Tag Archives: Performance

Show Update

13 Jul

Just completed the debut of my short solo show “Speaking the Names” at Monday Night Marsh. It went really well. There was a great audience including several friendly faces and a strong line-up of other performers. It was great to get my material up in front of a large audience and suss out the reactions. I got more laughs than I expected, which is good. And they were with me on the entire journey. Felt real good. So I’m looking forward to next performance on 26 July 2010.

Hope to see you there.

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Speaking the Names: My solo show this Monday at the Marsh Theater

9 Jul

I’m excited to announce that my short solo show “Speaking the Names” will be debuting at The Marsh in July, and I’m hoping you can join me at one of the two performances.

The show focuses on how September 11th affected those of us who experienced the tragedy from afar—via TV screens, word of mouth, the internet, etc.—and how we remember what happened.

There are two performances, and I need friendly faces in the audience both nights. I’ll be one of four performers each night.

To RSVP please click the link for the day you wish to attend (below) and add your name and email to the guest list. (Your email will not be shown to anyone else, it’s just so I can send you a reminder or update.)

***THE DETAILS

I’ve had to create two separate invites for the different days. (Kind of annoying, but no event sites seem to offer multiple date options.  That said, if you’ve used Evite, I recommend MyPunchBowl as an alternative. It’s easier to use, more sophisticated, and more comprehensive.)

1st PERFORMANCE / 12 JULY (Monday)

http://www.mypunchbowl.com/parties/1057162-solo-show-work-in-progress-first-performance

2nd PERFORMANCE / 26 JULY (Monday)
http://www.mypunchbowl.com/parties/1057416-solo-show-work-in-progress-second-performance

INFO: All tickets are $7, at the door only, 30 minutes before the show. All seating is first-come, first-served.

***

Resistance or Sometimes it feels better to do nothing

22 Jun

The week before last I was in retreat, working on my solo show (which is the main reason I’ve neglected to post here.) It was heavenly: I spent 9 hours/day working directly on the show, and the rest of the time relaxing by watching performers I admire. Spending so much concentrated time on my creative work was a gift.

Then this past week happened. As the Greek poets might say, it sucked donkey balls.

I knew it was going to be a let down, as I’d only have 2-3 hour/day to work on the show, but in the end I didn’t even manage that. A combination of work, classes, and travel, slowed me down mightily and I’ve fallen behind where I want to be.

And here’s the insidious thing: Now that I have the time to the work, I don’t want to. Even though (or especially because?) I have a class tonight in which the teacher is expecting to see progress and I want to make a good impression.

Fortunately, I’ve been around the creative block long enough to recognize this as Resistance. The idea of facing my failure to work on the show and the challenge of picking up where I left off (which seems like eons ago) is unpleasant. Worse still is facing my let-down expectations. Whenever I think about getting up on my feet, working a character or story, I immediately get a foghorn blast of “You’re nowhere near where you should be, you complete and comprehensive failure!” or some equally pleasant variation.

I’d rather do something else, like watch the World Cup, or read other blogs, or gouge out my eyes then actually doing the hard work of getting started again and accepting the piece and my progress as it is. But fortunately, I know the best solution in this situation is to take my cue from Nike and just do it. To get up, take action, and let it suck.

So that’s what I’m off to do. But I don’t like it.

Let’s Yourself Go and Your Mime Will Follow

18 May

I spent my weekend moving in a Neoclassical Mime intensive taught by James Donlon of the Flying Actors Studio in San Francisco. It was wonderful and comprehensively kicked my butt, putting the ‘intense’ back in intensive. That muscles-I-didn’t-know-I-had kind of sore.

The class gave me a large number of exercises in fixed point work, isolation, neutrality, energy, and the dynamics of creating physical work for the stage that went above and beyond conventional stereotypes about mime. Additionally, I learned a lot about myself, my strengths and weakness. A quick list:

Strengths

  • Energy: I have lots of it (p’duh). This wasn’t surprising but I continue to learn how it differentiates me from others.
  • Clarity: I have the the ability to make my movement clear and precise and to tell a story.
  • Rapport: I’m excellent at matching and sharing energy with those I’m working with.

Weaknesses

  • Economy: I make things too complicated and unnecessary. I often struggle to get to the essential.
  • Levels: Related to my top strength, I tend to default to full-tilt. I need greater dynamics and especially need to remember to start out low, so I have somewhere to go.
  • Neutrality: What I think of as body neutral is not. I lower my chin and tend to take a power stance when standing, and move my arms unnecessarily when walking.

I’m excited because I can already see how this is going to apply to my solo performance and storytelling work. The class was reasonably priced (worked out to about $11/hour) and a great survey of techniques and concepts.  Recommend it in a heart beat if your interested in performance work.

#cxw

Practicing, Patience

12 May

Working on the one-person show was a slog through waist-high mud today. I was enervated and uninspired. But the goals I set got done: the third draft (or tenth, depending on how you look at it) was printed, and  a complete walk-thru recorded, even though it felt like I sleepwalked through the last third. Success never felt so blah.

But it’s a good reminder that not every day is ripe with discovery and excitement. My goal is to explore storytelling and also to explore my process. This takes time. And patience. I’ve been doing this kind of thing long enough to know you have days, weeks even, where you swim against the tide until you stop, exhausted, only to realize the waters shallow enough for you to walk the rest of the way there easily.

So here’s to today.  Sh*t day that it was, I’m still one step closer.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Best of Times: Two Bits of Good News

11 May

THAT MOST CURIOUS ANIMAL, MAN

I started taking a storytelling class with Michael Katz, a local teller, last week.  I sensed from the start that I was in the right place. Michael is warm, gracious, and knows his craft, everything you’d want in a teacher. During the first class,  he talked about about his process, how he found his way to telling,  and told us the story of “How the Sea Became Salty”, a polycultural tale that he gave a Japanese slant. This class was atypical: the rest of the time will be devoted to workshopping stories.

I read all of “Ready-to-Tell Tales”, an excellent resource for the beginning storyteller.  From it, I selected “Strength”, a story from the Limba people in Sierra Leone. Briefly, it’s the story of the animals (including man) having a contest to see who is the strongest. It has the potential for lots of energy and physical comedy, but has a strong and serious sting at the end. Just what I like: a tale where the laughter lends the story power.  I’d debated whether I should work on my one-person show or a traditional folktale, and settled on the latter because I wanted to work on a piece very different from my show, and get experience in traditional storytelling.

I told it for the first time this last class. If I’m honest, I almost chickened-out. Fortunately, Michael asked if I wanted to do it and I quickly said yes. It went very, very well. People were positive about the story and my telling of it.  The two things I took away from it (aside from the group’s feedback) was the joy I found in connecting do directly with the audience, and the power of serving the story, focusing on channeling it rather than worrying if I was doing a good job.

ALL ROADS: MY SOLO SHOW, SUCCESS!

I just found out today that the short version of my solo piece about 9-11 was accepted into Monday Night Marsh at the Marsh Theater! In the 2 months I’ve been pursuing performance work, I’ve quickly found that all roads lead back to the Marsh. I am elated.

More specifically, all roads lead back to David Ford, with whom I’ll be taking a class next month. My goal was to perform there by September, which I guaranteed by signing up for the class.  But now I’ll be performing in mid-July, roughly two months before I thought I’d be. And, combined with the class, I’ll get to perform the show 4 times on their stage. I anticipate the show making leaps and bounds in this time.

This rounds on me, boys. Progress!

Poem: Opening Presents

18 Feb

(My commentary posted to comments below.)

***

OPENING PRESENTS

What is this? A tie tack? Did you buy me a tie tack for Christmas?
It’s fine.
It’s just. This is not at all in my style or my taste. And,
further, doesn’t our relationship amount to more than this, a tie tack,
bought where at Sears?

But even if it’s a fancy tie tack,
what does it say about us? Look at what I got you, open it now, just
tear the paper. Look,
Look at the care I put into this gift.
Look at the many layers of meaning and personal resonance.
I thought about this. I wanted to get something for you that would be cherished for years to come. Time immemorial, if I could pull it off.

And you got me a tie tack.

Shit. This makes me want to question the strength of our relationship
the rapport and kismet I thought we have together
if you felt it appropriate to get me a piece of tie

jewelry.

Well, yes, it’s practical. But your gift is MEANINGFUL.
What do you mean, what is it?
It’s an ode to our relationship. To us! Don’t you see,
these shells represent that first time we kissed at the beach.
The figurines there are us, I admit, a bit fanciful, but you used to almost look like that, and I thought it would be romantic.
And those pictures of our faces, I’ve used for the heads, from your father’s wedding, because we were so happy then. Drunk as skunks, and happy. You see, it took time and thought and it’s not a stupid tie tack.

Shit.
I’m sorry,
I’m sorry. You know
how critical I get during the holiday. And
being around your mother makes me tetchy.
I know,
I’m sorry, baby. Please, stay here. Please hold me.
I am afraid to be alone.