One quick note before I get started with this week’s entry: tonight, Hang a Lampshade On It opens at MadLab in Columbus, OH as a part of their 2018 Theatre Roulette. If you’re in the Columbus area, I urge you to go check it out and let me know how they did! Alright, on with the regular entry:

So this week, I went back to high school.

Okay, well, not really. But I was hired to design the lights for Fairfax High School’s production of Fame Jr. (and for all my NoVA friends, that’s the Fairfax High School here in Hollywood, not on Route 50 back home. Sorry. I promise I’ll let y’all know next time I’m in town). Between this gig and working at the Assistance League Playhouse a couple weeks ago, I’ve earned a couple of fun design/board op credits.

It’s been an enjoyable little challenge, designing this show. Came in Monday afternoon, assessed their rep plot, and watched a rehearsal. Tuesday, I spent the day on campus writing and programming cues. Yesterday, I went in for the final dress rehearsal and made a couple tweaks. Today, they open! I’ll be there to watch the opening performance at 3:30 and make sure my board op feels comfortable running the show herself, and then I’m done. Easy as pie. 🙂

I love gigs like this. I’ve been taking my earnings from them and putting the money towards a vacation. Well, not just any vacation. We’re talking like a real vacation. I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you missed that entry, Jenn and I are spending her birthday this year in Iceland. As a matter of fact, we’re going to specifically be here on her birthday:

Reykjanes, Iceland

Reykjanes, Iceland

We’re headed out on September 6th, coming back home September 16th. We’ve got a tour package all planned out, but we’re also taking an extra couple days in Reykjavik, and we’re open to recommendations. So, if you’ve been to Iceland before and know of something fun to check out in the city, let us know in the comments!

Let’s see… what else is happening?

  • I placed 7th in the Theatre Unleashed Spring Poker Classic. Not bad for a field of 30. Won a couple of group passes to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. All told, Theatre Unleashed raised just a hair over $4,500 in one night. It’s not nearly as much as we were trying to raise, but it’s more than we’ve ever raised with an event like this before. So, I’m going to count that as a win. Besides, we’ve got even bigger plans for later this year.
  • Completed the lighting design for Love, Locs & Liberation at studio/stage last night, the first of our 2018 Fringe shows to tech, and the first of about a dozen Fringe shows I’m designing lights for, between studio/stage and The Hobgoblin Playhouse. So I guess that means it’s now officially Fringe season.
  • Recently ran my third Spartan Sprint, this one through Dodger Stadium, and I managed to not cap it off with a trip to the hospital… yet. The jury’s still out on that, as my right ankle’s been a little swollen and tender for the last couple days. I’m able to walk on it, but almost every step on it has ranged somewhere from an annoying to a mildly unpleasant experience.
Jim and I after finishing the Spartan Stadium Sprint at Dodger Stadium.

Jim and I after finishing the Spartan Stadium Sprint at Dodger Stadium.

  • Submitted my application to the Geffen Writers’ Room late last week. Excited to find out if they’re interested in helping me develop my script, PizzagateCrashing (that’s just the working title, but it’s growing on me. Kind of).
  • Wrote another scene for the new draft of The Young Argonauts. Sometimes, as I write, my characters surprise me, and in crafting this last scene, they presented me with the gift of an unexpected twist that I’m really excited to bring to fruition.
  • Wrote a five-page plot summary for another musical that I’m developing with Mike Shapiro. No details available for the public on that one yet.
  • I may have an interesting opportunity coming up for Three Can Keep a Secret. Look for an event happening sometime in July.
  • Rehearsals for A Very DIE HARD Christmas at Fringe continue! Tickets are moving quickly for our $0.88 cent preview on May 31st. Why $0.88 cents? Because this year’s the 30th Anniversary of DIE HARD, which premiered on July 15th, 1988. Grab those tickets now while they last.
  • Rehearsals are also continuing for the premiere of Met Again, and this love story told in snapshots looks incredible. This show’s previewing on Sunday, June 3rd, and tickets are only $0.60 cents, for the love story being told in 60 minutes.
  • It’s been a minute since there’s been a new episode of What We Do When We’re Dark. Unfortunately, the demands of running two businesses and prepping for a major fundraiser while also prepping two venues for Fringe have left little time for either Jenn or me to shoot or edit anything. That being said, there is a new episode in the works (hopefully dropping tomorrow), and we are planning on resuming shooting this week, capturing the craziness that is Fringe prep.
  • Saw Avengers: Infinity War. They should have called it [highlight for spoiler] Avengers: Everybody You Care About Dies Horribly. That being said, I loved it, and I’m looking forward to Part 4. No superhero fatigue here, James Cameron.

Speaking of seeing stuff, Jenn and I saw the critically acclaimed Native Son at Antaeus over the weekend… and was honestly underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, the company did a fine job. Actors were solid. Design elements were lovely. The direction was… good, not great (I wish there could have been moments where the tension backed off or at least varied a little bit – perhaps in some of the flashbacks – because I found myself exhausted and unable to invest in the story because it spent the whole time at 11).

That being said, my real complaint’s with the story. Yes, I realize that this play is an adaptation from a novel written in 1939, and maybe it bothered me because I’m seeing this production through the lens of a 2018 perspective, but this story lost me about two-thirds of the way through, after [highlight for spoilers] Bigger rapes and murders his girlfriend Bessie, and there’s absolutely zero tonal change. The first murder on Bigger’s hand was an accident, and I get that his situation was completely hopeless no matter what he said or did thanks to institutionalized racism and systematic oppression, but someone needs to start a #JusticeForBessie hashtag and get that shit trending because the story’s treatment of that character is seriously fucked up. Bessie’s blood on Bigger’s hands ruined Bigger as a protagonist for me, and I found myself rooting for him to face justice. In the end, he’s apprehended and thrown off a roof because of the accidental murder of a rich white girl, but his most heinous crime – one that could garner a death sentence – remains in the shadows. Kind of me of how Ed Crane went down at the end of The Man Who Wasn’t There, not for the crime he actually committed, but the crime he didn’t. And also, I have little love for stories where the main character does something stupid in the first five minutes, and we have to sit for the rest of the evening and watch karma/justice/etc. slowly catch up to them. We already know how these stories end. Just cut to the chase, already. I think that’s why No Country For Old Men pissed me off so much. [End Spoilers].

Also, it was great seeing Friends Like These FringeNYC cast alum Matty Grondin (above, wielding the gun) as Jan, the Communist sympathizer. Fine work, there!

Did I mention Hang a Lampshade On It is opening in Columbus tonight? I did? Okay, cool. I guess that’s everything for now.

Onward and upward!