Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stage 3

Well, Stage 3 is here. It sucks taking pictures on my camera phone, but that's what I got. No iris adjustment, no focus, and I don't have Photoshop at home, so I can't tweak the colors. So, at least you know you're seeing an unaltered picture. I didn't try to doctor this one up to make it look better.

Shaved off the mutton chops. Just got the sideburns (which will stay for the show, unless the director says to nix them) and, of course, the pornstache. I don't like this look. Mainly because today it's called a pornstache. I'll like it more if it were still known as a handlebar moustache... Or am I thinking of a different 'stache?

The one thing I'm noticing is that with my hair pulled back I think my hairline is receeding. Need to look at older pictures and compare. Of course, my dad has pretty much been working the comb over since I was born. Guess I have that to look forward to.

Tomorrow, the final stage for the show opens... Naked face.

Click here for tickets and show times. There's numerous entertainment options for you in the Indianapolis area for the next three weekends, so I truly appreciate anyone who makes the trek to the Belfry in Noblesville to see this show. You now know what I look like, so make sure to stick around after the show and introduce yourself... unless your gonna go all stalker crazy on me... in that case, come to the show, but keep your distance and try to steal my tights from the dressing room.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stage 2

Welcome to Stage 2 of Clean Shave 2007. So what's the big deal I'm making out of something as mundane has shaving? Well, there's many friends who haven't seen me clean shaven. That's dating back to college. I can think of only three times since 1993 that I didn't have some form of whiskers: my first post-college job interview in 1996, "Bye, Bye Birdie" in the summer of 2005, and well, in just a few days. That's it.

I didn't do too much this time; just disconnected the beard and 'stache by the width of my beard trimmer and razor. You can see that it's disconnected in this picture, but you can't really see the mutton chop sideburns since my hair's in the way. As far as the hands, well, I thought it would be funny to have jazz hands in this shot, but it doesn't translate well, does it? I don't know why I thought jazz hands would be funny, especially since "The Scarlet Pimpernel" has no jazz hands in it. Jazz hands are just funny. But, not as funny as a guy my size dancing... in pink chiffon... which is why you need to come see the show.

Click here for tickets and show times. Or keep reading... whichever...

The Belfry presents
The Scarlet Pimpernel
directed by Michael Moyer
Music Direction by Deb Farmer
Choreography by Maggie Ogle
Fight Choreography by Eric Bryant
June 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm
Sundays @ 2:30pm
Tickets $12 a person
(Cash or check at the door)
Reservations Strongly Advised
(317) 773-1085 (option 2)

Cast List
Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel) - Roger Schmelzer
Marguerite St. Just - Kathleen Horrigan
Chauvelin - Scott Ganyo
Percy's Bounders (The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel):
Ozzy - Michael T. Long
Dewhurst - Bob Penney
Elton - Ted Mast
Farleigh - Dan Hedlund
Hal - Cameron Clark
Ben - Josh Meyer
Armand St. Just - Brett Taylor
The Prince of Wales / St. Cyr - Mike Jones
Marie Grosholtz - Betsy Bullis
Tussaud - Duane Leatherman
Mrs. Jessup - Susie Mohr
Robespierre - R. Brian Noffke
Katherine Clark, Monica Brothers, Jennifer Hedlund,Dana Russo, Susie Mohr Trevor J. Schiro-Long

I'll try to do better with the picture tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stage 1

This is Stage 1 of Clean Shave 2007. The part I play in The Scarlet Pimpernel requires me to be clean shaven. I'll probably still have sideburns though. This is a look that my son has asked me to do for a while. He likes it because it's Triple H's beard. I like it because I'm damn sexy with it, right? (*crickets*)

So, everyday, I'll shave a little bit more until the look is complete and I'll do my best to post a new picture everyday. All I have is my wife's camera phone so this will have to do.

And, no, I'm not afraid of looking like a fool. In fact, I've learned that you can't be afraid to look stupid in front of others. You miss out on a lot of opportunity if you're afraid of looking stupid. And, at least to me, I look pretty silly with a naked face. It's the dreaded Plaisance double chin I inherited from my mother's side of the family. It's ok to laugh, that's what I'm here for... to make someone laugh...

The show opens Friday. Click here for tickets and show times.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Waltz, Waltz, Turn, Walk, Walk

I am not a dancer. I certainly do not have a dancer's body. So, I feel like I have to make up for that when dance is required. It takes me longer to learn the choreography. When I'm not onstage, I'm going over the dance steps. The really sickening thing to me is... all I really wanna do is dance! It's my weakest link in the triple threat (singing, acting, dancing) but I do love it so. How much do I love to dance? My current pipe dream is to become a celebrity not for the fame and fortune, but so I can qualify to appear on "Dancing With The Stars." If you watched the latest season, I'm easily the Billy Ray Cyrus of the ensemble. By that I mean, I'm all heart and character, not much rhythm.

So, I get frustrated with myself when I have trouble with the choreography. And, it's not like I'm having major, I-can't-learn-it problems. I'm just demanding perfection out of myself. To be honest, an audience probably wouldn't notice my waltz isn't the best thing. But, I don't want to be the one that slacks and makes the ensemble and stage picture look bad.

At the end of Act I, there's an incredible song called "The Riddle." There's kind of a love triangle between the 2 male leads and the female. And, they are singing about who can they trust. Very good Act I ender song. In it, the ensemble does a very fast-paced waltz. Probably about 2 minutes of waltzing... really friggin' fast. I'm nearly out of breathe at the end and have to hit a hit Bflat. That note is right at the breaking point of my range. If I can't support the note, I can't hit it. Luckily, the stage is small and I can use my falsetto voice to hit it. Don't have to worry about power on this small stage. Falsetto should be fine. At least the music at the end is written to be able to go, "Note-GASP for AIR-Note-Big Gasp-HIGH NOTE that I have to hold forever." Those two big breaths help alot. But, that's not my feet.

Last night, I was very discouraged with myself when it came to the waltz. Part of the problem is I'm a lefty and it's very natural for me to do the half-turns a certain direction. But, I have to learn to ignore what's natural and turn the other direction. That's the way the dance should go. Maggie, the choreo, has told me not to worry about the direction and just worry about the 1-2-3 steps in the waltz. But, I'm worried that it won't look right if I'm turning one way went everyone else is turning the other. After working on it last night, I think the waltz will be where it needs to be for opening night. So, I'm not going to stress about it and just do it. My partner and I have it figured out; I'm just going to pretend that I'm on "Dancing With The Stars" and try to feel like I'm a natural dancer. Hopefully, that will come out in my body posture.

In case I never get the chance to at rehearsals, I want to thank Maggie for her patience with me. And, my waltz partner, Katherine, for her willingness to do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and for letting me lead.

Oh, and Darren G, thanks for the cookies!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Someone has to strike a pose...

The title is a line from one of the funniest scenes in the Scarlet Pimpernel. More on that below...

I have to say I cannot remember a show I've performed in that was this close to be ready for an audience this far out. We open two Friday's from now on June 1st. By Thursday's rehearsal, I fully expect us to be running everything full speed. We had a vocal rehearsal last night and just about everything sounded audience ready. There's a few spots it's sticky, but we'll definately be there very soon. We have one dance to choreograph today. It'll be tricky because specific people have to be dancing with each other at specific times. But, I expect tonight will have an hour and half to hammer that all out exactly. We already know that the dance moves are, we just need to put in all the partner changing. See the show and that will make more sense.

The best scene (by best I mean FUNNIEST) is when the men learn how to be fops. The entire scene is hilarious. I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but 7 manly man getting in touch with their inner-girl is going to be funny.

Not only is the show just about audience ready (minus tech, that's next week), we've gotten to that point without having a single rehearsal where everyone single cast member is there. Lots of conflicts, but we're all so professional about our craft that it hasn't been a problem. And, the cast has been completely enjoyable to work with. Everyone is easy to talk to, joke around with etc. This is one of the best casts I've worked with on a personal level.

Friday, May 18, 2007

10 Questions Answered

I found this on YouTube... Figured I'd answer. And I'm trying to keep my answers simple and short.

10 Questions that every intelligent Christians must ask themselves

1. Why doesn't God heal amputees?

God does not ever promise that life will be easy for his followers. The miracles Jesus performed in the Bible weren't just to heal people but to show His power and authority so that others could believe in Him and in the grace and salvation He offered. Today, God doesn't need to regrow someone's arm to get them to believe in Him. I am not God and can only guess as to why He doesn't perform a miracle and regrow someone's leg. Personally, I don't think He needs to. Christianity is big enough now that He doesn't need have to rely on miracles like that to gain supporters as He did when only 12 people where His disciples. Though, He still does heal with His miracles; we just don't have a 2000 year old book to read about modern-day healings. Ask a few Christians about the miracles they witnessed. God doesn't need to regrown an arm these days (my opinion).

2. Why are there so many starving people in our world?

Again, God does not promise that life will be easy for this followers. Additionally, He uses tragedies to bring about goodness in the world. Christians are called to respond to these tragedies. Without these evils, there would be no need for acts of kindness. If there were no suffering, we would not know how good we have it. And, when we have it good, we're called to help those that don't.

3. Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?

The video sites Bible verses like Exodus 35:2, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:8, and Deuteronomy 22:13-21, but doesn't take into account what the world was like back then. Brutal and Barbaric. And, what God is asking is not for people to be put to death, but for his people to rise above the barbaric nature of the time and live better lives. The verses are not about killing people who sin, but God telling people that willfully sinning is spiritual death.

4. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?

Simply put, God does not follow our science. He is capable of things that we do not currently have the capacity to understand. God does not fit into our rules and regulations. We cannot force Him to conform to our ideals. In fact, it's supposed to work the opposite way. We are called to follow His rules. Yes, we have to just accept on faith that God is above science. It's called Faith.

The video talks about the world being created in 6 days and Adam being created from dust and calls it nonsense. What the producer doesn't realize here is that those stories are allegory. Yeah, there's Christians who believe that, but they, too, are misguided.

5. Why is God such a big proponent of slavery in the Bible?

God is not a politician running on a platform. He is not a proponent of slavery and we cannot place humanistic labels on him. By calling people "slaves," He is not condoning the act of slavery.

The video calls out verses like 1 Peter 2:18 "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." But doesn't say anything about the entire text here, which explain it all. Read all of 1 Peter 2:13-25 and you'll see that the passage isn't about slavery. Verse 19 says, "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God." God favors those who are persevere through hard times with their faith. Heck, He allowed the Jews to be enslaved for them to learn that lesson. As with history, we can learn from the Bible's past and strengthen our own faith.

6. Why do bad things happen to good people?

I'll make this as simple as possible. God never said that our lives on earth will be smooth sailing if we follow Him. Bad things will happen in our lives and it is through our faith in God that we learn how to handle those situations best.

7. Why didn't Jesus' miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?

Depends on what evidence you're looking for. Physical, tangible, I can touch it evidence? Um... Alot happens in 2000 years. I hope you're not expecting DNA samples and hairs from Christ's head today. If you want other evidence, read Acts and ask yourself would you be willing to die for your beliefs. Stephen, a disciple of Christ, was stoned to death for believing that Christ rose from the dead. He died for his belief in that miracle. Why would he not admit that Christ didn't rise from the dead? He would have lived if he did. But, he would be lying and denying God if he did, a fate worse than death. Imagine living in a time when people stoned you to death. It's a slow, painful and torturous end. What would you die in such a way for? Stephen, and many other early Christians, died because they not only believe Christ rose from the dead, but some of them where witnesses to his death and ascension. They were willing to die for that belief. How is that different from a suicide bomber dying for 70 virgins? The suicide bomber is murdering people as he dies. The martyr isn't.

8. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?

Well, you know, when I called to him to help me and when I accepted him, he did appear to me. No, I didn't see a body in front of me. But, he did reveal himself to me. And, I have seen examples of his presence (Check out my October 2005 archives and this one from November 2005 for examples).

If you haven't accepted Christ, you will not get an answer that is satisfactory to you. If you are expecting to see a bright light, an angels' chorus and clouds all around you, you definitely have the idea of Jesus "appearing to you" wrong. Jesus doesn't come to us on our terms. We go to Him on His.

9. Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?

Because we're all supposed to be cannibals... Ok, seriously. The body and blood of Christ is representative of his sacrifice for us. Eating his body and drinking his blood is not talking about physical food and nutrition, but about spiritual food and drink to keep our faith strong. Following Christ's teachings keeps our faith strong. That's the quick nutshell answer. There are better people who can explain this to you than I can...

10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?

That's easy. As the video says, "If God put to people together, that should seal the deal, right?" It should, but we're sinners and we don't always to what God wants us to or what is right.

The video goes on after the questions, "In order to believe in God, you had to create all sorts of strange rationalizations and excuses. If you are an intelligent, college-educated person, all of these rationalizations and excuses make you uncomfortable." Well, actually, what you call "rationalizations" don't make me uncomfortable at all because my faith is strong. Being a video editor, I can tell you alot of work went into producing this video. Unfortunately, the producer is horribly misinformed about Christianity. Generally, when someone puts out that much effort to slam something, it's because deep down they are lost and are seeking that which they slam.

I will assert that none of my answers will make since to you on your terms. You have to be willing to accept God's terms to understand the answers. The video says, "When you use your brain, and when you think logically about your religious faith, you can reach only one possible conclusion, the 'god' you have heard about since you were an infant is imaginary." Well, there's the problem. You cannot think about God in terms of human logic. God defies our logic... because He's God. Faith in God is not dictated by logic. Sorry to be cliche, but that's why it's called Faith.

It continues, "You have to willfully accept bizarre rationalizations to believe in your 'god.'"

Finally, something we can agree on.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pink Chiffon!

The difficult thing about blogging about a show I'm in is talking about it without giving it all away. There's some very funny stuff going on during "The Creation of Man" song. Here's a hint - my line is "But, Percy, I simply cannot hop about wearing pink chiffon." Now, picture me wearing an outfit from high society England circa 1792... Now picture me wearing that same outfit made out of pink chiffon... You know you want to see that. If you can't picture it, fork out some dough and come see the show! Of course, it's possibl we'll have to change the line to another color depending on what the costumer comes up with - the director mentioned lemon. Still, no matter what, I'll be in some sort of pastel because, to steal a line from the leader of the League the Scarlet Pimpernel, Perccy, "it do shimmer so." Burly men acting like girly men. That's my part.

I was having a tough time finding some of my character's nuisances. Then again, it's early in the rehearsal process. We just started running the show after learning music, dancing and blocking. I'm not 100% comfortable not having my script in my hand, but I'm not looking at it too much.

Anyway, like I said, I'm trying to find Ozzy's (my character) inner girly-man. I think I found a part of it last night. During "The Creation of Man," there's part where Percy is speaking directly to Ozzy, showing and telling him, and the rest, how to act foppish. Last night was probably the first time all of the characters were there to go over the song. Scheduling conflicts and what not. But, as Percy is singing his lines, I was able to react to them. One ad-libbed gesture inparticular gave me some insight into my character - I'll just say, "Roar." But, the reaction I got from it gave me a little insight into who "Ozzy" is.

I realized the other day that the show might be about the French Revolution, but it takes places about 15 years after American fought for and won indepenece from England. So, I'm thinking in some way, shape or form, my character was affected by that. Not sure how, not sure what the American Revelotion would have do to this character. But, I figure he'd would have been 15-20 years old at the time. Surely, Sir Osbert knew about the Brits sending troops across the sea. Maybe he even wanted to sign up. I don't know. Just something for me to think about to help develop the character, find his motives, etc.

The show is probably a bit further ahead of schedule, I'd say, considering all the scheduling conflicts. Sure, there's LOTS to work on and get together, but we've got three weeks until opening night. Plenty of time to get everything tweaked just right for high entertainment value. The trick to this show will be performing what is ususally large cast show on a small stage. I mean small stage, tiny and with no wing space. The cast is about 25 people. The stage gets pretty crowded when you add sets, furniture, etc. It'll be interesting...

...By the way, I can waltz. I didn't know that before, but I can can-can, too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vivez la Jack

Pimpernel rehearsals are going well. The cast is very talented and, after 2 music rehearsals, already sounds great. I don't mean, "I need to sell the show, we already sound great." No, there's still some problems like we need to put our books down for one. But, for a second rehearsal, we sound very good and cannot wait to hear what we sound like on opening night (June 1st at The Belfry).

Blocking and choreography rehearsals are going smoothly. I learned how to waltz the other day and I can't wait to get it up to speed. I'm very satisfied with how my big body moves when dancing. I think I gots some moves for being a white boy and 60+ pounds overweight. The highlight of the show (chorus-wise) might just end up being "The Creation of Man." It's the song where the men learn how to act foppish to appear as if they are complete nincompoops. One of my lines is, "But Percy, I simply can NOT hop about in pink chiffon!" Me, in pink chiffon. Worth the price of admission, no? Hopefully, costume-wise that will be able to happen.

Jack needed surgery last week on his toe. Basically, he had to have one toe declawed. Don't know exactly what happened. We went to get one night and the next morning he was limping. Upon examining his front left paw, it looked like his claw was missing. This happened on a Friday and we're able to get him a vet appointment until last Tuesday. We figure he got his claw caught on something and he started freaking out and ripped it. Poor guy. I took him in because the wife doesn't want him associating the pet carrier/cage and vet trip with her. I don't mind.

So, last Tuesday, he had surgery and came home Wednesday. He had to wear a neck collar to keep him from biting and scratching at his wound and bandages as it healed. But, Jack's a smart cat. He couldn't bite the bandage, but he was using the collar to slowly wedge it off. On the ride home from the vet, he succeeded in getting the bandage off. When, I took him out of the carrier, the neck collar has reddish brown stains all over it. I thought it looked like iodine, like the vet used iodine to sanitize his wound, but then I realized they would have sanitized his foot not his neck. No, that was blood. In his attempts to free his paw from it's bandage, he popped a stitch. So, back we go to the vet. She cleans him up and basically puts him in a kitty cast so he can't get the bandage off. But, he doesn't have to wear the collar... Mission Accomplished for Jack. That's all he wanted and he knew how to get it.

We have make sure he doesn't do much running, jumping or playing for 2 weeks. That will end this weekend. But, we also were told to confine him to one room to keep the other cats from getting him riled up so his could heal. Plus, he has to use a special *ahem* sanitary liter. It's recycled newspaper pellets that absorb wetness. The theory is to use this stuff because regular litter gets dusty and that dust can cause an infection in the wound. You have to completely change the litter everyday, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. And, all this for one toe. I cannot imagine the 4 weeks of this that cats who get declawed go through.

He wants out so bad. The girls generally are sitting at our bedroom door so they can rush in when we open it. We'll let them in for a few minutes while we can watch them. They cannot use the litter that's in there right now, so we have to kick they out before too long. Here's the analogy for how they are behaving: Jack thinks he's confined in prison (our bedroom) and we let the girls in for conjugal visits. The girls just want to play with Jack, they aren't having anything to do with his sexual advances... which kind of looks like attempted rape, but it's cats and that's how they do it.