Archive for March, 2010

Serendipity (or pee)

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

We’ve assembled the last of the props for After, Life, thanks to a bit of luck. The script calls for a few twigs and sticks on the ground, so that at one point we can try to build a big bonfire. Well, not really a big one, and not technically a bonfire, I don’t think. Just enough to light a cigarette with.

Of course, twigs and sticks don’t just grow on trees, and our final prop-related concern was gathering them for the show. But then, director Doug made a find: A whole giant bag of sticks just lying in an alley with someone’s garbage.

Being the genius that he is, Doug snapped them up and we rehearsed with them for the first time on Tuesday. Being the gloriously pretentious artists that we are (I sometimes speak French, despite not knowing the language!) I can tell you just how different a real twig feels from an object-work twig. It’s brown and sticky, you know?

I kid, of course. But the sticks were surprisingly fragrant, at least when, at one point, one of them gets broken and releases all of its lovely chemical goodness. Of course, there’s a downside to that: The aroma stimulated our brains and got us thinking. Why would someone just throw a perfectly good bag of sticks into the trash?

The answer we came up with is that they were obviously peed on by a dog or bum.

Now, I don’t personally believe that, as evidenced by the speed with which I run to wash my hands after using them. But if you were undecided about the show, let that inspire you to come: You might be able to see people handling things that have been peed on.

OK, maybe that sentence won’t be going on the poster. But if you’re not interested in a really well-written, funny show, maybe you will be interested in that.

Learning to Smoke

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , , on March 9, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

After, Life is blocked and very nearly off-book. We have a couple more scenes to run without scripts to make the off-bookness official, which are all scheduled for tomorrow.

I don’t have much of an update of our last rehearsal; I was only there for one scene, about twenty minutes. I can tell you that on one of the run-throughs I managed to blow a line quite spectacularly—as in, if I delivered it that way in the show, babies and puppies would explode—which is particularly embarrassing since I only had about six lines in that scene.

I can, however, share one other anecdote of hopeful amusement. My character, the priest, smokes. This brings up plenty of moral and metaphysical questions, I suppose, but the primary one is this: How do you hold the bloody thing?

See, I don’t smoke, and if you don’t smoke, you don’t think too hard about the technique. But then you come into a situation like this and you have to hold it correctly, lest you cause the smokers in the director’s chair make a sound like a Kia with an automatic transmission popping the clutch.

Apparently you don’t hold a cigarette like a blowgun. That I think is a missed opportunity for the tobacco industry. How much cooler would smoking be if you looked like you were shooting a poison dart at a James Bond villain when you did it? Instead, you have to cradle it in a V in your fingers, like a peace symbol at yourself. I’m just saying, the Fonz never had to do that.

Now that I’ve figured that out (mostly), Director Doug still isn’t satisfied. In my smoking lessons, he’s very insistent: relax your fingers. Now tighten them. I kind of think he’s just doing it to mess with me. We have that kind of relationship.

Anyhow: I won’t be actually smoking in the show—Chicago bans it—but we’ve got a couple fake cigarettes that I’ll be using (and that I’m learning on, in the event that my parents are reading this.) So that’s one more reason to come to the show: to judge how realistically I inhale. First person who comes up to me after a show with a review wins a special prize. That special prize is nothing more than a haughty feeling in their soul, but it’s still special.

After, Life is a Go!

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , on March 4, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

In fact, we’ve been working on After, Life actively (as in, rehearsing it) for a month now. So why hasn’t the site been updated?

Well, while we were rehearsing the show, I was also writing (well, drafting) music (well, lyrics plus mediocre ukulele plunking) for our next show, coming this fall. More on that later. Suffice it to say, February was crazy busy. March will be crazy busy too, but a much more focused busy, which updating you on the show’s progress will fit into much better.

To start with, let’s officially announce the cast:

Anne Serine – Ann
Domenic Mascis – Fred / Ron / Nerd / Dale
Derick Hawksworth – Kevin
Philena Gilmer – Michelle
Nathan Petts – Alex
Lance Hill – Leo
Greg Landgraf – Priest
Christa Sablic – Jill

Watch this site for all your After, Life updates, and mark your calendars. The show runs Saturdays at 8:00 pm from March 27 through May 1, and you won’t want to miss it!