Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
You can see bigger versions of these renderings by going to my Flickr account, or by clicking on them.
I really wanted to push the idea of starting intimate and then opening up. A gesture of being shy, then trusting the audience with very personal stuff. With the mirror, we allow the boys to "hide" just a little before revealing themselves. The mirror also represents an honesty and willingness on the boys' part that they do accept themselves. A strong angled light would be focused on the mirror to reflect on the boys' faces, and another instrument would light their upstage faces and with a blue wash across the stage we see them but not fully until they move away from the mirror and the room opens up to realistic lighting motivated by table lamps and recessed lighting over the dinning table and bar.
We open the scene with the character action of turning on a lamp, from this motivated light the area around the sofa will softly glow and broaden to see the scene play out.
I wanted to use practicals as much as possible, and then once we established the "look" the stage would open up subtly to see all the action. In this rendering the motivated light is from the table lamp and a blue wash colors the rest of the set to create a late night feeling, but still see the characters. As the scene progresses the light will radiate from the source of the table lamp and fill the surrounding area but the corners will remain darker.
Here we have a moment where I wanted to take us out of reality and highlight the group in an isolated look. There is a front spot that will start on the boys in the middle and then grow larger to incorporate the two new "members" of the family. The audience should feel like this is all going to work out at this moment, and the characters should sparkle. There are dedicated back light and front side light to assist the spotlight.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Playwright and blogger Adam Szymkowicz has interviewed MADE IN HEAVEN's author, Jay Bernzweig, for his ongoing series on contemporary playwrights. Jay is number 71 in the list. 71. Who knows 71 playwrights? READ IT HERE!
On a related note, Jay has a VERY serious, professional-looking photo.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
But Friday, Shaifer outdid himself with a white and blue patterned polyester shirt with 5 buttons at the top that he wore for the first time in August of 1969 to Woodstock.
What will tomorrow bring? We wait with baited breath! The weather is supposed to be in the high sixties. Dare we hope for Culottes?
Friday, October 9, 2009
Now I know what you're thinking, but, no, she doesn't have a last name. She just goes by Pneumonia. Like Jesus. (His last name wasn't really Christ. But I digress...)
I brought Pneumonia on board because I felt my work lacked something. From the very first day Pneumonia was in the room with us, you could feel the difference, feel her presence in everything I did. The room immediately heated up until it felt like it was at least 102 degrees on stage. She somehow managed to make me feel like I was in my own little world, separated from my fellow actors. Plus she apparently made me so powerful and interesting that nobody else on stage wanted to touch me, or even be anywhere near me. And don't even get me started on all that tasty phlegm she helped me cough up all week...Did I say phlegm? I meant truth!
Pneumonia is mostly gone now. She may pop her head in from time to time. But I just wanted to say thank you, Pneumonia, for making the first week and a half of rehearsals SO MUCH EASIER. I just don't know how I could have done it without you...
By the way, I'm also really looking forward to my special guest for next week, the Bubonic Plague! I mean, who gets Pneumonia?!?!?! While on vacation?!?!?!? In September?!?!?!?
Steve -AKA Gilbert
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Rehearsals have been going splendidly and have been almost too much fun. Yesterday I brought H., a friend of mine, in to speak to the cast. (I’m using initials so you can pretend you’re reading a French novel.) H. is a delightfully sweet and winning young guy from Venezuela who has been a gay porn star and a successful escort for eight years. His mission was to help one of our brilliant actors, Steve Wilder (I mean ‘S.’), add a layer of verisimilitude to “Gilbert,” the sexually ambiguous, drug addicted hustler he plays in the show. In short order our director, A., had H. on stage, teaching S. the finer points of male hoochie dancing and showing him the (porn) industry-standard butt position for giving a blowjob.
I need to immodestly digress for a moment to say that “Made in Heaven” contains the funniest and most intricate blowjob scene in the history of the American theatre. I’m fairly confident it will become the gold standard of blowjob scenes, against which all future stage blowjobs will be measured.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"Sublimely ridiculous and ridiculously sublime. I laughed for a straight hour." Stephanie March ("Law & Order: SVU," The Invention of Lying)
We like. Thank you.
Want to buy tickets yet?
"MADE IN HEAVEN is that rare blend of irreverent, original and funny as hell and I implore you to go see it," Jane Pratt (founder, Jane Magazine, Sassy Magazine)
Johanna, our Assistant Stage Manager, gave it the thumbs up. She was very excited.
Next challenge: make a new flag for the venue.
This one isn't doing too well anymore. This question of what to put in its place took an hour to debate in today's strategy meeting. Our publicists, promotions team, branding agency, and producers, on conference call from Costa Rica, all had useful input and got very excited. Only after we'd agreed to construct a large pair of [this comment has been censored] did we learn that the current flag's shape is 'grandfathered in' (SoHo Historic District and all that) and its shape can't be changed. We eventually decided that because it will only cost a few thousand dollars to get a new one - every cent well spent as far as ROI - we should go ahead, provided we hire a union rigger to put it up. We created a mock-up of the new flag pinned onto a styrofoam model of the building, and presented our work to the cast, but they didn't seem to care.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
"Hands down the best gay/straight Siamese twin comedy of 2009."
Ron Livingston (Office Space, "Sex and the City")
Ron, of course, doesn't want to confuse audiences who loved "My Name Is Herman" -- which we all agree was the best gay/straight Siamese twin melodrama of 2009.
Friday, October 2, 2009
"It was awesome. Outrageously funny. The show went by really fast -- you're so into it the whole time. The actors are amazing, too."
David saw our (Best Play Award-winning) presentation at the Midtown International Theater Festival, a couple months ago ...
Next up: First preview off-Broadway at SOHO PLAYHOUSE, Oct 22nd!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Conjoined twins are categorized using the suffix "-pagus" from the Greek word for "fixed". Early teratologists such as Ambroise Pare and Geoffrey St. Hillaire were among the first to identify the various types of conjoined twins. Many twins do not fit perfectly into any of these classifications, and the terms are often combined.
Thoracopagus (left). Joined at the upper chest, from the clavicle to the sternum, each with their own separate heads, arms and legs. The heart is always involved in the conjoinment. In a very few cases, twins sharing a heart have survived for several years. Ruthie and Verena Cady of Rhode Island lived to the age of 7 and were healthy, active girls who rode a tricycle, swam, did gymnastics and went to school. Thoracopagus twins are the most common type, accounting for around 35% of all cases.
Omphalopagus (right). Joined at the abdomen, from the sternum to the groin and often sharing a liver and portions of the digestive system. These twins have separate hearts, heads, arms and legs. Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, born in 1951, are the only non-separated omphalopagus twins in the world today. About 30% of cases.
Xiphopagus (left). Joined at the xiphoid process (part of the sternum) and usually linked only by cartilage and soft tissue. These twins share no vital organs but often have conjoined livers. They are by far the easiest to separate. Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874) were xiphopagus twins with conjoined livers. Also called sternopagus. About 3% of cases.
Ischiopagus (right). Joined at the ischium (front pelvis) and lower spine (sacrum), with spines at 180-degree angles to one another. These twins can have three legs (tripus) or four legs (tetrapus). In tripus cases, the third leg is a fusion of two legs that is not controlled by either twin and is therefore useless. Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyopova of Russia (1950-2003?) were ischiopagus tripus twins, their third leg having been removed when they were 16 years old. About 14% of cases.
Ischio-omphalopagus. Combination of ischiopagus and omphalopagus, with spines joined in a "Y"-shape. These twins usually have three legs and a single set of genitalia.(continued at http://www.phreeque.com/conjoined_twins.html)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
We’ve all had so much fun with this show so far, and it will be great to hear what additional direction Andrew decides to give me. For the last production the only real piece of direction he bestowed was to shave my armpits….pure genius, because once I ignored that, the show came together perfectly.
One week and counting...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
"I must say I was a little skeptical when my salsa instructor Andrew told me what his play was about. But the show is effing hysterical! I literally peed myself. The play is two heads above any other comedy on or off Broadway, and the great ensemble acting is a leg above anything I've seen in the last 20 years. Run, don't walk, to "Made in Heaven!"
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
No, my thanks goes to the woman who, at an emotional and pivotal moment toward the end of the play opening night, in reaction to something Jessica does, remarked (as loudly as the actors onstage, I might add),
"Oh my God"
It might have been the most brilliant ad libbed remark in the history of live theater, if you don't count the movie theaters on 42nd after midnight. And it got one of the biggest, longest laughs of the whole show, AND it gave me the opportunity to ad lib right back to her, which has always been one of my favorite things about live theater.
So, to you, my darling, whoever you were, thank you, thank you, thank you. Feel free to come back anytime and give voice to the inner workings of my character's subconcious. I promise to be ready and waiting with a somewhat witty retort.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
1:00 AM Monday, July 13. 2009
Well, I hate to admit it, but this is my virgin blog entry. No, I’ve never blogged before, and so I am a virgin in your blog hands. When I taught at University, the students ended up teaching me that the Internet is so much more than just a research tool, however until now I have only read a few entries, so here goes.
At the director’s bequest, we were each asked to add something to this site, and as I am the costume designer, I would like to invite you in on a part of my journey into the delightful play, “Made In Heaven’. It is now 1AM and I have just returned from a riotous run through and tech rehearsal. It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to see a show come together. It is especially thrilling to be able to laugh, even when watching the rehearsals again, because of the amazing production of this unusual play. Actually, the play isn’t the unusual part, unless you consider the tightly directed nuances and precisely delivered performances unusual, and that would be only because of the unusually short time we had to rehearse for this festival, but rather the unusual circumstance within the play – that of conjoined twins, an unusual costume to create.
A few weeks ago, the Managing Director of the theatre I am currently working for, called down to the costume shop to ask if one of my students might want to design a small production that a friend of his was directing. Then he informed me of the plot. I was pleased to say that I would not hand this over to a student, nor any student. I realized the subject matter needed a little more maturity, whereas there would be conjoined twins, sharing a large penis, so I was excited to handle this myself.
I met with (producer/director) Andrew Shaifer and was thrilled that his sense of humor, artistic vision, theatrical background, and general joie de vivre would go so well with mine. At first I saw the twins as joined through the hips and up into the torso, with four separate legs, with the penis set in between legs 2 and 3. After my first meeting with Jay (author) I realized that his vision was joined through the hips and down through a fused center leg, with the penis set center, in front of this third leg. Immediately to the Internet to research conjoined people, which by the way, I can only find examples of conjoining of the same sex – two boys or two girls, never one of each – but I did find examples of two separate eggs becoming conjoined, which made it OK for me to accept that one actor is two inches taller and has darker hair. Also, the actor Kevin’s mother, who is a nurse, confirms this possibility. Next came some fairly simple sketches of two people with three legs, and then I called Katie, who works in the shop making patterns and sewing up the creations required. Although it is a simple pair of jeans, done in a simple pattern, the addition of a third leg meant there were new measurements and thoughts to getting this right. Each actor has a nice physique, with a waist measurement of 30 or so inches, whereas the twins have a collective waist of 57. Each individual thigh measures approximately 18 inches, and the twins’ center leg is a good 30. The biggest ‘discovery’ in the process, was to remember that Mother Nature and the Gods of Physique and Gravity will have their way. On an average human, our pants stay up because our hips and butts are most often, together, larger that our waists and that gluteus maximus keep the pants from sliding down. While the twins each have only one outer hip, and open space from center back to center back, it made the first rehearsal, with the newly created jeans even more interesting watching the actors say lines while continually hiking up their pants. A simple contraption of elastic and the addition of a 63-inch length waist belt did the trick. At least their pants stay on so you can concentrate on the funny lines and action. I will also tell you that there is special underwear set inside the pants, but as it is now so late, I will sign off and let you just imagine how the actors and I handle the large penis. But that my dear friends, is for another blog entry on another evening.
From Costume Designer, Jeffrey Wallach
Sunday, July 12, 2009
BIG BIG NEWS! There have been some major last minute changes to the cast. I have to say, I was really excited before, but to be working with Steve, and Bette, and Shane Black is just overwhelming.
DON'T MISS MONDAY'S AWESOME SHOW. There'll be a talkback after with Me, Steve Buscemi, and our brilliant, hilarious director Andrew Shaifer (Eyes shift quickly to Jay).
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I realized that I always have the camera, so I should probably post a picture of myself so you know what I look like.