Friday, February 23, 2007

Stress Monkey: Katrina; I Too Am Worthy

There's a passage in Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy*, where Brian De Palma compares his experience during the production schedule on any of his movies to a large and lengthy tunnel he slides down.

At the beginning of the process, the tunnel is about as spacious as a hangar, the speed's pretty lugubrious, and you can't see the other end. The further in you go, the steeper the incline, the faster the speed, and the closer the walls. You finally see the other end of the tunnel maybe 2/3 of the way through. The walls get closer the more stressful the situation. Sometimes more breathing room is gained, especially after a good day, or some breakthrough is achieved. You hope to avoid having the walls close in enough to stop you.

I think of that scenario every time I direct a show.

Katrina is two weeks away from opening, and while I can see the end of the tunnel, there are days where those walls are within arm's reach. There've been nights this last week where I got about three hours worth of sleep, and those were after good nights of rehearsal (I couldn't shut my brain down, ideas were flowing freely).

And yet, for all of the hand wringing, sleepless nights, and crabbypantsitude, if you were to find me in an objective mood and ask me if I'd do it all over again, my answer would be a resounding "mufuggin' hell yeah!" if only for the sense of accomplishment. It ain't climbing Mt. Everest, but it'll do for me.

At the point I'm currently in, it helps me to go back to what I found engaging about the project. For Sunken, it was the blend of wry family discourse coupled with gonzo zombie theatrics onstage. For Dark Ride, it was presenting a cohesive and challenging enigma to an audience used to linear storytelling. For The Ritz, it was placing farcical slapstick in a generally hostile venue.

In the case of Katrina, it's all about telling this story. The sharing of an emotional rollercoaster in a town known for its repressiveness. The raising of a topic that, despite lip service to the contrary, is still being ignored by the man in charge of this country. The telling of a story that, despite its weightiness, is still funny, touching, and engaging.

The biggest challenge for me aren't the usual concerns, but in making sure that, in telling this story, I don't fall prey to the tempting excesses to be found therein: headpounding obviousness, maudlin sentimentality...or worse, in fear of being those things, I don't take a risk at all.

No pressure or anything.

*Highly recommend this book, for a fly-on-the-wall perspective on how Hollywood can fuck a good thing up.--tbo

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Roundtable: Immortality and Stuff

You ask me, immortality's overrated...Yeah yeah, you get to live forever, but after having done everything three times over, what are ya gonna do?

Would quality of life lose its significance to us, if we didn't have to worry about dieing someday? Would you get annoyed by pissant little comments when you're feeling pretty shitty?

Carol, who hosts this week's Roundtable over at Feeling Peevish, wonders about these and any other implications that immortality brings.

Pop in and give your two cents.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Roundtable: The ( ______ ) Decade

Or: How will the Aught years be defined?

John Sadowski, host of this week's Roundtable, asks this very same question, and I must admit to be hard pressed to come up with a feasible answer.

Can you? Well, don't tell me about it, head over there and pipe up, Chachi!

PS - Working on plenty of stuff out in 3d-land, but will have new material here, hopefully real real soon.--tbo


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Roundtable: Are Pleasures Ever Truly Innocent?

I mean...what if the majority of your pleasures are of the guilty kind?

How else to explain all of the Stephen King in my book collection? Fletch and Flynn? The Buffys alongside my DVDs? So are Bring It On, Freddy Got Fingered, and Dick (Kirsten Dunst/Michelle Williams vehicle with Dan Hedaya as Richard "Titular Nickname" Nixon, ya pervs)...The fact that I own Big Audio Dynamite IIs Globe (highly highly underrated), or The Best of The Blues Brothers, or Deee Lite's World Clique.

Anyway*, Suzanne, over at Perfecting the Fine Art of Procra..., shares some of her guilty little habits, and wishes that you share yours with her. Go. Take a look. Discuss. No one will bite.

*This is quickly becoming my trademarked Roundtable Segue.--tbo


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Roundtable: Echenspray izay Eutschday?

One of the fringe benefits of learning another language is the learning of colloquialisms that just do not translate into your own language.

Frankly, no one has it worse than those trying to learn English for the first time. I know this from first hand experience; it took me years to understand things like: "Blow your top," "knock your socks off", or "have your cake and eat it too." I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm currently forgetting.

Steph, aka The Incurable Insomniac, shares some examples she has picked up in a myriad of languages, and asks that if you have some examples of your own in either English, German, Mandarin, or even Swahili, that you please share.

Whydonchaheadonovah? Oh, and beware the Ides of Pong.