Video Highlights From a Drama/Theatre School Program in China

Directing, Performance, Teaching, Theatre

I’ve actually launched two separate theatre programs here in China, the most recent being for Alcanta International College (High School) in Guangzhou, which is an IB World school for years 9-12 in preparation for university abroad. Although we do have a number of foreign students, most of them are from mainland China.

The Drama program I started was for grades 9&10 as well as the “Intensive English Program” (IEP). Next year, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Theatre program will begin for elective students.

I’ve uploaded highlights from my students’ final performance project to Youtube. This project which was the culmination of work done throughout the year on fundamentals of acting: voice, speech, movement, breaking a scene into steps, actor’s focus, basic staging for an audience, textual analysis, plot structure and original narrative writing, Realism as a style, and drawing from personal passion and interests in order to select and develop a original text for performance.

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My Year Without Violence

Film, My Year Without Violence, Theatre

Over the past two months I’ve been considering my decision to abstain from violence in 2017.

The thought first came to me when I was writing to my older brother about HBO’s new television series, Westworld. Like so many others, I was really kind of thrilled about the show. I love sci-fi, puzzles, and philosophy. And there’s this great list of contributors to the whole: Michael Crichton, Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, J.J. Abrams, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and many more.

Express Stops

Directing, Performance, Playwrighting, Theatre, Uncategorized, Writing

In 2008, I managed a black-box theatre and rehearsal space just off of Times Square. A bit more on that can be found in an earlier post.

 

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One of the things I just failed to launch was one evening a week where our resident ensemble performed an hour of original short plays and vignettes. “Slice of life in NYC” sort of thing. Short, punchy, experimental stuff. I had written a number of short pieces to try out in the first evening, and would have been joined by some other writer friends of mine in time had it been successful. I wanted to call it Express Stops.

How I Came to be Lawfully Wed

Directing, Performance, Playwrighting, Theatre, Writing

In my last year of undergraduate studies, I was introduced to Anton Chekhov when I performed in Wendy Wasserstein’s one-act play The Man in a Case and Michael Frayn’s The Alien Corn: adaptations of two of the many short stories by the prolific Russian writer.

In the following years I continued coming back to his work as actor, director, and playwright in of a revival at my college of that first production, a mounting of Frayn’s The Sneeze and Other Plays at the Warehouse Theatre one summer, Three Sisters in graduate school, a new translation/adaptation of Uncle Vanya with my friend Moti Margolin who also played the title role at The Space in NYC, summer productions with then-current students of my college, and several productions with high school students when I taught in Sydney.

His work is just really good.

After a period of some familiarity, I began to adapt his short stories on my own. Chekhov wrote hundreds of them, and not all have been translated. But from what I was able to find, I was always looking for material to adapt for the stage.

Here is one of the first I adapted.

(Note: If anyone wishes to use any of the scripts posted here for performance, please do! Just drop me a line to let me know they actually getting some use, and I’d appreciate being acknowledged in some way if the production is more substantial than scene-study work.)

 

 

How I Came to be Lawfully Wed

a one-act play adapted by John Knauss

from a short story by Anton Chekhov

 

 

CHARACTERS

IVAN: a young man

ZOE: a young woman

LAPKIN: Ivan’s father

 NADIA: Ivan’s mother

STEPKA: a servant

 

 

A country garden at dusk. The remains of a light dinner are on an outdoor table. IVAN and ZOE sit at opposite ends of the table silently without making eye contact. NADIA and LAPKIN stand off to one side, murmuring to one another in a hushed argument.

LAPKIN: (turning; to IVAN and ZOE) Well! Dinner’s in the belly and the evening grows dark. (to NADIA) Perhaps we should leave these two and take a stroll in the garden, my dear Nadia. As they say, “After lunch: rest. After dinner: walk a mile!”

NADIA: (annoyed with him) Who says that?

LAPKIN: (gives her a dirty look and pulls IVAN aside) Go ahead, my boy! Tell her how much you love her! And that you want to marry her! Quickly, now!

IVAN: (whispering back) But I don’t want to marry her. I don’t have any feelings for her!

LAPKIN: (shaking his fist to heaven) “They gave the naked man a shirt and he said it was too thick!” (to IVAN) No one cares what you want, you idiot!

(LAPKIN gives IVAN an angry stare and exits with NADIA.)

IVAN: (aside) Oh, lord. Here we go.

A World Without Servers

Artwork, Comics, Commercial, Design, Illustration, Three Post

A few years back, I was working on a project with Three Post and my buddy Carlos, now with Greater Than, for Lenovo. Lenovo was just about to acquire IBM’s low-end server business, and we were working on some advertising content for the transition.

In the end, Lenovo didn’t go through with it for some reasons other than our work, but I had alot of design sketches done, and Carlos had converted the finished drawings into flash animation.

The idea behind the series is that there’s this character named Walt (who seems to be channelling a bit of Milton from Office Space) who does everything in an old-school manner.  He lives in a “world without servers”. We were toying with the idea of what things might be like without servers… which kind of means everything collapses.

I don’t think we’d gotten the series to the point of elegance yet, but I like some of the ideas that were emerging.

Below are links to some of the initial sketches I did. I’ll see if I can find some of the more developed ideas as well.

 

Cloud Storage

Twitter

Internet Dating

Hard Drive Crash

Website Functionality

Email

Internet Search

Uno

Countdown

WIFI TOTAL RADIO – TEASERS #8 #9 AND #10

Performance, Radio, Three Post, WiFi Total Radio

Geoff’s Window Relocation Services: An advertisement in a series I wrote based on the Jim’s Group I would see all the time around Sydney. One of the voices is mine.

A great new product. And useful, too! I’m the announcer.

I wrote this episode of the Police Blotter w/ McGuff, the Crime Pup. My buddy Carlos from Three Post makes a guest appearance.

 

 

WIFI TOTAL RADIO – TEASERS #5 #6 and #7

Performance, Radio, Uncategorized, WiFi Total Radio, Writing

Geoff’s Home Screw Tightening Services: An advertisement in a series I wrote based on the Jim’s Group I would see all the time around Sydney. My voice is in there, too.

An interview with the inventor of a homemade rival to the Google Glass.

Gary Gaffney always covers sports. I do all the voices of the athletes in this update.