…and never let go.”
That’s a quote from the play I’m directing, Moonlight and Magnolias. The play is about the five days in 1939 when filming was halted on Gone with the Wind, a new director was hired, and an entire new screeenplay was created. By a writer who’d never read the book. Talk about a gig! The play all takes place in produced David Selznick’s office, with Selznick and director Victor Fleming acting out scenes from the book as screenwriter Ben Hecht turns it into a script. It’s a pretty funny show, especially if you’re really familiar with GWTW.
Which I’m not. I, like the play’s Ben Hecht (not sure if this was the case with the real Ben Hecht or if it’s dramatic license on the part of Playwright Ron Hutchinson), have never read the book. I have seen the movie. Once. On a re-release ten years ago for the 60th anniversary of the film I took Suzy to go see it. It was pretty good, I thought. Like the characters in the play, I kinda thought Scarlett was a slut and Ashley was a bit of a fag, but overall I liked the flick.
So why exactly did I pick this play to come out of theatrical semi-retirement? I’m not sure, except that the president of the community theatre’s board is a friend of mine, the space is small enough not to need much set, which is the kind of show I work well with, and I was a little bored. So I submitted my name as a potential director, and then right before they offered me the gig, I tried to back out. Then I found out they were about to offer me the gig, so I did what any money-grubbing whore would do, I asked “What does it pay?” So since it will pay me slightly more than I’ll spend on gas driving to and from rehearsals 45 minutes away, I took the gig. Then I read the play. And I liked it, which is a good thing, since I’m stuck with it for the next couple of months.
So we had auditions this week, and for my 4-person play we had a marginal turn-out. 7 actors. 5 men, two women. The play requires 3 men and 1 woman. Fortunately there were six castable actors that showed up, so I picked four and away we go. One of the first assignments will be for the cast (and director) to read the book. At some point there will be a movie-watching party at my house, and then I suppose we’ll make a play happen at some point. It’s interesting: I really thought I was done with theatre. Again. But I’m not. Again. I don’t have any intent to do the level of productions I did at Off-Tryon, when I was doing 10-12 shows every year. And I will probably move back into happy semi-retirement after October. But I guess I’m not ever going to be done with it, no matter how much of a pain in the ass theatre people can be.
This looks to be a good ensemble, though. My Selznick and I have worked together a bunch, and the lone chick in the cast and I have known each other for several years, plus my friend that dragged me into the show is my stage manager, so I only have a couple of guys to get to know. And it’ll be fun doing something for a change that’s not in iambic pentameter, which is all I’ve done for the past couple of years. And I have a lighting gig coming up in September, I’m once again designing the season opener for Theatre Charlotte, the local community theatre. After they lost the rights to Annie, Ron, the Executive Director and director for the show, settled on Seussical and called me up to see if I’d do the show. I figured WTF? why not, so I’m calling in favors from all over the lighting industry to make a hellaciously bright and colorful Seuss-world this fall. So that oughta pay for my December trip to Vegas.
In other news, I think my time at PokerNews is likely at an end. There’s been a change in leadership, and that has actually very little to do with my departure. I think Matt Parvis will do an excellent job helming the ship there, but as I’ve been doing that gig for the past two years solid, I’m no longer nearly as into the whole poker scene as I once was. And they need someone who eats, drinks and breathes poker. I’m just not that guy anymore, and with the theatre stuff going this fall, and my own writing stuff happening, I just don’t think I can give them the time and focus they need. I’ll still fill in every once in a while when they run short, but the days of me churning out 20-30 recaps in a month are probably done for the most part. It’s been a fun ride and I’ll miss the money, but I think Matt will do a great job over there and wish them nothing but the best. I had it in my head for a while that I was probably done with that gig after the WSOP, so it’s time. It was a good run, but after a few hundred articles I might be tired of talking about some donkey four-flushing another donkey to crack aces with jacks. I’ll miss the money, though. So I’ll have to sell a few books to make up for the revenue.