Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday: 2 shows, writer stuff, time change

A couple of high school kids are going to perform my slightly risque"Thingjimmy" in an oral interp contest. Good luck!
I had to tell my church's choir director that I don't think I'll be able to cope with the time change. Sat I get home very late after matinee and evening, and rather too exhausted to sleep well. I've been coping by taking a quick nap 45 min between the end of church and Sun matinee, but that won't be enough to make up for Daylight Saving..... one less 2nd soprano tomorow-- apologies.

Got an emailed request from a screen writer for help with a political play that seems to have potential but which doesn't "feel" like a work written specifically for the stage yet. I wrote back:
I'm flattered that you think I could be of help. You are much more successful than I.
It's true that I have been thinking about what works on stage and the conventions of making that happen for a long time, and I'd be happy to take a look at your script and see if there's anything obviously awkward or inefficient I can spot. Gratis. I think it highly unlikely that I could contribute on anything resembling a "partnership" level, but I'm willing to do what I can. I fervently want the art I love to make a difference in the country I love. It seems to me that America badly needs what the theatre can do: look objectively at emotionally complex actions where disastrous consequences are predictable but are being ignored or rationalized or misrepresented. But one symptom of willful blindness is that audiences just don't want to face such things. I'm currently performing in the American premiere of Robin Soans' much-lauded "Talking To Terrorists". The production has had great press: the best I've ever seen for a small-theatre production in the Boston area. And audiences are painfully small-- the theatre is going to lose a lot of money. In a subsidized theatre like the Royal Court, this wouldn't matter-- the great reviews and prizes and "concession" tickets at five pounds for the working class and unemployed work well enough for such a play to be a "success". But here? People have to be willing to pay to be moved and enlightened-- and if they're like my own "theatre-loving" mother, they aren't. I sent her two fat envelopes of the advance articles and rave reviews, and she said to me: "Forty dollars a ticket? For something painful? I want entertainment! I wouldn't pay more than $10 for a title like that!" Another local theatre is performing an excellent and timely revival of Amlin Gray's Vietnam "How I Got That Story"-- to nearly empty houses.
I would think that if you could write a TV movie or a miniseries that came into people's houses for free rather than requiring people to get out, get a sitter, and pay 7-12 times the minimum hourly wage to see, that would be a major contribution. I wish I could!-- but I know nothing about TV writing.
However, what I do know is at your service it you think it might be helpful.

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