So now the show is done. Amazing to me that it was possible to do this. Actors + music + images all live on YouTube. So many friends saw it.
It’s using the level of technology that’s out there free at this moment, or nearly free. Not perfect technology and quite frustrating at times. Especially given that everyone’s coming into the Zoom from computers with varying levels of camera and sound quality and ease of use.
All in all, it’s extremely satisfying to have done it. Most of the “readers” did wonderfully well. There were some very moving performances.
And now, what? Well Bloomsday next year, that’s for sure . And with luck we’ll be able to do it in the Hooker-Dunham with a live audience!
The tape of the show is on YouTube and will be on BCTV: https://youtu.be/vXvnd4zkWOM
BLOOMSDAY 2020 is all set for Live-Streaming to YouTube!
In true James Joycean tradition, in a struggle to contend with the new normal – or at least what’s normal as of this post, BLOOMSDAY in BRATTLEBORO happening this Tuesday, June 16, from 7 to 9 PM (the live-stream will start at 6:45 for the “audience” to get comfortable. Snacks are advised.
The show is not intended for children, Young children will simply not understand it all, but it does contain sexual content.
It has been an amazing experience to put this together. 16 actors all zooming from all sizes and shapes of internet devices in from their homes, adding a little music and some images, and pumping it over to a Live-stream on YouTube has been a wild but exciting ride.
We’re only a few days away. Lots of people have signed up wanting to see it.
If your seeing this and are curious about the show, the Hooker-Dunham Theater’s website will have the latest information on accessing it. It’s entirely free.
So go to www.HookerDunham.org to get info or get to the link to the Live-Stream!
Most who know me would say that I’ve never been one to accept reality. The current reality is not really ignorable…and shouldn’t be ignored because of the degree personal careless becomes another person’s nightmare. Taking social distancing seriously seems to me the least we should all do.
This is rough in many ways. particularly so far as running a theater is concerned. For my little theater – the Hooker-Dunham Theater and Gallery – the economic impact of having expenses that don’t change with no money comi; g in means it’s all loss (rather than a break-even proposition it’s planned to be), but honestly this impact is the least of it and, compared to the economic pain so many are experiencing now, it’s nothing. I feel for the theaters for whom the damage is far, far greater. Nearly all the area theaters are non-profits, but have staffs whose only income is their salary.
Getting one’s creative juices flowing by acting, directing, producing shows is something that keeps us all going. While people are coming up with creative on-line solutions, nothing quite makes up for the immediacy of an audience’s interaction with a performance and that just isn’t possible now. Even small rehearsals, just to use the time we now have on our hands, is not advisable as the community level of infection ramps up.
So far I have cancelled everything at the theater, even the two person rehearsals in preparation for my Bloomsday event (June 16). It’s increasingly looking like we will be struggling with this into the summer even in a best-case scenario. We will hold Bloomsday WHENEVER we are able to open again. Then day of our opening will be our Bloomsday!
…I’d stopped for a long while, mostly because it seemed more seeds blown into the wind and for the less existential reason that I switched who was hosting my site. So this is the first post with the new host.
For the moment, I’ll call it my Bloomsday Blog, because I think my focus for a bit will be on putting on this “event” at the Hooker-Dunham Theater on June 16, 2020. Bloomsday in Brattleboro.
For someone like me who likes to read Ulysses and gradually come to understand it, to visualize what Joyce is writing, to have the characters speak for themselves, is incredibly exciting. It brings a whole new dimension to the book.
So I put together a “script.” I say “put together,” not “wrote” because the words are nearly all those of James Joyce, not me. I’ve chosen a few moments out of the thousands of moments in the book in the hope that they tell a story of Ulysses knowing that there are so many other stories that could be told and so many other ways to tell them.
But the event is first and foremost a celebration of the written word. Here, as elsewhere in the world where Bloomsday is celebrated, it is the spoken word we celebrate.
Ulysses was banned in the United States and England for being obscene or incomprehensible or both. Distribution was prohibited and copies of the book were burned from its birth in 1922 until Justice Woolsey of the Southern District of New York, ruled its favor in 1933.
Getting a group of actors with strong voices to read a series of excerpts I’ve stitched together has been very exciting. Ulysses is an amazing novel, but also one that can be quite intimidating. I’m hoping our show will display enough of its essence that our audience will feel they spent their time well.
So we’re off and running. Tuesday, June 16, is coming up faster than we think here in the middle of Vermont winter.
As a child, I dreamed of being an old man. I think lots of kids had dreams like that, fantasies, even reveries. I think of the first character I played on stage was Giles Corey (an old man who’s a victim of the witch hunt in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible). I think of “altacocker,” the Yiddish word I remember hearing my father say and “Der Alte,” what they called the German politician Konrad Adenauer.
Now, as I get older, I dream of being that kid again, of being that kid who dreamed of being an old man.
Also: Added new thought on learning lines/music from actor/musician’s perspective.
First complete version of a science fiction story I’ve been working on for many moons: The Blue Tunnel. Check it out!
For the past two months, I’ve been putting together an essay on the Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize and was also chosen by the New York Times as one the best books of the year. This is the first time I’ve chosen to devote my writing energies to the task of unraveling issues raised by a work of fiction, so certainly I was strongly affected by it.
If you outright loved the work, you may be disconcerted by my questioning a key psychological and philosophical underpinning of the novel. If you haven’t read the book, I hope you’ll find enough description of it to be engaged by the argument I raise here.
If you’re a student of contemporary literature or psychology, I hope you’ll find the discussion useful, though of course you would be well advised not to cut and paste.
Yellow Bird – Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch
Check out this new article I’ve added on the process of learning lines (from one who knows how hard it is!)
Ignatz leads Philip
Philip had decided to trust Ignatz, though he could not precisely say why. Just at the moment he’d had the thought, Philip and Ignatz came into the light and Philip was dazzled by what he saw. From the utter blackest of darkest night or outer space to dazzling brightness as though inside of an opal in late afternoon sun.
Late afternoon, yes, he thought, late afternoon. How had he managed to go so far in his life with no enduring attachment to anything? How? He blamed it on his early life in am unending series of traffic jams. Trapped. And too much of his life had been absorbed getting out of that traffic jam and into a life of his own.
All that in a moment as his eyes gazed on this dazzling brightness.
He was blind because he now could see everything, far, far more than he had ever seen. But so fleetingly. So fleetingly. It was as though he were inside the opal and all the light was radiating through him.
“Stand back,” Ignatz said. “Don’t come closer to the light.”
more to come soon, full book target is March 2016
Added an article today on the process of thinking through how to create an entirely new production of Dracula. So many interesting themes (morality and sexuality, religion vs. science, life and death) as well as serious acting challenges. If you’re curious about how an actor in a project of bringing Dracula to the stage in a very different way than it’s been presented in the multitude of cheesy productions that exist, take a look.
A while back I started going through the NYT crossword puzzle archive looking for particularly good ones. It’s taken a while to come across one that meets the criteria I set in the article, but working my way backwards from the earliest ones you can get from the archive, the one from Saturday, March 19, 1994 is a good one. I hadn’t looked who the author was until I was more than halfway done and beginning to think this was a really good one and, sure enough, it was written by Manny Nosowsky, my all time favorite constructor. Very little crossword-ese, few gimmes and many words that can be figured out once you get a couple letters, and some nice well known expressions that aren’t overly well-known to crossword solvers. Several clues I really was curious to find out what the answer would turn out to be, like “Bryophytic” (My Mac doesn’t even think that’s a real word!). Anyway, if you’re looking for a challenging puzzle worth trying and have a NY Times puzzle subscription, I highly recommend it. (btw: Today’s (Saturday, Aug. 22) NYT Crossword puzzle Barry Silk’s puzzle is a good one with lots of interesting phrases. Silk is also one of the all time best puzzle creators.
UPDATE: I am also a huge fan of Brendan Emmet Quigley’s puzzle site: www.brendanemmettquigley.com. His puzzle for Monday, Aug. 24 is a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest puzzle creators (no, not Nosowsky this time) and very aptly titled. There’s no cost or even log in required for the site, though donations are accepted.
Meanwhile: I’m almost done with The Other Box where that takes up where the short story left off. It’s turning into at least a novella and possibly a full-length book. I’m setting April 1, 2o16 as a deadline for myself for completing the book and publishing it here.
Tons of events happening at the Hooker-Dunham starting on Labor Day and continuing at least into November. There are also two exciting theater projects in the works for this coming spring, so keep an eye on the site to see what’s happening at the theater. Some really cool stuff, including a very exciting (and scary!) production of Dracula (last two weeks in October) that’s certain to be unique and entertaining! I’ve started writing ideas about what makes Dracula an enduring fascination and will be publishing blog entries on it in the next few days.
Having written on the horrors of forgetting lines previously, the least I could do is to share what I’ve learned about methods of memorization actors have found to be helpful. Here it is.
This is primarily of benefit to NY Times Online puzzle subscribers, i.e. to people who can access the NY Times Archives on their puzzle site. There are some wonderful puzzles out there. There used to be a site that organized them by author, but it seems to have been disabled. But anyway, some of these older puzzles are terrific. I’ve often enjoyed Manny Nosowsky’s puzzles. I’ll be starting to list them as I find one’s that I really like. My criteria:
1. Hard, not something you zip through so quickly you barely notice it.
2. Some of the questions are things you’d like to know. An example from this week’s choice: “Pet name for José.” That’s something I feel I should know, some I’m curious what the correct answer will turn out to be. Good quotations are also a treat when you don’t know them immediately.
3. Some of the questions are obviously a specific way of saying something. You understand the clue perfectly and know what it means, but it has a multiword answer and you don’t know what it is. Again, your curiosity is peaked: What will it turn out to be?
4. Some of the answers have multiple reasonable possibilities for the same length word. Which meaning is the puzzle author using, you wonder? Is there some other meaning of the question that I haven’t thought of?
5. You begin to feel some satisfaction as the puzzle starts to come together, a feeling you figured something out.
So if you’re a NYT online puzzle subscriber, click on “Archives” and you’ll find an amazing collection of New York Times crosswords from more than a decade ago to the present.
Added a page of favorite puzzles from the NYT archives (Possible spoiler: You have to have a nyt online puzzle subscription). And I certainly must mention Brendan Emmet Quigley’s site as an outstanding resource of excellent puzzles. Some clue/answer combos are slightly off-color if that matter to you. Monday’s are the hardest…and they always meet my criteria of being challenging and having some clue/answer combos you’re glad you found out by solving the puzzle and other clue/answer combos that are just very clever. (http://www.brendanemmettquigley.com)
After a very intense three full weeks, with just a brief few days at home in between, I am now back home on my back porch in VT.
My dog is sitting, actually tired-out and relaxed from playing with other dogs, lying comfortably on the ottoman at my feet.
A cooler breeze is beginning to stir as we sit here listening to the river and the birds are beginning to chatter as a cloud passes by….
Father’s Day and all my kids wished me well. Nice. Definitely a Happy Father’s Day!
René Magritte: The Empire of Light
I have been buy writing a great deal but not publishing much, but a lot of different stuff is taking shape and soon to come.