Letters to Holly

Monday, April 14

Bachelorhood and the Page

Longtime Reader writes:
glad to hear your dad thinks this round of chemo will go better. glad, too, to hear that you'll play a role in show selection. did the director admit that he was testing you? did he use those exact words? how did the double date go, other than that?
Not in those words, no. But he did say he considered me for the committee because of comments I had made about the script during the rehearsals and cemented his notion when I told him at the party that I had concerns about "the plot, not the production" regarding the script he handed me. It's still possible he thought I could play the Young Killer, but, more directly, he wanted to know if Ic ould quickly read and comment on a potential play for the company.

The double date was fine. We sat down for dinner at a local eatery at 7 and closed the place down. we were the last customers, and we talked plays, marriages, jobs, and travels abroad (I, the simple boy, had the least of them.) We'd get together with them again at teh drop of a hat.

Since that Thursday, I've read three of the scripts he handed me:

1. The Nerd: A party-crasher spills havoc on a man obliged to board him indefinitely. It's an early '80s comedy that, like a lot of plays considered by community theatres, uses just one set. It's got a hectic first act, and while reading I found a Post-it from a previous prop mistress who was reeling from the near-hundred of items required. The play drops in quality in Act Two, and the script calls for a big role by a small child.

This play includes a scene that was my very first assigned material in my high-school drama class. We four actors who learned this scene and competed with it at regional theatre conventions didn't read anything beyond the ten pages we were given. This was my first chance to find out how our characters got to this bit of hijinks. It's a great scene for high-schoolers, but I don't know how it will play for the blue-hairs. It's also a character list that will skew young and could be a good way to woo new actors.

2. Night Watch: A woman thinks she sees a murder and spirals into anxiety and paranoia. This would make an excellent radio drama. It reminds me of Sorry, Wrong Number, which my seventh grade class performed and recorded as a group project. It calls for an older cast, uses one set, and has few props.

3. Mousetrap: Strangers are trapped in a snowbound boarding house while a killer is at large. This is the classic Agatha Christie -- the longest-running play in the history of history: 23,000 shows since it opened in 1952. The original production virtually never ended. It's a fantastic script, and it's the clear winner of the bunch so far. The plot is airtight, and it ends well. Only incompetence and unprofessional behavior could sink this production.

I didn't realize Bailey's baptism was this weekend when I agreed to make the comic page. I stayed home, and Your Sis drove down for a along weekend with Your Brother and Andrea. It gave me free rein to bury my head in the page, but I felt bad for not going. Weeks ago, I assured her I would go.

Here it is in stages:
The money shot is the entrance of Grunge Hobo, who is determined to kill Kid janitor (I didn't cook up the names or the plot, I just nudged it forward). I had to make Grunge Hobo resemble the first appearance of the character


Final Page Art
The Whole Penciled Page

The Whole Inked Page

The Page With Text

I worked on this for about five hours on Saturday and a few more on Sunday. I listened to movie commentaries and NPR. I could have spent more time on the inks (pens, not brushes), but I was worried about coloring the page and applying text after, so I rushed it. It's not bad, I s'pose.

The rest of the weekend was exercise and movies. I watched the Twin Peaks movie and Unforgiven. When I wasn't reading scripts, of course.

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