Sunday, October 28, 2007

Matinees, The World Over...

Are mostly the same. The crowd was an ok size today, but their reactions were minimal. They laughed at places, as most crowds do, but they were quite dead. Coming off of last night's crowd, a bit of a let down. But as I said, a matinée is a matinée.Half thetime when people asked me how a show I am in went on any given Sunday, my answer is actually, "It was a matinée."

On the whole, I hate them, as you who read this blog know. Not really sure what the point of them is.

That aside, there seemed to be even fewer mistakes tonight. Though there was a small bump or two in Philip Glass, I am more than happy with how it went. Considered how complicated it is, and how few times we have gone over it, it's just this side of amazing that we do as well as we do with it.

All the other plays were the same story...a but lower on energy than lastnight, but with few mistakes, as far as I could tell. Afterwards we had to strike the set, as the building will be in use between weekends. That is a pain, and will be a pain to put together again Saturday evening, (The first chance we will have to do it.) But it was not as time consuming as I thought.

And in many ways the prep time and extra work paid off. We got all the windows covered in black plastic, and it was virtually night time in there when we had the lights off. Always a good thing, when you can keep the much hated sunlight out during a matinee...

We are now counting on good word of mouth for next weekend. I am doing my part by once again mentioning it here, to any of you who may live nearby.

That's all for now. Not much really to report. But tell your friends!~

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quite the Opening!

Not only for the show, but a whole new theatre company!

There were some differences and inconveniences that take some getting used to, given the venue. There was no real private area to get ready or collect my thoughts. The doors were open, and some people in their seats when I got there. That is a first. But I just strapped on the old mp3 player, and paced
alot around the churchyard for a half an hour or so. I got in the groove, and all was well.

Also, the back stage area, (which we had to create) is quite tiny. So there is not
alot of room to move. You are either sitting, or on stage. And with no intermission, that's a lot of sitting.

Particularly for me. My two plays are the final two plays of the evening. Which means I have to wait just over an hour to get on. A little hard to do in a cramped setting.

But out of 35 seats, about 20 people came, and they loved us! Very responsive crowd. Laughed a lot. And in a space that small, a lot of laughter really fills the room quite nicely.

Also, our lighting instruments stayed on the whole time. This was initially a concern, as they had not always done so.

There were no major mistakes in
The Philadelphia. Philip Glass did hit a tiny snafu. But so tiny I can promise you the audience did not catch it. I know this because even I wasn't sure what happened, and I am in the play. I may have made the mistake, or it may have been someone else. I do not know. The point is we kept the rhythm, and not a soul knew anything had happened.

So the much labored over
Glass has officially been performed successfully.

I said this before...this is, in many ways, acting at its purest. The small venue, make shift set, improvised props, etc. It all requires an actor to be extra sharp with his actual craft. Not that having great sets and props in a huge theatre kills acting talent. But in a play and a place like this one, you can't afford even the slightest luxury of relying on the externals. You have to have it all inside you, because that is all there is.

I was determined, as soon as I crossed the river into West Virginia, (about 5 minutes before the venue), that I was going to concentrate only on being an actor. Money did not matter. The size of the crowd, the venue, previous problems with the show. Nothing could be done about that by the time I crossed the river this evening. I knew the only thing left to do, was become a cast of one, within myself, and muster the determination to be dedication wholeheartedly to the show, regardless. And that is what I did, and I think it paid off.

It must have been what everybody else did as well...for there was not a single weak spot in the whole show. All 7 plays went smashingly, as they say. I do not think that Full Circle Theater Company could have asked for a better opening. I am very proud to have been there, and look forward to the three remaining performances. (Word of mouth really should help for next week.)

If this is the level of quality this company insists on all the time, it will not be long before it is a highly recognizable theatrical group in the area...adding its name to the other established companies.

Here's to Full Circle.

Unexpected Rehearsal

So I had rehearsal tonight at the director's house. I wasn't supposed to be there, but my boss called me and canceled my night at work, so I was freed up to go to rehearsal.

It was basically a muted affair, as final rehearsals sometimes are, even when they are not in people's homes. I do not mean to imply that nobody was working hard. I mean only to say that everyone seemed to be aware that the shows are exactly what they are going to be by now. (Not counting the X factor that an audience often brings.) So we basically all did our thing, and that was that. Not a whole lot of extra goings on.

Also possibly contributing to the low key rehearsal was the knowledge we will all be rehearsing again tomorrow morning, at the venue, before opening the show in the evening. This will be really only the second, (and final) chance I will have to rehearse in the venue, with all technical elements in place.

The first time I got to do so was last night, (Thursday.) And let me just say, in regards to last night, we totally nailed Philip Glass! The best we have ever done it, no doubt. And if the old superstition that a lesser final rehearsal means for a better opening night, we are in line to peak right as we open. Something that really is "all in the timing" as it were.

Due to the nature of this production, this will be the first time I have not really had a chance to run the show in full costume.Sort of. I had my base, all black outfit on last night, along with the sweater I will wear for my first show. For Philip Glass, I have chef's jacket to put on over top of said base outfit. (I play a baker in that one.) But I already know it fits, as I tested it last week. So I am not worried about that.

I am not really worried about anything. The show is going to be good, the director told us. Some lumps here and there, but that is to be expected. Given the schedules and other small obstacles we have all faced, I would say we are quite ready.

And more than that, it will be an inaugural affair; it's the first ever production of a new company. If nothing else, I get to take that into my career.

If I have the time, I will provide a brief update after the morning rehearsal...if there is anything particular worth reporting. Otherwise, I will probably just report on the actual opening, later in the evening.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coming Together...

Last night, (Wednesday) I had to miss a tech rehearsal because I was working. That's pretty much the first time that has ever happened in my acting career. I feel a bit down about it, but I am not beating myself up over it. I will feel even more down when I have to do it again tomorrow. (Friday.) But making money is making money, right?

I will say a few things about Monday and Tuesday night, though. in both cases, most of the people in most of the plays were not in attendance. (So I do not feel quite so bad missing those days this week.) Given that, on Monday I was called upon to read parts for missing actors in three different plays. This, plus my own two plays made for a busy day or two. I did not have to read for as many missing people on Tuesday.

Plus these two rehearsals were conducted in a private home. So, although it is good for lines, (I consider myself off book for both plays), blocking and props are not generally a part of the equation. Plus, my one scene partner was out of town for both rehearsals. In many ways, one could say I have not really had a chance to rehearse much in the way my shows will be performed.

This could have made me nervous, but in this case it has not. Despite the poor attendance at the last few rehearsals, I reached, in the course of those two or three days, being comfortable with the production as a whole. I am not just referring to things such as lines or blocking. I am referring to the more subtle things...the people involved...the travel to and from the location... (Almost an hour drive for me), and the nature of this unique first production. It certainly will not be the largest or grandest opening night I have ever had, but that moment where the "fun" clicked in came about recently. It's the final, (but not inevitable) step which allows me, and many other actors to summon their maximum creativity for a piece. With that having happened, I feel there is a lot to offer in those shows, despite the limited rehearsal time, and availability of the casts.

Not to mention that it is a minimalist setup, anyway. The lines and the show are essentially the lion's share of what is happening. (Especially with Philip Glass.) These plays can be more complicated in some venues, but we do not have that luxury. Furthermore, I would argue the Ives pieces we are doing lend them self more to minimalist sets and costumes. They are verbal assaults on the audience and other actors. Friendly assaults, to be sure, but ones which can lose potency in too many frills. In our case, by force, and by choice, that is not going to be an issue.

I will have rehearsal tonight, which I believe will be a tech rehearsal in the actual venue. I will miss tomorrow, and that will leave the Saturday morning run through before the actual opening. All told, it appears I will have 2 chances to run the show, as it will be performed,costumes, props and all, before we open on Saturday night.

There are drawbacks, but nothing that will sink the ship. Indeed, in a way, this is the spirit of community theatre. It is local people, picking a show, with a minimal budget and hectic schedules, finding a small, barely adequate venue, and entertaining those that do show up, through the purest form of acting...intimate, performance/dialog based experiences, lacking spectacle. Though the writing cannot compare, there is a Shakespearean, or in the very least, an Elizabethan theatre quality to what we are doing here, if I may be so bold. Sparse props, little to no sets, cramped quarters, mixed with the dedication to the craft of entertaining...whomever will come, and in whatever venue we can secure.

I speak for only me, as others may not be as impressed by our humble beginnings. But, such people are not likely to attend the play, or read this blog in the first place. For those that will attend, or wish they could, and those that read this blog, you probably follow what I mean.

And so, bring on rehearsal...

And ticketsarestill available over at

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hell "Partial" Week

Indeed, it all begins tomorrow. But, first things first.

Today there was a rehearsal. All of the plays were supposed to be present, but, only a fraction showed up. At least during the time I was there.

First thing I went over was Philip Glass. We ran that several times..and with few exceptions, it gets better and better each time. There are bumps, but I am quite pleased with the progress. Sometimes, with a piece like this, you can get to know it so well that you almost don't know it for a moment. That is to say, your brain knows where you are, and what you need to be doing, but your mind is not quite confident enough to believe get something right, but you are not certain you were right, so you hesitate. You become tentative. There were a few instances of this today. But not many, I am proud to say. I feel very confident now in saying that by thetime we open (in just a few days!!!)we will be all set.

My scene partner for The Philadelphia was not here today. Before I left, I ran lines with the director, but I have that down cold, and he said there was no reason to go over that again.

And hence was the start of "hell week".

Sadly, my partner for Philadelphia will miss a few days, because he is getting married. I myself will, sadly, have to miss two nights of hell week because of my job. (I have never missed a tech week rehearsal before, to the best of my memory.) But a job is a job. In the end, I think I will have only two chances all week to run The Philadelphia with my scene partners, in the true venue of the performance. (Most of the rehearsals have been in the director's home.) I am not at all worried...a tad concerned perhaps. I will never have opened a show with this little venue rehearsal beforehand. But, it is what it is, I signed on for it, and it is still exciting to be part of a new, up and coming theatre company.

I will be working extra hard, in some ways. In other ways, I will not be. To be more specific, I will be working extra hard during the rehearsals I will be able to attend this week. But at the same time, I do not feel I will have a lot to review on my own at home.

Consider, loyal blog readers, that for the one play, I am off book enough to not have to sweat it too much. Quick reviews of the pages each night before bed should be enough. And for the Philip Glass piece, we are at a point where going over the script on our own probably no longer does any good; we all need to be present to get the most out of rehearsing that. I will be going over some problem spots myself, but between being okay for one script, and the highly unusual other script, there will not be much extra work at home that I will be able to do.

Very unconventional feelings leading into a very unconventional tech week for a very unusual production. But variety can only improve an actor's character. Into the uniqueness, I say.

(tickets for the show still available!!)

And on another note, I just posted another episode of my internet radio show, over at Go there!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Backlog Entry

I am quite tired this evening, having delivered a tour earlier. But I realized I had skipped two rehearsal updates, so it was time to remedy that. (Since I will have another rehearsal tomorrow.)

First, our normal rehearsal on Friday. Hands down the best that The Philadelphia has gone. Not to jinx it, but that was close to the rehearsal where you know you totally have a show down. A few lines were skipped here and there, but nothing that would throw off the show. In practice, we are officially off book.

At one point I apparently made a gesture, or intonation on a line that was rather every in the room cracked up, and the scene had to be started over. I suppose if this is happening, I am doing something right.

Unlike many directors I have worked with, my current director told us that he does not mind something like that happening during a performance, provided we actors can jump back into the script and not get lost. I doubt it will happen during a performance, now that it has already happened. But anything is possible, and it is good to know we have that leeway.

Later that night, we ran through Glass, but were one person short. Still, not too bad, though we all were shaky in our own certain parts of the script. Nonetheless, the repetition helped.

This was even more helpful the following morning, when just those of us in Glass met on our own, to basically run the show over and over again until its patterns started to click with us.Twice, we very nearly performed it without mistakes! This is a big victory, as I have been most worried about this script. But as I said, it's there in our heads now. That much at least has been proven. With tech week coming up, we have many more times to beat it into our heads, and for the first time I can say I feel confident that we will.

But as one actress observed, in a play like this, the audience will probably never know if we screw up, so long as we do not show it on our faces. Agreed.

So, a week from now, opening night will be over! Hard to believe it is that soon, once again. It has been a strange rehearsal process, no doubt. Uneven, and nowhere near as often as I am used to. And yet, we are succeeding! And I assume the other plays in the production are moving along just as well.

So again, for you Shepherdstown locals that may be reading this, come see us. for all the info you need.

And that, loyal blog readers, is that for now. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Clock is Ticking...

All kinds of things going on.

Firstly, my thanks to the anonymous poster who said they enjoyed my radio show. (Found at A new episode will be along soon. Please, whoever you are, keep commenting.

Secondly, and the main thing is, rehearsal. I had one Thursday, and one today.

I am proud to say I am off book for The Philadelphia. I can now concentrate on the all important

It is just as well too, because we actually open a week from Saturday! Holy!

Which still leaves me with some worries about Philip Glass. When we all read from the book, our timing and character is great. But we get pretty confused pretty quickly when we are without books. For my part, when I listen to a tape of it, I am pretty close to knowing everything. 90% I dare say. But when it comes to actually doing it with others...lots of things get lost. I will have to work double time to get this one ready to go. (Though I did come up with a bit of movement on Thursday that director found funny. I will keep it.)

As for The Philadelphia, my main goal at this point is to register the realization of being in a "Philadelphia", but not to such a degree as to make it surreal. It may in fact be that to the audience, but I feel the piece only works if the predicament my character is in; as outlandish as it may be, actually seems possible in the universe of the play. Indeed, this is probably the best way to approach any David Ives production, in my opinion. Well, except, possibly, for Philip Glass.

So, my overall goal, now that I am off book, is to "keep it real" within the unrealness, if that makes sense. It doesn't work as a total absurdest piece, in my view.

I must also go shopping for a costume. We are to be wearing all black shirts, shoes, pants, etc. All of the plays are doing so, and just adding a small piece here and there to denote what they are doing at any given moment.

Aside from my rehearsal, I got to see some of the other plays in the collection today. They seem to be coming along rather well. Hopefully all of them will improve steadily between now and opening night. (The day of which we may have to have a rehearsal, for we may not have access to the building with all of the set pieces and curtains until the morning of the very first show.)

All and all, it is coming along. I wish I were further along in Philip Glass, but I cannot help but be very satisfied with the progress I have made in Philadelphia.

One final side note...I gave my first tour last night. (Saturday). It went pretty much as I thought it would go. I had fun, and the guests seemed to have fun, which in the end is all that matters. I even made a few tips.

Next rehearsal is Thursday. Those of you who read this and are nearby, come see it! Go to for details.
nuance of performing and movement. I will not call it blocking, as basically I am sitting the whole time, with a few moments of pacing. But either way, the little things...gestures, facial expressions, etc, are now getting more attention.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Etc, etc. I have been spending a large portion of this afternoon trying to nail down the Philip Glass script. I would say I am tentatively off book for about 60% of it or so. But it's such a blooming difficult piece to review on your own! Or with other people, for that matter...

But I press on now...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Quiet Anniversary, And Some More.

Yes, indeed, loyal blog readers. Today marks the two year anniversary of the launch of Always Off Book. No huge celebrations, or intricate countdowns this year, like last year. Can't make a big to do each time October 7 rolls around. =) However, I wanted to acknowledge it in a few small ways. Certainly with a mention. It is good to still be kicking about my theatre thoughts after two years.

One thing I will mention is a simple entry about my current production. I received an email from my director last night. The costumes for the piece will be all black attire. Each actor will have a few particular add on pieces that they will wear depending on which character that are playing at the moment. So I will have to be on the look out for some black clothing. (I do not have much of it, believe it or not.)

Plus just a few days to be off book. I really wish there had been more time for Philip Glass to be honest. It is more work than I thought. Nothing I cannot do, but I would have been more secure in my ability to do it if I had been working on it twice as long as I have been. So, I feel less than confident I will be totally off book for that one by Thursday. But of course, as always, I will be making the effort.

So that is the current show update.

Now for something else...

This is not truly related to theatre. But because this is my blog, and word of mouth is rather important for something like this, I am letting my blog reading friends know first.

I have started another blogger account. For now, I call it "Almost Radio". The purpose of the site is to offer a sort of make shift internet radio show experience.

You see, I was on the radio in college, and have missed it ever since. Recently I have been investigating the possibilities of such do it yourself online radio stations as, and such. I learned quickly that even the simplest form of those stations would require an investment of money and equipment I am not quite prepared to make just yet. But, I still wanted to explore the idea of producing an internet "radio" show, so I explored my options.

After much research, confusing computer jargon, and frustrating experiments, I believe I have found a passable substitute. The substitute is the new page...Quasi-Radio Ty.

Basically, I record a short talk-radio show on my computer. I upload the file to a host, and then I post a player, as a post, in the blog. Those who want to hear the show just press "play".

Now, of course, it is not live, and I long to do live shows again at some point. But I saw no reason to work on a substitution plan until I can make the investment. And after all, 80% of what we hear on standard, satellite or internet radio is pre-recorded anyway, so I am not that far behind the curve.

It is still spontaneous, however. There is no editing involved. Though I could easily edit something to make it sound better, or fix a mistake, I won't. The program will be posted "as recorded", warts and all. The next best thing I can promise listeners outside of a live broadcast.

My first "webisode" is on the site now. It is a test episode, so it is only 30 minutes. I imagine future episodes will be 60 minutes. (And I hold myself strictly to those limits, even though there is no advertising and such. I set a timer and when it goes off, show is done.)

You can expect life observations, games, discussions on politics, philosophy,other blogs. I will also be taking comments, suggestions and questions from listeners. I will be reading emails during the show, if people want, and I will be steering the course of the conversation int he direction that an email takes me, if people should opt to ask questions. Basically, it truly is a talk radio show, just not a live one.

The technology seems stable, but it is an experiment, and I suppose it could vanish at any time. But for now it seems to be working, so please, check it out, and leave me on when you need some though provoking back ground noise. And do tell your friends about it. If I don't get a large listener following, a steady loyal one would be nice.

So, two years after launching this blog, I embark on another concurrent blogging adventure. Hope

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dwindling Numbers

Another person has dropped out of the production! I met them just one time, at the very first rehearsal. I am sure they had their reasons, but, wow. Keep in mind, I am in this show because I myself replaced a drop out. Now another.

The initial suggestion of our director was to eliminate Philip Glass from the production altogether. He citedthe fact that one of the actresses had already replaced two other people, and would be in three of the shows. Plus the fact that it is the most difficult of all the shows to do when time is short, and casts keep changing.

I was inclined to agree, but did not really say anything. I am having a bit of a hardtime with the script, and I would not weep if it were cut. But in the end, it was decided to at least give the one actress a chance to learn the script. And if she can, the show will continue.

Ok, but the question is, will I be able to myself?

Actually, I am sure that I will be able to...but it will take lots of extra time put into it.

On the plus side, tonight proved that I am just around the corner from being off book for The Philadelphia. I studied it alot yesterday, and some today, and as I deliveredthe lines I realized I had more committed to memory thanI would have thought a few days ago.

That being said, I was able to emote more, and come up with some more unique line readings, since I was off book for some chunks of it.

One thing I am having a problem with somewhat, (not terribly large), is the exageratted innunciation that is required of all os uf in this show. It is difficult to innunciate that properly, while trying to convey a frazzled character. Yet it is very much required, as the acoustics in the chapel we are using are very poor. We are taking physical steps to correct that, but innunciation is still even more important than it otherwise would be. (Which is very important anyway.)

At the end of rehearsal it was decided that next week we are to be off book. I havementioned how far I am on that. But this one is sneaking up on us. Not only is it a short time away, but meeting only once a week makes each rehearsal all the more important.

It's a bit hectic right now. But I would not classify myself as worried at all.

Nobody else seems to be either. So this is good news.


Within an hour or so I will be leaving for the latest All in the Timing rehearsal, which I shall of course talk about later. But right now, there are some things about the past I would like to mention.

I received a package today. It was from a dear friend of mine that I went to college with. The contents were unexpected, but pleasantly surprising.

The last show at Marietta College that I ever appeared in as a student was Miss Nelson is Missing. I discussed that show more in detail in a previous post. Go there to learn more, but the short version is, I played a kid who acting in every way, like Elvis.

During the costuming of this show, there was some back and forth as to whether I would be dressed as the older Elvis from the 1970's, or the younger 1950's iconic Elvis. The latter was chosen, and the search was on for a leather jacket. (I didn't own one, and for whatever reason, neither did the costume shop.)

The friend I mentioned was also in this play. A friend of hers had given her a nice leather jacket a few years before, and she offered to let me use it for the show. Which I did.

I enjoyed wearing it as Elvis, even though the King probably did not have a jacket exactly like it. But, since I was not playing the King, only a kid who wanted to be the King, it worked out well. It was with some reluctance I gave the jacket back at the end of the show's run.

I graduated a few months later, and never saw the jacket again...until today.

For those of you that have yet to catch on, my friend just sent me the very same jacket.

A broad smile crossed my face as I opened the box. I knew instantly what it's contents were. I took it out. Examined it. I am fairly certain that you can still make out small stains from the stage make up I wore during the show, just around the collar of the jacket.

I put it on, for the first time in over 5 years. Though I have gained some weight since then, it still went on. And it was, believe it or not, quite familiar in feel. Though I had not worn it in years, the position of all the snaps, zippers and pockets was as fresh in my mind as if it had been my own jacket all those years.

Quite a nostalgia piece, indeed.

It is really only the second significant costume piece from a show I own. (Not counting pieces I already owned before I used them in a show.) The Opera House wouldn't even let me keep a microscopic name tag with my character's name printed on it one time. Ha.)

I may have to break out the old video of that show tonight, just because I can. I rarely watch it, but if ever I were to do so, tonight would be a good time, I would think.

It will hang now, in my closet, unless I find some other cool way to display it. Either way, it is here, and is a part of my acting career. I love it, and the friend that sent it.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I did not make it into Beauty and the Beast at the Opera House. I thought I had done quite well at the audition, and am a bit disappointed. But in the end, this does not honestly surprise me.

The Opera House and I have sort of had a parting of the ways of late, in regards to certain attitudes and aspirations. Or perhaps it was coincidental all those years when I thought I was more in line with them. At any rate, though I obviously will not say I will never try out for an Opera House show again, (I am sure I will) they certainly feel less like home than they did back when I started this blog.

And forthose willing to cry "sour grapes", I will say that even before this audition, I had begun to feel that way. My relationship with that company had been changing for a while now. They are not looking for people like me anymore, and I will have to accept that.

So, I guess I am a bit more of a freelance now, locally. I just no longer consider the Opera House a home base of my operations.

I did want to be in a 3 weekend show, but, I was never in love with this script to begin with. It's commercial, and a bit silly. And not at all Christmasy. So, a few more reasons I suppose it is for the best.

Plus, all the more time to dedicate to All in the Timing. And to my job. So here's to those things.