Monday, March 29, 2010

Making like a job

This past weekend, I attended a show in my official capacity as a theatre reviewer. It's a job I've done occasionally for the last two years or so, and I've reviewed one excellent show, several good shows, and many . shows. But this past weekend, I saw what I might consider my first "bad" show. Leaving the theatre, I had very specific problems with the show I saw, what I thought about it, and the overall unsatisfying taste that it left in my mouth. But now I was faced with a problem. Well, if not a problem, per se, at least an interesting first time event: I had to write a review for a show I did not like.

In the past, I have written reviews for shows that I didn't especially care for, a show that just wasn't on my frequency, and even one show that tried to do a whole lot but had the whole thing come crashing down around it. But this was the first one where I was hard-pressed to come up with things that I enjoyed. Overall, I realized that my major problems were with the show itself and not the production. But still, this was a theatrical clunker I had to discuss.

Now, let's make things even more complicated. I know people in this show. I know they will read this review, and I know they will recognize my name. I am not cowering in the back corner, hiding behind my editor, scared to write an honest review of the show. (For the record, my editor is very complimentary and very supportive of the critical eye I bring to my work. She's got my back.) And I've gotten bad reviews before as well. The line I hope to walk is to make intelligent perceptive points about the show while not seeming like I have an agenda myself. The sort of review where the people involved would go "Crap, he saw through everything and he makes really excellent points." The sort of thing they would not necessarily enjoy, but the sort of thing they must agree with.

I just emailed it to the boss. It's out of my hands now, and I feel pretty good on a job well done. And I can also take comfort in the fact that I'll never know if they read it or not. At least... not unless they tell me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Twelfth Night publicity photo

Folks, I am already rehearsing my next show - playing Duke Orsino in "12th Night." I haven't been called for many rehearsals yet, which is why there have been few posts on the subject, but this past Saturday we had a photo call for promotional material. And I was given what might turn out to be my coolest costume in the last year. Here is one of the photos.
As soon as I was given that coat, which in person is much more of a royal blue, it immediately made me think of the coat that David Tennant wore when he played Doctor Who. And so I spent most of our photo shoot adoring my wardrobe. But in this photo, I look like I might be leading the League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Best. Job. Ever.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Re: Deadlines

Working with Radio Hound, I am producing our ongoing series call the Stray Dogs Project. We aim to record a new audio drama every two weeks, and then they are posted online in the alternating weeks. When you compress those schedules, that amounts to a project every week, whether it be writing and preparing the script or editing the final show. When the project first started, I had two scripts ready in that first week, and it was easy to move into the production phase after that. But after those first two shows, I realized that the deadlines kept coming up, and for three weeks now I have been running behind the gun and slightly behind schedule.

I've managed to keep up so far, and it's in no small part due to just a stubborn dedication to the project. I am determined to keep this project going, and part of that is just sitting down at the computer and typing some sort of story in order to meet the deadline for the next episode. It's great training to be a professional writer, and I also really enjoy how the act of writing is a self-perpetuating activity. The more often I sit down to write, the more often I want to sit down and write.

Ideally, the Stray Dogs Project will have a handful of staff writers and more occasional contributors outside of that core group. Also ideally, we can work and rush things a little so we can get a longer lead-time on our episodes. But those are larger dreams for the project; my small dream is to keep this series going. And right now, it looks like the series will keep going strong.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Erasing the "Tape"

Well, folks, I just wrapped up working on a new playshop festival, where I was in a show called The Sex Tape Play. (Don't try to google anything for it, unless you are absolutely sure that your safe-search function is turned solidly to "ON.") Over five weeks, we worked with the director and playwright on a script that was constantly in-progress, going from the original draft all the way through version 9.1. Along the way, we did three public performances of the play, each time going out with our scripts in hand and performing the show as if it were something of a finished piece. A Q-and-A followed after each show, and the conversations resulted in the playwright making some changes and coming in with new scripts at the next rehearsal, based largely or only in part on the comments made by the audience.

I had worked with this playwright in January, where we I had a lot of fun working on Golden Ladder. In that show, we hardly ever had an "audience," and the work each week was only for the people involved in the play. We did have two semi-public readings of it, but they emerged almost as afterthoughts. With Sex Tape, however, those public performances were always in mind. As much as we would try not to focus on the upcoming shows, an element of them always worked its way into our rehearsals and discussions. Going into the first show, I actually felt over-rehearsed. I'm one of the only actors who will usually admit to such a thing, but I will always prefer to rehearse too little than too much. Now, the right of amount of rehearsal is even better, and I want to make that clear.

The shows themselves were a lot of fun, but I almost wish that this process would have been more focused on putting up a final version of the show. That line of thought was present throughout the process, but everyone insisted that it wasn't about the product. Interesting work, a good time, and I'm glad that I took the opportunity. But this time wasn't quite as satisfying as the same process earlier in the year with Golden Ladder.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Way behind schedule

So, there is a long and unforgivable lapse on this blog, since my last post was well over a month ago. I can't even pretend to make excuses for it, only to say that I've been busy with a whole lot of different types of projects. I will post some updates here in the next week or so, but I'm running behind every gun there is when it comes to deadlines, so new news is going to have to wait at least a few days. But I'm here to remind you that I haven't forgotten, stopped, or given up. Be back soon.