Shakespeare

LuPone Strikes Back! Grabs Texter’s Phone at Shows for Days – Playbill.com

LuPone Strikes Back! Grabs Texter’s Phone at Shows for Days – Playbill.com.

In light of this story and the recent one at Hand To God where a patron climbed up onto the stage to plug his cellphone in, I am reposting an old blog I wrote about whether Twitter may be the new version of Shakespeare’s groundlings.

Ask yourself, is Twitter The New Groundlings?

One thing for sure is, we need to educate people on proper theater etiquette.

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Attacks on Satire Is An Attack On Our Humanity

#JeSuisCharlie In my play THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE STORY OF TOM SAWYER AS TOLD BY BECKY THATCHER, I included, at the very end of the show, a bit of satire. Not the greatest writing in the world and that good of satire but a light poking at president of the time. The line goes “George? That boy was dumb enough to be president.” This was inspired, no doubt, from my love of Saturday Night Love, The State and other comedy groups. I found out later (not at the time of the performance) that one of the actors parents got upset at my friend who co-directed the show and accused him of bringing a liberal bias into everything he did there. People get upset at satire all the time, its how we respond that matters.

Satire, in all its forms, really is our expression of speech. That’s why we can mock President Obama the same way we mocked President Bush and President Clinton, and President Bush, and President Reagan and President Carter and President Ford and President Nixon and…well the list goes on.

As someone who cares about the arts, who supports the arts, who lives in the arts, the minute we silence one voice in one area, gives us the power to silence the voices of anyone we disagree with and that will lead to tyranny and the end of our humanity.

Satire May Be Uncomfortable, But Humor Makes Us Human : NPR.

What Makes A “Villain”

I saw this great video the other day called “The Spell Block Tango” which reimagines many Disney Villains doing their version of the “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago. Well done, funny, and it offers us the point of view of the bad guys. This is nothing new, the book and musical Wicked, did the same thing with the Wizard of Oz‘s Wicked Witch of the West, giving us insight into what made the green skinned witch the person she is. Shakespeare’s MacBeth is a play about someone who isn’t a hero but gives us insight into what drove this man to the lengths he did. In Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the narrator commits a horrible crime for no real reason except for a series of perceived insults but no examples of what those insults were. Montresor is unreliable and really gives us no reason to sympathize with him. That brings me to the point of this blog today.

A little over a month ago, I finished a new 10-minute play titled One More Glass Of Wine, that uses Poe’s Cask as inspiration but delves deeper into why Bruce (my version of Montresor) kills Jacob (Fortunato). Or rather, in my script, gives Jacob the opportunity to kill himself. Does a man who is responsible for a teenage girl’s death deserve to die? If he does deserve to die, whose responsibility is it to bring about that death? The law and the court or the father and the family? That is the question that I present in One More Glass Of Wine, but I don’t offer an answer because to me it’s a question that doesn’t have a clear cut answer and that makes for a fantastic villain in my opinion. That is why MacBeth is a great villain and protagonist and why so many authors (like Gregory MacGuire) try to explore the reasons behind what makes a villain a villain.

And if you want to see the “Spell Block Tango” video, check out my Facebook page.

A couple of non-related notes, on this Halloween, I want to encourage you to participate in “All Hallows Read“, a great chance to get books into the hands of your trick ‘r’ treaters. It’s a fantastic program that encourages reading.

I’m also giving away a copy of my play The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 over at Smashwords on Halloween. This 10-Minute play is a retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lot 249. This will be the LAST CHANCE to get this play directly from me as it soon will be published as part of a collection. More details on that as it becomes available. You can pick up The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 at Smashwords.

Eyes Like Stars: A book review

Eyes Like Stars cover

Few books move me the way that Lisa Mantchev’s debut novel Eyes Like Stars did.

First off, fair warning, Mantchev is an old friend of mine from the mid 90s. However time and space and life being what it is, I fell away from many friends from that time in my life. Then Facebook came and a couple of months ago, I reconnected with this old friend, found out she was a published author and her book was about a magical theater.

Well, I’m an actor, a director, and a playwright and this seemed like the sort that would be right up my alley. But I resisted. I wasn’t sure why but I did. Perhaps the gods of the theater weren’t smiling on me? Perhaps Puck or Thespis or Ariel were conspiring against me. I’m not sure. I kept suggesting the book to everyone I met but not reading it myself.

I then bought it one day on Amazon. I had some credit left on a gift card and decided to use part of it on this.

I’m glad I did.

Few books move me the way this book did.

I repeat that for dramatic reasons but also because it’s true.

Eyes Like Stars is about the magic of the stage, about the power of writing, about a young girl finding her way and her place in the world, and is also about a girl finding her mother.

I love the theater, as I’m sure you know, and found my “home” on the stage, just as Beatrice Shakespeare Smith did. I am a playwright and director, just like Bertie. And I’m adopted.

I suppose at this point I should give somewhat an overview of the book. Eyes Like Stars is the story of Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, an orphan girl who lives at the Theatre Illuminata, a magical place where every character in every play ever written resides and performs. However after an a accidental mishap, Bertie, as she is known to her friends, is told she must make an invaluable contribution to the Theatre or be forced to leave forever. Bertie, with help from a pirate from The Little Mermaid, and four of the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, decides to become a Director and restage Hamlet in Ancient Egypt. But what follows is something unexpected and original.

This isn’t Twilight transposed to the theater, this is wholly unique. This is…well it’s magic. It made this writer of theater believe in the power of theater again. It made me long to see the stars in the eyes of young actors as they discover the power of theater too.

Also Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed are awesome!

Read this book! Not because Lisa is a friend of mine, but because she is an amazing writer who has told an amazing story filled with rich characters. And if you don’t believe me, how about this quote from Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games:

“All the world’s truly a stage in Lisa Mantchev’s innovative tale, EYES LIKE STARS. Magical stagecraft, unmanageable fairies, and a humorous cast of classical characters form the backdrop for this imaginative coming-of-age.”

I highly recommend this book for all ages. You can buy it using the link below.
Eyes Like Stars: Theatre Illuminata, Act I

World Theater Day

Tomorrow, March 27, is World Theater Day. I am of the opinion that everyone should SOMEHOW participate. That might mean watching a live show in NYC, there are even some free options if you’re available like this event that Mind The Gap is putting on. Watch a live on stage show on DVD (Wal-Mart has several good ones including Phantom of the Opera, the Les Miz concert, Cats, Pirates of Penzance and Jesus Christ Superstar for a good price. Netflix has some in the watch instantly feature). Watch a movie musical. Read a play. Tweet about it. Tumble about theater. Take an actor out for coffee. Do something to celebrate World Theater Day!