Monday, November 24, 2008

Meet the cast

After Friday's rehearsal, everybody gathered around Bruce's sofa for a group photo. From left to right:
TOP ROW: Director John Gould Rubin, Victor Williams (Carl), Jenna Stern (Susan), Alexander Chaplin (Andy), and Playwright David Bar Katz.
2ND ROW: Jamie Klassel (Cindy), Michael Puzzo (Doug), Elizabeth Canavan (Allison), Amelia Campbell (Karen), and David Deblinger (Bruce).
Photo by Monique Carboni.

Tickets are $10, and they're on sale now. Some dates are already sold out. Buy tickets now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I seem to have misplaced the only copy of the script. I thought it was really cool how in the movie Misery the writer only had one copy. I like how it made it feel precious and rare. So, taking a page from the Oliver Stone secretive pre-production hand-book, all scripts that went out were numbered and read with an intern present then returned. Rubin, my director, never even got one in the first place. He thought reading my script would get in the way of his process. He suggested that maybe my manager or agents would have a copy. But my film agents said they deleted the email I sent them with it as soon as they saw the word 'play' in the email heading, and my theater agent never got one since he can't afford email.
Getting a little bit of resistance about my Star Trek dream sequence. All the men think they look fat in the Star Fleet uniforms, which I think is a testament to the fitness of the real original Enterprise crew. Deblinger is concerned that his nipples look puffy through the lycra. I told him that Shatner's nipples occasionally looked puffy during the third season, but that did not seem to comfort him. I'll throw the whole fucking thing out before I let my dream Capt. Kirk prance around in a Banana Republic turtle neck. The bridge of the Enterprise set looks like crap. I would rather re-write the bit so it would make sense for it to be performed in complete darkness than have this cardboard looking crap. Rubin, my director, doesn't seem to give a shit that the whole cast is mispronouncing every other Klingon word. He thinks no one will notice, but the Klingon word for 'urethra' is remarkably similar to the Klingon word for 'passive beta male'. Does he have any idea the kind of shit storm that will come raining down on us if the actors fuck that up??!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Writer's Perspective: Casting

October 30, 2008: It's week 247 of casting. Rubin and I can't agree on anything. I think it comes down to the fact that I'm looking for the best possible actors for the roles, and I think John's looking for a new best friend. John is a very sensitive man, very sensitive to actors, probably because he once was one a long time ago. You can still find some reviews of his early work on the walls of some caves in Lascaux. So John really engages every actor that comes into the room. It's truly lovely, the inclination behind it. Well, it's lovely if he's just being kind. If he's actually become disoriented and thinks that he's in the process of directing each auditioner's one-person show... well, that's troubling. During one woman's audition he actually opened up a bottle of a 1987 Borolo. If LAB could afford candles, I'm sure he would have lit them. I began singing that America song, This is for all the lonely people Thinking that life has passed them by Dont give up until you drink from the silver cup And ride that highway in the sky.... He shot me a look that even by Herzog/Klaus Kinski standards could not be considered collaborative. But I don't care 'cause Judy, our casting director says she's going to put me up for a juke box musical.

October 31, 2008:The array of actors we have seen is stunning. Every one of them is truly amazing. The professionalism!! for grown adults to be willing to come into a room, one after another and humiliate themselves in this way is stunning. The sides I have provided the actors for the auditions actually contain nothing that's actually in the script. Going that route would be a missed opportunity. I thought to myself, "What are some of the things you've always wanted to see grown men and women do or say? If you had the power to control people, to make them do anything, what would you have them do?" Needless to say, the casting process has been a scream, if not productive. A shout out to Judy, our casting director, for playing along and sacrificing her professionalism in the name of having a really good time.

One of LAByrinth's artistic director's suggested I work on having some more empathy towards actors. I thought this was a good idea, despite the fact that he's an actor so this is clearly a transparent effort to just have me understand him more. But I dug in anyway. I imagined it was I walking into that audition room. I could hear Judy's voice saying to me, "Cindy, this is David Bar Katz, the writer." I caught my reflection. I was a pretty blonde actress!! Repressing my desire to run to the bathroom, undress and for the first time spend some quality time alone with a naked blonde, I extended my hand to meet... ME! There I was, my hand extended towards my new actress hand. I looked up into my own eyes, and my actress mouth opened and I started screaming. And crying. Weeping really. Fetal position. The whole nine. So this is what it was like to meet me. Though I was hysterical, sobbing, pounding the floor, writhing, there was still enough actor in me to think, "I wish this was a Medea audition." But I couldn't calm down and just kept saying over and over, "Won't some big Indian pretending to be mute come over here, suffocate me with a pillow and smash his way out of here with the new sink we got with Celebrity Charades benefit money...?!"

November 1, 2008: If I'm as old as the people Judy has cast as my contemporaries, I'm gonna kill myself. I kept thinking that all these people must be fifteen years older than me. She insisted that they are not. I couldn't take it anymore, so I interrupted Rubin, even though he hadn't quite finished that auditioner's foot massage. "Could I see some ID, please?" I asked. Rubin handed me some document stamped with the seal of Vichy, France. "Not you! The actor." The actor handed me his driver's license. He was four years younger than me! So I am going to kill myself. But my death will still serve the production, since I know Rubin prefers to work with dead playwrights.