Archive for July, 2016

The Show Must Go On

July 25, 2016

 

For the past three years I’ve written a one act play for The Pinewood Players’Pet Peeves castCabaret Nights. I like working with this form this because it’s a minimum commitment of time (after the play is written.) Since the plays are read, not memorized, less rehearsals are necessary. The stage is quite small so there isn’t much movement to choreograph. I enjoy directing the play, seeing my words leap off the pages.

This year I wrote “Pet Peeves,” about a couple and their pets’ problems. The cast included Donna Lord, Darvin Bussey, and Rex and Margaret Sprink. They all took the task seriously and put in major time practicing their lines. Donna, who played the cat Petunia, observed cats to be able to mimic their movements. She purchased her own set of cat ears and a tail. I sent for a similar outfit for Darvin, who played Puppy. Rex contributed an old black turtleneck, which I festooned with spots.

We had five or six rehearsals. When I timed the play I was dismayed that it was over seventeen minutes. We practiced to get it down to sixteen minutes. I should have cut more words, but I didn’t think of that.

The dress rehearsal was not good, for my play or several of the others. Some of the actors missed their cues and it went way too long. I didn’t sleep much that night. I should have cut more lines out, but it was too late now.

I had the actors go over their lines right before the first performance, opening night. The play was great! The audience laughed in the right places. Darvin’s improvisations of puppy behavior were terrific. You could feel the chemistry among the actors.

Seeing the play come together is a special feeling for directors. I had the double pleasure of seeing my words come to life, altered by the actors’ interpretations. When I direct my own play, I can control enough so that the point I want to make is put across. I want the actors to use my words, but I’m very open to how those words are said.

And the other plays were successes. All went well for the second performance, closing night.

The Elephant in the Room

July 12, 2016

These days it’s difficult to discuss politics, either with friends, acquaintances or strangers. An offhand comment is bound to offend someone. The polls say we don’t much like either major party candidate, but most of us have strong opinions on one or the other. If I say something derogatory about Trump, someone will defend him to the max and I may never feel the same about that person. And when others hear I’m a Clinton supporter, they may never feel the same about me. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground except the people who intensely dislike both candidates, for wildly different reasons.

Next week the Republican Convention will be underway. I usually watch the primetime speeches of both conventions, just to know what the big wigs think. And who can forget Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair? I have a friend coming up from Gilbert to watch the Democratic Convention with me. She wants to experience it with someone simpatico.

What about relationships and marriages where the two people do not share political views? Do they argue or avoid talking politics?

I say right on my profile for the POF (Plenty of Fish) dating site that I’m liberal and if you like Rush Limbaugh, don’t contact me. And yet Mr. Hotstuff is a Republican leaning toward Libertarian and we get along. We even touch on politics, but both of us are respectful and fringe our discussions with teasing and laughter.

Maybe humor that isn’t at the candidates’ expense is what’s missing from this presidential election cycle. I know the comedians are having a field day with the major party candidates, but mostly the humor is caustic. It is funny but it won’t bring us together as a country.

Both sides see dire consequences if the other one wins. I have confidence that our republic will survive, no matter which candidate wins. There are enough checks and balances written into the Constitution.