Over the Airwaves

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The Misunderstood Bard

Published April 30, 2013 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Med school was...tough

Med school was…tough

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like discovering that Captain Hook is your surgeon. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

This evening’s History in Rhyme takes us all the way back to the great Greeks, analyzing Antigone’s inner monologue from a modern perspective.

Little Antigone, will you bury your brother?
Your Uncle’s asleep, (have you seen his mother?)
Where is the sister who said she would help?
You left her inside, afraid she would yelp.
Will you bury him? You must decide…
If so, Old Creon will have your hide.

 

I am pleased to announce that we have a few guests with us this evening. We will be tackling the difficulties of misunderstood quotes by the great Bard himself. With us this evening are Hamlet and Lady Macbeth.

 
Bert: Hamlet, I think I’m going to start the interview with a question for you. What has been the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?

2-B or not 2-B?

2-B or not 2-B?

Hamlet: Uh…well, I was playing a game of Battleship with my good friend George Lucas. I was in a bit of a dilemma, not sure what to do, which ship to sink with which coordinates.
Bert: Stressful moment.
Hamlet: Very. I was sweating—solid flesh just melting. My girlfriend was hovering about, asking if there was anything she could do. I said, “Get the others, honey bunny.” Which she did not hear correctly, and thought I had said to go to a nunnery.
Bert: Rather off-putting.
Hamlet: Well yeah. That little slip-up kinda shook things up. So, I’m sitting there, completely distracted, trying to figure out where George Lucas put his ships for the game…and I guess I started thinking out loud. I muttered “2-B or not 2-B? That’s the question.”
Bert: Oh dear. Oh, I see.
Hamlet: Yeah. So, as you can imagine, that, you know, did me in. Lucas called out “R-2, D-2” and sunk my last ship. The rest is history.
Bert: Wow. I see. Thank you, Hamlet for joining us this evening.
Hamlet: My pleasure.
Bert: And now, Lady Macbeth, it is a privilege to have you here this evening as well.
L. Mac: Thank you.
Bert: Now, let me just ask outright. What quote of yours is most commonly misunderstood?
L. Mac: Oh, most assuredly the one that goes, “Out, out—“
Bert (interrupting): –now, now. Wait. You aren’t actually going to say that line are you?
L. Mac: Why ever not?
Bert: Well….this is a children’s program.
L. Mac: And you invited me?
Bert: We can’t have…..language. Not on the air.
L. Mac: So, family-friendly.
Bert: Quite.
L. Mac: Suitable for all ages.
Bert: Indeed.
L. Mac: It would have been alienating…
Bert: True…
L. Mac: But you needn’t worry. I was never going to say “D…”…THAT WORD. You see, that’s the whole point. All this confusion and misunderstanding is so unnecessary. I was not saying, “Out, out, d…. THAT WORD…..spot.” No. There was no wringing of the hands, no craziness on my part. An acquaintance of mine, who I’ve never gotten along with, was in my kitchen. I said, “Out, out, Adam Spock!” You see, most people do not realize that Spock’s first name is Adam. Hence the confusion.
Bert: No spot?
L. Mac: No spot.
Bert: So, you never even said…THAT WORD.
L. Mac: No, never. I never would use such language.
Bert: Murder?
L. Mac: Murder, yes. Entirely different matter.
Bert: Well, thank you for coming this evening.

Dr. Jekyll

Dr. Jekyll

Finally tonight, we have some announcements and updates about some friends of our theatre. In the category of Unlikely Marriages, we have Mother Courage and the Cowardly Lion as well as Little Red Riding Hood and Hugh Jackman.

Also, you may congratulate Dr. Jekyll for his newly acquired position as a psychology instructor at The Tempter’s College, founded by Professor Screwtape.

Good night, folks. Sleep as well as you can.

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Seuss’ Drop and Fly

Published October 6, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories.

Humpty Dumpty

Which is like taking Humpty Dumpty on a field trip to Mrs. Tweedy’s Chicken Farm. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

This evening’s original production centers around the marked changes in set design and construction around the end of the 19th Century. Taken directly from transcripts of the actual conversation between Appia and Gordon Craig, Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose bring you, Drop and Fly: An Oxymoron.

Do you like this drop-and-fly?

I do not like it, Craig-I-sigh.

I do not like this drop-and-fly.

 

Would you like a painted mast?

Would you like it spread so vast?

Not as a mast. Not quite so vast.

Not as a home. Not as a dome.

I would not like it here or there.

I would not like it anywhere.

I do not like this drop-and-fly.

I do not like it, Craig-I-sigh.

 

Would you? Could you? Columns paint?

Paint them! Paint them! Be a saint!

I would not, could not, saintly paint.

 

Painted Tree

You may like it. You will see.

You may like that painted tree.

I would not, could not like that tree.

Not as a saint! You let me be!

I do not like a painted mast.

I do not like it spread so vast.

I do not like it as a home.

I do not like it as a dome.

I do not like it here or there.

I do not like it anywhere.

I do not like this drop-and-fly.

I do not like it, Craig-I-sigh.

 

The globe! The globe! The globe! The globe!

Could you, would you, as a globe?

Not as a globe! Not as a tree!

Not as a saint, Craig! Let me be!

I would not, could not, as a mast.

I would not, could not, quite so vast.

Signature of Dr. Seuss

Signature of Dr. Seuss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would not like it as a home.

I would not like it as a dome.

I would not like it here or there.

I would not like it anywhere.

I do not like this drop-and-fly.

I do not like it, Craig-I-sigh.

 

Finally this evening, I would like to introduce to you the book I am writing. I’m developing a much-needed workbook for actors. And so, I bring you a portion of the second chapter of my book entitled, Konstantine’s Kiddos—Practical Exercises in the Strasberg, Adler, and Meisner Methods.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Exercise #867—Analysis of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Part A) Strasberg: Think back to a time in your life when you had a small, white, pet lamb. Or perhaps you were not so fortunate to have a lamb—so think back to a time in your life when you had a small, white, pet puppy. It’s fur was white as snow. And this little, white puppy followed you everywhere, didn’t it? Do you remember? You adored your puppy, yes? Loved him so very much. Wherever you went, there was the little puppy, right at your heels. Remember? Remember how lovingly that puppy followed you to school one day, and how the teacher turned it out? Devastating, yes? Crushed your childhood ideal of a constant puppy companion. Remember this feeling…

Part B) Adler: So, you’ve got this little, white lamb, correct? How little was this lamb? How much does he weigh, how tall does he stand? How old is this little lamb? Does this little lamb have a snow white fleecy coat? Or is it a creamy white fleecy coat? Now, imagine that this little lamb is following you. Everywhere. Where are you going? Does it comfort you or bother you that the lamb is following? You go to school, and the little months-old, creamy-white-fleeced lamb follows you. Your classmates see the lamb. What do they think? The teacher walks in. What does she think? If the lamb had a favorite color, what would it be? How does that color relate to the lamb’s feelings when the teacher turns it out?

Part C) Meisner: Look at the lamb. Your fleece is white. Your fleece is white. Your fleece is white. Your fleece is white.

 

Good night, folks. Sleep as well as you can.

Mamet’s Hamlet

Published September 1, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

I don’t think V– will be impressed.

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like giving Harry Potter the Fairy Godmother’s Wand. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

It’s a brand new school year, full of unrealistic hopes and Lovett’s Pie-in-the-sky dreams. And with any new school year come opportunities of great shame and embarrassment. We call these moments: auditions: where you can embarrass yourself in a room full of people, and never realize it. Of course, these days, I have a hard time distinguishing between theatre audition-ers and Bieber Screamers. However, in order to help the masses, today’s broadcast will center around the audition process.

For all you actor wanna-be’s, think about your name. It’s understandable that you want a cool actor’s name—one with three names. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tommy Lee Jones. Bertolt…Bale…Brahms. However, just because your name is John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt does not mean you should put all that down on your audition card. I recently received an email from this John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt fellow, who let me know his intention of playing in Richard III by adapting this Shakespearean text into something, which I admit, is much more understandable than Shakespeare’s original. He writes:

Ian McKellen as Richard III

James, Edward, Henry and Richard,

There are so many of you.

When Richard the Third is read,

You all turn up for dead,

He sings James, Edward, Henry and Richard!

(Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die.)

 

Yes, folks, this is deadly theater at its roughest. Which is why I decided to bring in a special guest…my good friend Hans Christian Mamet, to give us some idea of how to do Hamlet.

Bert: Hans Christian Mamet, so good to see you.

Hans: Likewise.

Bert: So, Hans. I thought it might be good if you would give us some suggestions on doing Hamlet’s monologue in Act III—the one where he gives advice to the actors. Any initial thoughts before we dive in?

Hans: It’s uh—ya know…

Bert: What?

Hans: A good script.

Bert: Indeed. Ok, let’s dig in. Hamlet starts this by saying, “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly  on the tongue: but if you mouth—“

Hans: Stop.

Bert: What’s the problem?

Hans: The speech. It’s too…

Bert: Too–? Too what? This is Shakespeare, you know.

Hans: I realize. He was a pretty good one. Playwright. I guess.

Bert: So, why’d you stop me?

Hans: No need to continue.

Bert: What?

Hans: Well, it’s too long. Cut it.

Tell us, Hamlet, how you really feel about cutting your monologue.

Bert: Cut Hamlet’s “Speak the speech” monologue?

Hans: Cut it. Just do that part again.

Bert: Ok, I’ll try. Um, “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you—“

Hans. Yeah. Ok.

Bert: What?

Hans: That’s all. All you need. Do it again.

Bert: “Speak the speech—“

Hans: Stop. That’s it. All you need.

Bert: That’s all? Really? Cut down all of that advice to “Speak the speech”?

Hans: Actually, just “speak.”

Three Uses of Mamet’s Knife

Bert: “Speak—“

Hans: Yes. Good. That’s it! Perfect. All you need. Cut the excess.

Bert: Wow, you sure cut that one up and baked the life out of it. I Lovett, Mamet! Again, thank you so much, Hans. We appreciate your input and thoughts on how to approach this classic monologue.

 

Finally this evening, a small introduction to the next production here at Mother Goose Children’s Theatre. We will be doing Othello: The Prequel. Here is a small sampling.

The thing with Othello:

Iago lies to Othello.

Iago tells lies,

But says that he’s honest,

Which Othello buys.

 

They all end up dying,

But what’d ya expect?

The story was Shakespeare’s,

We’re not yet to Brecht.

 

Good night, folks. Sleep as well as you can.

My Pens: A Writer’s Confession

Published June 7, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories.

Not Goldilocks’ favorite animal

Which is like taking Goldilocks on a hunting trip in the woods. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

Today, Sweeney Todd announced his retirement. No longer a barber, he has decided to write his autobiography entitled, “Sweeney Todd: the Poet Writer of Yeats Street.”

Tonight, our broadcast will only include the prologue to this book, which you can pick up at your nearest bookstore. Each book includes an autographed fountain pen.

Such sweet selection!

And now, the prologue–“My Pens.”

These are my pens.

I’ll them now christen.

They will be mine

With my name scratched in white.

My pen.

My faithful pen.

Speak to me pen.

Whisper… I’ll listen.

I know I’ll write

In the dead of the night

Till you ache, like me

My pen…

Sleek and shiny

Well I’ve come home

To bring you paper.

Home,

And we’re together.

And we’ll do wonders

Won’t we?

You there, my pen.

You there, my pen,

Come let me hold you.

Now, with a sigh,

All the ink starts to warm.

My pen!

My clever pen…

Drip raven…onyx

Rest now, my pens.

Soon I will use you.

Soon you’ll bleed inkspots

All over the page

Till it’s done,

My manic pens…

Till now your ink

Was merely blackened.

Pens…

You shall drip onyx,

You’ll soon drip raven…onyx.

Completed arm!

AT LAST MY ARM IN COMPLETE AGAIN!

The Wolf and his Double

Published February 25, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

Steven Spielberg and Barney the Dinosaur = Worse dreams

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like filming a Barney movie with the cast and crew from Jurassic Park. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

 

 

This week’s History in Rhyme looks at Diderot’s contributions to theatre.

Humpty Dumpty liked the fourth wall,

Then the fourth wall had a great fall.

All the best actors then cheered loudly when

No one put the wall back together again.

 

Inspector Javert

And now we bring you Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Jr. This selection comes from Javert as he searches for Jean Valjean.

Star light, star bright,

First star I see tonight.

I’m in the right, so I must fight.

I wish I could Valjean indict.

 

Last week there was some confusion over an upcoming production here at Mother Goose Children’s Theatre. We announced that we would be holding auditions for Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, and have since received numerous phone calls from children and parents alike. At this time, we are not looking to cast an Alice, Mad Hatter, or a White Rabbit. Please note the difference between Rabbit Hole (a Pulitzer Prize winning play), and Down the Rabbit Hole (the first chapter in Alice in Wonderland). We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

Tonight we bring you Story Hour, featuring the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs as told by Artaud.

So cheery in the hands of Disney...

Once upon a time, there lived three little pigs that had escaped slaughtering and were now determined to enter the great, vast, dangerous world to seek their fortunes. They left the crammed pens of the pig farm to set sail for the New World…or whatever. On the ship, they fell ill to the most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad disease. It was…the plague. The poor pigs rolled around on the ship’s deck, moaning and squealing as they lost their lunch. But hey—there’s supper. Finally reaching the New World…or whatever, they immediately started building their houses. But the effects of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad disease had taken their toll on the poor pigs’ peachy skin. Their skin was gray and weak, and all the building prompted blisters to form. Truly, they had rawhides.

The first little pig built his house out of straw because it was the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately for him, the straw brought mites, and the first foolish pig found himself itching his festering blisters when there was a knock at the door.

Who wouldn't be sneezing?

The first pig called out, “Who’s there?” Now, at the door was a big, bad wolf, who answered, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.” The first little pig called out, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin, chin!” Well of course, the big, bad wolf huffed and puffed, and blew the house in. But unfortunately for him, all the huffing and puffing in such close proximity to the straw caused him to have quite the sneezing attack. And he now had mites in his fur.

The second silly pig had built his house out of wood because it was simple but sturdy. Unfortunately for him, the wood was moldy, and the second silly pig found himself with a lung infection in addition to the terrible, horrible, no-good, you-get-the-point-by-now disease. As he coughed and hacked, he heard a knock at the door. The second silly pig called out, “Who’s there?”

When you have an itch on your back, just start dancing.

The big, bad wolf was now dancing a disturbing jig on the doorstep as he tried to keep itching his back and knees because of the hay mites. But he still managed to cry, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.” The second silly pig called out, “Not by the–” and was reduced to coughing and hacking up a lung. Well, of course, the big, bad wolf had no intention of huffing and puffing ever again, so he used the door as a back scratcher before it fell in. Unfortunately for him, he now had moldy splinters in his fur along with the hay mites.

The third thoughtful pig had built his house out of bricks because he was smart. Unfortunately for him, he still had the…terrible…disease. But he had contracted nothing new. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. The third thoughtful pig knew just what to do. He peeked through the peep hole in the door. By this point, the big, bad wolf could not even announce his arrival due to the painful, itching jig he was dancing on the doorstep. The third thoughtful pig called out, “I know who you are! What big ears you have! What big eyes you have! What big teeth you have!” The big, bad wolf, now huffing and puffing, toe tapping and back scratching answered, “That’s my twin—he’s at Red Riding’s house.”

The Wolf and his Double, by Third Thoughtful Pig

Well, the third thoughtful pig knew just what to do. He put a large pot under the chimney, and waited. The wolf drove himself to distraction, going completely insane. He climbed upon the house, determined to crawl down the chimney to capture the pig. Unfortunately for him, the wolf fell into the boiling pot of water and became wolf soup. The third thoughtful pig eventually recovered from the terrible…plague, and wrote a book entitled, “The Wolf and his Double.”

 

Checkmate, Chekhov

Published January 28, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Elmo as "Matador"?

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like Elmo training to be a Matador. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

 

In recent news, Sanford Meisner met up with the television comedian, Jack Benny, for a special two-hour interview with BBC. The interview will air in two weeks, but the following review can be found on their website.

English: Publicity photo of Jack Benny.

Jack Benny

Sanford Meisner met a miser

 

Ebeneezer Scrooge was he

 

He cast Jack Benny, counting his pennies,

 

Repeating “Bah Humbug,” for a fee.

 

 

In an attempt to bring the world of sports and theatre closer together, as Brecht would have liked, Mother Goose Children’s Theatre will soon produce our own version of The Threepenny Opera in which an entire football game will happen simultaneously. But until then: if theatre had a sport’s announcer, here are some phrases you might hear.

 

The game’s aFoote!

Chekhov and his Australian teammate, Checkmate

Aannd…Noises Off!

It’s going…it’s going…it’s Far Away!

Boy, is he ever hitting those aside lines. Nailed ‘em.

 

Capra's answer to shoplifting.

 

The retail clothing store located next to us has recently started using our advertising posters as a new way of communicating with their customers.

For example, right now their “Shoplifters will be prosecuted” sign has our “You Can’t Take It With You” sign displayed directly below it.

 

 

 

 

Finally this evening, we leave you with a sweet little lullaby for all you children out there whose fathers are actors. If he weren’t in rehearsal right now, this is what he would sing to you.

 

The Actor’s Lullaby:

 

How to study for a biology exam.

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,

Papa’s playing Hamlet; or have you heard?

 

 

If you heard, then you must know

I auditioned for Edgar Allen Poe.

 

 

If old Poe does not pan out,

Papa’s playing Bishop in Shanley’s Doubt.

 

 

If in Doubt I seem a goof,

I’ll be trying out for David Auburn’s Proof.

 

 

And if in Proof all I do is bellow,

Then sign me up to play Othello.

 

 

Magic is like acting. Deception for a living...

And if Othello can’t be contained,

I’ll try sleight of hand with David Blaine.

 

 

If David Blaine should just seem a clown,

Then I’ll stay right here, and not go into town.

 

 

 

One for the Money

Published January 14, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories.

Little Red Riding Hood

Which is like showing The Wolfman movie to Little Red Riding Hood. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

Harold Clurman has written a new book called On Directing 2. Because of mass confusion over the title (some thinking that Clurman gave instruction on how to direct a two-person cast), there will be a re-printing with a new title, A Second Installment of Directing Principles as it Applies to the Theatre of Today and as Seen Through the Experience of Harold Clurman. Here is Clurman’s introduction:

Little director has lost her actors,

And can’t tell where to find them.

Read them Antigone;

They’ll come right back you see,

Punctuality now more important to them.

 

And now we bring you, “A Taste of the Theatre,” where our everyday experiences turn into conflict-laden scripts.

Where all the best drama really happens.

Today, we step into the box office, amid a flurry of telephone calls and visiting patrons.

One for the money

“Yes, ma’am. You can only purchase one ticket for that price. No…no, I’m sorry, there is not a meal included. I’m sorry…cages? No…no cages. Ma’am. …Ma’am. There are no foxes in this production. Ma’am…I think…I think you misunderstood. No, ma’am, this is not a joke. I’m very serious. This is a theatre. We are performing The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman. This is not the Zoo. Hello? …Hello?

 

Two for the show

“Thank you for holding, sir. Yes, there are only two remaining seats left for this evening’s performance. I double checked that with the Front of House Manager, the Head Usher, the Assistant Director, and the Director. I’m sorry…but three seats are just not available at this time. …Well, I did just confirm this with the playwright and publishing house as well. Yes, sir, I’m positive. Two seats. Not. Three. Yes sir, I counted them myself, just today. Yes. Thank-you.”

 

Three to get ready

Such signs bring great joy and fear.

“Yes, ma’am, I did appreciate your audition. Well, you see, it was supposed to be a one-minute audition. Not a three-seconds audition. Well…it wasn’t a terrible three seconds. Yes ma’am, you’re right—it was very concise. Well, you see, I’m not really sure how to tell you to improve…it was hard to tell in three seconds. Uh…but you didn’t throw up! That’s a positive!”

 

And four to go

“Ma’am…I appreciate the fact that she’s your granddaughter, but you cannot speak with her right now. Yes, yes, I know you want to congratulate her, but she’s performing right now. Well, let’s see…it’s a five act play…and it looks like…yes—they are still in the first act. …So yes, four more to go before it’s done. Yes, then you can congratulate her. Yes, ma’am, I’m sure she is a sweetheart. No, no…I’m already dating. Well, I mean—I  don’t think it’s a pity.”

 

Finally this evening, we bring back our series, History in Rhyme. This week focuses on the 1930s.

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the tr...

Stella Adler

Three Group Theatre peeps,

Stella Adler they could not keep,

And they began to cry;

“With Stella there,

Will Stanislavski dare,

His system to her teach?”

 

“What? Teach his system?

This does not show wisdom!”

But they did not know why.

No, no.

They did not know why.

 

Now Miss Adler bought

What Stanislavski taught.

“Yes, he’s a swell guy!

I learned imagination

While in this other nation

Yes, he’s a swell guy!”