Sunday, March 30, 2008

Opening Week

We opened to a half-house crowd on Friday (not bad at all for an opening night), and despite a couple tech glitches, it went pretty well (although not as well as I hoped). Saturday, however, we wowed the second half-house crowd with a near perfect show. Energy was up, the crowd was responsive, the fights got gasps, Helga got laughs...

Today's matinee played to about a 1/3 house (again, better than some matinees we've had). So obviously our marketing efforts are paying off. We even got a nice blurb here.

I'm a bit nervous that we're not having a pick-up rehearsal during the week. But I urged the cast to do some refresher script reading so as not to let the text escape their brainpans.

Just got Tyler's school assignment for high school next year. The one high school I didn't want Tyler to go to. They will be remodeling it for two out of the four years he will be in high school, and for those two years, the students will be put in a run-down crap facility with leaky roofs in a bad part of the neighborhood. I will be seeing to the assignment this week. I didn't even get an enrollment form from the district in the first place, so I'm kinda miffed.

I will be joining a new support group for widdas in the late stages of grief, those who are moving forward with their lives and starting to date again. I'm looking forward to it.

Spring Break for the kids this week, but I still have much layout work on the RADZ book to do. It needs to be ready for Emerald City this year (just over a month away).

Friday, March 28, 2008


So here we are. We had an open preview/final dress rehearsal last night and there was just enough that didn't go right to reassure me that the run will be good. Funny how that works. Overconfidence is lethal in theater.

My mom and stepdad were down in Seattle for a medical consult at UW and came over to prepare dinner, then attended the preview. That was really nice. A number of Twelfth Night friends showed up to watch the show as well. I hope all the new publicity works out and we have decent houses over the run. We got a nice visit from an SPD officer from the Southwest Precinct (at my invitation) to check over our prop guns and generally exchange introductions. For all the community arts outreach we do, the PD was almost completely unaware of our existence or that anyone was doing theater at Youngstown. I aim to change that. Cops are terrific social resources, and a lot of them go out to support local causes when they're out of uniform. So today I'm dropping off a poster and a stack of postcards at the precinct.

The kids seem to have been hit with another round of flu - great. Just as well it happens today. They're off all next week for Spring Break. Easter was so early this year that it knocked the school calendar out of whack. Usually Spring Break happens on one side of Easter or the other, but this time, there was a full week of school after Easter before Spring Break.

I posted a bunch of photos from the Deathtrap production on my Flickr page. The black & whites were snapped in our rehearsal space, and the color ones were shot by Ron Dugdale on the actual set. I'm quite happy with the set design (thank you Mike Thoreson, and everyone who helped build the thing). Just a few small lighting issues to work out tonight and a couple more weapons to hang on the wall. Enjoy the pics.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tech Week Begins

We open Deathtrap in one week. Time for MACH5 toward the cinder block wall with your hair on fire. I'm feeling really good about the play. The cast is great, it's much better organized than past productions, and things are falling into place.

The pic is a little faux "inspirational" poster like you find in offices all over the place. The line is from the play, uttered by the psychic, Helga. It's an inside joke, but I couldn't NOT share it. Some of you will be familiar enough with the show to get it, and if you don't, that's fine too...

It's late, I'm rambling, and the cuticle on the inside of my right thumb has split, right at the corner of the nail. It's swollen and hurts every time I so much as touch anything with that part of my thumb. Time to wrap the sucker in a band aid and hit the Tylenol.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spinning Plates

You know, like those Vaudeville performers used to do... keeping a bunch of plates balanced on sticks and spinning so they wouldn't unbalance and fall. These are my spinning plates.

Plate #1: Trying to get my fat ass to the gym, damnit.
Plate #2: Trying to get my house cleaned up (or at least the kitchen) before my stepmom gets here to make dinner for the kids.
Plate #3: Digging out all my tax info.
Plate #4: Digging out my time-keeping records for the litigation vs RestorX.
Plate #5: Directing Deathtrap, which is coming along nicely.
Plate #6: Getting a hold of the tech director at Youngstown to schedule hanging & aiming lights.
Plate #7: RADZ book in layout.
Plate #8: Family counseling.
Plate #9: Promoting the Requiem CD.
Plate #10: Preproduction on Duo.
Plate #11: Preproduction on Top Secret Short.
Plate #12: Development of the OA television series pitch package.
Plate #13: Being an emotionally accessible and loving yet firm single parent.

And that doesn't include all the stuff I actually crossed off the list this week!

The kids got to go see Matchbox Twenty, Alanis Morissette & Mute Math at Key Arena last Saturday, which they loved. It was Tyler's first rock concert and Kayleigh's second. They got to meet Mute Math and get stuff autographed, and Tyler is now a big fan. Thanks to Ann for the tickets, and thanks to Doug for giving me some chill-out time Saturday night.

Sunday morning was David Long's memorial service at the Episcopal church adjacent to West Seattle High. It was my first Episcopal service, and it made me glad I'm not Episcopal. Long and dry, with all of the ritual, trappings and graven imagery of the Catholic Church, and none of the fun. The giant crucifix over the altar was a nondescript cross, with an effigy of Jesus out in front of it and in the act of ascent. With the draped robes, he really looked like Superman... or I guess Superchrist. They interred David's ashes in the lawn right next to a beautiful tree in front of the church. Caleb recited a loving tribute in his own style of prose, which left no dry eye. It was good to see my theater community there, despite the alien religious setting.

The changing of the clocks on Sunday threw a wrench into Tyler's precarious sleep schedule, the ripples of which we've been dealing with this week.

I went to lunch with my friend Mike Cressy, who lost his girlfriend to suicide a few months ago. We hadn't actually been face to face since Sam's memorial, so it was good to see him again. I got to have a sneak peek at his new art book. We traded swag, played a little guitar, agreed to get together more often. I cannot imagine the survivor guilt that must go with a suicide. I know from experience that "natural causes" (if cancer can be called that) is bad enough in that regard. It must be so much more acute with suicide, even when faced with the plain truth that the problems were there well before the relationship, and she was going to do it no matter what you did to save her.

There are far too many of us out there missing our mates, spouses, partners, lovers. At far too young an age.

Okay, back to my plates...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

...Finally Ran Out of Hit Points

Add another loss to the rolls. Ernest Gary Gygax, co-author of Dungeons & Dragons and godfather of the adventure roleplaying game, died on Tuesday, March 4th at age 69. While many might scoff and subscribe to the mistaken belief that RPGs "are for geeks and adolescent boys with no social skills and bad bathing habits"*, without Gygax & Arneson and the D&D effect of bringing tactical wargames into the living room, there might not be World of Warcraft or City of Heroes or Second Life or the entire RPG genre of electronic games. Since its arrival in the late '60s, the adventure roleplaying game has had a profound effect on popular culture (and, if you've ever read a Chick Tract or listened to the ravings of Pat Pulling, on religion and crime).

I met Gary briefly at Gen Con a few years ago, and had chatted with him via an industry email list we subscribe(d) to. We rarely saw eye-to-eye on the mechanics of game design, but he was a gentleman and a scholar, a truly nice guy and well deserving of the reverence of the rest of the industry. I can in all honesty credit the man with giving my creativity a ready vehicle in my teens, and a vocation in my 20s and 30s. I wish him well in this ultimate quest, and I wish the best for his family.

I'm reminded of Gary's guest spot on Futurama, wherein Al Gore tells him to "put the dice away before I take them away!" And when Fry destroys the universe, of course they all settle in for a game of Dungeons & Dragons for all eternity. That's kind of how I imagine him now: gathering a party together for a classic dungeon-crawl. H.G. Wells, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, C.S. Lewis... and you know Sam would have to muscle her way into that game... and that bastard Tolkien would hog all the Mountain Dew.

* For the record, I bathed and had a girlfriend and interests outside of gaming, and rarely played in groups that were devoid of female participants. In other words, my experience was precisely the opposite of the stereotype.