Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I had the dream again last night.  OK, I didn’t.  Well, yes, I had a dream but not a recurring one.  (It’s just “a dream” isn’t quite as exciting an opening as “the dream” so I opted for a little theatrical license here . . . you still with me?) Then again: I’m not one of those guys who dream a lot or remember their dreams when they do happen. So why should you care?

You don’t.  But maybe, just maybe you’ll listen because it’s been one of those years.  I thank God for my health (though I did break off a bit of tooth into a f****ng piece of bread on Sunday (Bread!!?)–At first I thought it wasn’t mine then I sent my tongue around and yep, there it was(–or wasn’t) so: no lawsuit there.)  Oh, and I’ve been out of work for over a year now.  Yesterday I was told to my face that I was too over qualified to be considered for a $12 an hour job.  Otherwise I’m told repeatedly that they (fill in your company name here) want someone with more experience.

The fact is, at 55, I’m a card carrying member of the wouldn’t-it-be-nicer-if-you-just-went-away society of unemployed.  We’re considering Bankruptcy.  Seriously.  It seems the Unemployment checks just go to pay the bank anyway and they’ll be gone soon–SO WHY THE HELL ARE YOU WRITING AND WHAT IS THIS DREAM?

I’m glad you asked.  I, like you, graduated from an Arts School (that and $4.75 can get you a Venti cup of coffee at most Starbucks around here).  I put my career on hold to pay of student loans and then raise a family and then started back up again just to be hit (again) by more age discrimination (we want to encourage young new talent under 30) and then the Great American Ecomedy started and I’m tired of it (or I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore–if you recognize the line then you’re old enough and can relate).  So, I woke up this morning from a dream (yes, THE DREAM, shuttup: I’m getting there) echoing in my head regarding a play I started and put aside over the last I-don’t-want-to-tell-you-how-many-years-ago and picked up again cuz’ it was time and I finished it up about a year ago.

1865 is a two act play about mob mentality and being in the wrong place at the wrong time and in the dream (if dreams have any merit) I was being urged to send it out  and get it on its feet no matter how.  As I said, I generally, don’t take stock in dreams but what the hell–what’s the worst that can happen; Bankruptcy?  So, I’ve downloaded the entire script onto my website http://www.directinghamlet.com for anyone to take a look at and see what happens.  I’ve got other plays there as well but for now I’m keeping their postings at ten pages.

I hope all your dreams are coming true and feel free to send on this desperate plea to anyone fool enough to listen.

And back to the job hunt . . .

1865 cover

If you know anything about me, I’m unconventional. So, here it is: we’re putting together a workshop production of my play RANDOM ACTS, to give it sea legs or watch it drown. THe play will run from August 9 through August 25, 2013 at the Santa Paula Theatre Center, directed by Tony Stetson and produced by Leslie Nichols and Michael Perlmutter (the playwright). Rehearsals will be held through July following readings and auditions being held in May and June. The cast breakdown is as follows:

THEODORE ‘Teddy’ STAVOS –
(42), blue collar in appearance; non-de-script: could pass for thirty to sixty on any given day.

JUNE CESSARIO –
(Late twenties to mid thirties). A young psychologist. Married, no children.

STAFF – NANCY PARKINS – Staff secretary. (undetermined age)
Dr. 1 / EDWARD HAMMERSTONE (50s – open to discretion)(gender is also open to the right actor)
Dr. 2 / SAMUEL BRIGHTON (40s – open to discretion)
Dr. 3 / MAVIS BEAUCHAMP (40s – open to discretion)
working in the same medical group with June.

JASON CESSARIO –
June’s husband, a career social worker, (mid thirties).

THERESA STAVOS-MILLER –
Teddy’s sister, (38)

We are willing to reconsider age ranges to some extent in favor of talent and chemistry (as well as gender regarding the role of Dr.1)

In response to script requests I have also uploaded the entire first act for your perusal. RANDOM ACTS ACT ONE

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me thru reply on this website http://www.directinghamlet.com

Why?  Why write another adaptation of THE SEAGULL?

Well there really can only be one good reason: to get it right.

So, here’s the history behind the project:  Running a staged reading series (introducing new/original works every second Sunday of the month and presenting classics every fifth Sunday of the month) we were due for a little Chekhov (overdue in my mind . . . but enough about that–don’t get me started).  So I had scheduled a reading for my personal favorite THE SEAGULL.  I knew that David Mamet had penned adaptations of Chekhov’s greater works so I went in search of his version of THE SEAGULL as I assumed, he being a great playwright himself, his version would probably be the best.  Unfortunately Mr. Mamet had adapted versions of UNCLE VANYA and THE THREE SISTERS but had not done the same with THE SEAGULL.  Oh well.  I reposed myself to use an online version.   I wasn’t happy with it.  It was a translation.  And as translations go there are two trains of thought: literal translations; which tend to translate word for word and theological translations; which attempt to present thought for thought.  While each  style has its pros and cons what tends to be missing is an actual theatrical voice and presentation which breaks down into thoughts and further into beats and those things left unspoken (the basics of which pioneers such as Chekhov and Ibsen were just toying with when THE SEAGULL was first written).  Chekhov’s brilliantly crafted humor was probably the greatest casualty of the translations I had at my disposal. So before we set course on the reading I put out a plea for someone to come forward with a better translation (or adaptation if you will–a description more apt to be used in this case:  as I do not read Russian so I can’t say I’ve translated the play from it’s original state).    Meanwhile I set about to format my own adaptation while waiting on a better version.  Is there one out there?  I can’t say there isn’t but I never received it so we went ahead with my own.  We then went forward and edited out a half an hour of the work in order to bring the playing time into two hours.  We settled on two hours and fifteen minutes (which is still better than almost three–which is where we were at).

In the process  I found there was a lot more humor in the piece than I had originally given Chekhov credit for and I mention this because I don’t think I’m alone in this misperception.  The comedic brilliance is often lost in the misguided casting of TRIGORIN, the writer, often thought of as Chekhov’s own alter ego.

Before I delve further on TRIGORIN let me note that Chekhov, for some unknown reason (well, unknown to me at least), did not identify the ages of his characters.  TREPLEV, Arkadina’s son, tells us that he is twenty-five and we have no reason to disbelieve him,  DORN, the retired doctor, admits to fifty-five and SORIN, Arkadina’s brother admits to sixty-five as the play opens.  Arkidana however is quoted (by Treplev) to admitting to being 32 when her son is not around and 43 when he is.  She later guesses Masha’s age as 22 and states that she herself is “almost twice that age” (which would fit with the number 43–if it weren’t for the fact her brother is 27 years older than that.  No, Arkadina is most likely in her mid fifties at least or maybe even closer to her brother, Sorin’s, age).

I bring this matter up because traditionally I often thought of Trigorin as being age appropriate for Arkidina (whatever age that might be)  but NINA asks TREPLEV (in ACT 1) whether Trigorin is young to which TRELEV replies (in a poor translation: “yes”)  “Yes”?  What could this mean?  Well, simply put I think he’s saying: “Yes, too young for my mother!”.  So Trigorin would be YOUNGER than Arkadina but not so young as to not have had lost out on his own youthful days (which he ultimately explores through his relationship with Nina–between the acts).  This was realization number one that profusely changed the dynamics of the play–for the better I might add.  The second (and somewhat smaller point of thought) is what type of writer is Trigorin?  “Clever and witty, clever and witty” is the quote I kept reading in these translations.  In other words:  he writes comedies.  He is a comedian along the likes of a nineteenth century Neil Simon or Woody Allen.  And the mere mention of the name Woody Allen brought about epiphany number three:  What if–(and I think it is the case)–what if: Trigorin is not the suave, debonair ladies man that we often see cast in the role?  What if  he is an awkward, maybe even slightly neurotic character that could actually be brilliantly played by Woody Allen himself (if Mr. Allen was still thirty-five to forty {his Annie Hall years]).  The comedy comes leaping off the page and is richly intensified by this re-envisioning of this key character.  There are of course similar realizations to each character which adds to the rich tapestry of Chekhov’s homage to Hamlet and this comic masterpiece but Trigorin’s casting as a weak man (a term used several times to describe him [even as Trigorin describes himself]) is a key element.

As for the language:  I took it upon myself to add contractions.  Why?  Because they fall less distractingly on our present day ear.  A note regarding contractions: You will find through most of the script that I have replaced proper grammar with its contracted counterpart. Such as it’s for it is and Let’s for let us. My reason for this is scansion. To our modern ear we are thrown by the proper speech of yesteryear when in reality the contracted version was probably closer to the sound of the spoken word as emitted from even the actors at the turn of the previous century when The Seagull was first presented. Also, as actors we tend to emphasize the uncontracted speech in such a way as to impart a special meaning on the otherwise uncontracted words to wit the statement “Let us go to the store” comes out either as “LET us go to the store” or “Let US go to the store”. When all that was meant by the original text is “Let’s go to the store.” So in order to avoid these lofty interpretations I’ve taken away the guess work.

So, this is why.    Check out my adaptation at www.diretinghamlet.com.  You will find the first ten pages to both the full translation as well as a slightly abridged version (cutting off about a half an hour or so of the playing time from the original.  Contact me thru the website if you’d like to see more.  Enjoy the brilliance of Chekhov’s characters.

Well, one production down and countless future performances to go. So far DIRECTING HAMLET has been a critical and artistic success.  We are currently putting together a few minutes on video to give a taste, a tease to what was and will be again.  Keep appraised of future productions here on this site as they will be coming.  Right now it’s just a matter of marketing and backers.  Thank you all for your support so far and keep watching or get involved on making this happen.  For further info or questions on what you can do to help take this play the next step of the way contact Michael Perlmutter (the author) at lmjdj@msn.com or leave a comment on the Author’s page.

How is DIRECTING HAMLET?

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

OK, this is a stupid question.  But as “how” is part of the big formula (Who-What-Where-When-Why-How) I guess we have to include it.

Let me take this spin on the subject:  How are we going to use this website to this production’s advantage?  Well, first off I plan to add thoughts and posts and hopefully some decent links from here to let you (dear reader) in on the rehearsal process.  As we continue on into advertisements and reviews I’ll post those too. 

Maybe it’s a big mistake, maybe not, we’ll find out together.   Pre-rehearsal meetings start soon so I’ll keep get back to you then.

Why is DIRECTING HAMLET?

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Why do any of us do what we do?  Are we called to a greater purpose?  Or merely distracting ourselves?  Do we actually have something to say or do we just need to be noticed? 

The central theme of DIRECTING HAMLET explores just these notions.  Are we pushing ourselves to our potential or simply avoiding the inevitable?

Who is DIRECTING HAMLET?

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

You mean “who is Hamlet?”  or “who plays Hamlet?”

Well, actually Hamlet is one of the most complex and intriguing characters written by William Shakespeare and will be played by the character of BRIAN in our production.  Or actually in any production of DIRECTING HAMLET the character of Hamlet will be played by the character Brian.

As for Brian, he will played by CURTIS CLINE

The Director, LEE, will be played by equal aplomb by JOE BOLES

And the direction of the play will be provided by the author himself, MICHAEL PERLMUTTER (it gets complicated I know)

Other whos include LESLIE NICHOLS as producer and SUZI SKUTLEY unseen in the role of stage manager (and by that I mean the actual Stage Manager for the production is Suzi).  Running Tech (lights and sound) will be JOSH PERLMUTTER.  And that’s what we have so far.

As we have more “who”s I will update this page accordingly.