The Five: Bruuuce

Anthony R. Miller checks in with tales of The Boss.

Hey you guys, It’s been a pretty crazy week or so. We just wrapped up TERROR-RAMA auditions, which went incredibly well. My play, “We Were Acting Like We Owned The Place Before It was Cool” will be in week 4 of ShortLived. Daredevil Season 2 is friggin great. And the basement at PianoFight is actually this really fun intersection of Bay Area theatre where at any given time, there are people rehearsing, auditioning, or running around in pasties. It’s a magical Place. But Last Sunday I got to go with my Dad to see Bruce Springsteen perform at Oracle Arena. I have many feelings, coincidentally, there are five.

Really? “The River?”

The Concert was billed as a full performance of “The River” with some greatest hits. Now, for those that don’t own every Springsteen record ever made, The River is a decidedly Pop record, the themes are bigger and broader. But I would hesitate to put it in the Pantheon of his greatest work. I mean, that’s just me. It’s not his most famous record, he never claimed it to be his favorite, but it does have a few of his bigger hits like “Hungry Heart”, “Prove It All Night” and of course the sad-ass but kinda beautiful in its melancholy story telling, “The River”. Why he decided to tour this record in its entirety, I do not know. Maybe it was just an excuse to tour, which works for me. Bruce Springsteen is one of the greatest live performers in the history of music, so if he’s doing a concert, you should just go.

Best Bachelorette Party Ever

All sorts of people like Bruce, he’s universal dangit. One of my favorite things to do at concerts is look at other people reacting to the show, observing their experience and connection to the music. On this night a big group of women were sitting in front of us that were obviously part of a bachelorette party. NowI have to assume the Bride to be was a huge fan, I mean why else would someone celebrate their last moments of single-ness at a Springsteen concert. Now the fact that they were at this concert was reason enough for me to assume they were roughly my age (cough cough, mid to late thirties cough cough) Another dead giveaway was at the beginning of the concert they were driknig, dancing and rocking out out. But as the concert progresses, they slowly sat down, danced every now and then, and one of them was actually asleep by the end. But not the Bride people, the Bride was there to get the eff down. She never sat down, not once. She was dressed in a tiara and a black shirt with “Bride” bedazzled on the front.The was not a moment when she wasn’t pressed against the rail with a beer in one hand and the other hand waving in the air. She never every word to every song and for all intents and purposes, there was nobody else there, it was just her and Bruce. I can only speculate what the show meant to her. “The River” has a lot of coming of age songs. So maybe for her that night was saying goodbye to her old life, preparing to move on to a new era. At this point, she is assumedly married, so congrats to her, here’s to hoping the wedding reception featuring lots of dancing to “Tenth Avenue Free-Out”

We Should All Strive To Be This Awesome At Age 65

At Age 65, Springsteen played a three hour set, featuring “The River” and then another hour and fifteen minutes of greatest hits. This guy has unmatched energy, he’s a friggin powerhouse. There is something so joyful and rewarding about watching this guy perform. Maybe it’s because you get to watch someone who is truly doing the thing that makes him happiest. It’s the kind of joy you only get in sharing something that is special to you with thousands of people who feel the same way. But man, at age 65, Bruce puts most 30 year olds to shame. It’s unreal.

The Religious Experience That is “Thunder Road”

Fun Fact, since I was 14 “Thunder Road” has been one of my favorite songs ever. It’s just a perfect friggin song. The lyrics are expressive and descriptive without being super literal. It’s a musical adventure making the most boring and mundane life sound epic. It’s about how any moment of our lives can feel epic and important, fueled by the importance of now, the desire to leave to move on, to be able to accept you won’t be what you thought you’d be, but there is always possibility in this life. So on this night, I finally saw this song performed live. And as those first few notes of piano and harmonica start wafting through the arena, the song feels new, like I’ve never heard it before, but I still know every word. It’s exactly the experience we hope for when we something live. That you are so captivated by what you’re watching, you can’t think of anything else. The only thing that matters is the words you are hearing, and the person saying them. It was like seeing a monument, or going to Paris or something. It’s not until the climaxes in a storm of piano, guitar, and saxophone that I realize this something I always wanted to see. And in a small way, my life is different, because of that experience. The experience that is everything you hoped it would be, this is what I imagined hearing this song live would be. In this moment, I am being rewarded for loving this song.

Growin’ Up

So, as I rocket into middle age, I’ve been contemplating the nature of getting older. It’s not easy for everybody, the world we know changes at a crazy pace in your thirties. Priorities change, people move, get married, have babies. They stop being who you knew them to be. The notion of accepting you are not young anymore can be daunting. But The fact is, as I’m sitting here writing this, looking back on a really great week, thinking about how much fun that concert was and all the things I did right to experience these things, I smile. The fact is, I only miss the energy and sheer determination I had in my mid-twenties, the ability to obsess on one thing. I prefer older me, older me has the insight to appreciate his position in life. I think of sitting with my Dad and how far we’ve come in our ever changing relationship. I think of a 65 year old man on stage who gives the middle finger to old age every night for three hours. I think of things that I’m so happy that I got to see or experience and hope there is time for more. I think of the Bride singing the songs of her past to welcome her future. I think less about the things that are gone, and more about how lucky I am to have things that are still here.

Well, my feet they finally took root in the earth, But I got me a nice little place in the stars.
And I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car”

Anthony R. Miller is a writer and producer who isn’t always this sappy. Keep up with him at www.awesometheatre.org and on twitter @armiller78

The Five: Falling Short

Anthony R. Miller checks in with…some stuff…I guess

Hey you guys, for whatever reason, I’ve been struggling to come up with any epic 5-part articles about anything important, or anything. I’m very good at talking myself out such things. Every now and then it’ll occur to me to make some grand statement about the state of theatre or what we can do in the Bay, but then this voice in my head injects. It always says the same thing, “Who the fuck are you?” Sure, I could write some kind of manifesto and use this blog as a soapbox for bomb-throwy articles, but like who am I? I’m just some dude who puts on shows, I’ve never really considered myself an authority on anything. Most days I lack the hubris to criticize anyone with the gumption to produce theatre in this town, If you’re doin’ the damn thing, I support you. So here’s the truth, I got nothin this week, I mean, I have things but not five things. It’s like two things, but they’re quality things. So, yeah, I apologize, I’ve let you all down. I will make a concerted effort these next two weeks to have an opinion on something that I can express without sounding a like a dickhead. Or at least I’ll think of five interesting things to say.

Go See “Over The Rainbow”

Last night I caught the newest Theatrepub show, “Over The Rainbow”, a bizarre sort-of tribute to Lisa Frank. It closes tonight, and you should really see it. Tonya Narvaez has outdone herself as the writer and director of this crazy-ass drug addled fairy tale. Not to mention Andrew Chung’s greatest performance to date as a beleaguered frog king who drips with genuine pathos. (I marvel at how legit that last statement sounds, considering I am talking about a grown man portraying a stuffed frog come to life.) So do yourself a favor, go to Pianofight tonight, order a few beers (it helps) and a basket of fries, kick back and go on a magic carpet ride of weird, it’s an hour well spent.

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION
In the last two weeks a whole crapload of information for TERROR-RAMA ii: PROM NIGHT has come out. It’s all on the website and you should check it out immediately. There’s the hilarious video “Stoned Horror”, our completely rad poster and AUDITION SIGN UPS!!! Yes, yes, yes, you can audition to be part of the fun and join our cast of creeps and weirdos. Auditions are March 20 and 21 at Pianofight, so go to www.awesometheatre.org RIGHT NOW and pick an audition time. Or tell someone about it, spread the word.

Anthony R. Miller is a Writer and Producer who usually has more to say, follow him on twitter, @armiller78.

The Five: New Theatre-isms

Anthony R. Miller checks in to add some new words to your theatrical vocabulary.

Hey you guys, we all know the basics of theatre terminology, up is down, down is up, right is left blah blah blah. But after a few years you tend to create your own Theatre-isms to describe different aspects of putting on a show. Your own insider lingo, so today, here’s a few of my personal favorite to add to your day to day conversations. Remarkably, there are five.

Shitshow– A production that looks fine from the audience perspective, but a whirling storm of chaos and disorganization behind the scenes.

Example: “I have a friend on the crew and she says it’s a total shitshow backstage.”

Turd Rolled in Glitter– A very good production of a very bad script.

Example: “I was really impressed with the production itself, the actors, the sets, the costumes, but the play itself is SO BAD, they didn’t polish the turd, they straight up rolled it in glitter”

Method-Nerd– An actor that is obsessed with their process. Decides early on what their characters favorite meal is and eats it before each performance, does 2 hours of breathing exercises, has taken every acting class and 3 day Meisner workshop imaginable. Takes character shoes home, so they can walk around in them. Requests to be let into rehearsal hall an hour early to do tai-bo in perfect silence, stands in front of mirror closing their eyes, breathing in and yelling “Awake!”

Example: “The actor who played the baker was amazing.” “Yeah he’s kind of a method nerd, to prepare for the role he went to baking school. On the upside we get fresh cinnamon rolls before every show.”

Running for Mayor– The act of increasing public appearances at other people’s events and shows in order to not look like a dick when you’re promoting the crap out of your own show in 2 months.

Example: “Anthony sure has been around a lot, I usually don’t see him at this many events.” “Oh he has a big fundraiser coming up, he’s totally running for Mayor right now.”

Tom Cruise School of Acting– An actor who gives an emotionally genuine performance but never really creates a character outside of themselves. You believe the character is sad or happy or in pain, but they just play themselves.

Example: “Wow I totally believed she was a jet pilot with a tortured past.” “Sure but it was just her acting as if she was a sad jet pilot, not like another person, total Tom Cruise School of Acting”

Anthony R. Miller is a writer, producer and all around wise-ass, keep up with him at www.awesometheatre.org and @armiller78 on twitter.

Theater Around The Bay: Listening To You

The Five has the day off, so our Executive Director, Stuart Bousel, is publishing a little follow up to last night’s final performance of the year. Did you know 116 people have come together to make Theater Pub happen this past year? That’s 116 writers, directors, bloggers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, and crazy creatives coming together for virtually no pay to revive the company that aspires to be our common community theater. Excellent work everybody! Last night was for you!

Today I walked to work singing “Listening to You” and felt like I knew everybody on the street. I smiled at everyone, and they smiled back. I wanted to hug people. That is RARE for me.

The best thing about the annual sing along is that it bring us all together. We’re all nervous. We’re all under-prepared. We’re all hopeful. We’re all suddenly caught up in the magic of it. We’re all hitting balloons around the room and singing to one another, and then we’re all suddenly done and back to every day life. ‪#‎igetthemusic‬

As Marissa Skudlarek wrote on Facebook today: “Last night, as I stood in front of a packed house at PianoFight belting out the final chorus of “Pinball Wizard,” the giant blue balloon “pinball” that the crowd was batting around came my way, and as I hit the last note, I gave the balloon a mighty push and watched it SOAR over the tops of everyone’s heads ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE ROOM, and I think it might’ve been the fucking coolest thing I have ever done in my life.”

It was magic. Real magic. And just like real magic, if you blinked, you might have missed it.

The ephemeralness of theater is a huge part of what makes it so good. “Everything dies. I want to die when you die!” the heroine of my favorite novel (The Last Unicorn) tells her prince when he urges her to accept immortality instead. She gets it because she’s been acting a part for some 100 pages by that point and she doesn’t want to stop. But he knows the finale is coming, and it’s going to be incredible- and then over. ‪#‎igettheheat‬

And then on to the next thing. Keep yours eyes posted for the new 2016 Theater Pub schedule and January events. They’ll be hitting digital pages soon. Meantime, here’s the opening speech Marissa Skudlarek and I wrote together in my bedroom Sunday night, and that I lost at the bar before the show, and had to more or less improv over the roar of the overture. Thanks again to everyone who came out last night and made it such a success. And if you missed it- well I hope you found some magic of your own. ‪#‎iclimbthemountain‬

Clare Prowse, Marissa Skudlarek, Sam Cohen, Juliana Lustenader, and Amanda Ortmayer rehearsing "Sensation" on the co-opted set of "Dead Dog's Bone"

Clare Prowse, Marissa Skudlarek, Sam Cohen, Juliana Lustenader, and Amanda Ortmayer rehearsing “Sensation” on the co-opted set of “Dead Dog’s Bone”

“Welcome to Theater Pub- THE LAST Theater Pub of the year.

Through the years it has become a tradition that, annually, we take off our serious thespian hats and put on our secret musical theater sparkle hats- the ones most of us haven’t worn since we were seventeen and singing along to cast albums in our bedrooms instead of having sex. OR WHILE WE WERE HAVING SEX.

For those of you joining us for the first time, we want to stress that this is not a musical theater production, but rather a bunch of mostly non-musical theater actors, impersonating a rock band, a rock band that only covers musicals. We’ve given you hymnals so you can sing along- especially the songs we’ve printed the lyrics for, especially the sections in bold- but if you know the rest, feel free to join in. This is our version of a holiday mass.

This theme will be coming back later. I’ll be singing it. Perhaps badly.

This year’s holiday selection is a tale of a young man born to a World War 2 widow whose lost husband returns, murders her new boyfriend, and swears the boy to secrecy- instantly striking him blind, deaf, and dumb. What follows is a series of mystical encounters as first the young man is sexually molested by his uncle, then tortured by his cousin, then given LSD by a prostitute. He then miraculously becomes a pinball champion, and a quack doctor identifies a link between his symptoms and the mirror in front of which his father’s crime of passion occurred so many years before. His mother smashes the mirror, setting him free, and he instantly becomes a world celebrity- Just like Jesus.

Eventually, after some wandering, he meets a young woman named Sally, whose innocent questions teach him the true meaning of Christmas. Now, if at any point you’re thinking, “This doesn’t make a lot of sense” I want to remind you that this story was first told by a bunch of people on a whole lot of drugs. Just like the story of Jesus. And what’s more Christmas than adultery, muder, denial, molestation, abuse, drugs, pinball, magic-mirrors that steal your soul, rock star allegories, celebrity melt down, the hero’s journey, forgiveness, true understanding, miracles and unresolved endings?

Nothing. That’s what.

So now is the time to open your hymnals and get ready for the 20th century’s answer to Jesus: the one and only Tommy. Yes… Tommy. The bar remains open the whole time. Please get yourself a festival beverage or six. I’m going to ask Duncan and Charles to join me here at the stage. Our run time is 70 minutes. The bathrooms are over there. Thank you very much for coming out tonight to celebrate with us. And now… Guess Who?”

Photo "Go To The Mirror" taken by Rob Ready, from behind the bar, at last night's show.

Photo “Go To The Mirror” taken by Rob Ready, from behind the bar, at last night’s show.

Want to sing along? Now you can! Just click HERE!

The Five: At the Intersection of Art and Politics

Anthony R. Miller checks in to see if he can just turn off his brain and like the dang show.

Hey you guys, so we all know SF is a liberal place, we just had an election where the Democratic mayor did not have a conservative opponent, just more liberal ones. We have naked parades and theatre companies whose ideals and personal politics play a big role in programming. Now, I consider myself a pretty progressive fella, but still a beneficiary of white male privilege. And lately there were some moment where I found myself almost in conflict with my personal politics and my ability to just enjoy the show I was watching. Naturally, I have some thoughts on it, and wouldn’t you know it, there are five.

Dare to Be Traditional

Last Friday, I attended the opening night for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It was the inaugural production of SF’s newest company, Bay Area Musicals. Without doing anything resembling a review, what really stuck with me was how daring it all felt. I don’t mean it was daring because it applied some greater concept and turned the show on its head to make a stunning new interpretation, I mean the exact opposite. Here we are in SF, a city at war with itself and the looming shadow of large tech companies and corporate culture, and they put on a show about a guy who basically schemes his way to the top and relies on the privilege granted by the corporate patriarchy to get away with all of it. Let’s get something straight, I’m a fan of the show. It’s funny, the music is great, and it’s entertaining and nothing but. But man, is it dated. The female lead aspires to marry up, the boss is cheating on his wife and it’s basically fine, everybody hits on their secretary, and in the end when our hero is seemingly doomed, he simply relies on the notion of “Hey, c’mon, we’re all bros here.” So to put this show on in SF in 2015 felt daring. Because while the play is a fun satire of corporate culture in the early ’60s, it’s a fairly forgiving one. So in light of that, you would think in SF the play would be given some kind of political facelift, some kind of new angle that shows us why the play is still relevant. Nope, they just did the show exactly how it’s always been done; it was big, fun and unapologetic. It had a punk-rock-like defiance. In the cradle of liberalism and progressive politics and artists who strive to make theatre that has its own identity and relevance, they said “fuck it.” Here I was watching a traditional musical comedy performed as it was traditionally intended and apologized for none of it, and that felt non-traditional. To not re-invent the show, felt inventive. Now to be fair, BAM’s season also includes Hair and La Cage Aux Folles which are liberal as fuck, so it all balances out. Where the culture of SF did really sink in, was the exciting diversity of the casting, actors of all sizes and color were used in a show that traditionally would have white people with perfect bodies. Oh, and I really enjoyed it.

Art vs. the Artist

This one is a cheat, but go with me. I’ve been a longtime fan of the band Eagles of Death Metal, the band that was playing in Paris the night of the horrific attacks. With all the newfound attention on them, a dirty little secret (unless you’re an obsessed fan like me who reads everything about them) is that the lead singer is super conservative, like Trump-supporting. Here’s the problem, the band kicks ass, they’re fun, riffy, boogie-down rock and roll. There is no agenda in the music, just a rockin’ beat. So I ask myself, “Can I still like this band when the lead singer holds views I find abhorrent?” It is the notion of choosing the Art over the Artist, does the artist need to be a good person who is in compliance with my politics to create art I can enjoy? If the art has nothing to do with the artist’s political views, am I still allowed to like it? Does the artist need to comply with my personal politics in order for me to like their art?

Giving Tuesday

Ok, this one is a non-sequitur, but hey it’s for a good cause. Apparently we have a name for the 5 days after Thanksgiving, so after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, today is Giving Tuesday. Today we can put aside our frothy-mouthed consumerism and give our money to some great causes, and Bay Area Theatre has lots of them. Here’s a few suggestions, SF Sketch Troupe Killing My Lobster, who had an amazing 2015 and are doing some great educational partnerships. SF’s Ray of Light Theatre has begun its Illumination Campaign (speaking of musicals in SF) and the Diablo Regional Art Association, who are giving free theatre tickets to kids. Custom Made Theatre Company, who just moved to a much larger space, is recovering from a robbery, and is one of the Bay Area’s fastest growing companies, is also doing a drive, and will be launching a New Works Development program next year, amongst other exciting changes.

Feeling Bad for Laughing

I’ve been lucky enough to attend several productions that are part of the Curran: Under Construction series at the under-renovation Curran Theatre. It’s pretty awesome; the shows are performed with the audience onstage to create exciting, intimate and interesting new shows. I recently saw Steve Cuiffo is Lenny Bruce, a one-man note-for-note reenactment of the work of Lenny Bruce. And while the guy was incredible and I laughed a great deal, there were uncomfortable moments. There is a whole bit laden with racial epithets, a bit that uses lots of colorful language for homosexuals, and while Bruce’s work was daring, controversial and a brilliant examination of what we find offensive and why, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at times. And I’m not here to say whether or not it’s OK to reenact this material, personally I enjoyed it for what it was, but MAN I couldn’t help but think that Lenny Bruce would be savaged for his work these days.

The Whyness of it All

A big question we like to ask ourselves in seeing theatre is “Why this show?” Why does it exist? Why is it being performed? Why am I watching it? When I think about all these things, I wonder about the conflict of theatre that exists just to entertain and theatre that is trying to say something. Is one more valid than the other? Is being entertaining enough? I would say yes, escapism is just as important as work that is critical of the world around us. Is it OK to like work that hasn’t kept up with our own progressive attitudes? Am I a bad liberal for appreciating Lenny Bruce or philandering bosses or music written by people I probably would dislike in person? Is it OK to not worry sometimes and just enjoy myself? That’s a lot of questions, and I don’t really have the answers, but if there is one thing that makes me think these plays are still important is that even though I enjoyed myself, I’m also asking myself all these questions. Which may be exactly why they’re important.

Anthony R. Miller is a writer and producer, and enjoys laughing as much as he enjoys thinking. Keep up with him at www.awesometheatre.org

The Five: The I Didn’t Go to the TBA Awards Round-Up

Anthony R. Miller stayed home from the Prom.

Hey you guys, so if you’re here for an exciting round-up from last night’s Theatre Prom known as the Theatre Bay Area Awards, you have barked up the wrong tree, because I didn’t go. But let’s be clear, I’m happy for those who did, happy for those who won, performed, presented, and whatever else, good for you, way to leave the house and wear nice clothes. These kinds of events just aren’t my thing, they just aren’t, I’ll go next year I promise, or maybe the next. However, it is not to say I did nothing last night, in fact I had quite the evening which had many highlights, and remarkably, there are five.

I Made Tacos
They were pretty good tacos too, breakfast tacos to be exact. What was most remarkable about them is that my girlfriend (also a theatre worker) and I actually sat down at the table and ate them together. We talked about our days and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a theatre-miracle.

I Made a Prop
I’m using “I” here pretty liberally. I bought the materials, and then once my beloved girlfriend was weighted down by breakfast tacos, I managed to get her to actually assemble the prop for me. She can sew better than me; seriously I would have just hot glued the thing together. It looks pretty magnificent. Curious to see the prop? Well then you will just have to come see CHRISTIAN TEEN DOLPHIN-SEX BEACH PARTY at the SF Olympians Festival Wednesday, November 18th at 8PM (also known as tomorrow.) to find out, and you should, because the cast is so darn funny.

I Watched Wrestling
Because it was Monday. Besides, it was the Quarterfinals for the WWE World Heavy Weight Championship Tournament. Priorities people.

I Cleaned My Office
My home office / large closet where the cats poop had gotten pretty bad, it had to be done. But I find sorting through 6 months of crap (figurative) on the floor is a pretty effective “look back” on the theatrical year. I went through programs of all the shows I saw, prior drafts of old scripts, yellow pads full of production notes and receipts, lots of receipts. (Remember kids, if you buy someone a drink, talk about working for them, and then end up working for them, that drink is a tax deduction.)

I Got Into the Morrissey Plays
In January, Theatrepub is presenting a night of plays inspired by and about Morrissey. I am thrilled about this because Morrissey is, in fact, my spirit animal. I mean, c’mon guys, I would have gone out last night, but I didn’t have a stich to wear. Around 7pm, with my slipper-adorned feet resting on my now clean desk, I went through my emails to discover my short play, “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful” got accepted. I’m pretty excited and Thankful about it and it’s about an awards show, so that kinda brings us full circle right?

In all seriousness, congrats to everyone involved, according to Twitter, it looks like it went well. I’ll go one of these years. Also, on an unrelated note, it doesn’t take much effort to realize the world is a big scary place right now, so even when it seems really hard or maybe even a bad idea, be excellent to each other. The world needs love sweet love.

Anthony R. Miller is a writer and producer, he’s not much for fancy parties. Keep up with his doings at www.awesometheatre.org.

The Five: Olympians Opening Night Rundown

Anthony R. Miller checks in after a night of revelry and faux-congeniality.

Hey you guys, so last Sunday was the big opening night party for the Olympians Festival, where a bunch of regularly bookish and shy people dress up and revel in the kind of self-confidence that comes from knowing 80% of the people in the room. Wine was consumed, dolmas were eaten, and plays were read. I have a few thoughts about it, astoundingly, there are five.

Small Talk Olympics
Some people are natural conversationalists. Interesting things just fall out of their mouths like they were storing them in their cheeks like hamsters. At any given point you can engage them and they will have something witty and insightful to say, they are naturally comfortable and charming. I am not one of those people, but wine helps. When I know I have to be in a social situation for several hours, there is a process of preparation. I need to have a few topics in which I can talk about for 3-5 minutes with different people, I even plan a few jokes, I know it sounds ridiculous right? But for someone who really likes their alone time, it’s a necessity. The first person to engage me asked if I had heard the new Miley Cyrus record (“Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz”), and of course I had. That killed like 5 minutes right there. Other go-to topics for me were the “Squatty Potty” commercial, (If you haven’t seen it, drop everything and watch it now.) the new Star Wars movie (because even if you don’t have an opinion on it, that’s basically an opinion.) and of course “Are you excited for your show?” All the while the same mantra runs through my head “Make eye contact, don’t say something stupid and for God sakes, cover your mouth when you laugh so your giant teeth don’t frighten anyone.” Good Times.

Fancy Pants
Before the TBA awards came along, The Olympians Festival Opening Night Party was the original Theatre Nerd-Prom. Turns out we all clean up pretty nicely. After years of getting flak (Good-naturedly of course) for my go-to v-neck shirt/ suit jacket combo, I shook things up with a v-neck sweater under the jacket. Cause every girls crazy bout a sweater wearin’ man. And as much as I’d rather wear jeans and a t-shirt to everything, getting’ gussied up can be kind of fun. But I draw the line at ties, ties are for weddings, funerals and job interviews. What am I, a banker?

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Meet and Greet
A fun part of the night is meeting the actors who will be in your show. With the exception of fellow blogger Marissa Skudlarek (Whom, incidentally is going to change American “Theatre forever with her performance.) and Mr. Jeremy Cole, my cast is comprised of people I saw for the first time at auditions. It’s great to chat, get their input on the script and meet the people who are making your play happen for the first time. I still get weirded out when people talk to me like I’m important, but again, wine helps.

Dolma-Mania
Every year there is pretty awesome spread of Mediterranean food. So if you’re a fan of hummus, dolma, and falafel, you’re in luck. But it was the giant plate of cheese that created the most internal conflict. As I stumble into my late-thirties, my stomach just can’t party like it used to. In fact two days before the party, my doctor said I couldn’t eat diary for a month. So there it was a giant tray of pepper-jack and cheddar temptation. To be honest, I gave in pretty quick, I assume they serves cheese sandwiches in heaven. And until the wine kicks in, eating is a great thing to do when you’re nervous. But once I got my fix, I stuck to dolmas, lots of them. I ate so many dolmas, I’m pretty sure my blood is at least 37% olive oil. But hey my doctor didn’t say stop eating things with olive oil in it.

The Future is Bright
This year’s festival is going to be great, a lot of returning writers and some new faces. So make plans to see at least a few of these readings. There will good plays, ok plays and total trainwrecks, but that’s the fun of it. What was really exciting was hearing the list of writers for next year’s festival. There were so many new names, less returning writers and the introduction of Egyptian gods (Polytheism, it was a thing.) So yeah this year is gonna rock, I’m genuinely excited for some these plays. But man, next year is already looking like the most exciting year yet. So stay posted, do what your doctor tells you and drink wine, grapes are good for you.

Anthony R. Miller is a writer, producer and introvert. His play; “CHRISTIAN TEEN DOLPHIN-SEX BEACH PARTY” will be performed on November 18th as part of the San Francisco Olympians Festival , and promises to be at least mildly amusing.