Friday, March 30, 2007

Get to Know Jacqueline E. Lawton

I believe I have gone before about the role of the dramaturg (or dramaturge) and I will not expound here. Let us just say Jackie Lawton has done fantastic job gathering together a wealth of materials for the cast and director to work with. An Actors job is to do the research to flesh out our character and with help from folks like Jackie it is a hell of a lot easier. She is the one without the beard on your left.

She mentions an interview she did with Jose Rivera, which I hope to run highlights of here on the blog. For now let us consider those insights a Company secret. We wouln't want to give to much away about what the playwright thinks his play is about, because many of you may disagree.

1. What is your job in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot?

2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?
Yes! Jenny and Randy (et al) did a phenomenal job producing the reading of my play Blood-bound and Tongue-tied! True professionals! Inspiring! Not afraid to go where others normally have been! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?
Well it's kind of funny, because when I'm writing a new play, I tend to dream the play. So right now I'm dreaming a lot about the Middle East, Matadors and bulls, Greek Mythology and Lebanese food. Sometimes, I'll dream a scene that needs to be written that hasn't yet, so my characters will show up and work through parts of the play. Othertimes, I won't dream stories so much as images and feelings. For example, china berry trees in bloom, hummingbirds, smeared wedding cake. The senses are of me being crushed by some kind of pressure ... sometimes it's the ocean (scary, because I can't really swim), othertimes it's a man (sometimes scary/rarely erotic).

4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?
Rene Gruau, Jack Vettriano and Vik Muniz

5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?
Yes, this play is gorgeous! It's dream vs reality structure is challenging ... kind of. Anyway, I had the opportunity to interview Jose Rivera and asked him all about the dream structure and his inspiration for writing the play. He shared with me more than I asked and more than I would have ever dreamed of asking. The whole experience was inspiring!!

6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?
I don't know who's more famous than the other, but these meetings meant a lot to me and my work: Nilo Cruz (Arena Stage reading of Bolero-Cesar was there!), Sarah Ruhl (dramaturged Clean House, she's become a great mentor), Robbie MaCauley (lead an intense workshop for a writers group that I'm a part of), Ruth Margraff (taught at UT-amazing mentor), and Quentin Tarantino (afterparty at SXSW in Austin).

7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred-death match which character in Dali would win?
Cat! No question! Nevermind the stamina, dexterity, flexibility, and that oh so fabulous femme fatale sleek sexiness, she's just more stubborn than the rest of them! Trust me, once she's locked in her claws, they're set. And in the words of Tennesse Williams, spoken by one of the most formidable cats of them all, Saint Maggie herself: "What's the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? Just staying on it I guess, as long as she can."

8. What is the most impossible thing that happens in the play?
A man returns home from war, survives it with mind (the waking part) and body intact, and chooses to remain in the military.

9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?
Vik Muniz's Lovers, I mean, it's painted in chocolate!

10. If you had a theme song what would it be?
My theme song for this play, is The Killer's When You Were Young. The lines, "And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live," resonate, immediately and profoundly, feelings of sadness, hope, innocence and bitterness. I love it.

My theme song at the moment is: Mika's Grace Kelly. This song says "F*ck you!" with a gorgeous melody! It also says, "I'm going to do and say whatever I want, ignoring all social protocol because I just don't give a sh*t, but at the same time I want you all to like me and invite me to all of your parties!" And that, in a roundabout squiggly way, sums me up!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Get to Know Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey

In an attempt to improve the quality of our lead actress's performance Shirley decided to to hire an actress named Gabriela to play Gabriela. Cuts down on the confusion when you call the actor by the character's name when the actor is actually reacting to their own name. Saves hours in the rehearsal process and you never have those awkward moments when the actor says, "I don't know who I am any more, am I the character or am I me?"

I ask people to not stress about being funny in these interviews. Gabriela on the other hand has done something special and makes her interview sexy.

I have mentioned before that this is a sexy, sexy show and a big part of that vibe comes from Miss Gabriela herself.

Since this is Gabriela's first Rorschach show I think those who have not seen her around town will be pleasantly surpised when you get your first taste of the talent that is Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey. She starts the whole thing off with a little note to me:

Sr. Scott McMoon,
here are some answers to your fun questions. see you saturday.

i pretend to be gabriela.
2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?

no señor. primera vez. muchas gracias por la oportunidad.
3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?

mostly about the ocean--big power of big waves. deep water - fighting the sea - crazy currents. in the last of the series, i took a journey from this tiny deserted island in a rickety boat I built from wooden planks, over these monstrous skyscraper-sheer cliff waves, where my stomach would drop out like a roller coaster every time i came down the other side. it turned out i just had to go around the corner to get back to a mainland. there was a dock and small white stone houses. everything felt a little deserted in the mainland. but cozy deserted. i had to find someone. it felt good to be there. and i was proud of my rickety boat. and proud of the journey on the waves.

4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?
paintings turn me on. and paint-stained hands.

5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?
"special research" hmmm....between youtube and jackie's dramaturgical book of revelations, this show has been awesome insta-information-at your fingertips. Think-Blink-and you shall receive. but there's also the other research... that takes place in the space between people... and that is mystery. and that is special. and gathering THAT special research has no words and is full of wonder.

6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?
i don't like celebrity. i will tell you about my grandmother though. her skin was dry and soft like old, scented kleenex. she didn't like it when i climbed trees, but would get "distracted" long enough for me to climb at least a little.

7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred-death match which character in Dali would win?

"...the love stupid."

8. Who do you kiss in the show?
my neighbor
my husband and
my friend, the moon.
(in no particular order)

9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?

probably the one i'm painting in my mind.

10. If you had a theme song what would it be?

And for the actors what would your characters theme song be? hmmm... i can't have a theme song...unless it is a jukebox. Can I have a theme-jukebox? and my character's theme song... ???... damn. Can i ask Jackie?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To the Hilt

As much fun as it is for us all to get to know the cast and crew of References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, each day, there are still rehearsals going on. Long fulfilling rehearsals, that bring everything a little bit more into focus each day.

The set begins to take shape around us and designers come in and see what the hell exactly we have been doing for the last three weeks. This is when theater comes together. And while it may lack the life that performance in front of an actual audience achieves, all of the elements are there. Characters find their voices and movement, Directors decide what the play is actually about and Stage Managers begin to realize exactly what kind of monster they will be attempting to wrangle for a four week run.

Last night oour our Grady Weatherford came in to do some stage combat work. While nowhere near as intense as some of the fight work that Grady has done for us in the past, there were a number of practical questions that needed answering. Questions like the correct use of a fire arm (basic stuff like not trying to take a loaded gun into a Senate Office Building) or whether it is in fact possible to safely Tango with a woman an a loaded weapon. I think these are issues we all face in our day to day lives.

We have another designer run tomorrow night. And I think we have actually got a show here folks. You know I have to be positive, it is my job, but I feel damn sexy in this play and I think everyone is wandering around like Casanovas and Don Juans, so look for the steam to rise as we are just two weeks away from our first preview audience.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Get to Know Cecilia Cackley

Stage Management is one of the most under appreciated jobs in the world. How many people outside of theater actually know what it is a stage manager does? To be honest how many people in the theater know exactly what a stage manager does? Besides sitting there with the script and writing down the blocking, taking notes for the director to pass along to the designers, dealing with the schedule, dealing with actors and directors, making sure the props are set, calling and in some cases executing the lighting and sound cues and just about every other thankless job that a theater can't find someone to do. This is the life of a stage manager and finding good ones is not an easy task for what most small companies can pay, besides tons and tons of experience I mean.
For References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot we have a woman who has decided to re-enlist for another tour of duty. Having fought in the trenches under the command of two show vet Megan Reichelt, Cecilia has returned to lead her own rag-bag crew of misfits unto the breach. Now enjoy Getting to Know Cecilia.
1. What is your job in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot?

stage manager
2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?

ASM on Rough Magic
3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?

Anxiety dreams about my third grade class acting up
4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?

Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Marc Chagall
5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?

not really
6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?

Sandra Day O'Connor and Kofi Annan. I sang for them in college.
7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred-death match which character in Dali would win?
Gabby. She has ultimate power over everyone.
8. Who do you kiss in the show? (director and stage manager feel free to answer this as well)
9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?

Naturaleza Muerta Resucitando by Remedios Varo. I like the flying plates.

10. If you had a theme song what would it be? And for the actors what would your characters theme song be?

'Happiness' from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I like milestones. They remind you of how far you have come and give you a sense of accomplishment. Each time this blog reaches a hundred entries I like to take a look back. For those of you who missed it here is the post when we reached 300.
I read someone elses blog the other day and she asked the question how many people actually read these rah-rah rehearsal was great blogs? I will answer that question honestly and say it depends. On a day like today we might get 50 hits, as we get closer to Opening it might be 75 and when the Reviews come out it might reach as high as 150.
When you consider how many hits some of the blogs in the world get each day, it doesn't amount to much. We never started this blog expecting the world to suddenly look to this blog every day to find the deeper meaning of life. To be honest the fact that we have written, with help from all of you, 400 blog entries makes me kind of go "wow!"
I think many of you know that while this here enterprise was started to market Rorschach's shows, but it has in fact grown beyond that purpose. Through the magic of Tracking Referrals I have noticed a trend about what brings people to this blog.
It attracts people who are looking for answers about how to act in, direct, design and market their small shows.
The Google searches that have directed people to the Rorschach Blog include:
Jose Rivera Themes
Elizabethan Costumes
Curtain Speeches
Learning your lines
Putting Asses in Seats
Who was Shakespeare?
Japanese Theater
I am not so self-absorbed that I think this blog is the repository for all things theater. I do think this blog has a life beyond just Rorschach.
As each entry is made it collects the history of what this company has struggled through and what we dream about for our future. It is a resource for people who want to do what we are doing.
If this blog were simply a report of what we did in rehearsal yesterday it would pretty damn boring and I agree no one would want to read it. As I said all bloggers are trying to get people to read about their lives. Some of them parade their personal lives, their failed experiments and agendas all over the place. And while I try and paint the best picture I can of Rorschach sometimes you all get to see the warts as well. And if you aren't getting enough warts I will see what I can do.
More get to Get to Know stuff tomorrow. And I promise to report on the designer run References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, that was delayed due to marathon runners. But today I pat us all on the back and promise at least a hundred more entries.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Get to Know Andrew Price

Andrew is a special kind of man and I have grown to appreciate the many and diverse ways in which he brightens the lives of those around him.

I am particularly proud of him because he provided all of his own links and actually responds to the previous Get to Know You posts of his fellow cast mates in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. So without further ado, Andrew.

1. What is your job in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot?

i play benito. my job is to avoid making the whole middle part of the play only about shouting.

2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?

i acted in Rorschach's very first production, The Hairy Ape, in the summer of 1999. i could never get clean and left smears of black makeup on everything in my life. no one had any inklings of starting an ongoing, full-fledged theater company back then, so the parties were awesome and dangerous. i later acted in Rhinoceros in 2000 and Family Stories in 2003.

3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?

broken mirrors, duct tape that has lost its stickyness, alice-in-wonderland gigantism.

4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?

i'm more of a sculpture and architecture guy. gaudi's cool and a lot like dali. he got hit by a tram and was taken to a pauper's hospital, as he could not be identified. his friends found him dying there and tried to move him to a better facility. he would not allow it, saying, "i belong here among the poor." however, i feel more deeply for joseph beuys. he lived in an art exhibit with a live coyote for three days in soho. as a statement on american capitalism, the coyote urinated, unprompted, all over copies of the wall street journal each morning.
5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?

army mustache regulations, late 80s hip hop, the films Yo Soy Boricua, Raising Victor Vargas, camel spiders

6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?

grady weatherford, at a reenactment of an 18th century american slave auction at the smithsonian museum. and the rest is history.

7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred-death match which character in Dali would win?

danny is wrong. cesar is wrong. wrong, wrong, wrong. the correct answer is benito. with all due respect to mr. gavigan -- with the stakes as high as they typically are in cage match, a determined and well-trained army combat veteran can do great damage without his testes. they really aren't mission critical. besides, the army already owns benito's balls and that arrangement has transformed him into the ready-abled soldier he's become over the years. furthermore, benito knows martial arts. finally, he can take apart an M-16 A2 and put it back together blindfolded; gabriela's .9 mm doesn't really win against a well-assembled A2, no matter the venue.

while cesar's pick of the moon at first appears both self-evident and elegant, owing to the moon's obvious advantage in size (3.793×107 km² = 0.074 Earths) and mass (7.3477×1022 kg = 0.0123 Earths), he forgets benito's open disregard for the moon. at the end of the day, benito sees the moon as nothing but a compulsive onanist with a cross-dressing fetish. as for the desert, benito has been equipped, both mentally and physically, to survive in the middle of nowhere with nothing but shoestring and a mirror. he is a master in the art of desert warfare and survival. the good money is on benito.

next question.

8. Who do you kiss in the show? (director and stage manager feel free to answer this as well)great question.

i'm glad to answer it:

gabriela. the character, not the actress. i mean, technically i kiss her too, but it's better to focus on the character.

9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?

i would live with the coyote, in soho, i think.

10. If you had a theme song what would it be?

And for the actors what would your characters theme song be? i do have a theme song -- "escape artist" by sage francis. benito's theme song, at least during his two scenes within this play, would be "mentirosa" by mellow man ace.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Get to Know Cesar Guadamuz

Hello true believers! We return once again to the bottomless spring of blog content that is our lovely cast. So many returners in this show but none I think with better hair than our next subject of curiosity, Mr. Cesar Guadamuz.
If I could say one word about this man it would be really hard to pick. So I will let him hoist himself on his own petard and do some of the explaining himself.
A word of warning! In the following Cesar takes it upon himself to critique one of the questions. This will not be tolerated in the future. Even if you do not answer the question I will not have people telling me the questions are stupid. Of course they are stupid! If I was fricken' James Lipton I would be asking you questions like "what is your favorite curse word?" and I would have a deal on Bravo! and none of this would matter. So answer the damn question and don't make me come up there.
I play the young boy Martin, who like me at 14, was searching for the meaning of life in the form of v*g. Am I allow to make this admission on public blog? (No. Editor)
2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?
Yes! Third time's the charm. I'm like the illegitmate child who keeps coming back for more. Previously I appeared as Caliban in Rough Magic and before that, Yoshitsugu, in Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards where I first had the great pleasure of meeting the Rorschach fam. Mind you, I had probably auditioned for Randy, Jenny (and I think Skidmore) like 10 times before that.
3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?
I'm a sleepwalker and I used to suffer from reocurring nightmares. Now I have dreams about battles and mundane stuff such as conversations and arguments. Weirdness.
4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?
I'm a huge fan of Jasper Johns though in the last couple of years I've been discovering amazing works by up-and-coming artists....Ryan Jedlicka (Baltimore) comes to mind. One of my all-time favorites is Henry Darger.
5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?
Shhhh, I can't say.
6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?
DCepticon, this question is lame. (Damn straight it is lame. Editor)
7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred-death match which character in Dali would win?
I think the Moon's got some real strength. Though if you were to recognize the desert and all its trappings as a character I think it would come out victorious.
8. Who do you kiss in the show? (director and stage manager feel free to answer this as well)
Gabriella and probably mine own hand.
9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?
That question creeps me out to the core. I will leave this one alone.
10. If you had a theme song what would it be? And for the actors what would your characters theme song be?
My theme song probably comes from Radiohead or Arcade Fire. I think Martin's theme song is some [unfortunate] Top 40 pop song about loving someone unconditionally.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Get to Know Danny Gavigan

Today we present the first in our on-going series Get to Know Your Cast and Crew. This series allows you, the reader, to get to know the cast and crew of Rorschach's upcoming production of Jose Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.
We begin our journey by invading the psychic landscape of one Mr. Danny Gavigan. This young man is doing the two show thing this season for Rorschach and we couldn't be more pleased to have him. So please enjoy this excurison into the Dali Zone.
1. What is your job in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot?
My job is "Coyote." No clue yet as to what exactly that ends up meaning, you know, if it comes with any benefits.
2. Have you ever worked for Rorschach before and how?
Yes! I was Ariel in Rough Magic. It wasn't all madlibs and man tights, it was fun.
3. Do you have any recurring dreams and if so what are they about?
I haven't been dreaming a lot lately, and it's starting to really frustrate me because I miss them. Either I haven't been dreaming or I'm just so wrapped up in day to day life, moving to the city, working on this show, the niner-to-the-fiver, that I'm losing them when I wake. But recurring dreams? Nothing really comes to mind. I usually dream about certain people in various contexts now, whereas when I was younger I distinctly remember dreaming about recurring places, like a house or a yard or a movie theatre, with very specific layouts that never existed in real life, but I'd always recognize in dreams. I also usually dream about old friends or lovers, only, in the dreams we have completely new relationships, on my terms, relationships that aren't as fucked up or nonexistent as they are in real life.
4. Other than Dali which painters turn you on?
Alex Ross. Bob Ross. --I wonder if they're related? But Bob Ross' furry fro definitely turns me on.
5. Have you been doing any special research for the show?
A lot of youtube research. Lotta backwood coyote huntin' videos. I saw an episode of The Simpsons where Homer is tripping off chili peppers and a coyote spirit visits him, voiced by the late Johnny Cash. I initially had this urge to try to incorporate as many coyote traits as I could into this character, but the more I read from Jose Rivera, the more he seems to discourage actors from doing exactly that. So I think I'm just gonna do a little bar hopping, take in some slovenly scumbag vibes.
6. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met and how?
I've worked with quite a few as a background artist. I'm kidding. I'm not that delusional. Quite a few have worked with me. But I guess you could say I met John Waters when I asked him to sign my copy of Cecil B. Demented after he spoke for a few hours at UMBC, which was basically some of the most hilarious stand-up I've seen about his life and his movies. Anyways we shot the shit, I thought it was time to crack a joke, told him all I could find was my copy of Cecil but if I had things my way, I'd have his Pecker in my hands. Only it didn't come out that smoothly and the awkward silence was cut by the asshole behind me in line pushing me out of the way.
7. In a steel-cage-no-holds-barred -death match which character in Dali would win?
Gabby. I would say Coyote, but the friggin Moon weakens him, it's too much of a kryptonite. Gabby all the way, she's got Benito by the balls and a .9 millimeter.
8. Who do you kiss in the show? (director and stage manager feel free to answer this as well)
Cat, played by the lovely, Yasmin Tuazon. And interestingly enough, she does smell like soap. I don't know if Yasmin likes to stay severely true to the script or if she's just a really clean gal.
9. If you could live inside of any painting what would it be?
That's like indecisive person torture is what that is. I think I'd like to live inside Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night, or whatever the French call it. It seems pleasant, rich with culture, relaxing, breezy. Order a drink. Watch the people walk by. Hear whatever hits the cobblestones.
10. If you had a theme song what would it be?
And for the actors what would your characters theme song be? Danny's theme song would be Daniel by Elton John. Coyote's theme song would be Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio.

Monday, March 19, 2007


There are certain shows that Rorschach does that have people leaving the theater asking questions. We have never been a theater that has wrapped a bow around a play. Where would be the fun if you knew there was a happily ever after? How challenging is it to have people leave your show going, well that was very nice how everything came to such a happy ending and the wicked were punished? We are not the neat and tidy kind of theater company and I don't expect we ever will be.
That being said there are some shows that can eventually lead you to some sort of understanding and others that simply defy explination.
As we have begun to dig into References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, we just have more questions. And I for one couldn't be happier. My most recent show had a happy ending, but that was a Christmas show and I don't think many people want to leave the theater around the Holidays asking themselves the deeper questions surrounding the moral truths and humanity associated with Scrooge and Sugar Plum Fairies. Even most classical plays end with the hero winning and the villian punished.
What we have here in Dali is a beautiful play which plays with the linear nature of time, explores the reality of dreams and has no easy answers.
Jose Rivera, has constructed a play where even the straight forward seeming normal world of the reality we exist within is called into question.
I wish I could be more specific without giving away the play but I don't want to ruin it. And I don't want you asking the question this play begs before you have even bought your ticket.
I do leave you with this thought:
The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Remember When

Jenny McConnell Frederick dug out a role of film the other day and had it developed. What was on it were pictures of some very young people creating. Here is the link to all of the pictures but I thought I would give you all a taste.

It was the summer of 2001. It was a different world for Rorschach, almost all of us were in our twenties. There was no war to protest and it was hot as hell in the confines of an art gallery in Blagden Alley, NW.

Rorschach was doing its fourth production. The Illusion, adapted by our old friend Tony Kushner from the play by Pierre Corneille. It was so long ago that it hard to remember anything but the heat. I do remember the audiences though. Making their way down the alley. Walking up to the door of an old stable which had been converted into an art gallery. This was when Rorschach was still finding spaces. Being homeless we turned whatever space we could into a performance space. We had spent time in greenhouses, theater lobbies, and abandoned high school auditoriums before we found our way to Casa.

And I remember the people. Jason Stiles, Mike Glenn, Yasmin Tuazon, Grady Weatherford, Jesse Terrill, Rahaleh Nassri, Tim Marone and Scott McCormick. All of us still feeling our way through the bottom of DC theater. Before any of us had found any of the success that we would on stages like Woolly, Arena, Shakespeare, The Folger and Studio. We were all fresh off of tours, or classes and we were all looking for the next big thing. The Illusion was that thing.

It was a success with both the crowds and the press. That oft used quote from Delores Whiskeyman at the 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… The Rorschach Theatre achieves it with The Illusion, Tony Kushner's adaptation of the Pierre Corneille classic. It's sharp and sexy, brilliantly played by a strong ensemble cast, smartly directed and crafty in its design -- and all the more exciting because it is not performed in a theater.

That review helped bring people into a part of the City they wouldn't have visited, unless they got lost. Here was the show that Rorschach did on its own. No Theater J looking over our shoulder in case we stumbled. No Art-o-Matic support to help with the advertizing. This was the show that meant we could do it all on our own.

During the rehearsal the other day for References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot the other day I had a flashback to The Illusion. My character Matamore having shown himself to be a phony as a lover and a fighter has decided to leave this world behind and go to the moon. After the play a young lady, well known to many of you but I will protect her identity here by just saying she is an actress around town and leave it at that, came up to me in tears. She had loved the play and had her own take on why Matamore wanted to leave earth for the moon.

She thought that as actors we all were reaching for something beyond ourselves, something higher than the world that surrounds us. Matamore reaches for the moon because he wants to be more than he is.

I am now playing the moon.

Hope you all enjoy this blast from the past as much as I.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pei Day

Would it really be a Rorschach play if something surreal or metaphysical wasn't taking place somewhere on stage? My answer is no. If it isn't the devil making an appearance (which has happened three times) or people dying and coming back to life (which happened about a dozen times in one show) would our audiences even know they were watching a show at Rorschach?

References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot has a lot of things going on that make it a Rorschach show. Today I introduce you to the cast of characters that inhabit Acts I and IV. This time the meta comes from a talking cat (second time we have had one of those prowling Casa), a talking coyote (first time for that one) and the anthropomorphic moon (Rahaleh was the last one to take a stab at that one). What does it take to make these wonderfully weird creations of Jose Rivera come to life? Well costumes and research have a big part to play in allowing the actors to be the very best talking, walking and acting creatures of dream that they can be.

Today's entry will borrow heavily from other peoples research and work so the drawings are Pei Lee's our Costume Designer and the words come from Jacqueline Lawton's Dramaturgy.

Danny Gavigan returns after his Rorschach Debut in Rough Magic to play our coyote.


The coyote has grayish-brown to yellowish-brown fur on top and whitish fur on its underparts. It has large triangular ears on the top of its head and a long, narrow muzzle. It has a black nose, yellow eyes and a long, bushy tail. One way to tell the coyote apart from wolves and dogs is to watch its tail when it runs. The coyote runs with its tail down. Dogs run with their tails up and wolves run with their tails straight out.

Coyote often plays the role of trickster, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil. His personality strengths are humor and sometimes cleverness. His personality weaknesses are usually greed or desire, recklessness, impulsiveness and jealousy. Coyote is often the antagonist of his brother Wolf, who is wise and good natured but prone to giving in to Coyote's incessant demands. In Tongva Mythology, it is Coyote who is tricked. Coyote challenges "The River" to a race. Coyote is victorious, but collapses from fatigue. The river laughs at him and takes the name "Hahamongna," which is said to explain the noise made by the upper Arroyo Seco which sounds similar to laughing.

Yasmin Tuazon joins the Rorschach five timers club in her role of the cat.


A cat believes in itself, her walk can assure you that much. She is independent, has a mind of her own yet she is gentle enough to be liked by all. A number of myths have surrounded this animal since ages. In ancient Europe, she was believed to be an evil spirit. Those were the bad days for cats. Now, cats have become a part of almost every household. They have the power to win the hearts of their owners through their elegance, dignity and off course, their soft purrs and mews can have effect on you almost instantly.

· Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
· Fact: While cats instinctively fall feet first but that does not mean that they will not receive any injuries.

· Myth: Cats should be given milk everyday.
· Fact: Some cats have lactose intolerance. So, they should not be forced to have milk. A grown up cat can have its nutrients even without having milk.

· Myth: A cat's sense of balance is in its whiskers.
· Fact: Cats have whiskers as "feelers" and not to have balance.

· Myth: Cats smother babies
· Fact: Nothing can be more false than this. There has not been even a single case in the whole world so far.

And Scott McCormick is the moon.

The Moon:

The Full Moon seems to have some odd effects on both people and animals. They go bananas! Did you know that the word "lunacy" comes from lunar? Did you know that once people thought there were little green men living on the moon? Take a look at some of these superstitions:
· A full Moon on Christmas day brings bad luck.
· Two full moons in the same month will cause severe weather in the following month. It's also called a blue moon!
· The moon is made of green cheese!
· It is unlucky to look at the new Moon through a window for the first time.
· Chickens lay more eggs under a Moon in its last quarter.
· A full Moon during harvest means a good crop.
· A new Moon brings good fortune.
· Blowing nine times on a wart while the Moon is full will make the wart go away.
· A wish while looking up at a new Moon is thought to come true within the year.
· It is best to cut your hair when the Moon is waxing; it grows strong and healthy.
· It is unlucky for a child to be born when the Moon is waning.
· A ring around the Moon is a warning of rain to come.
· Bowing to a new Moon and turning over silver coins will result in doubling your money by the end of the next cycle.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tubin' Dali

There is a wealth of material out there regarding Salvador Dali (full name Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí Domènech, Marquis of Pubol). Thanks to YouTube I am able to bring you some of the more surreal stuff about the Surrealist. Here is a commercial featuring the man himself for a chocolate bar in France.

In the 1940s Walt Disney and Dali worked on an animated film that was not completed until 2003, Destino. Here is a trailer for the film. There are many snipets regarding this film available and I for one would like to see the whole thing.

And finally this bit of surrealism (whether intentional or not) was found by our director Shirley Serotsky and posted on her blog CityMouse yesterday. I think if Grady can acheive the same artistry in our trailer for References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, we will be beating people back at the door with a very big stick. Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2007


And so References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

Since the blog started we have had 6 first reads. I just missed the one for Beard of Avon, but I think all of you are all starting to get the hang of it now. I show you some pictures of people around a table and there is always some kind of food in the pictures (in this case it is a bacon, egg and cheese bagel that Yasmin brought). What more is there really to say on the subject? We sit at a table Randy and Jenny make a pitch, the director tells us what her idea of what the play is about, the designers make their pitches and then we read the play.

What I think I have tried to convey on these pages is the feeling of expectation that fills the room. The unknowable of whether this whole thing is going to work or not. I will be honest I have been in first reads that have scared the hell out of me. My confidence is knocked out of me before we even get on our feet. Knock wood that has never been the case in a Rorschach read, but even the most talented and intelligent performers and directors, sometimes find themselves stranded on a sinking ship before they have even left Pier One.

What was the mood this weekend? I have to say it was pretty damn good. In the interest of full diclosure I had some worries about the play. I think I have mentioned some of the fantastical elements of the play, the talking cat, moon and coyote. Those parts of the play struck me with their poetic beauty and vibrance the first time I read the play. It was the sticky middle that had me worried. This center and heart of the play is straight-up two people talking to one another drama, and that is not always the easiest thing in the world to do.

When you have two people alone on stage talking to one another, you need chemistry. Even more so if the play is about two people who have been married to one another for a long time and have to make that comfort with one another seem effortless.

Now I am not making the bold assertion that Gabriella and Andrew were like a married couple from the first time they read together, but I will say that even at the table read you could feel the heat that will make this show a success. Nearly all my worries about seeing two people talking to one another melted away by the end of the read. These two have chemistry, biology and physics through the roof. And even hearing the stage directions about the steamy bits (edited by Shirley because her parents were there) made me realize how this play will live up to its title.

I'll have more to say about rehearsals as we go through this thing. I will have a lot of material to convey so check back here regularly, because when the blogger is in the show, you get more.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


With the news hot off the presses that 27 year old former 'N Sync boy-band singer Lance Bass is penning his own autobiography, entitled Out of Sync, it had me wondering why more young people don't ghost write their own memoirs. I mean I know he has had some amazing almost adventures in his years in the public eye. I mean coming out in People Magazine to everyones shock and amazement and almost going into space until the gay mafia stopped that from happening, will make for some riveting reading. Why shouldn't some of the Rorschach folks, many of us now in our 30s, pen a few of our amazing tales of triumph over adversity?

Imagine if you will the challenges faced by a young man growing up in a foreign land and journeying to a world completely different from the world he knew at home. The challenges of language and culture he faced as he began his studies at an American university years and miles from the world he knew as a child. I think Grady's story would make for an excellent best seller. I am taking title suggestions now.

People might even be interested in Randy growing up in Southeast Asia and coming to the United States. Although I much prefer Grady coming from Richmond in the early 1990s to the University of Maryland.

All of us have stories to tell. Theatre is almost exclusively made up of playwrights who attempt to work some of their own personal history into their work. The good ones find the universal in their stories and convey a little bit of that to their audience. Even actors call upon their memories to bring moments to life on stage.

I commend the publishing people for giving Mr. Bass the opportunity to share with the world the insights that he has collected over the course of over a quarter of a century of life. And I encourage all of you to consider whether your lives are ready for a full biographic exploration.

Personally I have been playing around with my own autobiography for weeks now. Here are my list of titles so far and the opening sentence:

A Seperate Piece of Pie
It was a rainy day in 1987 that I remember first discovering my nut allergy.

Don't Read this Book, Wait for the Sequel
If you have paid $24.99 for this book, you should have waited for it to go on the remainder shelf and bought it for $6.99 or even $3.99 or better yet you could have borrowed it from a library.

Make Mine One With Everything
It is often that you see people standing in line for tickets to see 'N Sync in concert.

My Half-Life in Theatre
So here is what I would have said to Lee Strasburg.

Out of Baltimore
I had a home in an inner suburb of B-more, hon!

I Have Watched a Lot of Star Trek
I think it was the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that made me want to be an actor.

Day Jobs Are For Suckers
You know what I loved best about working for the man, free internet access.

My Turn is Next
Still wishing I had gone to see that movie with John Goodman.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring is Busting Out

It seems to be the time of year when nature can't make up its mind. Looking out on to Wisconsin Avenue this morning I am struck by how spoiled Global Warming as made us. Snow has been falling off and on all morning and I for one will admit that I am a little sick of the yo-yo ride that winter in Washington has become.
But Spring will be here soon. And with the robins and warmth comes another Rorschach production. References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot is just 5 short weeks from opening. We have first read on Saturday morning and I for one could not be more excited. This script lives up to the heat it advertizes. The good news is that we will need the warmth.
Shirley Serotsky is making her Rorschach directing debut. Yasmin, Cesar, Danny, Scott and Andrew will welcome new comer Gabriella to the Rorschach world. We get a fun playground to work with by Robbie Hayes and clothes to strut in by Pei Lee. Andrew Griffen will light the whole thing and Cecilia will stage manage the hell out of us.
So when the snow clears today and you are all thinking about what you will be doing with what promises to be a warm Saturday morning for a change. Think of all of us sitting around a long table drinking coffee and eating crumb cake and cheese, as we start to bring this new monster to life.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Marlowe Langauge Bonanza

It was announced this morning that there will be a Christopher Marlowe Festival in DC next Season. And the theater's involved are The Shakespeare Theatre Company and Rorschach Theatre. Yes, we were asked special. I will have more details soon, but Jenny and Randy were at the Press Conference this morning as The Shakespeare Theatre Company announced their 2007-2008 Season.

Shakespeare Theatre will be doing two Marlowe productions to inaugurate their new space and we will be doing a project which I will have more details on shortly in our space.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the company and we are all excited to be a part of what may not be as big as The Shakespeare in Washington Festival but will be every bit as interesting and hopefully artistic.

That is the news, hope it lived up to expectations. I will have more details on the show as soon as possible.

Waiting for News?

I will have something to tell you later today, so please check back this afternoon. Until then enjoy this picture of Rorschach History:

Friday, March 02, 2007

How to Keep a Secret

by DCepticon

We have all been told secrets. Someone trusts you enough not to tell anyone else and for most of us, depending on the level of intimacy and importance, this is a relatively easy thing to do. But I know that there are some secrets that just fester and boil over in your mind until you just have to tell someone.
Yesterday I gave you a hint to a Rorschach Secret. If you read carefully I gave you two clues. I have a problem keeping secret completely secrets from you my friends on the interwebs, so I find my self dropping little clues about this big news that will be announced on Monday. I am going to do it again at the end of this blog entry. I know what you are thinking no self control. There are ways to keep secrets and I have taken the time to write some of the ways I have tried to keep a secret a secret. I hope they help. If you want to skip the prologue, the actual clue is buried in Way #3.
1. Dig a hole in your back yard and whisper the secret into it.
Then plant a tree in the hole and put the dirt back in. And on windy nights as the branches flow back and forth you will hear the whisper of the secret in the breeze. Eventually it will drive you so crazy you will chop down the tree, just to stop the crazy whispering. Then you can use the wood to make a table or a nice rocking chair just like the ones you see outside of the Cracker Barrell. You know the ones I am talking about. The ones that you see and say that is a nice rocking chair I wish I had one, but I am driving my damn sub-compact and where the hell would I put it. How much are they again? Like $150! Well there is no way I am going to tie a damn $150 chair to the roof of my car, maybe I will get the next time when I have dad's mini-van, but I don't want to make a special trip and the closest Cracker Barrell is like an hour drive from my apartment.

2. Tell only one person you trust.
Sure you can tell your best friend, that never gets weird. Now all of a sudden they have something they can hold over your head. They have the power in the relationship because you just had to tell someone. You and your needs! Need is what kills! Didn't you learn anything from the Stephen King movie with the devil and all the people with those needs? What was that movie again? It had Ed Harris in it. I like Ed Harris he just seems to have this face that says trust me. Or maybe it is the hairline? He played John Glenn in The Right Stuff, now there was a movie about astronauts.

3. Write it down and then burn the paper.
Yes, just like in those spy movies. Secret agent walks into a bar and meets the attractive double-agent and she slips him the paper with the message. He reads the message and then lights his cigarette, places the message in the ash tray and lights it with his match. He says to the bartender "Is there grenadine in this Shirley Temple? And by the way thanks M.K. it will be nice to work with you again after the success we have experienced with the SWF Project."

Well I hope that helps and be sure to check back here next week for all of the big news.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Can't Tell You Yet

There is something I know and can't tell you just yet.
But if you love Rorschach it is a pretty safe bet,
That you will be as thrilled as I am now.
Because there is something afoot that will make you say wow!
I'll give you two clues but don't tell a soul.
The eyes in the picture and what's in between play a key role,
In this fabulous-wonderful news!
I better quit while I'm ahead
or Jenny and Randy will soon see me out the door .