Rough idea for Ghost in Hamlet

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Stage Layout

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

A very, very rough idea of where the various elements are going to go for the show.  The main center screen is important, but I may switch the sides to put the puppet on the left.  Stadler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show were seated on the upper left box during the show.  I won’t argue with perfection.


Posted: February 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

I really wanted another week.

My last meeting with my committee member, Professor Schaffer kind of pushed it to the Ides of March.

But I wanted another week.

I’m a month out for essentially a small presentation, but I’m nervous as hell.  A million things need to be addressed and a million things can still go wrong.

My puppet show doesn’t work on the iPad and big Tv screen right now.  I need to do it on a jailbroken iphone.  Things I need to know.

But, the date is the date and the show presentation must go on.

Pray for me on March 15th, 2011.

Sub(text) theatre

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Acting, Technology

If anyone is reading this, they will know most of the show.  Here, for example is the Sub(text) portion of the show.

the basic concept for this is that technology can enhance a performance.  Like Pop-up Videos from the early 1990s, people can receive texts that fill in supplemental information about the performance.  Different feeds can be created for cast notes, author notes, costume notes, historical context, ect.  For example, one person watching the Brick/Big Daddy scene from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof can receive texts about the fabric that Big Daddy’s suit is made of,while another can get more information about Big Daddy’s cancer and the prognosis in that era, while still a third can find out how this scene was challenging to memorize from the actor playing Brick.

It’s important to note that these texts, sent to phones on vibrate, are not specifically designed for the first time viewer, but rather for the repeat customer. Audience members can return to watch the show with new information that increases their enjoyment.  They get to select the texts they receive and can turn off the phone at any time.

Of course, eventually this can create a whole sub-genre of theatre where writers create specifically for the technology.  In example…



Posted: February 8, 2011 in Presentation

I finally met the last member of my committee today, Professor Mary Schaffer from the film and TV department.  She wasn’t what I expected,the smiling, grand-motherly visage on her faculty webpage was replaced by a sharp, plain-talking and knowledgable person.

We had a really nice conversation and she cleared up a lot of things about the nuts and bolts of grad projects and such.  However, she did catch me off guard with a simple question: “What kind of audience do you want at your presentation?”

It’s something that I haven’t really considered that much.  Generally the reply is simply “My committee members and anyone else I can find!”  But for a project that is about the audience, I might need to consider it a little more carefully.

I could just keep it to family and friends.  A small, intimate gathering to showcase off what I know with a receptive, positive audience.  Or I could try to really press for a larger audience.  The goal would be to gather a diverse audience and show that my message can carry beyond the insiders of my life.  That seems like a more daunting task.

Of course, this is an educational venture, so the economics is less important than the content.  Additionally, I will be streaming this to the internet.  So not only will I have a larger audience from that, but the video will remain online and can continue to accure far more views than a physical audience.  So in the end, a smaller audience is probably okay, but bigger won’t be bad.

Sooooo Close

Posted: February 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Boy, I really want this to happen before my presentation.  the ability for a performer to tell a story in a virtual costume is an amazing technology that I want to explore.  Imagine this character for a story telling segment in a greek tragedy or for a children’s story.  What if the actor was 1,000 miles away?  Right now though, I feel like we’re still a couple of months away from this being seamlessly integrated.  Sigh.

Project Cast: Assemble!!

Posted: February 4, 2011 in Acting, iPad

I have my cast for my project.

Hamlet and Puppet #1: Kevin Blake.  He was the first guy I asked.  His knowledge of Shakepeare and improv made it a no brainer.

Man 1 and Puppet #2: Kurt Scholler.  One of the best improvisers I know (and I do know a lot), what set him apart from some other choices I could make is that he has a very distinctive voice.  This will play very well with the puppet segment and allow for both visual and vocal differentiation in the two characters.

Woman #1: Whitney Avalon.  A remarkable performer, I almost hate to waste her talents on such a small scene.  Having said that, I’m pulling this favor because she is so great and reliable. We’ve done a lot of projects together and I know what I’m getting.  Plus, I may have her sing…

Ghost (Head): David Heath.  I could have tried to cast someone out of New York or London for a real impressive demonstration.  The problem is I don’t know anyone there who could play the role, so I’d have to cast blindly and trust that they would be in front of their computer on time and knowing how to work teh internets.  I don’t need that kind of risk; with this presentation I’m already juggling flaming angry monkey while riding a unicycle on a high wire.  So instead, I picked great friend who is a member of the Lamb’s Players Theatre in San Diego.  Dave has performed hundreds of roles over the years and couldn’t be nicer or more down to Earth.  When I told him what he’d be doing he laughed for a good 30 seconds then said, “Sure Mike, I’m in.”  His level of accountability is beyond reproach.

Ghost (body): Katie Brost.  The original plan was to have Kurt play the body of Hamlet’s Father.  He’s a large, imposing guy and it would play well in the scene.  But Kurt isn’t a movement guy and the decision was mainly for conservation of talent.  Today as I was jogging (And thinking about the project) it hit me: Katie Brost.  Katie is one of my best friends in the program. She’s also incredibly bright and knows as much about theatre as most of the professors teaching us.  Additionally, she’s a big fan of Meyerhold and his Biomechanics.  This could be a great experience for her if she played the body.  She also lives in San Diego, so her and Dave could actually rehearse together.  This would really transform my idea of the Ghost’s body from mere;y being a semi-static pedestal for the ipad-head, to a moving living form that moves in tandem with the words.  As an added bonus, when the role is over and we reveal the “he” to be a “She”, it will be one more surprise for the audience and further proof of the flexibility of the transactor.

I’m not sure I could have picked a better combination of actors for my presentation.  Of course, with that comes my one huge fear: that one or more of them will land a job on that night.  A TV gig can pay $1,000 and a commercial more than $20,000 for one day’s work. It’s a hard sell to convince them to “book out” for the evening.  I will press them to do this, but if something comes up and they still get cast, I can’t hold them to stay.  At that juncture, I don’t quite know what my options are, but I do need a contingent plan.  Time for more jogging I guess…