Category Archives: theatre

“Blaming Bloman”

Free short story time! Here’s “Blaming Bloman,” which was first published in the premiere issue of Beyond Imagination Digital Literary Magazine (it’s permanently free on Amazon, FYI). This story was adapted from a short play I wrote in college, “Blaming Beckett,” which technically can never be performed (but that didn’t stop us in college).

Copyright 2014 Daniel R. Sherrier

“Blaming Bloman”

By Daniel Sherrier

The stage directions were clear.

Bathe the minimalist set in pink lights. Position character ‘A’ in a garbage can. ‘A’ must stand in the receptacle and raise her left arm at an eighty-point-four degree angle. The garbage can will be gray, will not exceed one-point-zero-three meters in height, and will under no circumstances surpass one-point-ninety-seven meters in circumference.

Position character ‘B’ upside-down in a second garbage can of identical dimensions, situated zero-point-two meters stage-right of ‘A’ and not one decimeter further. His legs will point forty-five degrees in opposite directions, forming a V.

‘A’ will face character ‘C,’ who will stand two-point-seven meters stage-left of ‘A’ and behind a branch measuring one-point-two meters in length. The branch must have two leaves still attached. No garbage can, but it is absolutely imperative that he wear a brown paper bag over his face. ‘C’ is not to breathe.

H. Bartholomew Bloman decreed all this and more in his latest masterpiece, “Shrug: A Play in One Act?”

The cast and crew followed the script to the greatest extent possible while staging the show’s world premiere at an off-Broadway establishment. Several states off. Three would-be accomplished actors now gave life to ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C’ on a creaky proscenium stage before an audience numbering in the tens. Lower tens. The box office sold twenty-seven tickets, and twenty-one patrons showed up for the eight o’clock curtain. Continue reading

“The Play About Homecoming”

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I present the first play I ever wrote. I was 17, and it’s an exaggeration of actual events.

Please do not use without permission. Any school interested in this ridiculous show should contact me.

“The Play About Homecoming”

By Daniel Sherrier

Characters:

Natalie, Corrie, Virginia, Dick, Billy, Sid

(Natalie, Corrie, and Virginia are standing downstage, looking out to the audience as they pantomime getting made-up.  They put make-up on, do their hair, etc.)

Corrie:                   This is going to be interesting…

Natalie:                  So, Corrie, your date’s really 22?

Corrie:                   Huh-uh.

Natalie:                  And he asked you to Homecoming?

Corrie:                   Yep.  I guess when Virginia mentioned I didn’t have a date he felt bad and decided to be nice.  It would be better if I actually knew the guy though…

Natalie:                  Is that even legal?

Virginia:                Don’t worry.  Billy seems all right.  At work, he’s always really nice to me.

Natalie :                 And what about your date?  He’s from your work, too, right?  How old is he?

Virginia:                Oh, Sid’s our age, but, uh, he is an…unusual person.

Corrie:                   Unusual?

Virginia:                You’ll see when you meet him.  To be honest I didn’t really want to go with him.  I mean, I’ve only known him a couple of days, but it was him or no one.  Besides, I couldn’t turn him down.

Corrie:                   Last resort dates are so much fun!  At least Natalie knows Dick.

Natalie:                  Yeah, that’s one guy we all know.

Virginia:                Oh, it’ll all be fine.  This has to be better than going by ourselves.

(Lights dim.  When the lights return, the couples are seated at a table.  Everyone is dressed-up nicely, except for Sid, who wears extremely bright, tacky, multi-colored clothing.  Stage right of the table is the women’s restroom, and stage left is the men’s restroom.  Restrooms are represented by simple signs; no sets for restrooms are necessary.  At the table, there is awkward silence for a few moments.)

Corrie:                   So…

Sid:                        So…

Virginia:                So…?

Billy:                     So…This is everyone’s senior Homecoming, heh?  I remember mine.  I was the star football player, and I almost single-handedly won the big game. Continue reading

“Blaming Beckett”

Today is the birthday of the late playwright, Sam Beckett. So, it seems like a good time to share my short Beckett parody play, “Blaming Beckett.” This was created as a writing exercise and is intended to be just for fun.

Language warning: It’s rare that I use profanity, but I do here. Kiddies, please skip this post.

Copyright 2004 Daniel R. Sherrier. You can share this link. Otherwise, do not reproduce without my permission.

“Blaming Beckett”

By Daniel Sherrier

Characters:

A, B, C

(The stage is bathed in pink lights.  A is standing in a garbage can with one arm raised in the air.  B is upside-down in another garbage can with legs hanging up in the air, creating a “V” at an angle of 45-degrees.  C stands off to the side, perfectly still, with a bag over his face.  A should be facing C, and a distance of 3.7 meters should separate the two, and at no time should A look at anything other than C.  The distance between A and B should be 0.2 meters.  A’s arm and B’s legs are not to move at all except where noted.  A tree branch containing two leaves and of 1.2 meters in length should be placed 0.3534 meters in front of B’s garbage can.  The garbage cans should be gray in color and not exceed 1.03 meters in height, nor should they exceed 1.97 meters in circumference.  C is not to breathe.  Failure to comply with these stage directions shall result in criminal prosecution.) Continue reading

Adventures in make-up

I have been makeup-free since January 2005.

I had a lot of fun acting in plays in high school and college, but I always dreaded the makeup.

The final time I had to endure the wretched stuff (well, only wretched when it’s on me) was the final time I acted in a play, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore at the College of William & Mary.

I knew when I auditioned that would be my last time acting. It was my senior year of college—I had my fun for several years, and it was time to focus on some other areas.

There’d be much to miss about acting. Not the makeup, though. But I figured I could tolerate a little bit one last time. Continue reading

Find an assistant director

Continuing the series on theatre education for high school students…

Here’s a simple little bit of advice: If you’re directing a show, even just a short one-act, find yourself a reliable assistant director.

Assistant directors can serve several invaluable purposes:

1) When the actors first go off-book, the A.D. can follow the script for anyone who needs to call “line.” This frees you, the director, from having to divide your attention between the page and the live scene.

2) If an actor misses a rehearsal, you have someone handy to read the lines. Continue reading

Note-taking during auditions

Continuing the series on theatre education for high school students…

So you’re the director going into auditions to cast your wonderful show. You’ve got some excellent cold reading pieces picked out, and you’ve thought of some sample directions to throw at people. Plus, you know precisely what sort of actors you’re looking for.

You’ve got it all figured out…except for one thing.

While the actors are jumping through your hoops, what are you supposed to be doing?

Simple: Take notes. Good notes. Continue reading

Cold readings

Continuing the series on theatre education for high school students…

I never liked auditioning as an actor, but the process is much more fun when you’re on the other side of the table.

Still, as the director, you need to have a plan going in.

Part of your job is to pick out excerpts from your script for cold readings. For those unfamiliar with the term, a cold reading is basically the opposite of a prepared monologue. A cold reading is an excerpt from the script handed to actors at an audition, and they have maybe a few minutes to prepare before they’re called to perform it in front of the director.

The cold reading will help you determine which actors can think on their feet and demonstrate creativity. Continue reading

Can Hollywood do Broadway?

I finally saw Les Miserables the movie. It was a good movie that reminded me how great the Broadway soundtrack is.Les Mis

Somehow, I’ve never actually seen a staged production of Les Mis, despite a degree in theatre. My higher education was too busy exposing me to relatively obscure shows like Ruddigore, apparently.

But I always enjoyed the Les Mis soundtrack, and I still prefer the non-Russell Crowe version.

That seems to be the main flaw these days in adapting musicals to the big screen—the producers think they need big names, too. Big names don’t always have big voices. Continue reading

Ground plans

Continuing the series on theatre education for high school students…

Directors need to establish the framework in which their actors move around. That’s the ground plan.

After you read the script several times, sketch out what the stage will look like–but only generally. Don’t be picking out the color of the couch just yet. That’s irrelevant at this point. But do figure out where that couch will be located in relation to other prominent set pieces and props. Here, you’re focusing on what goes where.

As you do so, you have to keep two things in mind. First, how do you need the actors to move? Second, how would your ground plan compel the actors to move in the absence of your direction? Continue reading

When life throws you bozos, write a play

My high school senior Homecoming resulted in my first original one-act play — a farce.

The play, “The Play About Homecoming,” went over well with its high school audience, and my cast did great. The show brought considerable laughter to an auditorium full of teenagers. But what I and a few friends had to endure to get it…

I was very last-minute with the whole Homecoming thing. Three days before the dance, I learned one of my female friends was dateless, so I figured I’d swoop in and save the day.

She wasn’t the problem, and neither were her two best friends—but their dates left pretty much everything to be desired.

One was a 21-year-old guy who for some reason wanted to go to a high school Homecoming with a 17-year-old girl he barely knew. The other was our same age, but not our same level of hygiene, and he wore a tie-dyed shirt under some garish sportscoat. Continue reading