Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Play

Our neighbor, Amy, and Cade took full advantage of the snow we received yesterday. Here's a few pictures of the snowman they built together.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cade's Christmas Card to Daddy

North Carolina Theatre Conference Announces Awards

The NCTC awards are presented by the NCTC Board of Directors and Past Presidents to companies, schools, and individuals that have exhibited leadership roles in their community, as well as artistic, professional, or educational excellence.

We are pleased to announce the 2009 NCTC Award recipients:
Marian A. Smith Distinguished Career Award - Bo Thorp (Cape Fear Regional Theatre)

Herman Middleton Distinguished Service Award - Steve Lloyd (Haywood Arts Regional Theatre)

College/University Award - Greensboro College NCTC is proud to honor David Schram, John Saari, Robin Monteith, and the entire Theatre Department of Greensboro College.

Community Theatre Award - Hickory Community Theatre
Congratulations to Artistic Director Pamela Livingstone, Managing Director John Rambo, and the entire Hickory CT team!

Constance Welsh Theatre for Youth Award - Summer Youth Conservatory at PlayMakers Repertory Company (a collaboration with The Arts Center of Carrboro) NCTC honors Joe Haj, Jeff Meanza, Hannah Grannemann and the entire PlayMakers staff for their achievement!

George A. Parides Professional Theatre Award - North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

K-12 Theatre Educator Award - Michelle Long (Charlotte Christian School)
My special congratulations to Steve Lloyd (who brings quality "the-ate-her" to Waynesville, my dad's hometown), the folks at Greensboro College (and Ben McCarthy too!) and Hickory Community Theatre (I'm in their production of The Nerd which opens in February.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine...

As Ben Franklin said:

In wine there is wisdom,
in beer there is freedom,
in water there is bacteria.

In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of e(scherichia) coli - bacteria found in feces.

In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poop. However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine (or beer, tequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Therefore, it's better to drink wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of crap.

So remember:

Water = Poop
Wine = Health

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information, I'm doing it as a selfless public service! Salute!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's Official

I just got an email from Mallorie's high school. Graduation has been set. God willing and the creek don't rise, she'll walk across the stage on Saturday, June 12 at 5:45pm.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Does This Count As A Forward?

My mom sent me one of those "need to forward or good/bad luck will befall you" emails. Normally I don't bother with them. (Nor do I attribute to them any good or bad luck that befalls me subsequent to my deletion.) Since this dealt with astrological signs, which does interest me, I thought I would post.

I was born March 31, so I'm an Aries.
ARIES- The Daredevil (Mar 21 - April 19)
Energetic. Adventurous and spontaneous. Confident and enthusiastic. Fun. Loves a challenge EXTREMELY impatient. Sometimes selfish. Short fuse. (Easily angered.) Lively, passionate, and sharp wit Outgoing. Lose interest quickly - easily bored. Egotistical. Courageous and assertive. Tends to be physical and athletic. (16 years of good luck if you forward.)
For those of you who know me, do you think it fits?

Here are the other descriptions if you want to forward/play along:
CAPRICORN- The Go-Getter (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
Patient and wise. Practical and rigid. Ambitious. Tends to be good-looking. Humorous and funny. Can be a bit shy and reserved. Often pessimistic. Capricorns tend to act before they think and can be unfriendly at times. Holds grudges. Likes competition. Get what they want. (20 years of good luck if you forward.)

AQUARIUS- The Sweetheart (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
Optimistic and honest. Sweet personality. Very independent. Inventive and intelligent. Friendly and loyal. Can seem unemotional. Can be a bit rebellious. Very stubborn, but original and unique. Attractive on the inside and out. Eccentric personality. (11 years of luck if you forward.)

PISCES- The Dreamer (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Generous, kind, and thoughtful. Very creative and imaginative. May become secretive and vague. Sensitive. Don't like details. Dreamy and unrealistic. Sympathetic and loving. Kind. Unselfish. Good kisser. Beautiful. (8 years of good luck if you forward.)

TAURUS- The Enduring One (April 20 - May 20)
Charming but aggressive. Can come off as boring, but are not. Hard workers. Warm-hearted. Strong, has endurance. Solid beings that are stable and secure in their ways. Not looking for shortcuts. Take pride in their beauty. Patient and reliable. Make great friends and give good advice. Loving and kind. Loves hard - passionate. Expresses themselves emotionally. Prone to ferocious temper-tantrums. Determined. Indulges themselves often. Very generous. (12 years of good luck if you forward.)

GEMINI- The Chatterbox (May 21 - June 20)
Smart and witty. Outgoing, very chatty. Lively, energetic. Adaptable but needs to express them selves. Argumentative and outspoken. Likes change. Versatile. Busy, sometimes nervous and tense. Gossips. May seem superficial or inconsistent. Beautiful physically and mentally. (5 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

CANCER- The Protector (June 21 - July 22)
Moody, emotional. May be shy. Very loving and caring. Pretty/handsome. Excellent partners for life. Protective. Inventive and imaginative. Cautious. Touchy-feely kind of person. Needs love from others. Easily hurt, but sympathetic. (16 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

LEO- The Boss (July 23 - Aug 22)
Very organized. Need order in their lives - likes being in control. Likes boundaries. Tends to take over everything. Bossy. Like to help others. Social and outgoing. Extroverted. Generous, warm-hearted. Sensitive. Creative energy. Full of themselves. Loving. Doing the right thing is important to Leos. Attractive. (13 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

VIRGO- The Perfectionist (Aug 23 - Sept 22)
Dominant in relationships. Conservative. Always wants the last word. Argumentative. Worries. Very smart. Dislikes noise and chaos. Eager. Hardworking. Loyal. Beautiful.. Easy to talk to. Hard to please. Harsh. Practical and very fussy. Often shy. Pessimistic. (7 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

LIBRA- The Harmonizer (Sept 23 - Oct 22)
Nice to everyone they meet. Can't make up their mind. Have own unique appeal. Creative, energetic, and very social. Hates to be alone. Peaceful, generous. Very loving and beautiful. Flirtatious. Gives in too easily. Procrastinators. Very gullible. (9 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

SCORPIO- The Intense One (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
Very energetic. Intelligent. Can be jealous and/or possessive. Hardworking. Great kisser. Can become obsessive or secretive. Holds grudges. Attractive. Determined. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Romantic. Can be self-centered at times. Passionate and emotional. (4 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

SAGITTARIUS- The Happy-Go-Lucky One (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Good-natured optimist. Doesn't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome). Indulges self. Boastful. Likes luxuries and gambling. Social and outgoing. Doesn't like responsibilities. Often fantasizes. Impatient. Fun to be around. Has lots of friends. Flirtatious. Doesn't like rules. Sometimes hypocritical. Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or even tight clothes. Doesn't like being doubted. Beautiful inside and out. (4 years of bad luck if you do not forward.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Journal Review

OK, OK: Fighting gets old in play
By Mary Martin Niepold

Put a group of women together in the fellowship hall of a Texas church, watch them throw hissy fits and tangle over past slights and present insults, and you've got the makings of the latest Del Shores play, Daughters of the Lone Star State. It opened Friday night at Theatre Alliance.

Shores, who can master down-home humor and does a good job of satirizing small-town customs, is particularly good at skewering customs that reek with hypocrisy. Director Jamie Lawson has already guided Theatre Alliance's staging of two other plays by Shores, Daddy's Dying, Who's Got the Will and Sordid Lives.

In Daughters of the Lone Star State, which features an all-female cast, the target is the uppity attitude, prejudice and hypocrisy of a few local churchwomen in the small town of Lowake, Texas, 1992.

This particular group at the First Baptist Church call themselves the "Daughters of the Lone Star State," and their motto is "We are the privileged helping the underprivileged."

They may have a well-meaning mission, but on this night right before Christmas, they're struggling with failing membership, the admission of a lower-class woman who married a Mexican, a member who drinks too much, and one who flushes away another member's banana pudding because it's too common. There's even discussion about whether to admit a black member or dissolve altogether.

The plot is thin in this moral tale, but Shores offers his zingers: "Better to leave 'em wanting than wanting to leave" and "I almost forgot I decided to ignore you for the rest of my life."

The problem is that just about all the women can do is fight. Yes, there are some funny lines and some tender moments, but the clawing is relentless. On opening night, the pacing of the play also dragged a bit.

"Daughters" does make its point about prejudice and snobbery, and helping to hold our attention are two wonderful characters. Carol Roan is very funny as "Cookie Hawkins," the original founder who lapses in and out of lucidity. Mostly, Cookie thinks she's Lady Bird Johnson. Cheryl Ann Roberts plays "Virgie Hopkins" in this, her third Del Shores play at Theatre Alliance, and it shows. Roberts is tough, confident and won't put up with much.

Theatre Alliance presents Daughters of the Lone Star State at 2 p.m. today and Nov. 22; at 8 p.m. Nov. 19-20; and at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 21. Theatre Alliance, 1047 Northwest Blvd., Winston-Salem. Call 336-723-7777.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Today's Message

Jim sent this to me in an email. Thanks for the beautiful reminder!

Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.

Life may not to be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Book Report

I am far too inquisitive and have apparently watched too many movies. I was absolutely bored through 90% of this classic book! Too many questions went unanswered - why did the plane crash? why didn't they search for the little boy? what exactly happened to the little boy? what was the beast?

I was hoping for waaaay more action...either pygmies or Others, polar bears (see? too many episodes of Lost) or dinosaurs. Something (anything!) that could hold my attention. But because it's a classic, I held on and continued to read.

Lo and behold, the last five pages and my perseverance paid off. Those pages were the most exciting of ANY book I've read recently. I could barely breathe!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

November skirt! Philosophy

The United Skirts of America was founded on the blood, sweat and estrogen of our foremothers who won for us the freedom to choose, to wear combat boots or high heels, to Run for Office or run a marathon, to form our own rock gropus instead of being groupies, to shatter glass ceilings and outgrow glass slippers, to shoot hoops instead of settling for hoop skirts. The ones who came before us made it possible for our daughters to be nuclear engineers instead of domestic engineers (or both), to have the change to put some ovaries in the Oval Office, to raise our voices instead of holding our tongues. Speak up in class, speak out in the conference room, speak your mind at town meetings. In The United Skirts of America, the soapbox no longer belongs just in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back To The Swamp

Yesterday, Shrek confirmed what had been circulating the street all week: the ogre will be leaving Broadway and heading back to the swamp on January 3, 2010.

I know this is probably good news for some who felt Broadway was becoming too "Disney" and "kiddiefied". I'm saddened by the news.

I am so grateful that I was able to see the show back in May. It was a highly entertaining show, and I loved every minute of it. I especially enjoyed looking out at the audience and seeing kids, tweens, teenagers, families experiencing the same thrill. The future of Broadway was all around me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Joke From Cade

Cade just came in the living room to tell me this joke.

Do you know why you should never tell a joke to an egg?

It might crack up!

Can't Wait To See This

Playing Rent
Mary Martin Niepold
Putting one of America's most beloved musicals on stage is a good call for Theatre Alliance. The company that is known for edgy fare expands its horizons and lures MTV and Facebook generations to witness how a musical can speak to them and render stagecraft as relevant as tweeter blogs. Rent opens Friday night.

Rent has been impressively popular since its workshop production in 1994 and its Broadway debut in 1996. Winner of Tony, Drama Desk and Pulitzer prizes, Rent was unstoppable during its 12-year Broadway run, which was followed by a motion picture and tours in the U.S. and abroad.

The story is simple enough: A group of young people living in New York's East Village struggle to keep their art alive while battling menial jobs, crisscrossed romances, the devastation of AIDS and just about every bias that can exist. They used to live together in a loft in the East Village, and their lives have taken various turns. What has remained true for all of them is the idea that we only have today, make the most of it, and love is love, however it looks.

To underscore this message, playwright Jonathan Larson mixes a wide assortment of cultures, socio-economic classes, genders, sexual preferences and ethnic backgrounds in his rock opera. Among the group of friends are an exotic dancer, musician and bisexual performance artist who have HIV, and a drag queen percussionist and philosophy professor who have AIDS.

Some of the songs have graphic lyrics, but there is no frontal nudity in the show, which is recommended for audiences 16 and up.

Larson wrote some 40 songs in his work, which is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera, La Boheme. He spent seven years writing and refining Rent and died unexpectedly from a rare disease shortly before the play debuted on Broadway.

Like his characters, he was an artist determined to make a mark and not sell out, and he waited tables in a New York diner to support himself.

"It's a rock opera, not a rock musical," said Christy Johnson. Johnson, who lives in Greensboro, has a master's degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in acting from UNC Greensboro. She plays Maureen, a character very similar to herself.

Johnson says she has always wanted to act. Her start was in the sixth grade when she earned the title role in Heidi for the Livestock Musical Theatre Company in Greensboro.

It's been nonstop stage time for her ever since -- and, yes, if she could, she says she would love to live in New York and be an actor there. Just like her character, Maureen.

Maureen is a Southern woman who has left a boyfriend for a relationship with another woman. The man she leaves, Mark, is played by Michael Hoch, a chemical engineer from Clemmons, who loves to act and has been listening to Rent ever since he found a bootleg version of it when he was a high-school kid in Detroit.

"The main theme is there is no day but today," Hoch said. "Live for today. Love for today, because we're not guaranteed tomorrow. Another major theme is that love is not bound by race, or gender or social status. Love is love."

Jamie Lawson, the director and artistic director of Theatre Alliance, appreciates the fine crafting of the play. "I was taught in theater and English writing classes, if it's extraneous, cut it. Rent is a well-oiled machine. It just grinds it out, and a lot of the songs are hummable."

Six live musicians will play from somewhere on the set that is ingeniously arranged on multiple levels to resemble the brick interiors of industrial buildings in New York's lower East side.

And through it all, Rent shows us that friends are also family. They love one another, pure and simple, and sing their hearts out along the way.
Theatre Alliance presents Rent at 8 p.m. Friday and Oct. 26, 28, 29 and 30; at 4 and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Oct. 31; and at 2 p.m. next Sunday and Nov. 1 at 1047 Northwest Blvd. Tickets are $16, $14 for students and seniors. Call 723-7777.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Book Report

I was in Barnes & Nobles in Greensboro, almost a year ago, killing some time before seeing a movie. I found a particular book I was looking for and then headed over to the discounted section. The Secret Sisters, a novel by Joni Rodgers, caught my eye. After reading the back and flipping through some of the pages, I decided to add it to my purchases.

I started reading it once before, and didn't make it through the first chapter. I picked it up again the other night, determined to read it.

As the three chairs indicate on the cover, there are three sisters. Pia is the oldest and has just lost her husband. Lily is the youngest and is in prison serving a 7-year sentence for killing her niece. Beth is their sister-in-law; it was her daughter Lily killed.

Each chapter is singularly devoted to each sister, with Pia's story receiving the most attention. While very slow to begin, Pia's journey is, by far, the most interesting. Her path is riddled with grief, second love, suicide, agoraphobia, sensuality and an ottoman. Mid way through the book I wanted to skip the Lily and Beth chapters and continue with Pia's trials.

Lily's chapters were written in first person and chronicled her days in prison. Books and 10 minutes phone calls from her sister, husband and eventually an ex-prison guard were her salvation.

Beth's story was, by far, the most boring. She was an unsympathetic character, made even more so after learning the details surrounding the death of her daughter (during Lily's final parole hearing, so it was very late in the book).

While reading the book wasn't a complete waste of time, The Secret Sisters will definitely be placed in the Edward McKay pile.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kudos for The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later

Thanks for having me at the theater. It was great and Mallorie did awesome.
I wanted to tell you both that you did a wonderful job tonight. Cheryl Ann, your portrayal of Judy was beautiful. The night was amazing...

It was truly a remarkable experience...
Mallorie did a great job.
...I really admired your performance. Specifically, I liked the simplicity of it. It was sincere and drew the audience in. I completely understand that you were a proud mom that night (and should be!!), but don’t ever sell your work short; it was solid acting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Love and Support

Allan, Cade, Dusty, Mom, Clara, Dawson, Trena, Lynn, Tony, Rebecca, Michael, and Ben, thank you so very much for braving the crappy weather to support Mallorie and me in this personal endeavor.

Dad and Bill C. - thank you for being with us in spirit.

Extra special thank yous to Nathan, Kevin, Mary Ann, Mitchell, Brian, Jennifer, and Myla who helped spread the word.

Preliminary word was that we raised over $700 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and close to $500 for the Adam Foundation. More importantly we told the story to a little over 250 audience members.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rehearsal, Daughters Of The Lone Star State

Rehearsal was again at the scene shop. I was prepared tonight, wearing my Pepsi sweatshirt and polar fleece jacket. Even still my toes were cold!

We have a new Clara Bell. Mimi felt it wasn't fair to us that she can't make rehearsals since she's in Rent, so she dropped out of the show earlier this week. Angela Hodges will replace Mimi. (I saw her in the Collaborative's Summer Showcase. I'm looking forward to working with her.)

Tonight we learned that Lysandra is moving to Asheville, and so she's dropping out! Becki West, who I worked with during WSTA's staged reading of Betty's Summer Vacation, will now play Ima Jean Gomez.

So, here's the current cast list:
Mildred Keifner - Karen Robertson
Liddy Bell Cartwright - Danya Bray
Clara Bell Ivey - Mimi Cunningham Angela Hodges
Darlene Parsons - Clara Yarbro
Lola Faye Barnes - Reba Birdsall
Lois Wheelis - Maggie Gallagher Betsey Pugh Charlene Watkins
Cookie Hawkins - Carol Roan
Ima Jean Gomez - Lysandra Sykes Becki West
Vergie Hopkins - Ally McCauley Cheryl Ann Roberts
Sharon Johnson - Natasha Gore
Doll Johnson - Kiki Fisher Lauranita
We were off book for the first time, and I did much better than I thought I would. I did call for lines a few times, but at least I knew it was my line!

Carol has graciously offered her apartment as rehearsal space. While I don't think it will be much bigger, at least it will be warmer!

From YES! Weekly

The legacy of Matthew Shepard
By Keith Barber

The Paper Lantern Theatre Company’s production of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, a cross between a stage play and a documentary about the aftermath of Matthew Shepard’s death, was performed Monday at the Arts Council Theatre in Winston-Salem. The performance represented one of more than 150 staged readings held around the world on Oct. 12 to commemorate the anniversary of Shepard’s death.

As the dramatic reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later drew to a close Monday night at the Arts Council Theatre in Winston-Salem, a photo of Matthew Shepard was projected on a large screen above the stage. For two full hours, 15 actors played the roles of the townspeople of Laramie, Wy., and all the real-life characters involved in a murder that shook the conscience of a nation. Finally, the audience got to see the 21-year-old man whose tragic death inspired a national dialogue about gay rights.

Molly McGinn then strummed her electric guitar and belted out a stirring rendition of the song “Scarecrow” in honor of Shepard. “This was our brother/ this was our son,” McGinn sang.

As the lights came up and the players took their bows, the audience rose to its feet and expressed its heartfelt thanks for a spirited performance by cast members Sharon Andrews, Whit Andrews, Ken Ashford, Tim Austin, Miriam Davie, Linda Donnell, Sheila Duell, Mallorie Grady, Michael Huie, Ari Itkin, Hardy Koenig, Preston Lane, Heidi McIver, Mark Pirolo, Cheryl Ann Roberts, Andrew R. Rush and Jeffrey West. Director Amy da Luz deserves much credit for the phenomenal performances.

The Laramie Project, a hybrid between a documentary and a play, was written by Mois├ęs Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber of New York’s Tectonic Theatre Project. Based on more than 200 interviews with the townspeople of Laramie, Shepard’s friends and relatives, the play also included transcripts of police interviews with convicted killers Aaron McKinney and Russell Thompson as well as trial transcripts.

Beth Ritson, one of the founding members of the Paper Lantern Theatre Company, opened the evening by sharing with the audience that more than 150 theatre companies around the nation and the globe would be performing a reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later that very night to mark the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.

“We are gathering to understand, to dialogue and to heal,” Ritson said. “We are gathering most importantly to remember Matthew Shepard and to play our part in this larger vision.”

On Oct. 6, 1998, McKinney and Russell offered Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, a ride home from the Fireside Lounge in downtown Laramie. Later, Shepard was robbed, tied to a split-rail fence, tortured and left to die. During his trial, it was revealed that Thompson and McKinney targeted Shepard because he was gay. The heinous crime drew national and international attention and eventually led to hate crimes legislation, which still languishes in the US Senate.

On Monday night, audiences around the world heard what has changed, and what hasn’t changed in the small prairie town of Laramie in the past 10 years.

“I just hope the community remembers just how ugly hate is,” Reggie Fluty, the police officer that first discovered an unconscious Shepard, said.

Deb, the editor of the Laramie Boomerang, takes a position that many of her neighbors agree with: The attack on Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime.

“It’s hard when you’re ashamed to stand up and say, ‘Yeah, we’ve screwed up,’” Fluty says.

A report by the TV show “20/20” about Shepard’s murder angers police investigator Dave O’Malley, who later discovers a memo from the show’s producer revealing a bias by the network to label the attack a robbery gone bad.

Beth, a university professor, refers to US Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) statement that calling Shepard’s a hate crime is a hoax.

Henderson expresses remorse for his actions, but McKinney doesn’t feel anything.

“Matthew Shepard needed killing,” McKinney tells Greg Pierotti.

An actress performing the words of Cathy Connolly, the first openly gay Wyoming state representative, offers a hopeful story about the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act, but states, “There is a lot more work to do.”

The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later is a profound epilogue and the continuation of that important dialogue. Paper Lantern Theatre, one of only two theatre companies in the state to stage readings of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, deserves great praise and admiration for doing so.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Mega Audition and a Rehearsal

There's only one other show in the remainder of Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance's season that I'm interested in doing. And I'm not just interested, I am dying to do one particular role.

As soon as I read Del Shore's The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife Willadean went on my "Roles I'm Dying To Do" list. I immediately gave the script to Mikey, who added JD to his list. Since Mikey would be touring during the scheduled auditions, he and I read together for the roles after striking for Sordid Lives. I must say, he was frightening as JD.

I attended this morning's Part 2 Mega Auditions. Sordid Lives castmate April was there for the role of Rayleen, as was a KLT friend, Beth. Another KLT actress, Linda, also read for Willadean. There were two men auditioning for JD; Mike who worked backstage for The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Don, my hilarious castmate in Moonlight and Magnolias. Don was also frightening.

Overall I was very pleased with my readings. We won't find out who got cast until Wednesday. Thank goodness I've got The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later to occupy my mind.

And speaking of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, we had a very good rehearsal tonight. There were still some changes to the script, but they were minor. We are all definitely ready to move into the theatre tomorrow night. We need to determine if the work lights will allow ample light to read.

If you haven't reserved your ticket(s) for the reading, you need to go to Paper Lantern Theatre Company and do so NOW. Really, you don't want to miss this very important production.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Another Evening At The Theatre

Tonight was opening night for Twin City Stage's The Shadow Box. I read the script back in the early 90's, so I was very interested in seeing it. I volunteered to work concessions so I could see the show for free.

I was aware of the trio of terminally ill patient "stories", so I was prepared for a heavier evening. But I was not prepared for some very lackluster performances.

I was most disappointed in the vignette with Brian (Gregg Vogelsmeier), his lover Mark (Mark March) and his floozy ex-wife Beverly (Gesche Metz). All three actors are seasoned players and yet each failed to bring their characters to believable life. March's attempt was honorable, but with nothing much given to him by the other two, all three were simply "acting" on stage.

Joe (Ken Ashford), his wife Maggie (Star Lee) and teenage son Steven (James Kuhn) featured in another vignette. These actors were a mix of seasoned and "green". The success of this story was carried by Ashford. Both Lee and Kuhn had to raise their game to keep up with Ashford's talent.

The most intriguing, and, in my opinion, the most heart wrenching vignette involved Agnes (Miriam Davie) and Felicity (Carole Midura). Felicity is hanging on, waiting for the arrival of her favorite daughter, Claire, who has been sending regular letters. Agnes explains to us that Claire has been dead for many years. We ultimately learn that Agnes has mistakenly created her own prison, as it is she who authors the letters. Midura's Felicity was barely likeable. Not recalling the specifics of the script I caught myself hoping Agnes would do in her mother! I've long admired Davie for her singing talent, and was pleasantly surprised by her acting ability. I know she has been taking acting classes, and her hard work is definitely paying off.

Michael Cristopher's play won a Tony and a Pulitzer. His movie adaptation won a Golden Globe and several Emmy nominations. Unfortunately, for me, Twin City Stage's production did not rise to award level.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

An Evening At The Theatre

While watching The Laramie Project over the weekend, Mallorie asked about Angels in America which was referenced several times in the movie. I didn't know much about the play, other than it was a two-part play, dealt with homosexuals and AIDS and had been made into a movie miniseries with Emma Thompson. Fortunately, Part One: Millennium Approaches was being produced by UNCG. Armed with a free ticket (thank you, Jody!) Mallorie and I caught the show last night.

We are introduced to Prior Walter (Matthew Delaney) and his boyfriend Louis Ironson (Matt Palmer). Prior is developing symptoms of a relatively new, and fatal, disease called AIDS. Louis is wracked with guilt; he cannot remain committed to Prior and watch him die. Harper Pitt (Shay Lydick) is the pill-popping, hallucinating wife of Joe Pitt (Joshua Yoder). Their marriage is falling apart; both suspect he is homosexual. Ray Cohen (Anthony Scarscella) discusses the politics of the time, and assures his doctor that he is not a faggot; he is merely a man who occasionally sleeps with other men. (He also doesn't have AIDS; he has cancer.)

I was most impressed with Anthony's performance. I met Anthony last year during SETC's Fall auditions. He was looking for a grad school. UNCG was very lucky to get him. His portrayal of Ray Cohen was spot-on. Matthew Delaney also turned in a realistic performance, as did Joshua Yoder. And while Shay Lydick's voice was grating at times, her performance was enjoyable.

As of right now, UNCG is not sure it will produce the second part next season. I hope they do. Just as things were getting started, the play was over.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Well Stated

A very well stated response to a recent "Letters To The Editor".
Buyer beware

While I was sorry to read that the writer of the letter "Increasingly common" (Sept. 25) and his wife did not enjoy the language they deem to be obscene in Twin City Stage's Moonlight and Magnolias, I do believe that some of the fault is their own. There is such a thing as "buyer beware."

Much as one should not buy a used car without checking under the hood to make sure that an engine is included, if one is easily offended by certain language at entertainment events, shouldn't one ask before investing in tickets whether such language is included? The couple needs to try to understand that not everyone agrees with their position, and certainly many people do not agree with censorship. The very best way to avoid hearing words one does not want to hear (without having to pass such value judgments as "such language … contaminates the person who is speaking") is to make sure none is included in the event one chooses to attend.

They certainly have the right to complain about such language if they wish. They also have the right to avoid it.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

October skirt! Philosophy

Put air in tires...evidently full-service stations are not coming back. Gave the dog an emergency trim with craft scissors-I think his rickrack bangs are cute. Bought expensive yarn to make another scarf I won't finish. Found the bags of shells I've been saving to make a picture frame under the bags of broken china I've been saving to make a mirror. Going to turn those beads I bought last year into a necklace any day now.

How hard can it be

to match up paisley wallpaper panels?

I've collaged, decoupaged and Mod Podged everything that can't run away from me. NO LAMP SHADE IS SAFE.

NOTE TO SELF: Timing is everything when working with labor, you can't stop in the middle. Plugged in a lamp I rewired. Nice of fire department to come so fast!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Evening At The Theatre

Tonight, my Moonlight and Magnolias cast/crewmates were treated to Kernersville Little Theatre's production of Don't Cry For Me, Margaret Mitchell. Both shows deal with the story of how the Gone With The Wind screenplay was written.

Having just closed our production, I tried to view things as objectively as I could. I had also heard this production might be representing NC during SETC's Community Theatre Festival. I tried to watch as if I was an impartial adjudicator.

The set was nice, and it was a very good use of the Folly stage. Bill and Kathy Cissna designed lights, and it was very nice to see more than just off/on at the Folly.

Judith Gillis, who played Mrs. Peabody, was my favorite. She was spot-on in her realistic portrayal of Mrs. Peabody.

I don't know whether it was because it was a Wednesday performance or whether they were nervous because the playwright was also in attendance, but the guys had some line issues. That, combined with very poor pacing, made the production painful to watch at times.

I was also surprised that neither the actors (save Peabody who had at least 5 costume changes) nor the set showed signs of wear and tear during the 7 days. And while Hecht lamented about being starved on a diet of bananas and peanuts, Selznick was the only one who partook. (Peabody must have been very efficient-no banana peels, peanut shells - no litter at all!)

It was a good production for the normal KLT audience, and they were appreciative in their response. I think the overall production, especially the male actors, need some more work if the production is selected to represent NC.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kudos for Moonlight and Magnolias

Sorry I didn’t get to catch you after tonight’s show. It certainly looked like you were having fun up there, Miss Poppengul!
~BC 9.24
Cheryl Ann....What can I say? In the hands of a lesser actress Poppenghul could be lost and not really add much to the show. In your hands, you really give the guys a run for their money. You are so incredibly funny and make every time you come on stage something special. She could be just a generic secretary. But with your performance she is a unique character and you've carved out a very specific and very strong personality for her. And most importantly she is so very, very funny. This is a wonderfully funny show and I love watching you on stage.
~SB 9.18

Friday, September 25, 2009

An Afternoon At The Movies

I've been eagerly awaiting opening day since I first saw the trailer during So You Think You Can Dance. I vaguely remember the original movie, but I do remember religiously watching the Saturday night TV series. I happily purchased my matinee ticket and breathlessly waited for the remake to begin.

My excitement slowly gave way to out right boredom. I was disappointed in the various storylines. There were too many main characters and not enough time devoted to getting to know them. I was also completely underwhelmed with the production numbers.

The movie's one saving grace is Naturi Naughton. She plays Denise, a classically trained pianist, who has a voice that begs to be heard. Her rendition of "Out Here On My Own" blew me away.

Is There Such A Thing As Bad Publicity?

This "Letters To The Editor" appeared in the paper today.
Increasingly common

My wife and I recently attended a performance of Moonlight and Magnolias at Twin City Stage ("Movie Stage," Sept. 13). What we were hoping for was a wholesome comedy. What we experienced was a profanity-laced production that made frequent use of a variety of obscene language.

This is the type of language that is becoming increasingly common not only at Twin City Stage and in movie theaters, but also throughout our society.

A sewage pond is not pleasant to smell. Most people would try to avoid being anywhere near it. Yet, it seems as if many people in our society today don't mind hearing -- and even speaking -- obscenities.

Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth."

Likewise, Colossians 3:8 instructs us to rid ourselves of "filthy language out of your mouth."

It would be no stretch to assume these biblical passages also imply that Christians shouldn't casually stand by and listen to such language when it is spoken by others. Such language not only contaminates the person who is speaking, but may also contaminate those who are listening to it. Consider what the psalmist says in Psalm 19:14: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."

How pleased God would be if each of us tried to honor him through the words we speak and the words to which we listen.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Congratulations, Tony!

My hearty congrats and a dancing bear hug to my Moonlight and Magnolias castmate, Anthony Liguori. Last night Metrolina Theatre Association held their 2009 MTA Awards show at the McGlohon Theatre in Spirit Square in Charlotte. Tony was up for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor for his role as Max Bialystock in Hickory Community Theatre's production of The Producers.

While I did not see him in this show, I've seen many of Tony's other shows and know that this was a well deserved win for him.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

True love is neither physical, nor romantic.
True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will and will not be.

The Journal Review

Spoofing Scarlett for the Fun of It - Twin City Stage delivers the laughs
By Mary Martin Niepold
Published: September 20, 2009
You can't make this stuff up, and in the new play at Twin City Stage, we get a dramatized comedy about the real deal behind the making of Gone With the Wind.

Moonlight and Magnolias is set in 1939 when Hollywood mega producer David O. Selznick actually locked famous writer Ben Hecht and film director Victor Fleming in his office for five days to save his production of Gone With the Wind.

Selznick fed them peanuts and bananas. He needed a new script to resuscitate what would become one of the most popular movies of all time and was willing to lose $50,000 a day while production was delayed and the men worked.

Knowing the plot of the movie means that audiences already have a good handle on the events and characters we see acted out by three grown men.

Director Stan Bernstein has parodied the actual events with restraint.

The whole situation is made for laughs, and the lead actors manage to bring some slapstick humor to reworking the movie's script, especially Melanie's giving birth and Scarlett's slapping of Prissy.

Anthony Liguori as Selznick carries the show.

He can deadpan lines as easily as he can bark out producer's edicts.

When he mimics Scarlett, he's hilarious.

His counterpoint, the morally earnest Hecht, is effectively portrayed by Chad Edwards.

It's a fun sendup of the famous melodrama.

Twin City Stage (formerly the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem) will present Moonlight and Magnolias at 2 p.m. today and Sept. 27 and at 8 p.m. Sept. 24-26 in the Arts Council Theater, 610 Coliseum Drive. Tickets are $22, $20 for seniors and $18 for students. For more information call the Twin City Stage box office at 336-725-4001.