Sunday, May 31, 2015

Getting Closer! - The Mark

       Toward the end of the rehearsal process is always the hardest but the most fun. This whole past week we have been working hard to put all the one-act shows together. Starting this past Tuesday, every actor, director, and playwright gathered into the lab theatre to begin putting all the pieces together. This includes all 4 shows and the dreaded set changes!!! Oh set changes can be the worst! Or the best if done well! It takes skill and practice to make them perfect. The cool thing about the One-Act festival is all the actors also get to be part of the crew and change the sets. Changing sets and moving set pieces is a show in itself and can be fun to watch. Maybe I am just weird, but on Tuesday night I went to bed thinking about set changes in my head. Eventually I went to sleep. Now they are going much smoother! In a couple more days they will be even better! Keep up the good work team! 

       Okay, besides the set changes, it has been fun to finally see the other three shows! This is what makes the festival so fun. All the hard work starts coming together and we share this experience with each other. It has also been a great time to meet the other cast members and all be together! There are so many people involved I don't even know how to count. I am also working on the biography and head shots for all the actors, directors, writers, costumers, and crew and it is taking forever. It feels like there are 100 people working on this. Lots of crazy fun! I will share some of this fun with you.

Here are pictures of some of my cast watching the other performances. My cast always sits together like the little collective they are. Getting into character! 

Here is a picture of me sitting with Reilly (Kirby) and Max (Steve) before they get into places. Selfie!

Cheep Cheep Blog 4 - Joseph Workman

I had the privilege of doing some crafts work with Mr. Ries this past weekend.  We blew out the contents of over 20 eggs.  Alex had a special knack for it, the blowhard!  But really, it was some good fun.  You poke a small hole in the top and bottom of the egg and... well, put your mouth over one end and blow the contents out the other.  Hopefully we don't get Salmonella poisoning.  Alex posted the video of Modern Mom's demonstrating the technique.  The empty eggs will then be filled with a mixture of corn starch/syrup or something and water, so as not to make things a big smelly mess for Casey or her costume.  They will also break easily, which is nice.  

We had a bit of a scare concerning the readiness of our costumes, but it was quickly remedied and I'm quite pleased and amused by what Cory and Sherry developed.  Cheep Cheep Farms' uniforms consist of yellow shirts and red aprons, as Alex had envisioned.  However, our costumers added a lovely touch by attaching yellow feathers they had ripped from boas.  I think the subtle suggestion of a chicken provides an elegant solution to the original requirement of a full-on chicken suit.  Max even has a silly cap with red plumage and an angled bill to appear as a chicken beak.

I am also proud of Alex for arranging the simplest set of all the shows, consisting of a single wooden fair booth with multiple signs to distinguish a change in location.  The signs are awesome; they've been painted well and with appropriate fonts - the spooky, droopy look of "The Haunted Corn Maze" is my favorite. The bike he pulled (from a roommate, maybe?) is not the brand new shiny red machine I had envisioned.  Instead, is a grimy, flat-tired, rusty grey and blue beast.  I like it.  It's funny to think that Chester skimps out on the prizes, as Sandy recalls having received sub-par gifts in the past for her service.  For her and Maxwell, however, even this worn out model seems a holy grail of a prize.  The best part about it is the excruciatingly slow squeaky-wheel sound it makes as Marge thoughtlessly flaunts her win in front of Maxwell.  Overall, I'm really happy about what we have and am excited seeing the actors interact with our new materials.


Well everyone,

Here we are. Tech. Tech is the time to get shit done, to put those sound cues in, to get those light cues perfect, and to get those costume changes uh...happening. With every tech there is a learning curve. It's understandably the actor's first time with the lights and sounds which before the stage manager was annoyingly calling out, "lights up!" Now it's the real deal. And it's the light and sound board operator's first time actually seeing the shows in full swing, so there's bound to be some hurry up and wait time. I was actually really impressed on how efficiently it all went once we started. Today was probably the best day because we ran the shows all the way though like we would at a performance instead of just doing a cue-to-cue (which means jumping to the spot where the music or lights change). The main things we dealt with today was costume changes and making transitions faster and cleaner. Seeing as today was the first day with costumes it wasn't too bad. It's just getting better and going faster and I think we can all agree we're a little ancey for opening night.

Reporting on this caffeine epidemic! 

Linda looking a little grubby

All Gussied Up

Now that tech is done we move on to one of the most exciting days for actors, directors, and playwrights alike (though no one will actually admit it because real theatre should only involve the true portrayal of a well-defined character who sure as hell doesn't need a costume for further development so it's not actually a big deal or whatever...). Dress rehearsal! Yay! Okay, so, I get it. Costumes shouldn't alter the way you portray that character you've spent the past x number of weeks developing (except for when they totally alter you movement-- "what do you mean you can no longer lift your arms above your belly button, you silly actor, you?"-- then you have a completely legitimate excuse). But actually, costumes definitely shouldn't lead to some unforeseen massive changes to characters or blocking and if they do, then that's a problem. And they pretty much never do because incredible, magic (or crazy hard working-- one or the other) people known as "costume designers" somehow anticipate nearly every issue possible and seemingly effortlessly prevent them (Note: Nothing they do is, in fact, effortless. It's all an illusion. Don't let yourself be fooled. They work their asses off so don't let them get away with making you think they don't deserve your profuse thanks and admiration.).

Pre-Costumed Antics (Photo Credit to Dr. Elizabeth Helman)

So, yeah, back to costumes. No matter what people say, they're fun. They're super fun. Like 4 year-old sneaking into grandma's closet and putting on a fashion show fun. Why is it that dressing-up like an eighty year-old woman or a technology-shunning cult member struggling through his toast obsession is oh-so entertaining? The answer to that, dear Reader, is simple. Because you get to pretend you're someone you're not. For a moment, matching pastels and black pants are a-ok. You get to be a ridiculous mess and then shed your Jehovah Witness-esque frock and return to the real world. As a writer, costumes give the goofy little world that was once but a figment of my imagination life. And that's cool. Really cool. Seeing a world you've worked so hard to collaboratively develop with your super talented cast and crew suddenly come to life is awesome. It's why theatre's just a little magical. So, yeah, I'm going to be stoked about these costumes. I don't care what you say. Unless it's a big thanks to Barbara Mason because she's incredible.    

What'd I Tell You? Magic! (Photo ala Liz)
More Magic's Coming! Stay Tuned!

Cheep Cheep 5

Now that we've had our first dress rehearsal, I'd like to talk about insecurities and solutions.

From my experience, there's always a moment that happens a few days before any show opens. It's when everyone involved hates everything about the show. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the lack of freshness. This is particularly striking for comedies, as without a fresh audience every night nearly every punchline is received with a stark silence because we've all heard it a thousand times. We all begin to question whether any of this is good. Did we screw the pooch on this entire thing? Will opening night have three audience members, two of whom leave during intermission, the other sitting there long after the show is over because he expired? Will my show actually kill someone because of how boring it is?

Obviously, this is unrealistic pessimism, but that's an example of the inevitable insecurities people feel when performances are looming. Having done this before, I know that everything will turn out fine. The real question however, is should I allow my play to be "fine?" For me and my cast, I firmly believe that we have to push to the very end and not grow complacent. Not only does this improve the show, but it also raises the stakes of the performances. Newness, freshness can be discovered even this late in the process and needs to be pushed for. Otherwise you're going to end up with a "fine" production, which is a disservice to the audience and everyone involved when there were wide opportunities to find more. 

See my show! Wednesday!

Get to know PJ Harris

In our first installment of Get to Know the Cast and Costume Crew of Answer Me we're going to hear a little bit about Patricia Jean Harris, or you can call her PJ for short. Let's get started!

This is PJ!

Patricia Jean Harris is a first year student here at Oregon State University. She is from Lake Oswego, Oregon and she attended Lake Oswego high school. PJ is majoring in Theatre with a minor in Music.
Currently she sings in Bella Voce, OSU's women's choir, directed by Tina Bull and she is also finishing up her 5th year of private solo training with Richard Poppino. According to her, "The hardest part about college so far has been scheduling my required classes for these two because the music department works off a separate scheduling system than the other departments. But I'm managing!"

One way PJ combined her interests in music and theatre is through her involvement in OSU's recent Spring Drag Show. At this year's show she won the title of OSU Drag Royalty (formerly known as the King/Queen of the Beaver) alongside Miss Dharma. She has only performed for a short time but you can find her under the pseudonym King Julian.

Be sure to check out PJ in Answer Me beginning June 3rd through the 7th!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marked Improvement

Hello Again!

Things have really picked-up for the entire one-act company as we prepare for opening night (less than a week away-- what?). Last Tuesday we began all-company run-thrus which have been going impressively smoothly thus far. I had the joy of watching each of these plays evolve in our playwrighting class last term into the little gems they are today, so actually watching them staged has been extremely exciting. Everyone's doing so well!

I'm especially proud of our little cast for continuing to make discoveries and adding to their characters each and every night. Every run is different and they're almost always an improvement on the run prior. Yay progress! We still have a while to go, but we're definitely getting there. My role is becoming more and more obsolete, in fact, which is actually a really cool experience because I'm used to being on the other side. Anyone who's done theatre can tell you tech week can get a bit hairy and the looming opening night always seems fairly daunting, no matter how well prepared you feel. This go-round I'm on the sidelines. My job's pretty much done. Weird.

I was pretty nervous for our first company run-thru. Would the other casts like our show? Are we as prepared as everyone else? I was blown away by how well everybody did that first night and several people came-up to me afterwards and let me know how much they enjoyed our show. Score! Of course, it's only funny due to the incredible personality each character has been given by their actors and Anna's direction, but I'm glad the bare-bones contribution I made has made people laugh. I'm so proud of everyone in our company. I think our festival's going to go swimmingly!

So what comes next? Well, our actors will be performing their first dress rehearsal tomorrow and we open Wednesday! We're definitely on the final stretch and it's incredible. Like I said, I'm pretty useless at this point. So, unless Anna or Liz have a job for me I pretty much just hang back and watch. Oh! I toasted an entire loaf of bread today for props, so I guess that counts for something, too, right? Regardless, things are great and there's no indication that should change. Thanks for sticking with us on this little journey so far. I can't wait to share with you what comes next.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Caffeinated Crisis?

Well, we made it through company run-throughs. Tuesday was the first run and it went really well and we found that we needed to add another sound cue. Linda Mann's news music is so great, we found that last week. We had a few hick-ups when of come to lines but they tried to cover it and did a good job of that. Wednesday went well, lines were better. But, there was a prop that broke. That poor vase didn't stand a chance. Yet, we decided to not use it and we got rid of a table and two chairs. It looks a lot better and gives the actors more room to play and move around in. The actors are doing a job at having each character having their own characterization. Isaac is one that really surprised me, his dealer voice is getting creepier and creepier. Which I love, I love that the audience will probably feel uncomfortable during that scene. Thursday was good, we had some lighting today and I gave Brain, Bri-Bri,some notes on our play. After rehearsal, we reworked a scene because we are down to one table and we needed to work the jump, we ended up changing the angle of the counter, it just works better and is safer for the jump. 

I can't wait for tech rehearsal on Saturday. 8am call for directors and dramatists.

Here are some pictures from Thursday:

Look at the cast! Kelsea saw me!

The whole cast on stage!!

Love the signs that we made, Bry!!

Until next time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cheep Cheep 4

Hello everyone, it's your friend Alex Ries here.

I hope you've been having a good time since we were last together. Today I'd like to talk to you about a few things, well, two things really. This entry is props and costumes and how I hate them.

I think it has something to do with my experience as an actor, but aside from a few exceptions, props and costumes have always felt like an unnecessary pain. To me (in my broad interpretation of realist, "good" theater) a character should be defined almost entirely by the actor, an aspect which the character's costume should at most lightly contribute to. However, my opinion is not shared as I've seen productions where costumes upstage and in some cases take the place of actual acting. Therefore, when directing I prefer the minimalist approach. I look to improv as a positive, though extreme example, where in the long-form you can create very real characters without any costumes and pantomiming props.

In fact, the less extraneous [vulgarity redacted] I have to deal with as a director (besides the actors) the better. As Shakespeare once famously said: "Keep it simple you stupid idiot." In my show we will have costumes and we will have props, in fact Joseph and I blew (chuckle) out a bunch of eggs to use in the finale of the show. I won't spoil what they are for, but feel free to watch this very strange tutorial from which we learned how to do it. I too, one day, aspire to be a Modern Mom.

However, in spite of all the blowing I've made choices to constrict costumes and props to a minimalist level, because it would be stupid to spend that much energy on them as opposed to working with the actors. Not that you couldn't do both, but we are all students here.

Since we'll be doing work on the show nearly every day from this point onward, expect more posts in the near future.

Cheep Cheep Blog 3 - Joseph Workman

A couple weeks ago Sam Zinsli had Alex Ries and I on his radio show with KBVR to discuss "Cheep, Cheep!" and the one acts, as well as our general experience/background with theatre at OSU.  

Before coming here, I transferred between two different universities and took a year off.  I attended the University of Puget Sound for part of my freshman year, spent a brief period at Portland State, went back to UPS, and then chose not to re-enroll for my junior year, opting to take some time to try not going to school and figure things out.  When I decided to go back to school, it was for computer science, because I felt that computers will be the waaaaave of the future and I'd have much better job security.  Also, I wanted to work on video games.  This endeavor obviously didn't work out. I took some valuable lessons from my experiences in that study, but didn't feel like I fit in; I didn't have passion for it.  Plenty of people do jobs that they're not passionate about, so I feel a bit sick about this entitlement, but also lucky enough to have the privilege and opportunity to have a say in the matter. It didn't take long for me to once again gravitate toward theatre.

Starting over at OSU, I've had to relearn a lot of things, having retained only some foundation from high school and UPS.  While "Cheep, Cheep!" is silly and by no means brilliant, I remember a time where I was unable to even finish a script.  Having heard my writing over and over again for the past couple weeks, of course there are things I would change/rework.  But more important than that I have noticed things in the script that I can pin to subconscious tendencies or memories/emotional recollections, which has been an interesting, reflective learning process.  For instance, Maxwell's emotional attachment to bicycles is a not so exaggerated aspect of myself; I have had three bicycles stolen from me over the course of my college career, and I used to ride through Washington rain storms in a swimsuit.  Margery is based on a girl who used to stalk me when I helped out at CCD which is like Sunday school for older kids if I recall correctly... (I just googled it:: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine - I never knew what it stood for all these years since I believed in God and heaven and things.)  Chester's ideal of Cheep Cheep Farms is the American dream of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and a baseless belief in the power of optimism - something I've been taught to mistrust but value all the same.
Also, in the very appearance of the writing itself, there are particular stylistic habits of capitalization, use of ellipses, hyphens, elongated vowels, etc., which are useful to me to record the way I hear the character's voice, but can be distracting to an actor reading the page.  The habit of writing that way is useful to me, but I'd like to clean it up to where it's also accessible and open to the actor.

Things are coming to a head for the one acts and opening is already next week.  It feels sudden, yet there's still so much I want to do. We have run-throughs of all the shows til Thursday, which leaves little time for working specifically with our cast.  I never feel ready for a show to open, but somehow it seems to come together each time, so I'll trust in that.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Sam's thoughts:

Hello internet, my name is Sam Zinsli and I am directing Answer Me, written by Amanda Kelner. The play is about a "psychic" named Matilda. Her powers are not like Matilda Wormword's powers from the critically acclaimed movie Matilda but she can see into the future-ish! Matilda, the hermit, thinks she has it all figured out until Tegan, a young rover traipsing across the United States in search of a better life, comes to the South in search of a new job. What will happen next?! Will Matilda ever leave the house? Will Tegan find her dream job? Will somebody Answer Me? Come see the 2015 Spring One Act Festival to find out!

I'm excited to share this play and over the course of the nest two weeks I will put up biographies of the cast and costume crew of Answer Me. I hope you'll enjoy them! Here are some preliminary pictures from rehearsals:
This is Amanda. She wrote Answer Me.

Table Werk with Air Dools and Emily!
This is Emily sitting at her desk!

Run-throughs start tomorrow!!

Ack! So this three day weekend sure has been nice, but guess what? That means tomorrow we start run-throughs! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. It's time to do our best and iron out all the details in this last week before we perform. The costumes look good (check), the actors have most of their props (almost check), and they are all memorized and ready to rock (check and check). I'm really excited to get this show on the road and show the creativity that each actors brings to it.

Last rehearsal was a bunch of fun, and I think we're really going to do this...we really are going to perform!

Here's our cast doing their thing!

The whole stage is looking pretty good! 

This is what will happen to you too, if you get addicted to coffee!

Signs Teri and I made for the protestors! 

We hate corporate greed! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Caffeine Injection

We're heading into company run through week and we are coming together. I was a little worried going into last week. I was worried about being off book but they did it and they are memorized and I couldn't be happier. This show is going to Dina do entertaining. We even got our music all planed and been working with it. Here's our playlist:
Our love playwright always willing to step in:

Having fun with props:
The notepad!!

One of my favorite moments:

Evil look!!

Bry and I got together and made the protestor signs:

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Play Time!

We're back on track and ready to work. With all work comes good play, not the screwing around kind of play, but playing with characters, emotion, and decisions on stage. This is where we are now. It was fun seeing Isaac and other actors work on voice changes and little character developments. These minute details make all the difference and it's good to see some progress. My favorite thing about being a stage manager is when actors are off-book. Last rehearsal went well off-book and they continue to make progress. Those who were a little shaky with their lines soon figured out that playtime is over if you aren't memorized. Teri can attest to yesterday's rehearsal where the actors met the the costume designers and hammered out some final details. It's exciting to see this show come together! Even the coffee tables and coffee counter look great! As we rehearse the rest of the week I can't wait to see the progress we'll make and how it will shape out show. Enjoy these photos from our last rehearsals!

Here's Isaac strutting his stuff as "Dealer"

Oooh creepy!

"Who do we hate? The Man!"

Cheep Cheep Blog 2 - Joseph Workman

Uhhh, been pretty crazy lately, am behind on things, something-something, excuses, DOLLY WEST opening?! yada-yada - !

It is nice, though, to take a moment and reflect on how the process has been going.  The time between my sickness and running sound for "Dolly West's Kitchen" allowed for a brief interlude of gracing rehearsals with my presence, and to my pleasure and surprise I took on a much more active role than I had initially envisioned. Instead of simply staying on script for lines and lobbing the occasional feeble comment from the sidelines, Ries has had me taking the actors out to the green room to do one-on-one work.

This makes me nervous, as it puts me in an assistant director's position without supervision. Is this a good idea?  Why give me permission to screw this up?  What if we work at cross purposes?  

Alex and I direct differently.  He is direct; blunt and brief, but in an admirably efficient sort of way.  I am hesitant, at times to a fault.  I don't like to stop people until they've run the thing we've worked on all the way through at least once.  Most of what I do begins with getting the actor comfortable.  Getting them to feel open and trusting of me and our work environment is important to me.  I'd like the process to be collaborative instead of imposing my own dominating vision; I'm not one to pretend to have all the answers.  So building trust (perhaps even rapport) with the actors is a priority.

Teaching (or trying to teach :( ) someone how to act makes me think about why and and how and what I do what I do, and what makes that successful.  I try to understand how the actor feels, and then think about the times I've felt that way and how I overcame it.  Too often, though, I feel like a wild hermit who was deposited in the forest and raised by wolves, and those I'm trying to teach are perfectly normal upstanding citizens who have had the misfortune of winding up disoriented in my neck of the woods. Their survival is now dependent on my half-baked ravings and broken English.  Perhaps the occasional flung feces.  
I rack my brain for ways to help the poor actors in front of me - standing there, smiling and trusting - and tread carefully, paranoid that I'll lead them down the wrong path.

I've directed before.  Last year I chose a play called "The Sign" by Stephen Bittrich, and worked with Tom Nath and Brian Smith.  Tom was a novice actor, and luckily he was patient with me and good at listening.  I think the material was more easily accessible to sensitive, introverted types; it was sentimental and quiet.  It required very little blocking as both characters spend the duration of the play about 40 feet up in the air on a tree limb, which meant we could focus more on inner aspects of character rather than broad, physical movement.  All these things made our task in telling the story easier.

"Cheep, Cheep!" on the other hand, requires a bombastic kind of energy, the kind that took my nervous, restricted pubescent body most of high school to even begin to comprehend.  And that's the challenge we're facing with our novice actors in this piece.  We want to get people comfortable in their bodies and voices, willing to look ridiculous, willing to play, and bring a sort of hyper energy so that the piece is shot at the audience like confetti from one of those birthday popper things.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

...And We're Back!

Wow! Well, it's certainly been a while since I posted last. Whoops! Between midterms, Those Scary Reds, and rehearsals, things have been pretty crazy. However, I just finished my last midterm, Reds is (sadly) closed, and it's time for me to dedicate my time fully to this wonky little one-act!

So, what's going on currently in the world of The Mark?

Props have been pulled...

Lines have been memorized...

And slowly, but very, very steadily, our little play is coming to life...

Is it just me or is there an uncanny resemblance between the above (very blurry, sorry) photo and Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam"?

Yeah, probably just me.

Regardless, things have been going well. Rehearsals started out a bit slow as a result of one of our very, very talented actors being very, very busy with Dolly West's Kitchen. He did fabulously, and is now able to dedicate more time to The Mark following Dolly West's closing. So rehearsals are now on a more stable, regular schedule and everyone's newfound dedication is already paying off. Like, crazy paying off. 

Maybe it's because up until now my experience with theatre has been almost exclusively on stage, but I've never had the pleasure of truly witnessing an entire ensemble just "click". I mean, I've definitely felt it, but being able to witness the visual transformation of a bunch of bodies moving through their blocking to a bunch of characters actually interacting with each other and their environments is really, really incredible. It just seemed to happen overnight. One day we all got together for rehearsals and the entire cast just had it down. They came up with silly mannerisms. They developed spontaneous physical humor bits that added life to the play as a whole. They made this silly little world which, up until now, has pretty much just floated around in our heads, a seemingly real, tangible reality. And it's so much better than I could have anticipated. 

The crazy thing, however, is that I know this didn't all happen overnight. I've been in my actors' shoes and know what sort of dedication and hard work goes into their character choices and performances. They're working their butts off for us, and it has got to be one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had. Never in my life did I think for a second I'd be fortunate enough to see a play I wrote be staged (then again, I never thought I'd write a play in the first place, so...). I'm so overwhelming glad I've gotten the opportunity to embark on this crazy adventure with these incredible people and that they've been kind enough to enthusiastically take on this story. Their willingness and excitement to take the words from a script and transform them into an engaging little one-act is incredible. I feel beyond fortunate. 

So... What comes next? Well, we've done a lot of good work, but we're no where close to being finished. More run-throughs await, followed by company run-throughs, followed by tech, and not-too-far-off performances (is it just me, or has this term flown by?). It's time to really buckle-down and focus for the next few weeks. Through continual hard work and dedication I know'll we'll be ready though. I'm stoked! As always, thanks for sharing this journey with me. 

Stay Tuned!

Caffeine into Gear

Well, Dolly West is now over and time to put all my focus on this show. Sunday was a long frustrating day. We really had get tough on the actors and tell them that this is the last week we have to work on our show before we do run throughs with everybody. But I'm happy that they are all getting more and more off book. 

Tonight's rehearsal went well, we got to run through it twice and it's a little too long. But I know that once the actors get all their lines down, then they can pick up speed and it will cut the time down.

Here are some picks from Sunday and Monday:
Rachel stepping in to help Isaac

The whole cast!!!

Until next time!

Monday, May 18, 2015

I've returned!

I've returned! And with so much more to say! Forgive the absence. Concert weeks are here and for those non-musicians out there, that simply means I'm never home and I sleep a little less. It's almost over though.

We've also managed to make quite a bit of progress on "Answer Me" since I last posted. Just today we had a full run through that managed to work! True, there are some technicalities that still need to be ironed out and lines aren't perfect, but the end is in sight! What does this mean for me as the writer? It means that the changes I want to make probably shouldn't be made at this point. I knew this day was coming, but I didn't realize how hard it would be. Each time we run through a scene, I think of a better word or a better phrase or a way to elaborate on one of the play's central themes. Never have I been so acutely aware of the concept that the piece is never complete in the eyes of the creator. I refrain myself, mostly to save the actors from any added stress of memorizing lines and then relearning them, but also to remind myself that this is no longer mine to adjust. True, my name is on it and I sit in rehearsal and if a technicality calls for a line or word to be changed, I comply. But in hearing it aloud and watching it performed, I constantly find myself wanting to change, to develop, to delete, to enhance, and a whole manner of other things. I suppose this isn't a feeling I'll ever get rid of for any piece I write, but I've already begun to formulate methods of revision that will help with this process. Until then, I'll just have to live with what I have and be grateful its worth presenting.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kicking into High Gear

Well it's been a crazy week and Dolly West just closed so Teri and are ready to get this show moving along! Rehearsals have been crazy, but this week (with all luck) is going to be awesome. Tonight and last rehearsal on Thursday we made a lot of progress. Since we came back from a rather weird break (with the play being over and Teri being sick) tonight was a good comeback. We did as much of the show as possible end then did some character work.

This weeks' goals are to:

1) Make sure everyone has their lines down perfect (that means actors do outside work)
2) Make transitions smooth (Be on top of cues)
3) Keep coming up with creative character ideas
4) Be super ready by tech (meaning run the show multiple times by the end of the week)

Here is Isaac showing off his stuff as "Dealer"

This was from last rehearsal, the final scene. 

Here are the CEOs plotting their evil caffeinated plan! 

I think we're ready and really excited of this week, maybe all we need is a little coffee for motivation?

I'm Bring Coffee Back, Yeah!

After having a week off from rehearsals due to tech and opening weekend of Dolly West, we are back into rehearsals! I'm very proud of this cast. They are all almost completely off book and we are just starting to work out the kinks. 

Here are some photos from our first rehearsal back:
The three CEOs hatching their plan!

Look at our lovely writer filling in!!

Sometimes she gets too into writing on her notepad.

I believe this show is going to be great and we are all working hard in making this show fun every time. We have yet to discover that moment when everything just isn't funny anymore. I hope we never do, I didn't last year.

Well, until next time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


        On Sunday night we had a wonderful rehearsal. By this I mean the pieces of the story were coming together and the actors were acting! It was just great. there was lots of energy and everyone had ideas they would try and play around with. The little character moments were coming to life! 

        When directing sometimes I get stuck in my head and what I see is not what is on stage. I may think something is funny or looks great, but the audience may disagree. I guess this is like my biggest fear! I may see the play completely wrong and I am making my actors do weird stuff on stage for everyone to see. Well if they do weird things on stage than it is okay. But really, when the actors, playwright, and I are having a good time then it must be okay. We might be on track. Sunday night was a rehearsal where we all felt like we were moving in the right direction as a team toward something great! 

         We still have a long way to go until opening but it is always exciting to see the work coming together. When we go off book, tonight, there will be a whole new set of problems but it is part of the process. Rehearsal shots soon to come! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cracked out on Caffeine

This week has been pretty crazy. With Dolly West's Kitchen opening and the gala, and so many transitions its a wonder that the One Acts are still on our radar, but they are. The last rehearsal we had went well, the actors are mostly off book and the blocking is complete. We're excited to move forward to the next steps, the fun part like character work and making it really tight. So far we have most of our props, we have our ground plan, and we have our awesome costumers on contact. Some problems that we've run into (and what I've discovered most though the process) is how to deal with transitions. I realized after the fact that I didn't really write in smooth transitions, which is a big challenge fro Teri. The great thing about being at rehearsals and now that I'm done with Lucky Me and I can be at every rehearsal I can bounce ideas back and fourth off of the actors. For example at the last rehearsal I was at we realized that there was an awkward silence when Dutch was hitting Ezra behind the coffee counter.  To solve this at the next rehearsal the actors and Teri started brainstorming some ideas of what to say, like the names of Dutch Bros drinks aka "Annihilator" or "Dutch 911" etc as they are hitting her down. I though this was a really creative solution! This is just one example out of many on how collaborative our cast has been so far.

                                            Here's an example of the brainstorming!

This next week we are looking forward to being off book and to working towards putting finishing touches on transitions and continuing to come up with more ideas that help move the plot forward or help make the intentions clear. For now get your coffee fix for week 7 and we'll see you for the One Act festival!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The need for Caffeine!

Well, things are running smoothly. A couple of weeks ago the directors and dramatists went to the Hopkins Forest for the day, so the need for coffee was important, meeting at 8:30am. It was fun, met a lot of people from different departments in Liberal Arts. The car ride up wasn't bad either. I decided not to go on the bus instead rode up with Liz, Elise, Amanda and Joseph. 

The only bad thing that happened that day was that I fell, right after Sam told us to be careful because the ground wet and BOOM!! I fell. Scrapped up my knee, not deep enough to need stitches but it did hurt.

Overall, it was a fun and great day! It just goes to show you that you may come from different worlds but we can come together to create something amazing, like a One Act!!

Until next time!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Well, it is my turn to write a blog entry. This is my first time I have written a blog. I’ll just start by introducing myself to the internet world! Hello random people I may or may not know! My name is Anna Elise Mahaffey (my play writes name is Elise so we share a name! Cool!). I am directing The Mark as a part of the One-Act festival. I am a newer director and have crossed over to the directing world just last year by taking directing classes and directing a one-act for the 2014 festival. I have been involved with theatre and performing for the past decade, plus some years, acting in many roles, assisting backstage, and watching many plays. I love the theatre! It is filled with talent, weirdness, and beautiful expressions of life. Theatre is just plain fun!

I am very excited for the One-Act festival because so many people are involved. After years of hard work, this is a chance for students to put their learned skills to practice from writing, directing, acting, and costume design. There are so many talented people working on this year’s festival and I am proud to have the opportunity to work with them! 

Thanks for reading and following the OSU Theatre blogs as my fellow students and I embark on the One-Act journey. I will have more information and photos of rehearsal to come! 

Cheep Cheep Blog 1 - Joseph Workman

Cheep, Cheep! is a play I wrote that takes place at a carny fair thing about a kid named Maxwell who hates his job and loves bicycles.  The first draft was started in the early hours of the morning it was due, and completed about a half hour before the deadline. I had spent the night trying to write something serious and dramatic, which is hard to do when one is not in a serious mood. (I get a little loopy without sleep.  Go figure.)  After two failed attempts at ideas I'd brainstormed, I decided to just enjoy myself.  I watched some Cyanide & Happiness animations on YouTube, specifically their "Sad Larry" sketches, and the idea for Maxwell was born.  I'm not really sure where everything else came from, but I am pretty good at entertaining myself...

Since that first draft, the play was completed over the course of several procrastination sessions, each more frantic than the last.  In hindsight, I'd like to think there was something spiritually ritualistic about how the final draft was also completed in the half hour before it was due, instead of me just being afraid, having crappy habits, and sucking at time management.  Indeed, it must have been my intent all along.  New characters materialized while others were wiped from existence, personalities altered, and identities/genders merged.  It was all a bit confusing, and rather painful, but the script is more or less set and I can relax.  Somewhat.

I've fallen behind a bit with this blog, due to pneumonia and wisdom teeth surgery, as well as good ol' negligence.  But everything's going to be okay.  I'll make it up to you, dear reader, by sharing my clever insights and behind-the-scenes looks at the process of transitioning script to stage.  Alex Ries is my partner in this endeavor, and he's a pretty cool guy.  Honest.  Check out his blog.  I'm excited to be working with him.