Wednesday, April 24, 2013

La Vie en Rose....character descriptions

We have completed the casting and are preparing for our first read through so I guess this would be a good time to go through and do a little character introduction…

Officer Toland: In the script it says “the cliché big muscled but big bellied police officer” which pretty much sums him up. He has a smaller role but towards the end he become fairly pivotal in the action. (He is not Irish.)

Bellhop: The bellhop is the connecting character. There isn’t too much ideology coming from the Bellhop but she is the swing between the two worlds of the upper class and the poor. While every other character drives the ending action except for her the Bellhop makes the decision that decides that fate of each one.

Anne: The best way to describe Anne is through the famous Great Depression picture above. She is not too old but has lived plenty of life and that can be seen in her demeanor. She comes on stage hunched over, dirty and tore up clothes from living on the streets. She kind of represents this innocence within the whole world. She is not caught up in the politics of the times and she is not laying down blame but she is experiencing the worst of the times and decides to keep going day by day.

John: John is that Tom Joad (“ish”) character from The Grapes of Wrath. He is caught between the ties of his family and responsibility to survive peacefully because of that. However, he has that urge to revolt against ideals he knows are wrong and can no longer let exist. He is young and driven by emotion, anger but to him it would be a justified anger and really the only option that he has been given.

Mr. Jackson Farrow: Mr. Farrow is clearly the antagonist to John. He is rich and powerful and has complete control. He rules his kingdom, as simply as that. He knows more than anyone else the reality that he exists in and does not have time for ideological views of how the world “should” be but how the world is.

The title itself comes from a song by Edith Piaf and there are many different renditions but Louis Armstrong’s is the specific version that I kept listening too which you can hear HERE

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Director? Check. Actors? Check.

A very important chair...

In truth the director had already been chosen for Those Who Really Go to the Crossroads, but I chose to put off actually introducing her until now.

Abbey Pasquini is the director who will take on this one-act and put it on the stage, adding her own thoughts and artistic style. I'm so excited to work with her, because I have confidence that she will bring all of the elements of the play to life in a way that both, her and I, will be proud of.

Now as for the cast. Auditions finished not all that long ago and I must say that I am really quite happy with the actors that Abbey (with some input from me) has chosen for each role.

Of course, the challenge has yet to come... rehearsals... Which of course will be equally as fun and nerve-wracking as the actual performance.

Maybe I should have read the other's post before I wrote and put mine in...
Oh well.

So Some information about me.
My name is Abbey Pasquini and I am a senior in the Theatre department. 
I have work in some way or another on almost all the shows put into production since I arrived at this wonderful little theatre. 
I quickly fell in love with light design. 
And was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to actually design for a few shows. 
Yet even though I adored designing and lights, working on the actual shows was something I found great joy in. 
I have been SM (stage manger) or ASM (assistant stage manager) for quite a few productions. 
Thens I was given the opportunity to design costumes after I took the costuming class.
That is one of the things I love about OSU theatre: the teachers want you to do everything. 
They love when you have a passion for what they have a passion for.
They share their time and knowledge generously. 
Then when they think you are ready they give you opportunities to fly.
For example:
I have directed before.
I took the class and put on a little one act.
And then I was asked if I wanted to do a full show for the lab theater.
That day I couldn't stop smiling.
I choose No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre.
They let me be the director completely. 
They were their if I need advice but they made it clear right form the beginning that this show was mine.
It went up this weekend. 
This Theatre really is a place where everyone is welcome to come and learn.

Now on to the student written one-act I choose to direct.
Those Who Really Go to the Crossroads By Megan Grassl.
The plays written this year all tend to deals with choices and the results of them.
While each play deals with the topic of choices in unique and interesting ways, I was drawn to Megan's the most.
There is a hope in her play that shines through all the obstacles. 
And yet it leave the reader or audience to make the choice if the hope was real or false.
I love it.
I can't wait to began building it with actors, costumes, a set and (of course) lights.

Roads crossing all over the place.

There is something about taking a piece of art and making it come to life that is scarily addicting. 
I have just finished directing and yet here I am again. 
Reading through a play finding information the author didn't even realize she put in there. 
I know this because I can talk to the author. 
Which is so much fun! 
We brain storm together, even though my say is final I'm enjoying having this new dynamic. 
If she has strong feeling about one of my ideas she is not afraid to voice her thoughts and we talk it through. 
Casting was easy as our understanding of the characters (while not equal by any means) was simpatico. 
By some wonderful chance we were able to get our first choice for every character. 
I really feel blessed to be in this class working on this play with a fabulous group of people.

Cerberus can.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Billner Playwright Blog 2

After the responses in the director's class one thing was clear, my play needed some work. There were things I never noticed that the director's pointed out that didn't make any sense, like how Billner left his wife some time ago, but she somehow acquired his jacket and other minor plot points. It helps to have a new set of eyes on it, and I feel this draft is substantially stronger than it was before. 
Watching the auditions was kind of fun (although I had a pretty awful cold the whole time) it was an interesting and enlightening experience to see all these brand new people step up to the plate and interpret my and the other playwrights characters. I was really impressed with the turnout! Although I was kind of jealous since I love acting, and there were a few parts I wouldn't mind being in, but this will be a great opportunity to see whats on the other side of the spectrum of putting on a show. 
Tucker definitely made some good choices on casting, when we talked later about who we wanted we were on the same page, and we got a cast of people who were in our list of choices so that's great. The next step will be the read-through where I can see them put the whole play into action, and decide if any more changes need to happen.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

La Vie en Rose

I’m extremely excited to be working on the One Act Festival, every play in it is very well done and the group that we are able to work with always provides a bit a fun. Auditions just wrapped and we’re all now figuring who will fill which role. I have never been a part of any theatrical production so it’s been a blast working with Liz, Chris, Megan and Mike and all the directors we have now this term.

I don’t know exactly where the influences came from. George Orwell’s Road to Wigen Pier was the main influence for the content of the play. The book is about Orwell travelling through England’s working class environments in the early 1900’s and his descriptions of the coal mines, slums and urban housing and the people who inhabited these environments were very influential in the topics under discussion by the characters. Mainly the separation of classes, the need to have one in order to have the other and the ignoring of suffering that can be right outside your own little world. There was a part of his book that described the aristocrats living their high lives literally on top of the coal mines and the suffering below, still demanding that it be brought up ignorant of what this meant and the process this required. This image is what fueled the bulk of the characters conversation.

The scene of the play came from a German film “The Last Laugh.” The opening is of a hotel bell hop that greets the guests as they walk in and out, nodding his cap to those walking by. I don’t know why but once this idea of people passing each other on the street with one main character mildly linked to them the dialogue began to flow. The play itself isn't supposed to be a dramatic life lesson but just an examination of small ideas and the presentation of a couple questions. And then instead of a simple answer picking and prodding at them until there is really nothing left.

It is the biggest cliché to say that “every character is flawed” so it would be more appropriate to say that neither character is correct in their own ideals. The complications of whose life is the one that should be lived or who is the one holding sin and who is the one holding grace are not meant to have any definitive answer. You could say the play was tragic but the ending is supposed to be a shrug of the shoulders and the continuation with the evening. This is one main point that Orwell continued to make throughout his book. That no matter how horrific the coal mines were, no matter how disgusting the slums got those who did not have to occupy those world's continued on with their life.

Ricky Zipp

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I've never directed a show before, so I'm not sure what to expect in the coming weeks where I'll be working to put together a production in this year's One Act Festival.  As eager as I am to be working with a student written script, and direct other students and community members, I know that it will be a challenge.  Scheduling, managing, communicating, and all the other things that a director has to do to make a production work have been on my mind for the past couple of weeks as I have bounced ideas back and forth in my head for what I want to accomplish with the play.  Really to be honest, since this is my first gig as a director, all I can really say that I want is for things to go smoothly, simply, and be satisfied with the end result.  That's all pretty vague right now, but the details will come.

The play I'm directing is La Vie en Rose, a drama set in the great depression era of America, and is the story of the ideological struggles of a person of wealth and power and a person of want and poverty.  The play is centered on this time honored struggle, which is one of the things that drew me to it.  A challenge of directing this play will be to strike the right cords and drive the play's theme home without loosing the human side of the equation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner

Hello everyone! My name is Chris Peterman and I am the author of the Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner, to be directed by Tucker Minnick. It's a great honor to have my play selected to be put on for the OSU student one acts. So lets get started with this explanatory blog.

A little about myself, I'm a theatre major at OSU, and I'm currently a Junior.

The play is a comedy about a man named Mr. Billner and the forces that work against him from getting a winning lottery ticket from his ex wife's car. There are a few convention's that are mean't to make it unrealistic and silly. A Narrator who tries to drive the plot against Mr. Billner. Mrs. Billner is played by a convict in drag as a part of an inmate rehabilitation program, as well as some saucy infidelity.

The inspiration for the play came from a variety of sources. The Narrator came from Morgan Freeman's character in The Shawshank Redemption, something about a man who can calmly describe anything losing his cool when a character seeming to be his invention disobey's the plot of the story seemed funny to me. The idea for Mrs. Billner being a convict came from a documentary about prisoner's performing Shakespeare's The Tempest. While the rest of the play kind of fell into place through numerous revision's and trying to tie everything together.

My goal for the play was to make it reachable to almost anyone. The play is simply what it is, there are no really deep meanings to anything, and the greatest staging requirement is to have a chair for the Narrator to sit in. Even though the play calls for 4 males, I think some of the parts can be easily replaced with female actresses. I'll leave the casting to the director though.

Overview of the Characters:

Mr. Billner
A simple everyday man with the same dreams as anybody, to live a life devoid of responsibility. He's not the most charming or intelligent of people, but he makes up for it in endurance to find the missing lottery ticket.

The Narrator
He's a sort of god over the world, using his magic pen and notebook he design's the plot of the world. Very clean cut and intelligent.

Mrs. Billner
A convict who is trying to earn browny points with his probation officer by volunteering with the play. He used to be married to Mr. Billner, but had a secret affair with Steve from Mr. Billner's work.

An accountant at Mr. Billner's company who unfortunately amassed a huge gambling debt. He is wiry and methodical, and also madly in love with Mrs. Billner.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to working with the future actors and directors to bring this show to life. It should be a lot of fun.

Future, Future, Dear God!

First off, I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with Alex Ries (The Director) as well as all my other class mates. Also, Liz is a great teacher and has given me confidence in a field that I most likely would have never explored had I not signed up for the play writing class last term. I definitely consider myself the luckiest guy in the class using the strictest definition of the word "lucky". Why? Allow me to elaborate: 
My name is Mike Seus (pronounced Seiss, which rhymes with slice) and I have little to no theatrical background. To be completely honest, I have only ever been in two plays; one of which was in the fourth grade when I played a grizzly bear (a part I have continued to play throughout my life). My favorite movies are "300" and "A Goofy Movie". I thought the "Misanthrope" was a cough medicine until about two days ago, and I failed Freshman English. I failed it hard.
Having said that, I love to write! When it came time to write our final play I wasn't really sure where to start. My first play was about a cowboy, my second play was about a ghost, so the next logical step seemed like writing about a time traveler who runs into two stoners. I know what you're are thinking: "Great another stoner comedy about a time traveler who runs into stoners, and finds himself horrified by Leonardo DiCaprio". I forgot to mention that Leonardo DiCaprio plays a pivotal role in the story (not the man, just the name. We tried to book him but he was a little out of our price range. That was a good joke right?).
 I can't remember what my inspiration for this play was in all honesty. I remember staring at the wall for like ten minutes and then I just started writing. In retrospect I definitely think The Twilight Zone, Spinal Tap, and Wayne's World all had an impact on the story to some degree. Alex and myself have talked about how important casting is and I am really excited about this Sunday and Monday. Try out. Do it. If you don't have any theatrical experience don't worry, I don't either. Cheers!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Those Who Really Go to the Crossroads

Hello my name is Megan Grassl and I am the writer for a one-act play called Those Who Really Go to the Crossroads.

How it all started:
Actually this is a hard subject to explain because I'm not entirely sure where the idea for the play came from. I know there was an influence from a short sketch that I wrote before this that had to do with ghosts, because it was from that, that I started to think about the idea of someone making a deal with the devil. There was an influence, but I still can't say what the absolute starting point was.

The first draft that I wrote didn't really have a clear direction, but after thinking about why someone would go to such lengths as to give their soul to the devil, I realized what the main character, Jayden, had to lose.

Meet the characters:
Jayden is the protagonist in this ordeal and is kind of your everyman. As the play move along the reason why he is waiting at the crossroads becomes clear through the interactions he has with the people he meets.

Botis is the first person that shares a conversation with Jayden. She is southern, but I didn't specify where exactly, because well truth be told I didn't really want to research different accents, thus a general southern accent is what Botis speaks with. Botis is really the person who forces Jayden to begin to think about what he really wants.

Cerberus is... well he's an ass. I'm actually quite proud of this character, because of how awful he is. He serves a similar purpose as Botis, and pushes Jayden to really defend his own ideals.

Shax is a businesswoman who has done the same job for a very long time and appears to be quite tired of having to deal with people like Jayden and has clearly had past encounters with Botis and Cerberus. She informs Jayden that he has been misguided at some point in his wish to make a deal with the devil.

A bit about the crossroads:
There are many stories about the crossroads, but the one that I used in this play is the one most commonly heard about in the North American South, wherein musicians would go to make a deal to trade their soul for the ability to play amazing music. Now clearly I didn't use the music part of it, but there has always been the idea that one could ask the devil for anything as long as you could pay...

A bit about Greek mythology:
Yup I said it, Greek mythology. Now as everyone knows the Greeks had many different gods and demi-gods and many myths, but thankfully I was far too lazy to try and incorporate all of them into a one-act. Though I left a lot out I did reference Cerberus and Charon, the ferryman to the underworld, because I felt those were two Greek tales that were relevant to the play. I have used a combination of religion and myths to create a new-ish set up. However, the idea of the play is to focus on how Jayden figures out what he wants.

And so, I now look forward to seeing Those Who Really Go to the Crossroads worked on by the director and seeing the actors (whom ever they may be) bring my characters to life.

Leo is happy and also relevant
Hello friends, my name is Alex Ries and I will be directing Future Future Dear God in the upcoming Spring 2013 One Act Festival. I happen to be the luckiest director in having Mike Seus as my playwrite who has cooked up a deliciously funny script. That being said, I'm very excited for this opportunity.

Future Future Dear God (FFDG) is a comedy about the cold war, time travel, and stoners (with a significant amount of movie references and jokes). This gives me great freedom as a director, seeing that the universe of the play is not confined to the rules or conventions of a "serious reality." An example of this is Dr. VonFeldsBurgerBerg's laboratory, which I feel can be appropriately ridiculous by taking influence from both Back to the Future and Dr. Strangelove. Glazoons of other funny stylistic opportunities abound (Leonardo DiCaprio is a theme in himself, one which will be more explored in later blogs).

I foresee the most important part of this production will be finding a good cast, so make sure you and your talented (or untalented, you never know what could be discovered) friends show up to auditions this coming Sunday and Monday! (April 14th and 15th) No preparation is necessary but you can check out a script from the Withycombe theater office this week.

May your dreams always have other dreams in them.