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Clips & Full Performance Vid For “B-Side Man”

I’ve never felt more acutely aware of leaving one year behind, and moving into the next. I’m very proud of getting the play up and running. It still reverberates in me on a daily basis. What it said about me, about coming-of-age mentally and physically, about the loss of Charles and about the transcendence of moving forward as a person in a different category. It registers as an achievement, even though it hasn’t brought me a Pulitzer Prize, just yet. Never did I think I could learn 20-plus pages of script. It’s a daunting task. I spent countless moments going over lines, moments and transitions. I had to find my rhythm and be comfortable with it. It took me to awkward places. It took me to want to constantly revise. But finally, I had the script in the right place for me. Below, I’ve included a few excerpts from the play. And if you scroll alllllllll the way down, you can see the entire performance.

“I’m a B-Side Man”

Because of my very busy summer I’m setting sail away from the New Day Campaign.  I was an Advisory Board member, band even though New Day is positioned to become a non-profit force, I can’t commit to the time it takes. For 2017, my free time has to be first and foremost. Selfish? Who cares? It’s where I am right now. New Project? Can’t see it. New initiative? Still can’t see it. 

“College in Vermont”

No arts-related items are on my immediate calendar, and it’ll probably stay that way for a good while. If I just ride my bike and read a few new books, I’ll be as happy as Mary’s Little Lamb.

“Dancing in Iowa”

And finally, if you’re feeling inspired, below is the entire play. When I first viewed it I thought, well maybe someone younger would do a better job, but the more I watched the more I realized NOOOOOOO, I’m at the right age for this. I made a conscious choice not to add images or more props. I thought an audience would be willing to take a 60 minute journey with a “mature” african-american male, regardless of how open, sarcastic, painful and somewhat non-traditional that journey is.

Entire “B-Side Man” Performance

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

Successful “B-Side”

“Life? She come and she go” Nobody famous said that, I just made it up. But, it applies to the last six months working on “B-Side Man”. And now, it’s over. The shows in NYC were wonderful, as were the performances with the Charm City Fringe Festival.

charm-city-fringe-festivalIt was hard work because it took me completely OUT of my normal life. Funny as that may seem. But I developed a commitment to learning the lines in my own rhythm, and having lines, action and sections of the play (it’s a 20 pg. monologue) work seamlessly. Of the four performances at the Stillpointe Theatre Saturday night was out of this world. Great audience, and I think I nailed it. At least a critic who saw the preview for “B-Side” was pleased. Not having acted in quite some time, it “took a minute” to re-establish what kind of presence I’d bring to the play, even though it was my own dang play! You ask yourself all kinds of questions, from “how do I look onstage,” to what positions, motions and tone are the best for the moment. But from June to November I was entirely INVESTED in the process. Frequently, running lines in my head right before falling asleep. I wouldn’t have traded this for anything in the world. As we mature, we absolutely NEED things that challenge us. Mentally and physically. When we respond, it reassures us that what we thought were mountains were really, molehills. I expect that sometime down the road I’ll be doing the play again. That little voice inside tells me so.

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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

“B-Side Man” Is Up & Coming!

This week “B-Side Man” opens at THE TANK in NYC, and I’m feeling, as they say, JACKED! Why shouldn’t I? It’s 80 minutes of me talking, and hopefully acting. And, on November 9th, I do 4 performances with the Charm City Fringe Festival. Working on “B-Side” definitely has been the proverbial “labor of love.” I started memorizing in late July, and I’ve been working on this thing for what feels like EVERY WAKING MOMENT. It’s been a very consuming project. Not just because of it’s length, about 20 pages non-stop, but because there are so many nuances and emotional tidal waves in the play. There are some “easy” coming-of-age moments, the end of the play dives into a kind of unknown territory. Not gonna say what the play takes issue with, but it does involve the loss of my son. But, that’s way down the line. We have to get through a little roller-coaster ride to arrive there. I always think of works like this, not just my own, as having a lead character who goes into “the forest.” The issue is how he comes out of the forest. Ahhhhh, there’s the rub. How we tackle maturity. Adulthood. And we all arrive there in different vehicles, don’t we now. Wiffee Nicole has also jumped into the rehearsal/editing process with both barrels blazing. I think her comments and suggestions have been “sooooo money.” She’s been very natural and confident in having her voice heard and sticking to her guns. I knew this collaboration would inherently arrive with this production. It was building after “Zulu Fits,” and now it’s full-blown. I told her I can see her on a panel talking about her experience(s) with theatre.

I have high hopes and have been using the fall colors and sunshine to propel me into the right mental space. Where will the play land in the future? Who knows! Who cares! It’s just doing it right now that matters.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

Getting Ready For New York

I’m diving into my own script. Yes, I’ll be performing at The Tank in NYC at the end of October. “B-Side Man” will be performed right in the heart of the theater district. The Tank is an intimate space that should serve the actor (Alonzo!!!) well.

the-tank-in-nyc

I’m thinking of this as the first “leg” of the “B-Side Man” journey. My instinct tells me there might be more performances down the line. Even after the 4 performances I’ll be doing for the Charm City Fringe Festival in November. But if you happen to be in New York for Oct. 29th and 30th, I highly recommend you see my show. What’s it about?  Read below. And buying tickets is easy as pie!

b-side-ny-pr

 

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

Performing “B-Side Man”

Yes! Alonzo is performing his very own “B-Side Man” in October and November. In October on the 29th and 30th I’ll be at The Tank in New York City. Not sure of the time’s yet, but that’ll be coming along. And I’m also performing in the Charm City Fringe Festival in Baltimore in November.We (Wiffee Nicole and I) just finished having the artwork finalized by the very creative Christopher Jones (brownhornetdesign.com) who also currently produces work for the New Day Campaign.

Behold!

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This one is for Charm City Fringe. We’ve also got something that talks about “Mumbo Jumbo Productions.” Nicole and I have used “Mumbo Jumbo” once or twice in the past when we’ve presented shows by Alonzo.

Web

Here’s the “hook” for “B-Side Man” —

“One African American Man speaks on his journeys, transformations, segues, stories, love, loss, dark days, belly roll laughter and that goddamn playwriting bug. Storytelling that could bewitch Quasimodo! Storytelling that could cure erectile dysfunction then bring it back. Laugh-a-minute? No!!! Think-a-minute? Yes!!! Hear B-Side Man tell the tale.”   

We think both of these capture the fantastical essence of the play. It’s one thing to be memorizing and performing the work, when you have artwork that highlights what you’re involved with, it feels like you’re “armed” with a power bow and  a full bag of arrows.

More to come!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

My Time @ The West Virginia Writer’s Workshop

I had a FANTASTIC time at the WVU Writer’s Workshop. Yes, that’s me sporting my saddle shoes and lookin natty. That’s David Hasslet to my left and Ethel Morgan Smith to my right. We had such an emotional panel. Tears were shed after I’d mentioned “The Telling Project,” and my work with Telling. There was a gentleman in the audience who was a Veteran and he started talking about his father, who was also a Vet. I recounted how when I worked with Telling we did short excerpts in several Baltimore City schools. We’d have a Q&A afterwards and when students spoke about a relative who’d be in the service “nobody ever asked them” about what they’d done.  Pic of Me

This struck a huge chord with the Veteran in the audience. And he started crying, as he recalled his father. And in responding to him I started crying too. It was the culmination of working with Telling and hearing their stories. Who knew all this would show up several years later at the West Virginia Writer’s Workshop.

From their blog, here’s a blurb about our readings:

Blurb from WVU

All-in-all, I couldn’t have been more pleased about my contributions to the Workshop, and can’t say enough good things about Mark Brazaitis, Director of the Workshop and Professor of English at WVU, Renee Nicholson, Multi and Interdisciplinary Studies and Dominique Bruno, Graduate Assistant and Major Social Media Queen of the Workshop. All were particularly helpful and encouraging.

Alonzo @ the podium

And reading an excerpt from “B-SideMan” was pure icing on the cake. I loved being on a panel where folks had questions about Playwriting as an art form, and also questions about the business side of Playwriting. I hope a few more of these are in my future. And I met two of the kindest people, Howard and Karen Owen. Howard Owen is a detective writer who wins awards faster than anybody I know. I was totally entranced by his latest book, “Grace,” coming out in October. “Grace” has that Walter Mosley/Raymond Chandler feel. And I find that a good detective story carries me away.

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 

“Monifa’s Kiss” Update

I was fortunate to take in the first rehearsal of “Monifa’s Kiss” cast in Hagerstown. The Potomac Playmakers are producing “Monifa’s” in September and the cast and I had a lil’ meet n’ greet. So below here’s Whitney Bowie, a.k.a “Monifa”….

FINAL Whitney Bowie

Monifa, like the others, has a big dramatic turn only her’s is traumatizing. In desperation, she calls upon an old emotional memory.

And Karilee Grossnickle…(below) 

ABSOLUTE FINAL KARILEE  is ShaRonda. Karilee and Whitney seemed to just “fit” during auditions. Later I found out they were friends. Makes sense. Karilee’s ShaRonda drives the confrontation, and from what I saw she’s got just the feisty chops to take the play into the dark side.

FINAL April Fox

April Fox is LaRue, and she’s a little bit of a wild card. “Monifa’s” may be a very different experience for her. Though April has done theater, this play is a tad unconventional in terms of language and tone. LaRue is a bit of a diva, and also a bully. But, it’s an adventure for everyone, even Mr. Playwright.

Speaking with my Director, Andrea Robison, we think the stage business may be the biggest challenge for everyone. All the activity takes place on a subway car, and the girls are borderline out-of-control teens who have no problem getting in each other’s grill for even the slightest diss. I’m not worried about the age of the characters, as long as they bring some attitude. Make that: bring lotsa attitude. I wonder how things are going. I said I’d see them on opening night, but can Alonzo actually stay away till then? It’s awfully tempting to check back in with them. I guess because this is still a relatively “new” play that hasn’t gotten it’s share of productions. So it’s still “me widdle baby.” Like most of my plays, for an audience it’ll be a shock to the system. Though it’s a one-act and won’t take that long, it should pack a punch.

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Places in B'Mo I Go

 
 
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