Monthly Archives: October, 2021

Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You

Tomorrow and Monday (10/17 at 2 pm ET, 10/18 at 7 pm ET), auditions are being held for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman at the Village Players in Ft. Thomas, KY.  I’m directing the show.

I’ve been saying since we announced the show that this play is an actor’s dream.  It is filled with characters that actors should want to play.  Each character is unique to the situation bringing their own substance to the play that becomes the Vanderhof family.  I want to highlight some of the characters in the show and why you should be thinking about auditioning.

It’s easy to single out Martin Vanderhof, the Grandpa in the play, as the central character.  Every member of the family is guided by his own philosophy.  He lives as he pleases, free and doing anything that makes him happy.  His family has taken up that message, as have others who come into their lives, and the result is a warm, loving family, full of support to one another.  Martin is not an overbearing character but leads by quiet example.

The whole play revolves around Alice, Martin’s granddaughter, who has a job outside the home and has a sense of the reality of the real world.  Is she confused?  Yes.  She loves her family but wants to present them to her fiancé’s family as normal.  Does she succeed?  No.  But her conflict over what her family really is and what she wants them to be is the heart of the show.  Alice is more than just the normal character in a play of odd characters.  She is complex and has depth.

The Russians are coming.  Boris Kolenkhov had escaped Russia just before Stalin’s Great Purge, during which many artists were being arrested and killed.  He is happy to be in America, where he can pursue his own vision of happiness, which includes being Essie’s dance instructor, and a friend to Martin, with whom he can discuss political ideology.  He’s big, demonstrative and passionate.

The other Russian in the play is the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, who also escaped Russia and is now working at a restaurant.  The family fawns over her and she immediately fits right in.  Her part is wonderful and can really stand out among the cast.

For more information about auditions, the play and the characters, visit https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.

Theatrical Events Coming Up

It’s a big time of year for me, theatrically speaking. I have three events coming up soon, and, if you’re an actor, you want to follow along. Also, if you’re a patron of the theater, skip down to event number two. If theater stuff isn’t your thing, just scroll on by.

I’m going in date order and talk just a little bit about each event.

  1. Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman will be held Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 18 at 7:00 pm ET at the Village Player in Ft. Thomas, KY. I’m directing this show and if you know me at all, you know that I’m a big Kaufman and Hart fan. I wanted to be Kaufman when I was younger, writing plays and directing them. Now, I get to do just that. I know there are many (so many) plays that are, in fact, holding auditions for plays from all over the city, but, if you’re an actor, please consider auditioning for this show. Each part is an actor’s dream, giving you the opportunity to build a memorable character in a classic show. Performance dates are February 25-27 and March 3-5, 2022. Details on the audition are at https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.
  2. Oh, I write plays, did I mention? My play, Curtain Call, will be performed live, via Zoom, on Friday, October 22 at 7:30 pm ET, and Saturday, October 23 at 8:30 pm ET. This will be part of an evening of plays about the theater, so my play, a comedy about perfectionist actors, fits right in. Tickets are $10 or pay what you can and available in advance at Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/playzoomers-four-plays-about-theatre-live-online-oct-22-23-2021-tickets-168043172653. I’ll be online at the show for each night and available for a little talkback, if you want to say hi.
  3. Auditions for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew festival will be Sunday, October 24, at 4:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 25 at 4:00 pm ET. Auditions will be held live, or you may submit a video audition. Home Brew features ten short plays by local authors and I’m directing The Surprise Engagement by Christine Charlson, a comedy. Performances are January 14-16. Please read the details at https://thedramaworkshop.org/news/1767/home-brew-theatre-v-auditions.

I think that wraps it up for now. Thank you for your support.

Thoughts on “Curtain Call”

(My play, Curtain Call, a comedy about famous actors worrying about their performances, will be part of PlayZoomers evening of live, online theater, Friday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m., ET, and Saturday, October 23, at 9:30 p.m., ET. Tickets are on Eventbrite. Visit www.playzoomers.org for more info. I hope to “see” you there.)

Thoughts on “Curtain Call”

I posted on Facebook the fact that a play I have written called “Curtain Call” is being performed later in October.  I mentioned that the play is about actors who are worried that their performances weren’t up to their usual standards.

That resulted in a friend of mine commenting that “Are people really interested in what actors think?”

Fair question.  I never really thought of it that way.  “Curtain Call” is what we call a “backstage” comedy, revealing the behind-the-scenes action.  It’s a device that gives us the true motives of the actors performing in a play that are often far different than what they present on stage.  Plenty of playwrights have used this backstage contrivance to advance their play, such as “The Royal Family” by Kaufman and Ferber, “Present Laughter” by Noel Coward, “Noises Off” by Michael Frayen, “A Chorus Line” by Hamlisch, Kleban, Kirkwood and Dante, “Kiss Me Kate” by the Spewacks and Cole Porter.  Now perhaps I shouldn’t compare my play to those above, but the principle is the same.  Audiences will care what actors think as long as it’s entertaining them.

Providing the entertainment in “Curtain Call” are three actors, two of them who are based on the true antics of perhaps the greatest acting team in American theater, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and the other is based on Noel Coward.  They were perfectionists, constantly talking about their roles, day and night, and how to improve their characterizations.  On the day before one of their long-running shows was about to close, Lynn mentioned to Alfred that she was going to change an inflection on how she delivered one of her lines to get a bigger laugh.

In “Curtain Call,” my character, Lydia Francis, ever the perfectionist, tells her husband, Allen Hart and the playwright, Neil Collins, just how Allen threw off her performance.

                   Lydia

It started in Act One.

                   Allen

Scene Five.

                   Neil

The lunch scene.

                   Lydia

Yes.  Allen placed the glass on wrong side of the serving tray.

                   Allen

I don’t know what got into me.  A total lack of concentration, I suppose.

                   Lydia

That concerned me.

                   Neil

Oh, it concerned you, did it?

                   Lydia

Yes.  I saw it right away.  Of course, I looked at Allen and saw the terror in his eyes.  That threw me.  I panicked as well and before I knew it, my head was moving back and forth as I delivered the lines.

                   Neil

Back and forth?

                   Lydia

Ever so slightly. 

                   Allen

But it threw me off.  I nearly forgot to serve the finger sandwiches at the proper time. 

                   Neil

I don’t know how you ever recovered.

                   Allen

I didn’t.  I was thinking about it for the rest of the play.

Hopefully, that answers the question “are we interested in what actors think”.  We need to look at them as not just actors, but as characters about which we care and take an interest and laugh at their hard-driven perfectionism.

I hope many of you will “stop by” to see the play. I think you’ll enjoy it.