Thursday, April 24, 2014

Open Letters and Birthdays.

Once in a while, loyal blog readers, something I post on my "regular" blog nicely cross-relates to this blog. Today is one of those times.

On my regular blog, every other Thursday this year, I have endeavored to write an open letter to someone I either do not speak to anymore, or could never possibly find. Partly to gain closure, and partly to show gratitude where it is due in retrospect. This week, being the 450th "birth week" of Shakespeare, I wrote an open letter to the man who first truly complimented my abilities to perform Shakespeare well. He was an audience member in one of my first quasi-performances of Shakespeare. (Read the letter to find out what I mean by that.)

And, Happy (Belated) Birthday, Shakespeare.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Here and There...and a Poem!

I write poems and post them on a website. I go by forms, and I'm currently working on acrostics. Today's was particularly appropriate for the subject of this blog, so I thought I'd post a link to it. Do tell me what you think, either there, or there. Check it out.

In the last month since I posted here, several theatre balls have been rolling with me. To begin with, I am off book for the first section of my Shakespeare-based one man show. For the most part. The lines are partially ad-libbed each time, so an exact timing is difficult to determine, but the average seems to be about 40 minutes. Truth be told that is running a bit longer than I thought it would. I may be able to trim some off of it, but it seems to be in love with that 40 minute presentation. So what I'll probably do is leave it as it is, and make sure the second section, which is shorter, takes no more than 20 minutes. Then I'll throw in an intermission. I hadn't planned to use an intermission, but given how long the first section is, it clearly needs one.

The first section should be the longest by a few minutes. So with some trimming and practice, all of the others should be much faster. Better to open with the longer section, I dare say. It needs to set the tone for what I'm doing. Then once that ball is rolling the other sections should go by quicker. And intermission won't hurt anything, and I have a natural breaking point for one. I won't be sure if it works until I am off book with section two. I'll start memorizing the Shakespeare speeches for that section sometimes in the next week.

The good news is that the show is starting to come alive to me. There will be tweaks along the way, of course. I'm still trying to find a good presence for the one-man I'm portraying between the Shakespeare. But now that I can recite all of the Shakespeare for section one, and can present the other speeches and commentary in an organic way, I have for the last week or so felt like I'm truly performing it. There's a lot of work left to be done, but I've gotten over a major hurdle...the end of the beginning, as it were.

Speaking of beginnings, I have also in the last ten days or so begun writing the script for a conventional stage play, that is to say one that is not a one-man show. There are in fact five characters in this play, and I've been kicking the idea around in my head for about a year or so. It will explore art and acting. Performing. What parts of art we do and do not own when we create them. That sort of thing. This will be my first sincere attempt at writing a full length stage play, so I'm in uncharted ground here. But I like what I have so far, and thanks to some tips online, I've created a script format template for Word that makes it look like a script as I write it. Believe it or not, seeing it in script format helps. I get the sense I am creating something to be acted. I can see future actors highlighting the words as I am typing them, and that's a satisfying thought.

I have about 5,000 words of that project done as well. I have some fear that the material may be too thin for a full length play, but I have a lot of room to play with for now. The goal is to have at least a first draft of the play completed before the end of 2014.

I've also just started to gather theatre related articles or blog posts from elsewhere that I can use for future commentary here on the blog. I mentioned I planned to expand the scope a bit by commenting on certain things and I mean to do so. I just want a bit of a collection of potential topics to build up before I launch into that in earnest. (If you have any ideas or questions or links you think I should check out, do let me know in the comments!)

That's all for now, loyal blog readers. If you're still out there, please let me know it. I'd very much appreciate a comment here and there to let me know I'm still reaching somebody.