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Showing posts from 2006

The View From Here #119: Norman, OK; Joplin, MO; Highland Heights, KY; Millersville, PA; Worcester, MA; Signal Mountain, TN

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I spent three days in Norman, Oklahoma, attending classes and observing actors.

My tour schedule wouldn’t allow me to be present during the actual auditions for Precious Young Maidens and Doctor in Spite of Himself, so I was watching the actors perform in classroom scenes. Susan, the director of the shows, even pulled together a reading of the two plays, with me performing the two roles that I’ll be playing this winter.

I went around getting pictures and names of all of the actors. It would help for me to have a visual image during casting conversations. Ultimately, I will arrive in Oklahoma sixteen days before opening night, so I want to hit my stride quickly in rehearsal.

The readings went well. About forty actors attended, and we set up music stands with scripts, while I recorded the reading. My intent was to get people excited about auditioning for the show, and to “raise the bar” a bit with my (almost memorized) reading, so that the level of commitment would be high. My third goal…

The View From Here # 118: Lynchburg, VA; West Palm Beach & Melbourne, FL; Brunswick, GA; Hillsboro, Kingsville, TX

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Well, suddenly we are in “prime time,” with shows coming fast and furious. One sequence of the past weeks has found me performing the show five times in four days! While I love doing the show, I can’t relax during periods like this. Any kind of illness could cost me big time, so it’s a constant roll of the dice.

Of course, I’ve never cancelled a show in my life, so that’s probably just my imagination working overtime.

From Idaho, I raced home in record time (two days from Boise to Chicago!), catching a Pathways celebration, and visiting with my "Tennessee girlfriend,” Sabra, who was in town for the Pathways Advanced course.

I made a quick side-trip up to Wisconsin, where I had been cast in a commercial. It was a three-hour drive to deliver a single line: Something like “Before it gets too cold, I’d better winterize my car.” And then, three hours back. (Passing by U-Wisconsin-Whitewater, I couldn’t resist dropping in on Charles Phillip Thomas, who translated Secret Obscenities, wh…

The View From Here #117: Grande Prairie, AB; Seattle, WA; Missoula, MT; Caldwell, ID

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All of a sudden, Summer Fringing is over, and the school tour is underway. Not a lot of performances for the last few weeks, but I’ve had so much work to do that I haven’t really had time to put these thoughts together.

Where you last left me, I was heading from Edmonton to Grande Prairie, about six hours northwest. They actually have road signs that say “ALASKA” with an arrow pointing off to the northwest. I assumed that meant that Alaska is fairly close, and maybe it is as the crow flies, but Mapquest tells me that Juneau is another 26 hours away by automobile.

Grande Prairie is what you’d have to call a “boom town.” The increase in oil prices have made oil shale mining more lucrative, and the small city is bursting with trucks and construction. “Help Wanted” signs are up everywhere. If anybody out there ever wants to work in a Tim Hortons, jobs there START at over $10 an hour. Of course, apartments are at a premium.

My host, Thomas, who has previously directed my version of “Tartuf…

The View From Here #116: Edmonton, AB

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Just when you think the whole “struggling” thing is behind you, there seems to be more struggling yet in front of you.

I had looked forward to Edmonton, as rather the Shangri La of Fringes, knowing that there was a huge audience out there to be gotten, and assuming that they were already mine.

I’d assumed that a couple of the Edmonton reviewers had found their way out to Winnipeg, catching my show already on a couple of my better performances there. I don’t know why … perhaps seeing men “of a certain age” sitting off to the side at my show, or towards the back, left me to assume that my Edmonton reviews were already mostly written. Those had been among my best performances, so I was feeling pretty confident.

But I had the small matter of an opening night show yet to perform, before any reviews were to come out. An annoyance, really, but there it was. I was on at 10:30 on the opening night of the fringe. I could have gone to more effort to recruit an audience, giving away free tickets a…

The View From Here #115: Minneapolis, MN

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First, just a quick heads-up to anyone who might have missed the last two issues: My computers were stolen in Winnipeg, and I am slowly rebuilding the reader list (now up to about 338 of what had been 425). If you think you missed an issue, please jump down to the previous issues, below on this blog. In fact, you can revisit anything dating back as far as 2004 at this site. (By the way, as you can probably see as you’re reading this, I’ve just now learned how to add photos to my blog [... or perhaps just one photo to my blog ... I'm still trying to add incriminating shots from some of the recent parties...] so this should be a much more fun way to read the View From Here.)

After a week of waiting, and yet another break in to my car (stealing my passport this time), the glass finally arrived in Winnipeg on Monday morning, just as I was about to leave town. I stopped and had it replaced, before hitting the road with Amy Salloway, heading back to Minneapolis, arriving at around 11 pm…