In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – With a li’l Help from your Friends

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

In which I continue to report on the in-development, sixth annual San Francisco Olympians Festival.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III checking in from the most recent Olympians meeting.

For last year’s fest Steve wore a dog collar. What has he got planned THIS time? For last year’s fest Steve wore a dog collar. What has he got planned THIS time?

“I had been alone more than I could have been, had I gone by myself.”
– The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

In all of the year’s I’ve been involved in the active production of the Olympians Fest (Years 3, 4, and now 6), I think I’ve only ever missed a single meeting. I believe it was during Year 4. I actually had planned on attending, but as the day wore on, I got so ridiculously sick that I eventually expected a CDC “Quarantine” tent to go up over the house. I’m pretty sure that once one agrees to write for the festival, the only excuse for missing a meeting is to be dead – at least that’s the impression we get from…

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In For a Penny: The Benefit of being Let Go

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

There are some when, well… when you just have to sing out a certain Disney song.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, liberated from the proverbial last straw.

You're Fired fortune cookie copy

“No man likes to acknowledge that he has made a mistake in the choice of his profession, and every man, worthy of the name, will row long against wind and tide before he allows himself to cry out, ‘I am baffled!’ and submits to be floated passively back to land.”
– Charlotte Brontë, The Professor

I knew what it was about before I even opened the e-mail. We’d just had a meeting the week before and now I was being asked to attend another one right out of the blue. Just the tone of the words “Can you come in on Monday?” barely concealed the impression that my instincts had already picked up. I read it and thought myself “I’m clearly about to get fired.”

It’s not a new experience for me. Over the course of my life, it was inevitable…

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In For a Penny: Shedding the Pounds

CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

My latest Theater Pub piece looks at issues of body image and motivation within the indie theatre scene.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, contemplating sound body and sound mind?

“Heartthrob? Never! Black ‘n ugly as ever…”
– The Notorious BIG, “One More Chance”

I have this thing I do before every show. It’s really not all that different from the pre-show ritual of any other performer: a series of physical warm-ups and vocal flourishes that, to the untrained eye would probably give the impression that I’d been possessed by the kind of demon only Max von Sydow could defeat. Y’know, the usual. At least I think it’s usual. One of my physical moves is to do a handstand against the wall, with a few push-ups for good measure.

It’s a move of such fundamental simplicity that it’s taught small children. But for some reason it’s become my “signature warm-up move”. I’m not even kidding. Claire Rice mentioned it in her intro for me during the third Olympians Festival. Granted, her…

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In For a Penny: Up ‘n At ‘Em!

CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

In which it begins to dawn on me that yes, 2015 has indeed begun.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, jumping back into the game.

“Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years”
– LL Cool J, “Mama Said Knock You Out”

As I write this, I’m a few hours removed from finally seeing Into the Woods. For personal reasons I didn’t take part in Theater Pub’s month-long series dedicated to the stage show, but I went in to the film expecting the worst (given the terrible fucking advertising) and wound up being somewhat pleasantly surprised. It’s not perfect by any means, but this isn’t a review so I won’t dissect it piece-by-piece. It just struck me on my way home that this was one of the first three films I’ve seen in 2015 (after the great-but-flawed Birdman and the campy thriller The Boy Next Door) and two of those films have direct links to theatre. The first stage production I’ve seen has…

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Theater Around The Bay: Talk Is Sheep

CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

With tonight being the final performance of Satyr Night Fever, these are a few thoughts I had about SF Theater Pub being able to perform again.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III brings us a special report on the rebirth of Theater Pub’s performance branch.

Welcome back, old friend. Welcome back, old friend.

Right now I have three distinct memories stuck in my head.

The first takes place a few years ago when I found myself crashing on the sofa of Clint Winder (tech guru for PianoFight) and his roommate, Rob Ready (the artistic director). It had been a wild night of inebriated debauchery in which I probably did one or two things I’d probably regret if I could remember them. Needless to say, I was grateful to Clint for taking mercy on me and letting me sleep it off at he and Rob’s Chinatown bachelor pad. When I woke up the next morning – throat scratchy from weed and head throbbing from drink – I’ll never forget the first thing my eyes focused on was the blueprint on the wall. For quite…

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In For a Penny: Everyone’s a Cricket

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

In which the screening of an Oscar-nominated stirs up strong emotions I have about the “necessary evil” that is the critic.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, opening the new year with a chirp!

chirping_cricket copy

“In criticism, I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.”
Edgar Allan Poe, in a letter to Joseph Snodgrass, 17 Jan. 1841

Considering the Theater Pub theme for January was supposed to be “downtime and balance”, it’s been… interesting to read how my fellow ‘Pub writers have interpreted that. I won’t pretend that I’m immune to the same anxiety – if you read my “Running in Place” piece from November, you know that isn’t true – but I’ve forced myself to take some deep breaths and enjoy some well-earned relaxation. Case in point: last week was my birthday and I successfully avoided a lot of headaches by cutting off social media, stopping at a few bars, and heading to The Castro to finally see Birdman. I…

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In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – The End is the Beginning is The End

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

My latest Theater Pub post. It’s never too early to start thinking about the Bay Area’s coolest theatre festival.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

“My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold
That is not often vouch’d, while ’tis a-making,
‘Tis given with welcome; to feed were best at home;
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.”
– Lady MacBeth, MacBeth Act III Sc. 4, William Shakespeare

For all of us who have been there, it’s no surprise that Stuart’s apartment is often referred to as “The White Tower”. I honestly can’t recall what color the exterior really is, but I do know how exhausting it is to hike up those stone steps from one street to another, followed by another two flights of steps once you get inside – all for the sake of looking out over his balcony at one of the most enviable views of the San Francisco skyline without riding in a helicopter. Of course it’s The White Tower…

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In For a Penny: Label-mates

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

In which Yours Truly ponders the labels we have placed upon us, the restrictions they create, and my own place in a world gone mad.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, breaking his own format.

“I wonder if anyone ever notices the cross and Virgin Mary in my hand?” “I wonder if anyone ever notices the cross and Virgin Mary in my hand?”

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
– Toni Morrison, Beloved

This is about race. You don’t wanna read about it, click on something else. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

In all my years working with the SF Olympians Festival, I can’t recall a year where there were so many divisive; plays that made the audience grateful for the imaginative power of theatre alongside many plays in which the audience felt their lives ending by the minute. I didn’t catch every single play this year, but if there’s one that still positively resonates with me weeks later, it’s Half-Breed, Veronica Tjioe’s one-act based on the myth of the Minotaur. It’s about a mixed-race (half-Asian/half-White) woman coming to terms with her ethnic identity after…

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In For a Penny: Running in Place

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

In which I learn to (try to) embrace my free time after an incredibly busy year, both on-stage and off.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III, reflecting.

“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.”
– Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I had an entirely different entry planned for today. I’d been working on it since I’d finished my last entry. It was going to be about the labels used to identify us as artists, those we choose for ourselves and those often placed upon us. It was going to be about how those labels can simultaneously be a help and hindrance, how the definition of each label seems to change on a daily basis, how frustrating it can be to constantly be typecast as one particular sort when you have a menagerie of other sorts trapped inside you just bursting to get free. But I’m not gonna write that one; not yet anyway.

You see, like all of you, I read Allison’s most…

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In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – Let the Monster Out

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CharlesAndHisTypewriter:

My latest column for Theater Pub. Over the next year I’ll be detailing all the work that goes into creating the San Francisco Olympians Festival, an annual highlight of the Bay Area independent theatre scene.

Originally posted on San Francisco Theater Pub:

Charles Lewis III lets the monster out!

Artwork by Cody Rishell Artwork by Cody Rishell

“There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.”
— Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

It all started with a car ride. That’s what I was told. During a 2009 production of Aristophanes’ The Frogs for Atmos Theatre’s Theatre in the Woods, that’s when we’re told Stuart first pitched the idea of a theatre dedicated to the classic works of Greek and Roman playwrights. As everyone learns when they’re around Stuart for long enough: he doesn’t pitch ideas so much as give you a heads-up on his inevitable plans.

Within a year from the original car ride, twelve local playwrights were staging twelve brand new plays – each one dedicated to one of mythical Olympians. Less than a year after that, three of those twelve plays had full productions. A year after…

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