Friday, February 08, 2008

Couldn't stay away

To paraphrase “Godfather III,” every time I try to leave the blog alone, I get sucked back in. Unfortunately, I only have time for bullet points worth of thought right now. To wit:

I have many things to say about the provocative article posted by Rick. In particular, I’d like to focus on the line “There are clear steps theaters could take.” More later.

Over at the Barksdale Blog, Bruce has recently put up a couple of posts that refer to this here blog and even to this here writer (and his beautiful talented wife). In my last real post, I mentioned people who were lovely to me back when I was just another guy wandering around backstage. Bruce was #1 among those people (in a near-tie with Phil). What is particularly heartwarming to me these days is that Bruce is also wonderful in his interactions with my son, who I’m thinking is still not completely sure who the heck Bruce is. Bruce, we T-lines would be happy to hang out with you and Terrie anytime; can your daughter babysit?

Bruce responded to my Actors report card piece and I have to say I appreciate his “glass half-full” perspective. I don’t disagree with anything he said. In fact, I think he essentially reinforces a point that I made in my piece that Richmond is one of the best places for actors to start out. I still remain concerned, however, that Richmond is – and may become more of – a flow-through location. That may just be the reality based on the size and shape of the Richmond audience. I still don’t really like it.

Many things shaped my perspective in that piece. Mostly, it was what I heard from the people I talked to. It may seem like I’m being pessimistic but notice that most of what I say is prompted by or backed up by a quote by a current or former Richmond theater professional (not being defensive here, BC, just doing some ‘splainin.)

As an aside, I must say that one of the things that has hit me hardest re: this whole actors market topic is the eminent departure of Stephanie Kelley and Justin Dray. Not only are they both extremely talented actors, but their work with Yellow House was unfailingly intriguing, particularly some of the stuff they did with Clay McLeod Chapman. I feel Richmond will be taking both a talent and an organizational hit when they go. But I’ll try to take Bruce’s perspective and look forward to the possibility that they’ll come back. Them, and Robin Harris-Jones who I didn’t even get to know until she left town. Sniff. (I guess I’ll always have Stephanie licking garbage can lids in the tobacco ads but it’s just not the same…)

On the more distinctly positive side: saw Richmond Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” last night. Just a couple of quick thoughts: Liz Blake is absolutely gorgeous and she is enchanting in this play. And Andrew Hamm has definitely grown as an actor…and he was pretty darn good before!

Also, the stars aligned so that I will be able to see “Rumplestiltskin’s Daughter” this weekend. I’m way looking forward to it.

OK, those were big bullet points. Imagine how big they’ll be when I actually have time to write! Yeesh.


Andrew Hamm said...

Thanks for coming out, Dave! It'll be a lot less "Shakespeare on Ice" tonight after I did some work on the carpets...

Frank Creasy said...

"Andrew Hamm has grown as an actor". It's time someone finally said it out loud, Dave.

It's been rumored around town that Andrew is using performance enhancing drugs, specifically AGH (Actor Growth Hormone). His depth, versatility, and decibel level while shouting at audiences has grown dramatically over the past year. Also, Andrew has gone up four shoe sizes in the past 10 months. Most troubling of all are the rapid mood swings and multiple blog comments - and Andrew's own blog posting activity, both on his own blog and Richmond Shakespeare's blog, have increased FIVE TIMES in just six months.

Andrew, it's time to come clean. We're concerned, we're all VERY concerned.

blogva said...

Glad to hear you are messing with the carpets before the show tonight, Andrew. I am almost tempted to go see it again just to see how different the it would be without my "mom" instrincts screaming in my head, "Someone is going to get hurt".

I agree with Dave about your performance but I prefered Julie Phillips performance to Liz Blake's- not that it is a contest or anything- everyone did a fine job. I also thought the five actor thing flowed better on this show than the last one I saw like that which was "Othello". I will probably have nightmares for weeks featuring floating hats though.

Looking forward to "As You Like It".

Thanks for a fun evening.

Thespis' Little Helper said...

Thanks for the 'splainin, Lucy. 'Glad you're getting to see the show this weekend, although at this late, sleepless hour, I may perhaps be worried about the 10AM and how my body may have not yet quite adjusted to those early morning shows (even after too many years of touring with a few companies with early morning shows).

Maybe flow-through is ok. If it holds it's place in the greater picture. Although it seems that there are plenty of actors that have been here for a while and plan to stay and several that have been here for a while that may not. But a few of those seem to give pretty high standards to live up to (even if some of us are chomping at the bit to see Rick Brandt back on stage).

Not that I'm saying that Richmond theatre is this, but I wonder if high school teachers/administrators think "oh, if I could keep them forever and they would grow and abound and...etc. etc.". God, that's probably a horrible thought to throw out and perhaps one that I might be thrown to the wolves over, but...maybe it's worth pondering.

At the same time, I think there is some really incredible theatre created here. I know I have seen shows here that beat some shows I have seen on Broadway and some even smaller companies in even smaller cities/towns trump Broadway productions (i.e. Public Theatre of Kentucky's production of 'night, Mother starring Pat Taylor and Alexis Combs-McCoy beating out Broadway's revival starring Brenda Blethyn and Edie Falco...or Barksdale Theatre's production of Moonlight and Magnolias [from what one can tell from the reviews of] beating out the Off-Broadway production, due in great part to Steve Perigard's almost flawless direction and a great cast).

So perhaps it becomes where do we stand. And perhaps some of us (ok, read that as me) could be less defensive and step up to the plate and show what great work on Richmond boards can be instead of talking about how I would like for it to be perceived.

It seems like a start I guess. At least for me.

So, an attempt at sleep for the way-too-early show tomorrow.

Andrew Hamm said...


I do not take, nor have I ever taken, AGH. That guy who claims to have injected AGH into my buttocks is a criminal and a liar, and also he smells funny. And he's a jerkface.

Actually, this week's AGH side-effect is an annoying head cold, which seems likely to make all of my characters in Measure sound like Tom Waits for the rest of the weekend.

Yes, the show is much smoother with only a little carpet slippage. Trust me, Mary; you're not the only one whose "mom" instinct impacted their evening.