18 January 2006

The Middle of the Affaire

Ahhh . . . the eye of the storm. My play opened Sunday Night, our next (and so far last) show is this coming Sunday. Today, the Wednesday 'twixt the two, I am well rested and ready to bore you with lessons thus far learned.

First, I must say my wife has done a far better job than I of chronicling this mad adventure. What the heck. She kept a journal as a little girl. I kept He-Man action figures.


Five young women, each with a secret to share, reunite for an evening of sexy fun. The eponymous "torrid affaire" refers to:

1) the reason for the gathering (a "Torrid Affaire" party; think a Tupperware party with "marital aids") and
2) an extramarital affair from one of the ladies past that comes back to haunt her during the course of the play.

As I've said before, it is risque but not trashy. On the promotion, we are stating very openly "no one under 18 admitted." If it were a movie, it'd be rated "R" for language and content . . . but don't get the wrong idea. It doesn't go quite so far as the most "explicit" episode of "Sex and the City."

For the curious, here is the script. Beware: this is not the final version. One of the joys of being both writer and director is I get to "workshop" the script as I'm directing it. There have since been some pretty severe edits to the dialogue.


Why did I devote so much of my time and money to a play? A play in Los Angeles, of all places?!? Why not shoot a film or spend that money on headshots and lipo?

Well, I think I can trust all 14 of you readers out there with a secret: I did it for street cred. That's right. Street cred. I've lived in this town for a few years, have done some cool things, but have not even begun to scratch beyond the surface of the industry. Earlier this year I began to feel disgusted with myself for being "all talk and no action." So I spun the roulette wheel and picked something to get my name in the paper.

That's not true. Doing theatre was not a "chance" decision. It was coldly calculated: I had a fantastic liberal arts education under the tutelage of one Allen Partridge, and feel equally at home in the scene shop, on stage, or focusing lights from a teetering ladder. My biggest resource . . . and I can not emphasize this enough . . . is my education. Perhaps if I had gone to film school, I would've made a movie. Well, I went to theatre school, so I made a play.

Generally speaking, L.A. is at best ambivalent when it comes to theatre. Who was it that said he or she'd rather go to a bad movie than a good play? It certainly seems to be the prevailing attitude. It's an attitude not without merit: good theatre is hard to do, mediocre theatre is easy, and bad theatre is easier still. Also, for some reason when playwrights are confronted with the idea of putting their words on a stage, the inner preacher pops out to beat the audience into submission. In the movies it is said "if you want to send a message, call Western Union." It could just as easily be said "rent a theatre and produce a play."

So Pamela and I figured that it wouldn't be that hard to produce a play that is just plain enjoyable entertainment, market it virally, and hopefully get some work (acting and writing) as a result of our efforts. We decided to stage the thing at the beginning of pilot season (when casting directors are looking for new talent). We should know in the coming weeks if this mad experiment worked.

As for me, I feel that I'm on my way to getting that "street cred." I'm on the map. Granted, I'm a little hick town right now, not a major city, but as the great director and acting teacher Milton Katselas pointed out in his book Dreams Into Action, a career is a voyage. You chart your course, hoist your sails, and career headlong into the great unknown.


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