Monthly Archives: September 2006

Educating the Actors

Well, we’ve been doing the show for 3 weeks and you might think that we’re experts on the American Revolutionary War. Strangely enough, we’re not. I know; you’re shocked. Hey, we’re just actors. But, we’re dedicated and curious–and close to Philadelphia. This is a good combination.

Had a couple of shows in the Lancaster, PA area, and we went into Philly because, “Why not?”

We took a tour of Independence Hall and the surrounding historic district. We learned (or remembered in some cases) a few things from the National Park Service Rangers. Things like the following:

1. Nobody signed anything until August. That’s right, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4th. In fact, it wasn’t even read publicly until a couple of days later. I remember learning that, but had completely forgotten it. The Declaration was actually signed on August 2nd (hey, it takes about a month of mulling thingsover before you commit treason).

2. The Boston Tea Party is the famous one, but there were many, many more. And Boston wasn’t even the first (or biggest) custom house in the colonies. The credit you’ll take when you’re a big, important city….

3. George Washington was a terrible public speaker.

4. But he was a great party thrower; in fact most of the city of Philadelphia followed him back to his house after the Innauguration Ceremony of JOHN ADAMS. Guess Mr. Adams didn’t throw a good party.

5. Don’t get your finger in a picture of the Liberty Bell. I took 2, one was very nice (it has my finger in it), one was okay (it is below).

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Filed under Education, Entertainment, Travel

It is done.

I have conquered, be a-feared, be very a-feared. That is, if you live in places that are not the USA. For in that land I have been everywhere; I have seen the states united in all their glory (and often their smudgy, griminess, too). I have touched land in all of them (photos of the last state to succumb–do you think that’s the right phrase?–will be up tomorrow!) and they have known my wrath.

I must now set my eyes to lands and peoples more distant, with more exotic accents, with better beer, appreciation of football and history (not necessarily in that order)….

Yes, that could be taken as a threat. But, it is also fair warning. There is yet time to seek an injunction or learn to fire a small-caliber handgun. I’ll be seeing all of you soon, bwahahahaha.

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Filed under About Me, Travel

A Strange Play & Dinner with Starving Artists

Yes, dinner and a show–even at different places–were strangely similar in theme. We saw Murderer at The Barter Theatre this afternoon. I really can’t describe this show as anything I say about it would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say that I was not that impressed with any of it except the production values. That is never a good thing, plays are about stories not sets and sounds. Lest you think I may be crying foul about The Barter, I think the primary short-coming of this show is the script. I can’t be sure, but it certainly seems that way; I’m going to find a copy and read it to make sure.

The theatre itself was very nice and has a resident company that performs no fewer than 17 shows a year (mainstage, second stage, and touring / childrens theatre). The second stage space was a really nice, intimate 170 seat thrust stage. Nicely appointed, the first row of the audience is right on top of the stage, at times the actors were literally 2 inches away from some of the patrons.

The Barter was opened by a starving artist in 1933 and admission was 40 cents or the equivalent in produce. I really like that concept. They continued it for a long while, too. Even today, they have a day every year that they only accept food donations for admission. On that day, you truly have to barter your way into the show (the food is donated to a local pantry).

We had dinner this evening at The Starving Artist Cafe (no relation to the theatre). It certainly is not a place for starving artists to eat. It is a high-end seafood place which starving artists could never afford. The food was very good, and there was some very nice artwork displayed on its walls (it doubles a gallery). The artwork, I presume, may be by starving artists.

All in all, Abingdon is a nice little town. We’re going to go by an actual working mill that still uses 18th century techniques tomorrow morning on our way out of town. I can only think that will help the charm factor.

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Filed under Dining, Theater/Stage Plays, Travel

A Weekend in Abingdon…no not that one, not that one either….

Yes, we have started the weekend in Abingdon, Virginia. Our first afternoon and evening have shown it to be quite a nice place. We’re way off in the western half of the state, in the mountains…very green, very pretty. Cell phone reception spotty…picture taking possibilities very nice.

We just got back from a very nice restaurant, The Peppermill, in downtown Abingdon. The wine list was a little sparse (especially by the glass), but that’s not really what the place is about. It’s about great food. I had the crabcakes, delicious! Not very much bread in the cakes…just enough to hold them together. Excellent. The creme brulee was very good, but after seeing the cocolate espresso pot du creme, I may have made the wrong decision. Oh well, if all my bad decisions turn out like that one, I’ll be doing great.

Janell and I were trying to figure out just how we coud sneak into The Martha Washinton Inn, but see no way to do it. And the Bureau certainly isn’t paying us enough to stay there. Something to remember for a vacation though.

Also tomorrow, we’re going to see a show at the Barter Theatre and have lunch at their cafe. Very 2 reasonable package: $75.00 for dinner for 2 and the show. I’m going to see if I can drop off a resumewhile I’m there; there’s never a time to stop looking for work.

Finally, what’s up with that title? Well, we’ll be doing a show in Abingdon, MD on Friday. And we were also scheduled to do a show in Abington, MA on the same day. This obviously isn’t true (they’re 400 miles apart), but we don’t know what’s up with the schedule. Nor does the Bureau at the moment. Not inspiring a great deal of confidence after the misadventures of this morning.

In other news for the upcoming week, we’ll be playing the Washington DC area for most of the week, with a small excursion to Philly for a day. If you’d like us to drop in on you, let me know. I can firmly say we’ll be scary, but not too troublesome–might even buy you a beer. Just don’t ask us to do the show…we’ll kill you with sticks.

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Filed under Dining, Entertainment, Theatre, Travel

World’s Tiniest Bathroom

Well, I’ve finally seen it. I’m a big supporter of not wasting things: space, fuel, time, whatever. This may be taking things a little too far, though. Our hotel room this evening has the tiniest baathroom I’ve ever seen. The toilet paper roll dispenser actually impedes on your sitting space on the john. I’m not kidding, it really pokes you in the ribs as you’re sitting there. Great for a few laughs; try it at parties.

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Filed under Humor, Travel

I want a stretch of highway named after me!

Unfortunately, I do not live in Kentucky, nor was I born there. Which is too bad; apparently, if you were ever even slightly famous in Kentucky you get a road named after you. In the last 3 days we have driven on: Bert T. Combs Parkway, Louie B. Nunn Parkway, The Russel S Dyche Memorial Highway, The Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, The Wendell SomethingOrOther Parkway East (yes, there is a separate west version), and at least two others I can’t recall at the moment.

While I’m sure all of this is nice for the honoree (or their estates), it makes driving around The Commonwealth of Kentucky a pain in the ass. If someone has an especially long driveway, chances are there’s a 4 way stop at the end and a sign that says something like: The Senator Griffin H. Lombardo Memorial Circle Driveway, sponsored by the Estate of Chistopher P. Dunwitty and Associates. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that your connecting road actually picked up a half mile down this guy’s drive and ran through his master bedroom. But, you didn’t go that way, because it took too long to read the stupid sign and you stayed the course.

If I ever die, I want to be buried in Kentucky and for there to be the following sign somewhere in the state:

The Blipey Scenic Mountain View Way and Coffee-Drinking Boulevard

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Filed under Humor, Travel

The importance of good shoes

You’d think I’d know better, being a stage combat instructor and all…. When you’re doing a show, wear good shoes. Or, at least, ones that don’t completely suck. Our show doesn’t have any real combat in it, or any real tricky footwork at all. However, while running across stage to do a quick change, jumping seemed like a good idea (cover more ground and all). My 20.00 (USD) shoes from Payless Shoe Source (you know, the ones with negative ankle support) didn’t think so much of the jumping and especially the landing part.

So, 10 minutes into the show I roll my ankle over.  Yippee! I actually sprained a part of my foot I’ve never sprained before: the bit directly opposite of the arch, right on the outside of the foot. Feels great. Luckily, I only have 3 shows tomorrow!

Lesson? Buy decent shoes (especially if you can write them off–blipey, you moron). Learned? Oh yeah.

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Filed under Shoes, Theater/Stage Plays