Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

Diary for Morotaka

The only information you need to understand this piece is the City Paper compares my character to Godzilla and The Post says I give a Orson Wellesian performace in the role of Morotaka. I thought it might be fun to spend a day in the life of this Orson-zilla inspired Morotaka. Follow the links if you don't get the references. Enjoy!

6:30 a.m. - Woke up early this morning to work on unfinished script for new movie involving tortured artist forced to sacrafice dreams of becoming great painter to support a wife he no longer loves by painting houses. Talk to J. Cotton about starring.

7 a.m. - Spy on ladies in waiting for half-hour making sure they all received the poems I wrote them last night.

8:30 a.m. - Attack small fishing boat off Soouthwest Coast of Japan and leave no one alive except paniced old man and small unconsious child. Radioactive breath seems to be acting up must speak to someone about that.

11:45 a.m. - Met with the folks at RKO about possibly filming the script I wrote this morning. Possibly change painter to
wealthy publisher. Had a small salad, a troop carrier and a bottle of scotch for lunch. Must call Delores about dinner tomorrow.

12:25 p.m. - Watched ladies-in-waiting taking down their kimonos from the washline.

12:35 p.m. - Battled American naval carrier group. Lost toe, which fortunately grew back. Spotted that show off
Mothra talking to those tiny twins in the clam shell again. Always with the ladies is Mothra.

3:00 p.m. - Second lunch with
Agnes Moorehead and Mankiewicz. Both of them looking well. Told Mank I wanted to do a fake radio broadcast about some kind of giant creature attacking Tokyo. He reminded me I actually had attacked Tokyo last week. I asked him if I remembered to film it. He said no. So I told him to buy the g.d. cameras and we'll do it again. I am surrounded by idiots. Ate a radio tower washed down with another bottle of scotch.

4:12 p.m. - One of the ladies-in-waiting seems to be paying too much attention to one of the neighboring samurai. Must remember to either stomp into the ground or attack his villiage. Or both. I think it will be both.

7:30 p.m. - Dinner with
John Huston went well until I swung my tail and killed him. Its not so much the killing I mind its the cleaning up. And to top it all off I am out of scotch. Will have to go get some more. Remember to send card to Angelica.

8:45 p.m. - Ate a bus load of American Tourists as I made rounds of the palace tonight. SOOOO much responsibility. Fell into electrical lines on the way back to palace after drinking tanker truck of what I belive was scotch but may in fact have been heating fuel.


11:15 p.m. - Dog-eared the poems before slipping them under Karumo's door. Which, since they are sliding doors, is a lot harder than it sounds. Especially when you are 100 feet tall and have hands the size of two RVs. Made quick notes on The Magnificent Smiths script, possibly thinking of changing title to something a little less WASPy.

12:50 a.m. - Long day, but over all a success. Still sorry about killing John. Possibly maimed
John Houseman on the way to bed. Eddy Robinson won't return my phone calls and there seems to be a number of helicopters circling the palace. If they don't stop soon, will swat. Reminder if Karumo doesn't return affection soon remember to expose her to some sort of radio active spill. Good night mommy.

Monday, Monday

Before I post the link to The Post review, I would like to call attention to the fact that we Sold Out both Friday and Saturday's performances of Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards. I feel like the show is finding its niche and it's finding its legs as well. Everyone who talks to me directly is saying that they love so many things about the show. I was in the Dollar Store in Silver Spring on Saturday evening and someone out of the blue walks up to me and tells me how much they love the poetry and then proceeded to recount their favorite performances. This doesn't happen to accountants ladies and gentlemen. That was one of those moments that make you feel like you are touching people and not in the bad way.

Post Review is fairly straightforward in the things it likes about the show and is also quite clear on the things it does not like. Read it and realize like anyone who loves what they are doing and who they are doing it with I only believe the good bits. Mr. Marks also adds to the list of people to whom I have been compared this week, remember people it's Orson Wellsian not Orwellian.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Morotaka

The Waiting Game


Everyone was back in great form last night as we returned to Fair Ladies. I would even say the couple of days off have allowed people to settle into their roles quite nicely. The first show back, after having a couple of days off, reminds you that you actually enjoy being around one another on a regular basis.

I have posted here each time a review has gone up and right now some of us are holding our breath for the one review that most people will read, The Post. Now I am not saying it is the end of the world that The Post has this week run reviews for Measure for Measure, Tuesdays with Morrie and now Trying, just to name three of the five shows reviewed since we opened on Saturday. But it does make one feel a little less loved, that Metro Stage, The Folger, Ford's Theater and a touring show all get reviewed before the little theater in Columbia Heights.

Your mind starts to play tricks on you and you begin to believe that the review is being held back because it may or may not be that good. There is a belief that many small theaters simply rely on The Post review to get them audiences and put all their eggs in that black and white Easter Basket of daily readership. Not entirely true but you and I both know that The Post reaches a whole hell of a lot more people than theater web sites and The City Paper. So you hope a little and you prey a little and whether it is a good review or a bad one, you know that more people find out about your show with one review in The Post than all of the postering, blogs and handing out post cards could ever accomplish.

Rorschach has gotten some bad reviews from The Post, but I would say overall we are a theater company that produces not only good plays but also some good ink.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Placing the audience on the stage of the DC Jewish CommunityCenter’s Cecile Goldman Theatre brings you face-to-dirty-facewith Yank’s hell. You don’t just watch, for example, thedramatic stoking of the furnace; it rings in your ears andrumbles in your chest. The production rages and bellowsfrequently when you expect it, but just as often when you don’t…”
- Washington Post

"It's not hard to find talent among the more than 80 theater companies in Washington. But brilliance -- that rare confluence of perfect design, direction and performance -- that's something else again... proof that limited resources do not stymie great talents, any more than big budgets can squeeze works of genius from mediocre minds."
-Washington Post


“An engaging, gymnastic production, one who’s highly combustible power source is the six fired-up young actors who portray more than 40 characters… Turning a Methodist church on Columbia Road into their personal playing field, the young men take on the assignment as if UBU ROI were a rugby scrum.”
- Washington Post

"Rorschach's staging grips you from the start... the young and imaginative Rorschach Theatre, adds an eerie theatricality to Hawthorne's already dramatic 17th-century morality tale... Nathaniel Hawthorne may have always been engaging, but he's never been this hip."
-Washington Post

Reviews in the long run are not the reason we do these shows. If they were why have more than 12 seats in a theater and run for 20 performances. Audiences are who tell you that you have made great theater and reviews are merely a tool for getting the elusive Asses-in-Seats problem licked. Sorry that was kind of dirty.

Washington Post thanks for the love you have shown us over the years but I will not hold my breath. If anyone who has already seen the show would like to write in with an audience point of view on Fair Ladies I would love to post them here. Email me or post in comments, and we will see what the opinion of the masses counts for in this town where democracy comes to take a cat nap. Hooah!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gazpacho

Washington City Paper came out today with their review of Fair Ladies and in my attempt to give you the sour with the sweet in this world where they love you one day and don't know you the next, I will admit that unlike the previous three reviews this one was a little less stellar. Granted Trey Graham had some love to give to the cast and had some nice things to say about the set and some of the stage images, but overall he was about as luke warm as a bowl of gazpacho left on the table for three hours on the hottest day of the year in a only mildly cooled restraunt in a temperate city somewhere on the Mediterranean Sea.

No link to put up so I will give you the best quote and you can pick it up for yourself for free. Also I add a photo representation of what this blogger apprently inspired according to Trey.

There's a good bit to admire: a lovely design, all platforms and screeens and projections that exploit the furthest reaches of the rough-edged Sanctuary Theatre space, plus expressive performances from some among the cast.
-Trey Graham- City Paper

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Curtain Up Review

Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Rorschach Theatre, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, their chronicler, who alone can tell thee of their saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!

More internet loving from Rich See at Curtainup.com to see what he has to say about Fair Ladies follow the
link.

Internet Review and Mars

Well here we glow again. See it's a pun on Go and Glow, as in glowinig review. Our friends at the DCist have given us another near rave for Fair Ladies, follow the link to the review.

It is gratifying to get all this love from the internet. But when hasn't the internet been the source of hours and hours of unqualified love of one sort or another. I think of the times my family and I used to sit around our Commodore Vic 20 and stare in wonder at all three things it could do. We would roast marshmallows and dream of a day when vital information and theater reviews would come into our home, either through a phone line or a cable of some sort, perhaps like the one that brought us all 42 channels on our massive 20 inch screen.

Mom used to tell us to keep on typing in those line commands and some day we could be an accountant or a rocket scientist. And when mankind landed on Mars in late 1997 we would be one of the few people who helped bend the universe to our wills. Making the cosmos our plaything and ourselves Gods over the lives of the puny mortals who were not computer literate. Perhaps there would be life on Mars and we could rule them, because they obviously were too primative to have mastered the line commands of "2 go to 1" and "run."

And so as I think back on those days of Reagan and Genesis, I laugh a little and then I cry a lot, because we haven't made it to Mars and I am an actor here on Earth. So say we all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Pics

Jai in addition to being a fantastic actress is also a photographer with an eye and ability that I envy a little bit and she took these pictures to be used in our press materials. I am sure you will be seeing them everywhere very soon but for now here is a taste of the sights of Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards.





A Grand Opening

Well Opening went off with very few hitches, thank you Saint Genesius for protecting the actors from harm, even if you allowed the strip light to go out in act II. There were more people than seats last Saturday Night and all of the ones I spoke with after the show had very positive things to say to oour faces, and even behind our backs which is of course the real test. Thanks to everyone who came to support the show and please now tell every one you know to come see the show.

Here is a first review from our friends at DC Theatre Reviews. Enjoy the days off people because Thursday night is only three days away.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend of the Opening


We will be opening Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards tomorrow night at 8pm. It is Sold Out so please don't rush the door at 8pm and say I want a ticket, because there will be none, but we do still have a pay-what-you-can preview tonight and the show will continue through February 19th. Until then here are some pics taken during our photo call last night by Gwen. These are not the final pics Jai is working on those, this is just sort of a sneak peek at the costumes on the set and under the lights. Enjoy and see you Monday with details about opening and maybe a couple of reviews. Until then, CHAOS!






Samurai Radio

Two of my favorite practitioners of theater sophistry were on the Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday making a pitch for our show and our little theater. Totally unsolicited praise came from T- boy himself, Trey Graham (City Paper Theater Critic) and Jane Horowitz (Back Stage Columnist for the Washington Post). They both had some kind words to say about our company and gave a pretty sweet description of Fair Ladies. Some of you may remember me calling into Kojo for The Beard of Avon, but this time I was in a car downtown when the show was on so I couldn't call in.

Thank you Trey and Jane and I look forward to seeing you both on Saturday Night at Opening.








If you want to hear what they had to say follow this link scroll down the page to Winter Theater Round Up and click on the Window Media Player option (for some reason the Real Player link only gives you the first half hour of the show, so you have to use Windows Media Player, sorry). Then you can either listen to the whole thing which has an interesting quote from Zelda Fichandler about all shows almost never happening or scroll to about 36 minutes and 30 seconds into the show for our bit. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

First Audience


Well we had our first living breathing, don't have to be there because they work for the theater audience last night and all of the feedback I heard to my face was good. It still has some room to grow and fortunately we still have some time before we open ourselves up to the slings, arrows and semicolons of the press and internet.

People seem to be impressed with the way the piece flows and the way the actors are inhabiting their samurai and court lady bodies.

Tonight is another pay-what-you-can preview as well as tomorrow night.

Hope you all can join us soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pay-What-You-Can Previews Start Tonight

There comes that moment when despite every argument to the contrary, you have to let the audience come see the show. That time has come and we the cast seem pumped and primed for the opportunity. The run last night was a success on so many levels. Technically, actor wise and just some fantastic work on the part of everyone involved in the project.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews for Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards begin tonight!

PWYC Previews for those of you unaware of the theater term are the opportunity for the cast and director to fine tune their performance in front of actual bodies for the first time. Since they are seeing a show which is not yet open, some things may not be up to full performance level. Sets may still need a coat of paint, actors may still be finding out how to move in their costumes, and lighting and sound cues may be changing. Instead of bringing home the fact that this is an opportunity for those of us with very little pocket money to see a show for damn near free, I instead look on it as a way for people who love the theatre to see what happens as a show comes to glorious life.

I hope those who come tonight will come back later in the run to see the wild beast we will have tamed by Saturday Night, but more importantly, I hope they tell their friends if they liked it. If they didn't like it I hope they forget they were ever in the theater and mention it to no one.

See some of you tonight! PWYC Previews continue through Friday and we open to a sold out house on Saturday Night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Show Poster



Here is an easy way for everyone to help their favorite little guy theater company. I am attaching the brand new Fair Ladies poster to the blog. Click on the image copy it into a word file and then print out one copy or a hundred and plaster them anywhere that looks like it needs a poster. If everyone who reads the blog does just one of these posters that is about 100 posters up and around town without anyone having to do more than point, click, print and post. Choose from either the sexy color high light or the bold black and white.

Thanks for the help and let me know where the posters have gone.


Wonder of the Capital

It is often the case during tech rehearsals that the director or actors go crazy and begin a murderous rampage. I am glad to report that no one was killed this weekend but Director Randy Baker, seems poised to kick some ass in the picture at left.

Tech was a releatively painless if at times a bit excruciating process as these things tend to be, but people met the challenge with good enough spirits. As the elements of costume, lights and sound all get added into the mix, there can always be frustration enough to choke the happiest of
Polly Anna's with enough bile to bite the head off of a bat, during a quickly improvised rendition of Iron Man.

Everyone patiently made their way through the cue to cue on Friday night and Saturday
morning. Special shouts out to the tech crew behind the board Justin, Lindsey, Sharon and Matt. You all did a great job at keeping us on track and creating some fantastic stage pictures. Nate and Amy get a special set of kudoes, knowing that they stayed up way past all of our bed times to get the set looking amazing. Deb has been slaving away at the sewing machine herself creating and designing kimono's and hakama for all of us, tailored to our special needs. Like my stubby legs. And finally a thank you to Gwen and Randy for creating an actual back stage area for the cast. I think everyone who snuggled into a ball on the sofa this weekend for a nap thanks you mightily. Here are some other images that came out of this weekend. Thanks to the blogger and Gwen for the images. Yeah, I know I just refered to myself in the third person, so what?



Friday, January 13, 2006

Owned

After the run last night a group of us headed over to one of our new favorite hangouts, called Haydee. It's a chill out of the way Central American bar right at the top, or is it the bottom, of Mount Pleasant. We were celebrating some event or another and unwinding with some cold cold margaritas which were just the thing on a unseasonably warm day in January.

Around a midnight a young woman approaches our table with a black box. She opens the box to reveal a rather large assortment of silver jewlery. Rahaleh who was sitting across from me grabs a silver and turquoise ring and slips it on my finger. Miracle of miracles it fits my rather large and yet strangely attractive finger. She slipped it on my left hand, which makes me think I may have just been fianc├ęd. After talking the girl down on the asking price, she purchased me a rather large piece of hand candy. Rahaleh kept looking at me the rest of the night and saying cute things like "you belong to me now" and "its alright baby, I will take care of everything" and "your a** is
mine b*tch." Sorry if you can not read those last words but I don't like to upset our young readers. By the way, stay in school, listen to your parents, clean underwear, and don't join any orginization that's sole purpose is preventing women and minorities from attending an Ivy League school. Sam!

So here it is Friday morning. Tech starts tonight and I am apprently the property of a small Persian woman with unclear motives, who keeps calling me Tina.

Previews start on Wednesay for Fair Ladies. Can't wait for you all to get a chance to see the show, it is starting to become magic people, magic I say.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Good Day To . . .

To get everyone in the mood for tech weekend I provide the following links and a picture of Patrick looking like the samurai equivalent of Travis Bickle.

First a site featuring various photos of various samurai related locations around Japan at
Samurai Tour.

Black Ships & Samurai provides information on Commodore Perry's visit to Japan that marked the end of feudal Japan and the end of the Samurai.

Cartoon network of course features
Samurai Jack, this site includes several samurai themed games.

At The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (
ARMA) is an interesting comparison/contrast piece comparing Samurai with their Europen counterparts by J. Clements.

Midnight Eye provides a lesson in samurai movies so you can fake it for the film geeks in your life with
Samurai 101.

And finally I really don't know what to tell you about this site, artelino-Art Auctions, except to say it tells you about samurai. The real reason to go is the pictures, as demonstrated to your right.

Enjoy all the links!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Set Pics

Thanks to Gwen here are some really cool shots of a very beautiful set. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Line . . .

When we were working on The Beard of Avon, I asked the cast, designers, director and crew to write about the challenges they face bringing a role to the stage. I extend that same offer once again and I mean that. Don't think this is just my place to post but everyone involved in the process.

I don't want to turn this page into a place where people come to whine but I do want this page to reflect the challenges as well as the successes that are faced when mounting a production. Today I want to talk about my own particular challenge as an actor. I have trouble learning my lines.

In the theater there is a sort of running joke about little old ladies and kids coming up to you after a play and saying "How did you ever learn all of those lines?" Most people laugh about that, I have always been the one person not laughing(OK, I laugh a little, but that is only to cover my pain. Sorry this just started to sound like an after school special, but I have had this problem since I started acting in 9th grade).

For whatever reason I have the hardest time getting my lines memorized. I tell people it may in fact be a trade off because I don't to do the kind of vocal work other people do, but I have to work my ass of to get the lines in my head. It makes me feel uncomfortable having to carry the script in my hands as the rest of the cast is near letter perfect and it has sometimes led to conflict with my fellow performers and directors. I have turned down uderstudy jobs at theaters because I know that I will have to torture myself to learn lines for something I may never get to perform and I can't imagine doing that to myself or the idea of putting anyone in the position where I may not come through for them.

Does it limit me? Yes it does. Am I faultless in this? Not entirely. I have made this into such a daunting task that I dread a new script.

I used to paraphrase a lot and that has gotten better over the years. Now realizing the words are there for a purpose, but I am still the slow one and I worry that it will only get worse the older I get. This isn't a cry for pity but an attempt to explain what I am.

If anyone would like to share any of their process or the obstacles they have had to over come for Fair Ladies please write the blogger and I will post it here.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Volunteers, Redskins and Kurosawa

A great deal of work was done to both the design elements of the show and on the performance this weekend. Saturday and Sunday were particularly productive and I will have photos for you all on Wednesday of the set and some early shots of the costumes being designed by the very busy Ms. Deb Sivigny. Special thanks to all of the people who stopped by over the weekend to help with set construction. For those of you who have not been around a small theater company before a great deal of this work is done by volunteers. Either skilled professionals or enthusiastic amatuers who want the thrill of swinging a hammer, painting a set or contructing the hell out of something. To be honest we couldn't dream of creating the kinds of sets that we do without the hard work of these people who just want to help. If anyone reading this feels like coming down in helping just let me know and we will see what we can do.

The cast rehearsed Act I this weekend, making the kind of adjustments that will take this from being a good show to a great one. Characters became deeper and more fleshed out. Fights were embellished with the cool ass stuff that makes you sit on the edge of your seat and go holy moley that was close. And lines began to be more than just words on a page and instead have the depth of emotion that are needed to convery not just beuatiful poetry but also the people behind those lines. Well done everybody.

Saturday was also Football and Culture Day for the cast. We were visted by Kyoko Pendleton, director Randy Baker's step-grandmother, who shared with us pronunciation lessons as well as cultural information about Japan. She also brought in the brand new set of poem cards for the show and instructed the ladies in how to play the game. These are exciting days my friends.

After that many cast member adjourned to Patrick's house to watch the Redskins beat Tampa Bay and then watched The Seven Samurai for inspiration on issues like movement and swordsmanship. Patrick said numerous members of the cast were in and out all day and the movie, which is a long one, did not wrap up until around 1 a.m.

Personally I was at home studying my lines. Because my head is too small too hold words in and I have a lot to say in this show. More from me later. We have off tonight.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Another Designer Run

Went to take some pictures of the designer run last night and of course the batteries had run out on the digital camera. Must learn to start carrying back-up batteries. Some body remember to tell me that please.

The run went very well and with very few hickups. Apparently the big news of the day was a rather Matrixy looking piece of stage combat executed by Patrick Bussink during the stunning five way battle scene that brings Act I to a close. A fight that goes up over and through the epic worthy set. I did not see said move but it has been described as slick. Patrick ducked a sword swipe and bent over backwards reached his hands behind him and pushed off a wall. Of course this was done totally by accident and Patrick could have been killed but those who saw it just wouldn't shut-up about how cool it was.

There were some genuine laughs at the funny moments from the designers as well as some tender moments to make the play live up to its romantic-comedy status.

Cam Magee is back to help us all make sense of the verse. There she was sitting in the front row counting beats off on her fingers. Yes, Cam I see things.

This weekend we will be rehearsing more and finely honing our swords and our selves. Rememeber folks two more weeks and we are open. If you want to start planning now, Pay-What-You-Can Previews for Fair Ladies at Game of Poem Cards are January 18, 19 and 20 at 8pm. Remember no reservations are taken for previews it is first come first get a seat at these affairs. Tickets for the rest of the run can be ordered on-line at Box Office Tickets or call 1-800-494-TIXS.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's A Post Card

Swing Away

Well last night we worked the final scene of the play. And Patrick and I got to face off in battle to the death. Me swinging my samurai sword and him fighting me unarmed (well both of us had arms but he had no weapons). Morotaka and Takiguchi faced off as is the way of such things. I have decided to post my notes to give you a taste of the kind of samurai action we are talking about. And I remind you gentle readers that this is just one of the fights in Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards.

- Flat to Rt hip
- Over top downward slah across Rt
- Bring Sword back up same path upward slash
- Hit to neck
- Head throw grab throw up lft
- Feel neck
- Bring sword up x and down slash left side of P
- Back hit x towards up left platform
- Head slash spot/eye/p Drops/slash
- Double hand x into down slash

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Harmony

As they often say familiarity can breed contempt. As much as I would like to say that everyone always gets along with everyone else in the theater this is often not the case. Tempers can flare and very smart, very talented and very tired people can often disagree. I am not writing this to tell you that there are troubles. I am not writing this to air dirty laundry. What I wanted to say is that friction is something we should all be wary of and work to smooth the way for one another.

Fair Ladies has the potential to kick a great deal of ass and all of the cast, crew, director and designers have a vested interest in making this come to pass. So breath everyone. Take a great big gulp of air and remember that at least this blogger is in deep love with every single one of you.

That being said please John Michael and Jai, no more attempts on one anothers lives during rehearsal. Jai I know you know a varying number of ways to kill a man, but please try to keep it in check. John Michael you are the one with the sword in this photo, so I know she must have really been pushing your buttons.

Let's all just say we are sorry and move on. There is a run coming up and the less blood there is on stage the better the chance that we will make it through the whole show.

Oh, you kids and your sword play!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's A Joy To Be Simple

And then we raised a barn. Hello true believers and welcome to the first entry for 2006 of the Rorschach Theatre Blog. Construction of the set was fevered this last week. As you will see in the photo above the big bridge has been built and please note the scale ladies and gentlemen. Special kudos to our set designer and technical director, this set soars and the actors for the most part feel safe and secure as they rise eight feet up into the air.

Last night before rehearsal began we accomplished the Rorshach Theatre equivalent of a barn raising. As you may remember from the scale model of the set there is a large window feature behind the bridge feature. This structure is at least 13 feet tall and had to be constructed on the playing area in front of the bridge. It now needed to be lifted over the bridge and placed in its new home position. So many hands making light work, the cast and crew hoisted the 13 foot high 20 feet wide window up and over the existing set.

Fortunately only one climber was lost during this ascent. She was later recovered by a group of Norwegians who were attempting to climb the peaks south face. Good time!