Author Topic: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)  (Read 4867 times)

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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #60 on: December 30, 2016, 07:02:29 AM »
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #61 on: January 04, 2017, 03:49:22 PM »
Had a nice 1-hour phone conversation with my director for "A Kreutzer Sonata" (that's the play about the Jewish student who is paired with the foxy chick to play the Beethoven Kreutzer), and the nicest news is that he really likes my play - calling it "dramatic, entertaining, and heart-warming." Who would have thunk it, "heart-warming" from an old curmudgeon like Sforzando.

Meanwhile, my artist-playwright friend from posts above is designing the logo for my production. In the words of my director: “I like the design, good use of contrast and gets the idea of the play across in a clear, colorful way.” The design is under my friend's copyright, but I'll link to it once it's posted on the theater's website.

Here's my friend's drawing (post of January 4), with some nice comments on my play. Well, now you know his name. No biggie.
http://www.yaakovbressler.com/artwork.html

Here you'll see an earlier state before he lightened the background:
http://www.yaakovbressler.com/whats-new

And here is a portrait of the artist as a young man:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BOkJQdPD9uF/?taken-by=boss_yaakov
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 06:47:13 PM by (poco) Sforzando »
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #62 on: January 19, 2017, 01:17:42 PM »
I may be just speaking to myself at this point, but that’s OK; I don’t mind listening. Just a few updates on the playwriting front.

First, I’m more in production than creative mode now, with my farce set in a Chinese restaurant having had its first two out of eight projected performances (five in Queens, NY, and three in Maplewood, NJ), and a director and cast are set for my more serious play about the orthodox Jewish piano student.

The “festival” (though I have no idea what’s particularly festive about it) in Queens is divided into four groups of 6-7 plays each, and each play gets five performances with the audience voting for its favorites and the top plays going into a finals night where a small grand cash prize is awarded for play, director, actor, and actress. We had a great first performance where my play was #2 in its group and #4 overall. And I’m competing against MFAs and people with huge resumes. Last night’s performance frankly sucked, where the actors were thrown by a dead audience and by trying to finding an essential prop piece (a table) that wasn’t where it was supposed to be and which held up the play for two minutes. Don’t know my ratings now yet. But my director remains fiercely behind the piece.

We’ve just finished casting my other play about the piano student and an initial reading and first rehearsal should be starting soon. All the cast look strong, but I’m especially happy with the young man playing the lead. I had seen him before in a college production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America Part I, where he was excellent in the difficult lead role of Prior Walter, the AIDS victim turned Prophet.

More to come . . . .

"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #63 on: January 19, 2017, 01:18:39 PM »
A new play has come to mind. I already have a detailed outline, but nothing more. I won’t go through all of it, but it is loosely based on multiple people I know. One source is two identical twins, one of whom is studying medicine and the other who gave up his career as a medical researcher to pursue the arts, a decision that cause him to break with his parents. Another source is a friend of whom I learned he was studying musical composition over his father’s opposition, so the father told the boy his teacher was no longer interested in working with him, and told the teacher the boy had lost all interest in composition. Years later both boy and teacher learned they had been lied to. Still a third source is my deplorable experience with that theater up-thread. Last, I take a hint from Hedda Gabler: after the boy is lied to, he destroys all his music, but his twin has secretly kept backups of all his brother’s work, so it can be reconstructed, just like Eilert Lovborg’s book can be reconstructed after Hedda burns it. So far the play looks very solid, and I am very interested in learning about the special relationships between twins.

More . . . .
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #64 on: January 19, 2017, 01:27:43 PM »
Finally, my verse adaptation of Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale, which made the semifinals in that competition for 10-minute plays about January. I went to the finals performance, where the top six plays were performed. Of them, one was really good, a few were OK, and just one put me in “what the f*** were you thinking?” mode. Afterwards, the curator for the event told me my play was “lovely,” but because it was in verse it didn’t lend itself to a staged reading. I have no idea why this should be so, especially since I thought the verse was the strongest element.

But I’ll keep sending it around in hopes of a production. If I can cast it with a gorgeous girl and a well-built young hunk in a Speedo, it’s bound to get applause.

Thanks for listening, if anyone is . . . .
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #65 on: January 19, 2017, 06:42:19 PM »
I may be just speaking to myself at this point, but that’s OK; I don’t mind listening. Just a few updates on the playwriting front.

First, I’m more in production than creative mode now, with my farce set in a Chinese restaurant having had its first two out of eight projected performances (five in Queens, NY, and three in Maplewood, NJ), and a director and cast are set for my more serious play about the orthodox Jewish piano student.

The “festival” (though I have no idea what’s particularly festive about it) in Queens is divided into four groups of 6-7 plays each, and each play gets five performances with the audience voting for its favorites and the top plays going into a finals night where a small grand cash prize is awarded for play, director, actor, and actress. We had a great first performance where my play was #2 in its group and #4 overall. And I’m competing against MFAs and people with huge resumes. Last night’s performance frankly sucked, where the actors were thrown by a dead audience and by trying to finding an essential prop piece (a table) that wasn’t where it was supposed to be and which held up the play for two minutes. Don’t know my ratings now yet. But my director remains fiercely behind the piece.

We’ve just finished casting my other play about the piano student and an initial reading and first rehearsal should be starting soon. All the cast look strong, but I’m especially happy with the young man playing the lead. I had seen him before in a college production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America Part I, where he was excellent in the difficult lead role of Prior Walter, the AIDS victim turned Prophet.

More to come . . . .



Not to yourself alone.  Good to read all this; carry on.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #66 on: January 19, 2017, 06:53:44 PM »
Not to yourself alone.  Good to read all this; carry on.
So say I as well.


Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #67 on: January 20, 2017, 08:56:35 AM »
Thank you both for your interest. And Karl, I'll really have to start paying much more attention to your own thread, but at 324 pages it's a bit overwhelming.

Meanwhile, since my new play is not yet written (if it ever will be) and a lot could change, here is a detailed synopsis for anyone who cares to comment:

The Smartest, Handsomest, Most Talented Boy in the World (Except His Twin)

Characters (3M, 2F): Twin1, Twin2, Mother, Mentor/Father, Twin2’s Wife

The title comes from a phrase that a mother speaks to her son, and therefore it may be either totally ironic or have some basis. Two twins, both intensely competitive and intensely devoted to each other, are driven to succeed academically, romantically, and above all creatively. But Twin2, a composer, appears to have the stronger talent than Twin1, an artist.

Artistic ambitions run in the family, but Mother (who has had a modestly successful career singing opera), has concealed from the twins the fact that their father killed himself when they were very young, after a promised major exhibition was cancelled without explanation or notice. Concerned that the twins may not be able to support themselves, and fearing that a strain of depression may run in the family, she condones their artistic interests only if they also study for financially remunerative careers when in college. Meanwhile, Mother has created a family environment that is sometimes supportive, other times severely critical, and both boys suffer from their mother's emotional extremes.

During their college years both boys major in practical things: accounting for Twin1, and biology/pre-med for Twin2; at the same time they study with capable artistic teachers. But while Twin1's teacher expects little of him and sees him as a respectable plodder, Twin2's mentor puts him through grueling if exciting paces that only stimulate his decision following sophomore year to make music his life.

Alarmed, Mother refuses to pay any further for Twin2's education. Seeing this has no effect, Mother confronts Mentor to tell him that Twin2 has lost interest in composing. At the same time she tells Twin2 that Mentor has decided he is insufficiently talented for him to retain as a student. Twin2 is devastated, transfers to another school to avoid any further contact with Mentor, and deletes all his music files and shreds all printouts, causing a temporary rift with Twin1 who feels his brother is being foolish in destroying his work and bending to their mother's will.

But concerned for his financial security and about to marry the girl he loves, Twin2 decides to pursue the career in medicine his mother advises. Twin1 on the other hand, unwilling to give up on his artistic ambitions, severs all ties with his mother and declares an art studio major himself. The rift between the twins is mended after graduation when Twin2 finds Twin1 living in near squalor with five roommates in a barely heated apartment that also serves as his studio. Unwilling to bear seeing his brother suffer, Twin2 takes him into his home. Meanwhile, Twin2 maintains a distant and guarded relationship with his mother, who complains endlessly about Twin1's failure.

(Intermission about here, if at all)
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #68 on: January 20, 2017, 08:59:10 AM »
The Smartest, Handsomest, Most Talented Boy in the World (Except His Twin) - part 2

As the years go on, Twin1 struggles financially and always needs Twin2's help, despite feeling guilty and inadequate about depending on monetary assistance from his brother, who is now a successful pediatrician. Still, Twin1 makes progress as a painter, and achieves sporadic recognition for his art and a few sales which create fleeting periods of elation. This modest success, along with emotional support from Twin2 and his wife when Twin1 succumbs to agonizing periods of self-doubt, has helped Twin1 maintain a fragile equilibrium that prevents him from succumbing to the alcoholism and extreme depression that led their father to suicide. Not that Twin1 in his more self-pitying moods is always easy for his brother to deal with, and on his side Twin1 (despite any number of one-night stands and short-term relationships) struggles with but ultimately refrains from acting on his intense sexual feelings for Twin2’s wife.

Years later when Mother dies, Twin2 encounters Mentor at her funeral and learns she lied to both of them, the reality being that Twin2 was one of Mentor’s favorite students. But it is too late. Twin2 has lost all creative drive, and refuses to speak of his former artistic endeavors. But following Twin2's encounter with Mentor, Twin1 reveals he has secretly kept backups of everything Twin2 has composed (Twin2's weakness having been in using Twin1's name as his password), and even though the data is in an obsolete format, it is recoverable. Twin2 breaks down at this revelation, including the sight of pages from compositions he had thought were lost forever.

A letter sealed with Mother's will finally explains to the men at age 40 the true cause of their father's death. Both twins now realize that Mother’s actions, however cruel they seemed at the time, were misguided attempts at protecting her children, and the men acknowledge their complementary strengths and weaknesses: Twin2 may have had the greater talent but chose the safer path, while Twin1 was perhaps less gifted but more courageous. The play ends with the Twins reaffirming their unwavering devotion towards one another.

Notes: The same twin actors will play the boys at varying ages from 5 to 40. A parallel female-centered version of the play may also be created, called The Smartest, Prettiest, and Most Talented Girl in the World (Except Her Twin), 4F/1M.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Scarpia

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #69 on: January 20, 2017, 09:02:13 AM »
Wow, sounds like you're having a fun second career!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #70 on: January 20, 2017, 09:20:20 AM »
The Smartest, Handsomest, Most Talented Boy in the World (Except His Twin)

This is cracking!  Cuts close to the odd bone, and that is part of why it is so cracking.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #71 on: January 20, 2017, 09:44:39 AM »
The Smartest, Handsomest, Most Talented Boy in the World (Except His Twin)

This is cracking!  Cuts close to the odd bone, and that is part of why it is so cracking.

Are you a twin, Karl? I would very much like to talk to some twins as part of my process. My artist-playwright friend upthread is also a twin, and it's so interesting to see him interact with his brother.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #72 on: January 20, 2017, 09:53:26 AM »
Nay, I am no twin.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #73 on: January 20, 2017, 10:02:40 AM »
Nay, I am no twin.

Moi non plus. But twinship is such an interesting phenomenon, and one which perhaps only twins can experience themselves. I want to write something in which twins are not treated as cute (such as The Parent Trap), but as something darker and more conflicted - though ultimately redemptive.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2017, 10:15:15 AM »
Wow, sounds like you're having a fun second career!

I am. Fun, scary, challenging, frustrating all at once or in succession. There are times I'm writing like crazy and others when I can't do a thing. Periods of elation and deep depression. I was delighted for instance to see my Chinese restaurant play place #2 after round 1 in my group of seven and #4 overall, but now after round 2 (and what we all agreed was a really off performance), we are down to #5 in my group (though higher than all the plays in another group). Still, I agree that the best play in my group (other of course than mine) is in top place. But there are three rounds to go and I am hoping to see some of my friends there this weekend. I'd really just love to make the finals, because that means my play will be published.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #75 on: January 20, 2017, 11:54:41 AM »
Cool.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #76 on: January 20, 2017, 12:19:46 PM »
Way to go, Larry! Go for it!
The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.
- Mark Twain

Offline Judge Fish

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #77 on: January 20, 2017, 03:39:18 PM »
It's good reading all of the above. I also will be silently cheering for you.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #78 on: January 20, 2017, 04:34:00 PM »
It's good reading all of the above. I also will be silently cheering for you.

Cheering out loud is accepted too.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Pat B

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Re: (poco) Sforzando, (playwright)
« Reply #79 on: January 23, 2017, 09:28:49 AM »
Oh, I missed a lot of activity on this thread. Hope the remaining festival shows go well!

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