Monday, October 31, 2011

The Independent Critic Review of TERRY KENDALL AND ORANGE GREEN

By Richard Propes

It's not often that one can use the words "light-hearted," "stalker" and "thriller" in the same sentence, but thanks to writer/director Meg Skaff such is the case with the short film Terry Kendall and Orange Green.

Terry Kendall (Brit-Charde Sellers) is your average, ordinary young woman living Brooklyn and working her ass off at a local grocery store. Life is pretty normal ... at least until a rather unusual man starts showing up every single day at exactly the same time with exactly the same question.

Rather than turning Terry Kendall and Orange Green into your typical psychological thriller, writer/director/D.P. Meg Skaff has managed to craft a darkly humorous film that defies genre and expectations with both horrifying and uncomfortably humorous results. Having a compelling story isn't always dependent upon actual spoken dialogue, a fact evidenced by Skaff's involving story here involving a bubbly, youthful grocery store clerk and a mysterious stranger with no clear intent. While Terry Kendall most certainly speaks, it's her actions that actually speak volumes about her increasingly fragile mental state. Similarly, the mysterious stranger says far more than is spoken with a simple question involving chicken breasts.

Sellers is perfectly cast as Terry Kendall, embodying a young woman who is simultaneously freaked out by this punctual stalker yet ultimately too distracted by everyday life to become overly panicked about it all. It could be tempting to play this all for high drama, but Skaff and her cast are clearly going for a sense of normalcy here and Sellers projects it perfectly.

On the other hand, character actor Timothy J. Cox goes against his usual type by playing the mysterious stranger, Orange Green. Until the film's closing moments, one is never quite clear whether this deceptively charming and clean cut man is actually dangerous, completely harmless or possibly just a socially awkward chap with some sort of special needs. While this isn't the type of role that Cox usually goes for, he stretches himself with tremendous success here and it'd be nice to see him explore this direction again.

Kimberly David is also terrific in a supporting role, and Anna Calabrese narrates the film in a way that is most unusual yet adds another layer of absurd normalcy to everything that goes on. Skaff serves as D.P. for the ultra-low budget short, her lensing nicely capturing the BedStuy are in which the film was shot with pristine imagery and an almost eerie lightness. The production values are rock solid throughout, a remarkable achievement given the film's modest budget.

A relative newcomer with two shorts to her name this year, Meg Skaff may or may not ever find her way into the Hollywood inner circle but hers is a visionary cinematic voice with a clear sense of story in both its visual and oral presentation. Currently finishing her B.F.A. at the Pratt Institute, Skaff is a filmmaker whose career it will be a joy to see unfold in the years to come.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NY Nuts 6 This Week

Aching Dogs' NY NUTS 6 Play Festival plays this week and I'm thrilled to be appearing in Bara Swain's BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT with the wonderful Lisa Peart.

I'm happy to report that for the run of the festival, of the 8 total plays being presented, we will be going on at the end of the 1st act, before the intermission, which is great.

The last rehearsal before tech is tomorrow night.

Friday, October 28, 2011

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – Four

Rehearsals for BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT returned last evening for more run throughs and tweaks.

Monday is the last rehearsal until tech on Tuesday and Final Dress on Wednesday.

The show is very ready!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT Is Back Tonight

It's back to BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT tonight. The festivals starts next week and I feel pretty positive about the show right now. Lisa and I are ready for this one!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Vine Review of TERRY KENDALL AND ORANGE GREEN

Review By Kent Stockton

Director Jim Jarmusch once said,’’ I have no desire to make films for any kind of specific audience. What I want to do is make films that... tell stories, but somehow in a new way, not in a predictable form, not in the usual manipulative way that films seem to on their audiences’’.

Filmmakers like Jarmusch, Terry Zwigoff and Henry Jaglom (and many more) have been making their films…telling their unique stories for decades, with characters that are more real to us the audience then we’d probably care to admit. These are characters we know, people we see every day, people the filmmakers hint we may even be. Their stories and approaches may not be for everyone, but they are their stories and if you’re to look at the canon of the aforementioned filmmakers’ works, you’re never going to see them copy themselves. Every story is fresh, different. It’s why I love the movies.

It always amuses me though that because these filmmakers works are not ‘’mainstream’’ in the Spielberg / Bruckheimer sense that marketing people, who usually miss the mark when it comes to really breaking down a film, any film, feel the need to slap labels like ‘’quirky’’ or ‘’edgy’’ on them to help in sales and promotion.

Dear Marketing People: Those two words are like nails on a blackboard to independent artists. Consult a thesaurus and find new words.

I know Jim Jarmusch despises the words ‘’quirky’’ and ‘’edgy’’ when critics talk about his films and independent film in general , so I will do writer / director Meg Skaff an incredible service in the following review of her short film Terry Kendall and Orange Green and not refer to her work as ‘’quirky’’ or ‘’edgy’’. I will say at the start that it is an extremely well made short film.

Skaff’s short, which clocks in at around 15 minutes, takes a glimpse into the life of vibrant twenty-something Terry Kendall (Brit-Charde' Sellers) who goes about her life in a typical twenty-something fashion. She works hard and is a highly regarded employee at her local supermarket, but when a mysterious man (Timothy J. Cox) begins to stalk her at the supermarket and in the park on her days off, her life begins to unravel.

Skaff doesn’t shape her film as a mystery / suspense film like one would imagine from that description. Her film does not feature a frightening Jerry Goldsmith-style musical score to titillate and keep the audience on edge, but instead Skaff shapes her film as a sort of slice of life piece about a young woman trying to survive her every day life, who happens to be pursued by a stalker. This works wonderfully as when the surprises do happen, you as the audience are and should be taken by surprise as well.

The casting of Timothy J. Cox as the stalker sells this point, as Cox, who is not an intimidating looking man, but a kindly looking, average sized man, so rather than frighten with size, Cox’s stalker instead manages to menace actress Brit-Charde' Sellers, quite good as Terry, with charm and perhaps most frightening of all, silence. While stalking Terry at the supermarket, Cox just stares at Terry, sometimes smiling, sometimes not, often asking the same question over and over again ‘’Can you tell me where the chicken breast is?’’, slowly driving Terry insane. It’s a great performance and Cox is to be commended for finding more to do with the stalker role than just go the ‘’crazy, insane’’ route.


The Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn is where the film is set and Skaff uses it to great effect, especially the Pioneer Supermarket, where most of the film takes place.

Skaff’s camera work is solid throughout, especially in a superbly shot, well lit sequence at the end of the film, during a confrontation between Terry and the stalker.

Definitely not predictable or manipulative, Terry Kendall and Orange Green is a truly original, imaginative film, crafted wonderfully across the board by smart young writer / director Meg Skaff.

For information on Meg Skaff’s work, please visit her website at http://megskaff.com/

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – Three

Saturdays’ rehearsal for BEYONG A REASONABLE DOUBT may have been one of the most enjoyable rehearsals that I have had in recent memory. When you leave a rehearsal and your sides hurt from laughing, you know it’s been a good rehearsal.

As always, Lisa and I ran through the show a number of times. It was great to have writer / director Bara Swain there to tweak a few things, mostly blocking issues, which are always easy to fix. Aside from the adjustments, Bara provided laughter, which of course, was a lot of fun to play off of.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT Today

It's back to Ripley Grier Studios today for another rehearsal of BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

Writer / director Bara Swain will be back, so Lisa Peart and I will have a chance to show her what we've been working on since our first rehearsal with all three of us last week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chris Kateff Joins The Cast of THE ASPHALT CHRISTMAS

This is almost turning into a RUN FOR YOUR WIFE reunion.

My good friend, the very talented Chris Kateff will be joining the cast of THE ASPHALT CHRISTMAS, with the aforementioned Larry Lesher, who will be directing the production, the hilarious Matthew Harris and yours truly.

I can't wait.

New York Nuts 6 Postcard

Here is the postcard for New York Nuts 6, the play festival that features BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – Two

Writer / director Bara Swain took ill today, so she was unable to attend last evenings’ rehearsal.

That didn’t deter Lisa and I, who met to continue running the entire play, which we did a number of times and it felt better every time we did it. We did the same thing on Tuesday night while running lines and as of now, the show feels pretty solid. Repetition really helps.

Of course, we don't see what we're doing, so I'm sure tweaks will take place when Bara returns to work with us again tomorrow.

Lisa and I even engaged in a little improv work to help the both of us connect to one another as a couple. Aside from being a lot of fun, I think the improv may help in telling us the actors…and the audience…a little more about the relationship between Lloyd and Olivia in the play.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cast In THE ASPHALT CHRISTMAS

I will be reuniting with director Larry Lesher and actor Matt Harris for the Todd Michael comedy THE ASPHALT CHRISTMAS, which will be performing on Theatre Row, starting on December 8th.

I will be playing three roles in the production, including a former burlesque owner, a prisoner about to receive the electric chair and a cop.

I've seen a number of Todd's shows over the years and have always enjoyed them. I thrilled that now I get to be in one.

Rehearsals begin after BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT closes.

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – Performance Schedule

Here are the dates for the short play festival, that includes BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

Wednesday, November 2 - Dress Rehearsal @ 8pm (open to the public)
Thursday, November 3 - 8pm show
Friday, November 4 - 8pm show
Saturday, November 5 - 8pm show
Sunday, November 6 - 3pm show

All performances will take place at the Hudson Guild Theatre, located at 441 West 26th Street

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

May Be Collaborating With Lawrence Lesher Again

Friend, director Larry Lesher is interested in having me appear in his next directorial project, titled THE ASPHALT CHRISTMAS by Todd Michael. We're meeting tonight to discuss the project.

Line Through Last Evening

Actress Lisa Peart and I met to run BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT to help solidify lines and blocking and it helped greatly. We ran the play a number of times and got better with every run.

With just a few weeks away until opening, I feel very good about where the show is at this point.

Back in rehearsal tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Access Theatre Audition Last Night

Last evening was my audition for the Random Access Theatre Company's season, which includes TWELFTH NIGHT, to be directed by my good friend Larry Lesher.

I performed a pair of monologues and felt confident that it went well. The chance to work with Larry again would be great, especially on a Shakespeare that I love so much.

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – Lines Through With Lisa Peart Tonight

Lisa and I are meeting this evening to run lines for BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. We're back in rehearsal with Bara Swain on Thursday night, so it would be great to go in 100 percent solid on lines.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT - Lines

Lines for BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT feel pretty solid. It will be nice to meet with actress Lisa Peart this Tuesday, the 18th to run lines and go over things before we meet with Bara Swain again later in the week.

LINDA LETHORN Photo Shoot

The photo shoot was done very quickly this morning at Meg Skaff's apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

My scene as Purple Green is going to be shot either around Thanksgiving or at the start of 2012.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT – One

There’s nothing better than jumping right into the process and that’s what Lisa Peart and I did at last evenings’ first rehearsal for BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. We read the play once and then decided to get it on its feet. The show is going to be very physical, so it’s important to start experimenting with movement right away, see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a fun way to work.

It was clear from the very beginning of rehearsal that writer / director Bara Swain is going to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the table, which will be nice to play off of.

We set dates for future rehearsals for the 20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th and 31st, which should be plenty for a ten minute play. Lisa and I are going to meet this coming Tuesday the 18th to run lines, so we should be in great shape for when the show goes into tech and performance in the first week of November.

Time to get off book.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Audition on October 17th for Random Access Theatre Company

My good friend and colleague Larry Lesher recommended I submit to the Random Access Theatre Company's general auditions, being held on October 17th. I did so right away and heard back from artistic director Jennifer Sandella quickly about an audition slot.

Larry is going to be directing a show, possibly ''Much Ado About Nothing'' or ''Twelfth Night'', so the chance to work with him again is definitely a draw.

For information on The Random Access Theatre Company, please visit
http://randomaccesstheatre.com/

Audition on October 23rd for RECKLESS By Craig Lucas

On the 23rd, I will be reading for a number of roles in The Gallery Players upcoming revival of Craig Lucas’ RECKLESS.

At home on Christmas Eve, Rachel is informed by her guilty husband that he has hired a hitman to kill her, and she must flee for her life which she does by scrambling out the kitchen window and into the snowy night. She meets and joins up with Lloyd Bophtelophti, a true "original" who has changed his name to avoid alimony payments and who now lives with a paraplegic named Pootie (who also pretends to be deaf in order to get double disability). Rachel then wins $100,000 on a TV game show and begins a series of picaresque escapades involving numerous psychiatrists and, eventually, an ill-fated reunion with her husband. In the end Rachel becomes a therapist herself, treating her own child (who fails to recognize her) and is led more and more to ponder whether the modern world might not be a vast conspiracy designed to systematically undermine her own increasingly shaky sanity.

The show runs from December 3-18, 2011

THE STAFF
Producer – Neal J. Freeman for The Gallery Players
Director – Heather Siobhan Curran
Production Stage Manager – Ashley Nelson

LINDA LETHORN AND THE MUSIC BOX

I just finished reading the script for LINDA LETHORN AND THE MUSIC BOX and am really excited about the project and for the chance to work with Meg Skaff.

We’re still meeting this Saturday for a little photo shoot, featuring Orange Green from TERRY KENDALL AND ORANGE GREEN and his brother Purple Green, who appears briefly in LINDA LETHORN.

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT Rehearsals Start Tonight

Tonight, I will be meeting with writer / director Bara Swain and actress Lisa Peart for the first rehearsal of the ten minute comedy BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

I re-read the script again this morning and I know that this is going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cast In Ten Minute Comedy BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

I really owe actress Lisa Peart a lot on this one.

Lisa, who was great in a fun supporting role in MARTY AND DOUG'S NEW RELIGION, recommended me for the role of her fiance in the ten minute play BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT written by and to be directed by Bara Swain as part of a one act featival at The Hudson Theatre Guild from November 3rd - 6th.

It's a comedy about a couple the night before their wedding and I wake up thinking I am in an episode of Law & Order, and you try to calm me down, etc. It's really funny.

I read the script, loved it and sent my interest and availability to Lisa and to Bara and lucky for me, they accepted...so it looks like I'm going back into rehearsal.

Rehearsals start Wednesday evening. This should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

GREG'S GUARDIAN ANGEL Update

Dan Conrad, Dan Kowalski and Greg Vorob are having production/pre-pro/location scout meetings later in the week to discuss GREG'S GUARDIAN ANGEL, so the cast should expect to hear from them very soon regarding a quick script read thru prior to shooting, which is expected to take place at the start of the new year.