Monday, March 30, 2015

Sterling's Costume After Two Long Days of Work

Next Show: Rita

I have a strong idea for a project: A show about Rita. It is a delicious story. Over the next few months, I will be thinking about how to tell it. Rita the musical? No. Rita and Me, a straight play. Nope. Done both those forms. Rita and the Lonely Angry Boy, a stylish fable? Maybe. I am not sure of the form, but there is a great story in our relationship. They say, "Write what you know."

Then there's what to do with it. There are options. I could produce it myself at PAL or At Presentation House space and earn a considerable return. Or I could pitch it to Presentation House where I am creating a good relationship, but to be part of their season, not an add-on as has happened with Trudeau.

But then there’s Pacific Theatre, given the nature of the story. What is remarkable and wonderful is that I have confidence and I think I have choices. I am not the inexperienced insecure writing man/boy any more.

With both Knock Knock and Trudeau heading into production, I am an “emerging” playwright and screenwriter of promise. Finally, at age 67, that is true and I can fairly expect producers to read my work with interest.

With each success my audience builds. I filled the teeny-weenie PAL theatre for four shows with friends. After Trudeau, that audience will grow because I am going to offer them a print or something so that I can capture their email addresses to add to my mailing list.

After Trudeau, I will be able to self-produce at PAL for a week with my own audience using my expanded mailing list, thereby earning enough to continue this new career in perpetuity. I can only write work that gets seen. 

I don’t believe in possibilities, I believe in certainties.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sterling Gets Character

I was sad to find myself uninspired when I realized after the workshop that Allan would need another costume for his scene as Sterling Christopher. I was not looking forward to another 100+ hours and more sewing.

Yes, I loved making the costumes, but that is what it is to be me. Once I have done something new, and feel satisfied that I have mastered the art or craft or skill, I don’t want to do it again. I want to do something new that I haven’t done before.

But when I woke up yesterday, I got an email from my friend Bruce who is in Florence and then read my friend Beth’s blog who is in Paris and that got me in the mood to look at some great art on my computer to compensate for the museums I do not have access to and about which they are constantly writing.

And as soon as I saw one of those ridiculous Flemish collars, I was off. Hence the collar that you see in yesterday’s post… and that collar inspired a character for Sterling: He will be a Flemish fop—I love that word “fop” — but a poor fop, not a rich one.

In she show, Sterling is me—me in my own imagination, so Sterling is supposed to be how I see myself in a scene with Vivicean. She is a cartoon; she is a characterization of all the women who opposed my plans to professionalize Presentation House. I was taking their sandbox away from them. So it is true to make him a fop. And I think making fun of myself in this piece apt wherein I am author, performer, designer and costume and prop maker.

So today, Sunday, with the rain pouring down, the sky dark and lots of choices of fabulous movies to watch via Apple TV, I am stoked about making this costume because last night inspiration hit.

I had this idea: I was sure Shoppers Drug Mart, which is just down the street, would sell cotton balls for women to use to remove their make up and if they did, I was going to make Sterling a pompom shirt. I loved the idea of that and sure enough, they sold a bag of 300 little cotton balls.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sterling Christopher's Collar

Today I started Sterling Christopher's costume Allan will wear it. I started with the collar I will use because I have decided that Sterling is a fop. I was most definitely not a fop but Sterling Christopher is an exaggeration of me in a comedic scene, so….

Starting out. It is interfacing and some kind
of stiff material used in suites.

"Pearls" help identify the top.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Long, Exhausting Thursday

Vivicean (Lois) times three.

It’s 9:00pm and I am exhausted. I was up really early, unable to sleep and I got into the re-write of Trudeau. I have LOVING doing the re-write, highly energized by the enthusiasm of Lois and Allan. I worked until 10:00 and then I headed to Clubcard (a printer) to get my posters and more postcards.

Then I came home to meet Kim who is directing and producing the play. He brought over thank you letters for me to sign for all my friends who have donated funds for the set. And then Lois arrived for a costume fitting.

We had such fun. It was like having a sister and playing dress up. I have lots to do to adapt the costume to her size and she will come back in early May for another fitting.

And the re-write made it clear that Allan needs a second costume for when he plays a version of me called Sterling Christopher. He will have to wear a paper version of the suit I buy.

All in all, not a too demanding day, but I am going to bed totally knackered.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


  • Last night the bruise came up from the guy pushing me over in the street yesterday. It hurts to sleep on my right side now.
  • I have started re-writing Trudeau. I am incredibly energized and inspired from the workshop yesterday and so I am absolutely loving the writing.
  • There was wonderfully satisfying respect and admiration for the costumes and their aptness for the show was not questioned in any way at all. I am so happy about that.
  • Today Costin (Fish Boy) comes to do a fairly big redesign of my aquarium. I am seriously looking forward to seeing him and watching him work.
  • At noon, Hudson (age 10) arrives to spend the day, overnight and all day tomorrow with me. He is a special friend to me. We are lucky his Mom is so generous and trusting, but then it was one his mom who was (and remains) a very special friend. Jessica is my surrogate daughter. I plan to take Hudson on several adventures while he is here.
  • Today the cheques to the beneficiaries of Rita's will get written and I move closer to having no further reason to ever deal with the lawyer again.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An AWESOME Workshop

Oh my God. What an experience the Trudeau workshop was today.

First of all, I went in optimistic because the sun came out for my whole trip over to the theatre. I felt God was with me on this adventure.

Next, I saw Allan from a distance and it excited me to see him. Everybody loves talented, kind, generous Allan. And then—THEN—I met Lois. What a treat. Her enthusiasm for the project was uplifting. And then she told me her partner was Joel.

Joel and Deborah run The Flame. And it was The Flame that got me into all this stage and screen writing and performing. The symmetry was another good omen.

The best part of the workshop, for me and I think for everyone, were the Basil and Vivicean scenes. Allan and Lois built such wonderful characters from my words. I was laughing often. The scenes work really well. They are funny like comic relief scenes in Shakespeare.

My prologue works well but needs a bit or pruning, and the bulk of the remaining problems are with the “telegrams” which need to be edited. It was gratifying to hear that most all the notes were about the telegrams. My ending rocked the house. It works.  I am proud and happy.

Oh …. And I got paid.

Then, on the way home, a man started getting angry with me at a crosswalk. He was mad I did not give him money, so I said; “I have nothing to say to you.” I wanted to keep things calm. He followed me across the street and kept yelling at me so I stopped and turned and he came up and pushed me into the street.

I fell on my hip in the rain and was soaked. My umbrella was wrecked, but a stranger came to intervene and the man walked away. Another passer by asked if I was okay. At this time, I am so grateful for the kindness of those observers. That is what I am left with.

Yes, I'm A Francophile:Christine and the Queens

Saint Claude by Christine and the Queens

Christine by Christine and the Queens

Even though I was raised in English, in my core I am French and I know it. I know it because of things I did as a child and I know it because of how I can hear the language in a crowd of Anglophones. And I knew it when I moved to live in France. I felt so at home.

I listen to a radio station in Lyon France online all day. It is perfect music for m; it has become part of my life. And it introduced me to Christine and the Queens and I have been enraptured. AS far as pop music goes, she is aptly named for me. I bought her album a week ago, but this morning I watched her videos for the first time and had that "I belong here" feeling like when I moved to Nice.

I love her look, her hair, her make up. I love her clothes and lack of socks. I love the choreography and what she and her band do for their visuals. The two videos above are from an album for which all videos are the same: just choreography in cool clothes on a big box, but each song is done in a different colour. Long live the Queen.

Monday: Workshop Day

It’s W-Day: Workshop day. I will meet Lois Anderson, who will play Vivicean, and have a reunion with Allan Zinyck (Basil) whom I have not seen in years. I have a script ready for each of them plus Kim, the director. And I have included a page of notes explaining:
·      Why I have two fictional characters and what they represent;
·      What the “telegrams” are and why they are included; and
·      Why the fictional characters wear paper costumes.

I have had a note from the theatre’s publicist laying out her plans for building an audience for the show, and I have told her all I am doing at PAL, through my mailing list and by having my party.

I am having my party because my party last year was popular with my friends. I have a plan to do it annually. But this year, everyone is going to notice the costumes that are scattered through my place and I think they are going to be very effective at building interest amongst my friends for my play.

Also, the party is May 9th.  By that date, I have to have my lines down because rehearsals start right afterwards and in no time we’ll be opening. And what happens right after an opening night? Review. That’s what.

This will be my first time. I have never been reviewed. And with this production, I am author, designer and performer. I face the possibility of a sentence like this: “Instead of doing everything, Loranger should have stuck to just writing.” Or: “Instead of doing everything poorly, he should have done one thing well.” You get the idea.

You understand why the party had to be before we open.
In a sudden fit of bravery, I cut Basil’s costume in half.

I have felt for a long time, I made a mistake in the primary structuring of the costume. The essential design requirement of both costumes is the speed with which it can be put on and taken off. Vivicean’s costume is perfect in that regard, but Basil’s was an awkward costume so it had to change.

But I dithered. And then, suddenly, like a person harboring a rage about someone and suddenly being triggered to murder, I cut the costume in half. Now I am enjoying making the pants. I am very happy when I am sewing.

And I had a wonderful insight the other day.

Vivicean and Basil have two scenes. In the first scene, I hope the audience is impressed by the costumes so I felt a change in their costumes is required for their second scene. For Vivcean, I built a parasol. Time has passed for her second scene; the parasol signals that. But I did not know what to do with Basil.

My back up plan was to give him a hat, but a hat is problematic for lighting and is not showy enough. But last night, I had my eureka moment.

In his second scene, uptight, moral Basil reveals he has seen a nude musical. The news gives us hope for Basil, who is my primary oppositional character. He is growing, so I am going to give him a bright red paper scarf or tie.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Morning

I awaken in the pitch black of 4:00 am to the sound of wet streets—another day indoors with nothing to do.  I settle in to reading online and writing emails and then, at 6:50 am I see the thinnest of clouds. Suddenly I am high—the wall calls; I am out the door by 7:10.

I go by the French bakery for a scone. It is still on the cooling rack. Heaven. And there is no one up, let alone on the wall. And I have fabulous new music I love by Christine and the Queens, Julien Doré, Joseph Salvat and London Grammar.

Once on the wall, warm in the sun I feel as happy as I have ever been. It feels so good to be alive and looking forward to better and warmer weather. I have to take my coat off it is so nice and warm, and the smell of the air recalls so many memories of my youth.

The gulls are gorgeous, clean and healthy looking. A big Harbor seal cruises by and there are virtually no humans and those that there are, scurry by in their spandex and outdoor company logos. They are all joggers.

I see a man, perhaps in his late twenties. He is sitting on a bench. He is wearing bright red shorts, a blue t-shirt and running shoes and in front of him is a baby carriage. As I pass, he lifts his newborn out of its carriage and gently smothers it to his heart and breast. I start crying and silently pray. How can I not thank God for making me someone who can be moved by such a beautiful sight even though I know some of my tears are for the love like that I never got.

I walk the wall in record time and by the time I am home, the clouds have moved in.

This thing going on with God is weird, I know. But with [gender neutral pronoun] in my life, I am not alone and I have someone to thank for all that is good in my life. I remain unable to abide any religion I have ever met.

I believe lichen is the most pervasive plant on
earth and I believe it exists in every single
climate zone on earth. This piece has stunning
structure and fell off the branch of a tree as I
walked on the wall this morning.

Friday, March 20, 2015

2 Hours Into Spring

It’s late Friday afternoon. Spring is officially two hours old and I am sitting in my office beside two cases of champagne for my party. I have had 25 positive RSVPs already and six people have all expressed enthusiasm for the “dress up” nature of the event. I think my party is going to be a success.

The photo above is of me in that office and I got the poster on the wall today from the printer. It cost a fortune—$48—but it will be the record I keep of the costumes because they will be destroyed during the run of the play. And I am happy about that. I want to make some more and need the dress forms on which they are stored.

But I have another reason for wanting the poster. I am a whore and the poster is going to help me attract some customers. I am in full on marketing mode today. I ordered 150 more postcards with which to market my play and 25 small posters.

My “Smart Party” will have my costumes as decoration consistent with the elegance of fancy dress and champagne. Everyone will notice them and it will, I hope, create some buzz about the show. And on May 6th, I am doing a gig with The Flame—that is what the poster is for. It is an audio visual aid for my story.

And today, Presentation House got the residents of PAL, the charity I do work for, a special discount. They will be able to see my show for only $15.

And I am going to write to Opus, for whom I wrote for 27 years, hoping they will put notice of my show in their newsletter. I wonder how many other playwrights work as hard as I do for Presentation House.

Besides the marketing initiatives, I raised $3,200 for them. With an average ticket price of $20, that is the equivalent of one sold-out full house. Not a bad beginning before we even open.

Incredible, Magnificent Wolf Hall

Damien Lewis as Henry
Mark Rylance as thomas Cromwell
Clare Foy as Ann Bolyn
Jessica Raine as Jane Bolyn
Wolf Hall is coming to PBS next year. It is a BBC production that aired in England this year and a friend sent me the DVD of it. Yesterday, I binge-watched (as i like to do) all six episodes of the first season. What a treat. Oh my God!

Mark Rylance and Damien Lewis. Oh my God, Damien Lewis. He floors me as Henry. I expected greatness from Mark Rylance and knew he was in it, but I was not expecting Damien Lewis whom I adored in Homeland—another show I binge watched when I was sick. I watched three seasons non-stop. And that has Damien Lewis and Clare Danes. Oh my God.

Clare Foy —FABULOUS as Ann Bolyn. She is magnificent. Jonathan Pryce is also magnificent as Cardinal Wolsley. He is just absolutely perfect, Niki. And I am a big fan of Jessica Raine who plays Jane Bolyn. It's all wonderful. The music, the sets, the lighting. It is a wonderful watch. Mark Rylance carries the entire production. 

I won't tell you anything or spoil it for you in any way, but I want to tell you one thing. The beginning is a bit choppy—we move back and forth in time and  are just getting to know the characters when something quite dramatic happens and I wept. I wept for characters I barely knew yet. That is how good the acting and the writing, editing, designing and sound mixing is. It grabs you and you are there. I never had that feeling for a second with Downton.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Costumes

Bridget Beth Collins

Seattle-based artist Bridget Beth Collins–under the name Flora Forager–crafts beautiful and imaginative creations using the foliage, flowers, and vegetation that she gathers throughout her day.
I love to adventure into the wildflower woodlands, mossy waterfalls, and grey sand starry expanses of the Pacific Northwest. I forage almost all of my creations from foliage and flowers plucked from our sidewalks, meadows, and woods in our neighborhood. …Flora Forager is a product of my love affair with glittering nature, and my own artistic skills honed over the years. Creation and Creator combined. Thank you for stopping by, and please enjoy my gift to you: rose colored glasses to see nature for what it truly is…Beauty.
Lily Koi
Mandala Monday
Little Red Riding Hood 
Red Panda

I am Basil