Saw “Gleam” at Center Stage this past Saturday and it had rewards aplenty. I used to teach Zora Neale Hurston ALOT and from the moment I opened the first book, I was just so impressed by the essence of her voice. Reading her was like discovering the life of the world. In teaching her, I quickly saw how difficult it was for students to grasp the language. But—-this is where ye olde playwriting EX-PURR-TEASE comes into play. Because I’ve frequently found that audiences use language to to tune out of a cultural experience, just as they also use it to tune in. Especially so with Drama.
You can show 1,000 people being killed or massacred onscreen, but try and have a character speak a sentence or two that you can’t “get” or understand? Lord Love a Duck—-they won’t take the journey. Especially, if they’re listening to people of color. Folks want ethnic, but goodness don’t let it be too ethnic. Anyway, now since Zora now sits among slightly more literary and dramatic royalty than she used to, audiences are more inclined to stay with her.
Finished “Smiles From God,” and now, just like pushing my tiny paper boat out into the little nearby stream—-I’m setting it free. What it about you say? I put out a synopsis in one of my first posts. And it’s still the same. Didn’t finish it in time for the Baker Awards. But maybe the Bakers aren’t for me. That’s not saying Alonzo’s not good enough. That’s just to say what I said.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable time giving my social media lecture for the Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. I tried to convey a little of what goes on with being a Communications Specialist, and also I wanted to keep things lively. My first social media talk, and it was like riding your bicycle over beautiful terrain—-but you’re just not all that familiar with your surroundings. But the group seemed to be attentive, and though they were pretty familiar with FB and Blogging, they seemed fairly curious about what platforms (I go to Hootsuite, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon) to use for finding information.
Two years ago——Who knew I’d know that?
As my time went along, I began to feel—not just comfortable with talking to them (they came from mostly the Apache tribe, I believe, and were there to learn how to become social media soldjas!)—but also more comfy with what I had to pass along. Hey, it’s a brave new world for everybody. When I first learned how to work on a computer (a MAC and still IS) I remember thinking I was almost too “mature” to learn this technicalities of computer life. HAHA! Well, here I am entering my 3rd or 4th lifetime…..
….and still learning. Morale of story: you’re never too old to have transformative moments. Also, to have someone value your opinion enough to want to hear you speak, or to give you an audience—-is a joy all by itself.
Script Update: Almost finished rewrite of “Smiles From God”. (You know you LOVE that title). The synopsis is below in another post. But I’m loving the process. It raises the question: Who serves the better purpose—the person who creates the idea or the person who brings it to fruition? To me that’s the essence of the play. But of course it wouldn’t be a play without a journey.
Nicole (wiffee) told me about the Maryland History Day and next thing I know I’m a volunteer. As a great person (wiffee again) once told me, “everything in life is an opportunity”. I was closed to that when I was younger, took me awhile to get open enough to accept it.
Yes, Alonzo is headed out to LA this spring. Staying with my friend Charles. The festival takes place all around Hollywood Blvd, so I’d imagine it’s quite “atmospheric”. But one of the major themes is film noir, and (if I can use the patois of the medium) “that’s suits me just swell.” I don’t know where to begin talking about it.
For me, when I first saw “The Sweet Smell of Success” I knew there was a darkness that I hadn’t experienced or seen before. This was ages ago, and I thought it was a damned grown-up movie. People were tormented, raked over the coals, and then it seemed somebody sat back and laughed at ’em. “The Asphalt Jungle” was another. Marilyn Monroe wanting to take a vacation with her “Uncle Lou,” Sam Jaffe caught cause he was watching a teenage girl wiggle and Dix trying to make it back to the ranch. Any ranch. Juicy stuff. Theater-Wise, it got me thinking about CHARACTER. I saw the roller-coaster characters could take emotionally—-they weren’t just bad people—-they were deliciously bad people.
I read today (a small mini-book that I have “Cult Fiction”, and I forget the artist who said it) that artists who live at each extreme are the most fun to appreciate. If you stake out your claim as the typical next new thing, and you embrace all the traditional accoutrements of said new thing (take Lady Gaga or Russell Brand), then you are considerably less fascinating than the artist who plays in that world and also the world of mainstream society. Give me the Lady Gaga who also writes like a bad-ass conservative. Dudley Moore was funny in “Arthur” PLAYING Arthur. Nobody likes Russell Brand movies because he IS Arthur. There is a distinction, and based on how his movies tank—-one that audiences already know.
Since I started my blog, I’ve been feeling/playing catch-up. I directed “Zulu Fits” this past fall and it felt like my summer was snatched away (rehearsals! rehearsals!) from me. Yeah, yeah—so I’m whining. But this being a brand new year, just I’d look back at some moments. Won’t be continuous with this, just from time to time.
In one of my “I miss the summer of 2011” special scenes (now that it’s 2012) I thought how comfy/cozy several of my “Zulu Fits” actors—-Lauren Blackwell (L), Alonzo (zats me!) and Yakima Rich (R) were on this BOO-TI-FUL day. We were all loungin’ at Joe Squared on a summery, sunny day. Howard & North Ave in Baltimore City provided all the miscellaneous “atmosphere” (think very low-budget Times Square) we needed. Anyway, Lauren has since given a tremendous performance at “Maggie The Cat” in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” (Herald’s of Hope Theatre Company) and Yakima is working with Barry Feinstein’s (Theatrical Mining Company) acting workshop. It’s an understatement to say that both ladies were a delight to work with.