Friday, May 31, 2013

Future Future Dear God 5 (The Crunch Time Edition)
Yeah it's that crunch time Leo
Whew what have I been doing? Is it the end of week 9 already? We perform Wednesday. AH. I will try to maintain my composure and produce a legitimate blog that isn't just some wandering consciousness of panic. Something to calm down, I know just what I need. Yeah a bag of goldfish...


The crunch of these goldfish is symbolic crunching that happens in the last few days of rehearsal leading up to this performance. A lot of things need to finished that haven't been. Costumes, the set, my lines, if only there was some way to travel back in time so that we could accomplish these farther from the deadline with our new frenzied productivity. Well, I mean there is the time machine, but right now it's just a silver tarp that goes over a couch, we still need to glue clocks and other hokey shit on it.

But readers, fear not, if you think these symptoms of procrastination will make the performance a flop, I have merely accomplished my mission of luring you into a false sense of skepticism. In reality, after watching run-through after run-through I am quite confident in the cast's ability to carry the show to success. Although the jokes definitely aren't funny at all to me anymore, I have to remember the rule of 3 and 1000. A joke is only funny 3 times, until you get to the 1000th time and then it's funny again. So think on that next time you're chatting up a pretty man/woman at the bar, that although they aren't laughing at all at your jokes it's only because they've heard them a few times, they haven't yet experienced the hilarity of the 1000th time. So just stay the course and keep trying, you will get there eventually.

To be fair, I've been dropping the "I'm a director" line quite often to up my level of swag. I can't say that it's been much of a hit with the ladies, but I'm waiting for that perfect moment in a loud club when she doesn't hear my following explanation that it's a One Act Festival at OSU and naively assumes that I'm in charge of some big budget Hollywood production.

It'll happen. Dear God those goldfish were good.

Until next time, remember: 3 and 1000.

Billner 6

I'm not sure what to write for this blog, so I'll go into depth on something..

How about...

My writing process!

I don't think I'd ever be comfortable enough to call myself a writer. Although I have written quite a few things, both for school purposes and for other personal projects. So I have developed a process I usually follow when I write something, which I applied to The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner.

Step 1: Holy shit I have to/want to write something
The first step, the one I usually dread the most. This is the point where all the insecurities I developed as a kid comes out. I'll never forget pouring my little soul into the state writing projects and turning them in, only to get them back with low grades (mostly due to my awful handwriting). For whatever reason I always think far in advance to someone smugly looking at my writing and throwing it into the trash. I may stay in this phase for quite awhile, until the drive to create/drive to not fail sends my fingers to the keyboard.

Step 2: Alright idea time.
Sometimes I have an idea just come to me, other times it will be a funny image or even a title that flowers into something else. Most of the time I just have to open up a blank document and write. Usually it will take two or three different starts before I get into the groove of something I enjoy. Billner started with a simple idea of seeing Morgan Freeman on a chair reading a children's book that plays out in the background. Eventually it ended in tasteless jokes and my favorite line's "Narrator: Mr. Billner! Think of the children! Billner: Fuck the Children!"

Step 3: Finish the First draft
I remember reading this off a list of Joss Whedon quotes. It seems pretty obvious, but the reality of how many people, including myself, waste so much time abandoning a difficult project, or trying to rewrite a section in the infant stage. If there was one thing that really influenced me and how I approach writing it is this simple message. Depending on what i'm writing and when it's due, I'll usually do 5 pages a day until finished.

Step 4: Sit on it for a couple days
I don't like being late, I hate it more than anything. Even being right on time drives me nuts. So for writing I usually get an assignment done way in advance, so I can take a few days to leave it out of my mind so when I go back to it I can read it objectively. If i'm running out of time, I'll usually give myself a couple hours away from it and get back to it.

Step 5: First read through
This is where I just read through it trying my best not to cringe at the mistakes. Even after 26 years I still have trouble motivating my self to do this stage. Even though this is usually where my best ideas come out, I'll read a segment and think, hey! Wouldn't this be funnier/better?

Step 6: Editing phase
This is the kill my darlings part. Sometimes jokes, sequences, characters, or events just kill the flow. If something is pretty good, but just out of place for that particular story, I usually copy/paste it to a different document I keep all my ideas in. It's like putting your grandparents in a retirement home, you can revisit them any time you want, even though you probably wont. Speaking of I should go visit my grandparents, and open that document and see what's in it. I usually settle on the third revision, sometimes more. (I think Billner took about 5)

Step 7: Submission
This is where I submit the paper to where it needs to go, whether to my friends whom I film with, or a class. I'll also print off a hard copy of anything creative I've done for my own personal records.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oh Run-throughs...

So last night (5/28) we had our first full run-through for the whole one act festival for the first time!

It was... nice... and a bit stressful. As the first time with any kind of an audience, aside from myself and Abbey (the director), the actors were a bit flustered, but that's to be expected. For me, as the writer, it, quite frankly, was nearly unbearable... This is not to say that the actors weren't great, but my stress was high.

It's hard to pull away and even at the beginning when the actors still had scripts in hand, I got a little worried when lines were changed, but it's ok and the whole process has gone really well, it's just first times are always the hardest.

One more hiccup in the kick off to the run-throughs was a box...

Thanks to Alexa Johnson for the pic.
This box is met to be in the show, but it was the first time anyone had seen the box and for some reason, my mind had always pictured it to be... smaller. Really it's fine and Abbey has to figure out how to make the thing easier for the actor who uses it to handle.

On a plus side we now have street signs which abbey and I got ourselves, and they look absolutely wonderful. One sign has "Styx" on it and the other reads "Damascus" both have meaning, one within Greek mythology and the other in Christian belief, I'll write about those stories in another blog, so as to keep you hangin'.
Future Future Dear God Entry 4 (The Dear God I'm now an Understudy Edition)

Hello friends.

It's no secret that we've had a rocky, revolutionary road in terms of casting. We had a Ronny, then shortly lost a Ronny, and then got a new Ronny. We had a Brian, and then the actor portraying Brian misinterpreted "break a leg" as a literal suggestion. So we had Bryan play Brian as well as the doctor, which eerily worked out in ways that nobody expected, and we assumed that our bad luck had run out. However, it recently came to our attention that new Ronny would be unable to make the first performance (Wednesday of next week) due to an unchangeable final.


Naturally, it would be quite a hard sell to approach someone and say: "Hey man, would you like to learn all these lines and blocking and rehearse like mad for the next week so that you can do a single cobbled-together performance?"  And seeing that we've had a shortage of male leads, possibilities of snaring a new actor seemed dismal. After briefly looking into the bleak options and seeking advice, there seems to be a (maybe) acceptable solution.

So I'm doing it. Whatever, it's cool, I took a class on acting once... It's going to be interesting, memorizing these lines and being the lead character in a play that I'm directing (thankfully only for opening). However, we've done a run-through with me and since I've seen the thing about a hundred times it comes together pretty easily. I am however, put in that awkward position of not wanting to give any direction or notes after my own run-through because that seems like a really douchey thing to do. I almost want to set up new Ronny or Mike (the playwright) as pseudo-director so that I can have a different perspective along with some much needed humility.

Well, I'm off to memorize. Make sure you attend opening night on Wednesday for my director-actor debut.

Remember, when you're on the Titanic, make sure you don't stay on the ship but rather grab a cabinet or something, and then sink and die.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Run Through...

Tonight we had our first run through off script in front of an audience (Well, sort of in front of an audience. It was all the other actors, directors, and play-writers). I am very proud of all the actors and feel they did a wonderful job. It was also exciting to watch the performance from the viewpoint of an audience member. Alex (the Director) has done a very good job of keeping us all on task and that was demonstrated tonight with this practice performance. I was very pleased how the audience responded as well. Usually with comedies the smaller the crowd the less comfortable people feel laughing at jokes and gags. And although our audience was fairly small tonight, the responses were still quite palpable. It was a relief for me as the writer of the play to hear people laughing at things I intended to be funny and not laughing at things that were intended to not be funny. In other words everything went as planned.
We still have a lot of work to do before next week, and soon we will begin focusing more on the 'tech' aspects of the play, which will yet again be a new experience for me. I am really excited for the One Act Festival! All the other plays are looking great and each one brings its' own unique flavor to the festival. There will be comedy (hopefully), drama (definitively), violence (sparsely), romance (sort of), and a box! It is going to get real...

The Box...

The Box...

Photo courtesy of Alexa Jonson (thanks sweetie!)

It's funny.
Very funny..
Almost too funny...


Time to re-block a huge section of my play.
Oh well.

Now on to other things.
Tonight was the first run through with all the plays, directors, writers, actors, techies, costumers and supervisors in the audience.
Kind of intense. 

The audience... (in black and orange!)
It was also my actors first time on stage since this weekend and being off book. 
It went better then I thought it would.
The stress of watching the actors you have directed, laughed with, and adore; get completely lost while trying to work around a huge brand new obstacle (The Box) as new people who have never seen the play watch and (since the SM <--- stage manager was there for the first time tonight too) try to help, is excruciating. 

They were so wonderful. 
They calmed the laughter they couldn't help but feel (again The Box) and plowed through the trouble sections while accepting a new voice (the SM) giving information (line anyone?) with grace. 

George Caldwell was there and I can't wait to see what he does with the lighting. 
I might need to modify my blocking a little once he is done, but it will be worth it because the lights will be beautiful. 
An early evening feel to my play.  
With maybe just a little top light on 'The Box'.
To give nothing away while telling the audience that it's there. 
I love the art of lighting a stage. 
I miss it. 

One outfit is down(ish).
Brittany Potter, my actress who plays Bertha Botis, was a fantastic person and found the perfect summer dress for her character.
Now tomorrow I just need to get the rest of the outfits figured out. 
And silly little things like props.

It is all coming together.
And before I close this post I want to thank Ken Richardson for 'The Box'. 
(For those of you who don't know Ken, he is O.S.U.'s very own magic worker! He can do the impossible in very little time.)
It was so much fun having 'The Box' tonight. 
And once the hiccups are worked out, it will be amazing.
This is so much fun!

We're getting close!
You should all come and see it!

Because Dachshunds make everything even better!

Being in Charge

It's the final stretch of rehearsals before the performances of the One Acts on June 5th and things are wrapping up quite well.  Even though La Vie en Rose is right on track, the upcoming premiere has me anxious as well as excited, a combination of feelings that I have felt many times in my life.  In fact directing Rose has made me feel a wide variety of emotions ranging from dictatorial euphoria to executive nervousness.  This of course have been a result of me being in charge and responsible for the majority of decisions regarding the production.  Being in charge is not a position that I am used to being in very often, and though I may at first like the idea of leading people, it takes me a while to get over my initial nervousness to be successful.  This reminds me of a time in my life when I had the same feelings. 

Before I came to school at Oregon State I had the opportunity to be an assistant coach of a 7th grade football team.  Having never coached before all I had was my few years of experience as a player and the memories of all the coaches that I had during that time. I remembered my great coaches as well as the bad coaches, what they did that made them successful or unsuccessful and how it affected me and the other athletes that they led.  What my coaches did had a direct effect on what I did and it helped my success in turn.  With this knowledge I did my best to coach the 7th graders.  I was friendly let stern and kept up the enthusiasm while teaching the importance of discipline and hard work.  I will say I made a few mistakes, was maybe too harsh or maybe too easy sometimes, but overall it was an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  The team had a terrific winning season, and I was thanked and congratulated for my help with the team.

Directing has been the very similar to my time coaching the 7th graders, only this time it's my experiences with directors instead of coaches that is helping me.  Relying on the techniques and strategies of other directors has helped me discover and shape my own techniques and strategies for directing.  It hasn't been easy, and like coaching I will admit that I've made a few mistakes and had some obstacles along the way.  The amount work that has to go into scheduling has been an real eye opener and positions are much easier to replace in football when someone gets hurt.  Lessons have been learned by these trials though, and they will help make me a better director in the future if I chose to direct other shows. Taking part of this new experience like coaching has been rewarding and I'm confident that the production of La Vie en Rose is also on it's way to a winning season. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

News from La Vie en Rose

La Vie en Rose is coming together very well and we are right on schedule to premiere another wonderful student work at this year's One Acts.  I'm proud to say that I have found my second wind and am enthusiastic and excited to devote more time and energy to Rose now that my obligations to the production of The Misanthrope are over.  The Misanthrope was a fantastic show and I am so grateful to have been a part of it, but now that it is over I can focus on bringing La Vie en Rose to life.

Today's rehearsal was our first where all the actors were off book.  It was so different and so much more compelling to see the actors work without their scripts in their hands.  I feel that I am really seeing them bring their characters together and that the notes I am giving them are really sinking in and having an effect.  I am proud of the hard work and patience of my actors and happy with all the progress they have made.  Now that the technical aspects of the show are being completed, the tone and soul of the play can finally be made clear.  Seeing the work being done today made me happy that I am directing this play and have this opportunity.

Unfortunately though, some bad luck has struck our production.  One of our actors broke his ankle last week and will no longer be performing in Rose.  I am currently looking for a replacement, but if one isn't found by the end of the week I am allowing the playwright, Ricky, to fill the vacant shoes of our fallen actor, who I hope will get well soon.  The good news is though, the actor with the broken ankle will still be performing in the other one act he was cast in, Future, Future...Dear God which I am very excited to see.  It is very frustrating that I have to recast an actor, but accidents happen and this is a part of being the director.  Another thing has been added to my to do list for this production that's all.  A big thing, yes, but they're all big things when you're in charge.   


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Billner 5

It's time once again to write another blog, since rehearsals are going just as scheduled and we are now scratching the surface of blocking. There isn't much more I can say about the process as a whole. The cast and my director Tucker have been great to work with and they could lock me in a safe somewhere and still put on this show successfully.

So I'll just write about whatever comes to my mind.

Why Comedy?

I'll always remember the first comedy special I watched as a kid. I was with my friend Travis and we had gone on a camping trip in one of those old school camping trailers. It wasn't technically camping since we went to one of those RV parks and parked next to a tree and a power outlet, but if you looked out the window the right way and put a fan near your face, you could emulate roughing it in the great outdoors. Thankfully in the upper corner of the camper was a TV and VCR combo and a copy of Bill Cosby: Himself. One of Bill Cosby's first stand up specials. Before that moment I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to watch someone stand in front of a microphone and tell stories about their lives, but after laughing hysterically like a couple of hyena's I was hooked on the comedy bug. 

I had always been a funny goofy kid. Then again so has everyone, I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't sat around with their friends and joked a little. Being funny however, became a part of my identity, and I got addicted to making people laugh. Like any kind of addiction, especially an addiction of identity. I did take it a little too far. I remember times growing up where I thought if I wasn't funny then no one would want to be around me and I would lose all my friends. So I constantly put that pressure on myself to constantly be funny. Unfortunately you can't always be on, the days I was off were the worst, it gave me crippling depression that was hard to shake off. Soon I would be so worried about cracking jokes that I would neglect discovering who I was, and what it was to be a whole person. It took me a long time to convince myself that people can still appreciate someone when they are not a constant source of entertainment. Something I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, but that's just growing up, we're all a little fucked up. 

Of course the obsession with being a class clown did have it's benefits, I tried a variety of different things. I had a pretty good comic series that eventually got put into the school newspaper and my drawing skills improved greatly. While piggy backing off one of my favorite comedians Stephen Lynch I taught myself to play guitar, and wrote a few kind of clever (but really, really awful) humorous songs. (Most of which I wrapped up in a paper bag and burned at the stake.) and thinking that my true calling was to be a famous comedian; I constantly wrote ideas for jokes in little notebooks. This followed me all the way through my four year tour of the Air Force. I only really performed my jokes in front of people once which shook me up so bad that I puked, and I stumbled through an awful joke in front of a SSgt when my buddy told him I wanted to be a comedian. (If you ever stumble onto this blog Scotty, I love you like a brother, but fuck you!) That memory still comes back to haunt me and makes me cringe. Still despite everything  I was convinced that I was destined to be apart of the creative community. I just didn't know where. While browsing for things to use my G.I. bill on, since I knew for a fact a career in the military was not what I wanted. I decided on acting. I felt my biggest hang ups were stage fright, and the lack of presence, so this seemed the perfect mix of studying something cool and interesting, as well as developing numerous skills I could use. In no time at all I was off to Boise State, and after 3 terms I switched schools to Oregon State when I realized I hated being close to family. 

As far as why comedy? It's a part of who I am. Not that I have a big ego about it, like i'm some comedic genius. I just know that compared to a rock with lips, I've got more jokes. Plus i've come to terms with that I'll never appeal to everybody, and for every person who enjoy's my company, there are probably a few that wish I would jump off a bridge. Because I feel like I've reached the point where I don't worry what I think everyone else will find funny, and just do what I feel is funny and that's what The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner is. A simple goofy story that I think is funny, about characters I like, with situations that crack me up, and still watching it for the 20th time now at rehearsals, there are still points that make me smile. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rehearsals at least

So after a couple of weeks have gone by and the rehearsals for Those Who Really go to the Crossroads have begun. On a sad note though I have been unable to be present at said rehearsals due to the run of another show in which I'm involved. So yes, I've been busy....

Now to the upside! I have gone to four rehearsals and the first was in all honesty, the hardest, because I didn't want to step on Abbey's (the director) toes. However, it turns out that I was being silly.

As the writer I do hold a certain amount of power to pout and tell Abbey (the director) no, but as it stands I'm really enjoying the process of seeing my characters come to life and so I haven't needed to fuss over the ideas that Abbey is bringing to my script.

Then, of course, we have four wonderful actors who have brought so much to the characters and have really made the rehearsals a lot of fun. With Abbey, who loves to laugh, and myself, equally loving to laugh, the action on stage can sometimes come to a slight stop as we all let the joking and laughter die down so that we can continue on with whatever it was that was being worked on.

With all that's happening to my play, I'm very happy with what's been done and it'll be great once we reach that finish line, but just for right now, I love watching the whole thing pan out.

Definition: Blocking is the process of planning where, when, and how actors will move about the stage during a performance. A term coined by W.S. Gilbert, who used small wooden blocks to represent actors, moving these about on a miniature set of a planned work.

         I do not know if the definition I gave above is hundred percent true especially the part about W.S. Gilbert. But I liked it. It fits what my blog is about today. The movement of the actors based on the script and my personal style.

         So far we are going strong! I have a wonderful cast who are ready and able to work. There is a lot of laughter as one of us says something and everyone else pause to see if they heard what they just said. Or when one of the actor who is working with a dialect stretch a word beyond what was expected. Movement and the play also have us in stitches. I really like to laugh so... Maybe it can go on a little long, but I do brings us back. We have not yet finished what we set out to work on because we got too distracted.

        I did basic blocking on the show last week and this week I started refining it. Adding emotion and discussing the characters. Bring it to life. Building on the script. Megan (the writer) told me last night that the show was becoming mine. It would always be hers but I was adding (and taking away, to tell the truth) things that she hadn't even thought of.

      This week Megan (again the writer) could be at rehearsal. It was such a kick having her! When the few lines came up that landed wrong on my ear. I would point them out. She is such a good sport. It must be really hard for her to watch her baby being raised by someone else. I not sure how gracious I would be if I had a director who dropped a big part of the blocking I had written because she felt it was unnecessary and was never mentioned in the lines. A rule in theatre: If it is not in the lines it can be changed. But if the character mentions a color or that the statue is of Napoleon then it must be like that on stage. Fun. And she has been so good about it. For instance: You (the audience) will never see a welcome mat in this play. Sorry. And most of the bad words have been remove. Again sorry if that just breaks your heart.

      Then there are each of my fabulous actors who brings their own thoughts and personality to the room. And I am ever willing to have them give me their take on what is happening. There have been instances when I have ask what this scene means to them when they are not willing. And a few time they have helped each other through a problem without me needing to say anything.

         I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful cast. For they are willing to reread the same line over at least ten times while I work out just what I want to happen with movement and emotion as it is read. A cast who doesn't mind trying things, that I state right out front that I will probably hate but still must see. Actors who listen to me ramble on far longer then necessary to make a point and then try and do what they think my disjointed monologue meant, and often bring something far better. Every day I am more and more enthralled.

Well as the time nears for another rehearsal I going to wrap this up with a few picture to show you all how confusing theatre can be. ;)
These are the words that a good director will use when telling you to go somewhere on stage. Hmm.  Hopefully I will soon start. 

Scared yet?


Howdy yall,
Alex here again from FFDG. Today I'd like to talk a bit about the progress we've made in rehearsals and challenges that have arose.

As of last week, we finish blocking! Hooray! There were a few reasons this took so long, we have some double-cast actors with more pressing obligations (The Misanthrope in particular sucks the life out of our rehearsal schedule), and my emerging directing style has brought up challenges. Through feedback and self-reflection I have noticed that I bombard actors with instruction even when we're simply trying to block out certain scenes. While they are talented enough and haven't complained, I can see how ridiculous it is to keep track of small things like inflection on particular lines when they're still furious writing down the staging directions. Although I feel it is a good thing for me to have such a specific vision of the play, the small details can be fixed at a later time (next week is our first run through off book). Until then, I'll just keep making notes, storing up my detail directions like a fuming volcano that once the breaking point is reached will drown out entire civilizations in it's cataclysmic lava torrent (this simile is 75% tongue-in-check).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hello readers and welcome to the second of the Eight required blog postings for La Vie en Rose written by the director of the production, me, Michael Beaton.  As you are aware, it has been quite a while since I have made a blog posting, in fact the only other contribution that I have made to the theatre blog was my introductory post a few weeks ago.  I admit that some Spring term slacking has been going on for my part, as well as my other obligations to work and the production of The Misanthrope, which you should definitely come and see if you have the opportunity.  

Now, to catch you all up on some things you may have missed in the last few weeks.  Working with the cast of La Vie en Rose has been an easy and productive experience since we began work on the play at the begging of this month.  The technical aspects of the show such as the set lay out and the blocking have been decided and the cast have been great about memorizing and adapting to the changes that have been made.   Hopefully the lay out and blocking decisions I've made will be effective and pleasing to the audience, since now I find that I have to focus my efforts on the most difficult part of the production which is the emotional. 

This play lends itself to the big and bold, both in the characters and the plot.  Tapping into the theatrics of the big and bold emotions in the script and presenting them through the actors has been my biggest challenge so far.  I have discovered that my own confidence and energy for seeing the story played out in front of me over and over again has drained and I fear that the same may be happening to my actors.  As we finished our rehearsal today after one of Mr. Farrow's gloomy and selfish monologues the cast remarked on how tragic and depressing the play can be and how it might affect them.  I didn't enjoy this remark however, since I know that the lack of energy is not a result of the script, but of the need to energize the cast and put more energy and style into their characters. 

I admit that my own energy for the play has been diminishing.  My initial excitement for being a director and being in charge of all the decisions was replaced with the realization and the sobriety of all the many responsibilities and work that comes from being in charge.  I need to find my second wind for this play.  I need to go back and see what about it I liked and what I am trying to say with it.  If I can find my bearings and put us in a good direction, then I know I can make it all work. 

Tomorrow is a new day.  Rehearsal will go well.  Things will get done, and the production will be good. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Future Future Future 3

Last Friday night I went to the movies to see "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio (It was very entertaining by the way). I could not help but think how stupid and ridiculous it is that he (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the exterior antagonist of the play I wrote. But then I realized that things I often think of as stupid and/or ridiculous I also find funny. To me comedy is something that is absurd. Something that is stretched past reason or understanding but still is somewhat identifiable.
Over the past few weeks it has been very entertaining to watch the four wonderful actors (Alex, Jay, Bryan, and Chris) and our director (Alex) bring this ridiculous script to life. I particularly feel that the over the top emotions and dynamics in each scene are coming together quite nice. The actors are doing a great job and are all very funny. And although I am not an actor and could very well be wrong about this; I feel like in many ways it is probably a lot more challenging to make a scene funny than it is to make a scene sad or tense (So props to the actors for being so funny). At this point in the process I basically have the luxury of just watching each scene unfold at rehearsals, which has been a lot of fun. We have a great team and a great Director and I am very excited for the One-Act Festival! Cheers,

P.S. If you have never read "The Great Gatsby", then do it! No movie could ever do the book justice. F. Scott Fitzgerald is a genius. Also read "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Billner 4

It looks like another week is down, and it's time to reflect on the process. Recently we had George Caldwell come in and discuss what will happen with the staging and order. Luckily a lot of things he discussed with us we are already completely in agreement with. Stuff that should make sense, not abusing the tech crew since they are here to help us, and taking into account that this is a theatrical show and not having too many overly ambitious staging requirements. 
So far the rehearsals are going really well, and my actors are bringing forth and discovering interesting things that I've never thought of before, and even though it's not entirely how I envisioned it, I agree with the direction taken with it. The cast is hilarious, and it's shaping up to be a great show. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

FFDG Round 2

Hey Everybody,

I am very excited about the progress that has been made thus far. We have four wonderful actors who are really bringing the script to life in very cool and funny way. Blocking and scene structure have been the main point of focus lately. As some one who knows very little about the process, I feel that the rehearsals have been educational to say the least. It is also a lot of fun to see the words you have written transform into three dimensional characters in a real space/setting. Alex (The Director) is doing a really good job of organizing everyone and explaining the scenes through blocking. The actors have also brought in a lot of good feedback about the script. In rehearsals there have been many great ideas involving various ways to emphasize different lines or gags with either blocking or vocal inflection. It is really nice to work with creative people who enjoy doing this type of thing and really seem to get the comedic style of the play. To be honest, when I wrote this play last term for my final assignment in the Playwriting Class I didn't think that anyone else would get my weird and border line absurd humor. Thanks to Alex and the rest of the cast I think by the time "Future, Future, Dear God!" is performed it will be very funny and enjoyable for all.
The best part about this class and this experience so far has been meeting and working with people who are excited and passionate about being creative. This is my last term here at OSU and I can honestly say that in the years I have been here I have never done anything quite like this. It has been a ton of fun so far and I am really looking forward to the weeks ahead!


Billner 3

The pieces are all in place and we have a cast for the show! It's interesting to see something we worked on in class to start gearing up and being produced. At this point, I still think it's a pretty funny play, and now that the actors are slowly getting into the characters, I get to see the differences between how people view what I had written, and how it was originally constructed in my head. I like what's going on and look forward to seeing it come together.
So far everyone in the cast has been great, and very professional, I don't believe we will have any problem's with the cast, and even though it's very soon in the rehearsal process things have been going exceptionally smoothly, and outside of the cast, all the other playwrights and directors have been awesome to get to know and work with. This show will be awesome.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hi Everyone! Alex here again with another entry into the Future Future Dear God Director's Blog!

Since we last met, the show has been cast and rehearsals have started. I am very happy to say that aside from some scheduling conflicts there seems to be little to no friction, especially when it comes to the work we're doing in rehearsal.  After the first read-through we focused on blocking out the two first scenes (the whole play is composed of three, a short beginning followed by two larger portions).

I don't want to brag so much about how my cast is superior to those in the other One Acts, but it's hard not to after witnessing such talented people work quickly to block out over half the play within two hour-long rehearsals. I had expected to have blocking take up more time, bleeding into the week after next, but at this point we appear ahead of schedule which is awesome in every sense of the word. Seeing that time is our biggest limitation, this gives us the opportunity for more refining of scenes in the future.

Throughout this process I've noticed my own directing style begin to appear in it's different manifestations. For the most part I keep it free-flowing, and aside from keeping within the boundaries of the concept I allow and encourage the actors to make their own decisions in regards to what feels natural or right in the moment. I feel this enables us to move quickly, as they are working with their own initiative under the greater intent that Mike and I give them. There were a few moments where I stepped in and changed something specific that I felt wasn't working, but I only had to do that infrequently. The cast jives with our vision for the play, and that becomes obvious when lines are hilarious and just work out on the "first take."

That's it for now, I should probably kick myself back into my normal pattern of skepticism in order to not have my dreams crushed by some unseen and impending doom slowly descending upon this production, but these people and circumstances make it hard to add a storm cloud to all of this silver lining. Until next time!

May your dreams always have like, five or six other dreams in them.

La Vie en Rose: And let the rehearsals begin…

I have never been a part of theater before and it really wasn't until auditions that I fully realized that this was going to be onstage, played out in front of an audience. But it was more of surrealistic experience instead of a nerve racking one.  Our rehearsals have begun this week and it is an amazing thing to see these words that have been written down and edited (and edited and edited and edited) not just being spoken but being acted out.The cast that Mike chose are doing great and seeing the little pieces being put together, and the actors bringing these characters to life to what is going to be a final performance is a lot of fun.

I was able to catch portions of a “Future, Future; Dear God” rehearsal and realized the crazy arrangement of one acts we will all have together. Going from Mike’s stoner-semi sci-fi comedy with an ex-Nazi scientist and then Megan’s mixing of Christian and Greek mythologies (throwing in a womanizing box man) to a conversation of political ideologies in the 30’s/40’s to Chris’s "The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner"…it’s going to be a fun night to say the least.