In For a Penny: Under the Big Top

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In which I lament SF hosting the party of an event that isn’t even in the city; and then I recall a couple of grand productions that pitched tents (literally) along the wharf.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis III on the Super Bowl.

I still don’t get why people are scared of clowns? I still don’t get why people are scared of clowns?

“Damn everything but the circus!”
– e e cummings, Him

You may have noticed a change in The City this past weekend. No, I don’t mean Pro Life march that was disrupted by members of FEMEN. No, I don’t mean the rainbows that have been visible all over the Bay Area. I’m referring to the fact the upcoming event that’s being advertised by those garish Verizon banners draping the Embarcadero buildings: the Super Bowl.

Before I go on, I should say that I am most certainly NOT one of those “Ugh! Sportsball…” theatre folks who complain about popular athletics just because it reminds them of the kids who beat them up in school. I find that attitude offensive as a sports fan and counter-productive as a theatre artist. Both crowds are thought to…

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In For a Penny: Life on Mars

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In which I take a moment to remember David Bowie, a uniquely theatrical man with whom I shared a birthday.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis on Bowie.

Yes, he was on Soul Train. Yes, he was on Soul Train.

“It’s only forever. Not long at all.”
– David Bowie, “Underground”

It was about this time last year that I wrote an entry about how much I don’t like my birthday. It isn’t for the sake of being dour, nor is it a day when I walk around full of self-pity (self-deprecation, maybe), I just don’t see the big deal of causing a fuss over my waking up another day. I’ll gladly celebrate the birthdays of others because I love when my friends are happy, but I never mention to them when mine comes up.

It’s only rarely that I let the day bog me down with thoughts of mortality – not even I am that morbid. But this past weekend, I found myself unable to escape those thoughts. It was this past weekend that someone with whom I share…

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Theater Around The Bay: The Great Blog Re-Cap Of 2015 Part I

Five things that happened to me on and off stage in the past 12 months.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Today is the first of our three installments of 2015 recaps from each of our nine staff bloggers. Each has their own unique angle on this past year, so make sure you come back for the rest tomorrow and Wednesday. The Stueys will post on New Year’s Eve.

Top Five “Words of Wisdom” From Folks I’ve Interviewed by Barbara Jwanouskos

2015 marked the first year of shifting “The Real World – Theater Edition” to a mostly interview-based column mainly focused on generative theater artists, new work, and playwrights. As I reflected on the year, five “words of wisdom” moments sprung to mind that I would love to set as an intention moving forward into 2016. They resonated with me when I initially interviewed each of the people below and then again as I reviewed the interviews of the past year.

I think it’s best to let these words stand alone…

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In For a Penny: You Can’t take it With You

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In which I look at playwright’s film adaptation of a book and ask if it’s possible for a film to be “too theatrical”.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Image via Universal Pictures Image via Universal Pictures

“[I]t’s a form of alchemy, of magic. It’s very appealing. I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated because the very earliest people who made film were magicians.”
– Francis Ford Coppola, Academy of Achievement interview, 17 June 1994

When I think of Aaron Sorkin, I’m reminded of Christopher Buckley’s address to Yale’s 2009 graduating class. In a self-deprecating speech, the author and former George HW Bush speech-writer implores these supposedly-future-captains-of-industry to reject the very shameless materialism they’d supposedly been encouraged to embrace. “[Do] you really want to model your lives on characters in a Tom Wolfe novel?” he asks. “I always wanted to be Tom Wolfe, but I never wanted to be Sherman McCoy.” I’d rather be Aaron Sorkin than Will McAvoy, but that may have less to do with wanting to be a celebrated writer and more to with my wanting…

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In For a Penny: Holidaze

In which I stand on stage to take a look at he so-called “War on Christmas”.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis III, just in time for the holidays.

burning-christmas-tree-2 copy

“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving; nobody’s walking out on this old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no, we’re all in this together! This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on and we’re gonna have the hap-ha-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-dance with Danny-fuckin’-Kaye! And when Santa squeezes his fat White ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!”
– John Hughes, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. I didn’t plan on starting with that line, but considering that the other options I had for this week’s thread mostly revolved around the US’s supposed predilection for violence and one-upsmanship and my taking a look a lot of “classic American” plays that revolve around the idea that in order for you to be…

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In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – A Pre-Post-Mortem

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In which I ponder an end that has not yet come.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis III, getting a head start on the recap.

 “La Serenata” by George Yepes “La Serenata” by George Yepes

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
– JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

It’s safe to say that death is not everyone’s favorite subject. It’s one thing to think of endings – fads end, stories end, meals end – but quite another to actually put it in terms of death. Death means that you end. All of your opinions fads, stories, and meals will merely vanish as your consciousness slips away into a void of permanent darkness.

Okay… now that I’ve started off on such a cheery note, I should probably tell you that I don’t intend for this to be a downer; if you want that, there’s no shortage of it in the news (particularly as it relates to recent deaths). In…

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In For a Penny: Three the Hard Way

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In which I ponder the recent SF general election and look ahead to see what it means for me artistically speaking.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis listens to his other self. Both of them

King Ghidorah

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
— Matthew 6:34, King James Version
I hadn’t planned on writing about anything too serious for today’s entry. I’d planned to just do another “Of Olympic Proportions” piece about how the festival finally started last night; how much fun I’d had at the Opening Night party; how stoked I am about my script being read THIS SATURDAY, YOU GUYS; how my cast will be dressed like a box of Crayola crayons-turned-sentient-attractive-people; and how much I’ve been looking forward to this all year.
Then… reality set in. And, as reality often does, it sucked. As a San Francisco native with a bit of an obsession with the Freudian model of the human psyche, it…

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In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – My Twitter-fied Script

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In which I prepare for my upcoming Olympians reading shrinking my script to compact size.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Silverstein - The Missing Piece

“Right side and with intensity, okay?”
“Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that.”
– Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation

There’s no way I’ll be able to top yesterday’s anecdote about Meryl Streep dreams, but I empathize with the plight of my fellow ‘Pub columnist. As you read these words, I’m mere hours away from the first rehearsal for my Poseidon-based script, The Adventures of Neptune: In Color! It’s one of the few things I’ve written for which I’ve felt genuine optimism once it was done. And I think that’s earned, considering I spent several marathon sessions over the past five days trying to edit the damn thing.

My play was selected to be a one-act, which I’ve written for the festival before and had every confidence I could do so again. Then I started researching. A lot. I never stopped researching, but once…

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In For a Penny: Casual Setting

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In which I ponder theatrical sets, both practical and digital.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis III gets set.

PIC BY CATERS NEWS - The amazing art of LIU Bolin, "THE INVISIBLE MAN " In this series called “Hiding in the City” LIU uses his body as an art medium by hiding himself in different city locations from China to the UK. Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China and graduated from the Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts with a master degree.....SEE CATERS COPY PIC BY CATERS NEWS – The amazing art of LIU Bolin, “THE INVISIBLE MAN “
In this series called “Hiding in the City”
LIU uses his body as an art medium by hiding himself in different
city locations from China to the UK.
Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China and graduated from the Sculpture Department of Central
Academy of Fine Arts with a master degree…..SEE CATERS COPY

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

It’s interesting to come across American Theatre’s recent article about the use of video projection on stage when our ‘Pub theme for this month is design. In fact, it was after our most recent show, Explore the Trope: Don’t Fall Asleep!, that I got into a conversation…

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In For a Penny: Of Olympic Proportions – Can you Macarena?

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In which I take you inside the magnificent mayhem that is auditioning for the SF Olympians Festival.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Charles Lewis III, lining it up.

All men, mostly White – this is the LEAST likely line-up for Olympians auditions. All men, mostly White – this is the LEAST likely line-up for Olympians auditions.

“Give [the audience] pleasure – the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.”
– Alfred Hitchcock, Asbury Park NJ Press (13 August 1974)

Home stretch, folks. After nearly a year of plotting, outlining, fundraising, and writers burning pages from our own scripts before we tear out our hair and shout to the heavens in futility, we’re now kicking into gear. This past Monday was the final pre-festival meeting of writers and directors (“The White Council”), so from this point on you can consider the gears officially in motion. The SF Olympians Fest draws nigh.

So what does that mean for you good folks? Well, if you’re patron of the arts, fan of Greek mythos, on the lookout for cheap SF theatre, or just someone with strong…

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