I enjoyed a great day as a costar on WU TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA, episode 301, airing later in 2022, directed by Mario Van Peebles. This was production’s first day back to shoot the show’s final, third season, and one could feel a small extra zing in the air as everyone got back to it. Mr. Van Peebles was a delight to work for, especially because he gave my role a little bit of extra love that I didn’t expect, for this small part, from which he built up a more meaningful moment than was necessarily suggested by the script alone. This is a carefully crafted, well made show, that without hesitation I recommend you watch!
When our eyes are not fixed on the news, hearts in our mouth for Ukrainians under siege on the front line of democracy, we have our heads down at work on upcoming projects, while also having had to put away other projects that, mostly due to the pandemic, did not work out.
My current schedule has me on set in N. Carolina in just a few weeks, mid April, for a starring role in a new film in pre-production at Atlantic & Pacific Studios; a film that had been scheduled to go into production two years ago, just as the pandemic hit, so I’m grateful to Dean Jones, at Atlantic & Pacific Studios, for keeping it going. Special thanks go to Dean for his perseverance, patience, and flexibility in making this film happen. More details to come as we get closer.
Another project that’s long been dear to me is a filmed adaptation of Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE–my vision for which I’ve been talking about for nearly a decade–that is also now coming to fruition. I have a directing and producing team in place, and we will soon go into pre-production, with casting to start within a few weeks, if all continues to go well. I’ll post details as we get closer. I’m a fan of so many great Shakespeare films that have been made over the decades by greats such Olivier, Welles, Branagh, Taymor, Luhrman, Kurosawa, and others, from all of whom I hope to learn and steal.
In personal news, I continue to live full-time in NYC with my personal other, while also spending a great amount of time working in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, as well as scuba diving, our most recent trip being to Bonaire for a week of shore diving in its extensive marine park, in which flourishes a magnificent protected fringe reef. Our next dive trip will be to Vancouver, B.C., in late summer, to dive with wolf eels.
Finally, a huge shout out to photographer Leslie Hassler, www.lesliehassler.com, for our head shot and promo shot session this winter, the results of which you see here (check out the bottom of the page.) Working with Leslie was fantastic and I highly recommend her.
I also recommend Clinton Brandhagen, www.clintonbphotography.com, with whom I also regularly work, whose head shots you’ll also find here. I feel fortunate to have found both Leslie and Clinton: just as actors and directors form bonds over time born of creative chemistry, so do actors and photographers.
Thank you for staying up on my projects. If you have any questions, never hesitate to contact me. Meanwhile, all hopes go to a speedy end of this awful war in Ukraine.
We won a New York City Arts Corp Grant to reprise the production of Vaclav Havel’s one act play, PROTEST, which I’ve performed off-and-on for several years now, in a production for The Alliance for New Music-Theater, directed by Susan Galbraith, and also starring actor Drew Valins (who’s unwittingly become something of an American expert in performing the iconic role of ‘Vanek,’ across from my ‘Stanek’). We’re performing for three nights in two different private homes in NYC: ‘apartment performances’ that recall the ‘apartment performances’ that were the only way to see Havel’s works, back in 1970s-era Prague, because they were banned from being performed in theaters, by the Communist government. These upcoming shows differ than past performances we’ve done–either in theaters or in private homes–both by how much Covid 19-era precautions limit the number of guests we can invite to see us, and by our preparations to adapt the play to a film version. We brought a camera into the rehearsal room for these upcoming live shows to play with ideas for our film, and a camera will be present in at least one of these upcoming evenings.
Finding myself increasingly pessimistic about the future of American democracy, and the more I find myself not knowing what to do about it, I find myself more grateful for this little play that won’t go out of my life, because it MAY–just may–be the best model for how I can best contribute to efforts to walk us out of this dystopian crisis. Havel’s writing is all about the distortions to the human mind and spirit created and enforced by oppressive ideology and its ideological enforcers. In the context of 1970s Czechoslovakia, that was Communism and the totalitarian policing of daily life by government hacks. In today’s context, oppressive ideology and the enforcement by ideological hacks comes from Trumpism and the GOP–most acutely–but also from the ‘woke’ left, though I’m heartened by a lot of evidence that progressivism is rediscovering its commitment to diverse thought, as well as to diverse ethnic and gender identity, and so I take the dangers of Trumpism far, far more seriously. I don’t have the political skill set–or the patience with the mind-numbing group think to which activists are prone–to be a political ‘activist,’ and there are too many writers who write and think better than I do to want to enter the ‘debate’ at a quasi-journalistic level, but I am an artist, meaning that I believe in simply 1) paying attention to daily life and 2) drawing attention to the experiences of daily life that make us who we are, and create the metaphysical condition of the possibility of change in laying down the infrastructure of hopes and expectations for a better future, that otherwise go consciously unnoticed, or are consciously suppressed by us. Havel does this work of revealing what we know about our daily lives but are either too distracted or frightened to say, and when we perform him, audiences momentarily light up in recognition (making the talk backs we always do quite a ride, sometimes). For the moment, by performing this one little play by Havel, I get to help in the work of reclaiming our shared humanity, and makes me think about how I may continue that work, when we’re done with this little show–if we’re ever done with it.
I love working with Clinton. He has an unparalleled eye for actor head shots targeted to casting’s needs. I waited a bit too long to refresh my older shots!
Phew! We’re coming through this thing at long last–at least in the United States, I know all our hearts go out to locales still struggling, at home and abroad–and, like you, I’m coming up for air, re-assessing the stalled progress on several projects that mean a lot to me, but have unavoidably been momentarily felled by the pandemic. Projects that were in the works are now in various stages of ‘hold,’ as collaborators and I re-negotiate with distributors, investors, and stars. I’d love to say more, but can’t, as of now.
I can say that I’ve been jumping into summer, scuba diving in the Caribbean (Grand Turk) and N. Carolina (wrecks about an 1:30 boat ride out of Beaufort), California (La Jolla cove), and soon to dive with the manatees, in Florida. I’ve also been road bicycling more than I have in years–especially rewarding has been riding in the Catskills and Shenandoah Valley–so I feel more fit than I have in years! It’s a great feeling.
I hope to update soon projects that are moving into production, so please do check in, occasionally. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have–be it about theater, film, tv, or scuba diving! Y0u can reach out via the contact form on this website, or just try me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk to you.