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Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello Goodbye

Well, it has been a good run, but I think it's time to now wrap this up. I'm still on the web, and I've even started a new blog: The Superfluity.
I suppose that I could have just continued to write here, but I think it was time for a change. I was the Big Bad Wolf before I started writing this blog, and I will continue to be so, but I think One Big Bad Wolf just needs to be something that I wrote and no longer something that I write. Maybe that makes sense, maybe it doesn't, but this is how it is. So long, farewell, and, most importantly, I'll see you over here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunset

In the category of, "Well, DUH," I am bringing the One Big Bad Wolf blog to an official end within the next two posts. (That will make it an even 700 entries. I like round numbers.)
Obviously I haven't written much in the last couple of months, but that isn't because I haven't had anything to write. I just didn't feel that this blog was the place to write it. However, I didn't write it anywhere else because this blog still exists. I think that One Big Bad Wolf had its run, and I really need to move on to something else. The best way for me to do that is to wrap things up here. I'll leave this up as an archive of sorts, but. within the next day or so, I am not going to write here anymore.
I'm actually starting a new blog, and I will tell you more about that in the next entry. I started One Big Bad Wolf for a specific purpose, and, when I was no longer interested in that purpose, I struggled to keep finding things to write about that seemed to fit within the parameters I had set. I even expanded the parameters, but it never really rang true - not for me, anyway. I've done a few "re-boots" on this blog, but, ultimately, I think what I need is a completely fresh start. I'm planning a fresh start in my off-line life as well, so the timing just seems right.
It's been fun, and I hope that One Big Bad Wolf added something to your lives as readers - even if only a little bit. I'm not exactly going away, either, I'm just starting a new chapter in my blogging.
More on that in the next entry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coriolanus Run-down

So, I may have mentioned before that I am directing a staged reading of The Tragedy of Coriolanus.
Tomorrow. (I know. I suck at self-promotion.)
It's been an interesting process, I've only known I was doing it since the first part of July, so we have been working on a very abbreviated schedule - even for a staged reading. Plus, this is one of Shakespeare's plays with which not a lot of people are familiar. I'm not sure why that is. It's a really good play. I'm drawn to it because I personally identify very strongly with the title character. (Come to the reading and see if you can figure out why.)
Before I forget, here are the details:
August 16, 7pm at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion at 770 Pennsylvania. Tickets are $10 cash at the door. (It's a fund-raiser for the Byers-Evans Theatre Company and they aren't set up to take credit cards just yet.)
The cast:
Caius Marcius Coriolanus - Randy Diamon
Menenius - Eric Field
Aufidius - Doug Tisdale
Volumnia - Karen Krause
Sicinius - Matt Channing
Brutus - Russ Nielsen
Cominius - Dave Cuomo
Virgilia - Melissa Huff
Lartius - Paul Stuko
Valeria - Anita Harkess

What a talented and devoted cast! Again, this has been a really different experience. The thing about being fortunate enough to have talented performers for your reading is that, because they're talented, they're in pretty high demand. We have had to rehearse much of the play out of order depending upon who was available to rehearse and when. I have to say, I am absolutely astounded at how well this play is coming together. That speaks to the talent and commitment of this cast, and I really hope that you can come see and hear them tell this story.
Now, last night, I asked the cast members present if there was anything I could do to help make Tuesday's performance go as smooth as possible. Now, the first request of a $2500 stipend I could not accommodate, but the second request of a scene-by-scene synopsis was a really good idea. As I said, we have been rehearsing out of order quite a bit, so a chronological synopsis would definitely help to put things in the proper context. So, I sat down this morning and wrote one, which I e-mailed to the actors. They seemed to like it quite a bit, and even asked if we could make it the program for the reading.
Well, I don't know about that, but I guess I could at least share it here on my blog. (I have no idea if this will read the same for you as it did for them because of the context):


The Tragedy of Coriolanus
Scene synopsis

Act I, Scene 1
Rome
Plebians riot over food. Menenius calms them down. Caius Marcius comes in, blows it. Loudly. D’oh!
Messenger arrives with news of war. Goody, goody! Caius Marcius like war!

Act I, Scene 2
Corioli
Aufidius like war, too! Goody, goody!

Act I, Scene 3
Caius Marcius’s house
Virgilia and Volumnia sew. Volumnia like war. Virgilia no like war.
Enter Valeria. “Woohoo! War! Dead butterflies! Let’s go get ice cream.”
Volumnia: “Rocky Road!”
Virgilia: “Lactose intolerant.”

Act I, Scene 4
Before Corioli
Caius Marcius: “We will defeat the Volsces!”
Roman Soldiers: “What you mean ‘we,’ kemosabe?”
Caius runs into Corioli: “Leeeeeeroy Jeeeenkins!”
Lartius: “Hey, where’s Caius?”

Act I, Scene 5
Corioli. A street.
Roman soldiers looty, loot, loot.
Caius and Lartius are not amused.

Act I, Scene 6
Near Cominius’s camp
Cominius: “Caius did what? That’s awesome!”
Enter Caius
Cominius: “Where ya been?”
Caius: “Kickin’ butt.”
Cominius: “Take a break?”
Caius: “Nope. Gonna go kick Aufidius’s butt.”
Cominius: “Rock on!”
Caius: “Who wants to go with me to go kick some butt?”
Soldiers: “Butt!”

Act I, Scene 7:
The gates of Corioli
Lartius: “We’re kickin’ butt. Still, watch your butt.”
Lieutenant: “Butt watched, sir!”
Lartius: “Go away.”

Act I, Scene 8:
A field of battle
Caius vs. Aufidius
Caius: “I’m gonna kick your butt.”
Aufidius: “No, I’m gonna kick your butt.”
Volsces: “Aufidius is getting his butt kicked. Let’s get in there.”
Aufidius: “Noooooooo!”

Act I, Scene 9:
The Roman camp
Cominius: “Wow, Caius! You walked into Corioli and kicked their anus! Hey, I just thought of a nickname . . .”
Caius: “Please don’t.”

Act I, Scene 10:
The camp of the Volsces
Aufidius: “That guy really kicked my butt. I hate that guy.”

Act II, Scene 1
Rome
We kicked their butts! We kicked their butts!
Volumnia and Menenius: “27 scars! 27 scars!”
Virgilia: “You people are so weird.”
Cominius enters with Coriolanus.
Cominius: “Check this guy out!”
Virgilia and Coriolanus: “Islands in the stream, that is what we are.”
Brutus and Sicinius: “Oooooh, I hate that rabbit!”

Act II, Scene 2
Rome, The capitol
Cominius: “Let’s talk about how awesome Coriolanus is!”
Coriolanus: “I’ll be outside.”
Cominius: “ When the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks under his bed for Coriolanus.”
Senators: “Ooooooo.”
Cominius: “Coriolanus doesn’t read books, he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them.”
Senators: “Ooooooooo.”
Cominius: “Coriolanus counted to infinity – twice.”
Senators: “Oooooooooooooooo.”
Coriolanus: “Are you done?”
Senators: “Coriolanus for consul! Coriolanus for consul!”
Coriolanus: “Yeah, okay, whatever.”
Menenius: “Now you just have to show the plebes your scars.”
Coriolanus: “Awww, man.”
Sicinius and Brutus: “He is so going down.”

Act II, Scene 3
Rome, The forum
Coriolanus: “Hey, plebes, like, make me consul, okay?”
Citizens: “Yeah, okay.”
Coriolanus: “Cool. Laters.”
Citizens: “Nice guy.”
Sicinius: “Really?”
Brutus: “We think he’s a butthead.”
Citizens: “Hey, you’re right. He is a butthead. Kill the butthead! Rabble, rabble. . . ”
Sicinius and Brutus: “Awesome.”

Act III, Scene 1
Rome the street
Coriolanus: “So, does the consul get a hat?”
Rabble, rabble . . .
Menenius: “Uh, oh.”
Citizens: “Coriolanus is a butthead!”
Coriolanus: “I’m not a butthead. YOU’RE the buttheads. Stinky, mouth-breathing, assistant principal buttheads!”
Menenius: “Bro! Harsh.”
Citizens: “Kill the butthead!”
Coriolanus: “You cockaroaches wanna play rough? Okay, say ‘ello to my little frien’ . . .”
Menenius: “Whoah! Everybody, chill! We should all take a break.”
Lartius: “This sucks. I think I will leave and never come back.”

INTERMISSION

Act III, Scene 2
Coriolanus’s House
Volumnia: “I love you, but sometimes you’re a butthead.”
Coriolanus: “But they’re STINKY buttheads.”
Menenius: “Be the bigger butthead.”
Coriolanus: (sigh) “Fine.”

Act III, Scene 3
Coriolanus: “I’m here to apologize to you buttheads.”
Citizens: “Rabble, rabble, inconsolable rabble!”
Brutus and Sicinius: “You suck!”
Coriolanus: “You suck MORE!”
Brutus and Sicinius and citizens: “Banish him!”
Coriolanus: “I banish YOU!”
Citizens: “Whatever. Don’t let the door hit you in the Coriolanus on the way out.”

ACT IV, Scene 1:
Volumnia: “This sucks.”
Virgilia: “This sucks.”
Menenius: “This sucks.”
Cominius: “This sucks. Shotgun!”
Coriolanus: “I’ll be back.”

ACT IV, Scene 2:
Rome
Sicinius: “That worked out well.”
Brutus: “Yeah, I just hope we don’t run into his mom.”
Oops.

ACT IV, Scene 3:
This scene is cut. Don’t anybody say any lines from this scene.

Act IV, Scene 4:
Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.
Coriolanus: “Well, this is an interesting turn of events.”

Act IV, Scene 5:
Aufidius’s House
Aufidius: “Dude?”
Coriolanus: “Dude.”
Aufidius: “Dude?”
Coriolanus: “Duuuude.”
Aufidius: “Dude!”
Coriolanus: “Dude!”

Act IV, Scene 6
Rome
Brutus and Sicinius: “Coriolanus is gone! Yay!”
Messenger: “The Volsces are going to attack us now.”
Brutus and Sicinius: “Shoot.”
2nd Messenger: “Coriolanus is going to team up with the Volsces and attack us.”
Brutus and Sicinius: “Double shoot.”
Menenius and Cominius: “Idiots.”

Act IV, Scene 7
Volscian camp before Rome
Lieutenant: “Wow. The Volsces really love Coriolanus.”
Aufidius: “I know.”
Lieutenant: “Even more than they love you.”
Aufidius: “I KNOW.”
Lieutenant: “That must make you feel inferior.”
Aufidius: “You do know I outrank you, right?”

ACT V, Scene 1
Rome
Brutus and Sicinius: “You can talk to him, right?”
Menenius: “Oh, I don’t know . . .”
Brutus and Sicinius: “Auuuuuuugh!”
Menenius: “You guys are too easy. Of course, I’ll talk to him. Relax I got this.”

ACT V, Scene 2
Volscian camp before Rome
Menenius: “Hey, yo, Coriolanus, buddy-”
Coriolanus: “Nope.”
Menenius: “Uh oh.”

ACT V, Scene 3
Volscian Camp before Rome
Mom lays out a guilt trip. Coriolanus folds.

ACT V, Scene 4
Rome
Menenius: “We are so screwed.”
Messenger: “Telegram for Menenius: Rome is saved. Stop. Volumnia succeeded where you failed. Stop.”
Menenius: “Smartass.”

ACT V, Scene 5
Rome
GIRL POWER! GIRL POWER!

ACT V, Scene 6
Aufidius: “This guy just can’t stop screwing me over. I want to kill him.”
Coriolanus: “I can’t believe I caved like that. I wish someone would just stab me in the belly.”

END


There is actually a bit more to this show. Come see.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Bit Punchy

So, I finally got around to watching Zack Snyder's film/vanity project Sucker Punch.

I'm not entirely sure how I would describe it, apart from taking us all on a little trip in the Way Way Back Machine to a junior high school sleepover in which you and your twelve-year-old friends are sharing your twelve-year-old versions of sexual fantasies trying to out-do one another and then one of your friends shares something that's just a little too weird. You know that awkward silence right after that revelation? That's kind of how I felt through all of Sucker Punch: like I had inadvertently wandered into one of Zack Snyder's wet dreams. There are machine-gun wielding, pig-tailed, waifish, inmate-hooker-schoolgirls, who swing samurai swords at steampunk zombie Nazis, dragon hordes, and shiny metallic robots. Oh, and they dance. Supposedly. They do a lot of stretching.
Awkward.
Still, I can't fault the skill with which Snyder executes his fantasy. The steampunk zombie Nazis are pretty cool. The dragon battle is exciting. The machine-gun wielding, pig-tailed, waifish, inmate-hooker-schoolgirls are. well, you know. (Kind of awesome!)
I don't really want to give any spoilers, but the title itself is kind of a spoiler:

sucker punch (skr-pnchn. Slang An unexpected punch or blow.


Warning: Here there be spoilers. Kind of. Not really.
About fifteen minutes into the film (maybe ten) you realize the meaning of the title and that you're probably going to get a Terry Gilliam Brazil ending, so then it's just about how exactly we're going to get there. If you haven't seen Brazil, then I haven't spoiled anything for you. Unless, of course, you've seen Sucker Punch already, in which case I just spoiled Brazil for you. (Not really. Maybe sort of.)
Predictable ending or no, Sucker Punch is really mostly about the eye candy, and I don't mean just the lovely young actresses (though they are quite lovely). Cool visual effects, great battle sequences, and lots of explosions make Sucker Punch a bit of a teaser for what Snyder will likely do with the beloved Man of Steel in 2013.
Sucker Punch is escapism. If you look for more than that, you'll likely be disappointed. I enjoyed it for what it was, and everybody involved sure looked like they were having fun - especially Scott Glenn.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Charmed Life

I found a treasure the other day.
Miss Moneypenny?
I had heard many years ago about a CBC television production of MacBeth starring the world's most famous Scotsman, Sean Connery, in 1961. This would have been just before he became a huge international star as James Bond in Dr. No (1962). however, since it was a television production and I hadn't even seen so much as a production still with Connery in the role. In fact, for all I knew, he didn't even play the title role. After all, his most notable role up to this point had been as Michael McBride in Disney's fantasy-musical Darby O'Gill and The Little People. Also, there existed the possibility that he wasn't very good. Why else would it be so difficult to come by, right?
I dismissed it as one of those things that I would never get the chance to see unless someone who was a much bigger movie nerd than I had a recorded copy on VHS or something.
Well, recently I stumbled across a collection of old movies on DVD while I was at a Ross department store. (And when I say "stumbled," I mean it. Why does that store always look like it's been hit by a tornado?) These films are usually ones that have fallen into public domain, but are not necessarily bad films at all. In fact, this collection contained Of Human Bondage (1932), which, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend. Anyway, this collection also contained the elusive 1961 MacBeth starring a bearded Sean Connery as - if the packaging was to be trusted - Mackers himself. So, for a couple of dollars I had solved my dilemma of some years ago. There, in my hand, was the film I had resigned to obscurity.
I really have no idea what I'm doing.
However, my earlier concerns about the quality of Mr. Connery's performance arose again, and I did not watch it right away. Why had this been kept from public eyes for so long? Connery had a huge resurgence in popularity in the 90s. People were voraciously consuming his performances from other eras like Zardoz and Outland. How had the iconic notion of the famously Scottish Connery in the Scottish play not been immediately offered up to the new generation of Connery fans? Had a younger, less-experienced Connery struggled with the Bard's verse? Surely the CBC would not have cast him in the lead if that were so. It wasn't like he was a big name at that point.
Well, I am happy to report that Connery was more than up to the task. His approach is unexpected at times and even a bit jarring at points, but ultimately satisfying. During the dagger speech, I was baffled at first, but soon realized that he was approaching it very naturalistically, and I think it added another dimension to the scene. I found myself thinking that many of the elements that make Connery such a great action hero added to his performance as Mackers. Connery is a man of great passion and charisma and his heroes are led more by their hearts than their intellect. Let's face it, Bond wasn't exactly a planner. He usually got caught by the bad guy at some point, he seldom used the high-tech gadgetry as it was intended, and women in bikinis are his Achilles, um, heel. Also, James Bond is incredibly lucky. That's what makes Bond so much fun. The bad guys are smarter and more organized, but 007 still always manages to somehow get the better of them. So, portraying a man whose ambitions exceed his machinations winds up being near-perfect casting for Connery. Also, it's fun to hear those lines spoken in a true Scottish brogue.
Shaken.
But not stirred.
The production itself is a bit of a curiosity. I would describe the set and costume design as art-deco-meets-middle-ages. It suffers from some of the limitations of television in the 1960s (including the occasional visible boom mic), and yet it presses against the conventions of television as well. Murders occur out of frame, but the moments leading up to them are quite harrowing - particularly the murder of MacDuff's family. (Oh. Spoilers? If you've read this far, surely not.) Banquo's ghost is a bit gorier than one might expect from 1960s televison, too. With a running time of only 85 minutes, it is also curious that not the knocking scene nor either of the scenes with the the three murderers were excised for time.
I think the real treat here, however, is not even Connery's performance. It is the rare filmed performance of the legendary stage actress Zoe Caldwell as Lady MacBeth. The four-time Tony-award-winning actress has a long and varied career, but has made very few appearances on the silver screen, and she does not disappoint as the conniving Queen-to-be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back To It

I know. I know. I have been neglecting my blog lately. Well, that is not without some design. You see, updating my blog was beginning to feel like something of a chore, and I decided that I shouldn’t write anything else until it stopped feeling like a chore. I also needed to examine why it wasn’t much fun anymore.
Well, call it a confidence issue if you want, but I just wasn’t feeling like I was doing much with the blog. Posting videos of my favorite movies or of songs by music artists on their birthdays was starting to feel a little trite. As far as wildlife conservation and charities go, it’s as effective to just link to the cause in question with a few words of introduction – say, 140 characters or less. And on Twitter it’s a lot more likely to be seen and shared. I don’t know how many people read my blog – I mean honestly read my blog. I can see how many people visit it, but I don’t know if they were led there by a particular keyword or one of the many photos of Kristin Chenoweth and then went surfing on their merry way without pausing for my prose.

Without having any real sense of who’s reading, writing on my blog was beginning to make me feel like I was one of those guys who tweets about what he’s having for dinner (picture attachment and all) or one of those women who posts twenty new pictures of herself to Facebook every week (all in the same pose).
Well, I don’t want that, so I decided to take a break. Now I’m back, and here’s how things are going to go forward. For now, the daily format is gone. Instead of hunting for topics to fill each day, I’ll write about whatever interests me that day – with the hope that it will be interesting to you, too. I’m still interested in theatre and movies and music and wildlife conservation and saving the world, so you’ll still see all of those topics, but just when I feel like it. I originally thought that the daily format would get me film buffs dropping in on Fridays, wildlife proponents dropping in on Wednesdays, etc., but I don’t have any evidence to suggest this happened, so I really see no need restrict myself to that format anymore.
Which brings us to Thursdays. Ah, yes, theatre – the whole reason this blog began in the first place. Well, that’s a bit of a sticky wicket. I’m still a big proponent of theatre, I still know an awful lot about it, and I still like to talk about it, but I have become a bit disenchanted with the Denver theatre scene. And, in all fairness, it with me as well.
Oh, I’m still involved in theatre here, in fact, I’ve got a staged reading of Coriolanus coming up in August, but I just don’t really feel as though I belong here anymore – if I ever did – and I haven’t felt that way in quite a while, which makes it a little difficult to write about theatre in this town.
Sometimes a project comes along that I get very excited about, like BREACH, and it was actually a lot of fun putting that podcast together for you. If something else like that comes along while I’m still in Denver, then I’ll see if I can’t do something like that again.
Oh, right. Yes, I have decided that I will be leaving Denver. I moved here in November of 2001, and, by coincidence, my apartment lease ends in November of this year. So that’ll be ten years, and I think it’s been a pretty good run. In a decade I’ve held two Artistic Directorships, directed and performed in dozens of shows, and, most importantly, a large number of very attractive actresses are inclined to hug me on sight.
I can’t complain.
To stretch an analogy, there are lots of round pegs to fit the many round holes here, and I’m really content with being a square peg. The few square holes that exist here are already adequately filled. So, it’s time I went looking for someplace with more square holes. This is not intended as a slam against the “round pegs,” it’s just not my thing.
Do I disagree with what some companies are doing here? Yes, and I’ve gone into that before, so I don’t see the need to do so again  . . . at the moment. However, that’s more of a philosophical issue, and has more to do with the way some companies are using their nonprofit status. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to get his or her art on, so to speak. (Though I still insist that we could do it a bit more cooperatively without disenfranchising the limited audience. But I’ll stop there.)
So, anyway, the blog is back again, with changes again. I do not expect that any future entries will be as long as this one, though. I did feel that I had some ‘splainin’ to do.

If you’ve made it this far, let me reward you with this video to celebrate the birthday of guitarist, songwriter, and astrophysicist Brian May of Queen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: The Heart of Rock and Roll

Happy Birthday today to Huey Lewis . . . of the News.