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.
For my voice and diction students, a reminder to unlearn the habit of beginning a sentence with, “So…” Examples I have recently heard:
“So my name is…”
“So hey guys, here’s a great tip…”
It’s informal and conversational, like “Yo!” and has its place. But it is also not well-spoken. I peg the intelligence and education of the speaker somewhat lower when I hear it.
Sure, use it when you audition for the role of a 20-something, but forget it thereafter.
What is the connection between a device on your PC and Ancient Rome? Listen and find out!
The September issue of The New English Review includes my piece on the tradition of theater and a style of acting prevalent in the U.S.: “Real” and Its Limitations.
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