Today’s Gag

August 15, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

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Hip Shots

August 12, 2011

Flag Change III

By Jim Sizemore

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The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Friday’s.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore

Beth Henley On Playwriting

August 10, 2011

Adapted from: Act I: the Pulitzer, Act II: Broadway

By Robert Berkvist, The New York Times, October 25, 1981

I hate the feeling that the play has to be seen as really great, instead of just an enjoyable evening in the theater.

If a play is set in the South, it can be kind of eccentric and people will accept it. The language can be more poetic, too.

I guess (“Crimes of the Heart”) is not an easy play for people to pick up the tone of — to know whether it’s funny or sad.

The feelings are kind of autobiographical, the business of how sisters relate, or bear grudges — things like that. But none of the events depicted in the play ever happened to my family, although some of them were things I had heard of.

Not to denigrate my play or anything, but all this acclaim is just the way the cards happened to fall. Theater is such a business now that it’s got nothing to with art or good work. My kind of writing happens to be salable these days. I’m sure there are a lot of talented people out there who aren’t writing plays but working in factories while they wait for someone to “discover” their stuff.

The theater makes it pretty hard for a writer. People can be real mean about your plays. I don’t blame some writers for turning to Hollywood for money and praise.

I didn’t like the feeling of being at everyone’s mercy, so I decided to do something creative. Of course, everyone in Los Angeles is working on a screenplay, so what I did wasn’t bizarre at all. But no one at the studios would read my screenplay because I didn’t have an agent, so I thought I would write a stage play that might at least get performed in a small theater somewhere. That’s when I wrote “Crimes of the Heart.”

Women’s problems are people’s problems. There are certain subjects I mightn’t get into, simply because I don’t have the necessary knowledge, but I don’t think my being a woman limits my concerns.

This is one in a series that will post  on Wednesdays. If you’d like to read more about what people like Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Joyce Carol Oates and other famous — and not so famous — playwrights have to say about the art and craft of writing and directing plays, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the “Search” button.


Today’s Gag

August 8, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

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Hip Shots

August 5, 2011

Concrete

By Catherine Moore

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Friday’s.

Copyright © 2011 Catherine Moore

Edward Albee on Directing

August 3, 2011

Adapted from: Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?

Joe Levine, Johns Hopkins Magazine, June, 1984

I work in the practical areas of theater because a play is not a theoretical thing — it must be rehearsed, acted, and seen.

I realized there was something to be studied in the craft of directing, so I watched others around the world direct my plays. I learned by osmosis. My teachers were Peter Hall, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Louis Berreault, and Franco Zefirelli — it was a pretty good faculty. They didn’t mind my sitting in. They didn’t know I was going to take their jobs away.

There are only naturalistic plays — even Ionesco is naturalistic, though he may give the impression of being different. If a play does not admit of subtext, then it is either too superficial or too much at odds with itself.

The actor should create subtext. But the director needs to inquire about the actor’s sub-textual choices only if he suspects they may be at cross-purposes with the author’s intentions, and, therefore, hurting the play.

I once declined an offer to direct a revival of Tennessee William’s Sweet Bird of Youth because the second act is atrocious. If I had directed it, I would have had to sit down and have a long talk with Tennessee, and say, “Look here, Tenn . . . ” Well, you just don’t talk that way to the dean of American playwrights.

First of all, I only cut and clarify. I don’t ask anyone to change the nature of a play, although I do sometimes prod them to write about what they really mean to write about, instead of what they they think they mean to write about. Besides, I’m only doing to their plays what I do to one of own when I’m thinking it out in my head. I carry a play around for a long while before I trust it to paper, and at this point, when I bring one into the rehearsal period, it doesn’t need much rewriting. Too many young playwrights rush into print too soon.

When you’re writing a play, you’re attempting the impossible. When You’re directing it, you must do only what is possible, and the impossible must vanish.

As a director I have a rather strong authorial personality. I want to do to others’ plays what I would not permit anyone to do to mine.

This is one in a series that will post  on Wednesdays. If you’d like to read more about what people like Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Joyce Carol Oates and other famous playwrights (also some not so famous), have to say about the art and craft of writing and directing plays, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the “Search” button.


Today’s Gag

August 1, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

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