Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The View From Here #170: Spring, 2017

The view from Betty's Balcony!
The FundraiserContinues… this time with a deadline!

I started the current fundraiser with the intent to make a one month blitz out of it, but, in the throes of the tour, the new show, and a rough patch with a flurry of allergies, the fundraiser sat idle for a while…

With the spring tour almost entirely behind me, the spring e-mail campaign complete, and “Breakneck Julius Caesar” memorized and ready to go, I’ve set a definitive end to the campaign (May 5!) and am making one last big push! As of today, our on-line giving has reached $1,720, and checks-in-the-mail brought in $2,875, which puts us at $4,595, with $2,905 left to go!


My quick update on the tour, visiting some awesome "swag!" (Stickers!)

What that means is that we’ve already been able to afford a slick new brochure (I have copies for anybody out there who wants one!), a sharp new exhibit hall banner, brilliant new artwork for “Breakneck Julius Caesar” and a classy toga and leather armor for the new show.

Trying out my Caesar costume! (with some artsy distortion)
This last phase is to jumpstart our grant-writer, April Peterson, on a flurry of projects to bring in funds from foundations, corporations and government programs that are dedicated to furthering Shakespeare, Moliere or theatre-in-general in the schools. We are actually anticipating the arrival of our first such "seed grant" around May 5, so we really want to close out this campaign by then so that, whatever that grant should be, it won't go towards patching up the previous campaign, but rather launch us into a new (stable!) organization, with the entirety of that grant going toward the simple mission of bringing awesome events to schools! 

Here's April herself (click there) talking about her plans for TMRT!
The new mug!

If you can help us get over that last hump, please visit our Generosity.com fundraising page! There's t-shirts and coffee mugs waiting with your name on them!

Tracing back to where we left off three months ago, I stayed at a friend’s house in Colorado through Super Bowl weekend, but by the end of the weekend, I seem to have had a bad reaction to her cat, as my eyes started to itch like crazy, and I was sneezing non-stop. Between Flonase and Zyrtech, I got it sufficiently in control to (barely) make it through my next two bookings.

Concordia High School in Kansas was working on my version of “Tartuffe,” and as the director found his students struggling with the verse, he put together a last-minute series of class visits and a nighttime workshop to give them a quick immersion in Moliere and style. (Word has it that the show was very well received!)

Actually taken in Fargo, April 26, but you get the idea...
From there, I doubled back west and north for a show in the northwest corner of Nebraska, where they’d just gotten about a foot of snow (just as I’d been getting used to spring-like weather)! That night I visited a rehearsal of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” and gave some feedback to the cast. I surprised myself with how much I had to say on the absurdism of this play! The next day, I did my usual Acting Workshop, followed by a performance of “Moliere than Thou” that night (still struggling to shake off the coughing fit from the nagging allergies) I seem to get a boost of adrenaline every time I step in front of a crowd, though it might also be the shot of 5-Hour Energy Drink I had before the show that kept the coughing at bay. (Though, immediately after the show, the coughs returned!)

I spent a week or two in Chicago, getting news that I'm "in" at the Tampa Fringe, the Kansas City Fringe and the Edmonton Fringe! I was on the waiting list for the Orlando Fringe, and eventually got it there, too, with a brief run in the first weekend. 
The Marquee in Nebraska

As I continue to make the adjustment to being a full not-for-profit organization, I drew up a new "company" Facebook page for the Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre, which you can find here! Swing by and give it a "like," or click the "donate" button, and keep posted on all the latest!

I met up with my Designer, Kathy Conery, in Virginia, who had been planning out the “Breakneck Julius Caesar” costume. She set me up with a mock-up toga to practice in. It turns out that "wrangling" a toga is a HUGE challenge! It wants to slip off at about 9 different contact points, making it "a show about a toga!" I found that the trick was to anchor pieces of it down (via safety pins on this mock-up version) to the tunic below, so that I only really had to worry about the stretch of cloth that extends over my right arm, while the rest of it stuck securely in place. Once I had only that one extension of fabric to concern myself with, I could manipulate that one piece a half-dozen ways which would help me define the many characters who all happened inhabit that same costume.

The promo for Breakneck Hamlet at Urbana University!
I had two quick (well received) appearances in colleges in Ohio (Kenyon College and College of Wooster), coordinated by two French teachers, followed by yet another Ohio event at the University of Urbana. I cut them a bit of a “deal” to to help them afford it, and they managed to pack the small room with a very enthusiastic crowd for "Breakneck Hamlet."

Amid the performance, I describe Hamlet as returning from “college at Wittenburg,” which was met by a sudden burst of laughter. I immediately realized that for them, the college at Wittenburg was not some obscure institution in medieval Germany. They have a "Wittenburg University" just about 15 miles down the road in Springfield, Missouri!

The new Brochure!
I continued on to Lexington, Kentucky (dropping in on Cousin George along the way), for the Southeast Theatre Conference! Once again, I had a booth in the exhibit hall, a workshop to deliver, and the very first public performance of “Breakneck Julius Caesar!”

I had no idea just how my workshop would go. I had offered up coaching for whatever Shakespeare monologues the actors might be working on, but had no idea how many people (or monologues) might show. A dozen or so showed up, but only three of them had monologues ready to share. It gave us the opportunity to offer some intense exploration of the language, the plot and the intent of the characters. It so happened that the only monologue of the three that was already part of my own growing repertoire was the female piece: Portia from “Julius Caesar.” And yet we seemed able to give each performer significant improvements over repeated recitations. (There always seems to be a “lightbulb moment” when the speech gathers an extra special, unanticipated meaning for the performer.)

April was helping me with the exhibit booth through most of the festival, as I was struggling to squeeze two or three run-throughs in every morning before getting in to the conference. There was a late confusion about the costume, as Kathy, working on it up until the last possible minute, realized that the conference was not in Lexington, Virginia, but in Lexington, Kentucky (about 5 hours farther away than she’d planned to drive). I ended up improvising with the “mock costume” (which you can see in the VIDEO below). (Those who did not already know that there’d been a problem assumed that the multi-hued look of what I ended up wearing was an intentional comment on the characters.)

I've clipped the "Prologue" sequence of that performance, which gives you all the background you need to know to understand either "Breakneck..." or any full production of "Julius Caesar."

Not the actual costume, but fun to play with...!

I headed east once again, this time for a stay at my sister Maureen’s house. She and her husband, (also) Tim, headed south for a two week Florida vacation, and I had their place to myself, house-sitting their cat. (Oops! There's those allergies again!)

The new BJC Sticker!
I was running the lines for “Caesar” about twice a day, as the "Ides of March" came and went, marked mostly by a series of joke posts on my Facebook page, mostly featuring Caesar salads and knives.

I’ve performed at the Claiborne Town Hall about five times now, and, before leaving town, Maureen managed to get me on their schedule with a couple of the stalwart Claiborne "fans" to manage the event. We’d assumed there would be a low turnout, but once again, the place filled up with about 35-40 people. Now, fully draped in a proper costume, I warmed them up with what will likely be an ongoing pre-show banter (to let them know about their own participation in the crowd scene), before launching into the play.

School for Wives (illustration: David C. Jensen)
This time it went even better than the performance at SETC. Everything was getting great laughs, and I ended up feeling pretty good about the shape that the show was now in.

I spent much of my time in Maryland editing my new plays for publication. (David Jensen has created a cool new ILLUSTRATION for “The School for Wives”.) I also finished my taxes, put together a mailing to all of the schools that have booked me in the past, and assembled publicity for the first “Fringe Tour” of the new show.

With Kevin Brooks of the Eastport Oyster Boys!
I also met up for beers with Kevin Brooks of the awesome band, Eastport Oyster Boys (catch them live if you can!), and had a terrific conversation about performance and art. (We traded swag, including stickers, books and CDs.) Packing up once more, I headed up to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, a historically black college which was bringing me in to talk Shakespeare with a couple of the classes. The English teacher was covering Othello, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar with her classes, and I did monologues and scenes from each, discussing the challenges of making sense of them, as well as my own approach to performing them. The teacher was especially responsive to “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” and insisted I do it again for the second class.

Shakes Car Workshop
I continued on to South Carolina, where Shakespeare Carolina (“Shakes Car”) was producing my “Tartuffe,” and had me in for another workshop. (They’d produced my “Misanthrope” about 4 years back, and enjoyed my workshop for the cast.) Word has it that the show was well received.

At about this same time, a West Virginia high school presentation of my "Tartuffe" went on to the Thespian State Finals! The North Marion High School production had already come in second place in their district finals, but a last minute cast dropout kept them from a genuine shot at winning state. Word has it, though, that their Tartuffe won "best supporting actor" and "best actor overall!"

The University of Cumberlands, in Southern Kentucky, had me in for “Breakneck Hamlet,” and my old friend, Bess Park, now their technical coordinator, ran lights. It was a tiny and QUIET audience, with perhaps 25 students scattered over three rows, and I assumed that I was bombing. At the end, though, they applauded heartily and remained sitting in place in the auditorium until I returned for a brief Q&A session. (Helping me load the props back into the car, they assured me that they had LOVED the show… so, go figure.)

Amid the thick of the ongoing Russia/Trump catastrophe, I had an inspiration for a very brief 10-minute play regarding the secret FBI briefing, and it's consequences. The language is a little salty, but if anybody wants to read a copy, you can find it HERE. The fun I had doing this one has me thinking of possibly doing a series of these...

I shot back north, for a performance up at Northern Kentucky University, where their French department was bringing me the fourth time! While I'm usually uncomfortable working in the small auditorium in their student center, they now had a much better lighting arrangement, and I was able to focus attention away from the very modern, computerized podium which we never seem to be able to push out of the way. We also directed the audience into the two banks of seats with the best view of the stage (not watching the show “through the podium” as it were). The crowd started out quiet and respectful, but I seemed to win them over with each subsequent monologue, and by the end they were laughing boisterously.

And, with that done, I headed back to Chicago, immediately diving into my “Spring e-mail campaign,” sending out a total of 15,480 e-mails in an unheard-of fourteen days, all while running Julius Caesar once a day. 



With the mailing is done, I jumped back into the fundraising campaign, with a new deadline looming. I got April (above) to record her own plea for donations (as she'll be the immediate beneficiary of the grant writing support, and, realizing that her birthday was coming up, exploited the timing to encourage donations. 



Many of my bookings for my spring "western tour" had fallen through, with schools either unable to afford the show, or failing to raise the necessary funds, and facing the lack of bookings, decided to do the tour ANYWAY(!), dropping in on friends along the way (pictures below), and capturing testimonials about the shows we produce from the friends and teachers who have been so supportive over the years. It was great to have people other than myself making the case for the value of these events. While I certainly agree with everything they said, I'm a much less credible messenger than these folks are.



Tim & Jeff!
And so, I raced from Chicago to San Diego to Portland (catching up with friends all along the way--see below), and on back to Chicago, where I'm now gearing up for "Fringe Season" and "Conference Season" with four fringe festivals and four conferences currently on the calendar!
Meeting playwright, Lucy Wang!

At the moment, there’s only one more school show on the calendar, for May 5 in Indianapolis, before finally bidding the impetuous spring weather behind for Florida weather!


Touring San Diego Bay with Sean!
Discoveries: I guess it wasn't pollen that was stimulating my allergies all these yeare... It was cats! * I've been doing so much classical theatre for so long that I've forgotten that I know a thing or two about some other styles as well! * In fact, I can also manage to hold my own in a Shakespeare monologue workshop, even when I don't know which monologues students are going to walk in with! *
Tim & Jayne Day!
Even when I think I'm bombing in a performance, sometimes the audience is just quiet (for whatever reasons), and I'm actually doing really well. * The Trump "presidency" is comedy gold for writers. 
On I-Tunes: Ivy Levan "I Don't Want to Get Up
On Netflix: Luke Cage and Shameless
Upcoming shows: May 5 at Christel House South (Indianapolis), May 11-14 at the Tampa International Fringe Festival and May 17-21 at the Orlando Fringe.
Miles on the CX-5: 60,100
What was that Fundraiser address again? https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/timothy-mooney-repertory-theatre/x/187391 


Mount Shasta at Twilight
WINTER / SPRING 2017
May 1-4  INDIANA
May 5  Christel House South (LoS)
May 8-10  GEORGIA, FLORIDA

SUMMER, 2017

May 11-14  Tampa Fringe Festival
May 17-28  Orlando Fringe Festival
June 1-3  Dangerous Theatre, Sanford, FL
June 19-24  International Thespian Festival, Lincoln, NE
June 26-July 1  AACT Festival, Rochester, MN
July 17-18  American Assn of Teachers of French, St. Louis, MO
July 20-30  Kansas City Fringe Festival, KC, MO
August 3-6  ATHE Conference, Las Vegas, NV
Aug 11-20  Edmonton Fringe Festival, Edmonton, AB

FALL, 2017

Sep 5-10  ILLINOIS
Sep 11  INDIANA, MICHIGAN
Sep 12  MICHIGAN, INDIANA, OHIO
Sep 13  OHIO, KENTUCKY, WEST VIRGINIA
Sep 14  KENTUCKY, WEST VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA
Sep 14-16  EdTA Conference, Nashville, TN
Sep 17-18  TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY, PENNSYLVANIA
Sep 19  PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK, NEW ENGLAND
Sep 20  Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA (SH)
Sep 21-22  NEW ENGLAND, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, D.C.
Sep 23-24  MARYLAND
Sep 25  DELAWARE, MARYLAND, D.C., VIRGINIA
Sep 26  VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA
Sep 27  NORTH / SOUTH CAROLINA
Seb 28-30  NACA South Conference
Sep 28  SOUTH CAROLINA / GEORGIA
Sep 30-Oct 1  FLORIDA
Oct 2  FLORIDA, GEORGIA, ALABAMA
Oct 3  MISSISSIPPI, LOUISIANA
Oct 4  Texas Lutheran University (Shakespeare) 
Oct 5-6  TEXAS
Oct 8  NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA, NEVADA
Oct 9-10  CALIFORNIA
Oct 11  CALIFORNIA, OREGON
Oct 12-13  CALIFORNIA, OREGON, WASHINGTON
Oct 12-14  Rocky Mountain Modern Language Assn, Spokane, WA
Oct 14-15  WASHINGTON, IDAHO
Oct 16  IDAHO, MONTANA
Oct 17-18  MONTANA, NORTH / SOUTH DAKOTA
Oct 19-21  NACA Central Conference
Oct 19  MINNESOTA
Oct 20  MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN
Oct 21  WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS
Oct 22-23  Monmouth University, Monmouth, IL (BJC)
Oct 24  INDIANA, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE
Oct 25  KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, ARKANSAS
Oct 25-26  Lee University: Tennessee Theatre Association
Oct 27-29  APCA South Central Regional Conference, Houston, TX
Oct 27  TEXAS, ARKANSAS, OKLAHOMA, MISSOURI
Oct 28  OKLAHOMA, MISSOURI, OKLAHOMA
Oct 29  MISSOURI, KANSAS
Oct 30-31  Southeast Oklahoma State U, Ada, OK (MTT)
Oct 31  COLORADO, UTAH
Nov 1  UTAH, NEVADA
Nov 2  NEVADA, IDAHO
Nov 3  IDAHO, WYOMING
Nov 4-5  COLORADO, NEBRASKA
Nov 6   Iowa Wesleyan University
Nov 7  MINNESOTA, IOWA, MISSOURI
Nov 8  MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS                         
Nov 9  ILLINOIS, INDIANA
Nov 10-12  APCA Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL
Nov 10  MICHIGAN, INDIANA
Nov 11  WEST VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA
Nov 12  VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA
Nov 13  NORTH / SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov 14  SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA                                   
Nov 15  Marietta Senior Center, Marietta Georgia
Nov 16  TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY
Nov 17  INDIANA, ILLINOIS                                                          
Nov 18-22  ILLINOIS

WINTER/SPRING 2018

January 5-9  APAP Conference, NYC
January 4-7  MLA Conference, New York City
Jan 10-Mar 3  FLORIDA, GEORGIA -- OPEN FOR RESIDENCY
Feb 17-21  NACA Conference
Feb 28-Mar 3  Region 6 ACTF, San Angelo, TX
Mar 4-7  GEORGIA, ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI
Mar 7-10  SETC, Mobile, AL               
Mar 11-12  LOUISIANA
Mar 13-14  ARKANSAS, MISSOURI, KANSAS
Mar 15  USAO, Chickasa, OK (LoS)
Mar 16  AWTY International School, Houston, TX (MTT)
Mar 17-20  TEXAS
Mar 21-22  NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA
Mar 23  ARIZONA, NEVADA, CALIFORNIA
Mar 24-25  CALIFORNIA
Mar 26  CALIFORNIA, NEVADA
Mar 27  CALIFORNIA, OREGON
Mar 28  OREGON, WASHINGTON
Mar 29  WASHINGTON, IDAHO
Mar 30-31  IDAHO, MONTANA
Apr 1  Easter
Apr 2  MONTANA, WYOMING, UTAH
Apr 3  NORTH / SOUTH DAKOTA, NEBRASKA, WYOMING
Apr 4  MINNESOTA, IOWA
Apr 5  MINNESOTA, IOWA, WISCONSIN
Apr 6  WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS
Apr 7-8  ILLINOIS                   
Apr 9  ILLINOIS, INDIANA
Apr 10  INDIANA, MICHIGAN
Apr 11  MICHIGAN, OHIO
Apr 12  OHIO, WEST VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA
Apr 13  PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK
Apr 14  NEW YORK, NEW ENGLAND
Apr 15-16  NEW ENGLAND
Apr 17  Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ (LoS)
Apr 18  NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA
Apr 19-20  Geneva College, Geneva, PA (GSAT)
Apr 21-23  WEST VIRGINIA, VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, DELAWARE, D.C., NORTH/SOUTH CAROLINA
Apr 24-26  GEORGIA / FLORIDA         
Apr 27  TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY
Apr 28  KENTUCKY, ARKANSAS, MISSOURI
Apr 29  MISSOURI                                                                 
Apr 30  MISSOURI, KANSAS
May 1  KANSAS, COLORADO
May 2  COLORADO, UTAH
May 3  NEBRASKA, IOWA 
May 4  Northwestern College, Orange City, IA (BH)
May 5-6  MINNESOTA
May 7  MINNESOTA, IOWA, WISCONSIN
May 8  WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS
May 9-11  ILLINOIS, INDIANA

FALL, 2018

Sep 4-7  ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MICHIGAN
Sep 10-11  IOWA, WISCONSIN
Sep 12  WISCONSIN, MINNESOTA
Sep 13-14  MINNESOTA, SOUTH/NORTH DAKOTA, WYOMING
Sep 15-17  MONTANA, IDAHO           
Sep 18  IDAHO, WASHINGTON
Sep 19-20  WASHINGTON, OREGON
Sep 21-23  CALIFORNIA
Sep 24  CALIFORNIA, NEVADA
Sep 25  NEVADA, UTAH
Sep 26  UTAH, COLORADO
Sep 27  COLORADO, NEBRASKA, KANSAS
Sep 28  KANSAS, NEBRASKA
Sep 29-30  KANSAS, MISSOURI
Oct 1  MISSOURI, IOWA
Oct 2  IOWA, ILLINOIS
Oct 3  ILLINOIS, INDIANA
Oct 4  INDIANA, MICHIGAN
Oct 5-7  ILLINOIS, INDIANA
Oct 8  INDIANA, MICHIGAN, OHIO      
Oct 9  OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA
Oct 10  PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK
Oct 11  NEW YORK, NEW ENGLAND
Oct 12-14  NEW ENGLAND
Oct 15  NEW ENGLAND, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA
Oct 16  NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY
Oct 17  NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, D.C.
Oct 18  DELAWARE, MARYLAND, D.C., VIRGINIA
Oct 19  D.C., VIRGINIA, MARYLAND
Oct 20-21  MARYLAND
Oct 22  VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA
Oct 23  NORTH/SOUTH CAROLINA
Oct 24  SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA
Oct 25  GEORGIA, FLORIDA
Oct 26-28  FLORIDA
Oct 29   FLORIDA, GEORGIA
Oct 30   GEORGIA, TENNESSEE
Oct 31   TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY
Nov 1    KENTUCKY, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA
Nov 2    VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA
Nov 3-4  WEST VIRGINIA
Nov 5  OHIO, KENTUCKY
Nov 6  OHIO, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE
Nov 7  TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY, ALABAMA
Nov 8  ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI, ARKANSAS
Nov 9  MISSISSIPI, ARKANSAS
Nov 10-11  LOUISIANA
Nov 12  LOUISIANA, TEXAS
Nov 13  TEXAS, OKLAHOMA
Nov 14  TEXAS, OKLAHOMA, KANSAS
Nov 15  TEXAS, OKLAHOMA
Nov 16  TEXAS, NEW MEXICO
Nov 17  NEW MEXICO
Nov 18  NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA
Nov 19  ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA
Nov 20  CALIFORNIA                         
Nov 21-26  CALIFORNIA, HAWAII
Nov 27  CALIFORNIA, NEVADA
Nov 28  NEVADA, UTAH
Nov 29  UTAH, COLORADO
Nov 30  COLORADO, NEBRASKA
Dec 1  NEBRASKA, IOWA
Dec 2  IOWA, ILLINOIS

2019
Jan 3-6  Modern Language Association Chicago

The View From Here #171: Summer, 2017

I began my summer heading south, with the last performance of the year’s “school tour” at the Christel House Academy in Indianapolis. ...