm going home. The last time I was at home was October 2nd, when I left for CT to start rehearsing Romeo and Juliet. So I'm really excited to go home!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
But we only have 10 days left.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Oh, and it's my birthday today. Walking into the hotel, stepping carefully across the snow and ice creating a wasteland, I had this image of ordering some pizza, getting a coke from the vending machine, and then I'd sit on my motel bed wearing a paper party hat, rock slowly back and forth singing happy birthday to me... So this is how 27 starts
Saturday, December 8, 2007
After the intermission, the next pieces by Webern, entitled "Five Pieces for Orchestra." Using a wide variety of instruments, these pieces were played in only four minutes. Before playing them, however, the conductor explained that a large concert hall wasn't the best venue for the hearing of such pieces, so the orchestra would play them again after the concert was concluded. But this second time, the audience would be invited up onto the platform to sit with the orchestra, side by side with the people and instruments actually making the notes. The final piece, one of the last concertos by Brahms, was played beautifully by the two soloists, and then there was a short break while the stagehands reset for the Webern pieces. Once the audience was settled, the conductor had the musicians demonstrate some of the qualities of their instruments, and then they played the Five Pieces again. Hearing the pieces again was really remarkable, especially as I was sitting only six feet from the woman playing the harp. The first time through, the pieces were interesting in their sparceness. Hearing them all together created a very interesting sound. But that second time, the sound curtain was even more remarkable. Instead of hearing all the sounds overlapping and coming together, I could hear each individual sound coming in and out, playing with the others, and creating more of a aural texture than a sequence of music. This picture to the right represents a sneaked photo of the composer and the orchestra, taking their bow after the second playing. You can see the harp and other instruments in front of me, and the conductor is the grey-haired man in the dark shirt, just over the left shoulder of the woman in front of me. Walking home, I was really happy that I had decided to go get some culture while I was here in Chicago.
More info: visit the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at http://www.cso.org/
This photo represents the view of downtown Chicago from the window of my hotel room in the Travelodge. We had an early show this morning in Wisconsin, and then we drove to Chicago. We got into town around 4pm. And after relaxing in the hotel a little bit, I bundled up in my coat at hit the streets to explore. We are right in the middle of the city, and I could walk to the major shopping district, the theatre district, the Millenium Park near the river, and two different ice skating rinks. After finding something to eat, I grabbed apple cider and fried donuts at a Christkindlmarket, a block-long German street fair. There is also one in Bethlehem, PA, and they sell all kinds of food and drink, hand-crafted ornaments, German games and toys, etc. Those donuts were amazing, so much so that I've now included a picture of them on the blog. The outsides of them were so crispy and golden delicious, but insides were still warm and slightly gooey. The powdered sugar on top set the flavor off perfectly, and the apple cider warmed me just enough to keep me wandering around the city down over toward the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And since they had student tickets, I sat myself down in the orchestra section and listened to their program for the night. Pretty cool way to get some culture while I'm in Chicago. I'll write more about the pieces later, as well as post a mini photo gallery from my walk around the city. But at the moment, it's pretty late, and I have some orange juice and Dunkin Donuts munchkins waiting for me before bed...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Plus, I'm excited to have friends see my show! It's fun to say that I'm playing Mercutio, but I'm glad they will get a chance to see what I'm doing. Plus, it will make all the stories that much more real when they actually meet the people who are involved.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Last night, after our visit to the vintage toy store, we went to have some Mexican food at a restaurant in the parking lot of the hotel. While the food was delicious, I was plagued by a stomachache not long after dinner, and I spent most of the night in and out of the bathroom, sick to my stomach. It means I didn’t really get a lot of sleep last night since I was unable to sleep, and I had to do the show this morning very weak and with a sore tummy. At the moment, we are hanging out at a rest stop on the Ohio interstate as we wait for one of our company members to conduct a radio interview over the phone. Then at 3pm, we’ll get back on the road for the rest of our six hour drive to the suburbs of Chicago for our show tomorrow. We’re watching it snow outside, and the next week also promises to be a cold one. We go through Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan before coming back to Pennsylvania and New York City, and then we only have a week left!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Three guys went to see a movie, and then Tim and I went to the coolest toy store in the world! Not only did they have new toys for sale, but they had hundreds of the vintage ones. Old Mego action figures, old-fashioned Transformers, vintage GI Joe figures from the 80s, Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Superman, X-Men, Battlestar, The Black Hole, Simpsons, you name it. Tim and I each got a few things, but I'm sure that he'll have trouble fitting all of his into his luggage.
Now we're back at the hotel preparing for our show tomorrow, and I just don't want this vacation period of our tour to end. We only have three work days before another weekend off in Chicago, where I will get to see two friends of mine. And then there are only two more weeks before the tour is over. I'm very glad. I'm getting a little tired of being on the road so long without a break, and I miss spending more than two nights in the same bed. I'll also be very glad to have the room to myself again. I'm good about sharing, but soon I start to resent trying to sleep with very bad snorers, watching a lot of football and basketball, and, above all, sharing my computer. Checking email is fine, but when someone starts using it to search on Craig's List, that's a little much. How do I bring it up without sounding irrational? Any suggestions?
Of course, the most annoying thing of all is that my new camera has decided not to record any pictures. I turn it on, I take some pictures, and then the next time I turn the camera on, it has mysteriously erased all the pictures. Annoying to say the least, so I have nothing to share of the adventures today. Anyone want to buy me a camera?
Sunday, December 2, 2007
And to that end, my next project will be the musical "Spitfire Grill" at Cedar Crest College, the same place I did "Big Love" for those of you keeping score at home. It was produced off-Broadway in 2001, based on a film of the same name, and you can read all about it on wikipedia.com. The director sent me the CD while we were staying in Nashville this weekend, and I waited a entire 24 hours before breaking it out and devouring it. The music is fantastic. The composers blend broadway ballads with old-time folk sounds, making it a very unique score. The notes for my character go pretty high (!) but I'm confident that I'll get to them. I'll have to rehearse and really use the time well, but I'll get there. I've listened to it about four times in the last two days, and I'm already starting to learn all the words. I won't get to work on the show for another month yet, but I'm really excited for it. Tim challenged me so much when we were working on Big Love, I'm really excited to see what he can come up with for Spitfire Grill.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
After a big breakfast at the Waffle House and a morning game of Settlers of Catan, we went out to the mall near the Grand Ole Opry this afternoon. I searched hard for a cowboy hat that would fit me, but I didn't have any luck. Mostly, the afternoon was spent finding cool things to do in the mall (like an Aquarium restaurant, a stingray tank, black light mini golf, etc), but then looking closer at them and decided that the memories they would create weren't quite worth the slightly inflated price that they cost. So now I'm at the hotel again, playing some online games, reading my newest book, and trying not to think about working in Hollywood...
But it was awesome to learn that the Enchantment kids are keeping a blog! They can all post on it, and some of their entries reveal very different types of adventures. There is a book in here somewhere, I know. And if you visit their blog, click on one of the advertisements. That way, they'll get some money. And all actors love money...