Sep. 13th, 2011 06:10 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
Saturday night I went to the TTC Season Announcement Cabaret. Dave had spoken to me earlier about directing The Vagina Monologues and remounting Pirates again next summer in Frank Sinatra Park. At the cabaret I found out that they were also bringing back Rocky Horror, which they'd done last winter and which was awesome and hilariously fun. And I found out that the actress who played Columbia isn't coming back (I guess she's on tour)--I would loooove to audition. I talked to Dave about it who seemed interested--I will pull my tap shoes out tonight and see about picking up a class at BDC (and of course rent the movie). I can tap a little, though I need time to get the choreography down. No wings though! Rocky Horror is such a damn fun show, I hope I give a decent audition.

Earlier on Saturday we had a rehearsal for Patrick and Lisa's Wedding, which I am remounting for Duncan (we did it first back in '08, for TTC when it was still DeBaun). At this point we are MORE than ready to go up, it's just tweaking and finetuning and shirring the edges to make it more real, less stage-y. All three of my actresses are great. Ashley is reprising her role as Heidi, but I recast the other two roles. Originally I'd asked back Courtney as the flakey bride Lisa but she bailed at the last minute for no really good reason which, frankly, really pissed me off and I will probably not use her again. But her replacement is actually better--Danielle is a naturally comic actor whereas Courtney, while talented, is more likeable on stage than actually funny. As for the third actor, I'd always intended to replace Francesca who has a certain amount of raw talent but whom I just could not get much out of. She never grew in the role, and really lacked energy. So I asked Anya to play Maggie, and she's doing a pretty good job so far, I'm very pleased. She has a harder time with the whininess at the top of the play (but who wouldn't, whininess is difficult to pull off) but does great with the interactions with Heidi and at the end. So, very proud of all my actors.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
So, my show opened Friday. I got there around 7:30 and hung out backstage. Several of the kids in the cast gave me little birthday gift bags, which was totally unexpected and adorable. I received three different candles, two boxes of dark chocolates, and a Christmas ornament. How sweet! I also gave a few last-minute notes and worked a slight change with Ignorance and Want. Eventually Shawna called 5 minutes, then I did my St. Crispin's Day speech to the ducklings. I said we've done all this work--we've rehearsed and done our research and now the fun part comes. Now you actually get to go out and BE these people--you get to go on a journey and take the audience with you. And that's why we become actors.

I watched the first part of the show from the balcony. It was all going fine until the Marley knocker effect didn't happen at which point I started to freak and then had to leave the balcony to chill. I would be a terrible Olympic parent, I simply can't watch when I'm not in control. I spent the rest of the show wandering in and out of the balcony, noticing at intermission that Jason, Alex and Don were there. From what I saw, the show went fairly well--not great, but well enough. I can never trust my own assessment of how well it went--I tend only to notice the mistakes, like Tess (Tiny Tim) singing "stood a lowly cattle shed/where a mother raised her baby" instead of "where a mother laid her baby." I've given her that note several times now--"Tess, you know, they did move out eventually! Joseph and Mary weren't *that* poor!" And Niki (Mrs. Cratchit) keeps messing up "and we haven't ate it all at last!" which she did again on Friday. Niki said after the first Cratchit scene (when both these flubs happened) she and Tess looked at each other and said "Clara's gonna kill us!" Which I did, after the show :)

Jason, Alex and Don came up to me in the lobby afterwards and said some very nice things. Jason said he could tell my directorial touches and he liked how my adaptation flowed. Don mentioned how interesting it was to watch it, as opposed to being in it. I was a little shaky (opening night with such a tech-heavy show is very stressful to me). The cast wanted to go somewhere where the entire cast (including the kids) could fit but there really isn't any such a place in Hoboken (especially on a Friday) so they went off to the Dubliner and I joined Dave for a quick drink at Court Street. The quick drink lasted longer than I thought and the cast kept texting and calling me, so finally I left Dave and walked along Court Street (all those cobblestones) to the Dubliner. The cast had gotten me a bouquet of flowers, a card and two Starbucks gift cards (they are all well aware of my coffee love). How sweet! I love my cast. They're all awesome. Someone bought me an Irish Car Bomb (my Xmas Carol drink--I discovered them last year at Court Street when Pia introduced me) and I mingled with various cast members, dissecting the show and the experience.

Niki said I was the best director she'd ever had--I said well, I love directing and I'm passionate about it. I love the work of directing--I love thinking about the blocking and the themes, I love bookwork and research.

Saturday after the show, we went to Benny Tudino's. Rebecca (Want/Fan) had gotten an illustrated version of CC as an opening night gift and she was marveling at how much of it was familiar. I said that's because I tried to make my script as authentic as possible. As it turned out, a couple sitting nearby had been at the performance and complimented us. One of the mothers said "tell her--she's the director and wrote the script." The woman of the couple said that she'd cried--I was all "excellent..."

Check us out!

Playgoers who enjoy having the Dickens scared out of them should find it worthwhile to make their way out to Hoboken this holiday season for the historic DeBaun Center for Performing Arts' production of A Christmas Carol. Adapter/director Clara Barton Green has taken great care to see that her text is accurate to both the spirit and letter of the great Charles Dickens novel and that includes an appreciation for its appeal as a good ol' fashioned ghost story.

But that doesn't mean it's not appropriate family entertainment and, quite frankly, with the way things are going these days ticket prices of $20 for adults, $15 for students & seniors and $10 for children seems pretty family friendly, too.

I've enjoyed DeBaun productions in the past, including last year's A Christmas Carol, so if you plan on taking that mere 15 minute bus ride from Port Authority to the theatre keep an eye out for me making a return trip. Just don't tell the driver my coffee cup is really filled with smoking bishop.

Thank you, Michael!
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
Come see all my wonderful actors in my play!

December 12 & 19, 2008 at 8pm
December 13, 14, 20 & 21, 2008 at 3pm

Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol will once again grace the DeBaun stage with Ben Holmes reprising his role as the bitter miser - Ebenezer Scrooge. A Christmas Carol is the story of Scrooge's chance for redemption through the visitation of a partner from the past and three timely ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Adaptor/Director: Clara Barton Green
Musical Director: Michael Kooman

Jeanette Bonner, Nicole Bowman, Jim Coe, Tess Cohen, Ben Dellabella, Mark Dunn, Samantha Gutterman, Alexa Haines, Niki Hart, Tara Henderson, Ashley Gorham Johnson, Sheila Jones, Brad Lewandowski, Leann Martin, Gerardo Mastrolia, Ross Pivec, Brielle Raddi, Frank Riccobono, Theresa Rose, Nicole Spano, Jenny Torgerson, Caley Vickerman, Rebecca Weintraub and Benjamin Holmes as “Scrooge”

$15/students & seniors
$40/dinner & show
30% off/groups of 20 or more

Discover Jersey Arts Cardholders: 2-for-1 tickets at the Friday evening performances; 20% discount on all other performances

Reservations: 201.216.8937 or
Purchase tickets on-line: DeBaun Box Office
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
After a thoroughly crappy two weeks ago, last week and this past weekend have turned out wonderfully.

I'll start with A Christmas Carol this weekend. I've been blockingblockingblocking the past several weeks--blocking and then drillingdrillingdrilling. Again and again. Polishing and perfecting the timing, the movement, the text and the acting. One of the reasons these scenes are so complicated is that not only are the traffic patterns tricky, they're also set against the Readers' lines--since I wrote the play, of course I can take out or add lines if necessary but I'd rather not do that, I chose every line for a reason. And then to make it even trickier, the choir is singing over some of these transitions and scenes, so that has to time out as well.

On Saturday we spent four hours in the Music Room and finished the blocking. And the MD taught "Once in Royal David's City" to the Cratchit family, and then "Deck the Halls" (the curtain call) to the cast. We went over some of the bigger scenes that we hadn't run in awhile, and things seemed to be going smoothly. I finished up the rehearsal by working with Mark (Dunn) and Sheila, the two Readers who have some of the densest text in the show (the food porn against the Introduction of Christmas Present, and against the London Streets at Christmas). I worked with them on personalizing the descriptions and words, getting it out quickly and articulately, and at the same time, not rattling it off. We also worked on the timing of the final scene in Act One (yes, we now have an intermission!)--the scene I call "Goodbye to Christmas Past." It's very *dramatic*--as Scrooge is struggling with the Ghost, the Readers are excitedly telling us what's going on, and in the background the choir is reprising "Remember O Thou Man." The scene ends

Mark: ...and had barely time to reel into bed...
Sheila: ...before he sank into a heavy sleep...
Choir: ...Therefore, repent!

It's all very exciting ;-)

Sunday was a long day--we were in the Music Room from 12 to 5:30. We caught up some of the people who hadn't been there on Saturday. The choir wasn't there--they should've been but at the last minute two of them had conflicts (the third had a long-standing conflict) so I had to sing-in for the choir. We girded our loins, gulped and went ahead with what was supposed to be a stumblethrough--but went very smoothly indeed. Amazingly smoothly. For long swaths of time, I only had to stop to give the Readers their entrances and exits.

Can you believe that?! We had our first runthrough nearly THREE WEEKS before we open!!! Does my cast rock or WHAT?!

After the finale, the whole cast applauded. I was literally dancing around, I was so pleased. I still can't believe it--I was marveling at my wonderful actors. I was saying "see, that's the way you do it--you cast the best actors you can and you work around their conflicts, no matter how severe. Because this is when it pays off. They get it. They know what they have to do to make it work."

It's a great cast. Everyone is bonding nicely, and a couple of cast members have approached me about doing some sort of charitable excursion as a cast--a soup kitchen or something like that, something in the spirit of the show. I mentioned this yesterday afternoon and everyone seemed agreeable.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
A Christmas Carol is going very well. We are almost completely blocked now--just the finale and the last Cratchit/Scrooge scene in the office to do, and both of those are easy. My cast is an absolute dream this year--extremely capable and everyone really seems to be enjoying themselves. One girl in particular, Theresa, warmed to me after our bookwork rehearsal. I was talking about the food porn scene (when we first meet Xmas Present, there's a dense description of all the food that decorates the Spirit's throne,

turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch...

I was explaining what twelfth cakes were--similar to Mardi Gras king cakes, they are round with a bean or coin in the middle. Whoever gets the object is the King or Queen. (I actually have a "children's Twelfth Night party," as indicated in the text, during the Christmas montage, going into the Ignorance and Want sequence.) Theresa perked up and hung around me during the break, talking about food and Mardi Gras. She is so sweet--whenever we have a ten minute break, she always offers to go down to the cafeteria and get me coffee.

Another cast member I quite like is Caley who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. She is AWESOME, I just love everything she does. Niki, who plays Mrs. Cratchit, is also terrific. I like how so many of them, when I give them their basic function in a scene, take that and run with it--I don't have to direct every little nuance and gesture, they inhabit the role fully, even if it's just a small function. Just a wonderful cast overall.

I've had a couple of emails from cast members expressing their excitement about the show, and thanking me for breaking down the blocking so clearly. With one of my big "spaghetti traffic pattern" scenes, I always tell them beforehand what the big picture is and where they fit into it, and I talk them through the technical transition. (I have very specific lighting and sound cues in my head--I like to layer the transition. Eg.: swirling mist sound and cyche image to indicate Scrooge and Xmas Past are going somewhere. Fade out mist and fade in sleigh bells, then slowly lights up while the cyche image transitions into a country snowscape.) And then I run it over and over again, working on the timing and the details. From what I can see (with no sets or techinical context), it's gonna look pretty good. Better than last year, more ambitious. Two scenes in particular are different and better--the Fezziwig party and the London Streets at Christmas. I've added children to the Fezziwig party which gives it dimension, and I've greatly expanded the scope of the London streets scene--a lot more is going on. In moving the Readers to the side, I have so much more room and scope. In all these traffic scenes, something specific is happening everywhere you look.

Another scene I'm loving is the Belle/Young Scrooge dis-engagement scene. The two actors are terrific--I honestly think it's the best performance of the piece I've ever seen. It's a difficult scene because Belle is speaking in this rather formal language, and she speaks so MUCH in the scene. It's easy to play as a set piece. But these two are great, they really find the energy and strong emotion in the exchange, cutting each other off and letting their impatience, frustration and love show through.

We blocked the first Future sequence yesterday, the one where Scrooge witnesses the First and Second Businessmen, and the First and Second Important Man talking about the death of some man they all knew (who of course is Scrooge). The first conversation is very jolly--I have Mark Dunn busting out laughing throughout it and taking snuff. The second conversation has a different dynamic--it's more stilted, "How are you?" and "Very good, Wentworth." Ross, one of my actors, was taking a LONG pause after meeting the other Important Man before he says "How are you?" and it started reading very differently to me, much more awkward. I told him to pick it up a bit--I said "that pause is adding all sorts of...uh, subtext to the scene" and then I started giggling, imagining all SORTS of homoerotic subtext. "So, I guess the other night meant nothing to you." " knew what the story was."
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
My right shoulder has been aching for a couple of weeks now. I strained it in my sleep (I think) and a couple of days later got a massage at Athens Nails in Astoria. MISTAKE. It felt good at the time but it's been hurting ever since. I'm hoping it'll heal on its own, since I'm not sure what to do to help it.

Rehearsals for A Christmas Carol have been going very well, but not that easily. We have a very strong cast this year--not one weak link--and that's both good and bad for rehearsals. The bad is that good actors tend to have mad conflicts--the good is that they pick up the blocking much more quickly. I'm rethinking some of the set pieces (especially Scrooge's bedroom platform) and changing a good amount of the blocking. The "London Streets at Christmas" scene (that is, when the Ghost of Christmas Present and Scrooge first venture out together) is gonna look and sound great, just great. I'm very excited about it. The final Ghost of the Future scene looks awesomely thpooky as well.

I was telling Ashley, I don't know why any hack would want to direct A Christmas Carol--it is NOT easy at all. You get very few "book scenes"--there's Fred and Marley, and the Cratchits at dinner, and Belle's scene, but most of the show, in almost any adaptation, is short little scenelets here and there and they have to MOVE. You have to have a nimble, versatile set. Maybe that's why I've seen and been in so many bad versions. As silly as the demon dancers were when Ryan and I did it in Virginia, that solved the problem of the constant set changes.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I've been at DeBaun the past couple of nights, busy with Christmas Carol auditions. There were many people who signed up for appointments and didn't bother to cancel which irritates me VERY MUCH. Extremely unprofessional, people. What was even weirder, our monitor came in last night toward the end and asked if we could see a couple of walk-ins who'd "been waiting for a couple of hours." Why the hell didn't you just send them in, in place of those who didn't show up? That seems common sense to me. Anyway, we had some terrific talent including some awesome men, and more kids than last year. Yay! I cast most of the show last night, although there's one person I still have to audition (she couldn't make it to the regular call, so we're setting up a special appointment--she's good, so I definitely want her to read). We won't start calling until Monday or Tuesday though. Bob (Reed, the producer) was impressed that I didn't need to have callbacks--when people came in, I listened to their monologue and sent them out with a side or two. Then last night I went through all the H/Rs and pretty much cast most of it. German efficiency. I'm gonna sit on my decisions for a few days though, just to be sure about it.

We had quite a few people who did classical monologues, which I loved--that's probably the best kind of monologue for this version of Christmas Carol, with all the rich language. One woman did Henry IV, Part II, another did Emilia from Othello, all three guys yesterday did Shakespeare (Claudio and the Friar from Much Ado and I can't remember what Mark Dunn did), plus some Chekov and Ibsen. Love it! Most of the singers were pretty decent.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I had my first production meeting for A Christmas Carol Tuesday night. Almost all of the technical staff from last year are back, including Matt, Carl, Michael and the costumer and makeup designer. I have a different SM, Shawna, and producer--Bob Reed, the guy who started the Theater Company. I'm gonna miss Gina a lot--she and I clicked on a number of levels, and she was terrifically proactive. Shawna is nice enough (she was the SM for "Patrick and Lisa's Wedding") but she's VERY quiet.

Food Porn! )

Anyway, back to the meeting--we talked about the new script and I went through it with them, pointing out areas I'd highlighted in the script where I thought we could do something interesting technically. The tech staff had some GREAT ideas that I won't give away but if it comes off the way we were talking, it will look amazing. I *am* keeping my thpoooky Ghost of the Future though. I talked about where I was taking the new script and Carl was extremely supportive, saying that last year's CC was "famously the best" (or something like that--I know he loved it, and told me that everyone on the staff agreed it was the best of all the CC productions at DeBaun). I was recounting this to Griffin and said "it's not necessarily because I'm so amazing, it's because I love the story so much and threw myself into it--I didn't just serve up the same ol' Christmas Carol."

Auditions are next week--Tuesday and Wednesday, with callbacks on Thursday. I can't wait!


Aug. 6th, 2008 05:35 pm
ceebeegee: (Mercutio)
I had a great meeting with Dave Z. today. We talked about the next couple of seasons--I started off by pitching, hard, Hair, a show that I really want to do right now and have been thinking about for the past couple of weeks. I have most of it blocked in my head already! In particular I know exactly how I want to do the finales of both acts. I can already hear myself doing over the history with the cast. "Okay, this play takes place in late 1967. What just happened? [The Summer of Love] What's about to happen? [The Tet Offensive] What will happen next spring? [The assassinations of MLK and RFK] Remember, Woodstock and the Manson murders--the high and low points of the counterculture--haven't happened either--this lifestyle is very new to most of these kids." We discussed the pros and cons--he can't do it this season, obviously, and he already has strong ideas for next, but the one after that is a possibility.

We also talked about Duncan's one-act for the Hudson County One-Act Festival, "Patrick and Lisa's Wedding." Thankfully it will not be terribly difficult to block. But I'm worried about when to find ANY time to rehearse. Did I mention it goes up in mid-September? Yeah. Gonna have to cast ASAP and make time before the R&J tech week hits the fan. Thank God Mercutio dies early, all I can say.

I gave him what I have so far of the Christmas Carol script. I'm not done with it yet, I'm about 2/3 of the way. I added a half-scene here and there (Dick & Caroline, Child Scrooge reading to himself) and I'm still fiddling with the concept of the Readers, and the Ghost of the Future. I sent an excerpt to Dave a few weeks ago and what he's read, he said he really liked, said it flowed better.

And we talked about The Secret Garden for which I would looooove to audition, but it's a question of time. So far in September I have to perform in and produce R&J, and direct Patrick and Lisa. And in October I have to audition A Christmas Carol, start directing it, and MOVE.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
Check. It. OUT.

"I feel that this is artistically the strongest production in the three years," said Zimmerman.

Great balls of fire!
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
Left around 1:00 am; the PATH didn't come for awhile. Just got home a little while ago. Rehearsal was long and inconclusive--the scene changes look like chaos to me but Carl (TD) and Matt (LD) were assuring me it will all be fine, the crew just needs to run them. I literally was hyperventilating but they were holding my hands and saying there's nothing to worry about, even kind of laughing (with me, not at me).

However what did go smoothly, looked somberly gorgeous. The biiig scene change, Fred's Party into Ignorance and Want--looks GREAT.

*Breathe, breathe*
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I left the theater at 1:30 last night--so I was there 13 1/2 hours.


Not gonna be worth much today at work...
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I just got off the phone with the Hudson Current reporter from last night.She asked me a lot of questions, like would I say there's more music in this production of A Christmas Carol than others I've seen (I said well, there are about 15 pieces in this production but they're not set pieces, they're used in a variety of ways--to comment on the action, to underscore certain themes, to add tension, to prepare the audience--so maybe it will feel like more, or less). She asked about my "take" on the show--I talked about our focus on the language, the authentic (and yet not beaten into the ground) music. She wanted to know about the tablework process--I told her about the early rehearsal, talking about classical technique, studying poetry, hearing the cadences. She also asked if I thought my version had more thpoookiness--I said that I was always interested in ghosts and even as a child, my favorite ghost was Future, with the long creepy robes and talon-like fingers*. I said I took some liberties with the Ghost of the Future--I didn't want to give it away but I tried to add thpoookiness there. She asked why did I think Dickens used the ghosts? I thought about it and said perhaps he was saying that some changes are just too big for us mortals to accomplish on our own--you need supernatural intervention. I mean, he does it all in one night! As she was typing this up (I could hear her typing over the phone) something else occurred to me--I said "actually the very first phrase in the book bears this out." I started reciting it and she joined in--"Marley was dead, to begin with." And at the end of the passage he finishes with "this must be distinctly understood--or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate." So he gets in both worldly, inescapable fact of life and death, and the otherworldly miracle with which the story ends--in the very first passage. Alpha and Omega.

The article should be out on Wednesday.

*I was showing Duncan this picture

of the Ghost of the Future--it kills me. I just love that prissy little finger pointing down--it's so precise and showy. Like he just got a manicure and doesn't want to mess it up.
ceebeegee: (Default)
We worked our way through costumes last night--most people looked pretty good. I'm still tweaking Don's costume--they had him with a white, ice-crusted, glittery crown and I said that would be great for his last appearance (when he turns older in one night) but he should have a wreath of holly leaves on his head for most of it. His mustache is a little uneven and I kept fiddling with it.

There was a reporter there last night who took a bunch of pictures. She took my contact information and is supposed to be calling me this afternoon. That would be great to post on my website if she follows through. She's also supposed to be at the runthrough tonight.

Daphne looked adorable as Tiny Tim. The costumer seemed to have a thing for head coverings for the women--he had Mrs. Cratchit with a shmatta covering her hair, and Xmas Past with some sort covering her head. No, no, no. Mrs. Cratchit looked as though she got lost on the Fiddler tour, and Zoe has such a sweet, delicate, youthful beauty, we can't cover that up. I told Zoe to leave her hair loose and we would have her wear maybe some kind of circlet. She needs to be able to wear the cap at the end of her scene.

The Cratchit family sounded GREAT during "Once in Royal David's City"--first time they nailed it. All in tune.

The little girls in the cast are KILLING me, they are so adorable. They've figured out how much I love kids, especially smart little girls at that age, and have been showing off for me ever since, all "look what I can do!" and "listen to this!" So, so cute.

Karen, one of the assistant producers, was taking some production photos last night, and she mentioned to me that Carl has been saying that this is going to be his favorite Christmas Carol. I'm not sure if he meant ever or at DeBaun but regardless, I'm thrilled. Dave had told me that Carl and Giovanni both had been saying good things about the show--very nice to hear. Karen said that she remembered the interview and how very sure I was about what I wanted to do with the show--"and it's obvious you've done that." I said well, I have a great cast who give me what I want.

This Saturday and Sunday, I have to spend the entire day at the theater--Gina said we'd be lucky if we only spent 12 hours (each day). GAH. Apparently I have to approve all the tech calls. I dearly hope they pay for my dinner (not that I need the money, it's just the principle!). My throat is starting to feel really raw--it's like my experience two years ago with DeBaun A Christmas Carol, except that this time, I don't have to sing! I think I may try to nap for a little bit in the house between tech discussions.

Here is a partial cast and director photo--there are some cast members missing including my friend Ashley (in the specialty choir) and a Cratchit daughter.

ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I've been so busy the past few days and it's not going to relent until sometime around Christmas (!). Saturday I had the AATI reading--we had rehearsal for that in the morning, then I hit the PATH into Hoboken for Xmas Carol rehearsal, then BACK into Midtown for the reading. I was planning to go up to visit Jason in the hospital after that but heard from Don that he was discharged that day so no go. After the reading Tim (who was at the reading) and I went to Houston's to have dinner. We talked about Brandy's (a piano bar on the Upper East Sie where we used to go a lot) and the show and all sorts of things.

Sunday I had Xmas Carol rehearsal, of course. Since last Thursday we have been having stumblethroughs and workthroughs, and also filling in the gaps for the sections that haven't been fully addressed. For example, last night we finally fully blocked and choreographed the Fezziwig scene--we'd had a choreography rehearsal much earlier but half the cast was missing so we had to pick it up last night. I added a bunch of party bits--flirtations, interactions, etc. I also worked out exactly where and how I want the choir to be singing certain pieces--very seldom does the choir actually sing a piece fully all the way through as in a standard musical. It's usually as underscoring or punctuation or as part of a transition. In the second Cratchit scene, when they're mourning Tiny Tim, I'm using the Coventry Carol--I have the choir singing a phrase, and then Mrs. Cratchit has a line. Then the choir comes back in a few lines later. I don't want the show to stop for the musical pieces--they're commentary and atmosphere. Same thing with the show's "anthem" which is an Episcopalian Advent hymn called "Remember, O Thou Man" (which chorus says "therefore, repent!"). I use that piece three times during the play, at three different key scenes, including when Scrooge is staring at the body on the bed.

I have to admit, I'm kind of pleased about the Ghost of the Future sequence. I hope it comes out as thpooooky as I imagine it. I won't tell you what I've done with it but it's not the way it's usually done. I was trying to make it both more thpooooky and also more meaningful. Gina looked pleased last night and told me what I did with the first part of the Future sequence was much more effective than what's usually done.

Slowly, slowly it's all coming into place. *tries to breathe* Tomorrow's going to be interesting--our first night on the set.
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
Hey guys--I've been working my *ss off on this for the past month and I'm pretty proud of it. I chose all of the music--all Anglican sacred and English traditional pieces, like "Once in Royal David's City," "The Angel Gabriel," "Adam Lay Y-Bounden" and the Coventry Carol. (Plus tons of dramaturgy on Victorian culture, including mourning and courting customs...scratch a Clara, find an historian...)

Hope you can make it! One weekend only!


The Theater Company
in residence at The Center for the Performing Arts at DeBaun Auditorium presents
A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

December 14, 2007 at 8pm
December 15, 2007 at 3pm & 8pm
December 16, 2007 at 3pm

Open Captioning Performance
In our ongoing efforts to make theater accessible for all, The Center is proud to offer Open Captioning for the hearing impaired at the 3pm performance on Saturday, December 15th . The New Jersey Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing makes this open captioned performance possible in partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State.

General Admission
Students & Seniors/$15
Children Under Twelve/$10

Special Discounts & Group Sales
Discover Jersey Arts Cardholders: Buy one ticket, get one free.
Group Sales: 30% off groups of 20 people or more!

Special Package
Dinner & Show Package: Enjoy dinner just steps from the theater at Court Street Restaurant & Bar for only $40/person. More information and menu being offered can be found online at This package is only available for purchase on-line at

Box Office
Call: 201.216.8937
Or Purchase Tickets On-line:

Performance Location/Parking/Directions
DeBaun Auditorium, Edwin A. Stevens Hall
5th & Hudson Sts., Hoboken, NJ
Discounted Parking & Directions:
Easily accessible by PATH, LightRail, NJ Transit & NY Waterways

Show Info
A Christmas Carol is the story of an old, bitter miser—-Ebenezer Scrooge-—and the chance for his redemption through the visitation a partner from the past who learned his lesson too late, and three timely ghosts. Since 1843 Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" has been an integral part of many people's holiday traditions. The Theater Company's production helps to ignite that holiday spirit with traditional carols and English folk tunes creating the atmosphere of the world of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and old England for young and old alike.

Director: Clara Barton Green - Music Director: Meg Zervoulis

The cast consists of Pia Ambardar, PJ Brennan, Cathy Carrey-Aquino, Daphne Ciccarelle, Michael Clay, Samantha Gutterman, Benjamin Holmes, James E. Keelen, Jr., Peyton Kennedy, Anthony Lorenzo Parker, Don Pflaster, Duncan Pflaster, Rolando Ramos, Francesca Ruiz, Emma Spahic, Sarah Vidal, Kate Willard, Yasmin Yarosh, and Zoe.

For cast and director biographies and pictures, please visit The Center's website here.


A Holiday Tradition
An additional holiday tradition of The Center is to provide support to The Hoboken Shelter, a local charitable organization that provides accommodations for 50 people and feeds 80 to 100 people every evening. At each production of A Christmas Carol, The Center will collect monetary donations from audience members who would like to aid The Hoboken Shelter in supporting their mission to prevent homelessness and to assist homeless men and women re-integrate into the community. Last year, The Center was able to collect over $1000 for the Shelter and knows this year they will be able to collect more!
ceebeegee: (Beyond Poetry)
For the past couple of days I've been blocking A Christmas Carol. Unlike most other plays I've directed, this doesn't have one single (big) set but a lot of little set pieces. Also the structure of the play is basically character-driven scenes broken up by chorus members commenting on the action to the audience. This makes things easier and harder--easier because I have a certain amount of freedom to move and alter the set pieces as I choose. Harder because it's not that easy to keep the traffic patterns clean, interesting and relevant. Generally I plan a good deal of my blocking out beforehand, because as those I've directed know, I like to use blocking to reinforce the theme, and I have all these pictures in my head of how to do that. But with these set pieces plus so many people, all I can do before is to have a general idea--there's just too many things I can't visualize, too many things that look different when they're actually on their feet. We worked on the first scene quite a lot last night until finally I thought it worked. Lots of trial and error, lots of polishing. I think it looks clean and strong now.

We also blocked pp. 39-43, which is immediately after Scrooge's "Oh, let me sponge away the writing on that stone!"--when he wakes up, realizes it's Christmas Day, has the scene with the Turkey Boy, and has the second scene with the First and Second Portly Gentleman. Emma, who plays Turkey Boy, is freakin' adorable. Sweet-natured, a hard worker, with a good energy. Just precious. I still need to figure out exactly how far downstage she should stand during her scene--Scrooge's bedroom is upstage right and I want her to be seen and heard, but at the same time she'll upstage herself if she's too far down.

After rehearsal I met Mike, Seth and Chris at Mikie Squared where we kicked ass in Trivia. I got there as the question was "Who threw the fastest recorded pitch in baseball history in Anaheim in '74?" Mike thought it might be Nolan Ryan but said he thought he was better known for consistency than heat. I saw Ryan pitch for the Astros in the late '80s and he was still throwing some serious heat then so I said I thought it was Ryan. As it turned out, we were right. As the questions went on, the only one I didn't get (or even try) was the math question--I remember how to find the area of a triangle (base x height divided by 2), but I don't remember how to find its height when you're only given two sides. So I sat that one out. The very last question was "Name all ten of Shakespeare's tragedies?" As soon as I heard the question I shook my head and reached out for the pencil and paper in this "just hand it over, dude" gesture and started writing furiously. The obvious ones were Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth and Titus Andronic. Then I remembered Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Anthony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus. Then I wrote down Richard III and Richard II. Mike objected to the last 6, saying they were histories because they involved historical characters. I said histories is an editorial distinction--Shakespeare himself did not designate them as histories (although I think King John is just called The Life and Death of King John and not a tragedy). But even as such, what makes it a history is not whether or not the characters actually existed (obviously Anthony, Cleopatra and Julius Caesar all existed and as Chris pointed out, so did Macbeth) but whether or not they dealt with English history--specifically the Wars of the Roses (the 8 plays leading up the the rise of the Tudors--Richard II, HIV Pts. 1 & 2, HV, HVI Pts. 1-3 and Richard III). But on the title pages of both RII & RIII, they are called tragedies. Soooo confusing!

Anyway, we WON so now we have a $50 gift certificate. Yay us!


Oct. 8th, 2007 06:30 pm
ceebeegee: (Massachusetts foliage)
Saturday was a nice mellow day. I was originally planning to go to Hoboken for callbacks for A Christmas Carol but we're having some difficulty getting men so we postponed the callbacks. Which worked for me, I could sleep in. I eventually arose and drank coffee and then finally pulled myself together enough to go over to the Time-Warner store location to return the equipment and close out my account.

I walked back through the neighborhood and checked out various stors--there's a well-stocked pet store right across the way from Isham Park. There is a teeny little black kitten with green eyes named Lucy who lives there--Lucy cuddled in my arms as I shopped. After that I explored PJ's, which has to be the best-stocked liquor store I've seen since I moved to NYC. It's absolutely huge, with every imaginable variety and brand.

After that I got a manicure and pedicure at a place on Broadway run by some Vietnamese women. I asked them if there were any Vietnamese restaurants in the neighborhood--sadly, no (I love Vietnamese food).

A so-relaxing fall Saturday afternoon.
ceebeegee: (Default)
So...guess who's going to be directing A Christmas Carol at DeBaun this fall?

ceebeegee: (Birthday!)
It's a little late but I'd like to thank my lovely friends who came out with my on my birthday last week. It's such a time crunch in mid-December, I'm always happy anyone can go! And a special thank you to three of you:

The Sunday before, I'd been helping Mickey, Katie and Sami clean up the old apartment, and we went out to a diner afterward where Silas met us. Silas had brought two scooters with him--a pink one for Sami and an electric blue Razor for himself (with wheels that lit up!). We all tried them out, and I was having so much fun riding up and down the sidewalk that Silas, on the spot, offered it to me. Yes, he actually gave me the scooter he'd just bought for himself. What an amazing act of generosity! I LOVE it--I've been having so much fun with it, and have used it to commute as well. It will come in especially handy going between DeBaun and the PATH station next month!

Another thank you goes to Seth and Rachel, who took the time to find out where the Into the Woods rehearsal was the night of the 12th to drop off the present with our director, Billy. This, in and of itself, was wonderfully thoughtful but it gets better. The present was so beautifully wrapped, I put it under my little Christmas tree, just enjoying it, and didn't unwrap until Saturday afternoon. Rachel had included a note about "my fashionista side" and it turned out to be this darling little glass ornament in the shape of a fashionista with a cute little Southern outfit and bearing a bag that said "Atlanta." I loved it and immediately put it on the tree.

Sunday, disaster struck. As I was wrapping Sami's baby shower presents, Tatiana (whom we all know is somewhat large) tried to squeeeeze past the tree on the window sill, even though there was CLEARLY NO ROOM. The tree fell and everything broke. Lights, ornaments, an ornament that a friend had made for me 10 years ago, ALL the candy canes...and my beautiful little Atlanta glass doll. I flipped out--I get very sentimental about people taking the time to make or buy things for me. And I hadn't even had the thing 24 hours! I was VERY angry with Tatiana who ran and hid. The mess was everywhere. I was really very upset about the whole thing.

I saw Seth later that evening at Tesse's Hanukkah open house and he handed me a bag. In it were two new glass dolls--not Atlanta ones (they didn't have any more) but a Beverly Hills doll and a Paris doll. They are BEAUTIFUL. The Paris one is just precious--the doll has one a red overcoat with a matching red, wide-brimmed hat and jetblack hair. She is such a classic Chanel beauty. I hung them on my mod lamp, FAR out of the reach of curious, fat tabbies who KNOW they're not supposed to break stuff. Ahem. I hung my poor little broken-legged Atlanta doll next to it--even though she is disabled, she still loves her fashionista sisters. My Mulder doll and my Anakin/Obi-Wan Mustafar ornament are not far off--I'm thinking I may arrange a cocktail party for them all. I bet the Atlanta doll and Anakin hook up, since we all know he's about to lose BOTH his legs. And arms.

People are just so nice sometimes. I guess that's all I can conclude from this. People can be so kind.*

*The foregoing does not release the recipient from the obligation of writing an actual thank you note, to be delivered via postal mail in the near future.


ceebeegee: (Default)

February 2017



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