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The second run of Graduation was a great success. Eric was a great addition to the team. It was a good amount of time away from the project, and the approach I took was essentially to reconstruct the skeleton of if then redo the details as needed. By the time we had gotten to the final rehearsal it was completely different, yet pretty much the same. Eric brought a very different energy to the role. Moments landed a completely different way, which of course changes the flow of the scene. I think that Jason was able to find a much deeper portrayal this time. More and more seemed to become touchstone moments – he landed them every time. Jokes became clearer. And most importantly, the big ending, where the script calls for what borders on the pyrotechnic, was clear and focused, where last time he hadn’t reached that point enough and the energy went everywhere. Eric brought a real sense of fear to the role. It is imperative for the character to have a very solid wall around him with a very charismatic and slick veneer. But underneath he is very scared. It was a great challenge tinkering with the balance. I think it was a great success.

Eugene also made a few great line changes which I think really streamlined the piece. We had been talking about that especially in light of the fact that he is working to expand the piece, that we can really take all of the information that is superfluous to just the scene. For example, in his outline of the larger play, the parents play a very large role. However they aren’t mentioned except once in the short. So for the sake of the clarity we removed that reference. But the choice was a hard one. It sat right in the middle of the “big reveal monologue” and was a powerful thing to say. But without any backstory to strengthen it, it seemed to take away from rather than enhance. I think he was pleased in the end with all the changes. I am honored that he takes my creative input seriously from a dramaturgical perspective.

The most unfortunate part of the process was the fact that I didn’t even get to see the final product! I went out of town for the beautiful wedding of my very good friend Beth Hardaway! (Congratultions Beth!) But I heard that everything went perfectly. You could hear a pin drop I’m told, and there was nothing but good feedback. So congratulations to the cast of Graduation, and thank you for a great experience.

I’m spending much of the rest of the summer in a bit of a personal retreat. I’m really trying to get my brand in order and treat myself like a real small business. (A real-live small business, not a really small business… you know what I mean.) I took a big step and am organizing all my old files. It feels good being able to work from a place of organization. I want everything to feel clean and focused and not strung together. I highly recommend doing this!

Hope everyone is staying cool!

simply,

Greg


 
We had a great audition for the next run of Graduation this week. There was a relatively small turnout, we did it by invitation only. Special thanks to Doug Shapiro, who I randomly ran into for supplying a number of names. We ended up casting one of his recommendations, Eric Brakey. Check him out at www.ericbrakey.com. I’m looking forward to starting rehearsals after the 4th. Unfortunately, I’m not even going to get to see the show. I had a preexisting (and much needed) vacation planned. But of course I’ll be sure they’re totally prepared before I leave.

Right after the audition I had a nice catch up with Zac, with whom I’ve been collaborating. He just finished up his last piece with the Governor’s Island Festival. I’m excited to get back to work with him.

The week was topped off with a great coaching session with Kelly McCabe. In the quest to build her book, we have already found two great monologues for her – well she found them and I helped her decide that they’re actually good for her… at least I think so. I have scheduled a new appointment with another client – one who I didn’t know from before!

Have a great 4th of July everyone. Here’s to the start of a relaxing summer!