“Each character was different, ranging from a husband who believed his wife was having an affair, to a servant, to Don Juan himself. Each of Moliere’s plays reflected political commentary on the issues of the time, particularly the corrupt aristocrats or deceivingly ethical elite such as doctors, lawyers and priests. Mooney as Moliere transformed into each character by merely changing his wig, putting on a hat or making very small costume changes. With each minute change in detail, however, a new character stepped onto the stage.” (Colleen Bulow)
|And they make great presents, too...!|
Speaking of book-success, it was around this time that Playscripts, Inc. agreed to carry "The Big Book of Moliere Monologues" in their catalogue, and "Acting at the Speed of Life" showed up as a "Recommendation" on the website of the American Association of Community Theatre. My old grad school buddy, Mike Pearl added yet another review for "Acting at the Speed of Life" on Amazon. And yet another teacher, who is using "Acting at the Speed of Life" for her acting classes, forwarded me a review:
"Acting at the Speed of Life is the next best thing to have Tim Mooney right there in the classroom with you! Because he had just done a live workshop with us, I could hear his voice in my head as my students worked through exercises in the book. His techniques energize performance with specific choices that bring words to life and connect with the audience." (Rebecca Baker, Cedarville University)
From Georgia, I headed up to Maryland, to catch my sister, Maureen and her husband Tim in their swank new home in Maryland (on the eastern coast of the Chesapeake). They just moved in a month prior to my arrival, and set up a performance of my latest show, “The Greatest Speech of All Time” at their community center. I was surprised to see a full house, and very excited to see how affected people are by this show. (I think it made for a nice ice-breaking event, introducing Maureen and and Tim to their new neighbors.)
It seems that a lawyer by the name of “Moliere” had noticed my “MOLIERE” license plate and perhaps thought he was introducing himself to some long-lost branch of the family tree. I dropped him a line introducing myself, and the particulars of my engagement with his great ancestor, and several days later, the phone rang, with JPM on the line: he was fascinated and excited. He had checked me out on line, and, surprise-surprise, he happened to be a big Moliere fan… which I suppose would be inevitable. He said something to the effect that my performances were “a F-ing riot,” and in gratitude, I sent him a copy of “The Big Book of Moliere Monologues.” He was gracious enough to write up a review. And so, here is what the actual J.P. Moliere had to say about my book:
“I like Shakespeare, but I love Molière much more because I believe that comedy, especially poking a stick in the eye of silliness by showing the absurdity of a given common issue known to all is marvelous relief. For those that do not read, speak and especially, understand French, Tim Mooney has created an elegantly simplistic highway of understanding from the basic description of iambs to the delivery of easily understood, and laughed out loud at, skillfully constructed verse.
“The key to excellent verse is the simultaneous application of cleverness in a most academic and streetwise manner. Tim does this expertly. Double entendre is a staple by which we all find ourselves thoughtfully smiling or laughing out loud. Merci, Jean-Baptiste. Much of Tim’s experience shines through in a scholarly manner... The Big Book is a must read for any serious French teacher or student of French. To understand Molière is to reach down into our inner being so as to discover and understand ourselves when not fettered by silly political correctness...or assisted by a shrink!
“Tim’s Big Book facilitates this in a very American, in your face way. If you don’t like Molière or Mooney when you have completed this book, you could not have liked Mad Magazine or the edginess of the old Saturday Night Live… So if you are of that ilk, I trust you have read this review before buying it, so my advice is, don’t bother, you are incorrigible and not worthy. If however, I’ve piqued your interest, dive into it...naked, with a glass of red wine and savor it. After you’ve done that it will be the morrow; so shower, don your clothes and read in earnest! You will be delighted, fulfilled and even a bit smarter in the timeless clever ingenuity of Molière and Mooney’s genius manner of bringing this genre to life!”
|Isaac in front of "Hogwarts"|
It was a quick race east afterwards, with a stop at the University of Michigan to check out my son, Isaac’s new dorm surroundings. I was due the next day in Green Bay, Wisconsin with my third performance at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. This was another small audience, and a much bigger challenge to win over, but by the time we got into the volunteer scenes I felt they were entirely on board. When it came time to bringing up a volunteer for the “Doctor in Spite of Himself” scene, the French professor started pointing at students in neighboring rows to encourage them, but I picked up on her gesture as if she, herself, were volunteering, and the audience got to enjoy their teacher in the hot-spot. (It looks like I’ve also recruited her to write a review of “The Big Book of Moliere Monologues” for the French Review!)
I continued West, with my third performance at Mount Hood Community College, and another stay at my favorite hotel, “McMenamin’s Edgefield.” Once again, Mount Hood was bringing me in to do both Shakespeare and “Moliere Than Thou,” but the audience seemed a little bigger this time. The hosts (French and English teachers) had also reached out to the Theatre Department for support, and brought in more lighting instruments to illuminate the otherwise dim lecture hall. I had one “fan” who’d discovered me through a mutual friend on Facebook, who raved unabashedly about the performance afterwards. Her review later that day started with “We’re still just thrilled about the event today…” and got more enthusiastic from there.
After Cupertino, I took a couple days off in Fresno, visiting "Airplane Jayne," responding to 130 or more Facebook messages, and attempting to learn my new phone.
The one comment I "tweeted" after the election results came in was that "Four years from now, there will be 8-year-old children who will never have known of a white man being president. "You mean they let white men do that too?"
|Moliere visits Area 51|
|Criteria, the One-Man Comic Sci-Fi Thriller!|
|Fill in your own caption here...|
Also in Orlando, I met up with a friend from West Virginia, who read a manuscript copy of my "self-help" book, "Currency. She was so enthusiastic about it that I've now put it back on my "to-be-published" pile...!
|Tim & Maureen|
I spent much of my drive back to Chicago making plans for a study guide, to help teachers prepare their students for “Greatest Speech.” What this performance had seemed to be missing, and what previous performances had, was an audience that was already attuned to the “tension implicit in the process of the speaking.” While contemporary high school students may have a working knowledge of Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, I can’t count on any common frame of reference about Socrates, Mark Antony, Frederick Douglass, the Roosevelts, or Winston Churchill.
- Finishing the winter “booking campaign”
- Editing Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Parts 1, 2, 3) and Richard III down to an hour apiece
- Publishing “Criteria” and “Moliere Than Thou”
- Doing “Kindle” versions of “Acting at the Speed of Life” and “Big Book of Moliere Monologues”
- Recording an audio version of “Acting at the Speed of Life”
- Memorize two more speeches for “The Greatest Speech of All Time”
- Write and Memorize a new one-man Shakespeare show: “The History Cycle”
- Edit and develop my self-help book, “Currency”
- Finish the Shakespeare study guide, and the “Greatest Speech” study guide
- And three other projects that aren't coming to mind at the moment… like cleaning out my e-mail inbox, or designing the “Moliere Than Thou” coffee mug…!
|Tim, Dad, Sue & Kevin|
- I’m looking at performances at the Texas Educational Theatre Association, where I’ll be a Guest Artist.
- I got a call from SETC, requesting a performance of “Greatest Speech” for their March conference.
- I’m talking with the folks at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Fest about some extended Guest Artist work with them.
- And I’ve renewed my conversation with the Oregon Shakespeare Fest about performing in their Green Show. (They’ve also renewed their order of the Acting text, and initiated a new order of “The Big Book of Moliere Monologues.)