Archive for the After, Life Category

The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Ten: The Magnificent Baron Brange

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

Aathenaar’s Modern Era began nearly seventeen years ago. On a windy, cold early spring day, a horrified cry arose from within the domicile of Baron Bindek. Bindek’s servants, showing loyalty if not good sense, rushed to their master’s side to discover a horrifying sight.

Bindek was dead, and gushing with blood. At least, most of him was; his head was roughly separated from the torso and sat across the room, glaring at that one uneven brick in the hearth that had caused him so much consternation for so many years. That brick was the least of his problems, though, as a bloody axe head had managed to lodge itself in some of the hearth’s ancient mortar, and that was clearly causing structural as well as cosmetic damage.

Bindek’s body was not alone. The servants arrived to discover Brange, his younger and kinder brother, covered in blood.

“Woe betide Aathenaar on this day of great tragedy!” wailed Brange, overcome by grief at the loss of his beloved sibling. “I was just arriving for a lovely visit with my elder brother when I discovered him in this terrible state. Naturally, I went to embrace him, in hopes of somehow preventing his life force from escaping forever, but alas! I was too late!”

Out of respect for his late brother, Brange waited a full two hours before ascending to the position of Baron of Aathenaar. And what a wondrous ceremony it was! Townspeople marched through the town, shouting slogans of love and pride for their village. Many carried signs as well, although many who did lacked the ability to write and so the slogans those signs bore cannot be considered representative of the humor of the people. The towns bakers produced mountains of pastries and breads as if they had been preparing for weeks. Even a double rainbow could be seen in the air above Brange’s head as he swore the Oath of Baronship. (For this reason, the baron’s first official speech in his office was: “Oh wow, aaaaahhhh! Double rainbow all across the sky! Oh my Harvey it’s so bright and vivid!”)

And so did Aathenaar continue and thrive. From ashes always come new growth, and from the ashes of the tragedy of Baron Bindek grew an era of prosperity and development such as Aathenaar has never seen before.

Next Projects: Evil Unicorns, Weathered Adolescents

Posted in After, Life, Shows, Unicorn City, video, Weathered Adolescents with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

After, Life closed on Saturday. A big thanks to everyone who came out and helped to make it a successful production!

Of course, that doesn’t mean there’s time for 3LR to rest. We’ve got two more projects in the works. First, Weathered Adolescents, which will be a web series coming in early fall. Weathered Adolescents follows the exploits of three friends too old to be as childish as they are, but too young to be as broken by life as they are. One has just divorced, one has just been forced to move back with his parents, and one has just taken a big plunge and moved in with his girlfriend. We’re currently working on the script and we’re in early phases of casting, scouting locations, fight choreography, and stocking up on Twinkies, each of which will prove critical.

Our second project is our next stage show coming in late fall: Unicorn City, written by Greg Landgraf. As you might expect, Unicorn City is a musical about evil unicorns. Okay, the story goes a lot deeper than that—there’s a greedy baron who’s unjustly exiled a witch, who’s taking care of a naive young woman with a big secret, and a budding romance with a wise peasant, who’s so destitute he’s forced to serve as a steed for a self-absorbed traveling bard hoping the unicorns will boost his career, who meets the bitter stableboy, who despises the unicorns and spends his drunken days telling anyone who will listen that the unicorns have evil plots afoot, even though everyone knows that’s impossible…

See why we tend to abbreviate it to “A musical about evil unicorns”?

We’re doing a staged reading of Unicorn City this Saturday at 1 pm at Johnny O’Hagan’s, with a feedback session afterwords.

Tales from the After, Life: Michelle

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

Two more performances of After, Life: Saturdays at 8pm through May 1 at the Apollo Studio.

Today’s dispatch from beyond the grave comes from Michelle, who hit or was hit by Kevin in that car crash.

So there I was, all ready to pee on a stick… okay, twelve sticks… and that was going to give me the happiest news of my life. And then, my life ends. Way to go, huh?

My sister is in the exact same graveyard as I am. That’s about the only good thing about all of this. I mean, not that there’s usually a whole lot of good things about dying, but… you know what I mean. And frankly, all she really did was start hitting me. And pulling my hair.

This has absolutely been the worst week of my life. Death. Whatever.

I don’t think there’s anyone I like here. Maybe Ann. She was nice. Not much help, but nice. I guess. At least she didn’t hit me, or rip my hair out, or call me a chimp or scream at me.

Next time I die, I’m going to ask for a graveyard with a whole bunch of babies who I can raise and love as my own. That’s what the afterlife should be: A place where you can give what you really really want to give, to people who really really need it.

It’s all very confusing.

Tales from the After, Life: Kevin

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , on April 12, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

Three weeks down, three weeks to go for After, Life, which has run quite successfully so far. Thanks to everyone who’s come to watch and if you haven’t, you’ll enjoy it. Saturdays, 8pm, Apollo Studio, through May 1.

Through the end of the run, we’ve got something special just for you wise visitors to the 3LR web site: We’ve managed to get some exclusive dispatches from beyond the grave. Today Kevin, a car crash victim/cause and one of the newest denizens of the graveyard, speaks.

Do you realize what a big deal a job at Google is? It’s not like they take everyone who walks in the door. There’s actually a really complex algorithm that you have to follow to realize the exact ratio of new hires to applicants. It involves factorials and partial derivatives and there’s this entire section to it that isn’t actually referred to anywhere else, but it sure looks complicated, with a bunch of letters that look Greek but aren’t. That’s the kind of place Google is. I would have really fit in there.

But that’s all down the crapper, thanks to this frickin’ car crash.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t get bitter about things, that you should just accept life as it rolls. I say, screw that. Being bitter is the only thing that keeps me alive. Well, dead. Whatever.

Do you know what people do to pass the time in the afterlife? They’ve made up a game out of ripping the hair out of people’s heads. Seriously. Haven’t they heard of Sudoku?

Except the priest. Ex-priest. He just hits me.

So take my lesson: Don’t die. It’s less fun than you might think.

After, Life photos

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

These aren’t strictly new, but I’ve been a bit derelict in my website maintaining duties so they’re new here: photos from After, Life. I think they capture some of the show’s joie de vivre. See the Pictures page for more and the Three Legged Race Facebook group for even more.

Jill and Michelle wrestling

These two are having a discussion like rational adults. I swear.

Cast counting hairs

Sometimes, you just have to rip hairs out of people's head and count how many of them there are.

Nerd in yellow raincoat talks to the dead

If you don't trust me, trust the Gorton's fisherman. This show is great!

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.