Author Archive: Greg Hatfield

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.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane Is On the Air!

My play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane, will be performed, via Zoom, on Monday, November 9, at 7:00 p.m. EST, by the New City Players Lab, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Registration is required to get the Zoom link, but it is free to all. Here’s the link to registration: https://www.newcityplayers.org/lab

I hope you’ll make plans to attend.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane is a comedy about two Hollywood knuckleheads who think they have the sequel rights to the greatest movie ever made. It’s one of my favorite plays and I think you’ll like it.

New Plays

In 2020, who knew what would happen? In January, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day was given a staged reading through the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative. Also, a monologue from Lily Blossoms was performed by Darkhorse Dramatists in Syracuse, New York.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane was given a reading in March 2020 by Miami (of Ohio) University’s Miami Writes program. And then everything shut down. As a director, I had six shows canceled, hopefully to be rescheduled. One play I was going to direct, Let’s Murder Marsha, has been rescheduled for 2022.

In October 2020, The Janus Circle was performed via Zoom by the Philadelphia Screenwriters performance group.

The Sequel to Citizen is scheduled for November 2020, performed via Zoom by New City Players in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

That’s A Myth

I woke up with this sketch in my head for some reason.  It’s That’s A Myth, a sketch I wrote for The Act, which was my comedy duo with Scott Levy.  I don’t have too many sketches posted on my YouTube page because, frankly, they’re not so hot.  We were one of the first to use public access equipment and we rushed the shows.  As I was looking at the shows recently, they just didn’t seem to hold up very well.  I do have a couple that I could post, but for the most part, I think we’ll pass.

This one, though, is pretty good and represents something we were attempting.  It’s a fast paced sketch and still holds up.  I’m the guy on the left.  The other guy is Bill Balfour, who helped us in the studio with directing and acting occasionally.

Here’s That’s A Myth:

Cincinnati Actors! I Need You.

Call for Actors!

I need (at minimum) three (3) male and three (3) female actors for four (4) ten-minute plays I’m directing for the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative Fools Fest.

These will be staged readings at the Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Bank Theater on Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m.

Depending on the response, each actor will be cast in multiple plays. This is a really good opportunity for an actor to stretch a bit and tackle something new. The roles are varied characters; some are a bit classical; some are more straight-forward. I’m also open to new talent.

Rehearsals won’t be too taxing. We’ll have two or three rehearsals before the show in late March and early April and a final rehearsal the afternoon of the show at the theater.

If you’re an actor, know an actor, know someone who knows an actor, tell them to contact me either through Facebook or email me at greghatfield@yahoo.com.

The Sequel To Citizen Kane Gets the Green Light

My play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane, has been selected to take part in the Miami Writes Festival. It will be given a reading on Friday, March 6, at Miami University Hamilton Campus, Studio 307 (307 Phelps Hall), 1601 University Hall, Hamilton, Ohio 45011 at 7:30 PM. Admission is free.

Miami Writes is part of the Miami University Regionals Theater season. There will be about ten 10-minute plays read that evening.  Here’s their website:  https://miamioh.edu/regionals/academics/departments/hca/student-work/theatre/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2VGiEiL3v43ffFJESHW3ip2gsh_4tJIm1bPQWpxb4TodtlwpXhzER8Qtg

The Sequel to Citizen Kane is a comedy about two Hollywood knuckleheads thinking they have the sequel rights to the greatest film ever made.

I’m excited because it gives me a chance to hear a different voice to my play and it’s the first time this play has been performed. If you can make it, I’d love for you to hear this play performed.

Tonight’s the Night: My New Play is Performed

It all happens tonight!  I hope to see you there.

Playwright Steven G. Martin says in a recommendation:   Sophisticated humor — through wit, wordplay, and charm — infuse this light, one-act comedy set in 1950s New York. Hatfield clearly understands and enjoys the high-brow charm of shows of this period, and has created a group of characters — world wearing magazine writers, a misled wife, and a tortured editor — that fits right in. Stylish and enchanting. 

PREMIERE OF LILY BLOSSOMS, OR MODERN SUBDIVISION ZONING IN THE PRESENT DAY, AT THE ARONOFF CENTER, JANUARY 14

The Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative New Voices series presents the premiere of Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day by Greg Hatfield, in a staged reading, on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut Street, in Downtown Cincinnati.

This sophisticated comedy is set in New York City in 1954. Lily Palmer and Theodore Barkley, the star writers for Manhattan magazine, are the very best of friends. Hating their present assignments, they decide to mix things up a bit to the consternation of their editor. Barkley has also been moonlighting as an actor and gets an offer from a movie studio in Hollywood. This could break up the team and his marriage.

Cincinnati community theater lovers will recognize this cast: Cathy Jo Judge, Darren Lee, Peggy Allen and Chris Bishop, as all are very familiar faces throughout the city, working consistently on plays and musicals with every theater company.

The playwright and director, Greg Hatfield, is no slouch, either. For years, he was a writer, actor and director in Dr. Browndog’s Moneytime, a theatrical comedy troupe in Cincinnati. His other plays have been performed by companies in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cincinnatiarts.org/events/detail/cpi-ghost-girl or the Aronoff Box Office. Tickets are $10.00. There is another play, The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers, also performed that night.

For more information, go to cincinnatiarts.org or cincyplaywrights.org.

PREMIERE OF LILY BLOSSOMS, OR MODERN SUBDIVISION ZONING IN THE PRESENT DAY, AT THE ARONOFF CENTER, JANUARY 14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact
Greg Hatfield, greghatfield@yahoo.com

PREMIER OF LILY BLOSSOMS, OR MODERN SUBDIVISION ZONING IN THE PRESENT DAY, AT THE ARONOFF CENTER, JANUARY 14

The Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative New Voices series presents the premiere of Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day by Greg Hatfield, in a staged reading, on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut Street, in Downtown Cincinnati.

This sophisticated comedy is set in New York City in 1954. Lily Palmer and Theodore Barkley, the star writers for Manhattan magazine, are the very best of friends. Hating their present assignments, they decide to mix things up a bit to the consternation of their editor. Barkley has also been moonlighting as an actor and gets an offer from a movie studio in Hollywood. This could break up the team and his marriage.

Cincinnati community theater lovers will recognize this cast: Cathy Jo Judge, Darren Lee, Peggy Allen and Chris Bishop, as all are very familiar faces throughout the city, working consistently on plays and musicals with every theater company.

The playwright and director, Greg Hatfield, is no slouch, either. For years, he was a writer, actor and director in Dr. Browndog’s Monkeytime, a theatrical comedy troupe in Cincinnati. His other plays have been performed by companies in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cincinnatiarts.org/events/detail/cpi-ghost-girl or the Aronoff Box Office. Tickets are $10.00. There is another play, The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers, also performed that night.

For more information, go to cincinnatiarts.org, cincyplaywrights.org and greghatfield.com.