Jim Fitzmorris

new orleans' theatrical pugilism

The Bone Isle: A Sinister Fundraiser on St. Claude

May 16th, 2016

Before going into the details, let me get straight to it.

We’re having an impromptu fundraiser at The Theatre at St. Claude on Monday the 23rd. And we need your help.

About a month ago, a transponder went down and knocked the power out at The Theatre at St. Claude. When it came back on, the surge essentially fried the dimmer packs and made it impossible to do anything short of basic, minimal lighting design for the stage.

It’s going to require both some work on the breaker box and the purchase of new dimmer packs to make the whole thing work.

Furthermore, after a lot of capital injections by Broken Habit Productions, the theatre is still in need of more upgrades to make it not only a fully functional space but also one that can continue to charge reasonable rates.

If you want to know how you can help, you can start by coming Monday and sharing both a laugh and a scare with us.

Here’s the official announcement.

WHAT: The Bone Isle: A Sinister Fundraiser on St. Claude
WHEN: Monday, May 23rd from 7 PM to 10 PM
WHERE: The Theatre at St. Claude, 2240 St. Claude Avenue (just behind The Allways Lounge)
INFO: Minimum $10, for more information call (504) 638-6326

Help us turn on the lights by plunging our stage into the dark.

The Theatre at St. Claude needs help with both lighting and electrical repairs to keep up with our program of new work in theatre, burlesque and music, and we are willing to scare you into giving assistance.

The cast of last year’s Big Easy nominated “Dracula” returns with some new conspirators to offer something every bit as spookily fun and joyfully unsettling.

“The Bone Isle” is a collection of one-acts and monologues by playwright Jim Fitzmorris that includes two former finalists of Actors’ Theatre of Louisville’s 10-Minute Play Contest.

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An under siege graveyard shift grocery store protected only by an omnipresent admiral on its intercom, a mysterious figure named Jack who can’t extinguish the flame in his head, a baby sitter on a dark a stormy night who discovers that her young charge might not be who he seems, and a radical terrorist organization dedicated to the sanctity of Mickey Mouse.

These and a few other dark surprises are part of the fateful trip down “The Bone Isle.” It’s an adventure that includes the talents of Joel Derby, Kimberly Kaye, Bunny Love, Matthew Mickal, Jim Fitzmorris, Trey Lagan, Maggie Corbett, Jen Pagan, and is hosted by radio personality Clare Marie of The Dave Nemo Show.

We’re asking a minimum donation of $10, but we are hoping you can give more. Doors open at 7, show begins at 8, and we’ll be serving some spooky snacks after that.

#NewPlaysForANewDay: Barker’s Edge of Town

March 29th, 2016

 

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Bradley Warshauer’s “Barker’s Edge of Town” got #NewPlaysForANewDay off to a rousing start. It was a pleasure to see such a large attendance. Bradley received comments cards from almost all who managed to make the event, and we are sure they will aid him as he moves towards the draft that will be the first production.

However, we wanted to provide those of you who attended an opportunity to go more in-depth with the questions we provided you on the comment cards. And so I am using this blog’s comment section as the place to do just that.

Those questions can be found at the bottom of this entry.

We only ask that you focus on the questions and avoid proposing solutions. In other words, we are looking for diagnostics over prescriptions.

And thanks again.

1. What do you think the writer is trying to accomplish?
2. Where are they successful in that mission?
3. Does there seem to be a central theme or idea, and do the characters communicate that idea clearly both in its positive and negative?
4. Does the play move from moment to moment with clarity, and where is that clarity most apparent?
5. Do each of the characters speak with a distinctive voice?
6. Did the play challenge you, and, if so, where?

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#NewPlaysForANewDay

March 18th, 2016

On Monday, March 28th, Bradley Warshauer’s play Barker’s Edge of Town will have its first reading at 7 pm at The Theatre at St. Claude. After that, it will begin to prepare for its workshop debut in June.

That reading, directed by Megan Eileen Kosmoski, will be the official beginning for a new program we are starting at the theatre.

It’s called #NewPlaysForANewDay, and my colleagues and I would like you to be a part of it.

#NewPlaysForANewDay is at the heart of the mission for The Theatre at St. Claude.

Whether it is Southern Rep’s various new work offerings, The UNO Playwrights readings or fostering the growth of our own in-house artists, #NewPlaysForANewDay seeks to facilitate the creation of new works from inception to production but with a particular focus on development. Through a combination of readings and workshops, we are committed to developing not only artists but also audiences into a community with an understanding of how plays come into existence.

Thoughtful commentary, challenging exchanges and, most importantly, opportunity are our methodology to create a vocabulary for how pages come to dramatic life.

It is not just plays we seek but audiences invested in helping shape the voices of the future for New Orleans Theatre.

This is going to take us a little time to figure out all the particulars, so we’re hoping you will be willing to take the journey with us. And in making that journey, help us shape the future of this program.

Too often, plays are given either unconsidered readings or rushed premiere productions and end up fading before they can find their voice.

#NewPlaysForANewDay hopes to change that.

Even readings will not be cold, but instead, they will be thoughtful presentations focusing on the words and the mechanics of the work presented. Relying less on immediate feedback, we will encourage commentary through audience response cards and online forums. We believe this will allow for more tempered assessments that pinpoint the playwright’s concerns rather than rehearsing the idiosyncratic solutions too often present in the immediacy of the reading.

In other words, more diagnostics and less prescriptions.

Our readings will not be framed as an opportunity for either directors or actors to shine. We understand that because of the talent involved it may happen, but we do not believe directorial or acting skill should be used to cover up the shortcomings of a work in its initial stages. Instead, clarity and a bare bones approach that honors what the writer is attempting will be the goal of the collaborators involved. In doing so, writers will hear what they have written and be able to make changes and improvements accordingly.

Once we have established a regular reading schedule, we will expand our offerings to move these readings from the page to the stage: workshops for more in depth feedback and small scale productions that allow playwrights the opportunity to “premiere” their work elsewhere.

None of it is possible without an audience that is rigorously committed to seeing the work grow. If we accomplish nothing else, we hope to create patrons who become collaborators in process. An ideal audience member would follow a work from its initial reading until the lights go down on its debut production.

Nothing would please us more than a regular attendee’s arrival at the reading being as crucial to the growth of a new work as the actors and director who guided it into its initial phase.

We would love that attendee to be you.

My Top 5 Most Moving SyFy Moments

January 20th, 2016

Science Fiction is designed for catharsis. If your combination of high stakes and great spectacle doesn’t produce fist pumps or wiped tears, then you have done something very wrong. Do it right, however, and you should create something that brings out the backyard make believe in kids of all ages.

Here are my top 5 emotionally moving moments from Science Fiction Movies. I have added the clip from each with a special extended one on the fourth.

  1. Tears in Rain: Roy Batty’s time to die in Blade Runner. It is the only actual burst of hope in what it is a brutally grim film. After a prolonged rooftop chase across director Ridley Scott’s smog drenched/rain soaked Los Angeles of 2019, Harrison Ford’s Gumshoe/Blade Runner Decker finds himself hanging from a skyscraper with his replicant nemesis Roy Batty watching his final moment dispassionately, until… as Decker falls, Batty’s love of life prevents him from allowing his pursuer’s death. Playing Batty, Rutger Hauer has never been better.
  2. Down Goes Biff: One punch changes everything in Back to the Future. With his very existence on the line, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly can only sit helplessly by and watch his (possibly not) future father crumbling under the oppressive grip of bully and potential rapist Biff. But then George McFly (Crispin Glover) finds something deep inside him, drops his tormentor and sets off a series of events that will send Marty hurtling forward to a new destiny.
  3. When You Wish Upon A Star: Roy Neary begins a grand adventure at the conclusion of Close Encounters of The Third KindAfter spending an entire movie being told he is crazy, Richard Dreyfuss finds all redeemed with an invitation to go where no man has gone before. It doesn’t hurt the moment is underscored by John Williams. Speilberg’s film, which saved Columbia Studios, still hold up thematically and technically almost 40 years later.
  4. Diving Out of The Sun: The Millennium Falcon saves the day in Star WarsI was 9 years old, and I didn’t think Luke Skywalker and his outmanned, outgunned compadres had any chance against the monolithic empire and their Death Star. Everyone else was gone, R2 was a casualty, and Vader had just trained his sights, darkly intoning, “I have you now…” I don’t know if anyone else was cheering. I would not have been able to hear them over my own.
  5. Beginning A Bromance: Bruce Banner drives off with Tony Stark at the end of The Avengers. This is actually a guilty pleasure of mine. I am certain I can name a dozen better crafted moments, but I am just a sucker for people finding friendship in what has been a lonely life. Watching Banner climb into Stark’s car always lifts my spirits, because it suggest that Banner’s isolated existence of intellectual starvation and deprivation of human affection is finally coming to an end.

I could name a dozen honorable mentions (I think Star Trek deserves its own list), but I have a feeling some of those are some of yours.

Would love to hear them…

 

Questions For Bernie Sanders’ Supporters

January 16th, 2016

Let me begin by saying, I am supporting Hillary Clinton for President.

This is a not vote of calculation, a resignation for the “lesser of evils,” nor a desire to help “break a barrier.”

I believe the former New York Senator and Secretary of State to be the most knowledgeable on the issues, to have a stronger understanding of the levers of the office, and to possess the greater wisdom of the limits of the position’s power.

In short, she is more qualified for the job than the Honorable Senator from Vermont.

And he is honorable.

In fact, the best compliment I could give him in this: he is so honorable that were he from almost any other state he would be the most popular radical professor at that state’s flagship university. I think Bernie Sanders would never compromise a single value of his.

And should he ascend to the highest office in the land, that very quality would undo him.

But those two topics topics will be detailed in later entries. I have made my support of Secretary Clinton and my opposition to Senator Sanders known to avoid acting disingenuously as a sort of impartial voice for what I am attempting to do next.

I have a series of questions for Sanders’ supporters that apply to the practical workings of the presidency as an executive office. They are not “gotcha questions” nor do they require an arcane understanding of constitutional procedure.

I am moderating this thread, so any bullying, name-calling, or simply posting the links to the opinions of others will not be put into the feed (however, links backing up your own thoughts are fine.) That being said, strong passionate opinions contained in your answers is not only acceptable but also encouraged.

  1. If he wins the office, who would you like to see him appoint at State, Defense, and Treasury?

Those are the big three, and define the inner workings of the office

It’s safe to assume that if you are a Sanders’ supporter, you have a pretty strong idea of what his cabinet should look like. I realize few people in this country have an in depth knowledge of the great minds many presidents have access to, so I don’t need you to name actual candidates (although that would be great.) But looking back over the years of appointments, who are figures that most represent the values you would like to see in those three positions?

Be careful about naming Elizabeth Warren to anything. She is much stronger a champion for progressive values where she sits.

  1. What do believe his legislative strategy is for moving those appointments through a Senate that will either still be Republican or bitterly divided?

You might get help from Senators Graham and McCain who still believe elections have consequences and Presidents have a right to pick the people with whom they want to work. However, you will also have others like Rubio and Cruz who will be coming out of a defeat and positioning themselves for a return from the wilderness in 2020 by blocking almost any genuinely progressive or dovish figure.

In fact, with Cruz, it won’t matter whom Sanders’ picks. The Texas Senator will be merely trying to give Sanders an early shit sandwich to demonstrate the limits of his presidential power.

And he won’t be alone.

Here’s a bonus question: Sanders is told that he can have Stiglitz at Treasury, but that the votes won’t be there unless a party-neutral-Henry-Kissinger-type and a former conservative Democratic Senator (such as Sam Nunn) are given State and Defense respectively.

He takes the deal. Is he betraying his principles?

  1. As president, one of Obama’s greatest failures was his inability to be the head of his party, and governorships around the country are indicative of that failure. If Sanders is elected, what do you believe his strategy will be to rebuild the grassroots of the DNC apparatus particularly in The Deep South?

Nothing had a more damaging effect on both the midterm elections and the expansion of The ACA than the seizure of state governments by ALEC, The Kochs, The Club for Growth, Grover Norquist and their various proxy Tea Party organizations in the course of the last eight years. North Carolina and Wisconsin are particularly egregious examples.

Who do you think Sanders’ gal or guy should be at The DNC to begin the long struggle to take back the rights of not only labor but also a citizens’ ability to litigate against corporate interests?

Both have taken a terrible beating in this new millennium.

I look forward to your answers.

Jim Fitzmorris

new orleans' theatrical pugilism