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Random Thoughts on a Sunday

Okay, the weather is cold outside, but soon it won’t be. Soon the Tigers will be back, and MLB will begin the marathon of a regular season. There’s fear in Detroit, though – the Tigers will be in a big rebuilding season, and the new predictions for Wins/Losses just came out. It’s not looking good for the Tigers. Click here to see the dismal prediction.

I heard a great quote from a TED Talk by Susan David: “Discomfort is the price to a meaningful life.” She gave a very nice talk about dealing with negative emotions in a positive way.

Speaking of negative emotions: Is it just me, or is Facebook almost unbearable lately? No dialogue, no fun, just people deciding they’re authorized to tell everyone else what they’re allowed to believe, like, say, or do. Maybe I just need a break from it, but right now it’s just a tiresome repetition. One that I know I’m just as guilty of as anyone else. I feel like we all need a reminder (me included) that maybe our best option is to embrace the connections from our similarities and shared opinions, and embrace non-judgmental curiosity about our differences. *sigh* I just know I’ve enjoyed not being on it as much lately.

On a more positive note: I’m so proud of the team at Williamston Theatre, and the response we’re getting from audiences for the current production of Our Lady Of Poison. Shannon Ferrante led a terrific staff and cast, and did marvelous work. 27625370_10156102918764629_6048259823109898447_o.jpg

Right now we are deep into pre-production for our next show at Williamston, Doublewide. I’m having a blast working with this production team, and even though we have a few weeks of Our Lady… left, I’m raring to jump into rehearsals! I really hope folks enjoy this show, I think it’s a beautiful and honest exploration into life in this part of the world, and the struggle to find a place in it.

Speaking of Doublewide, here’s a Work-In-Progress of the scenic design by the amazing Kirk Domer. I’m not going to explain anything in it yet, it’s just a sneak peek.Doublewide Rendering - House Left - Draft 2-11-18 No Walls for Tony

I can’t remember if I posted these before? The last show I directed, Beau Jest, was a ton of fun. During the show, which took place in the late ’80’s, a little camera was used by a couple characters to take pictures of other people in the play with them. We used real film in a camera, and got some of them developed. Here, for fun, are some of them!

Ah, there are Pat Loos, Vanessa Sawson, Michael Lopetrone, Sandy Birch and (barely) Fred Buchalter! The quality is awful because they were under stage lights and it was an old camera, but I love that you can also see audience members in the background!

Random TV Thoughts: The Good Place is so freaking good. If you haven’t watched it, start at the beginning and binge. Star Trek Discovery has become a pleasant surprise for me, and I’ve really enjoyed Agents of Shield also! Tops on my list, and I’m late getting to it, is The Great British Baking Show! Jeanne and I have just started watching it, and we’re in love! Thanks to everyone who recommended it. I now desperately want to take some baking lessons.

Lastly – because it’s time to work: Man, I am so excited to see the Black Panther movie coming out this week. I just think it looks terrific, for lots of reasons, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Hope you’re having a good weekend, everyone. Stay safe, and spend time with people you love!

A quiet morning

Here we are, almost halfway into January, and I still feel like I haven’t yet recovered from the holidays!

So much quality family time, so much laughter and storytelling and love. Oy -so much food (yes, that’s the part I -and my waistline- need the most recovering from.)

So, this morning I’m up before almost everyone. Maggie crept quietly out of the house a while ago – she’s taking care of a friend’s dog today, so had to go do that early. It was wonderful having her boyfriend visit from Finland for the holidays. Now of course it’s hard on both of them because he’s back home. I see them and think simultaneously “Boy, I remember being 19, that exciting young love, waiting for your future to start” and also, at the same time, “Good Lord, was I ever that young?!”

Max and Jeanne are sleeping in. It’s Saturday, they deserve to. Max will work later, Jeanne will be grading her student’s homework, like normal on the weekend, but I think today will be a quiet day.

In a couple of hours I’ll head to Williamston Theatre. We closed Beau Jest a couple of weeks ago – what a treat that show was. Wonderful team on and offstage, and audiences just loved it. We set some attendance records! Such a gift, to hear packed houses filled with people laughing together, sharing a moment of lightness and joy.

Next up is a wonderful piece, Our Lady Of Poison, a world premiere by Joe Zettelmaier. The elevator pitch: “Mother-Daughter poisoning team. Italy. Based on true events.” ’nuff said. 🙂

So, today I’ll go in and see a stumble-through of that, we’ll have a production meeting, and I’ll do some more work on the next play.

Before that, though: A little quiet in the living room. The dogs are curled at my feet, and my cup of coffee is still mostly full.

I hope everyone has a restful, fulfilling Saturday!

CASTLE PANIC!

A little QFT.*

Castle Panic is a fun, silly board game that creates a surprisingly high level of… well, panic! 🙂 The players are all on a team, playing AGAINST the game, so it’s a fun collaboration to stop all of the attacking hordes before they wipe out your castle!

I love this picture, though: Maggie and Jeanne are adorable as always, and Max is adorable in his “I will never ever just smile normally for a picture” way! 😂 Plus, if you zoom in, at the top you can see our picture on the wall of the kids when they were really little, being photogenic on a playground slide! ❤️

I hope with the upcoming holidays, and snow days, that you all get a chance to relax with some *Quality Family Time, whether it’s movie and popcorn night, or battling evil monsters who are hell-bent on destroying you and your castle!

Being Inspired

Spent the weekend in Orlando, Florida, at the National New Play Network annual December event, the National Showcase of New Plays. Boy, I love this event. Hosted by the amazing Orlando Shakespeare Theatre this season, the facility and staff are absolutely fabulous. So grateful to have the chance to be here again this year.

A few solid days of theatre – seeing 6 full length readings, having practically non-stop chats and meet-n-greets, brainstorming sessions, handshaking and discussions about plays, playmakers, theatres, institutions and programs and process. You come out the other side of it thoroughly exhausted, but also feeling a sense of inspiration that is incredibly energizing. So many people who have a single thing in common: We all believe in the power of Theatre.

The thing that kept hitting me this weekend, too, was the variety of theatre that we believe in. Everyone there has a process, a target audience, a mission that’s the core of their work, and no two companies or artists are alike… but we all spend this time exploring how we do what we do, and learning how others do what they do, so that we can all get better. So that we can DO better.

Of course, like any conference, there’s lots of business-card exchanges, and people you see only once or twice a year that you get to re-connect with, and lots of people you meet for the first time. There’s opportunity for discussion in formal, moderated meetings, as well as wonderful opportunities to continue those conversations relaxing with a beer late in the evening. Ideas are thrown around and concepts are challenged and challenges are explored.

Now I get to return home and, hopefully, continue to help make a difference in the community we serve at Williamston Theatre. This wonderful reminder of the opportunities I have, and the responsibilities I have, has been a tiring, but invigorating few days, and it has left me with a big handful of excellent questions to take back to my work.

First, though, I need to sleep. Then, tomorrow – let the work begin again!

Embrace Wonder

Wisdom begins in wonder.  –  Socrates

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.   –  Saint Augustine


Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.  –  e. e. cummings

Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.  –  Stewart Udall

Random Picture Post!

A fun goofy shot from a couple of weeks ago – we were in Ann Arbor getting Max’s Senior Pics taken!

Here’s a nice one! Can’t believe he’s a senior! So excited for what his future holds. 

Very excited about our next show at Williamston Theatre. I’m directing Beau Jest with an amazing cast! 

It’s a ton of fun, lots of love and laughter. Here’s an image of the set model. We are doing it in the round, and I am LOVING it. 

A couple rehearsal shots from different angles:




My daughter Maggie was excited – the Apple tree she planted several years ago matured enough to give us a nice apple harvest this season!

Boy, I just realized how long it’s been since I posted here! Wow. Life got busy. Since my last post a lot has happened: we wonBwst Play for the 2016/2017 Season with our production of 1984:

Jeanne got to stare at an eclipse!

We produced an amazing play, The Taming, by Lauren Gunderson!

And I made Maggie pose for a picture on her first day of college, so I could compare it to the picture of her first day of kindergarten. Amazing. So proud of this kid. 

And now, coffee, errands, rehearsal, and lots of other stuff. 

Happy Wednesday everybody!

You Gotta Be A Good Guy…

In Preacher, written by Garth Ennis,  John Custer gives his son, Jesse, the words he will live by for the rest of his life. Before being murdered in front of his son, John hugs Jesse, tells him that he loves him, and gives him some advice:

“You gotta be a good guy, Jesse. You gotta be like John Wayne: you don’t take no shit off fools, an’ you judge people by what’s in ’em, not how they look. An’ you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, ’cause there’s way too many of the bad.”

I’ve had this post saved as a draft for a long time, because I’m not sure how to finish it. So I decided “the heck with it”, and I’m just posting it. I like this quote. I like the scene, and the imagery. I like the way the quote has stuck with me for a long, long time. 

I hope anyone reading it likes it too!