Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Getting things ready for the next show. Trying to remember that the less I fret, the better. The more I merely prepare and then open myself up to whomever walks through the doors and whatever they bring through the door with them... the better.
I want this next one to be like a game. Like the joy one gets playing with toys as a child does.
There are very dark themes and actions to be portrayed in the Dream Journal. All the more reason to play, to enjoy. We will bring all our ability and craft and intelligence to this, but no matter how dark the material, we will dance while making this story!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I will miss this show. Alot. I still need to process all the stuff I learned making it. I went way out of my comfort zone, and it worked. I have alot of folks to thank for that. The cast, David Lykins, John Ross Wilson, and many more. Thank you all.
Nanowrimo is going well. I am using Nanowrimo in the same manner in which I used it back in 2006 when I was working on a prose version of Seven Snakes. It worked in 2006 and I think it could and will work for The Grave Stranger as well. And, I must admit it has made the past few days very fruitful and positive. Taking a wider lense, a sort of world building approach to the story helps me to realize or generate elements to the story that just would not have occured to me before (or at the very least not as quickly...) Characters sudden appear that I had no idea could be in the story, for instance... Yesterday and Today, two very important characters to the protagnist's past just appeared. Why? Because there was something to this imposed word count deadline that helps one to keep hitting the keys (it helps me anyway).
I think I got to go back to writing right now.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Regarding the western, having now seen it a dozen times on its feet, having heard various audience respond, having read the criticisms of it... I believe I now know how to make this 2 and quarter hour 2 act into a 90 min One Act. I suspect that sometime in the not too distant future we'll give it another shot in its new form.
It has been a hell of an experience, very positive but tough at the same time. A lot of heavy lifting on this one. Not just for me, for all of us. But, the journey has been its own reward, and I have learned more on this one production than I have for a single specific production in a long time. My soul and mind are riper for it.
Now, I have to put some serious energy back into getting back in shape. Canceled the gym membership. It was good in the beginning, but realistically it was too out of the way to get to with continued frequency. So, this week I am buying a recumbent cycle for the home. Last time I had one, I worked out with great frequency, and I think that this is definitely the way to go. Also, a couple of free weights as well. The goal is to lose 30 pounds before the next show opens. I can do this!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
A gown that tempted others across the room to wink
She was riding a big vinyl fish with a barbed wire bridle
"Are you ready to give a damn about a girl riding a big silver fish?" She asked as her shoulder strap dropped to her elbow.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
However, there really is no way to immerse yourself in that sort without picking up on a few rules, a few boundaries, a few precepts. As you move toward the genre, your mind, your approach, however fluid in the beginning will begin to take the shape of the glass, so to speak. In short, when working in the realm of Noir, I have rules, all sorts of rules. Even when other people can't discern the rules, or if I choose to break them for a moment, they are there. They help me as a practice craft. They are essential, I don't want to disregard them, but Hey! ... Rules sometimes can feel a little limiting.
Now that I have switched Genres for a short time (the Mammals theatre company will soon be beginning production on Seven Snakes, our take on the Spaghetti Western), I feel suddenly free from rules. There is a real giddiness, a tangible pleasure of discovery as we move closer to our first western for the stage. I have no rules! And even though I'm sure something with a little more restraint will arise, right now I can try anything. Frightening? Yes! But Invigorating too!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Hot women always leering at me on public transportation
Double wide infant strollers
Assholes in the audience
Twitter's effect on cumulative thought
The approval of squares
The approval of anyone
People who make faces
Kids who think they know better
FreeCreditReport dot com
Jon Stewart's frat boy antics
That asshat who knocked up the other asshat in that movie of the same name
Prescription Drug Marketing
The General lack of anything on TV that doesn't suck
Fucking Stephanie Meyer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The labels sometimes enable. Often they are a way in which others attempt to relegate you. At worst, occasionally it is what helps folks decide whether or not to dismiss others' artistic efforts. For many people, the Mammals are an off off loop low budget theater company that specializes in Horror. If this is what a person decides we are, that will enable or disable their desire to see your shows. We can do the most faithful production of 'Miracle Worker' and some people will be certain that a Mammals take on it would have to include blindfolding the audience and dowsing them with water (I don't want to do this production, but I have to admit it would tickle me to hear of such an endeavor). Labels can lock you into the grid. And there are a few of us, very few of us I fear, who ever want to get off the grid. (I think the most exciting undiscovered country is be found off that grid).
Labels have more to do with marketing than meaning. And if you decide that your marketing is your meaning, well you have consigned yourself to a inferno of economics over art. I know it wouldn't work for everyone, but today my own personal theory can be visualized as a see saw, art on one side, economics on the other. Except that balance rarely occurs (I originally typed 'Accept that balance rarely occurs'). I'll save that tangent for another day.
In the end though it is up to you and your audience to decide what you are. No one else gets a vote. No one else's opinion truly matters. Even a critic's opinion only matters after they have become a member of the audience (this means that you have to do more than just a few shows). Once they become a member of the audience, then they have a opinion that you as the playmaker should start to hear. That doesn't always mean you concede, or you conform to every expressed desire. It means that your audience does have a right to enter into a conversation with you about the work, if they so choose. And, if they are not conversing with you, I sure hope they are discussing the work with someone. Otherwise it seems futile.
Remember that it is ok for someone to not like the work, to not enjoy the show, to have criticisms. It doesn't mean you have to exclude them from your circle of friends. It doesn't mean you now have a sworn enemy to defeat. It means that whatever you put up in front of the audience that night didn't resonate with that person. Period. They have a label they might put on you, but you are not your label.
If anyone out there tries to convince you that 'everyone' loves their show, smile and nod. Don't try to convince them otherwise. If anyone out there tries to convince you that 'no one' likes your show or that your show doesn't count, smile and nod. This sort of individual usually can't be
I always thank the audience as they are leaving the space (or I always intend to). Sometimes you might get caught up doing something essential for the performance space or putting out a metaphorical fire. Still, there is something about thanking the audience that I learned is essential. It lets them know that for good or bad, you stand by what you just showed them. It shows them that they are important. When you are doing very challenging work, an audience member can sometimes feel superfluous to the production. Looking them in the eye with gratitude helps. After thanking them, many folks don't see a show that needs to be labelled. They see a show that Bob put up. The Mammals then becomes synonymous with myself and the other folks that night who thanked them for listening to the story. We occasionally discuss the stories, and forget about the labels.
Monday, July 12, 2010
It helps me immensely. I like hearing people respond to the piece. Sometimes during a reading you can get a thrill listening to the words coming out of actors' mouths. It is tough though in that you want to start directing right away.
There are somethings that a reading can't show you, can't tell you. Often a reading just can't tell you how powerful the visual component of the play will be. You can (and I have) spend alot of time and energy working on explicit descriptions of the nuts and bolts of the titanic as it goes down, but it just wont happen during a first read thru.
You can say "He stands there, eyeing the crowd" and never know during a read thru if that is the right moment in the script for such an action. Sometimes a reading can give you an excellent indication of pace, but other times it can't especially when action is being described rather than enacted.
In the end, I think that there is so much that is cinematic in its approach to a script, yes even a stageplay nowadays, that theatre is increasing less about literature and more about action. Shakespeare is precious, but if somebody tried that approach today, they would be told all sorts of feedback that would boggle the mind of a Bill's disciples.
That is not to say that you shouldn't be thankful for feedback. But, you should away look upon that feedback as a way to understand your deeper intent rather than as a way to make a more palatable 'product'. Everyone has an auteur inside them. That auteur has to be able to communicate, but still let the auteur smile and scowl and wink on occasion. Variety can be the wondrous result.
The author/auteur must be willing to listen to the response without abandoning originality and intent. The read thru is not a final judgement, but it is an experiment (god that is a hard word to type because of all it implies to so many out there). Even if the experiment fails, I say hold on to the intention of that experiment. Hold on to it as long as you can!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The script can be a huge source of doubt. It sits there on the screen or on the page. You can spend countless hours studying it. And when you attempt to recall your original intent, you fear that those words were once carved in ice and now only vapor. But persistence in the face of such doubt is required.
Know that even the most braggadocios have doubt. Doubt is valid, but so is tenacity despite those doubts!
How do you manage your doubts? How do you overcome them?
Friday, July 09, 2010
But rather than talking calendar logistics, lets turn it back to the art. As I've been writing and rewriting, it can sometimes get a little confusing which version of the script is the one who want to go with. I used to attach the latest version of any script to a gmail draft email so that I could have access to it wherever I went (that had wifi... which is turning into almost everywhere).
Now most the time, I was able to keep everything in order, properly label each and any draft, and actually have a pretty good record of various drafts. I know that google documents might even be a better option for this sort of exercise, but I am not the biggest fan of the google documents interface. I like, perhaps I might even need, to see writing subdivided by pages. Openoffice does this. Word does this. Heck, even Wordperfect does this. But Google Docs does not.
Some of my friends are huge advocates for scriptwriting software. I have tried a few, but haven't found that software that makes me fall in love and think about uninstalling my openoffice. What sort of software do you use when writing?
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Whereas, some can imagine this as a diverse experiment, others might consider that after a single version or perhaps two different versions, and audience might get Woyzeck fatigue. Comparisons were made to the success of the O'Neill festival and how that could translate to this sort of endeavor. But, I don't know that that is an apt analogy. This isn't a Buchner festival of many companies performing all four of his works, this is just one specific play.
Some of the play's fans suggest that this specific piece could transcend fatigue since there are endless possible variations of production. For those of you who aren't familiar with Woyzeck, there is no definitive version. Many different versions in different scene orders exist, which has meant that the events in the play are open to recombinations.
But, even despite this, the question for me remains (spoiler alert)... how many times can I watch Franz stab Maria in a single season before I decide to spend my audience dollars on a more diverse selection of stories?
Any thoughts? Is audiene fatigue a possibility here? Does it matter? If not why not?
Arts Club of Chicago. I am amazed how many of my fellow artists and art lovers don't avail themselves of this wonderful little oasis nestled in the Streeterville neighborhood. Right now they are exhibiting work by one of the greats of the 20th Century German Art, George Grosz. Click, but don't just click... go see! It's free!
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
So I was invited to a fundraiser. It happens. Alot. And when I got there, I found alot of friendly faces I hadn't seen in a while. It felt great. Two interactions really stood out. One of the individuals there was super friendly. This person when out of their way to make me feel welcome, to introduce me to other people I didn't know. This person made the experience wonderful, inclusive, inviting. There was somebody else there, this person was in a bad mood. This person went out of their way to be rude and standoffish. This person did nothing but complain about others in a recent project. When asked what this person was working on, this person just shrugged and said something self derogatory and then mocked me for pretending to care.
Here's some advice. If you can't be friendly, positive, and gracious at your own fundraiser, stay home... or at the very least stay away from my table after I just paid the cover to support you.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
I've seen a ton of good theatre in the past 2 years. Most of those productions are listed over in my margin (I occasionally don't get a show up there that I've seen, but most of them I do.
However, I do think there is a by product of that energy and business and excitement. I think that sometimes many of us let our connections fall to the wayside. We get so busy in the making of the art, that we don't have as many beers and behind the scene connections as we once did.
Fewer posts about the work, about the day to day of what we do.
So, in a roundabout way here is my question... are we all still as connected as we once were? I mean on any level you wish to address be it locally here in Chicago or nationally and virtually on theatrosphere?
Is the theatrosphere still giving you want you want from it? What do you want from it?
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
B-He held me
B-No. By the throat.
A-He was choking you?
B-No! Just holding me by the throat.
A-And then what?
B-And then he reached into his pocket with his right hand, the left hand still holding my throat. He pulled a knife out of his pocket. He showed me the knife. And then he cut open my face. It is was quick. A slash. And there wasn't any blood, but there was that weird sense of air passing over flesh never ever exposed before.
A-Why did he cut you?
B-He was angry. He was very angry with me.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
A-It's making me old
B-You used to love that hat
B-You're going to get old regardless of the hat.
A-But the hat aint helping things. Not a bit.
B-Why blame the hat.
A-Hat like this one comes with responsibilities
A-They convince you that look good in a hat like this. They intimate it is the right hat for you. It makes you look dignified and other such stuff. But what they don't tell you is that these sorts of hats require a lot of upkeep. And the more time you put into the care and management of this type of hat, the more the hat sort of sinks it's fangs into you. You start caring about the hat, even though you might truly hate the hat. You might truly hate the way the hat makes you feel. But it was such a difficult hat to come by. And if you just take it off and throw it away, hell, who knows when you'll ever find another hat.
B-You get something back from the hat.
A-Headache is all you get. This hat gives me a headache
B-So chuck it already.
A-That's just what I'm going to do. I'm getting rid of it. I'm finally going to get the hell rid of this hat.
B-I'll roll down the window for ya.
A-Good. Here it goes
(A doesn't get rid of the hat. B shakes head and rolls the window back up.)
B-Well, I don't blame you.
A-...God damn I hate this hat.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
But during the last production something happened. Suddenly I found that I wasn't compelled, or perhaps I wasn't compelled to the same degree as I had been before.
Is there such a thing as "blogger's block"? I ask this because even though I haven't written much here lately, I have been writing. I have also been reading alot. Reading happens in shifts for me. It is sort of like the seasons. When the reading season hits I want to get as much of the crop in as possible before the frost stops and self diagnosed dyslexia sets back in.
I don't tend to believe in 'writer's block'. I believe that if you think you have 'writer's block' then the best thing to do is to just start writing random words on a page. Then rewrite the same words over and over again until the words become sentences and then the sentences become something more.
I believe that sounds and shapes can work like rorschachs and that you can become your own psychoanalysis. I'm not claiming that you can cure your neurosis yourself (most of us I think in all honesty don't want the skeleton key to our own minds, we just want assurances that we are on track regarding our 'meaning'), but by simply writing nine random words on a page, and then rearranging them into phrases and then amplifying and supplementing them into sentences, one can start to map thoughts and dreams and visions that one didn't realize were sitting beneath the apparent mind.
We don't want the cure. We just want assurance.
That is a thought that wasn't inside my conscious mind five minutes ago when I sat down and started typing randomly.
If you can think of a song, then just keep humming or strumming scales.
I'm going to take this instruction. I'm going to take this medicine myself.
I feel like I still have great things, great thoughts inside me. I have to try.
You should too. If you feel discouraged. You should keep putting various words on the page or screen. Just keep doing it.
Wow. I didn't think I had another post in me tonight. But, here it is.
Alright, back to Seven Snakes.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Getting ready to begin pre-production for SEVEN SNAKES in earnest. I am excited to be working on this script which represents characters, ideas, narrative that I began dreaming of back in 2006 while my time was short in Atlanta, Georgia. I needed something to escape the waiting of my departure back to Chicago. I found that escape in NANOWRIMO. My last day in ATL was November 30th. So, I spent those last thirty days throwing myself into this variation of a Native American fairy tale that I had heard of in Joseph Campbell's POWER OF MYTH.
I've spent the better part of the last decade attempting to figure out how the genre of Noir could work into my personal aesthetic. So, I am anxious and exciting to use this production to embrace the Western.
The Mammals investigate history, mythology, and destiny using the genres of Science Fiction, Horror, and Phantasmagoria. It should be a ton of fun pulling that all together in this piece which I hope ends up as a love letter to the works of Leone and Peckinpah.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Really not self congratulating
Still it's a fact
My midnight reading
has been schizo-eclectic
First, poems from Charles Simic
Then a few pages of Marvel Comics Essential Punisher Volume 2
Even the Cro-Magnon Adolescent
can have a +130 Intelligence Quotient
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Monday, April 05, 2010
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
Sara Gorsky has won best actress for the 2010 Orgie Awards!
More on the Orgie award and ceremony below!
ORGIE THEATRE AWARD
The "Orgie" is an award to encourage original, innovative, risky, thrilling, inspiring, and possibly outlandish work in Chicago theatre. All theatre disciplines are eligible to receive an Orgie Theatre Award -- directing, acting, playwriting, music composition, ensemble work, lighting, sound, props, set design, artistic direction, producing, et al.
The Orgie Theatre Award committee is an anonymous collection of theatre artists and patrons. The name "Orgie" is taken from the word "original." To be granted an Orgie, a nominee must receive a majority of the committee's votes. The Orgie Theatre Award committee does not claim to be fair, unbiased, or reasonable. Their goal is to encourage a spirit of originality and adventure in Chicago theatre.
COME TO OUR ORGIE ORGY!
If you’d like to celebrate the winners, the Orgies, Chicago theatre, or just want your shot at a free beer:
4437 N. Broadway
Thursday, March 11
9:00 pm – 12:00
First 20 people to say “Orgie” get a free beer!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Photo by Steve Duncan
Friday, February 26, 2010
So, how to manage it? Is it merely a matter of smaller bites throughout the day? Reading in smaller chucks? Watching everything on DVR? even the news? Sacrificing your time as an audience member?
Time Management? Self Sacrifice? Less Sleep?
Disappointment? Resignation? Relief? Caffeine? Less Blogging?
I don't know if I have any answers. Anyone else have thoughts, comments, or do you just feel the same way?
If you are working on more than one show at a time, doing the day job thing, rehearsing 5 nights a week, maybe even performing the other 2 nights... what are the things you are willing to let go of? What are the things you refuse to leave hanging?
Homework Assignment #1
Take interesting pictures of Chicago's many potential landscapes or comb the web for them and send them to me at devilvet at gmail dot com. Once we get 10-20 intriguing photos we can move on to the second homework assignment.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Ron Kroll and Sara Gorsky as the SHUTTERBUG and the DOLL in BREED WITH ME
One show left! The final performance is Sat Feb 13th at 10pm BYOB
4001 N. Ravenswood Ste B-1
Chicago, IL 60613
Suggested donations $15.00.
Call 866-593-4614 for reservations!
Monday, February 08, 2010
Not sure what I could add to the diversity talk that hasnt already been said. I usually don't feel compelled to engage in these sorts of rowdydows.
As a half cuban half gringo who has never read as anything to most folks other than white, I find that just about every audible 'white' voice seems to be aiming for catharsis (even my own)... and that when it comes to race, the white catharsis happens quicker than the minority catharsis.
Finding our catharsis isnt the problem though is it?
I think a direction we need is getting black people and white people to socialize more and better and more deeply.
Can theatre do that? Not white theatre or black theatre... just theatre?
That might not resolve economic inequity enough for the satisfaction of some (or most)... but even if it seems like weak tea, it is the only thing that I can think of right now.
I can't solve racial inequality in theatre or anywhere else. All I can do is examine it, dissect it, tell stories about it, listen to others stories about it.
I think that the best thing to do often is just listen. Don't even repeat. Because the stuff people say just gets revised each time it is repeated by the voice of another 'other'.
Start with listening. Fuck consensus. Listen. Do that first. That and when you see someone get a little steam behind them, get out of their way.
Everytime a minorty voice speaks a story, I wish more 'white' ears would listen. Forget rebuttal, just listen.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Mammals Theatre Company presents
BREED WITH ME
written and directed by Bob Fisher
"I was alternately fascinated and terrified by the wonderfully perverse story" - Jack Helbig w/the Reader
"A must see for horror and noir fans alike" - Kerry Reid w/Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Mammals are extending their run of BREED WITH ME.
The following performance dates have been added
Saturday Feb 6th
Saturday Feb 13th
Both additional performances are at 10pm
Aliens, Ghosts, Noir... BREED WITH ME (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, Chicago Reader & New City) is the Mammals' Hardboiled story of a man whose sexual appetites have forced him to run away from his past into the American desert where he falls into the clutches of the ultimate femme fatale.
Remaining Performance Dates including added shows are as follows
Friday Jan 22,
Saturday Jan 23
Saturday Feb 6th
Saturday Feb 13th
All performances are at 10pm – BYOB
4001 N. Ravenswood Ste B-1
Chicago, IL 60613
Suggested donations $15.00.
Reservations can be made by calling 866-593-4614
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
What are the 5 best books you read last year?
I'm talking about 'ought to get you laid on the college quad' kind of sexy books.
What are some books you want to read this year or that you would put on everyone else's must read list.
p.s. I will delete any reference to Outrageous Fortune (wink to Issac)
Friday, January 08, 2010
we are nearly sold out for the remaining run of the Mammals' Show BREED WITH ME.
Next week, my other theater company WNEP, opens The (edward) HOPPER project, an endeavor that has been years in the making.
The week after that, WNEP opens NIGHTHAWK SANDWICH, a sort of wild child constructed out of HOPPER scenes that maybe didnt make the final cut, but still were so fun and compelling that they deserve a night all their own!
Non-traditional Spaces and Approaches Forum on the 17th at the Zoo Studio, great way to make new friends and have exciting and challenging conversations with fellow theater makers.
And then Auditions for the Mammals' next show THE MEATLOCKER
No sleep till Feb!
Thursday, January 07, 2010
This sort of conversation is the kind that I find pleasurable. Who has influenced you?
How does inheritance, essentialism, conditioning, etc affect who we consider to be the parents of our artistic influence?
Is there a difference between building upon the parents, entering into conversation with the parents, or publicly rebuking the parents?
Do we merely inherit a canon, or do we have the opportunity not merely at a counter canon, but multiple counter canons?
Are there reasons to fear a sort of 'seperate but equal' perception of not multi-culture but multiple culture?
What are the fine points of difference between those two concepts?
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
The Chicago Mammals are holding non-equity auditions for men of all ages for our next show entitled THE MEATLOCKER.
Auditions will be held on Sunday Jan 24th from 12-5pm. To schedule an appointment to audition or to ask questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chicago Mammals like smart tough non-equity actors who work hard and are easy to get along with! If that sounds like you drop us an email!
The Third Play in the Noir Triptych, this is the tale of a boxer haunted by demons from his past warning that if he goes down for the full ten count, even if it's a dive, he wont ever get back up. Every time the boxer steps on the mat, he is fighting for his life. The real trouble occurs when the boxer meets a bookie who wont take no for an answer to fix a fight. This story will be told by the Mammals in both graphic novel form as well as a stage production.
pre-visualization of one of the pages from the upcoming graphic novel, click to enlarge
Where you do your show affects your production how? When you did that show in...
in the park,
at the gallery,
in the back of a car,
at the bus stop,
in your living room,
beneath the bean,
from the balcony
in the lobby
in the goldfish bowl...
There was no way you were able to process in a manner that you were taught while at college. What are the big surprises that almost or maybe even did kick you in the butt?
How did the non-traditional venue affect things like
difficulties in promotion
When you did your non-traditional production, did it feel...
sort of like 'slumming it'
a break thru for the form the form of theatre
sort of like a dirty picnic
walking through a sculpture garden?
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
click on image to enlarge
Performance Dates are as follows
Jan 16 (no show Jan 15th)
Jan 22, 23
Industry Night Monday Jan 18th (PLEASE NOTE Industry night performance is at 8:30pm)
All other performances are at 10pm – BYOB
4001 N. Ravenswood Ste B-1
Chicago, IL 60613
Suggested donation $15.00. Jan 22nd and Jan 23 will be closing weekend fundraisers. Tickets for Jan 22nd and Jan 23rd are $15.00 (post show party and drinks included)
Reservations can be made by calling 866-593-4614