Archive for the ‘theatregoing’ Category

A Bear for all Seasons….

June 24, 2013

How can I ignore a reference to *ahem* moi? Seriously, this is a cool project and a $36 Kickstarter pledge results in two young people being introduced to theatre, a good thing to do in this electronic age. Oh, and the Panda Kindergarten gets cuppycakes. What’s not to like?

The Panda Chronicles

Am I not a panda?  What is in a name? A panda by any other name would smell as…well, they would probably be just the tiniest bit whiffy, if you know what I mean….

Every once in a while, the pandas come to aid someone who has a project, be it on Kickstarter, or elsewhere,  because we think it is worth supporting, and so we mention it to you, (some would say obsessively, but hey! we like what we like!) in hopes that you will check it out and consider supporting it too.

With just slightly over two weeks to go, Island Shakespeare’s Kickstarterproject has reached just over 60% of the needed funding to fulfill their goal and get any of the money.

Why should I care?

Well, they are my friends and neighbors and what they are doing is very, very cool.  In a nutshell, they do…

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Playwright, sheath thy checklist

March 12, 2013

When playwrights go to theatre, we presumably go to enjoy ourselves. We may be thrilled, bored, surprised, offended, delighted, so many possible reactions. When playwrights are called on to give feedback on other playwrights’ work, we suddenly become scientists, detectives, housekeepers. Scientist, detective, and housekeeper are honorable professions. Nevertheless, I believe the practice of bringing these outlooks into feedback sessions has become dysfunctional, even harmful in the age of contemporary theatre.

Spoiler alert: This post may briefly give away important plot points, surprises, and endings to 4000 Miles; The Ashes; Circle Mirror Transformation; Clybourne Park; Honey Brown Eyes; In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play; The Internationalist; The Lily’s Revenge; and Se Llama Cristina.

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How do you recommend to an omnivore?

November 22, 2012

I love iTunes, and I love the variety of songs I can purchase from the iTunes store. But sometimes I wonder what their computers must “think” of my varied tastes. I even wonder whether I might be messing up their recommendation software. And a similar question applies to theatres who want to market to me.

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Playwrights Center of San Francisco (PCSF)

May 15, 2012

Thirty-two years ago, a group of playwrights was formed. They got together, presumably on a regular basis, to read scenes from plays they had written and occassionally to hear or see an entire play read. According to the earliest PCSF history page, the first play to be read was The Jury by Harry Hattyar. Thirty-two years later, with many a change in membership, we – for I am now part of PCSF – have over 1,300 readings and full productions under our collective belts, with the current full production of eight short plays in the Sheherezade XII short play festival, co-produced with Wily West Productions.

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Reaching 100: on being promiscuous

May 12, 2012

A year or three ago, Theatre Bay Area Magazine mentioned that it had a database which allowed them to track audience members across multiple theatres’ productions. They mentioned that one audience member was particularly “promiscuous” in their theatregoing, crossing the threshhold of ninety-some Bay Area theatres in three years. That theatregoer is not me, but I like to think I’m in the top ten, or at least the top twenty, of promiscuous Bay Area theatregoers.

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Zombies belong on stage, not in the audience

March 25, 2012

As if theatregoers forgetting to turn off their phones weren’t enough, now we have to contend with smartphones that turn themselves on. I’ve been testing an Android smartphone for work. After a recent system update, I noticed that several minutes after I had turned it off, I would often hear the trademark “Droid” sound coming from my pocket or the bedroom marking the boot sequence reaching a certain point. I Googled the issue and apparently there are a lot of posts indicating it’s been a problem for a while, although I only noticed it these past couple weeks. So I’ve taken to setting my test phone to silent before turning it off at theatres. (At a recent performance they asked us to use Airplane mode as the phones apparently mess with the sound system.) I’ll note I’ve had the phone turn on unasked at least once at a performance, fortunately with the sound off.

A co-worker suggested the pocket detection setting was to blame. I turned pocket detection off a couple days ago and so far it hasn’t spontaneously booted since then. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Ticket-purchasing websites

February 4, 2012

One thing most playwrights like to do, besides writing plays — if you are a playwright and you don’t like writing plays, please stop immediately! — is seeing plays. And in this Internet age, one thing many of us are happy to do is purchase our tickets online. Having done some of this myself, I have some opinionated ideas of what I like and don’t like about the usability of e-ticketing websites. Originally published Mar. 10, 2010 with several updates on Feb. 4, 2012

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Making fire in a crowded theatre

July 6, 2011

If realism in theatre is so important, why doesn’t smoke go away when the scene ends? Why isn’t the smoke instantly smellable throughout the theatre rather than wandering here and there according to the vagaries of physics and the ventilation system or lack thereof, turning up in ones nostrils several minutes later, taking this audience member out of the current scene and back into the previous one, and sometimes out of the theatre?

I am sensitive to both tobacco and herbal smoke. Aside from that, I dislike their respective smells. I recently had to leave my second show in as many months because I did not get accurate information about smoking in the performance. What’s worse, I was totally enthralled by the show; instead of being disappointed at not being able to attend a show that sounded interesting, I had the playgoer’s hell of knowing exactly what I was missing when I walked out.

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Next!

December 24, 2009

Despite it taking much work and having long gestation periods, I work almost entirely in full-length works of 70 minutes (70 is the new 90) to 2 hours. While I’ve written three 10-minute plays – one of which was produced by the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco – I don’t find them fulfilling to write and am unlikely to write more.

I also don’t find 10-minute plays fulfilling to watch.

Continue reading Next!