Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Was not able to check in after yesterday's rehearsal but suffice to say, that it went very well. We started a few hours later in the day and ended up working a straight six instead of an eight-hour day. This was due to illness in the Brothers, as Peg is battling a bad sinus infection and Dominique seemed to be coming down with a sore throat kind of a thing. Leigh decided to give us a couple of extra hours of rest and that was like a gift from the comedy and tragedy muses themselves! Really folks, it is crazy how tight our lives are right now and let me apologize publicly here on the internet to all of my friends and family who have not heard a word out of me in weeks. It is to the point where I must literally schedule doing my laundry, or else it won't get done. Pathetic, but true.

But it's all good, good people.

So we worked all five of us last night, with Babs bravely showing up after her 8 hours at the day job! A particularly special moment in the gay pride parade was when we rolled and sloshed past Babs' place of business up there in midtown on Fifth Ave, not too far from St. Pat's cathedral. We all waved hello to Babs' cubicle, or the building that houses it anyway. So she was with us last evening and we did a read through of the latest version of the script for Jim and Linda Chapman (Associate Artistic Director), Toni Amicarella (Director of New Play Development and Dramaturgy) and a couple of guests, Lola Pashalinski and our new friend from Melbourne, Australia, Ben who runs a theatre down there and is interested in NYTW and how they facilitate the generation of new work.

The reading went well and it was really really good to hear the whole play again since we have been making adjustments to the script and we could then hear them in the fabric of the whole. Seemed good and we made another lists of things we gotta fix, but the good news is, the list is not very very long at all. Compared to what it was, anyway.

Today, Wednesday was a grand day. Here's why: BROWNIES! (see above)

Antonia, ASM extraordinaire made not one, but two types of brownies and brought them into work today! One was regular chocolatey goodness and the other was uber-regular with butterscotch chips and coconut in them. I ate too many. But I am happy to be corrupted by Antonia's thoughtful poisons. As poisons go, these are pretty tame. And divine!

I am trying to upload the picture of the brownies that Martha took on her cell phone and sent to me but it is giving me a hassle about it. Ugh, technology.

After the collective brownie gratitude of the day's start, we moved on to matters more directly theatrical. We continued blocking the big-ass BBQ scene and worked through some of the script problems we'd encountered along the way. It was a fun day I'd say. Lots of laughing in the rehearsal room. Ben was there as a visiting scholar again and he is a lovely fella. I will tell you more about his theatre company in Melbourne once I squeeze the info out of him.

We ran all of the BBQ scene we'd worked and little chunks of the thing are starting to fall into place. I'm starting to feel like I know somewhat of where I'm going, both physically and acting-wise and that's nice. Since we are still being writers it is challenging to switch to the actor's role but I am beginning to feel that happen.

I reiterate dear readers, it's all good.

Tomorrow we start in the late afternoon, will do six hours straight and have all five of us called. Meanwhile, I will try to get the brownies on the blog here.

Keep the faith, friends.
Your Bloglicious Brother,

PS- I figured out the brownie upload!

Monday, June 27, 2005

post-pride depression

OK, friends I will try and be brief. But I did want to try and share a little of the pride we were showered with yesterday. I will give you a visual first. Hope that worked because it is the first time I put an image on. If it didn't I'll try again tomorrow with tech assistance.

Anyway, we sloshed our way down Fifth Avenue (yes the pool was full of water!), carefully following the purple line painted down the middle of the street so as not to lose our way. It was a terrific day and I must admit, I did not feel very much pride coursing through my veins when I woke up yesterday morning, as I was tired. But the show must go on and let me tell you, it was totally fun to be in the genius swimming pool all the way to the village. The crowd seemed to like it too, especially when the streets got narrow and they begged us to splash them with our pool water. Which we did.

We could not have done it without the aforementioned genius of Alan and his inspired poolside ideas and all those that helped build the flotilla and get it uptown, like the carps and Larry Ash. And all the NYTW folks who braved the blistering heat to support us. A special shout out to our chauffeur Adam, who got his gay on for the day and played the part of the hunky driver. And to our dear friend Susie who DJ'ed us all the way downtown.

I save the biggest thanks for last, our crew of hotties (in all senses of the word) who valiantly trekked beside our rolling waterworld and handed out flyers to the crowd and answered questions and were adorable. There will be a special place in The Brothers' heaven for all of you good people. Thank you SOOOO much for devoting part or all of your Sunday to our cause. We love you Todd, Molly, Winter, Betsy, Robbie, Kirk, Oliver, Lisa, Lisa, Dale, Dale, Tom, Kate, Bash, Martha, Mia and David!

And a big kiss to our fearless leader, our director Leigh who worked so hard to pull in volunteers and get the pride flowing. Plus, she walked all the way with us. And it was hot and sunny, and she has black hair!

Sleep tight, good people and there will be more from the constantly shifting front of creativity tomorrow.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

DD checks in

Howdy! First I want to say that I am in awe of Brother Moe's posts. So prolific! And written after long, grueling days of rehearsal and writing. Way to go, Moe!

I am Brother Dominique Dibbell and I just wanted to check in with all you in Blogland.

The rehearsal process is always exciting, and sometimes more in a throw-up kind of way. This rehearsal process is the most exciting one I have yet experienced.

Why is that? I don't know for sure, but I think part of it is that the Brothers have had a long hiatus (7 years since our last show). We have a renewed sense of gratitude for our relationship. We also did some growing up and our play reflects it. Folks, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this play is our best one yet! It's deeper that our previous works, while continuing a tradition of hilarity and titillation!

The other factor is our director, Leigh Silverman. She is so talented, it's scary! Plus she knows just how to treat tempermental actresses.

I wish we could rehearse 24-7, that's how fun it is.

The Dyke March was great, but I am wiped out. I moved to LA 5 years ago and I am not used to walking 40 blocks on pavement anymore! I think I came in last in the contest to see who can hand out the most cards for the show. I was too wilty. Besides seeing my friends and being a part of an unignorable lesbian mass, I think my favorite part was the rolling bondage post. Those fetishists are really dedicated!



saturday, in the park

Hello friends of the theatre!

Sorry to have not checked in with you all yesterday but it has been a busy week and yes, there is a lot of stuff to do to make a show happen. Like write it, for instance. We four writing Brothers (Dominique, Peg, Lisa and myself) spend a whole lotta time in our off-time tinkering with the script. I say tinkering, like it is a quaint hobby that is performed in a cozy corner of a basement with no deadline, but that is decidedly not the case. We are plowing through our writing notes to ourselves and have made good progress on tightening the script. I will hoist our petard about that. Hoist, hoist! Yet, there is still a big old scene to be tackled, a very long one where a lot of important stuff happens. We have written and re-written is so many times already, trying many different angels of attack but still we find ourselves unsatisfied. And we do not want the same fate for you, the viewing public when you see the show. So we return to the drawing board again and again and get it a little righter each time. Or so I hope.

Yesterday was a fun day of rehearsal and we continued working our way through the first part of the play and Leigh did the blocking. Well, she told it to us (blocking, for those of you lucky enough to not know, is what the movements of the actors are called "in the biz") and we did it and wrote it down in our scripts. Our ace stage management team also writes it down, which is good because sometimes I forget to write something down and then I can ask the ladies at the table to refresh my memory of a certain movement. We are a little more than a third of the way through the play, at this point.

I should also mention that since we are working on a new play,and we are also the playwrites, we are making change to the script constantly. That means that new pages must be generated and copied and distributed to everyone in the rehearsal room and to the designers, for instance if we make a big change like adding a scene or taking away a location. It can be very confusing. So a big shout out to the Ladies of the Table (Martha, Antonia and Kate) for being really good about all the paper flying around and so very helpful in executing the new pages shuffle. It is a small drag when a new page comes and all of the painstaking notes about blocking and props and cues are on the old one, and they are being very good about it all. Yay, Team Table!

We had a couple of special guest stars visit us yesterday, starting with our good friend and superhunk stage manager Chuck Means. He popped in at the top o' the day and I think the whiff of testosterone that trailed behind him really helped me to get my butch on for the afternoon. Then Miranda Hoffman, our costume designer came in and sat and watched for awhile, to get a feel for us beyond our cold measurements on the page. Those numbers represent a human being, and she knows it.

So that was Friday and today was Saturday and we did what's called a "straight 6", meaning we worked six straight hours without a meal break. This is not the preferred scheduling but we needed to be free in the early evening to go work the crowd at the dyke march. For those of you who are not familiar with this Pride season phenomenon, the dyke march is an offshoot march from the big hoo-ha tomorrow which, as the name implies, is for dykes to seize control of Fifth Avenue and walk downtown from the Public Library at 42nd Street to Washington Square Park. It is always spirited and fun and there is a lot of drumming and some toplessness and a whole lot of chatting with one's dykely friends. So today, we kept on blocking the show and then took off at 4:00 for the fountain in Bryant Park, where we reconvened and strolled down the ave, handing out postcards for the show and talking to those girls that you really only manage to see that once a year at this particular march. It was a fun as ever and we ended up in Washington Square, listening to our friends Gretchen Phillips, Kaye Turner and Caroline (whose last name I do not know) have a reunion gig of their band Girls in the Nose at their impromptu lesbian hootnanny.

We were also visited by speacial guest stars ML Geiger (our lighting designer) who sat pondering the lighting implications for a show set in the desert in August and once again, Miranda graced our rehearsal and talked to Babs about her full-body deep tan makeup possibilities.

Tomorrow is the 36th Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Pride March, and we can be found on our flotilla that Alan has been hard at work on with his team of dedicated friends of NYTW. Stop by Fifth Ave if you are in the neighborhood and we should appear somewhere near the middle of the march. It does go on for hours so you might want to check out the web site of Heritage of Pride to try and figure out where we are in the lineup. I would estimate our time of arrival at say, 5th and 14th to be around like 3:00, but that is a wild guess.

Day off is Monday, so I will not post then. Meantime, have a good Pride everyone, wherever you may be spending it. If you are not queer yourself, take a little time to call a loved one who is and tell them you think they're great. And if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or have been for any moment of your life but are not able to celebrate with the rest of the rainbow nation, take some time on our international day of proudness to be grateful that you came out queer. It's a gift, so use it wisely friends.

Your Lesbian Brother,

Friday, June 24, 2005

Day three

Hello from the morning of day four and your blog correspondent finds herself behind her deadline. Oh well, done is better than perfect, as my Brother Dominque says.

So yesterday was the meet and greet at the top of rehearsal. The entire staff of NYTW tromped upstairs from the admin offices and the theatre, called by the siren song of snack foods and beverages. The kitchen was bustling with happy voices, excited by the start of a new show and more importantly, chips and salsa, lovely crudites and alcohol-free margaritas. The snacks were theme-coordinated to the show and hey, we could have been in Palm Springs if you closed your eyes and took enough over-the-counter cough medicine.

The herd of the artistically-inclined then moved to the rehearsal room, guided by our good shepherd Martha where we stood around in a lopsided circle and introduced ourselves. It was very impressive, I must say. So many people working on this show! I will probably bore you dear reader, with so many references to the great gratiude of The Five Lesbian Brothers towards all the folks at NYTW, but we are truly truly grateful for the incredible show of confidence in us and our process. See, we are a collaborative machine and for any of you out there who have ever had a job where you had to work with somebody else or been in a relationship where you had to talk to someone, you know that communication is a sticky business, a deeply human and flawed business. It's not math, even Enron style and there is no clear path and the journey can take you far afield before you get to where you thought you were going, or at least someplace you can all agree on. It is messy and our process takes a lot of time. And NYTW has given us that time in so many ways for the last 3 years of working on this piece. Those people in that building believe in what we do and this has given us an artistic home. We are very very lucky girls.

So there we all were, the interns and the artistic directors and the carpenters and the casting people and the IT folks and we all said our names and then there were little speeches from Jim Nicola, artistic director and Leigh our director and Lisa on behalf of the Bros and that was all very ego-boosting for us or in the proper terminology of today, "humbling". Then David Korins, our supercool set designer introduced us all to the set model (I will try and install a picture of it here) and we were once again overwhelmed by the idea that this is all starting to be real and not just us sitting around in a room trying to figure out which of the four versions of a sentence we should use! Ahhh! Then everybody trickled back down to their jobs and we began ours again, this time standing up on the rehearsal set.

Martha, Antonia and Kate spent the morning taping the floor so we have some idea of the groundplan of the set and rehearsal props and furniture were brought in by Tessa Dunning, the properties goddess.The carpenters made a mock-up of the swimming pool for us to sit on. It is starting to look like a play, or at least the rehearsal of a play. I repeat, ahhh! And Leigh, our kind and gentle captain of the good ship OAPS got us up on our feet and we began blocking the show. All five Brothers, treading the boards once again.

You know what? We have the best job in the world.

More later folks.

Faithfully Submitted,

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Rehearsal, day two

Wednesday June 22, 2005 found the Five Lesbian Brothers hard at work on our play again all the live-long day. We sat and continued to read and talk through the last third of the script that we had not gotten to yesterday. This is typically what happens in the first few days of the rehearsal process and is called "table work", because you usually sit around a table and there are pencils and water bottles and coffee cups along with the scripts and important papers. It is a good way to get into the basic movements of the play, sort of see what your acting hurdles will be and not have to do this while walking around with a script in hand. The fumbling script juggle will come tomorrow when we get on our feet and start moving about, but for today we were safely glued to our chairs, speaking thoughtfully about what everyone is doing in all the scenes and then reading through them and trying to act.

We also spent a good amount of time talking about problems we encounter in the writing, trying to reach some consensus on how to go about solving these issues and making a work list for ourselves to refer to in the off-rehearsal hours when we sit down to write. Basically, from here on in, it's all play, play, play and most of what we do in our lives will circle around this huge project. It was no small potatoes to call our piece Oedipus at Palm Springs and invoke one of the cornerstones of western drama. So we are trying to do Sophocles justice and would like to get it right. Not that we are copying the original (we prefer to use the term "sampling") but we need to earn the dramatic turns the story takes, transposed as it is into the present day lives of two lesbian couples on vacation in the desert. So, there's stuff to fix still and we are a-fixin' to fix it all up good so that the story makes sense at the very least.

To introduce you to a few of the other members of our production team, I will begin with who is in the room with us working. We have The Brothers (minus Babs today who was at her day job) and Leigh our superfine director. Our assistant director is the sharp Dana Harrel, who told me today that she was of Polish descent, but comes from Peru, and to me, that makes her an enigma. Then we have stage management, lead by our gifted production stage manager, the effervescent, booty-shakin' Voice of Reason, Martha Donaldson. Her right hand lady is the total talent force, assistant stage manager Antonia Gianino, an old friend of the Brothers who has worked with us on past shows at NYTW. Also with us is our plucky production assistant Kate Hefel who is originally from Iowa but transplanted herself to NY and continues to thrive, despite the concrete. We are so happy to have all these talented ladies with us in the rehearsal room and it is truly a pleasure coming to work in the morning. And I'm not just saying that because they make the coffee before we even get there. Well, maybe I am a little... OK, I'm shallow, I admit it.

Also in our little world of the third floor, in the office to the south of us, is our dear friend Alan. Now, Alan works at NYTW and he is the web master but more importantly, Alan is the creative design genius behind many of the fabulous benefits that NYTW has put on over the years. If you have a theme, Alan is your man to embellish and carry it out. And as luck would have it, our play does have a theme of sorts, Palm Springs. So Alan has been hard at work to create a fabulous flotilla for the Brothers for this year's Pride march which happens this Sunday, down Fifth Ave. He is really going all out on this one folks, and yes, there will be a swimming pool on our float!!!! We are totally excited about the pool, especially as it is sometimes roastingly hot and pride can be a sweaty event. We also have a gaggle of hotties to sashay down the avenue with us and hand out flyers for the show and generally flirt with the crowd. Please come see us and the work of mastermind Alan while we join all the other proud queer folks (and their allies) and shake our pride all over the place. Maybe you'll be lucky or flirtatious enough to get some cute swag from one of our handlers.That's this Sunday, June 26. I will provide more details as they become available to us.

Tomorrow is the official meet-and-greet where all the folks working on the show and at the theatre get to meet each other. I am hoping there will be donuts. Hard to come by in these carb-negative times we live in but a girl can dream selfishly, can't she? In any event, tomorrow I will report on the goings-on from the floor below us, Administration. Sexy, no? It's a busy beehive of activity at 83 East 4th Street and I intend to get to the bottom of it all during the course of this blog.

OK, kids, I gotta get back to work on a particularly prickly scene that we are still trying to tackle. We've written it and re-written it so many times that it is taking on a life of its own. We could leave it alone and eventually we'll have to for the sake of the tech crew's nerves, but we are stubborn lesbians and we want to get it right. Of course you, the viewing public shall be the judge of that in the end result. In the meantime, go see some other shows around whatever town you are in and support the theatre. Why? Because it is totally worth it!

Thanks for reading and we'll see ya again soon.

Respectfully Submitted,

first day of rehearsal

Hello out there in Bloglandia. I am Moe, one of the Five Lesbian Brothers. The Brothers are currently making a new show "Oedipus at Palm Springs" at New York Theatre Workshop, yes in New York City, and I will endeavor to report to you periodically about what goes on in that process. It's very exciting, let me tell you.

A little about the Brothers first. We are a collaborative theatre company that started in 1989 at New York's fabulous WOW Cafe Theatre. We are made up of Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey, Lisa Kron and myself, Moe Angelos. Our relationship with NYTW began about twelve years ago and the Workshop has been an artistic home for the Brothers since. We have written five or six plays together and a book of humor. Four of the plays are published in a very handsome collection by the good folks at Theatre Communications Group. Buy a copy from your local alternative or non-chain bookstore or order it online directly from TCG if you want to check out our past work. The humor book, you might be able to get on E-Bay as it is long ago out of print.

So today was our first day of rehearsal. I'm a little beat right now and I must say that I had an unfortunate computer crash just moments ago that resulted in the loss of my entire first posting to this blog. So this is a re-do and as the hour is late, I will not be as thorough as I would have liked. But we basically did what is done on the first day: we had an Equity meeting with a union rep who told us about our pension and health plans, what to do if we are injured on the job and that we cannot be compelled by anyone to dance on marble floors. We got measured for costumes. We read through the script once, then began working through a second time, looking and listening for the things that still need our attention as writers. Because yes, dear reader, we are both the playwrites and the players, all in one. Or all in five, I should say. Actually, this play was only written by four of us, as Babs opted out of writing this time. But that's a story for another episode of this blog.

We are still writing, still tinkering and fixing and perfecting. This is common, so don't go getting all worried about us. The show is being produced at New York Theatre WORKSHOP after all, and the folks around there take that very seriously. We will be working, right down to the last minute before opening and even beyond, as we inevitably find new little things to entertain ourselves and the viewing public all the time we are performing. Revisions will continue and new pages will fly in and out of the script until we are satisfied or until time runs out, whichever comes first. It is a thrilling process to write with these fine creative ladies and then put it up on its feet under the fantastic direction of our supa-dupa director Leigh Silverman. And we are blessed with an expert creative team working with us, as well as the support of all the incredible people who work at NYTW. You will come to know the entire cast of characters as time goes on.

But for now, I need my beauty rest and must hurry myself off to bed. Today was the first day of summer, the solstice, the longest day of the year. It was gorgeous here in New York and in the kind of non-sequitur I am fond of, I cannot help but think that I have the best job in the world. To make theatre that I care about, that delights me (and hopefully others) and makes my fellows laugh in these somewhat sad times we are living through. I feel very fortunate indeed.

More later, gentle reader. Please write us here if you have any questions about the process or anything at all. I will try to post daily, though this will be more challenging as the opening date draws near. See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

5 Lesbian Bloggers

COMING SOON! Check back in a few days, and we'll be well on our way!

Visit New York Theatre Workshop for more info and for ticket sales.

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