Thursday, December 07, 2006

Perhaps My Most Popular Film to Date

So in one fell and ill-conceived swoop, I've thrown my hat into the world-wide video ring. Any of you who know me, know that I've been talking about trying to make Woot Videos for months. Well, I finally made good on all my blustering and the proof is here

I won't pretend that I'm somehow ashamed of this in hopes that all 0.5 of you reading this might mistake me for one of those 'serious' actors. I'm actually really proud of this. From the conception to execution, I actually followed advice I've been giving myself for year(s): Do Something. Anything is better than nothing and Anything is better with a chimp.

Encourage me to keep persuing the first cockamamie idea to come into my head by giving me constructive criticism or good natured jeers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Self Promotion

A theme of self deprecation will undoubtedly run through any attempt I make to talk about myself. Ironic considering the title and location of this blog. As you can see I'm working some things out. So here's the latest:

September marked a milestone for me; my first feature length 35mm film. It's working title is Ghost Images and the ensemble includes Elisabeth Rohm (of Law & Order fame), Roma Maffia (Nip Tuck), Waylon Payne (Walk The Line), Stacey Dash (Clueless), Matthew Del Negro (Sopranos). If it seems too good to be true, there's confirmation here.

I played a nearly low-life character named Stan, an auxiliary acquaintance of an organized crime boss and politician. Everyone knows a Stan; a little too serious, a little too dumb to run things, but smart enough to be in the middle of it. There's something not entirely likeable about him, but he was more sincere than I thought at first.

A business opportunity places him in the middle of a clique of young urbans, but as with his professional situation, Stan finds himself on the outside. As the story unravels, Stan's position on the outside of this catty bunch doesn't seem like a bad place to be, but it comes with a price as he's implicated in the unseemly goings on. It's not what you expect, and in the hopes that this mediocre write up about a secondary character will entice you to ever sit through the movie, I'll maintain the suspense.

As an actor, the experience was full of points of reflection and opportunities to discuss the craft. I'll look forward to getting into more details in a later post.

On the stage front, I've recently been cast in two shows for 2007. I struggled after Medea with the fact that personal engagements would keep me off the stage for the fall of 2006, but looking back now, it was a good stroke of fortune to be available for these opportunities.

Muddy Waters Theatre Company was kind enough to offer my the role of Biff in their upcoming production of Death of a Salesman. It's a seminal role for someone my age and it won't be a walk in the park. I'd forgotten how exciting the role is until the audition which was on very short notice and with no preparation. Luckily, I'd had the chance to do this show years ago in Dublin and at least I could pull from some murky recollections of Biff to patch together a decent cold reading.

Rehearsals will begin in earnest in January, but I hope to start work on it sooner with Peter Mayer (playing the role of Willy). Peter's a good friend of mine here and a connoisseur of the kind of acting I hope to bring to this role. I'm looking forward to working with actors who have the same aspirations for character and the overall production.

I've also been offered a small role in the Wendy Wasserstein's play An American Daughter for The Orange Girls in July of '07. I have not had an opportunity to get into the character much at this point, but it looks like an opportunity to break out of myself a bit and throw off some of my old, bad habits.

When I look back, it's been a fairly successful fall so far. There's plenty to keep my mind busy the next few months and the promise of some great work ahead.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Post Performance Depression

In the throes of rehearsal and performance it's easy to claim objectivity, but the truth is if you're not 100 percent committed to your choices, your subtext and your belief that this is the best performance you can give, you're sunk. Objectivity comes once the show closes. You walk away from the emotional investment and the dissection begins. Too often I'm tempted to just walk away leaving any serious reflection on the performance to be overwhelmed by the anxiety of "What's next?"

When asked recently by a friend "How'd it go?" it occured to me there are really three different aspects to consider. Personally, it's incumbent on you to examine your own process and ask yourself: "Did I do everything I could to prepare? How do I feel about the choices I made? Did I learn anything about my process, my limitations, my strengths? All very self-centered, but very relevant. It seems to me, self-examination is crucial, but it can't end there.

Adjudication of a production maybe one of the things I miss most about acting school productions. The value of getting perspectives of other 'qualified' practioners seems to be lost in the world of professional theatre. There's a tendency to either hand out polite congratulations or assume the tiring and equally useless know-it-all stance. The art of constructive and impassioned discussion of productions is left to critics, good ones anyway, who still accept the possibility that something can be flawed but still worth seeing. Critical analysis of the craft is dangerously missing from the dialouge and it can only be assumed it's because we learned all there is to learn and that if you don't get it...well that's your problem not mine.

I'm sure there are many an audience member who will take offense and being lumped outside the category of the critically minded, but I think there's a distinction worth noting. If the critical component is rooted in craft and the cold rationality of analysis, the audience occupies the emotional side of the equation. Their reaction is the gauge, the payoff. Anyone who claims to not care what the audience thinks is missing the point of the craft which on some level has to be about the communication of an idea; it's the intersection of having something to say and someone listening. The humble acceptance of audience's participation, whether good or bad, is fundamental. If it isn't why do it at all.

The actor, the craft and the audience all deserve our attention. With a little distance from the production, I hope I can think about those with a clear more objective eye.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So I'm in this Show...

I've never been much of a self-promoter but I'm attempting to turn over a new leaf. In addition to my newly launched and still buggy website , I thought I would announce/invite anyone within the St. Louis area (or beyond should you fancy a vacation) to attend my most recent theatrical endeavor: Medea as presented by the Orangegirls.

If you enjoy Greeks hexing one another, summoning furies and infanticide, this may be the show of the year…at least the summer. It's a modern interpretation of an old classic and so you toga wearing purists may take issue. By no means a light evening of theatre, I will say it’s worth 90 minutes of your time.

It’s playing at Washington University’s A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre. Here’s a map, but be warned there’s construction and parking may not be obvious.


Euripdes Medea: translaed by Kenneth Mcleish and Frederic Raphael

  • Schedule: June 22-25, June 29- July 2
  • Days & Times: Thurs - Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.
  • Location: A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, Washington University
  • Tickets: $15/$18
  • Reservations & Info: 314.520.9557 or email

Website is Launched...well sorta

As I understand it, this world-wide web thing isn't going anywhere soon. Instead of fighting against the wheels of change, I'm embracing this virtual world and doing my best to add to the online clutter.

My hope is that this blog will be a place I can blather on about the art and craft of acting without any real knowledge about whether people are listening. I'll assume they aren't and maybe I'll say something funny if not interesting once in a while. (I'm also working on not being so self-conscious about self promotion, but I suspect that will be harder than putting this site together.)

So I have to send a huge Thanks to Waila who made this site a beauty to behold. I have to take a little credit, but only a little. She's great.