The Artistic World of K.L.Storer



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Apr-Jun, 2024
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Tue, Apr 2, 2024

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TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
ACTING ICON
Last night we had our initial table reading, though not with a full cast. One actor, who is cast, was out of town, and, as some of you will know, three roles have not yet been filled. Still it was a good read-through, showing great promise for the future of the production.

We're dark tonight, but Director Jared Mola has Andre Tomlinson and me in tomorrow night to do table work and character work. The script is centered around our characters ‐‐ Andre's Franco and my Arthur‐‐ so, our gelling, our chemistry, is key to the show. But, judging from both the auditions and last night's table read, we're in good shape. Andre was in The Guild's mounting of August Wilson's Radio Golf at the start of this season, and his performance was impressive. I am pleased and excited that I get to play against him on stage in this one. After tomorrow night, rehearsals are dark until next Tuesday, when blocking rehearsals begin.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
It's not like I'm behind, but I really wanted to be farther along in line study and script analysis than I am. As far as memorization of my lines, I haven't even finished making my flashcards, yet. As of last night, I finished card number 210, and I am only about 70% done with Act 1, which puts me less than half-way through the script. Yeah, I got a lot of lines. Hey, I signed up for it, so no whining here. But, I am tempted to take a vacation day or two from the rent-payer to get the flashcards done so I can start drilling myself in earnest. An off-book deadline has not yet been given, but, if it's all the same, I would rather be there as soon as I can be, regardless of a deadline.

I also have yet to do my recording of the lines in the scenes I'm in. You five regulars may know that I make the recordings to listen to on headphones while I'm working at the rent-payer, and also to play at night while I'm in bed, asleep or not. It helps. It really does. I always record my lines deadpan, with no infusion of emotion or intent. That way, along with just more work on memorizing the words, I can also do some line analysis without interference or influence by a previous dramatic interpretation.

There's also some dramaturgy that I want to do as I climb into Arthur.



Wed, Apr 3, 2024

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ON THE ROAD TO "OFF-BOOK" & TO ARTHUR:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
I am plugging along at making my flashcards for line study, and I am almost done with Act 1. At this point my goal is to have the flashcards completed by the end of this coming weekend at the latest.

Honestly, I'm starting to get impatient that I'm not done already, so I can go as full-force as possible down that road to off-book. Because of the threat of horrendous weather *(see next entry, below), I was at The Guild last night, even though rehearsals were dark. I spent the evening in the boardroom, Gilmore Girls on my laptop as background noise, dutifully moving along in flashcard creation.

Tonight, Andre Tomlinson (Franco) and I are in the boardroom doing table work and character work under the guidance of Director Jared Mola. Then, as I wrote in the last post, blocking begins next Tuesday.

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Last night, again in the boardroom at the theatre, slogging through the creation of my flashcards, with Netflix on my laptop.

FALSE ALARM ON THE FLOOD:

On a Personal Note icon
My Music
Weather icon
If you live in a big swath of the American mid-west you were under severe weather watches or warnings last night. I was right there with you. The warnings to "batten down the hatches" was loud and prominent. Where I live it was the high possibility, even probability of both flash-flooding and tornados. I left work early to go do that battening at my apartment. My anxiety was a little high because I live in a flood zone, and I am in a corner, ranch-house apartment. So, both the potential flooding and the potential tornado had me on edge.

The flood prep was unplugging everything from wall sockets and elevating all my electronic devices as well as a few other things susceptible to water damage.

My prep for the tornado is how I justify this being an entry in K.L.'s Artistic Blog: I took pretty much all of my music equipment to The Guild and down into the theatre basement, which is literally a bomb shelter. I also took a few external harddrives with data I did not want to lose. And I took my T-mobile WiFi port*.

Dayton was a part of the same dire weather warning as was my neck of the woods. However, my thinking was that the stuff was safer from a tornado in a bomb shelter than in a corner apartment. And, the theatre is not in a flood zone, so despite that the basement is below ground level, I took my chances on that.

However: no flooding; no tornados. Apparently the seriously bad weather cell split and hit farther north and farther south of where I and where the theatre are. I don't know weather to be relieved or pissed off. Actually, I need to be relieved, despite that after I attend my rehearsal at the theatre tonight I get to lug all my stuff back home.

*) I brought the T-mobile WiFi port both to protect it and to also see if I could still get internet service from it some place besides home. I knew in theory I could, since it receives signal from wireless mobile, just like a cell phone, rather than a hardwired cable. Of course, it did work. So now I know for sure, even if I should have already known.

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My music stuff: Embassy Pro bass, Viola bass, Tascam 24-Track recorder, Legato III piano, Oxygen 61 Keyboard, all guitar pedals, all mics, assorted cords and such; plus other things such as a suitcase of clothing (in case I wasn't able to get into my apartment for a few days, or more), and some external harddrives, and other things ‐‐ all in a neat little pile in the bomb-shelter basement of The Guild.



Thu, Apr 4, 2024

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SOME SCENEWORK & MORE PREP TOWARD THAT OFF-BOOK PUSH:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
ACTING ICON
Director Jared Mola ended up deciding not to do last night's scene work between Andre Tomlinson (Franco) and me as table work in the boardroom. Rather we did the work on our feet on the L. David Mirkin mainstage, since the current show, Ullian and Lindsey-Nassif's Flight of the Lawnchair Man, was dark last night and none of its few mobile set pieces were on the thrust.

The rehearsal was not about blocking. The focus was text analysis and character analysis. It was a fruitful evening for all three of us, I do believe. I certainly left with some revelations from the evening. Both the others said the same.

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The 2.25-inch stack of flashcards, which are only those for Act 1. That, demonstratively illustrating the line-memorization work I have cut out for myself in my immediate future.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Here's the progress report on my creation of flashcards for my line-memorization drilling:

Just before rehearsal last night, while again sitting at the table in the DTG boardroom (AKA: the "Ralph Dennler Boardroom"), I finished off the flashcards for Act 1. The stack of index cards is 2.25 inches tall. The last flashcard is number 295. But there are more than 295 index cards. My four monologues in Act 1 cover at least two index cards, each, some three, and that includes Number 295, which covers three cards, front and back ‐‐ though the front of the first card only reads: "monologue 4." So, the 2.25 inches actually consists of slightly more than 300 index cards.

One act left to do, and I am happy to say it is shorter! Still, it's clear I got some work to go to get to that coveted, necessary off-book status. But then, I knew that when I walked into auditions, so....



Sun, Apr 7, 2024

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Closing Today

FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN, by Ullian & Lindsey-Nassif at The Dayton Theatre Guild

Directed by Kim Warrick
Produced by Christina Tomazinis & Heather Atkinson

Jerry Gorman is a regular guy from Passaic, New Jersey, who just got promoted to Snack Bar Manager at Wal-Mart. But what he really wants to do is fly. While the neighbors think he's nuts, and his mother disapproves, his girlfriend Gracie believes in him and encourages him to follow his dream. Jerry soars to 16,000 feet with nothing but a lawnchair and 400 helium balloons. Loosely based on a true story, Flight of the Lawnchair Man is a musical that inspires hope, and reminds us that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself.

The Cast of Flight of the Lawnchair Man
CHARACTER
      ACTOR
Jerry Gorman
      Aaron Hill

Gracie
      Jeannine Parson

Big Jack Preston
      Drew Roby

Blaire
      Emma Alexander

Mother Gorman
      Rhea Smith

Mr. Frankel
      Isaac Bement

French Boy/Amelia Earhart
      Julia DiPaolo

NASA Official/Leonardo DaVinci
      Michael Plaugher

TV Reporter/Charles Lindbergh
      Jamie McQuinn

FAA Agent
      Jamie Pavlofsky

The promotional trailer for FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN


IS THERE A "BETRAYAL" IN MY FUTURE? ‐‐ OR, IT'S EMMA NOT JAMIE:

BETRAYAL, by Harold Pinter, with Helen Hunt at The Goodman
In the audience icon
?

A few days ago I learned that the brilliant play, Betrayal, by the great Harold Pinter will be showing at The Goodman in Chicago this coming February 8 through March 16, with Helen Hunt in the lead role of Emma Downs. Despite Chicago's reputation for severe lake effect weather, I am seriously considering a road trip north-west. I'd probably push it closer to the closing date, to hedge my bet against any possibly too-heinous snow events. But, I'd say there is at least an 80% chance I'll be the audience for one of Ms. Hunt's performances in this. I've been itching to head back to Chicago for a while; I haven't been there in over five years; I haven't been to The Goodman in over ten years. The Goodman box office says individual tickets for Betrayal won't go on sale until November or December. I will be keeping an eye out; you can count in it.


Tue, Apr 9, 2024

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BLOCKING, THE PATH TO OFF-BOOK, A CAST MEMBER IS ADDED, AND WE STILL HAVE TWO ROLES TO FILL:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Blocking icon
Tonight will be rehearsal number 2, and our first blocking rehearsal. There will just be three of us tonight. In past productions, during the early rehearsal periods, especially the blocking sessions, I've had a lot of nights off. This time, I will pretty much be at every rehearsal. I may not be called for one or two blocking rehearsals ‐‐ maybe ‐‐ but that will be it. Yeah, I know: What a terrible burdon to bear!

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Flashcards done:
Sunday, in the DTG boardroom, during the final performance of Ullian and Lindsey-Nassif's Flight of the Lawnchair Man, I finished off my memory-drill flashcards for Superior Donuts. The cast on stage was only moments away from their curtain call when I finished the last card.

The last index card is numbered 536; so, considering that some of the line numbers have multiple cards, (such as the monologues), there are somewhere around 550 index cards used, maybe a few more. See the photo below of the Act 1 and Act 2 stacks. The two stacks, combined, stand 4 inches tall. I am, however, not intimidated. Although I will admit that at this stage of the game, especially when I have a bigger role with more lines, I do always wonder, "How in the HELL am I going to memorize all this!?" But, I also know that I always do.

Then icon
Last night, I used my eight-track recorder to record the line cues and my corresponding following lines (this being the audio version of the flashcards) for me to use as another avenue to that coveted off-book status. Some will know that I'll listen to the recordings on my headphones, especially at work, while doing other stuff. And I'll put the thing on loop and play it at night while I sleep. Yes, I do believe this is an effective tool in the toolbox.

AUDITION ICON
Sunday, at the theatre, I read with actor Brandon Teeple, who Director Jared Mola auditioned for, and brought into the cast as, Kevin Magee. Right now, the production still needs to cast two more roles.

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Working on the flashcards, again at work, last Thursday
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Working on the flashcards at home this past Saturday.
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The finished Act 1 & Act 2 flashcard stacks.
Recording the audio version last night. I'd set up to use two mics ‐‐ one channel for the cue lines and one for my lines ‐‐ but ended up recording it all on just one channel (one mic).

THE PATH OF THE MOON'S SHADOW....:

:

Ampersand - &

WORKING FROM HOME icon
This is only somewhat tangential to my "Artistic World," but I consider it close enough to deserve noting here.Yesterday, for the event of the grand, total eclipse of the sun, that my neck of the woods was in the path of, I arranged to work from home from the rent-payer mostly to avoid the projected high potential of crazy traffic, especially after work, since I would be getting of just about the time the eclipse was on its wane. It turns out the projection was pretty hyperbolic, but working in that office space on my apartment patio is never a bad thing. Naturally, I took a work break when the event was overhead. I had an extra pair of eclipse glasses, so I cut out one of the lenses and fixed it over the lense of my iPhone so I could get some photos of the eclipse without damaging my phone. They ain't terrible photos, but I've certainly seen better ones of the event. Anyway, it was a pleasant way to start off my work week.

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Late lunch in the patio office space.
Always willing to make the sacrifice to work from home on my patio in the sunshine.
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I bought a pair of eclipse glasses, then got a second pair free from work. I used the pair I bought to rig my iPhone.
Me on the front lawn, checking it out
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Again, there are way better photos out there of yesterday's event, taken by photographers with much better equipment (and photography skills), but, these are mine, and they don't suck.



Thu, Apr 18, 2024

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YOU CAN JUST CALL ME "ANXIOUS" AND "IMPATIENT":

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Character Work icon
Beyond really getting into the nitty-gritty of the large task in front of me of memorizing my lines for the play, I also need to get into some real character work on Arthur. I believe I have a good, strong understanding of him, but at this stage, Arthur certainly has not fully shown up; I have not yet climbed deep into him. As I've gone through these early blocking rehearsals, the focus is on when and where to move during the scenes, as it should be. Still, I am conscious that my delivery of Arthur is not anywhere close to fully developed. It's not that I think I'm behind schedule; I don't. It's more that I am impatient, as I always am at this stage of the rehearsal period, to be deeper into Arthur's psyche and behavior than I am. It's just part of my process and certainly part of my motivation toward getting to the fully-realized portrayal of my character. If you're one of the five regulars who has followed this blog for a while you know this is not a unique entry, since I pretty much go through this for almost every show I'm cast in.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Memorization icon
The progress of my trek to off-book is also going slower than I want, and though it may not be founded in reality, I am feeling pangs of anxious panic. There are a lot of words for me to commit to memory. I recorded and mixed my cue lines and my lines. It took a few days to process the mixing part, because I got a little elaborate with panning cue lines left or right in the stereo mix, with my lines in the middle of the pan, as well as distinguishing the EQ between my lines and the cue lines ‐‐ mine have more bass to them for a richer, warmer sound. Now that the recordings are done I will listen to them on loop, as often as I can, including playing the recordings while in bed to sleep.

There's also the other tactics I will now heavily employ of rote memorization coupled with meaningful memorization, and the use of my flash cards I've created to drill myself on my lines. I will be spending most of my time either passively or actively focusing on Arthur's lines from this point forward, full speed for the next several weeks, and really still focusing to some extent all the way up to the closing performance on June 23.

But I can't give my lines all my time, as I have other duties for this show, the soundwork, and the promotional trailer. I also have some time-sensitive preproduction as director of next season's Campaigns Inc., by Will Alan. There also will be likely be some more action that needs to be done as director of Mark St. Germain's Wednesday's Child, which ran last fall ‐‐ more on that later.

Blocking icon
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
We now have somewhere around half of the blocking rehearsals under our belts (give-or-take). Of course, the character of James has been blocked on paper but not yet with an actor in the role, which is a condition we hope to change soon. Monday night was the blocking for the Act 1 Arthur monologues, so I was the only actor called that night. We'll block the Act 2 monologs next Thursday, the 25th. The night before that, Wednesday the 24th, Maximillian Santucci and I will have our first of several fight choreography sessions with Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham.

By-the-way & for the record: in the Apr 9 blog entry I stated, "I may not be called for one or two blocking rehearsals ‐‐ maybe ‐‐ but that will be it." Yeah, nice prediction, but, incorrect. I get no days off from rehearsal. But, then, it's not like I can successfully whine.

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The start of mixing my recorded Arthur lines, last Saturday.
Finishing up the mixing of the recorded Arthur lines, this past Tuesday, on my "patio office."

TOMORROW NIGHT, SOME UNKNOWN COMIC:

Jerry Seinfeld at the Schuster Center, Apr 19, 2024
In the audience icon
Tomorrow night I will see Mr. Jerry Seinfeld at the Schuster Center. My seat is in the center of the seventh row back.

This will be my first time seeing Jerry live.

I am very much looking forward to it.



Fri, Apr 19, 2024

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In the audience icon
TONIGHT (flashing) Jerry Seinfeld at the Schuster Center, Apr 19, 2024



Mon, Apr 22, 2024

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LINES, LINES, LINES, LINES, LINES, LINES, LINES, LINES....:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Off-Book icon
...lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines..........

The journey, the sojourn, the trudge, to off-book is, of course, underway, full-force. I'm spending as much of my time as I can focusing on Arthur's lines. I'm sitting down ‐‐ or pacing ‐‐ with the script, usually my large-print version, to do that rote-memory repeating technique. Then I sit or pace with my flashcards to drill myself on some portion of my lines. I'm also listening to my recording while doing many other tasks and while in bed. I've also done a little bit of dramaturgy, mostly to understand certain references in some of the monologues; and, I'll be doing a bit more dramaturgy, pretty much all dealing with Chicago and Chicago history.

Something of note that I stumbled across is that Jim Parsons, of Big Bang Theory fame, uses flashcards that he, too, has created from 3x5 index cards to learn his lines. So, I have finally discovered another actor who does this; I knew they were out there!. Click here, (if you're on facebook, that is), to see Jim briefly talk about it.

As for how far along I am in my progress toward off-book: meh, not nearly as far as I'd like, though probably father than I realize. I write that last part because I seemed to have already committed many lines to memory, out of what I've already worked through in this memorization process, just from the process of rehearsal. I am likely to find this true as I press onward. The big thing will be nailing the monologues. None of them are terribly long, but there is a necessity to getting them word-perfect because of the rhythm and literary finnesse. That more so here than the rest of the lines, where verbatim is still the goal.

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Listening to the recorded lines while working at the the rent-payer.
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Drilling the lines with my flashcards in my livingroom.
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Initial active memorization of a monologue, using a page from my large-print script.

SEINFELD AT THE SCHUSTER; ROOF MAN IN YELLOW SPRINGS:

In the audience icon
:

Jerry Seinfeld at the Schuster Center, Apr 19, 2024

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Seinfeld's stage at The Schuster, pre-show
Friday evening I saw Jerry Seinfeld live, on stage at the Schuster Center, and he was very good. I'd heard some of the material before; some of it he used in the Netflix special, 23 Hours to Kill; some of it I believe I've heard in clips I've seen on YouTube of his recent TV appearances. It was still funny stuff.

His opener was Ryan Hamilton whose hilarious Netflix special Happy Face has been out for a few years. Hamilton was also quite funny Friday night.

And here's the coolest thing about the evening, outside of Jerry and Ryan: Jerry mentioned his upcoming Netflix movie, Unfrosted, which is a completely fictional account of the invention of the pop tart. As he was talking about it, it occurred to me that I had heard that native Daytonian, actor, and playwright, Will Alan had recently been on set of something that Seinfeld was involved with. Now, if you follow my blog, or follow Dayton theatre, you will know that DTG is mounting Will's new play, Campaigns Inc. this coming October; you will also know that yours truly is directing. I texted Will after the show to verify if he is in Unfrosted. He is. So, now I can say that I am one degree of separation from Jerry Seinfeld. I'm also one degree of separation from Jim Gaffigan, who is also in the movie and is another of my all-time favorite stand-ups. Also in the movie are, Christian Slater, Hugh Grant, Thomas Lennon, Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy, and Peter Dinklage, to name a few. It debuts on the streamer, May 3.


          
also
          

The next night I saw the new play Roof Man, by local playwright and actor, Robb Willoughby at Yellow Springs Theatre Company. It's a fun, cute, light-hearted comedy that's very entertaining. The story was brought to life by the cast of: Thor Sage, Ellen Ballerene, Seth Ratliff, Libby Holley Scancarello, Saul Caplan, and Kayla Graham.



Sun, Apr 28, 2024

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A WELCOME AND SOME ARTHUR WORK:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
YaY!

Before I get into all these variations of "The Actor  Preparing," let me share some good news:

We have a James! Percy Vera has stepped into the role of Officer James Bailey and will join us in rehearsals Tuesday. Today, Percy is wrapping up his appearance in One Man, Two Guvnors at Beavercreek Community Theatre.

So, WELCOME PERCY!!

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
This past Wednesday was our first fight choreography session. In attendance were Director Jared Mola, my stage combat partner, Maximillian Santucci (Luther Flynn), Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham, Stage Manager Deirdre Root, and, of course, myself. It was the beginning of the process for a fight which, in the script, Mr. Letts' describes thusly:
The fight is long. And painful. It is sweaty and bloody. The fighters display great ferocity. The fight involves fisticufts [SIC], grappling. wrestling and found objects. The fight contains gouging, biting, kicking....
Our first session, we barely got into blocking the choreography, perhaps covering what, at speed, will amount to about the first minute of the fight. After that initial blocking, we ran all of what Kayla has thusfar choreographed; we were nowhere close to "at speed." That will come later, as well as fine-tuning and finessing the actions.

In some ways, Wednesday evening was about getting acquainted and familiar with the process, along with the start of the actual action getting laid out. Or, I suppose, you could say it was about getting reacquainted with the process. I haven't, myself, directly dealt with fight choreography since I took a six-week Stage Combat class, at least a decade ago, at the Human Race Theatre Company, under the tutelage of the incomparable Bruce Cromer; and it'd been a while for Max, too.

Monologue icon
Thursday night I again, just as the previous Thursday, was the only actor called. The aganda was the Act 2 monologues. Blocking was the focus. Two monologues have Arthur breaking the fourth wall to address the audience, the last two such of the show; two others have Arthur on the phone; one has him speaking to Franco (Andre Tomlinson), who is present in the scene. We didn't work on all of that scene with Franco, only the part where only Arthur is speaking. The conversation between them gets blocked this week.

Though this was primarily a blocking session; Jared did do some direction concerning his vision for Arthur's intent and emotional state. Of course, it was collaborative, with my instincts on those things as part of the equation.

Character Work icon
In terms of my character work, no one who knows me as an actor, or who has read at least certain entries of this blog, will be shocked to know that I am still impatient about Arthur's character development. Just as I wrote last time I addressed this, his full arrival is still not behind schedule, and a bit more of him has, indeed, showed up. I still want to feel I am more completely inside him. Jared's directions during Thursday's monologues session certainly helped to some extent, but really he was dealing more with levels and energies; such was certainly useful toward the character development goal, but finding Arthur's voice, his persona, that's on me. I can and should and will take Jared's directions and my understanding of his vision, for Arthur and for the whole play, into account, but this part, Arthur's voice, his personality, is my responsibility. Of course, my duty is to be sure the Arthur I create isn't in conflict with the director's visions ‐‐ or the playwright's, for that matter, as we are able to discern the playwright's vision.

Now, my focus Thursday was on movement: where was I going on stage, what was I doing, and on what line. But even though I was concentrating on that, I was still unhappy with what I consider lame readings of much of what was coming out of my mouth. My logical self knew that I will greatly improve and arrive at deliveries that I find true to Arthur and the moments, and I know this as I sit here and key these words into the entry, but my impatient self is dissatisfied, regardless. That's just the way it is for me, and for those who will think I am beating myself up: I am not. It may seem that way to you, but you are wrong. It is simply the way I am and I have accepted it. Still, it serves me to discuss it, even if discussing it is a rehash of a rehash ‐‐ 'cause I've touched on the subject before in this blog.

Memorization icon
Off-Book icon
NO TV ZONE
Lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines..........

A very big chunk of yesterday, and pretty much most of the rest of today after this blog entry is posted, was, and will be about moving ever-so-closer to that coveted status of "off-book." For a good part of my afternoon, I took the line study to the joined parks of Pearl's Fen and Oakes Quarry Park, two local parks that I really enjoy.

Full disclosure here: I dropped my "No TV Zone" icon over on the left because that was my intent for the whole day. I pretty much adhered to that edict until I sat down to eat dinner, then later when I had to deal with a minor setback in the my process of line memorization, the setback which I'll get to shortly.

By the time I went to bed last night I had a reasonable handle on my Act 1 lines. Were I in the space in a rehearsal I'd definitely still be calling "line," at least to some extent, and certainly for the monologues, but my progress thus far ain't bad at all. And I believe I am almost completely off-book for some big chunks of Act 1. Actually, I suspect there are decent portions of Act 2 I'm off-book on, too. I will test that theory here, in just a little bit.

Ooops! So, I had a DOH! moment yesterday, when I realized I had lost some 60 flashcards while I was hiking around Oakes Quarry Park. I must have set the stack of what I'd already worked down, while I was sitting, either to drink water or to work on the cards that followed. And the thing is: I'd made a mental note to never set the cards down while I was there. I decided that for two reasons: one, it was a little windy at times which might lead to the obvious problem; and two, I DIDN'T WANT TO INADVERTANTLY LEAVE THEM BEHIND!!!!!. Yet, here we are. By the time I discovered what I'd done, it was a futile idea to go back and recover them; that was simply not going to happen. So, I lost a little bit of time moving forward in the line study last night as I sat down and recreated the lost flashcards (numbers 211-269) I stuck a DVD of My Boys into the Blu-Ray player whilst I worked on the problem. It took a little longer than I would have wanted, but it's taken care of.

That silly screw-up aside, yesterday was productive, and I hope today is, as well. It's such a nice day out I'm tempted to take part of the line work to another park today, but I'll probably just spend a good part of the afternoon pacing on my apartment patio ‐‐ which, by the way, is where I happen to be right now.

Wardrobe icon
Without getting into much detail, because I don't want to spoil this for those of you who might end up sitting in the audience, I've had some input into Arthur's costuming. I have successfully campaigned with both Director Jared and with our costume designer, Carol Finley, for a particular piece of Arthur's wardrobe. I also suspect that at least one more piece of his wardrobe will come from my closet (a normal thing in non-professional theatre). More than one piece may ultimately come from my closest, in fact. I've actually ordered the piece of clothing I campaigned for as part of my costume. I've bought a few pieces so I have backup, and I'll be distressing them for the show. Arthur's an old hippie who likes to "be comfortable."

In the end, however, much of how Arthur is dressed is indicated by the text of the script, so, though there's room for creativity on all our parts, there are clear parameters. Not that there's anything unique about that in theatre (or film/TV).

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Line study yesterday at Oakes Quarry Park; perhaps around the time that I lost the damned flashcards!
Later yesterday, working on the end of Act 1 while making dinner.
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Later last night, remaking the AWOL flashcards
BONUS PICS: While walking the parks, working on lines, I also got a few shots of frogs while at Pearl's Fen. Here are a couple. It's always a challenge to capture images of these little suckers. They usually jump into the water before I'm close enough for a good shot.

A RETRY ON NUMBER 3!:

In Concert icon
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band at The Fraze, Sep 15, 2024

I'm going to see Ringo for the third time. It's actually my fourth Ringo ticket (all at Fraze Pavilion) but I could not go to the 2018 show because I was cast in Band from Baseball at Human Race Theatre Company; I had a performance the night of the concert, so I sold my ticket. That would have been my third time seeing Ringo. For this new ticket, I got excited and erred in where my seat is. I read the "Row II" as "Row 2," but that was just hopeful Beatle-freak optimism. I'm in the ninth row, not the second. Hey, ninth row ain't exactly a lousy seat!
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Still not a BAD seat, even of it's not in the second row.


Thu, May 2, 2024

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MORE OF THAT ARTHUR WORK:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Memorization icon
Off-Book icon
Still lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines, and lines....(ad infinitum)

Yes, last weekend, Saturday and Sunday especially, was all about line study on my critical mission to get off-book; and, yes, I reasonably conquered Act 1 on Saturday; Sunday, however, though still a productive day on this front, was not as ground-gaining as I hoped it would be. I did however, get good work done on the first scene and the first monologue of Act 2. I'm by no means disappointed in my work on Sunday; it just was not what I wanted it to be.

Again, as virtually always, my anxiety on this matter is unreasonable as I am not at all behind schedule. I mean, for godsake, we haven't even finished blocking the show.

And, just as I promised in the last blog post, just before I started the work that day, I did spend a big portion of my day on my apartment patio, mostly pacing, repeating lines, then drilling myself on what I'd just "learned."...:

fb post - "When you're memorizing lines and you keep paraphrasing what you JUST FINISHED repeating several times and you're starting to really piss yourself off!"

...'Cause, yeah, the pseudo-perfectionist* in me gives me a really hard time when I keep stumbling over sentences, or paraphrasing, or the one that always gets me the most: when my brain won't conjure up the WORD that the text calls for
*) "pseudo" because I, of course, never quite get to perfection despite my ego's delusional asperations that I can.

Periodic frustrations aside, it was a lovely way to spend a sunny, Sunday afternoon, in the shade, into the twilight, in my little rural neighborhood, the occasional dog-walker passing by and wondering, "why is that dude talking to himself."

Since last weekend, I've really not done any active work on memorizing lines, though I have run the lines that I have already have actively memorized. Otherwise, I have done passive work, i.e.: listening to my recordings of the lines. Meanwhile, in rehearsals I've again found that I have quite a bit of the show down, yet, I have much more ground to gain. I am confident that of that ground will be covered soon. I will get through all the active memorization this weekend ‐‐ the read, repeat, then say from memory ‐ read, repeat, then say from memory.... process for the rest of the play. That will start tomorrow evening and I should have no problem getting to the end of the script. I've already made a good inroad into Act 2; I have much less to get to than I've already done. Then comes solidifying it all as close to perfectly verbatim as I can humanly get to.

Character Work icon
I could not say that my character work on Arthur is finished because it's not, but it seems to be coming along well. If I were to quantify it, I'd put Arthur's character development at something like 80%, maybe a little higher.

I certainly have plans to write about this more in depth, probably after the show closes in a post-mortem essay here, but Arthur and I have a lot in common; we also have some vast differences. The job for me now is to capitalize on our sameness, but also manifest the Arthur that is not like me at all. Many of those differences are just basic facts, as is always the case with a character an actor is portraying. But much of it is also persona. I believe I have a handle on this, so it's all about me getting to the place of having fully discovered and become Arthur.

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
Last night's fight choreography session went just as well and as promising as last week's did. The same members of the company were there as the first session: production staff ‐ Director Jared Mola, Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham, and Stage Manager Deirdre Root; cast members ‐ Maximillian (Max) Santucci (aka: Luther Flynn) and myself (aka: Arthur). Kayla is creating a most interesting fight. We're probably about half-way done laying the foundation of the whole fight sequence. Jared is adamant that all the elements of Playwright Tracy Letts' description of the fight are present on our stage. Kayla is right there with him. And apparently, according to our grand leader, the half of the fight left to choreograph will be greatly stepped up in intensity, which adheres to the script. And, hey, I did read the script, so I knew what I was auditioning for.....

Wardrobe icon
A couple of the costume pieces I ordered on-line came in this week and I have been wearing them to rehearsals. I have to distress those clothing items; I'll do that this weekend. I also have another item out of my closet that I think is perfect for Arthur. I haven't yet ran that one by the Carol Finley, our costume designer, but I have run it by Director Jared, who's okay with it if Carol is. I have some other thoughts, too. We'll see if they fly.

Sort of wardrobe related is that this week I've been in my sandals during the day, but I've been switching to shoes during rehearsal. I don't like to walk the stage in footwear my character will not be wearing. Since the play takes place in December and January in Chicago, it's not too likely Arthur would be in sandals, even if he is an old hippy.

Promotion
Publicity
K.L. on stage - SUPERIOR DONUTS at The Dayton Theatre Guild 430 Wayne Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45410 - Join K.L. and his castmates: K.L.Storer as Arthur Przybyszewski, Andre Tomlinson as Franco Wicks, Mike Beerbower as Max Tarasov, Heather Martin as Officer Randy Osteen, Percy Vera as Officer James Bailey, Max Santucci as Luther Flynn, Jennifer Lockwood as Lady Boyle, Brandon Teeple as Kevin Magee

I suppose this can be called "Shameless Self-Promotion," but WTF. Once again, as I almost always do, I've created a 6x4 postcard promoting my appearance in the show, which I will mail to a few people, mostly friends, but also theatre colleagues, especially those occupying the professional realm of theatre.

I did a self-portrait for the headshot so that my pic is tailored to this show and Arthur. It's what will appear in the playbill.

The image is also on both the My Promotions and the Dayton Theatre sub-pages, here.

"Just exactly how many photos is this guy gonna post of himself memorizing lines?"
"Jeesh!"
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Roughing it last Sunday, working at least on the start of my Act 2 lines.
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Leisurely pacing the patio can be exhausting!
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There were some strong breezes and occasional wind gusts, so I employed some "paper weights."
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Late lunch ‐ low carb, gluten-free pizza.

WEDNESDAY'S CHILD IS FULL OF REPRISE:

OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association) icon
WEDNESDAY'S CHILD, by Mark St. Germain at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
In the April 18 blog entry, I mentioned in passing that there might be "some more action that needs to be done as director of Mark St. Germain's Wednesday's Child."

Actually, I wrote that there likely would be. There is, and has been for a few weeks.

The Wednesday's Child production will represent DTG in the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) West Regional play festival at Encore Theatre in Lima, Ohio, on July 6.

The cast will perform an excerpt from the play, about the last thirty minutes, or so, in *friendly* competition with other theatres from the OCTA western region.

The cast was on board with going and we were able to secure excerpt rights from Broadway Play Publishing; the only sticking point was that Kayleen Nordyke has moved to California, so we needed to recast the Becca Connor role. This past weekend I was able to do that, and, I might add, at the proverbial Eleventh Hour, as the deadline for apply to compete in July was looming most closely.

Our new Becca is Susie Gutierrez, a fine actress whom I sort of worked with during The Guild mounting of This Random World. by Steven Dietz. I was on board to be AD for the show, but then I got cast in Banned from Baseball, by Particia O'Hara, at HRTC. I still designed the sound, and I was wrapped from Banned... in time to make the tech rehearsals, so, though I wasn't AD, I did work on the show with Susie, and I've seen her on stage a few times as well. Plus, she gave a good reading at the Wednesday's Child auditions last September. She'll do great.

Of course, we won't be firing up rehearsals for Wednesday's Child for a few more weeks. Right now, I have another show to concentrate on......



Wed, May 8, 2024

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AND THEN THERE WERE NINE, MORE OF THAT ARTHUR STUFF, & SOME SOUND DESIGN WORK:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
YaY!
OUR PRODUCTION FINALLY HAS A CAST OF NINE! Patrick Wanzer has come aboard as Kiril Ivakin. Patrick was last on The Guild stage as Robbie in our 2015 offering of Criminal Hearts, by Jane Martin. Yesterday was Patrick's first rehearsal with us and his presence was most welcomed.

Memorization icon
Off-Book icon
NO TV ZONE
More line work, and more line work, and more line work, and more line work, and....

Over the weekend I finished my intial, active read‐&‐repeat line study work, mostly Sunday at George Rogers Clark Park. Am I close to off-book? Let's just say I'm closer. Certainly there are large chunks where I am doing pretty well, but other places: not so much.

One category where I am definitely in the "not so much" realm is the monologues. With some of them I am somewhat close, but certainly not close enough. As I've intimated before, I want to get these word-perfect and I ain't there yet, at all. This Monday we ran Act 1 and Tuesday it was Act 2. During those rehearsals I definitely needed to keep my eyes on my script while working the monologues; I had to for other spots, too.

Absolutley there were chunks where I did quite well at not referring to the book, or didn't need to except infrequently. In more than a few places the book was in my hand more for my blocking notes than anything else. To be fair, I had it in my hand as a security blanket, too.

That particular security blanket is going to be taken from my hands as of this coming Monday, because that is off-book day for Act 1. Off-book day for Act 2 is Wednesday, with a fight choreography day thrown in between on Tuesday. So I will be doing lots and lots of running the lines between now and Monday. You can bet that the great majority of my coming weekend is allotted for line work. Still, it's a sucker's bet that I won't be calling for lines quite a bit next week.

By-the-way, the "No TV Zone" icon is up there because I have been making that the rule for large portions of my time here recently. It's not true that the TV has not ever been on, but it has been off a great deal of the time. I assure that the TV won't be on much, if at all, for a good week or so.

Character Work icon
I have mixed emotions about Arthur's character development. Where I am with it I am not at all sure. That I have certainly done character work is true. The issue, I believe, is that I am not unlike Arthur in many aspects, as I wrote before, and the line between me and him is somewhat vague to me.

My delima is this: I don't feel a lot of effort on my part; I'm not doing much digging, much searching. Director Jared (Mola) seems to be satisfied with what I am doing, or at least he's happy with the progress. I, on the other hand, am feeling like I'm not doing much.

Don't misunderstand, I don't believe I'm not presenting an authentic person; I don't think I'm guilty of getting "caught acting" on stage ‐‐ a crime no actor of any good measure wants to be guilty of ‐‐ but I feel like I'm pretty much just being me on the boards, unlike my last performance as Jack in Broadway Bound. Whereas I don't see Jack as having demanded much character acting from me, still Jack was a much different man than I and I put in some certain effort to materialize him.

I go back to a conversation I had with an actor when I was directing Wednesday's Child. That actor was experiencing the self-same delima I am. My response was that the actor and the character have some similar traits very much in common, which is certainly why that actor aced the audition, and that they should capitalize on those and then look for what is different about themself and the character. And my take was that the character could have the same mannerisms and speech patterns as the actor and it would be just fine, in fact would help with the sense of authenticity. So, that's probably what I need to embrace here and shut down my over-thinking.

Wardrobe icon
All of the Arthur costume pieces I ordered on-line have arrived, though to be honest I ordered more than I need for Arthur because I just wanted to add some to my wardrobe. The Arthur stuff needs distressing, which in this case means repeated washings in hot water with a bit of bleach to fade them. There are three pieces and I began that process over the weekend. It will continue probably up to Opening Night and maybe after that.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
A little bit of curating has been done for the show. We have the production music chosen for two spots in the show, and a very probable choice for the curtain call music. I also have a strong idea about preshow music and intermission music; I just haven't pulled it all together yet. A large amount of that music is already in my personal library, so that will not be a major task.

AND AGAIN WITH THE MEMORIZING LINES PHOTOS!!!
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Saturday, distressing my costume pieces in my apartment's laundry room.
The initial big push to memorize the rest of Act 2, Sunday, at George Rogers Clark Park.
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A YOUTUBE REACTION TO MY MUSIC & AN URGE TO MAKE NEW MUSIC:

My Music
Publicity
VIRTUAL APPROXIMATE SUBTERFUGE ICON
Over the weekend, the YouTube channel, Amber And Charisse React!, posted a reaction to my song, "Chilled October Morning." The two women occasionally react to indy music, and clearly some by competely unknown artists. I was who solicited the reaction, based on a recommendation from a facebook indy music group I belong to, and actually, I solicited months ago. I sent them YouTUbe links to all the cuts on the Virtually Approximate Subterfuge album with short descriptions of each.

Based on the other reaction videos on Amber's and Charisse's channel, I must admit I expected them to be far less than impressed with whichever song they chose. Their tastes seem to run more heavy metal than my music. As it turned out they were rather kind to me.

As I watched the reaction video, it occurred to me that probably the best song for them to have reacted to would have been "Burning Bridge," which is certainly the biggest headbanger on the album. Had I thought about it, I might have sent only that as a choice. Truth be told, I sent the solicitation before I had checked their channel out, so it was a blind request. But, hey, they didn't dislike "Chilled October Morning" at all, so it's a small win for me. Maybe this'll push my album into the top 100,000 on the album charts.

Click here to see their reaction.

Songwriter icon
recording PRODUCER icon
Recently I mentioned I've had ideas and inspirations for new songs. I also mentioned that I'd like to expand a few short pieces of scene-transition music I composed and recorded for The Guild production of Wednesday's Child into fully developed songs. This is all really bugging me right now because I am too damned busy with other art to do anything about any of this. But man do I want to! I very much would like to begin a new album project, but I can't see that happening until almost the end of 2024, at the very earliest.



Mon, May 13, 2024

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D-DAY, READ-REPEAT-DRILL, FIGHT CLUB, DELAYED RESEARCH, FADED CLOTHING, THE TRAILER, THE CAST & PRODUCTION TEAM:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Off-Book icon

Today is off-book "D-Day" for Act 1, which is what we are running this evening. The cast, with the exception of Percy Vera (who's only entering his third week with the show), is expected to be off-book. Well, Patrick Wanzer doesn't need to be off-book, since he's not in Act 1, and isn't even called. We all, of course, have the present luxury of calling for lines. I would rather not do it very often; I'd rather not do it at all, but we know I will.

Memorization icon
Blocking icon
NO TV ZONE
Monologue icon
Read, repeat, drill, read, repeat, drill, read, repeat, drill, read, repeat, drill, read....

I've dedicated a large, large portion of my time to line study these last few days, certainly this past weekend. Any free time I've had the last part of the work week, at the rent-payer, saw me with either my flashcards or the script in my hand. I listened in my headphones to the audio recording of my lines often, too.

I also have been putting said recording on loop and playing it on my laptop while I'm in bed, as well. I know that my mind is taking in the words while I sleep because I've had a few dreams with the lines in them. Often the lines are all or most of the dialogue of the dreams. Friday night was different. I had a dream that I was with Jim Gaffigan, of all people. I was listening to a private reading of a new play Jim had written. And I was sitting there, in the dream, thinking, "What the F@¢#! He's ripping off Tracy Letts, verbatim!"

I did line study at home, most of Friday evening and Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon I felt I was finished with the bulk memorization; now it was time to start fine tuning. For me that meant attacking Arthur's monologues as well as a few other trouble spots, usually longer paragraphs of dialogue with tricky and/or convoluted wording or structures. For that work, I headed over to John Bryan State Park with the specific flashcards covering all this material. Then in the evening I was back home, drilling myself on the whole show.

Here's the benefit of having a key to the theatre where your show is going up: Yesterday I dropped into the theatre, for the afternoon and evening, and did my line study on the stage, incorporating my blocking. I won't have the book in my hand on stage during rehearsals any longer so I needed to work on having my movement memorized better than I have had it. I had a productive day in the space, but I wish I'd had more time to work this stuff even more.

I'm taking half day vacations today, Wednesday, and Thursday, from the rent-payer to get in a bit more drilling before rehearsals these days. This afternoon it'll be Act 1, as many times as I can do it. Wednesday it'll be the same for Act 2. Thursday it'll be the whole show since we are doing a full run.

Tomorrow night is "Fight Club*" (see next item)

And yeah, I have still been adhering to the No TV Zone rule, even more so than before, as the TV has not been on at all, though I have indulged in some of the YouTube channels I subscribe to, when I've been eating some meals or just taking a break from the line work.

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
This past Wednesday was the final base blocking of the show's fight sequence, these stage combat rehearsals now being referred to as "Fight Club" ‐‐ does this mean I should not talk or write about them? We got through the third and final part of the fight, what our illustrious director, Jared Mola, called "Act 3." We're not finished with the fight choreography sessions with Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham, but from this point forward it's going to be review and fine-tuning, adding elements of detail and finessing the broad strokes that have been laid out. I must say, if Max and I do our jobs well, the fight will be awesome.

?
DRAMATURGY icon
In doing some dramaturgy to get more insight into Arthur and his background, such as the socio-politcal turmoil in Chicago in the late 60s, and other like references in the text, I've grabbed a bit of information but as of yet have found time to delve deep into it. I'm also not done with the research.

I also could not find any good information about a historical reference Arthur makes in one of the monologues. He says of the summer of 1968, I assume at the time of the 1968 Democratic National Convention:
Then in '68 I got my head cracked open by Daley's police in Old Town, the riot no one saw on TV, the one even more brutal than the others.
I haven't come across anything that says there was a substantially violent altercation in Old Town. An Old Town protest is mentioned several times, but the reports point to something pretty calm, or at least not volatile.

Arthur also, at another point, name-drops quite a few black poets, whom he is clearly familiar with. Many of them I have never heard of. My lofty goal has been to look up their bios and read some of their work, but, you know, the name of the game has been: Lines, lines, lines...

I do have to note that I am disappointed that Dayton's own Paul Laurence Dunbar, who as poets go, is not an unknown, whatsoever, is not one of the black poets mentioned in the play. You can see his face on a mural through the window in the far right photo in the first row below; the photo was taken inside the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library at Wright State University, the library, my employer, otherwise known on this blog as "the rent-payer."

Wardrobe icon
I did give some time this weekend to further distressing the Arthur costume pieces I recently purchased. I boiled them in a solution of water and bleach in my kitchen Saturday morning. Saturday evening, I again ran them through a heavy-duty, hot-water cycle, again with bleach, in the laundry room. They're close to sufficiently faded; next I need to give them a little physical treatment to wear the fabric out a bit.

DTG Promotional trailer icon
Producing the trailer for this one is going to be a little tricky. The portion for which we can use dialogue clearly needs to feature Arthur, and really, it needs Franco, too. Now, since I am Arthur, I certainly will not be operating a hand-held camera during anything with Arthur in the shot. Either I find someone who has the cinematic ability to be a hand-held operator, or there will be three static angels (from stationary cameras on tripods) from the principal photography for the video. That goes for the rest of the footage, the mos footage, which will include the whole cast.

We only are licensed to use a total of thirty seconds of dialogue, any other footage must be absent such audio. So the trailer will have thirty seconds from an Arthur/Franco scene. What thirty seconds will be used is not yet determined, but I have some ideas.

Castmates
By the Way
I do not believe I have yet expressed how much I am enjoying working with, collaborating with, my castmates. This cast is pleasant, professional, and quite talented. That goes for the production team, too. It's always a relief to work in a company that doesn't have bullshit and unnecessary drama. There's not even a little of that crap here.

OH, FOR GODSAKES! MORE PHOTOS OF LINE MEMORIZATION?!?!
Well, technically, not ALL of them; some of them are "line drilling" photos, even if it's difficult to make the distinction between the two by looking at them. And, c'mon, some of 'em aren't even about lines.
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Line work at the rent-payer; first last Thursday at lunch, outside, then during an afternoon break in my workspace. Then lunch Friday (it was a little cooler outside)
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More line work, Saturday morning, outside the ol' abode.
Drilling the monologues and problem spots at John Bryan State Park.
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Still drilling the monologues and problem spots at John Bryan State Park.
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Drilling my lines and walking my blocking, on the DTG Mirkin Stage, yesterday.
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Cookin' a costume ‐‐ aka: distressing some of Arthur's clothing on my kitchen stove.
BONUS PIC: I came across this dude, on the side of the path, while I was at John Bryan State Park on Saturday.

AND THE NEXT THING BEGINS...SORTA:

FutureFest 2024, Dayton Playhouse, July 19-21, 2024
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Before I get to my big 'ol off-book rehearsal tonight for Superior Donuts, I will drop into Dayton Playhouse for the first directors' meeting for FutureFest 2024 to briefly meet with the five directors and pick up hardcopies of the scripts. It's going to be mostly introduction for some and a very brief sort of orientation, or whatever. Then, I will pretty much set FF24 aside until Superior Donuts has closed.

CORRECTION
May 17 addendum: Okay, two things. 1) Doing sound for FF24 actually isn't "the next thing" after Superior Donuts, that's actually Wednesday's Child at the OCTA West Regionals; and, 2) "the next thing" does not need to wait until Superior Donuts closes ‐‐ but will have to wait until it opens.



Fri, May 17, 2024

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OFF-BOOK? NO PROBLEM (MOSTLY) & LET'S FIGHT!:

fb post: "I don't want to sound like I didn't have faith in all of you, but that went SO much better than I was expecting." ‐‐ Jared Mola to the cast of SUPERIOR DONUTS at DTG after the first off-book night of Act 1

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Off-Book icon
Our off-book rehearsals went pretty damn well this week. Certainly we all called for lines, I certainly did, but we were all pretty much on top of our scripts, with the occasional memory glitches, but far fewer than there could have been. It would have been lovely had we all been word-perfect, but that was not going to happen; won't even happen when we are all at our best; I can't imagine that any of us will not paraphrase at least a little, even during performance, though the paraphrasing may be slight.

As for the line-memory struggles, though far less than they could have been, for me, this period of rehearsal is always like the difference between singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the shower and transferring that to on-the-stage ‐‐ in the shower I'm Freddy Mercury, but on the stage, not so much. I'm not a bad singer, I just ain't Freddy by any stretch of the imagination. But, to extend the comparison, this week, my off-book-attempt "singing" was closer to the mark than it certainly could have been.

Seriously, our Act 1 Monday, Act 2 Wednesday, and full run last night, all went exceedingly well, as stumble-throughs go, for the whole cast.

DOH!
I have been having one issue that has started to become a little irritating to me. In the play, the other lead character, FRANCO Wicks (played beautifully by Andre Tomlinson, by-the-way) has written a clearly-autobiographical novel and the main character is named ROCCO Biggs. Here's the dilemma for my addled brain: several times during the play, my Arthur says Franco's name. I have been, on occasion, saying Rocco instead of Franco. It's been kind of funny up to this point; but sometime quite soon it's gonna stop being humorous and start becoming a problem. I made it almost all the way though that full-run yesterday without this dumbassed error, then in the last fucking five minutes, I did it. Everyone laughed, including me. However, if I don't break myself of this ridiculous malaprop sometime pretty-damned soon, I'm going to stop laughing about it. As you can tell, I'm already a bit annoyed by the error.

On the other hand, I think I did quite well at executing my blocking correctly, at least at yesterday's rehearsal. I'll find out for certain, later, about yesterday. Director Jared Mola did not give us his notes after rehearsal, since we ent past our usual quitting time; so, I'll get any notes later, probably Monday before we start.

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My line-drilling flashcards. On the left, the Act 1 stack, on Monday. On the right, both acts, yesterday.
Drilling Lines icon

Despite the conundrum of the Franco/Rocco bloopers, I was mostly happy with my off-book performance this week. The three half-days of vacation, to attend to line-study drilling, paid off. My biggest sticking point is now Arthur's monologues, where my goal of verbatim delivery is being met less so than for my lines, overall. So that's where I have the most line work to do.
My line drilling will continue, up to, well, let's see, I believe the date will be Sunday, June 23, our closing performance. So, up until somewhere around 3:00 that day, when we have opening curtain. It'll be difficult for me to drill lines during the show since I'm on stage a good 90% of the time ‐‐ though I could drill some Act 2 lines during intermission.

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
Now that the fight choreography has been mostly blocked, this past Tuesday, during our session, the focus was on review and adding some other components. such as some vocalization, for example. "Mostly blocked," because this coming Monday, other actors will be added to the sequence who get their own blocking as spectators, and possible participants in limited manners. My guess is that a lot of the spectator blocking will come from Jared; meanwhile any participant blocking will be from Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham, who will also assure that all spectator blocking is safe for all the actors in the scene.

AGAIN! ? YEP ICON
More of those damned line-study photographs!
Seriously, how many reiterations of the same pic is this idiot gonna force on us?!?
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Once again, on the patio (and the walkway) at the abode, Monday, drilling Act 1 in the afternoon before rehearsal.
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Wednesday afternoon at The Guild, drilling Act 2.
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Lunch on the patio, yesterday, before my line drilling of the whole show.
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Before the drills, I read the play again, from start to finish.
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Then it was drill, drill, drill ‐‐ the whole show, several times, then focused drilling on all Arthur's monologues.

A RETRY ON NUMBER 1!:

In Concert icon
Neko Case at Memorial Hall, Cincinnati, Sep 22, 2024

Exactly one week after I see Ringo Starr at the Fraze Pavilion, I will see Neko Case at Memorial Hall in Cincinnati. And here's the kicker: remember how I had thought I will be in the second row for Ringo, but it turns out I am in the ninth? I AM in the second row for Neko, and the ticket cost me less than half as much. But then, Neko isn't a former Beatle, either. The other interesting coincidence between Neko and Ringo is that, just like Ringo, I had previously bought a ticket to see Neko in concert but had to give it up and miss the show. And, again, it was because I was cast in a show at the Human Race Theatre Company, this time it was Fiddler on the Roof in 2013. But for this one, rather than the conflict being a performance night, it was a rehearsal night, which Director Kevin Moore was nice enough to give me off, but we were only a few days away from Tech Week and I decided I shouldn't miss the rehearsal. Rather than sell the Neko ticket, as I would later the Ringo ticket, I gave it to my niece. Unlike, Ringo, which would have been my third time seeing him in concert, that 2013 ticket was my first for Neko, so this will now be my first Neko Case concert....

....unless I get cast in a Broadway show or a Wes Anderson movie,          or          something...

Seat for Neko Case at Cincinnati Memorial Hall, Sep 22, 2024. Approximate location of seat, 2nd row, just right of center
Row B, seat 206



Mon, May 20, 2024

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MOVING INTO THE NEW PHASES:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Drilling Lines icon
So, I'm feeling pretty good about my off-book status, though I still have some room for improvement. But the memorization process is done. Now it's fine-tuning the little paraphrases I'm still guilty of. As I've written before, I especially want to work on this for all of Arthur's monologues because Letts' language is so well-written in those passages and I do not want to bastardize that language.

At this point, and from this point forward, my line study is mostly about running the whole show, either with the script or with my flashcards, and drilling myself ‐‐ reading the cue lines then saying my lines. When using the script I have a blank index card I lay on the page to conceal the lines I've not gotten to yet.

But I also am focusing work on those monologues as well as few other longer lines (paragraph lines) to get myself as close to word-perfect delivery as I can get. Yesterday, I did this line work during a hike at Clifton Gorge, and I only brought the flashcards for these specific sections. I did relatively well, but there were definite problem spots. Overall I was cautiously satisfied.

Overall I am reasonably satisfied with where I stand with my lines. But it pays to not get "smugly cocky" as I once heard someone put it.

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
Tonight we bring new members into the "Superior Donuts Fight Club." Those three by-standers, and sometime participants, get added to the fight choreography. That is tonight's entire rehearsal agenda.

This is actually the last rehearsal dedicated to the fight. From this point forward it will be added in where it goes in the show. It won't be at speed at first, but it gets incorporated in, starting with tomorrow's full run.

NO, THERE ARE NO "LINE-STUDY" PICS TODAY
But, here are some pics from during the Clifton Gorge hike, yesterday, where I was doing line work. And I only pulled out the flashcards when I needed to verify a line, or a word.
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A LITTLE WEDNESDAY WORK:

OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association) icon
WEDNESDAY'S CHILD, by Mark St. Germain at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
I still can't give a lot of time, energy, and mental space to Mark St. Germain's Wednesday's Child and our forthcoming DTG entry of it into the July 6 OCTA Western Regional Conference, but I need to give it some attention. Last night, after having corralled potential schedule conflicts from all the cast members, I sent out a tentative blocking schedule; I'm hoping it's a locked schedule, but, we'll see.

This coming Saturday, I'll head over to Lima, Ohio to the Encore Theatre, where the regional is being held, to see the stage and the facility, as well as to get some necessary tech info.

I'll also, sometime soon be sending Susie Gutierrez, our new Becca Conner, some pre-rehearsal notes, essentially things for her to consider as she's doing her script-study to become Becca.


WHO'S THE GREMLIN NOW?:

Dayton Theatre Guild
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
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Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
glitch!
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON

This entry applies to Superior Donuts, Wednesday's Child, and all the future productions at our beloved Dayton Theatre Guild.

During Tech Week for Flight of the Lawnchair Man, the laptop on which we run Show Cue Systems, our sound op software, started an automatic operating systems update at the most inopportune time, that being during a tech/dress rehearsal. This happened because:

SOMEBODY TURNED ON THE WI-FI ON THE COMPUTER, AND LEFT IT ON!!

For the record, the Wi-Fi on that laptop is not supposed be on unless I have turned it on for a specific purpose. It certainly is not supposed to be left on.

Can you guess why?

In other words, the guilt for the tech issue here does not belong to that metaphorical, ethereal production gremlin I am occasionally invoking, but rather a garden-variety human numbskull.

After the systems update, Show Cue Systems could not find the virtual speakers for the external surround-sound sound card we need to send sound signals to more than two channels. I had to disengage that sound card and point SCS to the stereo sound card that comes with the laptop. I also had to re-network the sound cords so we would get sound for Lawnchair Man from the up stage PA speakers. And this was going to be the sound-system setup until I could trouble-shoot the issue. So, it was going to be what we'd have for Superior Donuts, though this will be a pretty unsophisticated sound design, so needing more than two channels would not be critical, as was fortunately the case for Lawnchair Man.

Last Saturday, since I was in Dayton for the Guild board meeting in the morning, anyway, I spent time in the booth addressing this problem. After a couple hours of trying this and trying that and trying this and trying that, I managed to get things back to what they ought to be. At least I hope I did such.

I uninstalled and reinstalled the virtual speakers driver for the surround-sound card. I also installed the newer version of SCS, which I'll hold my breath about. I'd installed that a few years ago, but we kept getting errors that crashed the software, though I've used that version on other pcs at other theatres, and in my own virtual pc environment on my MacBook Pro, with no issues. We shall see if now that the booth laptop has an OS update, things will be okay. If not, we'll go back to the previous version.



Fri, May 24, 2024

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ANOTHER WEEK IN THE BOOKS:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY icon
HEALTHWISE ICON
Our "Superior Donuts Fight Club" is now over as an exclusive, members-only affair. Maximillian Santucci (Luther) and I were joined Monday by Mike Beerbower (Max), Brandon Teeple (Kevin), and Patrick Wanzer (Kiril) for the last rehearsal dedicated to fight choreography. From now on, the fight sequence is now a part of every full run. Along with the fight's incorporation into the fray, we now have fight call before each rehearsal, as we will for each performance.

Director Jared Mola and Fight Choreographer Kayla Graham both gave blocking to our three new additions for the sequence; Kayla was, of course, giving fight choreography to add to what Max S. and I are doing.

Ooops!: Monday night, I brought my arm down incorrectly during one of my falls and smacked my right elbow dead onto the floor, causing a swelling bump. It didn't hurt much but it was uncomfortable, and frankly, a little annoying. Kayla had, in fact, expressed concern about how I was doing that particular fall earlier in the rehearsal, and had even cautioned me about hitting my elbows on the floor. So I can't claim I wasn't warned. Fortunately, the elbow didn't suffer any serious injury and was in much better shape the next morning; the swelling was almost gone by then. But this little mishap was a bold, red exclamation point at the end of Kayla's caution to me.

When we ran the fight during the full-run on Tuesday, both Max S. and I felt good about it. We did not take it quite as slow as we were supposed to, however. It started at the designated slower speed, but by the halfway point we were at or close to performance speed. I chalk it up to adrenaline.

Wednesday and last night we didn't do full runs, but rather scene work, and the fight was not addressed Wednesday. Kayla was back last night and we did do work on the fight at the end of the rehearsal. I'm sure there will be more honing, but the fight sequence is in excellent shape.

Off-Book icon
Tuesday the whole cast seemed off our game on lines. Most of us called for lines a little more than we had most of last week. I certainly struggled more and definitely went up a couple times. I also had some words my mind would not access. It's not like I haven't been drilling my lines; we know I have. I guess the issue for me, and maybe the others, was that I/we(?) hadn't walked the stage with my/our(?) lines for five days.

So far, including the week just finished, I have corrected myself when I've realized I've erred. I've also occasionally stopped to ask our SM, Deirdre Root, for clarification about a line, or, often, a word. That stops now. We have three runs of the show next week. It's time to start getting to performance demeanor. From now on, if I err and realize it, I go on, without breaking character, make a mental note of the error ‐‐ as well as expect a line note from Deirdre ‐‐ and if I am not sure of a line, or a word, I pull out whatever I can that works ‐‐ and again expect a line note from Deirdre.

Tech Week begins a week from this coming Sunday, and though I may call for line this coming week, I will be damned if I will do it during those tech/dress rehearsals, unless I have just gone up so badly that I am lost, something that I really want to do all I can to keep as a hypothetical proposition.

SCENE WORK ICON
As stated above, Wednesday and yesterday was scene work rather than runs of the show, or either act. Jared wanted to alter some of the blocking and give us some adjustments to each of our characters' intent, based on his vision for our characters. Of course, as I also mentioned above, the last part of rehearsal was work on the fight sequence; it wasn't really any new choreography as much as it was tuning and tightening things up. There's a little bit of scene work left to do, and Andre Tomlinson (Franco) and I are called an hour early on Tuesday to work a few things.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Now that my off-book status is in good shape (Tuesday's slight setback aside) I am devoting more attention to the show's sound design; I was on board as sound designer months before I was cast. The first order of business is to curate the rest of the production music. I've already chosen the music out of Act 1, the music for one scene change, and the curtain call music. I've acquired most of what wasn't already in my music library, but I have a few songs, I know I want, left to get ahold of.

Jared actually picked one piece of production music, which we will use as the music coming from a radio during the show. A song that was already in my library. He wants it to be a practical sound, so I'm going to put the song on a cassette tape and a particular actor will turn the radio/cassette player on and off during the scene. I'll be preparing several tapes just in case the production gremlin decides to get cheeky. I believe I am also going to back it up with a hotkey in the Show Cue Systems show program just in case we have failure during a performance.

As I've written previously, I also have a very strong idea about the preshow music and intermission music. In fact, I will be straying from my tradition of creating a really long list of songs for intermission then setting the intermission playback in Show Cue Systems to random ‐‐ where with a good hour, or so, of music set on random playback, you get a different intermission list for each performance. However, this time for intermission, I am choosing specific songs, all relevant to the show, at least for the first part of intermission. I doubt I randomize the end of intermission, but we'll see. Pre-show is probably my traditional two hours (plus) of music randomly set so the half-hour will be a different preshow for each performance. I do have a few specific songs picked out for the preshow line up of potentials, and I have certain artists that I know will be in there. But final choices of all the songs has not been made. There also will be at least one more scene change that needs music, and perhaps more than that. No choices have been made for such.

I also asked Andre for three of Franco's favorite recording artists, so I can add them to, at least, intermission. I have already thought of a song from each that I'll use; well, actually, with one of them there's a toss-up between two songs and I haven't made my mind up yet which one is the pick.

The script calls for one instance of sound effects: the sounds of a CTA bus arriving and departing outside of the donut shop. I've come to the conclusion that this choice is not random; I believe it's likely that the bus is a deliberate, if subtle, harkening by Letts' back to something he wrote in Arthur's first monologue; in my mind, it's one of several things that point to a change that is happening in Arthur, a change that continues for the rest of the play. Unless, of course, the sound of the bus was added by the director and/or sound designer in the first production of the play and made it's way into the script with no input from Mr. Letts. Still, the symbolism and value I'm reading into it works.



MEMORIAL DAY, 2024

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O War! thou son of hell, Whom angry heavens do make their minister, Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part. Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly. He that is truly dedicated to war hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself, hath not essentially but by circumstance, the name of valor. ‐ William Shakespeare, HENRY IV, Part II, Act V, scene 2 ‐ MEMORIAL DAY, 2024


Tue, May 28, 2024

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MORE OF THAT FRICKIN' GREMLIN'S BS!:

Dayton Theatre Guild
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
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Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
Remember how just not too long ago I "fixed" the multi-channel issues with our Guild sound system? Well, apparently I was either wrong or it was a short-term thing. That damned production gremlin has struck again. There's a channel missing in our sound delivery system, what for us is Channel 3. I spent some time yesterday isolating where the problem may be. It's not in the mixing board; it's not the actual speaker in the house; nor is it the Show Cue Systems software. The issue is clearly the external eight-channel sound card. So DTG is now back to up stage, stereo sound for the house speakers. I could actually rework the cables out of the mixer to get sound from all four PA speakers, but it would still be stereo and not four-channel. I may do that, if I can find the time before Superior Donuts opens.


SOUND, LINES & TECH:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In REHEARSAL icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Yesterday, I spent my afternoon and evening in the booth at The Guild, mostly working on the sound design for Superior Donuts. This would be when the gremlin's handiwork revealed itself. Nevertheless, I took out most of the sound work for the show. I have the sound plot worked out and laid out in the spreadsheet, to be printed for the sound tech's use as a reference. I haven't put the cues in a script yet for the tech, but since there are not all that many, about a dozen at the moment, that will take no time at all.

At home, Saturday evening, I processed all the music I have recently curated for the show, each song to be one of production music, preshow music, or intermission music. Yesterday, I created the show's program file in Show Cue Systems then added all the songs, appropriately. I also built the sound effect of the CTA bus arriving and departing, and plugged that into the SCS show file.

Another thing I did Saturday evening, at home, was use my Fostex Multitracker X-28 four-track cassette recorder to record onto a cassette tape the song that will be the practical sound, which will come from a small boombox on stage during a scene. Like I said I would, I also put the song into the SCS show file to be triggered by a hotkey if the tape player fails during performance ‐‐ there's are emergency hotkeys to start it and to stop it.

I did have a tech issue while recording at home, still do, actually. Quite a while ago, I dropped the X-28 while prepping to record something. It took about a four-foot fall and suffered some damage. I found a guy who could repair it but it has never been back to pre-KL-stupidity. Yeah, this one I can't point a finger at the gremlin about. It records just fine. And while recording, I can use the headphone jack to monitor the audio. But I get no audio on just regular playback, where the signal comes from the play head for the cassette. So I was not able to hear the result of my recording effort while at home. And I do not have any other tape player at the house any longer. The funny thing here is that about a year ago, I used the X-28 to play back the four-track recordings of an album I did in the 80s and digitize each track by putting them on individual tracks on my Tascam 24-Track recorder; clearly I used the playhead on the X-28 for that. At any rate, I cold not get playback on the song for the show until I was at the theatre yesterday, using the tape player that will be in the show. The playback is just fine; I actually brought the X-28 to the theatre and made a couple backup cassettes.

Drilling Lines icon
My off-book status is improving, but I'm still not at that magical "word-perfect" place. But I'm going over my lines daily, and mostly making fewer-and-fewer errors with each pass. I always drill the whole show at least once a day, always in bed every night before I go to sleep, and at least once more during the day if I can fit it in. As well, I further drill myself specifically on the monologues, and also the more challenging passages, several times during the day outside of drilling the whole show.

COMING SOON!
In Tech Rehearsal icon
We have three rehearsals left before we move into Tech Week.
THREE REHEARSALS!
This coming Tech Sunday, the rest of the cast is called at 1:00; I, however, am called at 11:00, since I also wear the sound designer hat.

Jeez! We're only nine days away from Opening Night!!!

Meanwhile, tonight, Andre Tomlinson and I are called an hour early so Director Jared Mola can go over with us some changes he wants to make to a couple of our Arthur/Franco scenes.

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Recording, at home, the chosen song, via Quicktime on my laptop, to my Fostex four-track cassette recorder.
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In the DTG booth, listening to the cassette recording I made at home, as well as seeing which of several prop cassette players works best ‐‐ or actually works. That black one was the winner.
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In the booth, recording the backup cassettes.
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Left: keying in the show's sound plot ‐ Right: the resulting not-so-long list of sound cues (that will probably get only just a little longer)
I didn't take up too much real estate in the tech booth yesterday, did I?

A LITTLE MORE WEDNESDAY WORK:

OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association) icon
WEDNESDAY'S CHILD, by Mark St. Germain at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
Saturday I trekked up to Encore Theatre in Lima, Ohio to walk the stage, in preparation for The Guild's July 6 excerpt performance of Wednesday's Child by Mark St. Germain, during the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) West Regional play festival.

Ah, screw it! Let me be a little more self-involved and say that it was in preparation for the excerpt performance of Wednesday's Child by MY ROCKIN' CAST!

As well as seeing the stage, we theatre reps who were there got to see the facilities (greenroom, restrooms, tech booth, etc), and we saw where and how the load in will work. And, of course, various policies, rules, and stipulations were addressed. The agenda was almost completely agreed upon between we theatres and the OCTA officials, such things as the order and times of the performances, when each cast has the greenroom, when load in is, stuff like that.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
As well as working on sound for Superior Donuts, yesterday, I did some sound work for Wednesday's Child, too. I made a copy of the SCS show cue file and then deleted all the sound cues from that which are outside of what we need for the excerpt. I also altered the sound cues to all be stereo signals, as most were four-channel. This would have happened without the gremlin debacle mentioned above, since the Encore Theatre's sound system needs stereo signal. I do plan to renumber the sound cues. At the moment, the fist cue is #S48. Might as well, make it #S1.

I will be running the sound at OCTA in July. We could have Encore staff run it, but there are a few cues that the sound tech really needs to have rehearsed a few times for the proper dramatic effect to occur, especially one particular moment. Though we are going to greatly simplify the light cues, most likely to simply Lights Up and Lights Down, I will call the cues for their light tech, and, again, most especially because of that same dramatic moment. I can bring a laptop for the sound and plug into their console; I am not sure if I am bringing the laptop from our both, or using my own in the virtual Windows environment. It would make sense to just bring the booth laptop, though, wouldn't it?

Set Piece icon
Blocking icon
I mentioned that we are simplifying the lighting plot for the OCTA excerpt. We are also simplifying the staging. We are going with a very minimalist black box approach. I'm going with simplified set pieces that can be easily moved and can be repurposed during the performance to serve as more than one piece of furniture. They're also going to be really neutral. And we will only have on stage what we need to tell the stories of the scenes we're doing. I spent part of yesterday scoping out some good pieces from The Guild inventory. I found some stuff that will work just fine.

I'll also be altering the blocking. Though the Encore has, like we do at The Guild, a thrust stage, it's not nearly as deep into the audience as is ours. It's actually much closer to being a proscenium stage. So I'll be altering the blocking for their space.

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Before I headed to Lima, Saturday, I went on line to find some good hiking in the area. One of the places I found was Kendrick Woods State Nature Preserve. So after my visit to Encore Theatre, and a late lunch at Hunan Gardens, I had a decent hike at Kendrick Woods.
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Trimming and editing the sound cues for the OCTA excerpt performance.
LEGACY PIC: This was on the chalkboard in the DTG greenroom during the Wednesday's Child run.



Mon, Jun 3, 2024

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TECH WEEK IS UPON US!:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
In Tech Rehearsal icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Yesterday, we kicked off Tech Week with a pretty smooth Tech Sunday. It was a usual sort of first tech rehearsal day. We had a dry tech in the morning with just the director, stage manager, designers, and tech crew. Then we did a cue-to-cue with the whole cast and crew in the afternoon. We did not do a full run. So we are now embedded in Tech Week, after having what was mostly a good rehearsal week leading up to it.

BUNGLEBLUNDERGAFFATION:
Let me assert that I am ONLY speaking for and about myself when I say that this past Tuesday's first rehearsal back after four days off was less than stellar ‐‐ much, much less. Such terms as "Train Wreck" or "Dumpster Fire" come to mind. At least one of you five regulars may remember that not too long ago (Friday, May 24, to be exact) I wrote about the coming rehearsals that were last week's, in regards to my off-book status and attempts:
So far, including the week just finished, I have corrected myself when I've realized I've erred. I've also occasionally stopped to ask our SM, Deirdre Root, for clarification about a line, or, often, a word. That stops now. We have three runs of the show next week. It's time to start getting to performance demeanor. From now on, if I err and realize it, I go on, without breaking character, make a mental note of the error ‐‐ as well as expect a line note from Deirdre ‐‐ and if I am not sure of a line, or a word, I pull out whatever I can that works ‐‐ and again expect a line note from Deirdre.
None of that happened Tuesday night, and I mean NONE. I DID correct myself when I relaized I erred; I DID stop and ask for clarification about lines and about specific words; I DID break character; I did NOT get into performance demeanor. And MAN did I do some paraphrasing! I got a line-notes email the next day and I didn't even bother to read it; I didn't see the point; I was already going to do some serious work on all my lines, anyway.

Just exactly WHAT happened to all my progress on my lines?!?!

Plus, the Arthur that I have thus far built, did not fully show up Tuesday night, either. To be blunt, a lot of my readings pretty much sucked. Not all of them mind you, but more than makes me happy. On the other hand, I was pleased with a few new, different spins I put on some of my monologues, or at least portions or particular lines. But over all, my delivery as Arthur was quite sub-par on Tuesday of last week.

One of my castmates, who clearly was feeling similar to me about their own work that Tuesday, attributed it all to our several days away from the stage, which is probably correct. I'm still frustrated about my own bumble-f### of a night, regardless.

Granted, I had come in early so Director Jared Mola could rework a couple scenes between Franco and Arthur (Andre Tomlinson and me), and I was concentrating on new things for those two scenes, a situation that sometimes throws me until I've acclimated the changes, but that doesn't account for the rest of the show.

In response to at least last Tuesday's lines debacle, I took two vacation hours from the rent-payer at the end of both my Wednesday and Thursday workdays, last week, to give myself more time to drill lines before those evening's rehearsals.

AND THEN
I am happy to say that Wednesday and Thursday nights were much, Much, MUCH better!
I certainly was on my game WAY better than Tuesday, and others felt the same about themselves, and so did our fearless leader; and there was absolutely a better overall energy to both evenings for the whole ensemble, no doubt. I did still correct myself a few times both nights, and I called for lines a few times, too. But it was not near as bad as that Tuesday night fiasco. The funny thing is it was all material I usually have down pat, but I was trying new things, some of my own volition, some off notes from Jared. I also know there were a few spots where I still committed that sin of paraphrasing, which I never like.

Grrrrr! icon
And I did, however, slightly slip back into that habit of saying Rocco instead of Franco, once during the Thursday rehearsal, then in conversation, just after it was over. DAMN IT!

Drilling Lines icon
You can bet that I'm drilling my lines! Even without the shitshow that was last Tuesday, it would still be a daily thing, regardless of what shape I've judged my off-book status to be in. But now I gotta add this Franco/Rocco crap, as something to look out for, back into the mix!
*See the pics below, which I rationalize are related.......

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
glitch!
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON
Last Thursday we tried the practical radio (i.e.: tape player) during the relevant scene and it work in that it successfully played the music. However, during the rehearsal, when it came time for the character to turn it off, the Off button would not function for the actor. It had worked the several times I tested it the previous Monday, and it worked Thursday when Deirdre Root, our stage manager tried it earlier, and then when I cued the music on the cassette. Yet, the Off button did not work during the scene. Perhaps this is a clue as to why someone donated it to our props collection.

In comes Partick Wanzer (Kiril, in the show) to the rescue. He bought a brand-new radio/cassette player ‐‐ with USB input, no less ‐‐ and donated it to the theatre! We gave it its first testdrive yesterday, and it works like a charm! The evening after that snafu with the tape player we were originally using, I put out a beg via email to The Guild board, as well as a beg on social media to the Dayton theatre community, for a functioning casette-playing boombox we could borrow. I got several good offers. Then Patrick sent out his email to the Superior Donuts cast and crew about his purchase.

So YaY! Patrick!!

Then icon
Otherwise for soundwork, everything was pretty much set before Tech Sunday began, having been dealt with on Memorial Day. Naturally, volume levels have been tweaked, and may get further tweaks. Also, during the dry tech, yesterday, Jared asked for interlude music into the curtain call music, and I plugged in a piece of music I had reserved for potential production music. However, as we ran the end of the show during cue-to-cue, I realized that particular music didn't fit the feel and mood of the end of the show. Since we didn't do a full run yesterday, we ended the day pretty early, so I stayed and found a piece of music in my own music library that works, and replaced what I'd put in earlier. I was staying after the day was done for the whole cast and crew, anyway, to deal with audio for the promo trailer ‐‐ (see next item).

DTG Promotional trailer icon
I did a little bit of work on the trailer, yesterday. I recorded some select dialogue by Andre Tomlinson (Franco) and myself (Arthur), which will go over b-roll-like footage of tonight's dress/tech rehearsal. Well, that's probably what it will go over. I have an idea that I may give a try. I will still be shooting the rehearsal tonight, and multi-cam, and there will be imagery from that used under our dialogue, and the footage will otherwise be used for the video. But no dialogue from any of the footage will be used, only what Andre and I did on mic yesterday will be used. I actually hadn't completely determined what dialogue we'd do in the session. Between Andre and myself we picked short passages as we went. Tonight I shoot DV footage; tomorrow I edit.

Castmates
I have said recently how awesome and rockin' my castmates are? I am having a blast working with this ensemble! The crew, too. There is only one actor on stage whom I have ever worked on stage with before. That's cool, too, that though I am familiar with most of the cast's work, and have worked behind the scenes on shows with many of them, this is our first stagetime, together. More on that, (probably), when I write my little personal post mortem after the show closes.

Saturday I headed a bit north of my neighborhood to Conover, Ohio and Kiser Lake State Park to scope it out for a potential camping trip, if I can fit one in this summer, and also because I wanted to explore a new place to hike. Naturally, while I was there, I ran my lines from the play, and this time I ran them strictly from memory ‐‐ no script nor flashcards for reference. This use of my hiking time is how I rationalize dropping the pics of the hike into this blog post ‐‐ including some pics of some critters I encountered on the trail: a frog (one of several), a snake, and a crawdaddy.
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Fri, Jun 7, 2024

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Opening Today

GAME ON! icon On Stage icon HEY! I'm in THIS!'
Today is Game Day, i.e.: Opening Night. It's weird to feel all of nervous, calm, apprehensive, confident, anxious, and anticipatory all at the same time, but there ya go. I do look forward to an audience seeing me get to play with these eight people on stage....

In Tech Rehearsal icon
Our Tech Week went pretty damn well, with few big snafus in the works; the gremlin pretty much behaved itself, or was off napping, or at another theatre sowing mischief. I'd love to tell you that I was word-perfect with my lines all week. Yes, I would love to tell you, I really would. Well, I had more than just one or two line flubs; I never completely went up, but I came uncomfortably close a few times. As I said in the dressing room at one point during the run last night: It's funny how I can recite those damned monologues several time throughout the day and be at, or close to, verbatim, but when on stage....

Also, both Monday and Tuesday, for various reasons that I won't detail here ‐‐ because they're spoilers for those who might come to see the show ‐‐ I committed the amateur's sin of breaking character, something that makes me unhappy, even a little pissed at myself, that I did. Director Jared Mola. of course, gave me a note about it, but ultimately he didn't need to; I was already upset enough about it that I'd told myself: "OK, enough of THAT bullshit!" On a brighter note, the last two nights, I have picked up a cue that I had been consistently missing, so, that's good.

And, here's a big shoutout to Mr. Andre Tomlinson! Last night, when I was doing one of the monologues, my throat was suddenly very dry and I was coughing and losing my voice and having a bad moment. I managed to get through it and soldier on. Andre (Franco) has an entrance not long after that monologue; he brought out a cup of water for me; then, just a few minutes later, I have an occasion to leave stage to the same off-stage place where he's at; he had a bottle of water waiting for me to take a few gulps from before I headed back on stage. Now THAT is a castmate!

STAGE COMBAT icon
It's probably a little bit of a spoiler to have ever even mentioned this, but I guess it's too late now, and its not as if this blog has any significant number of followers. But, the fight went quite well all week. I believe it rocks. I actually brought my cameras in last night to shoot the fight so I can get to see what the heck it looks like from the audience's point of view. I doubt I get to edit it together for a few weeks or so, but I will get the check it out at some point.

DTG Promotional trailer icon
As you can see above, the final cut of the trailer is, of course, out there in the cyberworld and, I hope, doing its job of well promoting the show. I don't know that it's the best trailer I've ever created for a show, but I also don't think it sucks.

Monday, before Tech, in the lobby at The Guild, processing the dialogue Andre and I recorded the day before for the trailer:
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Prepping the two channels (Andre on one, I on the other), on my eight-track recorder, for export to my MacBook Pro. The second picture being a close-up of the program window n the first photo.
The tracks now in Logic Pro on my MacBook.
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Trying to look as if I actually know what the hell I'm doing....
My three Canon Vixia DV cameras charging for the principal photography coming up that evening during tech rehearsal.

FIRST AUDITIONS NOTICE FOR THE DTG 2024/2025 SEASON:

THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE, by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero at The Dayton Theatre Guild
AUDITION ICON
The audition call for the opening show of our 2024/2025 season, The Enchanted Cottage, by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero are now officially released:

Audition Dates: Mon & Tue, Jul 8 & 9, 2024*, starting at 7:00 pm both nights.

Directed by Ray Gambrel

Production Dates: Aug 23-Sep 8, 2024

The Enchanted Cottage is a charming and romantic fable, written in 1921. It ran on Broadway for 65 performances in 1923 and was made into a film in 1945. It was, in fact, produced at The Guild in the 1953/1954 season. Socialite Oliver Bradshaw returns home from WWI disfigured by war wounds and convinced that no one will accept him as he is now. He hides from his family and the rest of the world, taking a secluded cottage overseen by a mysterious housekeeper. Laura Pennington, a painfully shy young woman from the village comes to look after Oliver. She tells him that the cottage in which he is staying is in fact a very old honeymoon cottage. The two begin developing feelings for each other and ultimately fall in love and marry. They discover the enchantment of the cottage has the power to transform. This play is about true beauty lying within, and about acceptance. Everyone deserves to love.

Casting Requirements:

  • Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.
  • A résumé and headshot are not required but are encouraged.
  • Please provide a list of all known conflicts between Jul 10 & Sep 8, 2024.

  • 4 Women ‐‐ between mid 20's to late 60's
  • 5 Men ‐‐ between mid 20's to late 60's
  • Several young people (between the ages of 8 and 20). Any gender
For more information please contact:
Director Ray Gambrel at raygambrel@yahoo.com

All cast and crew are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19



Sat, Jun 8, 2024

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Today my mother would have celebrated her 107th birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

My Mom, June Storer, at my college graduation, 1994
June Storer
1917-1997


Tue, Jun 11, 2024

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OPENING WEEKEND ROCKED!:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
On Stage icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
fb post: "OK, well, Opening Night went more than simply quite well!"

Opening Night went very, very well, as you can see from the screenshot of my facebook post from late Friday evening.
The whole weekend was a definite artistic success, and I don't just say so myself. Big chunks of the audience stuck around after all three performances. Opening Night that's a little more usual since we have our Opening Night Gala, but, as is the case when the show is a bigger hit, a larger percentage of the audience stayed for the pizza, wine, beer, and socializing.

Many members of every performance's audience made points of telling us cast and crew members how much they enjoyed the show. They used words like: Excellent, Fantastic, Terrific, Awesome, Superb. I got some emails, texts, and fb messages from fellow theatre people who raved about the show: "Terrific performance and production"; "My God! What an opening!"; "Awesome! Just a great, great show. Excellent job"; "Superior production!! You don't want to miss this one"; "Great job!!!"

Naturally, as anyone who has read much of these blog entries, or otherwise knows me, would be able to guess, I wasn't completely happy with my own performance, only because I went up slightly several times, though I always recovered quickly, and I flubbed a few lines, here and there, too. It was much less on Sunday than Friday and Saturday, but I was still at least a little unhappy. But then, I am a pedantic, self-critical perfectionist who is often not close to totally satisfied with my own work, regardless of the art form.

So what do I do with all those people, audience members, fellow theatre folk, and some of the Superior Donuts team, who told me I did a "good," or a "great," or an "awesome" job? I do what my greatest mentor, Mr. Denny Lawrence, God rest his soul, told me: I accept their complements without explaining to them what I did wrong. I say, "Thank you" and leave it at that.

However, to clarify, my not being "completely happy with my performance" does not mean that I was at all too unhappy with my overall work this weekend, just a little unhappy with the line flubs and such. Otherwise I felt most satisfied with Arthur. He felt to me like who he was supposed to be, and I felt a strong connection with the audience when I broke the fourth wall for the monologues. In fact, the audience clearly connected with the whole cast from the opening through the closing scene, all three days, and we were able to feed off their energy.

STAGE COMBAT icon
HEALTHWISE ICON
One little mishap, and I underline "little," happened during the fight sequence on Sunday. I slightly strained a muscle in my right lower leg, and fairly early in the fight. It didn't hinder the choreography but boy was I aware of the strain during the rest of the fight ‐‐ for the rest of the performance, for that matter. Though I would not say it is a bad strain, I did have a rough night's sleep Sunday night and it felt sore enough that I decided to work from home for the rent-payer yesterday to minimize my need to be on my feet during the day. Though the muscle relaxer I took made me drowsy enough that I took part of the day as sick leave and napped during a bit of the day. The good news is that it really is not a bad injury and it happened on Sunday, so by this coming Friday's performance it'll be a non-issue.

POST-SCRIPT
Yeah, great opening weekend. The whole Superior Donuts company kicked serious ass! I certainly had great fun playing off all of my scenemates. We have six more shows! If you are, or will be, in the Dayton area, you should drop in: Fridays: 8:00 ‐ Saturdays: 5:00 ‐ Sundays: 3:00.

Drilling Lines icon
You can count on me running my lines at least once every day, if not more than once. I ran them in bed last night right before sleep. Plus, of course, the cast has a brush-up rehearsal tomorrow night. I doubt we do blocking, but however we do it, we will run the lines from the show in sequence. Personally I'd prefer to do the brush-up on Thursday, the day before the next performance, but I think there are some conflicts for other cast members.


WHAT? MORE THEATRE STUFF?:

OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association) icon
WEDNESDAY'S CHILD, by Mark St. Germain at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
NEXT icon

Now that Superior Donuts has opened and rehearsals are over, save for brush-ups, it's time to give far more attention to other theatre-related projects, the next most imminent being The Guild's presentation of Mark St. Germain's Wednesday's Child at the western regional Ohio Community Theatre Association conference on July 6.

We start rehearsals for that next week, with re-blocking of the excerpt scenes to accomodate the more proscenium-like thrust stage at Encore Theatre in Lima, Ohio. The new blocking will be based as much on our old blocking as possible.

As I think I've noted before, we are doing some revisioning of the set. I've scoped out some minimalist sort of set pieces. Some pieces will probably serve double duty for different scenes. And, as I know I've mentioned before, we are obviously only taking the props we need; I think in one instance, I'm going to swap out a prop for something simpler. It's time to start getting costumes together, too.


HUH? EVEN MORE THEATRE STUFF?:

FutureFest 2024, Dayton Playhouse, July 19-21, 2024
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
AND THEN
Now, I have also began more communication with the FutureFest 2024 directors about their sound needs. I'll be piecemeal gathering together what they need as well as making my own suggestions if I see spots for sound that neither the script nor the director has specified. I haven't yet began reading the scripts but that will start taking place shortly.



BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!:

CAMPAIGNS INC., by Will Allan at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
AND THEN
Then, there's also some business that needs to be dealt with for my DTG directing gig, Campaigns Inc. by Will Alan, which shows this coming October.

There's that specialty prop that needs to be found, or possibly made. And there is one early casting that needs to be done. I am about to move on that casting. Whether I do an open audition, auditions by appointment and invitation, or simply pre-cast the role. Whichever path I take, I need to take it soon. I need the role filled in order to shoot a needed short DV movie for the production, and I want it in final cut before rehearsals start in September. Honestly I want the movie done before the official Aug 26 & 27 open auditions.



Fri, Jun 14, 2024
FLAG DAY 

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Happy 247th Birthday - Born June 14, 1777 - And there's a rumor that a cast member of the Dayton Theatre Guild production of SUPERIOR DONUTS is celebrating a birthday today'


THE GAME IS STILL ON, GOING INTO WEEKEND NUMBER TWO!:

SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild
On Stage icon

HEY! I'm in THIS!'
GAME ON! GAME ON!

Tonight we go into our sophomore weekend, riding high off of our lovely, successful opening weekend. Let us not get complacent! Let us stay on our toes!

Drilling Lines icon
We had a line through brush-up rehearsal this past Wednesday that went well. I can't speak for anyone else, though I suspect I am, but I have been going over my lines at least once a day, as is my habit. I even went over my lines prior to the brush-up.

We also received a rave review by Joshua Stucky at Dayton 937:
"Sweet, 'Superior Donuts' are ready at the GUILD!,"

Some photos taken during Tech Week by DTG staff photographer & board member, Rick Flynn ‐‐ check out his photographer's website: Rick Flynn Photography.
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AND THEN THERE'S THE NEXT GIG....:

OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association) icon
WEDNESDAY'S CHILD, by Mark St. Germain at The Dayton Theatre Guild
DTG Director icon
I'm moving further into getting Wednesday's Child by Mark St. Germain ready for the July 6 OCTA Western Regional Conference. Last night, since Superior Donuts was dark, I met with our new cast member, Susie Gutierrez ‐‐ our new Becca Conner ‐‐ at the theatre to orient her a little bit so she doesn't come into rehearsals next week too horribly behind the game from the rest of the cast. We had a good talk and I gave her some ideas and some directions for her work as Becca.

Set Piece icon
Props icon
I've also spent some time this week gathering together set pieces and props all into the same locations, one for the set pieces, one for the props. I'm not completely through gathering for either, but I am close to finished for both.



Sat, Jun 15, 2024

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Happy Birthday Harry - Harry Nilsson, June 15, 1941-January 15, 1994


Showing weekends
Through Jun 23, 2024
Tickets on sale...
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HEY! I'm in THIS!' SUPERIOR DONUTS, by Tracy Letts at The Dayton Theatre Guild

*click here for audition information for
upcoming Dayton Theatre Guild productions

click here for the album's official page, which includes info on the single releases


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