A still from the film ZERO-TWO, directed by Elisabetta Lucia Diorio, to premiere at the McCallum Theater, Austin, TX. This still shows color correction choices from which the post editor (and Betta) select the right color atmosphere for the scene. (Photography — Manuel Taylor).
A still from the stage production of SCAPINO!, a musical by Jim Dale and Frank Dunlop, directed by George Brock at the Unity Theatre, currently running until June 19, 2016.
SCAPINO! is a madcap farce, loosely based upon Moliere with stock characters reminiscent of both neoclassical theater and that of the earlier Commedia del Arte. That is, the characters are human types and the stage is a hive for physical comedy.
The script gives no indication of the character of the Headwaiter. However, the director, George Brock has given me the opportunity to develop him. Headwaiter, as I have played him, is a greasy, malingering, sex-crazed, gambling, dull, friendless, curmudgeonly and entirely harmless old fool.
Following in that centuries old tradition (still alive in Naples!) — at least, that has been my intention — I asked for a wig. My intention was to use the wig in place of the traditional mask, or at least in that spirit. In other words, not to conceal character, but to reveal it. George Brock saw the wig on the day of our Photo Call and shouted out, “YES!” It has been a great pleasure to work with such a capable director whose knowledge of theater is surpassing (!) good. I hope to work with him again.
In this scene, Headwaiter sings, “Danny Boy,” while taking or at least attempting to take, a swig from the flask he carries at all times. Yes, an Italian waiter singing as an Irish tenor! The surprise in this scene I shan’t disclose until the end of the run, just in case someone with tickets happens across this blog.
[Image: Scott Hill. Used with the photographer’s permission.]
A still from the film Zero-Two, directed by Elisabetta Diorio, currently in post and soon to premiere in Austin. Initial screenings have been positive, I’m told. Delighted to hear it.
A recent acquisition. Circa 1920. Unattributed authorship, likely cribbed from other sources, and many of jokes are English!
“Poor Harry was killed by a revolving crane!”
“They have such fierce birds in America.”
But others seem to be local to New York City, many straight from the Yiddish theater, like this one.
“Can you place my son-in-law in your office?”:
“Sure, but why don’t you hire him for your own business?”
“He’s good for nothing! Who wants him?”
And this one, surely from the Midwest.
“Mama! Daddy called the nurse an angel. Can she fly?”
“Very soon, dear, very soon.”
I’m in rehearsals for the madcap folly, Scapino, directed by George Brock, going up in June at the Unity Theatre in Brenham, TX. I play the role of the Headwaiter, a greasy, lascivious, money-grubbing, lazy butt of everybody’s joke. Rather fun to play.
I consider my voice to be a trained instrument and an asset to any production. So why this role, which has no lines? For the visual shtick! Virtually all of the comic potential of this character comes from physical expression. I look forward to playing it. And I do have a song, delivered in a way that will surprise.
The people with whom I am working at this theater are capable, friendly, intelligent and funny! Worthwhile work and I’m pleased to be working in this production. I’ll post images of my costume as soon as I have any to share.
Let me share a recent confirmation of what I learned many years ago: the review tells you more about the reviewer than the work reviewed. This is the rule. There are exceptions.
The other night I watched a Chilean film entitled, “Carne de Perro.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2424906/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 (Fernando Guzzoni, Dir.) I’ve found myself thinking about this film for several days.
I was much taken with Alejandro Goic, who plays the former military officer (and, importantly, torturer). I stumbled upon a review, which I read — something I have learned never to do as a performer, unless I know, from experience or a trusted recommendation, that the critic is discerning and whose commentary may, in fact, help me to improve my work.
The sole American reviewer panned it as one of those “art films,” a cryptic, barely intelligible and wandering story of uncomfortable close-ups portraying a character one can not admire. (As if one has to admire or even judge the protagonist!)
What I considered a more discerning German critic saw depth, movement, subtlety — essentially, a work which asks the viewer to connect up dots and fill in the blanks. In other words,a film that respects the dramatic intelligence of the viewer.
One saw it; the other didn’t. This is what the performer must remember.
Although I’ve been on stage often for musical performance, it has been 8 years since I’ve been on the live stage in a work of theater. So I am very pleased to have been asked to join the cast of Jim Dale’s Scapino at the Unity Theatre in Brenham, TX, to be directed by George Brock, June 2-19, 2016. More to come as the production nears.
I’m pleased to have been cast as Mr. Cooper, a sleazy, cheesy door-to-door sales “executive” in the film Unsolicited, a comedy, to be shot in Houston this month. Sure looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun (for the cast as well as the audience).
Recently, I was cast as the lead role in a short film entitled, Zero-Two, to be produced in Austin, Texas by two extraordinary teenagers: 17 year old Betta Diorio and 18 year old Peter Richard.
Watch the short film “It’s Really Odd,” which they made when they were 16. I think you will be as delighted as I was.
On the strength of this promise — that of young talent — I accepted and am very pleased to work with them on this union project. They asked for a few words from me, which I append below. I hope you will consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign, which is nearly fully funded.
Zero-Two (the name of the lead character I play) implies the existence of a Zero-One. And, perhaps to a lesser extent, Zero-millions. Implication — the transference of an idea from one intelligent being to another by means of intuition — is akin to WI-FI. Meaning, expressed by physical means but invisible to physical sense, is the data of consciousness that artist and audience share. It is not unilateral. In fact, the artist has created what is already within the awareness of the audience who, if they are willing, return it to him and allow him to demonstrate it.
Betta Diorio and Peter Richard’s screenplay, Zero-Two, is rife with implication: layered subtleties evidencing a sophisticated aesthetic awareness that belies their youth. I hope to be able to expose, with their directorial guidance, the facets they have invested into their script, within the narrow dimensions of this rectangular moving image called film. If we can achieve what we think is really there, the result may prove to be unusual, moving, ethereal, stylized, intelligent. This presupposes an audience with the capacity to appreciate it — you. It is for this that I look forward to working on this picture.
Let me ask for your indifference as to biographical detail that has little to do with the ideas of the film. I consider myself a performer, rather than an actor, because my performance life has been rich and varied, as stage actor, voiceover artist, singer on TV, audiobook narrator, public speaker, subway busker, vaudeville act, etc. But the dramatic industries would probably consider me a character actor. My professional interest is the development of the theatrical imagination, to which we in the West have full title, in its glorious richness.