Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

More post-mortem paperwork. I’m spending several hours per day filling out paperwork, which then leads to more paperwork, because the people demanding the paperwork are morons. There needs to be a lot of corporate restructuring, as much as “let’s get rid of the unnecessary b.s., obstructionism, and vamping.” It ate up most of the time I hoped to put aside for writing before I had to leave for Long Island.

Oh, well. I’m starting to think I should flip my schedule, going back to working all night, sleeping during the day, and never being available by telephone again.

Typical example of Suburban Bitchery: I stood in line in the Post Office yesterday afternoon. A woman several people ahead of me had her sleeping, well-behaved baby in a stroller – very cute, very sweet. The woman behind her “oohed” and “aahed” over the little one, sidling around to “get a better look” – and then cut in front of her when the postal worker called, “Next.” I mean, come on, lady, you are NOT that clever, nor are you that important! If she’d tried that on me, I would have kicked her ass right there at the window. But then, people don’t usually try to cut in front of me in line. I tend to stand in line with the mirrored sunglasses and I can still turn on the “I live on the Deuce in NYC, don’t mess with me” attitude, even though I haven’t lived on 42nd St. for years. However, knowing how to waft intimidation through one’s pores like perfume comes in handy.

I was completely stressed out about what to wear to the show. Silly, isn’t it? But hey, it goes with the territory. The only contact I had with the production was with the producer via email and telephone – I’ve never met any of them, and it was a very hands-off production experience (which is fine with me, that’s the way it goes sometimes). But first impressions and all that. Changed my shoes eight times, and wound up with what I first put on anyway – the chocolate colored patent leather pumps with three inch heels.

The drive to Long Island was difficult, which I expected, going during rush hour. The drive to the Whitestone Bridge was fine, but the Cross Island was backed up because the LIE was a parking lot. It took me a little over an hour – but I was still an hour early. Lara, you’ll love this – the only place I could find to hang out was Stop & Shop. I kid you not. I walked the aisles doing meal planning – I actually have to do my grocery shopping today, so I walked around and made my list. There was no way I was going to stash groceries in my car for four or five hours.

The restaurant had the reputation of being top notch Italian. The prices sure were. Yet their idea of a “house salad” was iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing and an olive on top. Um . . .? They either used vegetable oil instead of olive oil or such a low grade quality of olive oil that it tasted like vegetable oil, and so much of it, along with melted margarine (I can taste the difference between butter and margarine – I’m a cook), that it globbed into a ball of grease at the bottom of my stomach. The only choice for dessert was ice cream (really? In an Italian restaurant?) An Italian ice would have been lovely – but this was store-brand freezer type. On the plus side, there was enough garlic in the meal so that I did not have to fear vampires on the drive home. Even other cars kept their distance.

Perhaps I’ve become a food snob. Yet I eat at a wide variety of restaurants all over the world that aren’t written up and have great meals. This one, with its supposedly great reputation . . .

I also felt badly about disliking the food because the staff was so nice. Now there’s a paradox – usually when the food is under par, so is the service and the attitude. Here, they were lovely and they took very good care of me, which I appreciated, and I tipped well, in spite of the food, because the service was good.

I felt the venue was quite disorganized, but I was happy to see the play. They’d told the producer there weren’t many reservations; yet it turned out they were overbooked and had to add seating, cutting the playing area to almost nothing. It was a case where I had to bite my tongue and take a breath – I’m not on the production team on this one, I’m “just” the writer. I don’t have to take control in situations like this, the way I usually do – someone else does. Because, of course, my first instinct was to jump in and fix things. But the production has quite a wonderful, capable, CALM production manager. The actors didn’t know I was there – they’d been told I was coming to the final performance. This was the first performance for the two actors who stepped in after one actor was fired and one quit – so there are two actors on book for the last three performances this week. I’d written an alternate final scene because there were problems with the actor who was ultimately fired early on, which only changed one small thing but made sense of the fact that a woman had to step in to replace the most stable male character in the show. I was told that scene would be used; however, when I got there, I found they had created a new opening to “explain” the two actors on book (instead of just saying “we had cast changes, we’ve got two actors on book tonight”, which is perfectly legitimate and happens at all levels of the business) and that became the central focus of the show instead of the actual plot, due to piling on the ad-libbed material which took the air out of several of the scenes. Comedy is written and performed with specific pace and rhythm, and there were times when all of that went out the window. However, in the scenes that ran as written, where I could actually see the actors and the material, I thought they did a good job. The four core actors have a great rhythm together, and, in the scenes between the two female leads, there was great chemistry. The third actress was very good in her multiple roles, and the guy playing the detective was a lot of fun. When he first came in, I was worried about his choice, and then he turned on a dime in a wonderful way and made it work very well. The two actors who stepped in at the last minute had some funny moments and gave it a good shot – with a little work, they’ll own it and maybe even have some fun. I’m not going to stress about it for the last two performances – if there were two weeks, I’d insist on a rehearsal and work with them, tweaking the script. Because I’m that kind of bitch ;).

Hey, my plays are produced all over the world, and I’ve often stepped in to tweak my own shows. I don’t have directing aspirations, but I know how to talk to actors.

I even roughed out a new play during the intermissions (I always travel with paper and pen/ Besides, there are always napkins).

I was introduced at the end of the night. The delight on the actors’ faces made it all worth while. Especially the four core people said they felt I’d written them roles of a lifetime, and they wished the show would run for a year. Two of the actresses will be in THE MATILDA MURDERS in the fall (and one of the actors who stepped in to a role will direct it). I’m very pleased about that. The other actress will perform in my home town this summer, so I’ll get to see her. I already put a bug in the producer’s ear about a play I’d like to write for her. She connects to my material very instinctively, and, in our conversation later, we thought very much along the same lines. Some of the audience members even asked for my autograph – and yes, I learned from working with all those Broadway and television actors. The first thing you say is, “What’s your name?” and then you personalize it. Otherwise it ends up on eBay. (It shouldn’t for me, I’m not well-known, but you never know what people will try to hawk on eBay). I held firm to my “no-photographs” policy, which miffed the venue owner’s wife, who wanted pictures of me on the web site, but too bad.

It was great to meet everyone and talk to everyone. It’s truly a lovely group of people, and I am deeply appreciative of their commitment and work. I’m definitely happy to continue working with them. I had a few notes that I think will help the new-to-the-piece actors in the final two performances, and I followed protocol by giving them to the producer and production manager rather than directly to the actors.

The drive home was fine – hardly any traffic – hey, garlic works on more than vampires! Got home after midnight, but was too wound up to sleep, plus ate crackers to absorb the grease. I missed my workout last night and feel the difference. May have to add one today.

I need to get my stomach settled and my mind settled and get some good, solid writing done. After all, the producer wants to know when she gets to read FEMME FATALE!


Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 7:08 am  Comments (11)  
Tags: , , , ,


  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the performances! I wish it were closer so I could make it. We’re toying with the idea, but we’ve committed to a fundraiser this weekend, so time will be tight.

    Congratulations. :)) When the actors love it, it’s only going to get better!

  2. Oy, Stop n Shop? You poor thing!

    I’m glad things worked out and you enjoyed (mostly) the performance. At least they didn’t mess with your baby too much. And don’t you love people asking for your autograph. Warm fuzzies!
    I’m just sorry you had to stomach all the grease and garlic!

    (Food snob!!!)

  3. Wow, Devon, how to you move so effortlessly between writing plays, fiction and business writing. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement!

  4. No tiramisu? How disappointing. Your comments about the food, though, made me chuckle. 🙂

    Sounds like you had a good night all around. It’s nice when people “get” your work and want more. That’s huge kudos. And how cool they asked for your autograph! 🙂

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed the performance.

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed the performance.
    P.S.: Forgot to add great post!

  7. Wow! That has to be a great feeling to see your work on stage. Congrats!


  8. Must have been a good feeling to see the actual show.

  9. The drive and less-than-perfect meal all aside, it sounds like you had a wonderful evening.

    And, I love— “knowing how to waft intimidation through one’s pores like perfume comes in handy.”

    what a great line!!!! (~:

  10. Your dinner sounds horrendous! But, the comment on the other drivers being able to sense all the garlic was hilarious. I am sorry to hear you’re having such conflict over paper-work.
    I’m happy you were satisfied about the play!

  11. Oh, that’s awesome! I can’t imagine how it must feel to see something you wrote come to life like that, wow!

    Lol on the restaurant. I went to a place like that once, bad food, great service. We actually suspected it was a front. 🙂

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