thehefner: (Venture Bros: Act Damn You Act!)
DC area theatre peeps: here are five reasons to go see Eugene O'Neill's ANNA CHRISTIE at the Heritage O'Neill Theatre in Bethesda.

1.) It stars [ profile] aeonata in the lead/title role. Anyone who's seen her in a Rude Mechanicals show knows how awesome she is.

2.) It's by Eugene O'Neill, arguably the greatest American playwright. And yet, how many of you have actually seen an O'Neill play? I'm guessing damn few, considering that so few are ever staged due to the fact that his great plays are usually 4+ hours long. One exception is ANNA CHRISTIE, one of his most rightly famous works, which clocks in at a sensible two and a half hours. Well, maybe shorter, if they pick up the pacing a bit. It wasn't their fault, though, it was a tough night. Which brings me to...

3.) They just opened to criminally small audiences and need the love. I've performed to small houses more often than I'd like to admit, and it stinks, especially when you've got a great show with talented folks like this show has. A show like this thrives on the energy of a packed house.

4.) Seriously, it's Eugene frickin' O'Neill.

5.) Seriously, it's [ profile] aeonata!!!

It's playing through June 5th, more info here.

I need to check out this theatre more often. It's an entire group dedicated to doing Eugene O'Neill! That's so amazing! In the Fall, they're also doing Rod Serling's REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. You can bet I'll be taking Henchgirl out to see that one.

And then, in the winter... they'll be doing THE ICEMAN COMETH. Holy crap. Holy crap holy crap holy crap. Hickey is one of my top three all-time dream roles to play, but I never thought I'd have a chance, because this is one of those 4+ hour long plays. They never stage it unless it's a brilliant name cast.

I first saw ICEMAN on stage with Kevin Spacey, Paul Giamatti, Tony Danza, Robert Sean Leonard, and Michael "Ben Fucking Linus" Emerson, and even at that length, it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen on stage. And then I saw the film, with Jason Robards and a ridiculously young Robert Redford. That DVD is one of the very favorite films I have that I can't ever get up to nerve to show to anyone else.

And Hickey is a role I'd walk over hot coals to perform. Just a couple months ago, I told Henchgirl that I needed to find the script in a Barnes and Noble, just so I could perform for her one of the big monologues, right there in the shop. You bet I did, too, with several customers giving me weird looks.

Problem is, I know I'm too young for Hickey by at least a decade, but I doubt I'll ever get this chance again, so I'm gonna give it my all. Hopefully my thinning hairline will actually help me out for once!
thehefner: (Venture Bros: Theatre People)
After years and years of searching and hoping, someone has FINALLY posted the entirety of Derek Jacobi in CYRANO DE BERGERAC (with the translation by Anthony Burgess of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE fame):

This just barely surpasses RICHARD II as my favorite Jacobi performance of all time. The balcony scene never fails to bring tears to my eyes once he gets to, "Oh GOD how I love you!" Furthermore, this is possibly my personal favorite ever production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC, above the Ferrer and Depardieu film versions and the lovely Geriant Wynn Davies stage version here in DC a few years back. Anyone seen the Kevin Klein version with Jennifer Garner?

I'm hoping to talk Henchgirl into cuddling around the laptop to watch this sometime. She fears it'll be too depressing, but I'm like, "No, no, it's a tragedy, granted, but one that sweeps the soul in grand dramatic swashbuckly flair! CYRANO isn't just depressing! It's magnificently depressing!"
thehefner: (The Hefner Monologues Sign)
So I'm contemplating my new costume for THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES. Costumes, specifically. I'm forgoing my classic ill-fitting $3.00 polyester shiny blue suit in favor of several layers of t-shirts and using different coats. Even the smoking jacket.*

This especially fits the new format of the show, which is less "sitting around at Bennigans telling everyone the story about something while still having emotional issues tied up in everything," and more, "flashbacks told in the present tense as the John Hefner that I was at that specific moment."** Like, for meeting Tammy with the Rude Mechanicals, I'll wear my black BDU top which I kept from our production of HENRY VI. For Captain Buzzkill, when I'm a bitter teenage outcast, I'll wear my Japanese Evil Dead shirt.

And for the story about visiting the Playboy Mansion at seven-years-old, I was originally hoping to find a He-Man shirt that actually reads "HE-MAN" in big bold letters. Yeah, I was far more of a THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS*** kid, but I thought it's be perfect to have little John Hefner, the odd Hefner out, wearing a "He-Man" shirt at the Playboy Mansion. Sadly, they don't make any. Yes, they have shirts of He-Man, and some read "MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE," (well, there's this...) but it just doesn't have the same flair.

That said, between the child I was and the intolerant Captain I would become, I think this might just be the shirt to get. If I don't get laughs with that one, I'll know I have the wrong audience that night.

The final touch, however, is that I need a good suit. A matching coat and pants set that doesn't look too fancy, but rather comfortable. A matching pair that, after all the different ill-fitting and oddball shirts and coats, ends the show saying, "This is John Hefner, complete and secure." Well, in this respect, anyway.

I just need to go shopping. I can't do it alone, but it seems even my most enthusiastic shopping partners turn into indecisive mushballs when it comes to what's stylish for the Hefner. Welp, I have until the end of February to find the right one. Here's hopin'.

*Hm. I wonder, should I market the show dressed in the smoking jacket, but with a GL T-shirt underneath, and wearing my Superman PJ's? It's awfully close to my whole refusal to stoop to using the fucking bunny ears, but it could get attention while still showing the "Heffie" totally clashing with and overwhelming the "Hefner," if you know what I mean.

**This not only has made the show fresher and more relevant to me, but it might also ease the minds of some audience members who might wonder if I'm having a nervous breakdown right in front of their eyes and are unsure whether to laugh or not, as either way might result badly.

***I've been spending my sick days rewatching classic episodes of THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, the ones written by future BABYLON 5 and Marvel Comics' scribe J. Michael Straczynski. There's a reason this show was actually more formative for my love of the Ghostbusters than the actual movie. His episodes are fucking awesome, up there with Paul Dini's Batman episodes for smart, witty, and thrilling fare supposedly for kids. Like, check this one out if you have the 22 minutes to spare. So great!
thehefner: (Titus: Goths Got Your Tongue?)
Thanks to [ profile] scarydavedc for finding this:

PULP FICTION, Shakespeare-style. A collaborative work in progress.

Vincent: And know'st thou what the French name cottage pie?
Julius: Say they not cottage pie, in their own tongue?
Vincent: But nay, their tongues, for speech and taste alike
Are strange to ours, with their own history:
Gaul knoweth not a cottage from a house.
Julius: What say they then, pray?
Vincent: Hachis Parmentier.
Julius: Hachis Parmentier! What name they cream?
Vincent: Cream is but cream, only they say la crème.
Julius: What do they name black pudding?
Vincent: I know not;
I visited no inn where't could be bought.

Dave's right, someone needs to do this at Fringe. Surely there must be a Rude bold enough. Just imagine the poster.

I think it's still incomplete, though. Maybe not. I don't think anybody's done Walken's monologue with the watch., Found it! C'mon, folks, I know some of you out there who are already thinking about their own takes (and perhaps improvements over what's already been written)...
thehefner: (Grindhouse: Reel Missing (PT))
So here's what made my 25th birthday extra special.

I'm at the comic shop, feeling lethargic and blah, hardly ready for a slow Monday working on my birthday. I know that once I get off work, nothing special will be happening since so many restaurants are closed on Monday. Mega-lame.

Anyway, I get a phone call from a woman looking for the DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON trade paperback. If you're not familiar with the characters, wikipedia's got your back. So I searched around the store, knowing we had a copy in the system, but failing to locate the book. I went back to the woman and told her that we could order it in by next Monday or Wednesday, but she said she was only in town for the week.

"Okay," I said, "well, leave your name and number, and if we find it, we'll call you up pronto."

And so she did, giving me her number first, and then her name. "Tracie with an i-e..." And I'm thinking, you kids with your unconventional name spellings..., and then she told me her last name. She pronounced it as "Toms," but somehow, I instinctively knew that it was "Thoms."

"Tracie Thoms, T-H-O-M-S, is that correct?"

A touch surprised, she said, "Uh, yeah, actually!"

"All right, Tracie, we'll call you if you find it, and good luck tracking it down!"

It was only two hours later that it finally hit me. I'd thought maybe I'd known her as one of our older customers or something, but no, idiot, I knew where I heard that name. A google search confirmed it. Holy. Fuck.

What's amazing about Tracie Thoms is how, even though she's not super-famous and even though her body of work is relatively small, most everyone has likely seen and remembers her in something. Her projects have hit a wide variety of audiences, and she's always a stand-out in anything she does, whether it's RENT, COLD CASE, WONDERFALLS, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (I'm guessing, as I haven't and will never see it), and of course, DEATH PROOF.

But the woman on the phone didn't sound like Tracie Thoms the actress. Then again, I wasn't paying attention, and phone voices are always off a bit. But if it's really her, why would she want to read DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON? Oh shit, Misty Knight. What if it's research for a role? Oh fuck! Even if it's not her, she'd be fucking perfect as Misty (or so I'd think, not being as well-versed in IRON FIST as I'd like). But what if it *is* her...?

Find out behind the cut )
thehefner: (The Hefner Monologues Sign)
Back from the wedding. [ profile] chickenhat was right: you can't plan a Hefner Monologue.

But I can write a new show, which I'll have to be doing as I have definitely made it into the 3rd Annual DC Capital Fringe Festival! Whee!

So the question is, what new show to write? I was considering HOW HEFNERIAN, which would be mainly a whole show about dating woes and hi-larity, including the "I like your butthole" girl, my adventure meeting Emm Gryner, and my running theme of lesbians. But unless I come up with a bigger idea, just doing this as a one-man show would be... well, it'd just read as "more of the same." I have an idea of how this could work with an on-stage pianist singer to sort of be my chorus/Vonda Shepherd... but unless I can get that person, I'm not sure if this will work.

I'm closer leaning towards SON OF THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES, which would be the show about my family: my alcoholic father's life and death, my mother trying to turn me gay, my baseball legend grandfather, my obese grandmother, my feces-obsessed brother, his farting wife, and Gordon. It would be a rather different show in tone and style, letting me relax and just be a storyteller with humor rather than a showman.

Furthermore, it would allow me to open with something like, "Exactly one year ago, I premiered THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES right here at the DC Fringe Festival. Three weeks before that, my father died." I hesitated to write this show until enough time had passed from Dad's death, but they say it takes a full year to grieve, and that could be my way to achieve full circle in a meaningful way.

So I have two possible shows. But either way, I'd better get an idea settled up, so I can get some brand-new glamor shots from Roy Cox.

As for the original show, no way in hell am I going to slow down on that one. [ profile] charisma18 told me the best thing I've heard all week, informing me that the long-running Renaissance Faire acts (Hack & Slash, etc) generally agree it takes about five years to perfect a show. That is exactly what I needed to hear at this point, when the show keeps getting better but not as good as it should be (in my perfectionist perspective).
thehefner: (Venture Bros: Theatre People)

(Your reaction might well be "Is that the guy from JAWS singing with Mayor Ben from ZOOBILEE ZOO?")

So I think ALL THAT JAZZ might be a new favorite film of mine.

I've seen it three times this weekend, and I'm still not sure.

Full review and thoughts for what may (or may not) well be a fucking masterpiece. )
thehefner: (Titus Andronicus: I made you eat!)
Sir Laurence Olivier gets a lot of crap these days.

Whether it's how over-the-top he seems to our post-Method cinematic sensibilities, or just sour grapes over his choke-hold on British Shakespeare culture for, what, forty years (until Branagh came along with HENRY V, not to mention what was happening on stage at the time), "Olivier" is often a dirty word in dramatic circles. That's certainly been my impression.

Part of it is also that I was raised to believe Olivier was God. My father was agnostic at best, but he outright worshiped men like Mozart and Olivier, and no Hamlet could ever, ever, ever match up with the Olivier/Jean Simmons film version. "It was good, but it wasn't Olivier's! THAT annoying shrew is meant to be Ophelia? Jean Simmons was heartbreaking and tender!" In my father's mind, as well as British theatre for all those years, all other actors were living in the shadow of Laurence Olivier.

Olivier's HAMLET, upon recent viewing, is fascinating for how surprisingly underplayed it often is; this is the only time I've ever seen soliloquies performed as voice-overs, which you might think would be natural for transition to film. He's really not over-the-top, as many still accuse him of being, and the bits I've seen hold up today.

But then, I grew up to find that I was far more interested in the Branagh/American styles of Shakespeare performance. Of speaking the lines not as some grand, holy text, letting the language speak for itself, but rather like actual dialogue. I used to dream of studying classical acting in London, but now... I don't know. If for nothing else, do I really need to be bigger?

All that said... I still find myself defending Olivier.

I used to think that it was just left-over brainwashing from my father, coupled with sympathy of seeing a man--regarded by the world as the single greatest actor alive--watch helplessly as the world moved on, leaving him thoroughly respected while increasingly mocked in private, reduced to overact in B-movies (from directors terrified to give him direction*) and Kodak commercials.

Then, for the first time in ten years, I rewatched this:

(from a strictly screenwriting standpoint: it was a stroke of genius to incorporate Richard's speeches from HENRY VI PART III, some of which are on par with--and sometimes even surpass--those in his own play)

Now, from a modern standpoint, are those five minutes a daring new take on Shakespeare? Is it subversive? Is it saying anything particularly new or post-modern or ironic? No. It's pretty much as standard a Richard III as you can get.

That's just the thing. Watching this again... it's not just a standard; even today, it's the standard. There's a reason for that.

He can be allowed and even forgiven for being too big sometimes. After all... he was a giant.

And to think, I originally was going to post that video simply so I could post this:

Peter Sellers + The Beatles x RICHARD III ÷ Olivier = awesome.

*Until MARATHON MAN, where Olivier--ill and having gone without acting work for years--played a Nazi dentist. The director finally got up the courage to hint around telling Olivier to tone it down. Olivier was frankly grateful that someone was actually giving him direction again. His performance in MARATHON MAN is subsequently understated and nothing less than chilling
thehefner: (Titus Andronicus: I made you eat!)
On THE DAILY SHOW tonight, Jon was talking about the recent Democratic debate where three of the other candidates (but not Obama; John Edwards, Joe BIden, and Chris Dodd) AND Tim Russert were all aggressively grilling Hillary, and Jon Stewart quipped:

"Four men berating a woman for two hours. It's like the most boring Neil LaBute play ever."

A smattering of people laughed and applauded. Stewart smirked, "Look at that, a couple drama majors in the corner. Everybody else can give a shit."

A. Stounding. Hee hee hee hee hee!

Meanwhile, the SOUTH PARK guys have gone totally, delightfully mad. I cannot wait for the DVD of the "Imaginationland" to freeze-frame the shots and spot all the hidden characters. They even had Darkseid in the finale!

Welp, Halloween is over. So you all know what that makes today?

¡VIVA! )

September 2012

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