who dat? contest.

(yo stee. i know
who dat?)

last game:

flugelhorn player
chuck mangione

first correct answer:

diana ben-aaron

my words

So one of the cool things that has been going on is a theatre company here in town asked if they could put on an evening of three of my one-act plays. I said yes. I know the producer and trust her and think it would be fun to see the plays go up again. Two of the three have been produced once before (maybe three years ago or so) and one has never been done. I wrote it about a year and a half ago for a production, but when my theatre company disbanded it never saw the light of day. Only Frank and M. had ever even read it. They both liked it, but I was very unsure about how it worked dramatically.

While the show isn't going to open until December, last night they held a staged reading of the plays. Mostly for the company members to hear them and just for the hell of it. I arrived a bit early and walked in. In the lobby, one of the "casts" was reading one of the plays - rehearsing. Then on stage, another one. And in a back office, the third. I just started laughing. It was so strange hearing three different groups reading my words aloud at the same time. I was too tripped out so I went outside and had a smoke.

I've had about five plays produced, had a couple short films made of my stuff, and have held a few readings of my screenplays, but it never fails to be a very, well, emotional experience hearing your words come out of someone else's mouth. It's heady and scary and sometimes embarrassing, but never boring. Anyway, I'm sort of used to it, but I found myself being a bit nervous; I knew the two worked, but I really had no idea about the third.

Well, long story short: A lot of people showed up. They served beer and wine and the theatre filled up. I sat in back and took notes as people sort of snuck looks at me every once in a while during the reading. The first show was great. The actors were almost uniformly very good. The leads of one of my favorite indie movies from a couple years ago was reading, which was kinda cool. That first one is very literary and strange and absurd (and not easy for actors to get right away). But watching, I was struck by something - that I don't think I'm smart enough anymore to write the play I wrote three years ago. But I'm glad I once was.

The second one was not quite as satisfactory. A few of the actors were wrong and didn't quite get the general conceit (the whole thing is a parody of a famous playwright, and they didn't seem to know the guy's style at all). Anyway, that show was the best received by the papers when it was first done, so I'm hoping it holds up. It also skewers my least favorite cults, which I can't wait to do again.

The third was the new one. It's pretty talky-talky and appears even more so in a plain staged reading. But... and I'm not quite sure how much to trust this, I was really pleased. Really. The cast was particularly strong, so that helped, but I never cringed at my words as I have before. I have no idea how it came across to anyone else, but I consider myself to be a pretty harsh self-critic, and I was genuinely happy.

So what does this mean? I don't know. I could see the progression of my writing, chronologically, through the three shows. That's good, I think. I'm going to have very little to do with the production. I'm going to sit in on casting and talk to the directors, but beyond that, I won't have much to do with it. I'm in love with two of the directors. I'm a little unsure about the third. I have to talk to the producer about him. She expressed misgivings to me as well, so maybe something needs to be done before we get much further. I've been involved in enough shows in my life to have learned one thing: if you have misgivings about someone, be it an actor, director, lighting designer, and you don't do anything about it, you are almost invariably kicking yourself for not following your instincts soon enough.

Low rent theatre in L.A. is not going to make or break someone's career. (Well, "career.") There are other cool things going on that "mean" more business-wise for me, but I am the theatre's bitch, and will always love it more than anything else. I secretly suspect that as a writer, and maybe as an actor as well, theatre is where I should ultimately be. But you can't get paid in the theatre. So that's why you make money and then come back to it.

Now all I have to do is to first 1) leave the theatre and then 2) make some money.


The forum wants to suck your soul (not to mention half of your work day):

How did you feel about hearing Your Words Read Aloud

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Make a brother feel good about Los Angeles

Share your "Name" Songs

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The Anna Nicole Smith Happy Song Corner

Looking back on all the time we spent together. You oughta know by now. If you wanna be my lover, wanna be my lover. Go ahead and take your time, boy you gotta feel secure. Before I make you mine, baby, you have to be sure. You wanna be my lover. Wanna be my lover, wanna be my lover. La da da dee da da da da... La da da dee da da da da... A ha ye heyee, wanna be my lover... I hear what you say, I see what you do. I know everything I need to know about you. And I want you to know that it's telling me. You wanna be my lover. La da da dee da da da da... A ha ye heyee, wanna be my lover... Be my lover, be my lover. I know you wanna be my lover. I know you wanna be mine. La da da dee da da da da... A ha ye heyee, wanna be my lover... I must confess. Girl, yes, I wanna be your lover. Take a chance, my love is like no other. On the dancefloor getting down. Hold tight, I'll never let you down. My love is definitely the key. Like Boyz II Men, I'm on bended knee. Loving you, not like your brother, aw yeah. I wanna be your lover... speaking of which. A ha ye heyee- hey. Is that you? Is it? C'mere. C'mere. You look good. You do. You do. Yer smokin'! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, kay? Cuz you're hot stuff and hot stuff that's still... real hot, you know. People love you. They do. They do. I don't care what anyone says. Man... looking in the mirror is sometimes so good for the soul. Hey, it's almost time for my yoga class. Ha! Of course I'm kidding. I'm gonna go get a drink.
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