Thursday, January 16, 2014

One Man Show: Progress Report

The other day I sat down and delivered my one man show out loud to myself, in its entirety for the first time. (Stage directions included.) It took one hour and 20 minutes, which is quite close to ideal this early on.

That time will of course expand once stage movement and other performance factors are considered. But that time will also contract once I become familiar with the text and can deliver it by memory. So I'm thinking an hour ten to an hour twenty is close to the actual final performance time, barring any major changes I would make to the script.

Right now, I don't foresee any major changes to it. The sequence works and the nature of the non-Shakespearean speeches have a good mixture of information, reflection and entertainment, which is key.

There are many Shakespearean speeches in the show. That's the point, after all, to examine the kings in the histories. But if the line I deliver between those speeches ring false or put people to sleep, it simply wont matter how well I deliver the Shakespeare.

I still need to evolve the nature of the base-character for the same reasons. He has to be someone with whom an audience wants to spend time for that hour and 20 minutes, without being someone that overshadows the drama of the Shakespeare. I had a vision in my head of what sort tone to set with who I am calling "The Actor", and my first full-reading showed me it could work in some ways, and might not work in others. Part mad-scientist and part Olivier and part Woody Allen is how he comes off right now. Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of those components in their own right, but the balance between them could probably be adjusted. That's what I will be working on the most in the coming sessions.

Through it all, I think of lines off the cuff that would sound better than the ones I have written down, or at least enhance them. I will eventually write down some of these, I suppose, and will continue to polish and tweak the writing. But the general flow seems to be in place now, and seems it will work, once individual sentences are polished.

Long way to go so far. But, to paraphrase a famous observation, it is perhaps the end of the beginning. Keep coming back here to see how it progresses. I might even have an official title for it the next time I post...

Monday, January 06, 2014


Happy New Year, loyal blog readers.

I want to start of by saying that last year was the least active year in this blogs history, and I hope to change that this year. (Namely, because I hope to be doing more theatre this year, hence having more to write about.)

I may not be writing a play by play rehearsal sort of blog anymore for every show. I know that's sort of been my bread and butter here for much of the time, but unless there is a particular problem or revelation on any given night of rehearsing or performing, (and let's face it, often there is anyway) a weekly round up of rehearsals is probably enough. It will also make my posts, hopefully, more thoughtful than just, "I did this tonight."

There was a time when each rehearsal was somewhat exciting and profound in its own way. Should I find myself in such a show I will of course blog accordingly. But over the last few years, not only have my chances to be in shows decreased dramatically, (my main theatre company shutting down over the summer), the shows I have been in over the last few years have not always been a rich source of thoughtful material. Richard III was because it's Shakespeare, but a few other recent activities have been fun but not necessarily intriguing.

And that's all part of theatre too; it runs the gamete for the actor. They can't all be life changing shows, not do they have to be, so long as I try to learn something from each of them. What I learn can probably be better explored with less than daily posts now. Though of course I could be wrong, and find I need to blog every night the next time I'm in a show anyway, so moved could I be. (Wouldn't that be great?)

Right now, I don't know what my next experience will be. The Christmas Carol reading I mentioned in my previous post was called off due to weather and never rescheduled. I continue to be a manager of that same facility, but for now, there is nothing occurring there, as we try to get off of the ground, and get people to notice us. So keep that in mind.

I am working on my one-man show based on Shakespeare's histories, however. My goal is to have it ready to perform there by late summer or early autumn. (I haven't picked a date yet.) But I'm sure that experience, especially as I finalize the writing and start rehearsing it, will provide a great deal of material here on the blog. I hope you will join me for that adventure throughout the year.

And of course I still plan to post some opinion pieces, and maybe links more often than I have been known in the past to do.

So, will less be more in a way for Always Off Book this year? Tune in to find out. As always, I thank everyone who stops by here.