Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I'm not a photographer

Sorry posting here has been a bit sluggish of late. I'm very busy helping work on marketing and PR for Promethean's latest show, "Measure for Measure." Actually, we just took some initial publicity photos last night. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm light years away from being anything even remotely resembling a professional photographer, but I'm also pretty pleased with the results. Advice for other theatre companies who need to take press photos but have no idea how to really use a digital camera:

1) The flash is your ENEMY. If you use it your pictures will look especially amateurish. It's impossible to do anything interesting with light when the flash is on.

2) It's worth investing in some way to keep your camera steady so you can do a longer exposure without blurring. Ideally your photographer should have hands still enough that they could do surgery. I lost way too many shots to blurriness because my hands are Shaky McShakington. We didn't have a tripod so finally I had to sort of lean the camera against a table to keep it steady!

3) I'm now officially sold on digital cameras being the wave of the future- see below. If *I* can get results this decent, anyone can with a little patience and care.

Without further ado, here are the three publicity photos we've chosen. I've decided they act out a little story. For your entertainment, I'd added captions. By the way, the two actors are our leads, Beth Wolf as Isabella and Brian Pastor as Angelo. Will they also be in an upcoming play I'm directing involving a mythical animal??? I'm not telling. : - )

Picture One:

Isabella: "Dear Lord, please make Angelo spare my brother."

Picture Two:

Angelo: "Sure I'll spare your brother. As long as you >whisper whisper whisper<...."

Picture Three:

Isabella: "As long as I say WHAT now?!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Promethean's season you can guess one of them.

Promethean Theatre Ensemble officially has officially announced its fourth season, so I guess the cat is out of the bag. That we were doing "The Last Unicorn" this fall was (thanks to my big mouth plus this blog) pretty much the worst-kept-secret in the whole darn city, but hopefully by the time the box office opens it'll be an even worse kept secret! I want everyone who cares about this story as much as I do to have a chance to see it. Please spread the word.

Accompanying "The Last Unicorn" will be the company's first musical ever! "The Fantasticks!" I know what you might think- why are we doing such a well-known, conventional musical? A lot of us thought that before we reviewed the script during season selection. Actually, this musical is an excellent fit with both our company and our mission statement. I highly recommend reading the script if you've never encountered the piece before (or, perhaps, only encountered it via bad high school productions) -is has a really poetic, wise take on human interaction that I find to be alternately amusing, moving and deeply profound. While the story we will collaborate with our audience to tell is in this case an old one- boy meets girl, boy loves girl, complications ensue- the way the story is told is so classy, so wistful, so truthful that once we all had read it it was difficult to resist. There's a downside to picking this piece- it is very popular and in fact our production will be in slight competition with one of the bigger fish in town- but fortunately the productions won't be exactly simultaneous, and I think our company can bring a very different flavor and perspective to the piece. And I say that with respect and affection for our 'competitors'- the other company doing this next year I consider to be good friends of mine and they do excellent work. But come see ours too. It will be differently awesome.

Last but not least is our THIRD SHOW. That's right, we're doing three next year, beatches! While other companies shrink in fear, we've decided that now is not the time to be lily-livered. Nothing ventured nothing gained. And on that note, our third piece is...
(drum roll)

SPRING AWAKENING. No, not the musical. The play. You know, the original piece written by Frank Wedekind that the musical is based on? Having read the play AND seen the musical- trust me, the musical is the one that's sugarcoating things. Come see our version if you want to know why this play was REALLY banned in the late 1800s!

Well, that's it for now. I know I'm pumped. Are you? : - )

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Bask in the sugary goodness, Charlie....

Now don't think I'll post just any video on here, just 'cause it has a Unicorn in it! Um...


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is the Red Bull? : Cut Scene Comics 4

I have to confess something: I cheated on this one. Of Course the Red Bull is in this production. But he's described in Mr. Beagle's prose in very vivid terms that we likely won't be able to narrate. I also found it difficult to resist drawing the image in this one as it popped into my head. Here goes:

In case you don't feel like craning your neck sideways (and upside down) to read the text, here's what I put in:

The Moon (the left "horn")

"The unicorn crouched awake waiting to see the vast form of the Red Bull come charging out of the Moon. She caught his smell, a dark, sly reek easing through the night, reaching out to find her..."

The Demon (the right "horn")
written on the contract:

"It is the Devil, to whom Haggard sold his soul. It is the thing he sold his soul to possess."

The Terrible Light (the left "eye")

"He was the color of blood. A terrible light poured from him like sweat."

The Swirling Darkness (the right "eye")

"A swirling darkness, the red darkness you see when you close your eyes in pain."

And then, Outlining its Face:

"You can find the others if you are brave. They passed down all the roads long ago, and the Red Bull ran close behind them and covered their footprints. His firstling bull has majesty, and his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will push your people, all of them, to the ends of the earth."


"The Red Bull of King Haggard. So you know of the Bull. Well, he'll not have you."

Finally, the text in back should be pretty clear, but just in case, it's Haggard's description of the Bull, except in the first person:

"I Serve Anyone Who Has No Fear."

Some people I've shown this to see the Bull right away, but some people have thought that the Demon is supposed to be the Red Bull, and don't see what all the images add up to until I point it out to them. Can you see it? I just love the idea of this vast head coalescing out of all these different elements, with the Unicorn a tiny threatened shadow just beneath it. I hope you all enjoy it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fantastic news!

I was notified yesterday that I have received the grant I applied for from the City of Chicago to train with Jeff Semmerling and learn how to build the puppets and masks for "The Last Unicorn!" This is a tremendous opportunity for me and a great relief to know that I've got the support I need to make my sketches and ideas a reality. I guess my analysis of the panel discussion of my application that I attended was pretty accurate! I've already been training with Jeff since January, and I've learned a lot, but now I'll be confident in being able to continue my journey.

Also...I finished building the butterfly puppet today. We had some changes to the design from the initial sketch-for one thing, instead of text on the wings I decided to with a sort of threatening eye pattern- but I'm pretty pleased with the result. I'll be showing it to the rest of the company at our next ensemble meeting, and hopefully I can get a photo of it posted soon. In the meantime- in case you haven't checked the Promethean website lately, we've got another show coming up: our production of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. I'm not in it, but I'm helping market and promote it and I'm pretty excited about it- I think it's going to be really good. I actually put together a sort of mini trailer for it that I've posted on youtube- I'll embed it below, and you should see it up on the Promethean website in a bit. Also, some of the our ensemble members in this show will also definitely be in "The Last Unicorn"- so come and scope them out early! Here's the trailer: