Thursday, July 23, 2015


I'm rereading E.M. Forster's classic Aspects of the Novel, just now re-finding a wonderful passage on the troubles novelists suffer with characters as they write.  He then contrasts the woes of the novelist with those of the playwright:

These trials beset the dramatist also, and he has yet another set of ingredients to cope with - the actors and actresses - and they appear to side sometimes with the characters they represent, sometimes with the play as a whole, and more often as the mortal enemies of both.  The weight they throw is incalculable, and how any work of art survives their arrival I do not understand...   
...but, in passing, is it not extraordinary that plays on the stage are often better than they are in the study, and that the introduction of a bunch of rather ambitious and nervous men and women should add anything to our understanding of Shakespeare and Chekhov?

Anton Chekhov reads The Seagull - Wikipedia

Monday, July 20, 2015

Green Research

I'm studying up on how to make theater more ecologically sustainable.  And you know what?  I'm actually starting to find good sources of information on-line.  Ones that didn't exist a few years ago:

#1  The Broadway Green Alliance's website (and their Off-Broadway offshoot's HERE)


#2  The on-line guide, The NRDC Theatre Greening Advisor, by the Natural Resources Defense Coalition with the Broadway Green Alliance.

The other best source so far (not on-line) is the book, A Practical Guide to Greener Theatre, by Ellen E. Jones

It's about time! is all I can say.

Ackermann's Repository 1816 - public domain

I'm working on a little greener theater guide of my own, a companion to Alice Through the Proscenium, my how-to theater scenic design book.  (Which I'm happy to report is selling steadily.   I've seen mentioned from Utah to Kuala Lumpur to Arkansas... pretty cool!)  My  green tome will have a bit of a different spin on it...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Eras End

This has been a period of changes in the Dallas-Fort Worth theater community.

One of the founders of Theatre Three, long-time Artistic Director Jac Alder, died earlier this spring.  He was an important and encouraging landmark, a supporter of talent, a gentleman of the theater who is much missed. This week there was a rather wonderful celebration for him.   (Dallas Morning News story HERE.) 

I can only say that I watched my first Moliere' play on his stage, decades ago.  I can't say that I knew Jac well - we only met a few times - but I still remember our conversation: how much more fun theater was compared to professional architectural practice.  He trained as an architect, a training that tends to stick; a tiny facet of life that we shared. 

Theatre Three is now in transition under a new, interim Artistic Director, the multi-talented Bruce Coleman.  

Adventure ahead certainly.

Pre-sale sorting at the rehearsal hall - Photo ?

The second change is that Kitchen Dog Theater, of which I'm a member, has lost its long-time home at the MAC.  (The building's being torn down to build something more profitable.)  For the interim we Dogs are moving to The Green Zone in the Design District.  Last weekend was a weirdly fun yet exhausting garage sale for most of our worldly goods.  Like selling off your scrapbook, really.  (Dallas Morning News story HERE.)

Ah! My poor green froggy-chair!  It debuted in The Bald Soprano at UTD
and lived in Kitchen Dog's green room.  Alas, poor Yorick.  Photo by Tim Johnson.

We'll see what new adventure awaits in our interim home...

UPDATE:  There's DMN vid and I'm in it.  (Why did I wear my dumpster diving shirt?  Oh, yeah, the dumpster loading thing...)  HERE

Monday, July 13, 2015

Importance of Habit

I get more blogging done when it becomes a habit.

Likewise, I get more exercise or writing or design or anything done when I set up routines and stick to them, just as many many writers swear by setting strict times or page quotas to encourage both creativity and productivity.

Dancer / choreographer Twyla Tharp wrote a terrific book on exactly this topic, The Creative Habit: learn it and use it for life.  A helpful book for any creative worker.  It's been a while since I read it, but I still remember that she advocated a version of the same a-box-for-every-project system that I use myself to organize the detritus of creation - all the inspirational photos, base drawings, go-bys, samples, texts, totems, and whatnot you always collect as you design.

Gotta get back into my productive, creative routines!  Today I actually exercised... so there's a start.

And here I am at least typing a little.  It's a start.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Back from the Beach

After a chock-full-o'-design spring and a refreshing beach vacation on Galveston Island...

Ah!  Hot shrimp gumbo, ice cold beer, and warm Gulf waters!

A view of Galveston beach at the turn of the last century by P.H. Rose, Wikimedia 

But now I'm back.  To Dallas.  To work.  To blogging.

While opening ten shows in five months this spring I did rather let the blogging thing slide, but I'll do better now.  At least until my (very faint) tan fades and the work schedule warms up.

Before getting back to Theatre... a beach book recommendation:  the brilliant graphic novel from the internet blog-comic by Sydney Padua:

The Thrilling Adventures of 
Lovelace and Babbage*
The (mostly) True Story of the First Computer

Review to follow, but why wait?  Buy it HERE, now.  

(That's The Author, by the way, struggling with her day job to find time to write.)