Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm not so good at the updating, am I?

Before I begin, I'd like to say that some people have really odd names for their blogs. When I went to log in just now, blogger had a ticker of recently updated blogs, and some were just weird. One was actually really inappropriate, involving the vernacular for a part of the female anatomy. I think blogger needs to be a little more discriminating when mentioning their recently updated blogs on their homepage.

That said, I'm back! Only two days late! Kevin and I closed on our new house (!!!) on Tuesday, so I was not near a computer to do an update, and when I got to work yesterday I had 67 gmail messages and about 12 work emails to sort through, in addition to everyone stopping in to ask how the house is. And, you know, work. I actually had a lot to do yesterday, work-wise, so I didn't get a chance to update.

BUT, I have a chance now, so here you go! Our fabulously fantastic producer, Theresa Bender, has been working on getting me cast and crew interviews. So far we only have 2, and I am going to post them both here today, so this'll be an ultra-long post as a mea culpa for my being late with the update.

The original instructions were "pick 5 of these questions to answer", but apparently Michael and Jay can't read, because they both answered all of them ;)

Name: Michael Schaaff (I'm BACK! Erin says: For those of you just tuning in, Michael was Alan in bare.)
Role: Props Master

What are your hobbies outside of theatre? Movies, long walks on the beach, causing shenanigans, pretty sure this answer is the same one I put for bare ... (Erin says: Yep, so am I. Way to be original, Mike.)

What's something we wouldn't be able to guess just by looking at you (this must be something you haven't said yet, and should be something interesting -- 'I like cats' isn't very exciting, but 'I have been to every country in Europe' or 'Mariah Carey is my cousin' is)? I'm manipulative to the point where I can get anything. How do you think I got into the blog ... again. (Erin says: Well, now I'm on to you. I thought I was putting you in because you're AWESOME, but it turns out, I'm just being manipulated. Apparently you're not as awesome as I thought.)

If you act, what role would you really, really love to play? If you don't act, still the same question. I'd love to be Peter in bare ... (still have songs stuck in my head from that show). Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q. Corny Collins in Hairspray. (Erin says: I can totally see that. That's it, next year we're doing Hairspray.)

If you act, what is your favorite role to date? If you're a techie, what is your favorite show on which you've worked to date and why? If you're a director, which show has been your favorite to direct and why? If you're all three, feel free to answer one, two, or all of those. :) Acting: Ken de la Maize in The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s. Tech: Stage Managing Black Comedy. Directing: My life.

What was your favorite fairy tale or toy as a child? Toy: LEGOS!

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Do you buy presents for him/her/them?
I have 2 dogs (that live at my parents' house): a collie/lab, and a lab/golden retriever. They're super awesome and I spoil them whenever " go visit them ... and my parents.

If you could live one day as a character in any play, which character would it be? Princeton. How fun would it be to be a puppet for a day? Minus the having someone's hand shoved up your a$$ all day. (Erin says: Inappropriate! But true, so I'll let it slide.)

If you could live WITH any character from a play/book/movie for a day, which character would it be? Why? Um ... Richie Rich. Cause he's ... rich ... duh.

Do you have any little thing(s) you do "for luck" before a performance? Nope; I do, however, have a routine that I do: I check everything I touch onstage. Walk the set once, and then tense my whole body, hold it for about 3 seconds, and then release. Then I'm ready to do a show.

If you could wear only one outfit for a whole month, what would it be? If it was socially acceptable to wear capes, I would wear my Superman costume. Everything is more dramatic with a cape.

What's your favorite comfort food? Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

If you were to change your name, what would it be to? ... Odd question, but I'd say Armando Vega, cause it just sounds cool.

What's the strangest gift you've ever received? My brother gave me a life-sized Silver Surfer (the one from the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie display) ... it is currently sitting on my balcony overlooking my apartment complex. He will be dressed up for Halloween! (Erin says: This thing scared me half to death the first time I visited Mike. I went out to the balcony to wave down Asher, and when I turned around, there was the Silver Surfer, staring me coldly in the face. Creepy.)

Name: Jay Tilley
Role: Ross

What are your hobbies outside of theatre? Theatre definitely takes up most of my free time, but I would say walking, fishing, writing, tennis, rooting for and following my favorite sports teams (Go Cowboys, Braves and Gamecocks!) (Erin says: Another Cowboys fan! Woo-hoo!), comics (Batman and Superman are my favorites), caring for exotic pets, and studying the paranormal. I actually think it would be cool to be a paranormal investigator one day!

What's something we wouldn't be able to guess just by looking at you? Since I'm still a very large man, probably that I've lost nearly 75 pounds since the beginning of this year. But I have indeed lost that much and hope to be down 100 pounds by the end of the year. And my goal is to eventually lose 188 pounds. (Erin says: Awesome, congrats! That's not easy to do!)

What role would you really, really love to play? Without a doubt, the Phantom and Sweeney Todd in musical theatre. In Shakespeare, the Scottish King. In contemporary drama, Stanley Kowolski. There are many others, but those are my major dream roles.

What is your favorite role to date? I have been blessed to play many great roles thus far, but I would have to say Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days. That role and the production I was in at Vpstart Crow will always hold a special place in my heart.

What was your toy as a child? I was big into Star Wars, Transformers and GI Joe. Out of all those toys, I would have to say my Darth Vader tie fighter! What can I say? It was too cool! ;-)

Do you have any pets? My wife and I have two dogs (a red-ticked beagle and wolf/husky mix), an aquatic frog, a betta fish and a bearded dragon. They're like our kids and we spoil them rotten! ;-)

If you could live one day as a character in any play, which character would it be? I played God once, so I would say the Almighty. I would definitely make some changes and pay some old adversaries a visit! :-P

If you could live WITH any character from a play/book/movie for a day, which character would it be? Why? Bruce Wayne/Batman. He intrigues me more than any other character I've ever encountered in any form of literature. I've just always been fascinated by his duality, darkness and his insatiable desire to keep others from suffering the same loss he suffered as a child when his parents were murdered. Plus I think it would be cool to take a ride in the Tumbler or on the Batpod! ;-) (Erin says: I find it interesting that so far both of our respondees [is that even a word?] have chosen movie characters. Well, I guess Batman could be a [comic] book character. I may have just disproved [disproven? What is wrong with my English skills today?!] my own point.)

Do you have any little thing(s) you do "for luck" before a performance? Honestly? Not really. I have a process I go through, including when to put on my costume and makeup, check props and warm up, and I always take 10-15 minutes by myself just before curtain to just get focused and get into character. But I am superstitious, so I don't, for example, say the Scottish King's name in a theatre around me unless we are actually performing in the play! ;-)

If you could wear only one outfit for a whole month, what would it be? Ha! Probably shorts and a T-shirt!

What's your favorite comfort food? Seafood is my favorite food but my favorite comfort food is probably pizza and hot wings!

If you were to change your name, what would it be? Maximilian King, which was once upon a time going to be my stage name. King is a family name, and I've loved the name Maximilian ever since I saw Disney's The Black Hole as a kid. It featured an evil red robot named Maximilian, who was actually named after the actor who played Dr. Hans Reinhardt (the evil scientist who created the robot) - the great Maximilian Schell.

What's the strangest gift you've ever received? When I was a kid, my paternal grandmother gave me a horn, the kind you squeeze, for my birthday. Not sure what was up with that since I was almost in junior high at the time! :-P

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm a bad blogger!

I forgot Update Tuesday yesterday! My apologies to all my die-hard fans!

Part of why I forgot is that I don't have a WHOLE lot to report. Theresa Bender, producer of "The Elephant Man", tells me that the cast is mostly doing table work right now (for you non-actors, this is when the cast and director sit around with the script at the beginning of the process and hammer out character stuff, plot points, all the nitty-gritty that makes the show what it is and helps them really embrace the characters and story), so there's not many rehearsal shenanigans to talk about at the moment. But I'm sure I'll get some soon.

Actually, Mike Schaaff, whom you'll remember as Alan in "bare", is our Props Master for "The Elephant Man", and he informed me that sometime before next update he will be taking a team of people to the home of a man who is letting us borrow a cast-iron tub. The reason this is interesting is that said cast-iron tub is evidently in the gentleman's attic. So there should be some fun stories/photos of the tub-acquiring adventure.

Theresa is also working on getting interview with the cast like we did for "bare", so you should have some of that coming your way soon.

In other, not-entirely-CCT/2FT-related news, the Little Theatre of Alexandria is holding auditions at the beginning of October for "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues", directed by Susan Devine. I say this is not entirely CCT/2FT related (as opposed to not at all related) because Susan is the director for our winter show, "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress." She's also a friend of mine, so I figure I'll give her show a little plug here :) Go here for more information on the show. LTA is having auditions for another show as well, "Scrooge: The Musical" directed by Lisa Anne Bailey (whom I had the pleasure of hanging out with at Bonefish in Chantilly a few months back following a production of "A New Brain" at Kensington, and she's hilarious and very sweet).

I think that's all for now ... that's not a bad update, in my humble and not at all biased opinion, considering I came in with nothing major to report!

Oh, and p.s. ... this has nothing whatever to do with theatre, but I am currently drinking coffee that is making my mouth and throat go numb. Not that weird numb you get when you burn your tongue on hot coffee and it's numb but hurts at the same time -- no, this is numb like someone spiked it with lidocaine. I think I'm done with this coffee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Beginnings and Sad Endings

With every ending comes a new beginning, and that's exactly what's going on in the life of CCT/2FT right now.

With the (very sad -- half the cast was in tears during the closing number on Saturday night) of "bare" comes the beginning of our next production, Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man". Before we get into the details of the new show, however, let's do a quick wrap-up of the old one.

"I'd like to start with just a ...
If we could take a moment ...
I tried to find the words to ...
Just the right quotation ...
But I must confess I came up empty."

For those of you who saw "bare", you may recognize those words. For those of you who didn't see "bare", shame on you -- your punishment is that you have to Google the words yourself to get the reference! But in all seriousness, I think with the end of this show, most of its participants feel as though a little piece of them is missing -- not just that they now have evenings free to watch Monday Night Football and eat dinner with their families, but more than that. This was one of the closest-knit casts I've ever worked with -- this cast was truly a family, and I think there will be a bit of separation anxiety over the course of the next few weeks as we all readjust to life without rehearsal (and each other) every night. To me, that right there says more about the success of this show than any review or any box office numbers (not to say that the reviews and numbers weren't good or aren't important; I'm just a sentimentalist). To the "bare" team: I for one feel priviledged to have worked with each and every one of you. This cast had more talent and dedication than possibly any other cast I've worked with, and you all turned out a great product. Be proud of yourselves, and stay in touch!

And now, for our next trick, we present to you "The Elephant Man", directed by Natalie V. Safley. Some of you may have seen the movie with Anthony Hopkins, or may be familiar with the story of John Merrick from your history books or your own research/interest in the subject. For those of you who aren't: a brief synopsis ...

"The Elephant Man" is based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A horribly deformed young man, who has been a freak attraction in traveling side shows, is found abandoned and helpless and is admitted for observation to Whitechapel, a prestigious London Hospital. Under the care of a famous young doctor who educates him and introduces him to London society, Merrick changes from a sensational object of pity to the urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati. But his belief that he can become a man like any other is a dream never to be realized.

I'm pretty excited about this play. Safley is taking some interesting directions with it, and the cast list is full of names I recognize from having been in the community theatre world for a while, and you probably will too:

Cast List (in order of appearance)
Ringmaster/Announcer: Asher MillerFrederick
Treves: Stephen Smith
Carr Gomm: Tim Griffin
Ross: Jay Tilley
John Merrick: Hans Dettmar
Pinhead Manager: Eric Garner
Pinheads: Laura Moody, Kara Succolosky, Kyla Waitt
Belgian Policeman: Wayne Jacques
Conductor: David Saunders
Miss Sandwich: Robin Zerbe
Will, porter at the London Hospital: David Saunders
Bishop Walsham How: Phillip Archey
Snork, porter at the London Hospital: Wayne Jacques
Mrs. Kendal: Alyssa Jacobsen
Duchess: Kara Succolosky
Countess: Kyla Waitt
Lord John: Eric Garner
Princess Alexandra: Natalie Holmes

I don't know about you, but I'm curious as to why "Miss Sandwich" didn't make it into the final round of "Clue" suspects. Probably that won't be covered in the script, but maybe there's some back story there for Ms. Zerbe to delve into during character analysis time.

To wrap up: Congrats to the wonderful cast of "bare" for a great show; congrats to the cast of "The Elephant Man" for being cast in our next fabulous production; and keep checking in over the next few weeks for new cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at "The Elephant Man". You'll have a guest writer, too, in the form of "The Elephant Man" producer Theresa Bender -- I know, it will be very sad to not have my charming wit for a few weeks, but she'll take good care of you, I promise.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coming Up on the Last Weekend

I'm afraid I don't have much to report from a personal point of view this week; I'm a bad board member/costumer/theatre blogger and was not present at the theatre this weekend for the second week's run of "bare". Don't blame me though -- blame my friends who put me in their wedding on Sunday (it was a beautiful wedding, for the record -- one of the best I've been to, and I've been to a LOT of weddings).

Seriously, though, I don't have any personal stories to tell this week, but from what I hear, the show went very well, we had great crowds every night, and the cast had a blast at the cast party on Sunday night after the show. A well-deserved blast, at that -- these guys have worked their butts off, and they deserve the chance to let loose a little bit.

We're gearing up for our final weekend -- this week, the schedule shifts a bit. Instead of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening performances, we are doing Thursday, Friday, and Satruday evening shows. The college tells us that since classes are now in session, parking may be problematic on Thursday night, so arrive early to give yourselves time to find a spot.