Baylin's Blog - an actor's journal
An actor's diary of the production of one play. It was maintained as a weblog and updated after every rehearsal, performance and significant event between January 15 and April 7, 2003.
January 15, 2003

Been busy...
Extra work - overtime - auditioned for a play (don't yet know if I've been cast) - birthdays - building armor for Estrella War.

Busy.

January 22, 2003

I got the parts!
I auditioned for a play, got called back and now I've got a couple of roles in the play! Coooool! I'm not the lead, but so what? Cooooool!

Baylin's Monster at the Little Theater at the Phoenix Art Museum, end of March, beginning of April. A comedy in which a small Southern town has got a little problem out in the swamp, and a lot of media attention in town.

Which means I'm definitely missing Consonance this year. BayCon is a possibility, though.

January 23, 2003

Acting Journal
I'm in my first play ever.

A lot of the process of being in a play will be new to me, and much of it will be familiar from college musical reviews. As I am planning to put together an act for next year's Renaissance Festival, I'm going to use Ephemera to record my impressions and ideas for the future. I have a wiki - a sort of public notepad - which I used the last time I tried this (lame attempt though it was). But this blog is just mine, and it's as permanent as the database can make it. (All of Ephemera is archived; only the last year is presented on the site). Enjoy.

January 24, 2003

The Play is Cast
Got an e-mail today: Baylin's Monster has been completely cast. First official read-through of the script will be Tuesday night. The read-through had originally been scheduled for Sunday, which is Super Bowl sunday, a sort of American holiday when people stay home and watch an often mediocre football game with magnificent commercials interspersed. And an excessive half-time show which is usually best ignored.
This will be the first Super Bowl since 1993 that I'll be able to watch in its entirety. Every year since then I've had Renaissance Festival dress rehearsal on that day, except for last year when the Super Bowl was delayed into February so it was on the first Sunday of Festival. Festival was a ghost town by 3:00 that afternoon.

So: Who's playing, anyway?

January 27, 2003

And now it's its own thing
I just created Baylin's Blog by cloning ephemera's database and files.

Let's see if it works...

A beginning, middle and an end - (About this weblog)
This weblog will have a definite beginning, middle and end. It begins two weeks ago at auditions, and ends sometime in April. It's my experiences and opinions of a play as I go through the acting process.

You can expect plot spoilers as we go. I'll be posting things while rehearsing 4 nights a week, plus doing acting homework, plus holding down a full-time job. If you just want to read about the process without having the plot of the play spoiled, go see the play - I'll have basic information added to the page as soon as I have it - then come back here end of April. You won't get anything that would cause me not to get cast in another project ever again. This is about the process. I'll be referring back to this in the future as I create other performances in the future.

About the play
The weblog is named for the setting of the play. The play is called Baylin's Monster. The basic plot is this: Story gets out that a woman in a small town (Baylin, Mississippi) got eaten by a monster in the marsh. Media descends on the town. Media and town try to use each other. Comedy ensues. Fun for all.

The play is also a musical. It was described in the audition notices as "a musical for folks who love to sing, but maybe don't sing so well". Don't let that scare you - the lead singers sounded pretty good at auditions. I am not one of the lead singers, as I don't play the guitar, which is a requirement of the part. I do play the mandolin (and similar instruments). I auditioned with the mandolin and they might ask me to accompany. Or not. Don't know yet.

Actually, the play could be done without the music with only minor restructuring. It'd still work.

First rehearsal is tomorrow night. It'll be fun.

January 29, 2003

First Read-Through
We showed up, the schedule was discussed, and we read through the script.
Some changes had been made - all improvements - since I had seen the script before auditions. The playwright likes to work with theater companies; he usually writes a new song for each production. We got two new songs and a new, hilarious, scene.

When we got there, we were handed a package that had:

  • the script
  • cast and crew contact list - 99% correct
  • scene breakdown sheet - scene number, description, script pages, cast list for each scene
  • complete rehearsal and show schedule, indexed to the scene breakdown
  • comp tickets
all bound into a presentation folder with our character name on the front.

I comment on this because a couple of the more experienced cast members noted how unusual it is to get such an organized package at the beginninng of a play.
Based on the ten Renaissance Festivals and five or six opera workshops I've been involved with, I must agree.

I'll post the show schedule later - I'm at work now and didn't bring it with me.

February 03, 2003

Blocking I
Well, all of the scenes where I have dialog are now as blocked as they can be. I have almost no movement, but that's quite all right. The final set designs are still being done, so there will be some changes. I'm nearly off book, and wondering how the leads will manage it. Well, okay, I know the process, so I know how they'll manage it.

Also, I have to learn America the Beautiful on the mandolin, pronto. Hopefully I can find it in tab form on the Web somewhere. I'm more nervous about that than I am about dialog and acting, because I'm not a very good lead musician. I'll accompany till my fingers are bleeding, but leads freak me out. We'll see...

February 04, 2003

Relax. Breathe. It'll Be Okay
Couldn't find America the Beautiful in mandolin tab, but was able to play it a bit anyway. Nice, simple tune. Just need to practice. Will calm down now.
Breathe. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

February 05, 2003

Show's blocked.
The whole show is now blocked as well as it can be without sets or completed designs. Nothing that complicated - so far this is much easier than the dance blocking I had to do in Opera Workshops. We're now rehearsing in the actual theater, woking downstage of the sets for the children's play that's there now. Oddly enough, their set looks like it could work for our play with only minor changes. Just a coincidence, but it's funny and in a way it's helping me get into the wholething.

My lines are nearly memorized, though I got told off for forgetting part of a line three times. Nothing to be embarrassed about and Damon put a positive spin on it - "I want to fix this before it becomes a habit". I'm having a good time studying the directing process; no major revelations have come to light yet.

Despite having speaking parts in only two scenes, I play the owner of the local bar, and a number of scenes take place in the bar, so I'm in about a third of the play. I'll need to come up with proper reactions - or non-reactions for the bar scenes. And I'm playing the mandolin in some of the musical numbers - don't know how many yet. Tonight will be the first music night.

February 06, 2003

Table Talk
Music rehearsal #1 didn't happen last night due to a logistical failure (the composer missed a plane somewhere). So we discussed character, motivation, the history of Baylin (both the fictional town and the play) and the history of the theater company. Fascinating stuff. Also, we discussed some logistical issues of our own - photo shoots for publicity, parties for theater supporters. We also discussed understudying. I wasn't assigned an understudy role, but I always try to learn the whole show, so if someone has to understudy one of the leads, I could at least fill in for them assuming I'm not also in the same scene.

February 07, 2003

Music 101.
Got cassettes of the songs and started putting music into the show. Also began refining the acting, defining reactions to events on-stage, adding funny bits. All the things you do as the lines begin to sink in.

February 10, 2003

Self-sufficiency
More music rehearsal. We worked the second quarter of the play. I learned how to call for lines in rehearsal, then when I missed a line, forgot to call. Live and learn.

I've noticed that a lot of the things I had usually done in Renaissance Festivals and acting classes and Opera Workshops are being done for me. I've become used to being self-sufficient - supplying my own props and the vast majority of my costumes, making my own tapes of the music. This show, I may well need to supply some costume pieces, but I haven't been asked to do so yet.

February 12, 2003

Comedy
Now that we're getting more familiar with our lines, the show is going from:"H'm. Amusing." to "That was damn funny, pardner!!"

Now if I can just play America the Beautiful on the mandolin without tripping over my own fingers in the middle, we'd have something.

Sent in my bio for the program. Didn't thank Mom or the Academy for this great honor, but they're about the only ones I left out.

I am very nearly off-book as far as my lines are concerned, and nearly have the scene order memorized. This is good, as we're supposed to be off-book completely by Sunday, and not calling for lines any more by the second run-through rehearsal for a given scene, which is essentially the following Sunday.

Say: You might want to know how to see the play...
I'll post information about the play tomorrow evening. I have the day off from work and the night off from rehearsals - they're doing table work with the leads.

February 13, 2003

An Unexpected Night Off
No rehearsal last night, as the director is fighting a cold. I didn't get the message till I was already there. Not a big deal - I live on the west side and work on the east side. The theater is right in the middle, so I grab a bite to eat and go straight there from the office.

Anyway, I wasn't terribly surprised by all this. Tuesday night at rehearsal he said he was fighting a cold, then proceeded to have several NyQuil moments: we'd run through a scene, then he'd start to give us notes, only to discover he hadn't written anything down. We got good critiques, I hasten to add, they just took a bit longer.

So I came home and went to bed at a reasonable hour. Just as well - I've had a sore throat myself since Monday.

No rehearsal for me tonight - the director and the leads are doing table work. That is, discussions where everybody gets to know their characters better.

The Schedule
Here's our performance schedule. I don't have ticket prices yet - I'll update when we do.

All performances are at the Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, Central and McDowell, Phoenix. Call (602) 274-2432 for reservations.

DayDateTime
FridayMarch 14 20038:00 PM
SaturdayMarch 15 20038:00 PM
SundayMarch 16 20037:00 PM
ThursdayMarch 20 20038:00 PM
FridayMarch 21 20038:00 PM
SaturdayMarch 22 20038:00 PM
SundayMarch 23 20032:00 PM Matinee
ThursdayMarch 27 20038:00 PM
FridayMarch 28 20038:00 PM
SaturdayMarch 29 20038:00 PM
SundayMarch 30 20037:00 PM
ThursdayApril 3 20038:00 PM
FridayApril 4 20038:00 PM
SaturdayApril 5 20038:00 PM

February 17, 2003

Overconfidence
After a long weekend off, discovered I know my cues but not the lines. Or vice versa. Kicked myself, went home and spent half an hour around midnight kicking around the house like a raving lunatic, cramming lines out loud.

Other than that, a good rehearsal.

February 19, 2003

Good, Good Rehearsal
Scary... things are coming together. We ran all of act 2, and had a music rehearsal. It was suggested the mandolin wasn't producing enough volume, so tonight I'm taking the octave mandolin along. Just for grins and giggles - for I am no guitarist - I was able to pick out America the Beautiful and Battle Hymn of the Republic on the guitar after I got home last night with no trouble at all. So guitar is even a bit of an option.

The acting troubles I had on Sunday night seem to have gone away in act 2 last night - I knew my lines and was acting. Acting I say! Got a note that reinforced an acting direction I was taking anyway.

Got measured for costumes. Would like to see sketches but remain patient. We actually did see one costume - one of the ladies in a green polyester pants suit that should save us a bundle on lighting costs.

February 20, 2003

Pacing
Ran a significant portion of the play last night. One scene needs to be done at a really fast pace. Last night we just about hit that pace for the first time after some work.

Took the octave mandolin, which is loud enough, but the damn thing won't stay in tune - it's very sensitive to temperature and last night the room temperature started out sub-arctic and ended up sub-tropical. Tonight I have the cittern which will stay in tune, but is a pain because it's a little too big for its gig-bag.

First photo shoot was last night. Improvised costumes on a borrowed set. I was not involved, but we got to see some of the costumes and wigs. Can you say "over the top"? I knew you could.

My, I'm using a lot of italics today...

Overheard in rehearsal last night:
"This wig is breakin' my nails."

There's some big Southern hair in this play, yessir there is...

February 21, 2003

Big-assed mandolins and loss
The loss first: We were told at the outset of production that Nearly Naked Theater Company has never had a show go without losing someone, and Baylin's is now no exception - our stage manager has had to leave the show due to a family emergency. We'll get by, but it means some re-shuffling.

Ran act 2 twice last night. Going smoothly, acting is fine. Choked over music. Brought my cittern (think of a big mandolin, tuned an octave lower and with an extra pair of bass srings) which solved the volume and staying in tune problems, but introduced another problem: It has the biggest fingerboard of all of my instruments so I really sucked musically. Practice over the weekend will fix this.

February 24, 2003

Props and Ticket Prices
We got props to play with. Now in my role as bartender I have 2 dozen empty Samuel Adams bottles to deal with. I'm thinking of labelling a few of them "Monster Lager" for the end of the show. We'll see.

We got word on ticket prices: $15.00 regular adult $12.00 student/retired/military/etc. I didn't take very good notes. We'll have flyers to distribute on Tuesday.

Our production staff issue has been solved. Eva Richards, who had been doing props and playing one-line roles is our new stage manager.

Flubbed lines as we ran Act I, but got no line notes. Odd. At least the information I was supposed to convey got across.

Created a revised look for the 'blog on Friday (slow day at work, unlike today) but got no computer stuff done over the weekend due to a surprise houseguest. Mentioned the blog last night. Got approval to put up a Web page promoting the show. Will do this week.

And now the sort-of official Baylin's Monster web site
I have posted the initial stab (such as it is) of the promo/news page for the play. The weblog is now the second page you'll see. This update is mostly a test.

February 26, 2003

Diction
Music clean-up last night. We're at that stage - and it's a normal stage, I've been there before - where we know the songs well enough to sing them, but someone in the audience can't quite make out what we're singing. As I said, I've been there. The solution is quite simple: we ran all of the music pieces, just focusing on pronunciation. Immediate improvement. We'll likely need to repeat the exercise, but it's simple enough.

An abbreviated second act - a few people were away at an awards ceremony. More acting clean-up; I'm refining my silent bits, and putting more intensity in where I'm supposed to be. I think I've got that particular scene right. The fact that I completely tripped over my tongue on the second run-through (we started the scene over - had there been a camera running this would have easily made the blooper reel) had everything to do with it - I was so focused on being in the emotional state that I nearly forgot a key line, which was where I got tongue-tied.

February 27, 2003

Shift to the Left, Shift to the Right
One of the leads was absent from rehearsals last night, so we shifted. Literally.

This is a fast-moving play with a number of scene changes. The scene changes are worked into the play and rehearsed. Due in part to a very small stage crew (it's a small stage), we actors are doing the changes ourselves. So we blocked all of the scene transitions in the play and practiced each one as best we could using chairs and random debris to represent furniture and random debris - we don't have any actual set pieces until the end of next week.

Even if we had stagehands, we'd be rehearsing scenery shifts at some point, though maybe not until Hell Tech Rehearsal week. Some of these shifts can be inventive. Here's an example from a different play. In "The Odd Couple", act one takes place on Oscar Madison's very messy bachelor apartment. His good friend Felix Unger - who is neat as a pin - moves in. As Act Two opens, Felix has been there a while and the apartment is clean and transformed.
The last version I saw of the play, the Felix character (I'm sorry, this was the female version and I forget the names) stood there during intermission, with the lights dimmed, and "supervised" the stagehands as they cleaned the apartment. All rehearsed of course. Wonderful idea; except that a large part of the audience didn't get the idea that this was intermission until the scenery was done and the crew left the stage. This extended intermission but otherwise didn't hurt anything.

David and Joy won Theater Works awards last night. Being an idiot, I forgot the details: I'll edit this entry later with the actual news.

Damon announced that the next play he's directing will be M*A*S*H. I like that play; I think I'll go audition.

February 28, 2003

Costumes and Consistency
Got our first look at many of the costumes last night. OMG.

We had our first full run-through of the show. Very smooth; only minor mistakes all around. We were able to get a very close estimate of the show's running time. In notes afterward we were told the emphasis has now shifted from finding characters and experimentation to creating a consistent, repeatable prformance. As we open two weeks from tonight, and the last week will be spent putting sets up, lighting, costuming and readjusting to the actual sets, we need to settle in quick. Fortunately the show is very solid as is.

We've been rehearsing in the same room where the play will take place, but there's another play taking place there as well. It's a children's production of "The Three Little Pigs". We've been dodging their set and also taking inspiration from it. The basic setting is a forest. The pigs' houses revolve in and out as needed, but we've been doing scenes taking place in and around our marsh setting right there in the little piggies' forest, or at least on the apron in front of the woods. That show closes today, which means when we reconvene Tuesday, the woods will most likely be gone and we'll be able to learn our way around our own space. Which means Tuesday might be a very awkward rehearsal indeed.

March 05, 2003

Deforestation and the Open Stage
The dense forest of the Three Little Pigs set is gone, replaced for this week by a couple of black walls downstage which form a false proscenium for an acting class which has the theater this week. So in rehearsal last night, we were (mostly) able to use the space as we'll be using it in the actual play.
We are all adjusting to the actual space. I missed about half of my scene shifts - we're using chairs to represent the furniture and mobile set pieces until we have them next week, but the chairs all are identical, leading to much confusion. I'm not the only confused scenery-mover in the cast, either. I predict another run-through just to work the transitions.

I know my lines and most of my silent bits - one of them improved last night with the correct space to play in, but musically I'm still way behind where I want to be, especially on the cittern. Nobody is saying anything about my playing (bad playing is actually perfectly in character for the role), but my friends are coming to the play and many of them are musicians.

We found out last night that because of the recent (much needed) rain in Arizona, our sets are somewhat behind schedule - they are being built in a back yard. I'm gonna be spending lots of time at the theater next week, but have been unable to schedule the actual time yet.

March 06, 2003

Less! Less! Brighter! Brigher! Get Well Soon Dammit!!
At the beginning of every single show I've ever been in, the director has said something along the lines of: "Don't worry about giving me too much. If I need you to tone something down, I'll tell you".

I got told to tone something down last night. Coool.

My costumes are nearly complete. Rather than wait and hope something fits, I've been hitting the thrift stores for appropriate shirts and stuff. One of my characters fancies himself an outdoorsman, so is wearing outdoorsy things(though he spends the whole play indoors). This being a comedy, were tending towards garishly, obscenely bright colors. I kept getting told "Brighter!" Finally I brought in my old search and rescue shirt - safety orange. That's bright enough. Just so you know.

Joshua got chicken pox! He'll be long since over the contagious bit by opening night, and the rest of the cast and crew has had chicken pox, so unless he gets really sick, we should be okay. Nonetheless, understudies have been put On Alert and a contingency plan is being put in place to replace our guy for the first week of the show until he gets better. Nobody wants to do this, of course but Be Prepared isn't just the Boy Scout motto...

March 07, 2003

Now it gets interesting
Had our final rehearsal before Tech Week last night. Went okay. Got our first look at the monster. Oh my goodness. The guy who builds these things is a Mad Genius.

Tech Week is when the lights, sets and final sound get added. Up until now, we've been in the actual theater, but working around other productions sets, and working under plain old boring fluorescent lights.

Sunday morning we'll bring the set in, begin to place it, paint, hang draperies, etc. Take the theater from being the empty shell it is between productions to the Mississippi marsh it will become for our show.

The lights will be set and all of the lighting cues will be programmed into the lighting system. We have quite a few lighting cues. For the actors, there's going to be a lot of standing around while lights are set.

We have to record some sound - at one point one of the actors playing one character is reacting to his own off-stage voice (as a different character). There might also be atmospheric sounds.

We'll need to run through the show with our actual sets, props, costumes and furniture. All of the set pieces I move have been represented by folding chairs until now, but they're all bigger than folding chairs. And I've already begun to rehearse my costume changes. We'll need to learn once and for all where "offstage" really begins. The whole show will go with all of us backstage - up till last night we could go out into the house and watch when we weren't standing by for cues.

I've probably missed something. It was pointed out that the show is going to regress from the mostly polished show it is now to a more primitive state while we all adapt to reacting to the actual staging, and to actual lighting changes instead of someone yelling "Lights!"

One week from tonight we open.

March 10, 2003

Sets, Lights, ...no camera, this is a play
Spent all day yesterday building sets, moving sets, painting sets, trimming sets. Sets, Sets, Sets. We'll be dressing this set right up until showtime I think - it is a marsh with all of that lush Southern vegetation...

March 11, 2003

Sets and Everything
Long day yesterday. Set is 95% in place (one key piece of rolling scenery needs casters). We did the remaining photography and voice recording work, then ran the show with an audience of half a dozen technicians who haven't seen the show yet - including the lighting designer, who is lighting and stage-managing the show across the way at the main stage. That show - a Cole Porter retrospective - keeps getting extended (not too surprising. We have a -lot- of retirees and snowbirds in Phoenix) which means she's been lighting our show at odd hours, during coffee breaks, etc. We're mostly lit as it is, but last night we did the show under the boring old fluorescents so she could take notes.

The show itself got a late start, then we stopped in a couple places to change things - we knew this would happen as we got the actual set pieces - some of them didn't come out quite the way they were originally planned, and it's too late to change them, so there's some minor restaging happening. The audience members all reacted in the right places, which was great.

What with the late start, the restagings and the final detailed notes on what we need to fix in the next couple of days, I didn't get out of there till midnight.

Got a nice compliment on my cittern playing. Especially the part where it looks like I'm messing up. Since it's good comedy for me to look like a Really Bad cittern player at that point in the play, it works. The truth is, that I get better volume out of the cittern than I do with the mandolin, and we have no wireless pickups for the mandolin (if I could afford one I'd get it, but it's too late now). So I'm playing the cittern, which is tuned the same as the mando, just an octave lower. But it's big, and for almost ten years now I've been playing little bitty mandolins. I'm just not used to the bigger fingerboard, so I'm making lots of dumb beginner mistakes. Hopefully in four weeks I really will be playing well, and messing up on purpose. Could happen.

Spoiler: There's a spot where Yancy, the mad philosopher-jester character, sings literally two notes of The Impossible Dream from "the hit Broadway Musical Man of LaMancha". Then he stops suddenly, waiting for the song to come into public domain - he doesn't want to get sued.

Life imitates art.

The author of the hit Broadway Musical Man of LaMancha actually lives in the Phoenix area, and is said to be Very Protective of his work. We don't want to get sued, so we're trying to get permission to actually do the bit, but for now we need to practice without that bit, so it's out.

March 12, 2003

All Lit Up and Silly as Hell
The cast got lit up and really silly last night.

We're still doing technical stuff. Last night, simultaneously, the sound guy mixed and matched and balanced speakers and the like, while we finalized the lighting, doing what's called a "Cue to cue" run-through.

A cue-to-cue runthrough isn't about acting, though the actors are present. It's all about transitions. This is where the lighting and sound people set up their transitions. Actors are there to perform the beginnings and ends of scenes so the techs can annotate their scripts and see how our performances are affected by the lighting and sound setup: Can we safely move around the stage in a blackout or do we need some working light? Are we in the light? Is the sound level a good mix with the dialog?

Usually, a cue-to-cue is a quick rehearsal because we're just blowing through it to work the transitions, but last night the transitions were still being designed - our lighting person is also working another show, which has been extended, which took her away from Baylin longer than planned. So instead of the original plan (cue-to-cue then a whole run), we did tech setup the whole evening.

I find the tech set-up to be one of the more interesting parts of the whole process. Magic happens with the lights. But it can be boring if you're a performer, since the light changes each take a few seconds, and it adds up. We're all tired from long hours on our day jobs as well as set building, painting etc. So tech could be tedious and contentious. Ours wasn't: Last night was fun, because we were all just being Really Damn Silly. I don't think the silliness cost us much time, and it kept us going. About 9:30 there was some minor grousing about how late we'd be if we were going to do the full run after the cue-to-cue. We took a break then, having nearly finished act 1, and were told that we were just going to finish the cue-to-cue. Happy happy joy joy. Also, we sent out for Taco Bell about then, which was also a good thing.

We met Tiramisu, the dachshund who will play our "special weiner-dog-basset-hybrid" in the Boyd's Bassets commercial. She's a show dog, so is used to bright lights and audiences. And she's so cuuuute...

March 13, 2003

Theater cast struck blind!
I was tired and grumpy last night. All my fault, too. I needed to bring a snack with me and I didn't, so blood sugar was a factor.

We did a full run of the show - lights, sound, and everything. Eve's first time calling all of the cues and pushing buttons and whatever else she's doing up there in the booth. Very smooth for the first time through. She's doing an amazing job.

Due to the compressed tech schedule, Eve hasn't had a chance to do what I'd want to do in her place: do a full run through of all of the cues without the actors present, just to rehearse all of the finger-dancing needed on the controls. They did a "paper" tech walk-through, which I gather consists of working through the scripts and notes to be sure all of the cues are noted properly in the stage manager and tech's copies of the scripts.

While all of that was going on, we were doing last-minute costume and wig repairs. Tonight was the first night with make-up, so we were working on that. Lots and lots of little stuff.

When we finally ran the show, we discovered some cues that needed fixed. No big deal - this was really our first run of the show with full tech and all of the set pieces.

Our biggest problem was a complete lack of radar sense. The blackouts were pitch black, and we haven't glow-taped the spike marks yet so there was no visual reference.

Definition: glow-taped the spike marks: A spike mark is a mark to show where a piece of furniture or scnery is to be placed. Glow tape is fantastically expensive tape, which glows in the dark.

We have spike marks on the stage, but they don't glow yet. They will tonight. Last night, we kept running into things and each other. Someone watching us with night-vision gear would have laughed, but we were blind and it was dangerous. A fall off a meter-high platform in the dark without visual cues would be bad. And it'd wreck the show, which as we all know, must go on.

March 14, 2003

Dress Rehearsal
At last the pieces all come together. Dress rehearsal was last night. Wasn't perfect, but wasn't bad, either.

We got off to a late start due to remaining tech pieces and set decoration (which I'm sure will be going on right up until we open the house - there's lush Southern vegetation to be done).

Had a nice set of warm-ups - a first for this show - which started as someone fooling around, then turned into a full set of physical and vocal warm-ups. Like many things on this show, it just happened. We've got a very creative cast and crew, so a number of things Just Happen when they need to.

It was a late night last night, and will be a late night tonight. We open the show, then there's a reception afterward. Tomorrow I'm gonna sleeeeeeeeep.

March 15, 2003

Opening Night
Had a good opening night - sell-out crowd (even though it is a small theater); lots of laughs, no major problems. Nice little reception afterwards. I am quite tired. Now we just improve a little for the next 3 weeks.

Acting: I had lots of good energy. Lots and lots of energy. I had become used to Opera Workshop, which when I took the course the first couple of times, had a ton of work on Saturday - lighting, sets, usually a run-through, then we did the first performance. I had that much energy yesterday. I had to work, but as soon as work was over, I flew down to the theater for, like, 15 minutes worth of finish work. So I was sort of bouncing off the walls for a couple hours before the show. During the show I had tremendous energy - my big dramatic line - "No Fish Were Involved!" was bouncing off the back wall, which up till now it hadn't. Musically not so good but what the heck - it's comedy.

A friend of mine who grew up in a small town in Missouri says that we did a great job capturing small southern town ambience.

The next new thing for me will be sustaining performance over more than a single weekend. My acting book suggests that my goal should be my best performance on closing night. I'm working towards that.

March 16, 2003

Beware the Ides of March
Second night - acted up a storm, worked out some of the movement problems, played the cittern just fine. We were all horribly upstaged by Tiramisu the Dachshund (yep - a real dachshund), who had been to a 'cutest dog' costume contest and showed up wearing a frilly gingham dress and matching bonnet. Our show being what it is - comedy in a slightly skewed Southern town - this worked out very well. And Tiramisu is a show-dog, so she's used to bright lights and people applauding and all of that.

We still have minor tech problems - timing problems with the lighting and sound cues. If we had more tech time than we actually got, we'd be past this. As it is, the problems we're having are typical of second dress-rehearsal miscues. Not fatal, just somewhat annoying.

March 17, 2003

Tradition
So if I'm an actor now, does that mean I must never again utter the name of the Scottish Play?

Third Night Blues
Smaller, inert crowd. Everybody was tired going in, but we hid it well and the acting was good. Tech, better but still short. Some set problems. Lighting and sound were nearly right on, but still there were glitches.

Line notes: Remembered "budget projections and grant proposals", then later forgot "grand theft auto".

Acting notes: Seem to have the right mood nailed down for Towlip. Almost fighting back tears of embarrasment. Now just go with what's there. Getting better at freezes also.

March 18, 2003

Scary Actor Thought
Here's a thought I need to banish from my head so I can stay in the moment:

In the shower this morning, tired and half awake, I thought: Hey: in that one scene (Towlip, towards the end of act 1), everybody is looking at me. Which induced stage fright. In my shower for Pete's sake!

Obviously, I am still a bit tired from last week.

Look at it logically: when I'm doing that scene, the following is going on:

  • I'm fighting back tears, because Towlip has really embarrassed himself and ruined his career. He's having a Bad Day.
  • I'm being nervous, because Towlip has already been established as a really bad public speaker, and this is a TV interview, so he's nervous.
  • I'm listening for cues, both from the house speakers and the other actors doing a parallel scene off to my right.
  • I'm controlling my voice when I speak.
  • I'm recalling my lines - especially the ones that are not logically prompted by my cues (due to the parallel scene)
  • I'm staying in the moment emotionally while they do the funny part.
  • I'm staying in the light, which is a single spotlight in my face.
  • I'm effectively blind - all I can really see is the light in my face. Never mind the hundred people watching me.
In short, I'm too busy for stage fright. So there!

March 20, 2003

Touch-Ups
Brush-up rehearsals last night. We were out of there by 9:30.

  • Set Repair: The one piece of decorative carved styrofoam on the entire set is mounted to a moving piece and had wings sticking out unsupported on either end. We do many set shifts in the dark, so one of the loose styrofoam ends got broken off promptly on Saturday night. We taped it back on for the rest of the show, then got rid of the broken piece and painted the break. Last night the whole thing got shifted over by a few inches and re-carved to hide the break.
  • Tech Rehearsal: Mostly for the benefit of the techs, we ran the parts of the show with the most difficult sound/light cues. The techs are re-dividing labor. One of our techs is running lights for the first time and doing a good job (we have over 100 light cues), so in the tricky scenes he's going to work independently. That is, he'll take cues from our lines instead of waiting for Eva to cue him. We ran the scenes in question a couple of times and couldn't tell the difference.
  • Pacing, pacing, pacing: We worked a couple of scenes where the pacing and energy were dragging a bit. Much better now.

Reviews
We got a mixed review today. The reviewer dissed the show as a whole but loved many of the performances. He didn't mention me, which is actually just fine - mine is a small part. Nobody in the show was surprised, especially as he saw the show Sunday night with a small, practically inert audience. It was a better review than I thought we'd get.

Next Gig
I'll be stage-managing Glendale Community College's next Opera Workshop show, April 26-27. This is a class I dropped when I was cast in the play - it's great fun: a musical theater review once a semester. It's where I learned much of what I know about theater. It's where I first acted on stage. (I first sang on stage in the first grade - our school did this music show where everyone in the school went over to the high school and sang a few songs on their stage. Safety in numbers - the whole class went as a group and sang.)

March 21, 2003

Two characters, one actor
Good play last night: we outnumbered the audience (it happens in community theater...) but it was a really good demonstrative audience - laughing in all the right places, having fun. Good performances; our energy was up. Still not flawless tech, but improving. Due to the blackout, the audience applauded for the end of act I right after Towlips's scene, which was kind of cool (Act I ended at that point in the original script I read) BUT! We still had to do "Cash".

I play two different characters: Wiley Loot, owner of the Dog 'n Brew (where much of the play takes place), and Hartman Towlip, oceanographer, here in Baylin to sonar the swamp for monsters. Loot has been there, done, that, seen it all. Towlip is in waaay over his head - he's just a quiet oceanographer who's suddenly thrust into the limelight. Last night, I really noticed the contrast between them. I play Towlip so nervous that I was missing cues and throwing some comedy timing a little off (must back off just a bit tonight), whereas I just about nailed Loot in his speaking scene. I'm wondering now if I'm playing Loot a little too broadly in the silent bits. Got a note at the tech brush-up Wednesday to back off one bit I do, but not cut it entirely.

I think I'll stop second-guessing myself now, that's what I'll do.

March 22, 2003

Freeze!
I just want to state for the record that it's damn hard to do a freeze when Josh and Paulina are doing good comedy just downstage right.

Damn hard.

Props
Sometimes, the props get all of the attention. Last night, for example. The play opens in the bar I tend, and we use empty Samuel Adams bottles for our on-stage "drinking" pleasure. I didn't see this myself, but one of the downstage bottles didn't get cleared after the first scene, and got lots of attention in the next few scenes. Someone suggested we nominate it for an award.

Later, I'm in a scene which involves three of us holding up pictures while ol' Boyd points at them and says funny things. He uses a retractable pointer - actually I'm pretty sure it's just an old radio antenna. He forgot the pointer, which wouldn't have killed the scene. But I noticed, so I got the pointer on stage, extended it and put it into Billy's hand at just the right moment - all while holding up the picture.

In act 2, I'm in a musical number. The Christmas angel from Merchandising Blues hangs from a guitar for part of the piece. Last night it fell off the guitar. I picked it up as I cleared but I don't leave the stage, and forgot to hand it to Christy (who takes the cittern from me). I'm tending bar in the next scene. Next thing I know, I have the stupid angel and am up there inventing stage magic (the amazing disappearing angel trick!) as I tend bar with one hand and hide the prop with the other.

Props. Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em.

March 23, 2003

Where else can you pay so little for so much excitement?
Yancy Taggart is a major role in Baylin's Monster. In our production, he's played by Ty Marshall. Yancy (among other things) leads on most of the songs. He at least plays the guitar on all of the songs. When we take curtain call, the last one out - place of honor - is Ty.

Last night, 15 minutes from curtain, no Ty. Panic. Where is he? Has he been injured? What's up. We panic, and start making adjustments, pushing Michael Bradley, the understudy, into better make-up and helping him run lines. Michael knows all of the songs well enough to lead us in musical warm-ups: he's a very good musician - great ear and picks up tunes very quickly. He knows most of Yancy's lines - he just hasn't done the role. I'm assigned one of Michael's bits to do.

Eight minutes out, Ty comes running in: he was caught in a large accident-caused traffic jam on the freeway and had to exit. Then he was stuck at a railroad crossing for a train. Probably the world's slowest train, too: the crossing he was stuck at is just east of the biggest switchyard in the area.

Well.

We channelled all of that nervous OhMyGod energy into one of our better performances. I got a compliment from the stage manager on my silent performances. So I guess Eve has settled into her job. The tech was right on. I've been working around one tricky sound cue and she nailed it, which made my workaround into a stumble.

March 24, 2003

Are These Your Cues?
I would just like to state for the record that it's about bloody time the monster learned its cues. Thank you.

In case you're wondering what that little rant was all about:

It\'s possible that we've finally solved our last vexing tech problem, which goes like this:

There is a lighting change.
Recording of short line is played.
I say "yes, sir".
Another very short sound effect is played.
I say another line, which is vital to the plot.
Another pre-recorded line is played.
The lighting changes again and we go on.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Ten seconds out of a two-hour play. But the DAT (digital audio tape) recording we're using is set up so that Eva has to push the button for every sound cue, and there's a second or two of leader before each cue. This makes sound cues with only a short line between them a little difficult, because other wise you get some long pauses which can kill the pacing of a scene. The other night I asked if we could just combine the cues and was told No, because the re-editing involved would involve renumbering cues for half the show, which would be Bad.

Anyway: yesterday for possibly the first time, that little sequence went exactly as it should have. Eva has been apologizing to me for the timing problem (which is not her fault), and I've been trying to work around it, and it finally came together.

Of course, I then tripped over a floor light in the beginning of act 2, and forgot the words "Grand Theft Auto" again - I'm told the first guy to play Wiley Loot forgot the exact same words - but those little problems had absolutely nothing to do with any of this.

What we have here is a failure to communicate
Tahlked my housemate Sue into coming to the play. She'd heard me mention Equus (N2T's last play) and thought that was the play I'm in.

Glad we straightened that out. Where's the peanut butter?

March 26, 2003

Geting Superstitious
That's it. I am never saying the name of the Scottish Play again. Ever.

Cast and crew will understand the timing of this one, which is all I'm willing to say in a public forum.

March 27, 2003

Emergency touch-up rehearsal!
Eva, our stage manager, had a family emergency and had to leave. She might be back later in the run - nobody is sure. One of the directors of Nearly Naked Theater Company is an experienced stage manager, so last night we had a tech rehearsal to get her up to speed on calling the show. She's an experienced stage manager, and because she's on the board, she's familiar with the show - she just hasn't called it.

Alicia called a complete show cue-to-cue, plus we went through the tricky bits in isolation a couple times. It went well. Damon was assisting her and so we were able to improve a couple of things, including one scene shift that had been really vexing me. Fixing that also tightened up a pacing problem.

So we're all breathing again.

March 28, 2003

freakin' war grumble grumble
We got a so-so review last week. Given the reviewer, we expected a so-so review. We read it and got over it. This particular reviewer's reviews usually appear on my local public radio station the Friday after the review appears in print. He reads the same review word-for-word on the radio, which I think is lazy, but I digress.

I didn't hear the review last week and thought I missed it. Not so; it seems to have been delayed by the war coverage, so they played it today while I was driving to the office. Grumble grouch.

A mostly good show last night. The tech adjustments we made Wednesday stuck - everybody went around the bar during that one transition. Our biggest problem was the thermostat. The theater was too warm at the beginning of the show. We fixed it during act one, but still. Too warm.

We all signed another sympathy card for Eva, and a thank-you card for Alicia for taking over on essentially no notice.

After the show, I did sketches for a t-shirt for the cast and crew. I'm gonna try to make the shirt Saturday so I can wear it to the show.

Murder most foul
My next gig - I'm stage manager - is a music review loosely structured as a murder mystery. More music than mystery.

Michael Bradley's next gig is a murder mystery at a dinner theater. He told me about his role, but I ain't telling - it would spoil the mystery. He'll be at Beefeater's restaurant in a few weeks.

I sense a trend here, Watson.

March 29, 2003

The Moment Before
Leaving the capo off the cittern improved my acting.

If you're not a musician, allow me to explain: a capo is a mechanical device that clamps across the fingerboard of a guitar or other stringed instrument, thus changing the base key of an instrument and making it easier to play. If you play a piece in the key of G, put the capo at the second fret, use the exact same fingering, and you're playing in A.

And a cittern is, as we've discussed, a mandolin on steroids.

I've been playing one piece with the capo, then after that piece I hand the mandolin to Christy, our backstage goddess, who puts it on its stand while I go right back on stage and tend bar for the next scene. Then after that scene, I would go back, grab the mandolin and remove the capo (it's better for the strings not to leave a capo on more than necessary), then go do my final scene in the play, which involves an argument.

So: I finally learned to play that particular piece without the capo, which gave me that much less to do backstage, which let me focus mentally on the reason I'm arguing in that scene, so when I went in stage for the final scene, I was that little bit more in the correct frame of mind. And that scene flowed much better as a result.

March 30, 2003

So if I look to stage right...
Had a "Duh, isn't that obvious" moment last night.

I spend most of my time on stage playing a bartender. Thus I'm behind the bar. The bar faces straight downstage, and I have quite a bit of time in that role reacting to what's happening elsewhere on stage.

Last night I realized I was leaning on the bar too much, and I also realized that I don't have to face downstage the whole time I'm there either.

Well, duh!

March 31, 2003

It might have been funny if the lights were on...
Last night was my big night for crashing into things.

First, Tiramisu (the dacshund dachshou dog) lost her hat. I picked it up during the next scene shift, which caused me to miss moving a piece of scenery. This caused me to crash into the bar, breaking still more Styrofoam off. The front of the bar is textured and painted Styrofoam - easy to carve, but there are unsupported pieces which extend past the ends of the bar. People crash into them in the dark and they break off.

At the next scene shift I was moving the piece I had missed, and somewhere in there I tripped over a smaller piece of scenery. I'm amazed I didn't fall off the City Hall steps. It was one of those nights.

Later we glued the styrofoam back in place.

America The Properly Played
I would like to state for the record that last night I finally played America the Beautiful without an error.

You will note that I am not mentioning any of the other music I play. There is a reason for this.

Old Ben Nye is makin' me cry
Drat it! I seem to be getting a skin condition from the make-up.

That's gonna make this weekend a bit more interesting than it needs to be...

I can't work like this!
Designed a cast/crew t-shirt, scanned in the artwork, printed the first transfer. I seem to be out of blue ink. Phooey!

April 04, 2003

The home stretch, then a photo finish
After a fairly stressful day at work, the details of which don't matter, a nice night at the theatre was the perfect antidote. The day's stresses produced my first "boy, I'll be glad when this is over" moment, but I got over it.

Actually, it was a little like getting together after a vacation. This week was our longest time off in a couple weeks. We were all rested and fresh, and there were a few "do I have lines in this show?" jokes in the dressing room.

Odd audience patterns - we had a lot of reservations last night and a good audience, but we have lots of open seats tonight and tomorrow.

After the show, we bent a rule and went out in costume for stage-door meeting and greeting. (Usually we get out of costume and make-up first). Then we got together for cast pictures. I'll post one here once I get the film developed. I spent a lot of my backstage down time taking backstage pictures, and you may see one or two of those as well, depending on how they come out.

Ben Nye update
The skin condition cleared up - aloe vera moisturizing lotion is your friend - so there were no makeup issues last night.

Superstition
We were discussing the superstition surrounding the Scottish play last night - without mentioning its name, of course. Billy had not heard of this superstition before; we were respecting it to the letter, and his resulting curiosity like to drove him crazy. Fun to see, actually.

Annual Performance Review
My boss came to see the play last night. He enjoyed it. This morning he said I'm in the wrong job here - I should be either an actor or a bartender. He didn't mention oceanography.

T-Shirts
Finally, this late in the run, the e-mail worked and I got the artwork from the original poster, which I turned into t-shirt transfers. Slight goof: the first two were applied to t-shirts at an angle (I was in a hurry), so I'll be remaking those, but everybody likes the art. So as soon as I can make them, there will be a Baylin's Monster cast/crew t-shirt. I'm going to give one to Darren, who is doing a great job running the lights.

Also, I'll post the artwork here.

Also, also, I'll make a big card for us all to sign and give to Michael Grady, the author, who will be here for our final show Saturday night.

April 05, 2003

Escape of the Diva
Tiramisu the dachshund is Baylin's diva. Her owners gave us a little kennel to keep her in, but it never gets used. Between on-stage perormances she sits on the couch being pampered and petted by the ladies in the green room.

Tiramisu's in the opening scene - a musical number - of the second act. Last night when Billy went in to get her, she bolted. Out the green room door, then out the stage door. Costumed actors were chasing her around the parking lot. We had to hold the opening of Act 2 for a few minutes.

I guess Tiramisu can't work like this either.

Cliches
There are a couple of old cliches you'll see if you watch enough backstage dramas. Producers and directors threaten actors with "You'll never work in this town again!", and actors complain "I can't work like this!".

We've been saying "I can't work like this!" a lot, but strictly in a humorous sense. Something silly happens backstage and we say "I can't work like this!". Tiramisu escapes and we say "Tiramisu can't work like this!". Stuff like that. Sure, we all have egos or we wouldn't be actors, but on this show, there's none of that backstage. We're just having fun.

I got the official promotional artwork for the show via e-mail the other night, after several tries. Now the cast/crew t-shirts have the monster saying "I can't work like this!"

Closing Night tonight
Wow! Closing night already! Plenty of tickets left, since we're up against the Final Four (bloody basketball!) and CNN (bloody war!). Then a major, take-no-prisoners party afterwards.

April 06, 2003

Go home! No monster here! Nothing to see! Move along!
Great time last night!

Closing performance of the play was packed. One of our best audiences. Before that, lots of good-byes and thank-you cards. Michael Grady, the author of the play, attended the show last night. We made him a big thank-you card with the t-shirt art on it. Everybody signed it. He liked the play, complimented everyone and signed my script, complimenting my performance as Towlip, the in-over-his-head oceanographer. But he had an early flight out, so couldn't attend the party afterwards.

Good show. Probably my second-best performance. I found little things to improve even in this final performance. And little things to screw up too. Mustn't be too perfect...

Well, okay, we'd all seen Joey in his underwear already...
The cast party was combined with Damon's annual 25th birthday party, which was an underwear party. All of the actors in Phoenix were invited, and many of them showed up. Damon read a very silly poem to the Baylin's cast and crew. I left about 1 AM, it having been a long day (I spent the morning at a rehearsal for my next show - I'm stage manager) and the party was just starting.

That snarky headline about Joey in his underwear was true - I think all of his costume changes were quick changes just offstage in the hallway. Joey wasn't in his underwear at the party (that is, he was fully dressed), but the party was at his house, so whatever..

April 07, 2003

Bulldozing Baylin
I'm told the party went on until at least 0430. Whoa.

Therefore my wearing a brightly colored tie-dye t-shirt to strike the set was probably in violation of the Geneva Convention.

We struck the set and cleaned the theater and said our real good-byes. Had lots of fun while we were working.

Then I went home and slept for twelve hours. I think all of my lost sleep in the last two weeks caught up with me all at once.

Didn't save much time at all.
I took the season off from Renaissance Festival for several reasons. One was to use the time for other things. Baylin's Monster then became the biggest Other Thing.

I just added up the time I was actually present at the theater and working and compared that with the time I would have been at the Renaissance Festival or at its rehearsals or promotional activities. I left out commute time, parties and at-home prep time for both.

Excluding the weekend I would have gone to California (or worked) if I wasn't in the play, and the weekend I didn't go to Festival because I was a little sick (I slept a lot and made the play both nights), I got 187 hours for Baylin's and 193 for the Renaissance Festival.

So What Have I Learned?
Back on January 23, I said:

A lot of the process of being in a play will be new to me, and much of it will be familiar from college musical reviews ... I'm going to use this site to record my impressions and ideas for the future.
So: What have I learned?
In no particular order:
  • No two shows are ever exactly alike.
    I have the attention span of a mayfly, so I was concerned that I might get bored with a three-week run of the same show every night. Same show every night? Ha! We tightened up blocking all through the show. Every night I found at least one new thing about my characters. Or I picked up some new technique. There was one physical bit that I finally got perfect on closing night, after spending weeks working on it. That one moment was worth the trouble.
    Kim's husband attended the show opening night and closing night, and he commented about how the show had improved.
  • The actor contributes a lot, if allowed to
    I think I already knew this from Renaissance Festival, where I contributed everything, especially as the Town Crier. In Baylin's, I started out with lines and a little bit of blocking. I added:
    • Most of my costume
      Damon wanted all of the Baylin residents to be really colorful, in contrast with the business-suited reporters. All we started out with for my characters was Towlip's jacket and yellow bow tie. We tried on a gaudy checked shirt which was too small for me, but Michael Bradley wore it in the show. I went and found my own gaudy checked shirt. I imagined Wiley Loot the bartender as an outdoorsman who has seen it all. So I brought in my old fishing vest. We had a hard time finding a bright enough shirt for Loot until I brought in my bright orange shirt from when I was in search and rescue in Tucson several years ago. We even left the search and rescue patch on the shirt. Add that to a pair of tan denims and white sneakers (worn by both characters) and my costumes were complete.
    • A musical piece
      In Things With Wood, the script mentions America the Beautiful playing in the beginning of the scene. I played that, and added Battle Hymn of the Republic under the rest of the scene.
    • Comedy reactions
      It was decided that as Wiley Loot, I would be present for all of the scenes in the bar. Loot only has lines in one scene, which isn't even set at the bar, although we staged it as though it was. So I had reactions to everything, from reporters discussing getting pictures of the monster, to Ida Mae's raucous caterwauling in Chorus of Denial. I went out and bought ear plugs for that one. Just because Loot owes Ida Mae money (an acting decision, not in the script anywhere) doesn't mean he has to listen to her when she takes the stage in the Shindig Room.
      As Towlip, I'm reacting to the music at the press conference, completely oblivious to Yancy's insane lyrics and Ida Mae's efforts to shut him up.
    • All of Towlip's fear and emotion
      Poor Hartman Towlip - this is his first bribe, followed by his first press conference, followed by a revealing TV interview. Too much for an honest incompetent oceanographer to bear. I had the poor guy fighting back tears on stage. The author of the play complimented me on that performance.
  • Sticks and Stones may Break My Bones, but Words Can Never Hurt Me
    We got mixed reviews. Nobody was in the least bit surprised, and nothing changed as a direct result of the reviews. We had things to improve, we knew it, and we worked them out.
  • Energy Levels Are Set, Captain
    I already had experienced this in Opera Workshop, and it held true here: Theater matches my energy levels almost perfectly. Up to perform, then down for a bit, then back up. Lots of attention to the detail of the moment, then drop it and move on to the next thing. I have attention-deficit disorder - just diagnosed last year - and that's perfect for me. (I wonder how many other theater folks have ADD?)
  • Dr. Seuss' Actors Warm-up
    Paulina brought a copy of Fox in Socks to read from at warm-ups. It's full of tongue-twisters, and makes a great diction warm-up.
  • I Can Too Work On A Tall Ladder
    To represent the marsh, we had as many tendrils of vines wherever we could in the theater. I overcame my fear of heights enough to go up the ladder remove the highest vines. This was a Big Deal for me.
  • Moving an Occupied Bed While Singing
    You had to be there. We tightened up a scene change by doing it during the end of the preceding musical scene. Very surreal.
  • Musical Theater Is Hard
    Up until now, my on-stage experience was at Glendale Community College's Opera Workshop, which consists of tightly choreographed musical numbers connected by relatively light dialog. I'm not the best singer or dancer in the world by a long stretch, but I do okay when I take that class. (Note: Go take Opera Workshop at Glendale.) Baylin's was blocked dialog connected by musical numbers, only one of which was blocked in the kind of detail I'm used to - and I'm not in that one. I'm currently stage managing Opera Workshop and the contrast was very apparent the first night I showed up there.
There may be other things, but that's the main list in my head at the moment. The main thing is: Boy, I like this!

So Long and Thanks for All The Uninvolved Fish
This is the last entry in Baylin's Blog. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed both the process of the play and writing the weblog. Next time I do a play, I'll likely do another weblog.

Throughout the run, I have hidden spoilers for the play and things that didn't need to become public at the time into this weblog. These have been made visible. Soon, I'll post a couple of pictures.

Read the credits. I'd like to publicly thank each and every person listed there for a wonderful experience. And I wish everyone success in their future endeavors, and hope our paths may cross again. I loved working with all of you.

Footnote: More Denials
Hartman Towlip at one point yells "No fish were involved!". I'd like to refute that. Fish were involved! Phoenix for some reason has a lot of little fish 'n' chip shops - not quite proper British chippies, but good. During the run of Baylin's Monster, I ate quite a lot of fish at my favorite, Knock-Kneed Lobster, 32nd Street and Washington, simply because it's halfway between the office and the theater. And no, they didn't pay me to say this - quite the opposite. Yum! 'Bye!

About the play
The play is called Baylin's Monster. Word gets out that a woman in a small town (Baylin, Mississippi) got eaten by a monster in the marsh. Media descends on the town. Comedy ensues. Fun for all.

About the author
Patrick Connors is a Renaissance man.
Actor, database administrator, singer, songwriter, bus driver, kayak instructor, cannoneer, archer, swordfighter, siege engine operator, artist, writer, lover. He may have forgotten a few things. No, he doesn't know how he does it all either.

Pictures
Watch this space for pictures.

The Highland Avenue Theatre Society's
Nearly Naked Theatre's
production of

Baylin's Monster
by Michael Grady

CAST
in order of appearance
YancyTy Marshal
Douglas BrantleyDavid Weiss
Larry FarrellJoshua Ian
The MayorDamon Dering
Reporter TwoAllison Hilston
Louise FarrellJoy Strimple
Reporter OneJoey Michitsch
BoydBilly Lowry
The Wiener-BassetTiramisu
Ida MaeKim Rickels
Daniel LepusMichael Bradley
TuckBilly Lowry
ShyDavid Weiss
Woman OneSarah Chapman
Suzi York-MundyPaulina Glider
Sissy DonJoey Michitsch
Hartman TowlipPatrick Connors
Mary Ellen WynneBambi Gillette
Rodney HalbenDavid Weiss
Dwayne LickMichael Bradley
FionaSarah Chapman
LootPatrick Connors

Production Staff
Artistic DirectorDamon Dering
Technical DirectorAlicia Marie Sanderson
Producing DirectorTim Butterfield

Director, Baylin's MonsterDamon Dering
Music DirectorJefrey Taylor
Production ManagerAlicia Marie Sanderson
Stage ManagerEva Richards
Emergency Holographic Stage ManagerAlicia Marie Sanderson
Original Score ByJefrey Taylor
Scenic DesignTim Butterfield
Scenic ConsultantMary Romine
Lighting DesignNykol De Dreu
Sound DesignMarc Pacheco
Costume DesignJay Templeton
Make-Up DesignDamon Dering
Hair DesignScotty Williamson
Properties DesignJay Templeton,
Eva Richards
Properties MistressChristy Oukrop
"Progress" byJay Templeton
Master CarpenterTim Butterfield
CarpentryDavid Weiss,
Joey Michitsch
Electric CrewTodd Rambo,
Bryce Farlow,
Sam Watters
Light Board OperatorDarren Mark
Running CrewChrsty Oukrop
Publicity/Press PhotographyLaura Durant
Poster Art & PhotographyChristopher Mascarelli
Program DesignAlicia Marie Sanderson
Special Thanks To:
Michael Red, Karen Worden, OnSite Guy, Phoenix Theatre, Mark S. P. Turvin, Vincent VanVleet, A Tux of Class, Coppercreek Miniature Dachshunds, Jay Templeton, Sid Farrar


Schedule
We're finished, but this was our schedule...
March 2003
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29
8:00
30
7:00
31
April 2003
123
8:00
4
8:00
5
8:00


All performances are at the Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, Central and McDowell, Phoenix. Call (602) 274-2432 for reservations.

Ticket Prices
Adults$15.00
Students
Seniors
Military
$12.00
with ID
Call (602) 274-2432 for reservations.


This is an actor's journal of the production of one play. Send your comments to pat Patrick Connors dot oh arrr gee