Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

If it’s a collaboration … why can’t I do it my way?

The answer to this age old question—and I’m sorry but everyone asks this (even if silently to themselves) at some point in the process—is in the question itself: because it’s a collaboration.  Not all choices are good.  Not all choices are right.  And that’s why theatre improved once a director came on board.  The director may have a vision and through collaboration that vision may change but she (we’ll play with pronouns here) may not.  She/he/it/they may be totally onboard to see what the actor brings.  Some will work.  Some won’t.  The play itself has a vision of itself and you and the director (and/or your other collaborators) may see eye to eye or may not.  If your vision of the play and how your character fits into that vision are at odds with the director’s.  If it’s early on: don’t take the role.  You are here to tell a story.  You are not here to educate the director.  Unless you are truly willing to bend your will to help the director see his/her/their vision, then you are only creating chaos and an unpleasant work environment.  Don’t get me wrong, some director’s have true vision and some have their heads up their asses.  I’ve worked with both.  I’ve been accused of being both.  In the same production (I’m versatile like that). 

But good theatre is truly a collaboration of artists.  All coming together to tell a story, to have an impact.  We all have constraints: time, talent, budget, being the holy trio.  We need to patience with each other in the process.  We need to trust and we need to keep reign on the fatal flaw that chips away on each leg of that trinity: ego.  Our own.  Never mind about Heathcliff over there.  Let Heathcliff deal with Heathcliff’s ego.  We have enough to deal with battling our own. 

So, you heard about a play, you’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, and you have a GREAT idea on how to do a role, the whole play/a musical; how to direct it, or to dress it, light it … that’s fantastic.  Before committing to the project find out what the group who’s slated the project have in mind.  See if your visions fit or get excited about their vision.  But don’t fight the vision.  Trust the people involved to do their part.  And you do your part.  If in the process you come up with a brilliant idea: talk to the director PRIVATELY.  I can’t say this enough … PRIVATELY.  Do NOT tell them what to do.  Ask if their open to listen.  If they aren’t (and gawd knows what other hundred things they’re also dealing with: they honestly may not be) accept it and move on.  Do not end run them.  There will be a time where they will be open to hear.  You may likely have to schedule it outside of rehearsal hours.  If there is NEVER a time then that says more about them than about you.  If they are open to listen talk to them about your new approach that you/they may want to try.  Then LISTEN.  You may have hit a nerve.  You may be at odds.  You may have planted a seed that needs a few days/hours to take root  If they love the idea, it’s easy to go forward.  If they don’t: then let it go.  I’m not quoting the Disney song here; I’m saying quite the opposite “let your need to be right: go”.  You aren’t necessarily wrong but this may not be the production for your unique interpretation.  And you may be totally out in left field but that’s OK.  Because that’s just thinking outside the box.  I’m not going to say there are no bad ideas because there are.  I’ve sat and watched a few in my time, I’ve made as well and I hope I’ve learned from the experience.  As a playwright I find it compellingly hard to give up my vision sometimes (probably most of the time—especially if I’m talking about my own plays) but if the shared experience of telling the story is to be a good one, check your ego at the door and work well with others. 

I’m gonna try to post one of these every day because … hell, I’ve got the time.  COVID and life’s circumstances have given me a lot of downtime (no need to go into details here) and I’ve always wanted to work with new and would-be actors and so … what the hell.  If you know me, you may think I have a clue as to what I’m talking about or you may wanna run.  I’m here either way.  I am willing and interested in working with anybody via ZOOM on monologues or scenes or what have you, at no fees.  Because I have the time (until I don’t) and what the hell.  I’m a bit irreverent.  Some would say a joy to work with/some might say difficult.  No one walks away without an opinion.  If you’re interested in working on something 1 on 1, let me know.  You can contact me on Messenger (Michael Perlmutter) or email me @

Hi.  I’m gonna post one of these every day because … hell, I’ve got the time.  COVID and life’s circumstances have given me a lot of downtime (no need to go into details here) and I’ve always wanted to work with new and would-be actors and so … what the hell.  If you know me, you may think I have a clue as to what I’m talking about or you may wanna run.  I’m here either way.  I am willing and interested in working with anybody via ZOOM on monologues or scenes or what have you, at no fees.  Because I have the time (until I don’t) and what the hell.  I’m a bit irreverent.  Some would say a joy to work with/some might say difficult.  No one walks away without an opinion.  If you’re interested in working on something 1 on 1, let me know.  You can contact me on Messenger (Michael Perlmutter) or email me @

But for now.

Let’s look at MONOLOGUES. 

We are all acting from the day we start to form a conscience.  The baby cries the parent tends to the baby: voila.  I cry: I get what I need (it might take some time but eventually … ) and from that moment on, successful or not we learn how to “act” in order to get what we want or what we need (or not).  In other words, regardless of the results OUR job is to aim to achieve our goals.  Sometimes this defies logic.  Often, most often it is several layers deep.  A play (as is life) is a chess board and our job as actors is to figure out the game.  Is it chess or is it checkers?  Or is it one of dozens of variant games also designed to be played on the same board?  The one thing that is NOT genuinely played on this board is SOLITAIRE.  Soliloquys or monologues  don’t really exist.    But what? No, but yeah …. I know they exist, I’ve been working on ‘em.  I’ve heard about them for years.  The words exist: yes.  I’m not going to play the game of what is the dictionary definition (you can google that yourself … and while you’re at it, go ahead and look up speech and soliloquy as well).   What I’m trying to say is the bastardized definition of reciting lines to no one there doesn’t exist.  No one of any worth has ever written a speech, a monologue or a soliloquy to fill space.   Even when you, the character, are alone onstage.  These are all forms of dialogues … every last one of ‘em.  The character is engaging SOMEONE.  For a purpose.  They want something from this someone.  It may be a look, it may be a smile or a knife in the gut (A ZOO STORY).   It may be to ask forgiveness (many of Peter Schaeffer’s works) or to make friends with the audience itself (see most of Shakespeare’s epilogues or prologues).  It may even be to hash your own thoughts out loud to yourself to hear what they sound like (careful with this one … these moments are few and far between [consider Samuel Beckett’s KRAPP’S LAST TAPE]).  The issue is to stay in action: why are you saying this, to who, and what do you want to gain from the interchange.  Keeping in mind (and watching for) that at any point you may gain what you’re after and/or the other “someone” may respond—may interrupt their own silence with a remark AT ANY POINT … you know, like in real life.  To quote my own play DIRECTING HAMLET(—and yeah, I will do this from time to time):

“You see, Brian, there are no “speeches” in the theatre.  There are only dialogues.  Sometimes one of the parties doesn’t say anything but the opportunity to interrupt is always there.”

In other words, context is everything.

Let’s look at one of the famous speeches from Shakespeare (I know, I will not always use Shakespeare but where monologues are concerned he is the grand daddy, in’t he?  Please understand, this is ONE interpretation, there are many … the speech is often taken out of context:

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

To begin with this is NOT a soliloquy.  MacBETH is NOT alone onstage.  MacBETH is devising plans on how to hold fort in his own castle, knowing armies are on their way to attack.  There is a wailing offstage that is breaking his concentration, he asks (some might say demands) what can be done to shut them up and then he is told that his wife is dead—the wailing he hears is a several centuries old ritual mourning played out by her Gentle women in attendance.  All that he (MacBETH) has done to this point has been for her (Lady MacBETH) and she is now gone … AND, an important point of fact, his war council is in attendance with him … he is NOT alone onstage.  MacBETH ACT 5 sc 5:

Yes, I took it out of its poetic formatting (this is how I read Shakespeare—for another day); The questions are who is he saying what to?  What is MacBeth expecting in response?  In truth he IS interrupted, if you read on further … a messenger enters and MacBETH explodes on him immediately:

From this point on in the play MacBETH is inconsolable and determined: a man out for blood—a man with nothing left to lose.  He even threatens the life of the messenger itself who brought him the news, not of his wife’s death but that the trees and bushes are moving, advancing on the castle.

In contrast: immediately prior to this speech MacBeth is approachable.  Case in point: SEYTON answers Macbeth calling him not just my lord but my “good” lord.  Upon Seyton’s return (one line later) he tells the king that his wife is dead without any moment of reservation as to how the good king may react.  In further examination throughout the play we are reminded that MacBeth is a decent man, a good man, a soldier’s soldier, a good leader.  It is in his attempts to please his wife’s ambitions that things go from bad to worse.  He is tortured with hesitation (Duncan) and guilt (Banquo).  His final murder (MacDUFF’s family) leaves him paranoid but his wife’s approval sustains him.  Once she is gone … he changes: inside this speech.  We watch a man go from focused to annoyed to dumbstruck/numb to attempt to be poignant to furious to enraged in a matter of a few lines.  All the more evident because there are others with him. 

Alrightee then.  Enough for today.  Let’s see what we tackle tomorrow.

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 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:

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

(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.

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

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

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  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 or leave a comment on the Author’s page.


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.


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?


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.


Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

The premiere production will be held at the Backstage of THE SANTA PAULA THEATER CENTER

for tickets call 805-525-4645  or go to for more information