When you’ve done all that you can…

It’s Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day.

Did you remember to pause and be thankful for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom? That’s what Memorial Day is.

Independence Day (everybody has a Fourth of July) is when we celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Veteran’s Day is when we honor all veterans.

Pretty simple really. But sometimes in all the hoopla of sales and picnics and pool openings, things get a little fuzzy.

I don’t have time for things to get fuzzy this week. If you’re reading this on Tuesday morning, as you should be, then I have exactly three rehearsals, one of which is an Invitational Dress Rehearsal (IDR) for Doublewide, Texas.

Doublewide, Texas opens this Friday, June 1, at 8:00 p.m. at CAT Theatre.

And when that curtain goes up at 8:00 p.m., I’m done. At that point there’s nothing left that I can do for the show. Good or bad. Right or wrong.

Years ago, when I was a Meetings and Convention planner in DC, I used to plan five-day annual meetings that would have somewhere between 1,000-2,000 attendees. The final event was the annual awards banquet. I knew when that banquet began that, other than the cleanup and the going home and the paying the bills, I was done. There was nothing else I could do.

The catering staff knew that the bottle of red wine went immediately to the right of my spoon.

Then, I remember that one time in Seattle when the convention center staff, and meeting attendees kept sending drinks to my table. At one point there were some 6-8 glasses in front of me. Granted, at least one of them was water.

No, I didn’t finish them all. But I did dance very well that night.

That’s another story.

No one will be putting a glass of red wine by my seat in the theatre on Friday night. There will be wine at the Opening Night Reception, but I don’t think I’ll get close to six or eight glasses.

But, like I said, when the lights go up on stage it’s out of my control.

Truth is, I’ll be letting go after the Thursday night dress rehearsal.

The realization of that hit me last week.

I’ve lived with this play and these characters for the last year. And I’ve worked with these actors and this crew since March.

On Friday night, my work, other than showing up for strike, will be done.

They’re ready. I’ve no doubt about that.

I’ve done the best I can. I’ve been blessed with an incredible cast and crew.

You will be missing out if you don’t see this show.

Saying goodbye won’t be easy.

But, I think back to nearly four years ago when I found it quite difficult to say goodbye to Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure and the quote that summed it all up.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I’ll be saying goodbye to Doublewide, Texas, but there are other projects ahead.

Two that I know of and can speak of…

Playwright, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy
River City Community Players
Performed at John Tyler Community College
October 5-14, 2018

Director, You Can’t Take It With You
Williamsburg Players
March 29 – April 13, 2019

There’s more in the works, along with the novel, and maybe at least one more script.

But, for now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my time in a little trailer park outside of Tugaloo, Texas.

Y’all come.

Cross posted at The Write Side of My Brain.

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Friday Experiments, Ramblings and Updates

pexels-photo-891677.jpegHere it is, a sunny Friday in March and we’re not sure if winter is yet behind us.  In terms of production work here at Historic Occasions, I thought it would be good to give you an update on where things are, or aren’t.

I’m directing Doublewide, Texas at CAT Theatre in June.  The cast is complete and we have our first read-thru on Sunday evening.  I’m excited and looking forward to getting to work with some amazing people.

My script, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, is complete and has, at this point, been submitted to one contest and there will be two more submissions in April.  While I can’t share the details, there’s also a very strong possibility that the show will be produced here locally within the next year.

Speaking of the next year, I’ve got a pending contract to direct a show in Spring 2019.  I can’t yet share the details, but the announcement will be made in early April.

On more exciting news, about which I must be even more vague, a random Facebook conversation this past week may lead to a dream opportunity to direct, produce, or act in…maybe all three, one of my favorite shows.  The first meeting is Tuesday and there’s lots talk and dream about.

So, why all this rambling on a Friday on this blog and not my regular blog, The Write Side of My Brain?  In part, because I’m sitting in Panera and figuring out how I can, indeed, blog from the iPad.  Work with me, I’ll be sixty in a few months.  So, this is somewhat revolutionary.

Plus, while I post here randomly, I’m taking a two-week break from the other blog.  Just some time to regroup and figure out the balance between the writing and the production.

It’s also a bit of a shift for this blog.  For years, Historic Occasions has been the framework for meeting and event planning, but that’s shifting to theatrical productions and historical events.

Don’t get us wrong, we can still produce a kickass meeting for you, whether it’s a conference, or a wedding reception, or just for grins.

But, this blog, as well as this  company, is a work in progress.  Stick with me here and you’ll be able to follow that progress.

Have a good weekend.

 

I’m directing a thing

Here at Historic Occasions I talk about the script I’ve been working on that is closer and closer to completion.  But that’s not all we offer.

This spring I’ll be directing Doublewide, Texas, the final mainstage show of CAT Theatre’s 54th Season.  Auditions are coming up.

Here’s the official announcement:

CAT Theatre will conduct auditions for Doublewide, Texas by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten (Dixie Swim Club, The Red Velvet Cake Wars) on Sunday, March 11 and Monday, March 12 at 7 pm. Auditions will be held at the theatre at 319 North Wilkinson Road, Henrico.

Doublewide, Texas runs from June 1 through June 16, 2018.

Doublewide, Texas rounds out CAT’s 54th season with this hilarious, fast-paced comedy, where the inhabitants of one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas – four doublewides and a shed – are thrown for a loop when they realize the nearby town of Tugaloo is determined to annex them. Friends, enemies and neighbors realize they’ll have to work together to defeat the encroaching annexation if they – and their way of life – have a snowball’s chance to survive being swallowed up by ‘the big guys.’

Director Mike Fletcher is seeking three men and six women. All actors will be paid. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY.

The characters are as follows (ages are flexible):

• Joveeta Crumpler (F, 40s) — vivacious and driven, she has had it up to here, having been passed over again for a promotion at work.
• Caprice Crumpler (F, 70s) — Joveeta’s beer swilling, feisty mother who tends not to dress her age.
• Norwayne “Baby” Crumpler (M, 40s) — Joveeta’s good ol’ boy brother who is taking his participation in a womanless beauty pageant way too seriously.
• Big Ethel Satterwhite (F, 50s) — nurse at the Stairway to Heaven Retirement Village. She’s nobody’s fool but a fool at heart.
• Geogia Dean Rudd (F, 40s) — ball of fire, owns a diner, takes in every stray animal she comes across
• Lark Barken (F, early 20s) — baby on the way and down on her luck, looking for a job and a place to stay.
• Haywood Sloggett (M, 70s) — curmudgeon who lives across the road from the Crumplers and loathes their “trailer-trash” ways.
• Lomax Tanner (M, 40s) — officious city manager.
• Starla Pudney (F, 40s) – the mayor’s conniving, high-maintenance wife

Audition sides will be selections from the script. The sides are posted at http://www.cattheatre.com/auditions.

Well, Hello Dolly!

On this day in 1964, Hello, Dolly! premiered on Broadway with Carol Channing in the lead role.

The play was based originally on an 1835 English play, A Day Well Spent, by John Oxenford. Johhann Nestroy adapted that into a farce called Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Will Go on a Spree or He’ll Have Himself a Good Time). In 1938, Thornton Wilder adapted the Nestroy play into The Merchant of Yonkers, which was a flop. He later revised it into The Matchmaker in 1955 in which he expanded the role of Dolly, played by Ruth Gordon.

Orignially the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi was written for Ethel Merman who turned it down. Mary Martin also turned it down. Both later played the role.

The role eventually went to Carol Channing who made it her signature role. The show become one of the most iconic Broadway shows. Pearl Baily starred in an all black version of the show in 1967.

The orignial production won a record-tying 10 Tony Wards (tied with South Pacific). That record held until 2001 when Mel Brooks’ The Producers won 12.

Carol Channing won the Tony Award for Best Actress. Also Tony nominated that year was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl. Streisand would later play Dolly in the film version of the movie and in 1969 won an Oscar for the lead in Funny Girl.

Hello Dolly was revived on Broadway in 2017 with Bette Midler playing the lead. The Revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Middler won for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, and Gavin Creel won for best actor.

Summary from Wikipedia.

The Morning After

 

My script, Clean Dry Socks:  Diary of a Doughboy, had its first public reading last night before the Richmond Playwrights’ Forum.

I am grateful for the opportunity to present my work, and am particularly grateful for the six actors who took an evening of their time and shared their talents.  I also appreciate the words of encouragement and instruction from the members of the Forum.

This has been a long time coming, and I’m excited about the prospects for the future.

As for last night’s experience, well, it was actually pretty good.

I mean, no one stepped up and said here’s a million dollars, let’s put this on the stage.  But the comments were supportive, and encouraging and gave me some new direction as well as solutions to some of the problems.

It remains a work in progress, and I have work to do.

But today, I’m a little farther down the road, a little closer to the stage.

And, that’s a good thing.

‘Til it’s over, over there

worldwar1a

It’s been over eight months since last I posted here. I had high hopes and fancy plans to keep this going, along with my regular home on the web at The Write Side of My Brain. But schedules change, and plans change.

So, today I’m back and we’re taking this blog in a different direction. I’ll still talk occasionally about meetings and events, but for now, we’re looking at history, specifically World War I history.

I plan to be here every Tuesday to talk to you about the development of, and the promtion of my stage play.

See, I’ve written a script entitled: Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy.

It’s a stage play based on the diary of my grandfather from World War I. The first public reading is this coming Monday with the Richmond Playwright’s Forum.

Here’s how the script came to be.

I’ve had a copy of the diary for years. The version I have was transcribed by my aunt, who also provided commentary and history. The original diary is now at the Library of Congress as part of the Veteran’s History Project.

In addition to writing, I also spend some time on the stage. About two years ago, I was again participating in A Night at the Quartermaster Museum, at Fort Lee, Virginia. I’ve done this annually for the last four years and will be there again in November.

Two years ago I portrayed a World War I era doctor. The nurse and I talked to the students about the hazards of trench foot and prevention methods which include…you guess it…Clean Dry Socks. I remembered my grandfather’s diary at that point.

But things started to gel the next day when I attended the first performance in the newly restored Beacon Theatre at City Point in Hopewell, Virginia. The program was a series of letters written during the Civil War era.

I was inspired to go home and pull out my grandfather’s diary where I learned, or remembered, that he had trained at what was then Camp Lee, then marched to City Point in Hopewell where he and the 80t Blue Ridge Division departed for France.

It was then that I knew that I had to take this story to the stage.

So, the script has been written, and re-written, and will soon be read in public for the first time.

Is it ready? The reading will tell.

But it’s closer, and it’s on its way the stage.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how the reading goes.