Letters to Holly

Thursday, June 12

Theatre Doings

Last night's script meeting went well. We had a new member join, and our introduction was punctuated by his effort to remember where he had seen me before. Something similar happened when we watched the play last weekend; the box-office people called me by my last character's name. I do the same thing with other actors. We often call each other by character names as those are the ones we use the most often.

I had finished five of the eight scripts within the week, and I gave short reviews of them out loud. We have right at one month to make our suggestions for the season, and we've begun to cull the scripts that just won't fly. Both Neil Simons are out, unfortunately, as is Inherit the Wind (too huge), Dracula (too grim), The Hollow (the weaker of the 2 Agatha Christies), The Light in the Mill (too damn stupid), and a few others. We debated the merits of other scripts and disagreed professionally. The discussions are going really well. We champion some plays and defer to the consensus on others.

I was given five mores scripts to read, including Arsenic and Old Lace which I had somehow never read before. It's a stalwart of community theatre, as much as Oklahoma! and Greater Tuna.

Two bits of news caused ripples.

1) The renovations to the new theatre space might postpone the season until January. If we tried a full complement of productions, that might force a show each month. That's a large burden on our loyal audience and an even larger obligation on our repertory. It's possible the renovations can be done in phases, and maybe we can start the season in November.

2) The director of the courtroom drama -- the lady who was one-half of a horrible clash of egos -- not only emailed the theatre to ask for another directing gig, but she did it by contacting the guy she butted heads with. Of the committee members, I was the one directly involved with that mess, and I couldn't believe what I heard.

I also got confirmation of an ugly rumor where she dismissed a young male actor because he was black. She didn't believe he could credibly be someone in the 1930s drama. I saw this guy perform just last week and, hearing this, I got pissed. I remember how much trouble we had finding and keeping male actors, and we turned away a competent actor with a clear stage voice in the first day. We could have avoided that trouble for at least one role, and maybe the role we filled just two weeks before we opened . I said so and made sure to praise the guy who did ultimately rescue us. I don't know if that director knows that the high chief of the theatre is black, and word is that he decreed she wouldn't return.

I hope to polish off the five scripts while helping Your Sister finish reading research papers this week. She told me to stay away from Saturday's graduation ceremony, and I might watch Incredible Hulk.

Picture of the Day
Burning out his fuse up here alone.

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