Wednesday, December 5, 2012

69 Reasons to See "Aphrodite, or The Love Goddess"

The staged reading of my screenplay Aphrodite, or the Love Goddess is taking place on Friday, December 7, and I would love to see you all there! (if you can make it to the Exit Theater in downtown San Francisco at 8 PM.) Still need convincing? Here are 69 reasons to show up.

  1. It's the first screenplay ever written for the San Francisco Olympians Festival. History in the making!
  2. It's also the first screenplay I've written since I was a teenager, so it's your chance to see me work in a new medium.
  3. Besides, when was the last time you saw a staged reading of a screenplay?
  4. The "hook" of the piece (what I pitched last year in order to win the commission to write it): "The Aphrodite-Ares-Hephaestus love triangle, re-imagined in 1940s Hollywood."
  5. If you are a 1940s movie buff, you'll have fun playing "spot the reference" to try to figure out which films I am alluding to / stealing from.
  6. In fact, it probably features a lot of what you love about '40s movies, including: a romantic scene set on a train;
  7. scenes of glamorous people enjoying themselves;
  8. roles for character actors straight out of central casting;
  9. wiseacre quips;
  10. shadowy city streets in the wrong part of town;
  11. a love triangle involving a beautiful woman, a sexy bad boy, and a cuckolded sap of a husband;
  12. a cynical and fatalistic p.o.v.;
  13. and other film noir elements.
  14. There are also a few Greek-mythology in-jokes that will amuse people familiar with the lore.
  15. The reading is on December 7 -- Pearl Harbor Day -- and the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor appears at a key moment in the screenplay.  
  16. It's only 55 minutes long,
  17. but it has the most sex scenes of anything I've ever written,
  18. plus some '40s-style innuendo in the vein of "Just put your lips together and blow,"
  19. so it's probably a good choice for a date night?
  20. At the same time, my parents are going to be in the audience, so you can have fun watching me (and them) try not to cringe during the sexy moments.
  21. Our director, Sara Staley, has come up with dynamic but appropriate staging to bring the text to life,
  22. and put together a great cast, which includes:
  23. the beautiful Shay Wisniewski as the starlet Rosalie Seaborne (Aphrodite),
  24. the masterful Dan Kurtz as writer-director Fritz Vollkin (Hephaestus),
  25. the charismatic Paul Jennings as movie mogul Mr. Zusskind (Zeus), and
  26. the debonair Brian Thomen as war hero Lt. Harry Mars (Ares).
  27. Because the character of Fritz is a mild-mannered German-Jewish immigrant, Dan will do a German accent,
  28. and because the character of Harry is an R.A.F. pilot, Brian will do a Scottish accent.
  29. The versatile Patrick Barresi will play all of the other male roles, including a fast-talking studio flack,
  30. a self-absorbed matinee idol,
  31. an adorable little old man,
  32. an aw-shucks hick,
  33. and a ratty-looking hotel clerk;
  34. and the equally versatile Siobhan Doherty plays all of the other female roles, including a snippy secretary,
  35. a little old lady,
  36. and an officious bobby-soxer.
  37. To top it all off, Stacy Sanders Young will guide you through the screenplay by reading all of the camera directions,
  38. including two bravura montage sequences.
  39. Exercise your imagination by picturing the movie in your head as we describe it!
  40. This is the first Olympians Festival experience for my director Sara and many of our cast members. I have so enjoyed working with them and bringing them into the Olympians family.
  41. Unlike many '40s screenplays or even 2010s screenplays, this one passes the Bechdel test (if just barely).
  42. And the team who's putting this together (writer + director + cast + poster artist) is majority-female too.
  43. If you saw my play Pleiades last year, you'll remember how the Zeus character in that is an altogether nasty piece of work. Aphrodite features a much kinder, gentler Zeus.
  44. After the reading is over, I hope to do some blog posts about how I taught myself how to write a screenplay and what I learned from the experience. If you see the staged reading, these posts may make more sense to you.
  45. I'll be at the reading, and I plan to wear an amazing, absurdly appropriate 1940s vintage dress (thanks to the ladies at Ver Unica).
  46. I mentioned my dad will be there. Did I also mention that he'll probably be wearing a bow tie?
  47. And he has a great laugh.
  48. Almost as great as Claire Rice's (who will also be there).
  49. Our Box Office Babe, Tracy Held Potter, will sell you your ticket with a smile,
  50. and you'll want to check out what she's wearing, too, since she's theming her outfit to each show.
  51. Tickets are just $10 at the door,
  52. and for that price, you'll see two shows! Aphrodite, or the Love Goddess will be paired with Amy Clare Tasker's one-act Phoebe & Theia, or How To Get to Tartarus.
  53. This isn't the place to do a full-on pitch for my rival's show, but let me just say that Amy is very cool, and Phoebe & Theia will be very different in tone from Aphrodite, and I look forward to sharing the evening with her.
  54. After seeing both plays, the audience gets to vote for their favorite! So yes, I'm trying to pack the house with friends and supporters.
  55. That's right, you have the ability to award me a glorious victory or shame me with an ignominious defeat!
  56. The writers receive a cut of the box-office proceeds, and so do the actors -- another reason we hope to fill every seat in the house.
  57. Stuart Bousel will provide a brief introduction to the evening's subjects (Phoebe, Theia, and Aphrodite) -- his insights into Greek mythology are always worth hearing.
  58. You'll have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets and win a copy of our beautiful poster, by Kelly Lawrence (above),
  59. or our special "Aphrodite" themed raffle prize, a vintage 1940s art deco hand mirror.
  60. Did you know that if you see 4 Olympians plays, you'll get to see a 5th for free? See my show and you're on your way to taking advantage of this deal.
  61. Food and drink are for sale, and allowed into the theater;
  62. may I recommend the Exit Theater's champagne cocktail as particularly tasty and appropriate for a '40s play?
  63. After the show, we encourage audience members go out drinking with us at the White Horse, on Sutter Street,
  64. which is the perfect chance to share your reactions and feedback with the artists!
  65. This is a one-night-only event -- a unique experience.
  66. Indeed, I sincerely doubt this screenplay will ever be produced as a film, so this may be your only chance ever to experience this project of mine.
  67. Unless you are (or you know) a deep-pocketed film producer who would love to produce a 55-minute, Greek-mythology-based, 1940s period film? If so, please show up!
  68. But most importantly: theater and film are nothing without an audience.
  69. And I'm proud of what I've written, and I want to share it with you.
Once again, this one-night-only event is taking place on Friday, December 7, at 8 PM at the Exit Theatre, at 156 Eddy St, San Francisco. I hope to see you there.

Credits: Aphrodite poster art by Kelly Lawrence.  I also need to credit the inspirations for this post, which are twofold:
  • Evidently, the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs was originally going to be 100 Love Songs, but that sounded excessive, so they dropped it to 69. Similarly, this post was originally going to be 100 Reasons to See Aphrodite, but...
  • The other inspiration is my friend Megan Cohen and her habit of going on creativity blitzes. Sitting down and thinking up 50 or 100 ideas at a time, even if you only need one. I decided I would try doing the same.

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