Friday, July 17, 2015

Julia & Buddy one year later

The 2014 production of my play Julia & Buddy which opened a year ago on July 17 was important for me, but not really for anybody else involved, although they each did a good job, I'm not complaining. But it was small potatoes for the actors and stage manager who are all accustomed to doing much more remunerative and theater-establishment based work. But it was a big deal for me, and not only financially.

The J&B production was, all things considered, a success. Foremost was winning the Outstanding Production of a Full-length Play award in the Midtown International Theater Festival, which means I get to say I'm an award-winning playwright.

My work was reviewed by three different critics - true, in not very prestigious media outlets, but it was still nice especially since one review was glowing, and one was pretty positive. And even Sander Gusinow's hatchet job was interesting both because I never would have guessed that a 90-minute romantic comedy could make somebody so bitter and angry (Gusinow doesn't get the romantic comedy genre, which I wrote about here) and because of the unexpected post-production drama, which I wrote about here. I didn't mention Gusinow by name before, but it's a year later, so why be coy.

Turns out Gusinow prides himself on trashing plays. So I'm sure he will understand when I say how much I thought his play Ruth and Naomi sucked, and in exactly the same way that most off-off Broadway plays suck - the author is too busy trying to be cool and cutting edge to bother with a coherent storyline. And of course the de rigueur wallowing in squalor.

But back to J&B2014 - I was very satisfied that one of my director goals was met - during rehearsals I said to the actors that my ambition was for the audience to believe that there were two male actors in the cast, one playing Buddy and one playing Schopenhauer. Matt DeCapua, who played both roles, scoffed at this. But then lo and behold, when I took the cast and coworkers of mine out for drinks after the last show, one of the coworkers asked, within earshot of Matt, "who played Schopenhauer?" I will never tire of gloating about that. Matt told me recently that his mother still talks about the Schopenhauer scene.

And of course I'm proud that (as far as I know) my play is the first ever embodiment of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer on stage.

Plus I bought a pretty expensive skirt for Julia's boating outfit, which I added to my own wardrobe. So the play wasn't a complete financial loss.

So what are Claire Warden and Matt DeCapua up to, one year later?

Claire is currently performing in One Man, Two Guvnors in Berkley California to excellent reviews. Definitely more high profile than Julia & Buddy. And Matt is about to open in the Florida Studio Theater production of Over the River and Through the Woods. I have to say I'm surprised by the lack of promotional materials for the show in their web site, considering it's opening on July 22. It's of course a much bigger theater organization than my Mergatroyd Productions, but I was posting rehearsal photos, cast interviews and video in the weeks before J&B opened. I was just recently looking at the video, which is not bad at all considering I had six minutes of video of the actors to work with.

Here is some of the raw footage that I edited into the final promo. I was sorry I had to cut some of Matt's commentary about gurus for the final product. Although I don't know about this "old saying" he references: "if you can't take it down off the mountain, it's shit." I googled the hell out of that phrase and so far have come up with bupkis. Maybe he heard it on Star Trek.

I also like that Claire and Matt (and this is in the final promo) quote lines from the play at the end "You thought I was an ignorant slob" and "nothing personal." That's why we're all laughing, since those words are not quite that funny in themselves.

This video demonstrates what a real beauty Matt is - and to be honest I offered him the role in part due to his appearance (but not only that) because I'm one of those heterosexual women who enjoys looking at beautiful men. And of course that's why he is perfect for romantic comedy.

Matt is one of the three most beautiful men I've ever known, the other two being my dear departed Earl and this guy whom I shall call Chris. Very desirable men dwell in a separate reality from the rest of humanity, and Earl and Chris certainly couldn't help but enjoy the perks of being irresistible to women (and quite a few men.) And like anybody who possesses a rare and coveted super-power, they occasionally liked to flaunt it. But of the three only Matt really works it.  (I suppose it helps that his chosen career is an actor, while Chris is a graphic designer and Earl was a technical writer.) As a result, a considerable portion of the audience of JULIA & BUDDY were members of his female entourage - but then he's been collecting female entourages since at least high school - remarkably enough for someone to write a freaking newspaper article about it, back when newspapers were printed on dead trees and column space was precious. Not even Earl or Chris could make that claim. I don't know why he isn't a movie star yet.

And as for me, I can't produce any plays until I recover enough financially from the last few, including J&B, and I have four plays that I've dedicated myself to completing by autumn: the rewrite of Dark Market, after the unsuccessful March reading for a semi-well known director; my Marilyn Monroe play; my jury duty play; and my play based on my mother's adventures in senior living. I better get on it.