Good things!

This week needs a bit of perking up. Here, in no particular order, are some things of beauty I got a chance to see this week!

This image of Prince was something I found on the internet, the artist made it as a tribute to him.  Friday the 21st was the 1 year anniversary of his death.  I lost the link to it that shows the artist’s name, unfortunately. 

The march for science was this past weekend.  Among many, many articles about it, this was one of the best signs I saw posted online!

On a sunny morning, some times of the year, when the angle is right, the sun comes in and reflects off of my wife’s necklaces (that she’s hung on a spare towel rack!), and it fills the room with a million little explosions of color!

This week we started rehearsals for the next show at Williamston Theatre, Taking Shakespeare, and it’s going to be fabulous.  The script is smart, funny, thoughtful, hopeful, and just a terrific ride.  Plus, the cast is amazing, and it’s being directed by the wonderful Mary Job! Can’t wait for previews!  (This pic was taken by Chris Purchis, of me making some big announcement about something or other at first rehearsal!)

This is a pic of Maggie, in Finland, in a car with a couple of her host-siblings, Aatu and Venla!  Love it!

I took this shot a couple days ago in the theatre – the seats look cool in the ghost light!

Some Spring has sprung in our yard!

More spring in the front yard!

Arriving early for the Tigers game on Wednesday.  Man, what an incredibly beautiful night for a ballgame.  Sunny, 75 degrees, the park was full and buzzing with energy and smelled exactly how you want a ballgame to smell.  One of the best places to spend an evening that you’ll ever find!  🙂

Jeanne and I were raking in the yard, and I couldn’t resist taking this pic of the sunset.

I hope you’re finding the beautiful things in your week, too!

Closing weekend!

It’s closing weekend of 1984 at Williamston Theatre.  Producing this show has been something I’ve looked forward to for a few years, and I’m really pleased at how the final product turned out. The process was fabulous, the team was wonderful to work with, and the audience response has been terrific. 

In fact, we got one final glowing review that you can check out right here: The Cranky Critic

The rest of life has been incredibly busy this past month, but I’ll write about that later. For now, and for fun, here are a bunch of random pics from 1984 that I want to share! 

The Williamston Theatre 2017-2018 Season!

I’m very excited to be able to release this into the wild!

Williamston Theatre

2017-2018 Season

 

THE TAMING

By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Lynn Lammers

September 21 – October 22, 2017

A Michigan Premiere

Tweetering, pandashrews, and undying giddiness for James Madison – what else would you expect to find at a Miss America pageant? In this hilarious, raucous, all-female “power-play,” contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough, and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Here’s lookin’ at you, America!

 

BEAU JEST

By James Sherman

Directed by Tony Caselli

November 16 – December 23, 2017

Sarah is a nice Jewish girl with a problem: her parents want her married to a nice Jewish boy. They have never met her boyfriend, a WASP executive named Chris Kringle. She tells them she is dating a Jewish doctor and they insist on meeting him. She plans a dinner party and, over the heated protests of Chris, employs an escort service to send her a Jewish date to be Dr. Steinberg. Instead, they send Bob Schroeder, an aspiring actor who agrees to perform the impersonation. Hilarity ensues in this charming family comedy with a tender heart.

 

OUR LADY OF POISON

By Joseph Zettelmaier

Directed by Shannon Ferrante

January 25 – February 23, 2018

A World Premiere

1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries, and skilled poisoners. This mother-daughter team run an infamous underground operation to provide unfortunate wives with an escape from untenable marriages. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that very love threatens to destroy the life Giulia has built for her family. Based on historical events.

 

DOUBLEWIDE

By Stephen Spotswood

Directed by Tony Caselli

March 22 – April 22, 2018

NNPN Rolling World Premiere

Jim Starkey’s version of the American Dream is a modest one: to build a home on his one-acre plot of land and replace his doublewide trailer with something his daughter, Lorelai, can inherit. When a highway expansion project shatters their dreams, Jim must decide how far he can be pushed and Lorelai is left to build her own future. A heartfelt and often funny drama that explores how far one family will go to hold onto their American Dream.

 

OUT OF ORBIT

by Jennifer Maisel

Director Frannie Shepherd-Bates

May 17 – June 17, 2018

A World Premiere

Meet the Jet Propulsion Lab Scientist mom and her underachiever teenage daughter. Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch. Her daughter, Lis, on earth time, falls under the spell of an internet Romeo. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to-be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe. A tender comedy about the challenges of a unique mother-daughter relationship.

 

THE GIN GAME

by D.L. Coburn

Directed by John Lepard

July 12 – August 18, 2018

Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. The friendship between these two made-for-each-other strangers comes about when Weller talks Fonsia into letting him tutor her in the fine, if forgotten, art of playing gin rummy. The relationship develops and the brutal realities of aging are revealed through their card playing. This Winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama shows that a hand of cards can pack as hard a punch as boxing gloves.

Thursday Pic Post

We start previews for 1984 this evening, at Williamston Theatre. Having an amazing time working with a fantastic cast and production team! 


It’s been a heck of a few weeks. We, like many people, lost power at home for several days. Fortunately we have a fireplace! 

Once the power was back on, we found ourselves with a rare occurrence this month: everyone home at once! We played some games….


…and I got Tommaso and Max to eat some vegetables! 

Speaking of kids – here’s a pic of Maggie with her significant other, Beni, at a dance in Finland. 


And here’s a picture of Max and his significant other, Sophie, going to the Winter Carnival dance a couple weeks ago!


Now, we’re a couple hours away from first preview for the show. There is some really cool artwork in the theatre gallery by Anita Brett:


Also in the gallery is a very cool “Orwell Installation” from the MSU Department of English students, with some great displays about Orwell and the novel. 

And now, no more time for writing. Gotta get ready for tonight. Excited to introduce audiences to our version of Orwell’s dystopia! 

Quick Tuesday thoughts…

Got to hold some callbacks last night for The Turn Of The Screw that I’m directing for The Penny Seats in October.  Man, I love watching what good actors do with good material. Blessed to have spent the evening with some fine performers!

Speaking of good material and fine performers, we start rehearsal for 1984 today at Williamston Theatre. I’ve been excited about doing this show for a couple years, can’t wait to get to work with this amazing script and team! 

And, boy, Facebook Memories, you are just hitting me right in the heart this week. 3 years ago I was starting to wake up from my coma. I don’t remember much about that time, but I remember being amazed at the kindness of people who were inexplicably wearing shirts with me on them. This week 3 years ago is, I think, when the shirts started arriving in the mail, because there are so many pictures popping up in my Facebook Memories feed of people wearing them – Check them out here, if you like!

I’m just overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of people. Overwhelmed, amazed, and so grateful.  

Taking a Stand

Okay, there’s this thing happening lately.  Lots of people are seeing it, I think, but hardly anyone is making noise about it.

The thing is, I don’t think we can let this behavior be normalized – I don’t think it’s a thing that ANY of us should just ignore, just say “Sure, whatever, it’s just my life but go ahead and keep doing that thing you’re doing.”  We can’t do that!  It’s NOT RIGHT.  So here we go.  After this event today, I can’t keep quiet.

Who the HELL decided that Thick-Cut Bacon on BLT’s was a good idea?

There’s no way this came from the BLT lovers.  None.  Thick-cut bacon?  I want to EAT my BLT, not wrestle with it.  You can’t bite through that shit, you need to grapple with it, and it’s not proper.  There are a handful of things that we all agree on, and one of them is that a BLT is meant to be devoured – eaten – smoothly, pleasantly – it’s not one of the “challenge foods”!

I mean, sure, some meals you’re like “OKAY! Let’s do this, I’m ready for a fight!”  Lobster.  You sit down to lobster and you’re cracking and snapping and twisting, I mean it comes with A BIB AND A GODDAMNED TOOLKIT.  Some foods are expected to be challenges. Clams.  Pomegranates (Ridiculous, but worth it.)  Even, like, KIWI!  Kiwi you’re like “Oh, geez, this is gonna be good.  First though I gotta peel this fuzzy crap off here, oh geez, it’s slippery – DAMMIT I DROPPED IT AGAIN – Why does this fuzzy peel make me think of a pig’s snout? Don’t think about it, peel it – eat the kiwi.”

But we’re talking about a BLT.  Skip the B for a second: It’s lettuce, and tomato.  Basic.  Neither of those are high on the “special skills required” meter.  Then you have mayo.  Just mayo.  Not Miracle Whip, I will punch you in the throat, stop it.  Lettuce, tomato, mayo.  On white bread.  Seriously – white bread.  I ordered this BLT, and they offered me rye bread.  “What?” I asked.  “NO!  No.  White bread, lightly toasted.”  He looked at me oddly, and I realized it was because my voice had gone up an octave in panic.  Rye bread.  And just when I thought that there was no way things could get stranger… he asked if I wanted cheese on it.

Cheese.

Spots swam in front of my eyes.  I had a little moment of tunnel vision… It’s like I stepped through the looking glass into some alternate universe where nothing makes sense.  My palms started to sweat.  I looked around the tiny little deli/sandwich counter for help, but no one would make eye contact.

“No”, I said, trying to slow my breathing, “NO CHEESE on my BLT”, and I stopped talking out loud because I was trying to be polite to someone who clearly is not from, y’know, our dimension.  I don’t know,  maybe he was just tired, or maybe he was raised improperly by, like, wolves or marauding gypsies, or marauding gypsy wolves.  Whatever, I declined cheese on my BLT.  That would be a BLTC.  Or a BLCT.  Or a CBLT, which I think is a Canadian sports league but honest to God after this whole thing I just don’t have the energy to check.

So.  This BLT experience has really got me anxious, and I’ve only barely finished placing the order… but we soldier on, this confused young man and I.  Moments pass.  I can’t remember much of what happened, I just sat and tried to get my bearings back. The BLT arrives.  “Here you go.  I think you’ll like this, it’s got 6 slices of our thick-cut bacon on it.”

What. Is. Happening.

The cook-wolf-counterman-gypsy departs.  I inspect the sandwich.  Yes.  He’s correct.  Where there should be delicious, crispy, thin bacon strips… there are giant slabs of meat.

There are some things, in the universe, that are just… necessary.  Hydrogen, for instance.  Hydrogen is one of the building blocks of our universe – you wouldn’t just, say, remove it and replace it with Thicker Hydrogen, just because you could.  Bad things would result.  You wouldn’t pluck a fish from the sea and say “Here, swim in the air”, or just add a little cousin that no one ever heard of into a popular tv show just because the cast is getting old, because that would be completely ridiculous.

And yet, here we are.

Bacon in a BLT is meant to be thin.  Crispy.  That crispiness contrasts perfectly, you see, with the softness of a tomato slice, the gentleness of a lettuce leaf.  I don’t want bacon that requires me to saw it with my incisors for hours on end, I want bacon that explodes into a million shards of stabby, nitrate infused heaven the second I bite it.  Then those shards combine with the smooth, creamy mayo and the tomato and lettuce and toasted white bread and they achieve the state of gustatorial perfection that only a proper BLT can achieve.

Please.  I urge you.  Let your voice be heard.  We can no longer be silent on this issue.

Only together can we make a difference.

It’s time to take a stand.

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A pretty good Friday…

Lots of looking to the future today.

I got to nail down the rights to the last of the plays for our 2017-2018 Season at Williamston Theatre.  Confirmed rights and dates with one of the licensors, and sent out a couple of playwright contracts for some of our world premieres.

Season selection is one of my favorite parts of being an Artistic Director.  There’s something energizing and exciting about it – working with the staff to nail down what our shows will be, what the face of our organization will be for a season.  “This is who we are this year, everybody!  Come hang out!”  There’s a sense of The Future – moving forward, growing, making things – creation.  I love it.

Also, I started speaking with our prospective new apprentices.  Lining up interviews, discussing when they’d be able to meet, looking over resumes, that kind of stuff.  Looking into who and what the rest of this season, and all of next season, will bring to the team.

Proofread a big press release from the National New Play Network for a project we’re involved in.  That’ll go out next week, announcing a fun thing that we’ve not yet been able to talk about much.

Plus, I got to have a phone call with my daughter in Finland.  It’s her birthday!  Well, for us her birthday will happen tomorrow, but at 5pm here we called her because Finland is 7 hours ahead of us and she was out at Midnight CELEBRATING her birthday!  How our little girl is suddenly 19 and living on the other side of the planet is still something I’m struggling to grasp, but just texting with her today and talking with her tonight reminded me of how bright and exciting her future is.  And her little brother is on a bus to a weekend Show Choir retreat where he’s going to have a blast singing, dancing and hanging out with friends.  So much potential and goodness coming for both of them!

So, yep.  The future.  So many good things are on the way.  Sure, there are challenges, that goes without saying.  But that’s part of the fun.  Do I know exactly what I’ll be doing a year from now?  2 years?  5? Nope.  I can guess, I can hope, I can plan… and then life will do what it does regardless of my hopes and plans.  But looking around right now, I’m sure glad I’m here – and I kind of can’t wait to see what happens!

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