SFASU and Dallas Film and Stage Work, 1978-2002



Feb.1980 Headshot 01 Headshot 02 Headshot 03

1980

1990

2000

2010

(age 20)
(age 30)
(age 40)
(age 50)





Merchant of Venice


The Merchant of Venice

December, 1978

El Centro College, Dallas

As Gratiano. (Pictured: Me, Janis Davenport, Jim Lauten-Slager, Lois Leftwich)

My first stage production out of high school. I was 19 years old.

I researched the role carefully, making detailed script notes of everything he was thinking at every moment, and names and dates about his life.

Things were going fine. Then it hit, on December 9, 1978 -- my first anxiety attack.
It was the middle of the second act and I started feeling really sick. I didn't know what was happening.
Fortunately, we only had 3 performances, but it was a turning point in my life. It would be 11 years before I set foot on a stage again.


I Am Not A Coward


On the Set of "I Am Not A Coward," 1985

A production of Stephen F. Austin State University Film Department.

Winter held on and wouldn't let go.

We camped out the night before and I fell asleep by the campfire -- roasted on one side, frozen on the other.

We set up the crane and tracks and got a beautiful swooping tracking shot of a terrified soldier running for his life, with explosions going off in the background.

This was the most ambitious film we had tried all semester, and it looked great.
I ran Camera #4. People kept complimenting me on how steady my shots were through all the explosions and smoke.




Robocop


Robocop

October, 1986

Production Services by FPS

When I first hit Dallas, I did what I had to do. I flooded the market with resumes.
Of course, that's not the usual way of getting film work, and I quickly became a laughingstock.

And then came that call from Tom Alexander in the Fall of 1986.
There was a rock concert in town, and most of the Union grips were tied up. They needed somebody to fill in at the "Robocop" shoot.

I jumped at it. Union scale, $13.45 an hour for 8 hours. I felt like a rich man.

I worked on one setup, the scene at the left, the establishing shot of the police station at the beginning of the film.
We put lights in every window of the old building. It took about 4 hours. All for about 10-15 seconds of screen time.

The First AD kept looking at us, not sure if we were working or loafing.
One of the other grips told me, "Look busy, or else they won't let us bring you new guys out any more."

Thanks, Tom, for giving me my first big shot.


This Side of Heaven


This Side of Heaven

November, 1986

as Wade Hamilton

Produced and Directed by Earl Green

I was the Camera Assistant.
It was late, I was tired, and I was overdue to make a mistake. We were at Harris Hospital, and I made it.

I was loading a magazine with film and forgot to zip up the changing bag -- LIGHT!! A $75 roll of film -- exposed, ruined.

I was prepared to pay for my mistake out of my pocket, but Earl had an idea. He was going to let me play the role of attorney Wade Hamilton anyway, so why not let the roll of film be my acting fee?

I agreed, the Production Manager agreed, and the cameras rolled. My first acting fee.








Passage


After The Rain

April, 1987

(also known as "The Passage")

Pictured: Ned Beatty and Me.

One of the worst experiences of my life.

I was a Grip. Most of the crew were brought aboard by a department head, but not me. I was totally Freelance.

About a week into production, I found out that many (if not all) of the rest of the crew were getting per diems over and above their regular salaries, to cover living expenses, to the tune of $100 per week (about $600).

When I confronted the Production Manager with this, he said, "There's nothing I can do. You signed the Deal Memo!"
I went to the Producer and told him I was being cheated. He sided with the PM.

I should have quit right there, but I've never walked off a set. It was a matter of pride.

So I stuck it out for 6 weeks, with the Gaffer taking special delight in tormenting me, chewing me out in front of the crew every chance he got. There was a power struggle going on between the Gaffer and the Best Boy Grip, with me caught in the middle.
The theme to "Platoon" kept playing in my head.

"After The Rain" was one of the reasons I stopped working as a grip. Even today, I can't stand being on a film set.

Quick note about Ned Beatty. Weeks into production, Ned got the crew together at the club where he was staying, and bought us all steak dinners. At noontime, he got in the serving line and served us lunch. Every day. That counts for a lot in my book. Thanks, Mr. Beatty!


SRO-TV


SRO-TV

Cable Access of Dallas

Produced by Jim Schneringer

April, 1989

So you want to be a cameraman, eh? Very well! Here's your chance!

I took pride in my work.

I taped cables to my belt, I attached a special handle to the lens, creating the smoothest zoom-ins you ever saw. I crawled all over the floor, getting all sorts of different and beautiful shots, most of which went unnoticed by the Director.

It was fun for just over a year, then I got it out of my system, and everyone went their separate ways.

Cable Access of Dallas itself no longer exists. It is missed.

Some Show


Some Show

August, 1990

Pictured: Brett Eisner, Lee Hillis, M.E. Johnson, Me, Mikael Powell

My writing kicked into full gear around 1988, and I got involved in a couple of groups, first Creative Triangle Group and then Troop Movement, for whom I wrote a number of sketches.

I realized that probably no one would ever see my sketches unless I did something about it, so I got together everyone I could find from the two groups, and hey kids, we put on a show!

Late nights at Dallas Alliance Theatre. The only available venue in town.

No sets to speak of, minimal costumes and no one got paid. And for that, I apologize to everyone.

We got 1 review, from J.C. Innocent at the Dallas Observer.
His take on the production was, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."
Which was a backhanded way of saying he thought the show stunk.

Hey, you have to start somewhere!


Balcony


The Balcony

by Jean-Genet

September-November, 1991

as The General (pictured: Brigitte Bavousett, Me)

Produced by Classic Theatre Company (Janet Farrow)

I never understood why I was cast in CTC.

Typical CTC Director's note: "I pretty much like what everybody's doing with their characters, except Jerry. You need lots of work."

Apart from that, my time with CTC was a frustrating but strangely fulfilling experience with a family of professionals I loved and respected. 20 years later, I still stay in touch with several of them.


Trifle Dead


A Trifle Dead!

by Kurt Kleinmann

January-March, 1992

as Lt. Foster (pictured: Me, Kurt Kleinmann, Bob Tekampe)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

This is where it all began. Here I am, Lt. Foster chewing out poor Harry Hunsacker for doing some stupid thing.
And there's Nigel Grouse in the background, watching, waiting to break us up.

This was the first of 6 productions and nearly 200 times I slapped on that God-awful gray makeup to play the best role I ever had. Whenever I wonder what makes so many actors come back again to do more of these physically-demanding, allergy-inducing shows, the answer lies in Kurt Kleinmann's scripts --
-- you've never had a role like this.

Click here for more information about Pegasus Theatre.


Coarse Actors


Attack of the Coarse Actors!

by Kurt Kleinmann

August, 1992

as Tim Palmer as Lt. Frankford (pictured: Me, The Late Dr. Alex McCracken and Trae Hicks)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

I was always paranoid about costume changes, so I liked to set out my clothes on chairs in the dressing room so I could grab them fast.

Alex, never a man to mince words, saw me setting up a couple of chairs one night, and he read me the riot act.
"Listen, sonny, this is a small dressing room. The rest of us get one chair -- you get one chair -- period!"

Boy, was I embarrassed.


Better Days


Better Days

by Richard Dresser

October, 1992

as Arnie (pictured: Linda Coleman, Andy Martinson, Me)

Produced by Rising Moon Theatre (Dave Middleman)

I'll never forget the pizza.
Richard Dresser's script called for us to snarf down mass quantities of pizza as part of a weird religious ritual, so we struck a deal with a place that is no longer in business (thank God), to supply 2 pepperoni pizzas each performance.

Worst pizza I ever had.
Not only that, but it was cold by the time my scene came up.
The only thing worse than bad pizza is cold bad pizza!

Yuk!





Color Of Death


The Color Of Death!

by Kurt Kleinmann

January-February, 1993

as Lt. Foster (pictured: Karen Lamb, Dana Gillespie, Chris Messersmith, Bob Tekampe, Emory Rose, Barbara Weinberger, Kurt Kleinmann, Trae Hicks, Bob Leonard, Me, Jeremy Schwartz, Melanie Godek)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

This is my favorite black-and-white show.
Maybe because it's more of a "Foster" show than the rest, from the scowling portrait over the fireplace to the seance featuring the ghost of Foster's Great Grand Uncle Cyrus.

This one is a personal treasure.

Notice the Foster portrait above the fireplace, painted by the brilliant Bruce Coleman. Painting just one of these masterpieces would be a tall order, but the fireplace in this play turned around, so Bruce had to paint two portraits! A daunting task, but Bruce did it on time and within budget. I've been wanting to keep one of these as a souvenir, if I can find it!


Bluebeard-3 Bluebeard-2


Bluebeard

March, 1993

as Rodney Parker

by Charles Ludlam, Produced by Pegasus Theatre

To my knowledge, the shortest run of any show in Dallas theatre history -- 2 performances.

I should've taken it as an omen when the pants didn't fit.


Hysteria


Hysteria

October, 1993

as Sigmund Freud (pictured: Jim Pocta, Me)

Produced by Extra Virgin Performance Cooperative

The most difficult role I ever played. I was woefully miscast.
I never got a handle on the Yiddish dialect, and the subtleties of the performance eluded me. Never was I so glad for a show to be over.

Sometimes I think I was cast because I looked good in the beard.





Deadline


Deadline!

By Kurt Kleinmann

January-February, 1994

as Lt. Foster (pictured: Kurt Kleinmann, Bob Tekampe, Me)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

One of our many running jokes involved the underpayment of actors used as lighting crew, as a large part of the second act took place during a power outage, and was lit entirely by me and Bob Tekampe holding flashlights! It was a neat effect, and I'd never seen it done before.

One of my favorite themes in Kurt's Black and White scripts is how he manages to work out his continuing issues with theatre critics. (He doesn't like them very much.)
In one show, the critic turned out to be a sadistic killer.
In "Deadline!" he gives us a classic situation. David Cooper, the drama critic for the Daily Journal, sits at his desk through the whole play and goes completely unnoticed by everyone, even when several murders are committed -- then at the end of the show, gets up and goes home without noticing a thing!


8 by 10 #2 (107K)


Eight By Ten

July, 1994

as Soupy (pictured: Janet Hurley, Me)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

The director fondly referred to this show as "Hell By Ten".
The scene you see here originally featured another actress who dropped out of the production a few days before opening, and we had to recast the entire 6-person show to fit 5 actors. Not much fun!

Later, I overheard an audience member remark that I was the first superhero he'd ever seen with love handles. Why I oughta -- !



Death: Take 1


Death: Take 1!

By Kurt Kleinmann

January-February, 1995

as Lt. Foster (pictured: The Cast and Crew)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

The only show where I had to fire a gun onstage, and nearly made Kurt deaf in the process. There was a chase scene, and the murderer fired at Harry, Nigel and me. When we rehearsed it, I pulled out my gun (loaded with blanks), yelled "GET DOWN!" and fired, BLAM BLAM BLAM into the wings before Kurt had time to get out of the way. His ears were ringing for several minutes.

It gives you new respect for so-called "blank" cartridges!


Play It Again Sam


Play It Again, Sam

March, 1995

as Humphrey Bogart (pictured: Ilayne Geller, Me)

Produced by Irving Community Theatre

I was originally the Stage Manager for this production, but when director Karen Lamb was having trouble finding a Bogart, she ran into Dallas Morning News theatre critic Jerome Weeks at a party and asked him if he had any ideas. He said, "Get that guy at Pegasus Theatre, the one with the double name, whoever he is, the one that plays the cop." I wanted to write him a letter and say, "You idiot! You've reviewed me in 10 shows and you can't even remember my 'double name'??"

Why I oughtta ... !

Click here for more information about ICT.




Bikini Beach Bloodsuckers


Bikini Beach Bloodsuckers

Written by Andi Allen

February-May, 1996

As The Great Kahlua, produced by Pocket Sandwich Theatre

I've heard it recommended that every actor should do at least one Pocket popcorn melodrama, because it's such a unique experience.

I did two.

Andi has written a number of plays, most of which have been produced at the Pocket. She's won awards for her writing, acting and directing. She specializes in campy (and fun) send-ups of old movies.




Wax Lips


Wax Lips

Written by John C. Davenport

October-November, 1998

(Pictured: Paul Cox, David Stroh)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

My directorial debut.

They say directing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Most of the time, I would have to agree, as long as you observe some ground rules.

A director must always know what he wants, even if he doesn't. The cast & crew won't tolerate anything less.

A director must be ready at all times to collaborate, or at least make it look like it was someone else's brilliant idea.

I was proud of my work on this show. I've always secretly wished I could do another one.




Journey To The Center Of The Earth


Journey To The Center Of The Earth

May, 2000

Written by Me (pictured: Daniel McDonald, Raymond Banda, Coy Covington)

Produced by Pegasus Theatre

Jimmy Fowler got it. The critic for the Dallas Observer, instead of snobbishly dismissing everything at Pegasus as tired and trivial (as every other critic in town usually did), instead wrote a thoughtful and insightful treatise on the virtues of our production. Bravo, Jimmy!

I was blessed with a perfect cast. Coy Covington, the master of drag, played both a doddering old Englishman and a sexy Amazon Queen. It was a delight (as always) to see him perform. Raymond Banda did the impossible -- taking my volumes of speeches and memorizing every one. I was awestruck!

Leslie Patrick as the speechless cave girl and Lisa Anne Haram as the High Priestess. Lisa's "death song" was a highlight.

And the Blood Beasts -- yes! We made three look like one thousand.



Beginning to Look Lot Like Murder


It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Murder!

January-February, 2002


Written by Kurt Kleinmann
Produced by Pegasus Theatre

My last show.

I had been with the Legal Services firm for a couple of years, and one thing didn't lead to another, and I fell by the wayside.

Easy how time can slip by, and before you know it, ten years are gone.

Anybody need a Stage Manager?

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