Video Killed the Radio Star

Such a strange thing to hold auditions from 3000 miles away. I’ve been sifting through taped auditions–but not the kind of auditions for film where I could still have a human moment and I could give a note to an actor. These auditions were taped at home on phones, ipads, cameras, computers and sent through email, vimeo, youtube, wetransfer and some google drive thing I  had never heard of. Actors from NYC, Philly, Nantucket, and even a few from LA. There’s a part of me that is thrilled by this-how amazing to be able to open a wider range of opportunity, to be able to audition from anywhere-we can now do our jobs from anywhere–I could be in Bali casting this show. The actors could be in Bali and not have to miss out.  Grand in theory. But the reality is this is theater- this is a live medium, there is an energy, a life force that just doesn’t transfer to film.

It has been in fact painful for me to watch these actors working so hard to show me what they have –when what they have is so personal and can only be transferred through human contact and interaction. In one aspect it’s easy, I can stop the video after 30 seconds without feeling bad, I can fast forward to something specific, I can laugh out loud or scream “what?!” without interrupting, I get to be a voyeur and see apartments, or in one case the inside of the car, I wonder who their reading partners are, I  get to “meet” their boyfriends, I can remain pleasantly detached. For me, when I like someone I always feel a pang of guilt when I can’t hire them.  These actors have no idea who I am, I am  guilt free.

The flip side: This does not in fact save me work. Part two  is the phone call or the Skype session. I now need to know how they interact with me, do they have a sense of humor, can they take a note. So now we have to figure out working around time zones, skype or facetime?, do we both know what we are doing?, do we have decent service or is the  program freezing or creating awkward time delays?

I found myself nostalgic for  resume on fine linen paper. We used to have to send the head shot, wait for the call, it  was cutting edge to use my pager or check my voice mail. We used to invite people with written  invitations to our plays, we were forced to look at postcards of our friends shows covering the fridge, we wrote  down the ones we were seeing in our schedule books. There just seemed to be a rhythm, a process, a natural order. There was time.  There was touch. There was artistry. There were imprints and memories.

I write this blog. It should leave an imprint, it should go  further faster, it should float through the air connecting to a million other air wave voices, but some how the technology killed my drive, video killed the radio star, it doesn’t feel real to me, therefore I will write this, and I will post it but it will sit here like an unsent piece of mail.

One of the reviews I read of Dead Man’s said the stationary store scene was too sweet for them-contrived. I found it to be my favorite scene, a moment of connection, of realness, touching the earth, like a night home curled up watching movies after being social too many nights in a row.  The play reads like technology,  quick connections, simultaneous windows,  bits and pieces converging.  It’s easy to forget the play is about a woman concocting a persons existence, and her own personal existence in relation to a  life seen through the eyes of technology–the journey is the realization that what she wants is actually so much simpler, she wants a  connection to a real person, a worker among workers, a person who will actually take a moment to braid her hair.


Stream lined, bright colored, stylized, accessorized. 30’s look w/ touches of the 80′ s exaggerations brought into a contemporary world. Timelessness. Edward Hopper in 2013. Headsets in the hats, glowing blue, Touch pad fingers in the gloves.

I wonder how the fashion of the 30’s would have accommodated for technology.

Something still and wrapped

The Gates, Central Park     —- Fabric coming from ceiling and moving larger than life flats/screens

Wrapped monument, Wrapped Trees


In searching for images  that will somehow convey what my brain is visualizing to my design team I have become fascinated with the lives of the artists who have created the images I am drawing from. What is it that drives Christo and Jean -Claude to wrap their environment?  They wrapped a whole island and a coast line! Is it having the limitless canvas to play with? Or is it simply the challenge of getting these massive installations done? Part of me thinks it’s slightly egotistical to create on such a grand scale, especially when it’s to cover up something that already exists. Yet I’m absolutely fascinated with the idea, I mean who else is saying “I’m gonna wrap up really large things and make it art?”–its brilliant! Giant gifts. Something still and wrapped. The fabric gives instant motion and dimension to something that even though it may have been beautiful, its stillness means it was most likely taken for granted. Like a building or a whole coast we look at everyday without noticing it, until its covered. Then we realize something familiar is missing and we try to guess where that rock we used to notice is, or that curving shape that used to catch our eye.  Maybe we even feel a tiny sense of rage that someone is covering up something we at one time used to notice, therefore we can claim some territorial stake to it. Maybe this is why we are so afraid to leave ourselves exposed, if we expose ourselves everyday people will take us for granted and stop noticing us.

Interesting that Christo and Jean Claude have been together since 1958, must be that covering up the world has given them common aim and an ability to stay open to each other.

inspiration and imagination



 “So much of every art is an expression of the subconscious that it seems to me most of all the important qualities are put there unconsciously, and little of importance by the conscious intellect.”
Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute the inventions of the human intellect for a private imaginative conception.The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design.The term life used in art is something not to be held in contempt, for it implies all of existence and the province of art is to react to it and not to shun it.Painting will have to deal more fully and less obliquely with life and nature’s phenomena before it can again become great. 
~Edward Hopper

Americana artist Edward Hopper started painting as a teen-ager but never saw his career take off until he was 41 years old. He was bitter about this. I was inspired by it.  I am sure Hopper would never of imagined it would be his persistence, not his paintings, that would serve as a source of inspiration. I mean here it is: at the end of the day we do not know how we have affected the world around us. Our only real job is to keep moving forward. And to move forward one must find ways to stay inspired. All our pain, angst, fears, depression, whatever it is, is not ours to judge it is just there. What is remembered, what is lauded, what is revered is motion.

Of course the irony is that the motion in Hopper’s paintings stems from the stillness, the sense of stagnated isolation.  But that’s it isn’t it? That’s life, a series of isolated moments that we have sewn together in our memories. Time marching forward.This is why we get so attached to things, we somehow believe that they hold a memory. A memory that we have confused with imagination. Memories are based on feelings, not facts. Which means that so many details of our memories are imagined.

When one realizes that half of our life comes from an imagined source it doesn’t seem so outrageous that Jean in Dead Man’s Cell Phone falls in love with a dead man she never knew.  That the thing she becomes so attached to is the cell phone. The thing that makes us all feel as though somehow we are part of something, as if it is the piece of the whole that keeps us connected, in essence our higher power. Her retaining his cell phone gives her ownership to his memories, to be the holder of someone else’s memories  is an act of intimacy. She feels the need to keep those memories alive and it is Need in various forms that causes one to fall in love. So why wouldn’t she fall in love with him?



“If You are not Prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original.”

~ Sir Ken Robinson (Ted Talks)

In pre-production for Dead Man’s Cell Phone being produced by Theatre Workshop of Nantucket. I look forward to being back on the island, the place that welcomed me the moment I stepped off the boat last summer.  I miss the green of the East Coast, the direct nature of the people, and even the golf pants and polo shirts of the laid back, earth bound, wealthy East Coasters. But mostly I’m starting to feel the tingle of excitement and fear that I get with every new show. The images have begun to take focus in my brain, my concept is growing, I’m collecting pictures for my vision board and I have started second guessing myself. Maybe the design team will have no idea what I am trying to communicate, maybe this idea is too far out there and doesn’t stay on task to tell a story, maybe the actors will realize I am a sham and don’t know what I am talking about. It’s a familiar story and I have learned to let go of the reigns and trust that my feelings are not facts, they are simply a part of the process. Mistakes will be made, communications will break down, ego’s will clash, and those mistakes will lead to AH HA! moments, communication break downs will breed specificity, and ego clashing will create dynamic art. And I am lucky enough to facilitate all of   that!