Archive for the ‘Professional’ Category

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Adventurers Club Poetry by Fletcher Hodges

20 June 2009

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I keep meaning to post one well-considered essay or another on a topic of some depth—The Devil in a Atheistic World; Pervasive Tastelessness; Facebook Bacon—but my muse has been beaten up yet again by that schoolyard bully procrastination.

Instead, I offer a handful of poems I composed in the Adventurers Club character of Fletcher Hodges about himself and other club denizens. I enjoyed doing these, and one should hold more firmly to the good memories than the rest, yes? Hey, there’s another blog topic. For some other time.

Me

Which is richer? Bunch of butchers,

Lots of lechers, or a kvetcher?

Neither!

Clutch of creatures and a touch of teacher—

Such is Fletcher

Otis T. Wren’s Limerick

If you’re searching a detailed anthology

For achievements in great ichthyology

You’ll find Otis Wren

Mentioned time and again

And with footnotes of heartfelt apology

Our Club President

Can someone make your blood congeal? Ya

Think your skin’s about to peel? Ya

Worry ‘bout your geneteelia?

Betcha you have met Pamelia!

A Dissertation on the Eponymous Aspects of the 1937 Adventurer of the Year

A person with a common name’ll

Seldom have the name of Emil

•Samantha’s Salute

Ev‘rybody’s flag’s unfurling

In salute to Samantha Sterling

Like a dervish madly twirling

Like a hurricane a-whirling

Like a malted milkshake swirling

Setting all your hair a-curling

Till you’re heaving and you’re hurling.

More than knitting, more than purling

More than boying, more than girling

More exciting than a panther—

Sterling! Or first name, Samanther.

•Anthem of Tuneful Delights

Oh say can you see

It’s Fingers Zambee-

-zie, the spirit who lives in the organ!

Oh see can you say

He’s going to play

A musical smorgasborgan!

•Our Butler

Though

So

Many duties

Graves

Saves

Our patooties

•Our Maid

With feathers stuck

Upon a stick

Our maid she does her dusting,

And how she cussed

That dratted dust

When breezes blew a-gusting.

“My job went just

From bad to wust!”

She says, her duster thrusting,

And members must

Conceal their lust

While she’s dust-bunnies busting.

•The Epic Poem of Handsome Hathaway Browne

Of all death-defying and brave aviators,

The truest is Hathaway Browne.

He may be out flying to volcanic craters

Or dancing and painting the town.

He’s up for the chase—find a woman and date her

If she is in rags or a crown.

They will go to a place like the Palace The-ay-ter

Or fly through the air upside-down.

He’ll fight a gorilla or wrestle with gators

Or put on an evening gown

And then eat his filla of burgers and taters

Or champagne and filet mignown.

So if you would know of a real aviator,

A hero of fame and renown,

Don’t look here below at a mere roller-skater,

The cook in the kitchen, or even the waiter,

The bartender, manager, doorman or Maitre

D’, or to the patriot or to the traitor,

The bureaucrat, clerk, or the administrator,

A lowly submissive or a dominator,

A slave owner or the Great Emancipator,

Your brother or sister or mater or pater—

Put all of them down in your calendar later—

For each in comparison is a spectator

To he who doth soar like a wing’d gladiator

With passions as hot as a steam radiator

And loaded with love like a big ol’ pink freighter.

Could anyone do what he does any greater

Than what’s-his-name?

Hathaway Browne!

•A Plea to Guests on the Mezzanine

Oh, people on the mezzanine

We fear that you don’t love us

Please come downstairs and don’t be mean

Don’t act like you’re above us

If you come down we’ll share a cup

If not, what I confess is

We’ll have no choice but just look up

Your noses and your dresses

And one more poem, written by ladies’ man Hathaway Browne:

St. Valentine’s Day Invitation

Oh, won’t you be my Valentine

The 14th of February?

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine

And thou, à la Missionary.

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O’Wilderness! Ah, Neill!

20 April 2009

 

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Ah, Wilderness! at Chemainus Theatre Festival has a look that is at least unusual and perhaps unique. Most productions of this play have a detailed and realistic set, and one that often faithfully recreates the summer home in Connecticut where Eugene O’Neill spent much of his boyhood. (His script descriptions for the homes in Ah, Wilderness! and Long Day’s Journey Into Night are almost identical.)

Director Jeremy Tow and his creative team have instead taken as inspiration O’Neill’s description of the play as “a dream walking.” The space is open and airy and awash in sea-blues and white, as are the set pieces which practically float in the delicate frame of memory. Indeed, the play is being presented as the particular memory of Richard, my character’s son about whom the plot is mainly concerned. This concept and design emphasize the exquisite nostalgia of the script.

With our opening four days away, I find myself unable to be completely objective about our production, but I know there is good work being done and I believe we are doing the play justice. I always have a crisis of confidence about my own work sometime between start of rehearsals and opening night. If I am lucky, it is a thing that passes with a few performances and a positive response from the public.

Edits have been necessary (damn the impatience and short attention span of today’s audiences) and the considerable extent of the cuts is heartbreaking. But we assuredly care about the underlying spirit of the play, and hope to bring a rare mixture of laughter, emotion and warm hearts to those who attend. 

natmiller03

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All trails lead to the saloon

13 March 2009

Some photos from Western Canada Theatre’s production of The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney by Ian Weir, directed by Johnna Wright. Photos by Murray Mitchell.

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Brewster (with Naomi Wright and Mia Ingimundson)

Brewster (with Naomi Wright and Mia Ingimundson)

Brewster (with Bob Frazer, Naomi Wright, Mia Ingimundson and Peter Anderson)

Brewster (with Bob Frazer, Naomi Wright, Mia Ingimundson and Peter Anderson)

 

 

Red Bodine

Red Bodine

 

Editor (with Peter Anderson, Naomi Wright and Brian Linds)

Editor (with Peter Anderson, Naomi Wright and Brian Linds)

 

Mayor (with Naomi Wright, Brian Linds, Mia Ingimundson and Peter Anderson)

Mayor (with Naomi Wright, Brian Linds, Mia Ingimundson and Peter Anderson)

 

The Cast: Bob Frazer, Naomi Wright, Kristian Truelsen, Mia Ingimundson, Brian Linds and Peter Anderson

The Cast: Bob Frazer, Naomi Wright, Kristian Truelsen, Mia Ingimundson, Brian Linds and Peter Anderson

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A Chance in Kamloops

2 March 2009
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First of all, I must note how warm and welcoming the people at Western Canada Theatre have been. Not to diminish that compliment in the least, but I have found a similar reception from most theatres at which I have worked—more so than doing film and television, where one tends to be treated rather brusquely, what with money often being of higher status than art in such productions.

Secondly, I am wowed with everyone in the Man Who Shot Chance Delaney cast (with the possible exception of myself). This is somewhat rarer. Think of your job. There is usually someone who doesn’t pull his weight or whose personality sours the workplace. But these actors, as well as our running crew, are both impressive and inspiring. The cast includes Peter Anderson, Naomi Wright, Mia Ingimundson, Bob Frazer and Brian Linds. Huzzah, all.

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Thompson River Valley

I have not met nor formed any opinion of the local populace. The city of Kamloops lies at the junction of two rivers among not-too-overwhelming mountains, most of which are picturesque (the exception being one right in the middle that looks like a big pile o’ dirt). The old downtown has some appeal, while the aroma provided by the area paper mill has not.A pretty hill and the pile o’ dirt

A scenic hill and the pile o’ dirt

Our motel is generally crappy, with broken appliances and sagging mattresses, but its location up a long, steep hill from the city centre provides a great view of the region. It’s a forty-minute, three-and-a-quarter kilometer (2 mile) hike down that long hill to the rehearsal space, and just as far—including a climb up a second hill—to reach the theatre. I manage the commute down to work all right, but for someone with bad knees, a bad back and the too-sedentary lifestyle resulting from those conditions, the return trip is difficult. I have been fortunate to locate rides most days. Such hill avoidance techniques become unlikely as of today.

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The Sagebrush Theatre is a good space, with lots of room backstage and decent acoustics overall. It seats over 700, although our company only offers the 450 seats closest to the stage. We sold out that smaller number opening night.

The play is a hoot, that’s what it is, and so is the playwright. Ian Weir can write funny. He is also a thinker. I’ve said it before: smart plus silly, that’s for me.

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I hope to have photos of the set and characters later.

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Forward into the past

11 January 2009

 

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In four weeks, Western Canada Theatre brings me out to Kamloops, BC and rehearsals for the world premiere of The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney, an affectionate, mostly comic tribute to those sprawling western sagas as told by Hollywood. Playwright Ian Weir, perhaps best known for his television work but whose creations range from stage to radio to film as well, is apparently rewriting even now, potentially enfeebling my current memorizing of lines.

I get to portray a handful of colourful characters, among them a travelling salesman, a sadistic gunslinger, a newspaper editor, and a small town mayor. The script seems great fun and I know of at least one terrific actor with whom I’ll get to share the stage. I met Naomi Wright a year ago at a party but finally saw her awe-inspiring work just last week as a guest performer with the amazing improv group Impromptu Splendor. She, too, and the rest of the cast, will play a variety of denizens from the saloon and into the sunset.

Set in Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas, the story spans the years 1855 to 1907. In a minor turn of the century coincidence,  Ah, Wilderness!, for which I begin rehearsing at a different theatre three weeks after Chance Delaney closes, is set in 1906, albeit in Connecticut. 

I may even get to wear a bowler hat in both plays.

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Celebrity Tally

22 November 2008

telemachusclay01

Since becoming a professional actor in 1980, I’ve gotten to work with celebrities now and then. Here’s a chronological list of those with whom I shared a scene or more in film, television or theatre. (Not counted are stars who shared a show but not a scene with me, or famous folk I’ve met but not worked with.)

How many of the of the 22 productions represented can you identify?

Dawnn Lewis
Griffin Dunne
Anna Chlumsky
Mike Speller
Hervé Villechaize
Sam Waterston
Melissa Joan Hart
Jeff Altman
Justin Timberlake
Dolly Parton
Phylicia Rashad
Ellen Burstyn
Elizabeth McGovern
Stephen Root
Gregory Harrison
Rene Auberjonois
Heath Ledger
Donal Logue
Jason Isaac
Harry Connick, Jr.
William Atherton
John Travolta
James Gandolfini
Scott Caan
Lonny Price
Michael Andrew
Lauren Graham
Genie Francis
Ted McGinley

Of course, there are many other actors I consider stars with whom I’ve been privileged to perform. They should not take it as a slight to find their names missing here, for their names are in my heart. Or my pants.

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Pastorized and Borderline acting

16 November 2008

 

micginley-kkt-francis

I filmed a scene playing a minister in a new Hallmark TV movie, Taking a Chance on Love, that stars the gracious Genie Francis (the legendary Laura from General Hospital, among other credits) and the gregarious Ted McGinley (a regular on numerous TV series including Happy Days, Dynasty, Married with Children, Sports Night and Hope and Faith). I have not learned when the movie will air; might they rush it through post in time for this Christmas season?

Despite another small, forgettable role, the day was a happy one, thanks to the last minute addition of spoken dialogue for my character, the friendly cast and helpful crew, and the affable writer-director, Doug Barr. Thanks to all.

The Canadian film & television actors’ union, ACTRA, holds semi-annual conferences for their members with discussions, workshops and even some “free” food. (It’s all paid for by our dues, of course, but the volunteers who put these things together are to be lauded.)

Four cast members from the TV series The Border generously graced the most recent conference, answering questions at one session and re-enacting scenes from their show with selected non-stars at another. I got to do a brief scene with Nazneen Contractor, who was lovely and sweet. It was a truly enjoyable three minutes, no lie.

Now somebody please get me onto the actual damn show. Merci.

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