Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let's Wrap This Up and Turn It Into a Show

Reinhard's Rules of Riting was always meant to be temporary. It will become a, hopefully, comic one woman show.  I'm not sure what the uses are of Social Networking. It is much more important to have your ass out on a wooden stage, under lights, DOING something and I'm not sure what the next step is as we roll into the opening of The Talking God reading, which has been wonderful. I sense that I may lose the person who motivated me through all this and has been a wonderful support, but perhaps that was meant to be. The baby bird (with a cane) has to get out there and fly. Sorry that I didn't understand things perfectly from Day One, Baby Brother, it was all so new to me. There's a winter coming and we may cuddle up next to the computer, but it's going to have to become a sales tool. I have to get an agent. I have to write more plays BULLDOG will be the first new one in years and I am afraid of it, flying wild. R U HERE M I? about social networking is probably going to tear my heart out, but that's what I have to give you. Honest and brutal.  That's my job and I've been falling down on it. There's only eight of you, but thanks for the support. NEXT YEAR IN NEW YORK! Yeah. Right.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #27 Get to Know Me, Get to Know all About Me

It was stunning for me to actually be recognized by serious theater folk after ten years, but then, I had made a lot of noise back then. Not actually getting productions, but the usual reading-go-round. Readings are fine, but as I say, without memorization and sets and costume, you are trying to demonstrate a full painting without the full color palate. The Dramatists Guild Woman's Initiative did show me one important fact, you have to get your name out there. I may spend too much time on Facebook, but my scripts are being read around the world because I have them posted on Google Docs. A nice ego boost to get a compliment from London. I've discovered you should always be carrying a copy of your script. One nose twitch of interest and pa-pow! In their hand. But the possibilities of ever earning a cent on the stage are next to nothing. Even if you get to Broadway, you have to defer your cut to keep it running, sometimes for years. And you cannot get bitter. You cannot demand that they understand your script. It's your job to make it work. Period. There will be no explanatory sheets handed out. You either got it or you don't and if you do...it might be too expensive or it's been done last year...yadda...yadda. Do not make this the only thing in your life. It is just too damned hard.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #26

Do We Do it For Love...For Love of What?
My childhood being of the looney, spirit-crushing variety, I'm wondering if this made me a prime candidate for the Arts? I like to think I had a special talent that could not be denied! (No, I don't want to write a play right now, I want to bake brownies. GO AWAY!) Do I need to be noticed or do I need to have my characters imbue an audience with the truth? My truth. MINE! I haven't made that many sacrifices for my art. I always made sure I was sheltered and fed. That came first. I have watched the failure of people with greater talent than mine, who simply didn't have the mind to handle the business. I think of T. who had written a play so great the off-off Broadway audience was on its feet roaring every night. We wanted to move it on with bigger productions. He wanted to just tweak it a little and we never heard of him or the play again. I know how to dress and smile and shake hands. What in flaming Hell has that got to do with Art, except to sell it. But back in the day I was told that I was talented but they needed a gay or Hispanic woman. Changing my name to Tank Rodriguez would not be enough. Writing a masterpiece would not be enough. Needing it with ever fiber of your being...loving every moment of it...would not be enough. What I did for love gets superseded by what I did to pay the rent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #25

Your Show Comes First. No Canapes at the DG Tonight
I was excited to go to the first meeting of the Dramatists' Guild Woman's Group tonight from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in New York, but then, we had a small crisis with the readings of The Talking God. My cast and I need to sit down and talk about things tonight. We have to write up rehearsal schedules and make sure everyone is on the same page. It was a good first rehearsal the other night, but we drifted too fast into a tech run, which should be later. We were not all on the same page with schedules and the new draft of the play was not clearly marked to differentiate it from older drafts. If the performances are about the audience, the rehearsals are about the actors. I am not just the Playwright and Director, I must function as Producer because I am the one who understands the job. I fell down there, thinking it was other people. And as a female in all 3 jobs, I can't look weak. Even the most liberated of people are unaware that they see a female slightly differently if she lets them. I cannot let them see me swear or bend. I have to come in smiling, with an orderly book. They need it. They're the ones out on the stage, stripping themselves bare for me. So, no DG Canapes tonight. The Talking God has spoken.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #24

You Must Concentrate on the Play in Production, But I have this idea....
With rehearsals starting Monday for The Talking God (now 2 TWO 2 shows), I really should put everything else aside so that I don't get away from that backyard in Montclair, but I feel a bit lost. This blog will someday be a play. Probably my one-woman goodbye to New York/New Jersey, or a course in writing plays. The actual next one is Bulldog, but I can't touch that because the style is so different from God. Even though I am bored, I should read or clean or take a long walk. So much of my life has been affected by Facebook. And no, it is NOT a replacement for real life. It's turning into an education and a caution. A place to find Art and Writing and astounding friends. So, with two movies out about it right now, there certainly cannot be a play. Or is there? Is this the title?
R U Here M I
Great title, if I must say so myself. I cannot allow myself to think of what it would be about, or who. Facebook is about hiding and it is also about exposure. I should just concentrate on The Talking God. But DAMN! That's a good title.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #23

We have the date, time and space...do we have the play?
And with a lot of further ado, we are doing the reading of The Talking God at 3 p.m. on November 13, 2010 at the Unitarian/Universalist Church of Montclair, open to the public. In the sanctuary, the big room and the big old Pro had better get it right. I've had to present myself as She Who Knows What She's Doing. I would kill to have a director like David Macy helping me, but he's not a member, so I am directing it. I wisely went straight to David Macy and got advice. It's a big room to fill. We should be miked. The FB crowd wants a taping of it. We'll get to that when we stop hyperventilating. I can't look at the script any more. It looks too simple. Too sexual (Hey! It's a Reinhard). I have made sure to keep my cast together because they are the best of the bunch and Brian's the only one young enough to play Rob. So, we will send bus directions and driving directions. We have to make my friend Peter Gullerud's painting Blue Raven into the flyer with the help of my graphics friend Paula Hoza.  And we will plaster the New Jersey/New York area. We have the seats. Any change, we will advise. AIEIEIEEIEIEIEIE!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #22

Preparing for Networking--Am I a Crazy Old Lady?
I seem to have two events for one day on October 13 and that's a wonderful thing. One is the theater meeting at the Montclair Church, and the other is the new Dramatists Guild Woman's group, where I would be doing some NYC networking. DG, of course, forgot to note the time, so I don't know if I can do both, and I must decide. In the meantime, my sister and niece have gone through my closet finding better looking clothes for me. They also made me buy makeup and as I look at myself in the new guise, I realize that perhaps it can be Feminist to do what I want to make myself feel better. My new pictures all look terrific and I seem to be smiling, but how far does this go? What does attractive mean at 61? Is it obscene to think my life with men is not over? And if I've never been able to do the dating thing correctly, would it not be once more a source of pain and degradation made more so by everything running lower to the ground? I was told at 35 that I was too old to write plays...what about now? Dear God, what about now? But I must plant a smile on my face and shake hands and seem bright-eyed and optimistic. What choice do I have? If you have a time machine, I could be younger, but I was not the writer I am now. I'm so tired of cliches. I'm so tired of common wisdom. I want to be the exception to the rule, damn it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Special Day, Special Post

On my 61st Birthday, one more than Charlie Brown
I don't have to be Grandma of "Playboy" magazine.
I don't have to be a silver and turquoise wearing follower of New Age enlightenment or a Craftsperson, but I want to know these women and learn from them.
I don't have to be someone's Wife, Mom, or Grandmom and never will be.
I don't have to be a homeowner or a "market" for goods. I am NOT what I buy.
I am not supposed to like Vampire Weekend. I adore Vampire Weekend and Green Day and the Beastie Boys and Miles Davis and any Classical music played on the original instruments they were written for. Bartok makes sense to me.
I have rediscovered Feminism after years of neglect and I will never again define myself through a man, but I will strive to understand Men and treasure my new male friends in equality with women. We're all in this together.
The world is changing whether we like it or not. Let go of the stereotypes. Lose the fear. You may have to go to work, but you have the weekends to rock and roll. Just remember to take a nap first.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #21

We Are Family
Sorry to use an old "Birdcage" song. In the Navajo culture, the clan is more important than the actual family you are born in. We are clan Theater of the larger clan Art. We have to have each other's backs. Especially in these terrible economic times. I just realized that my friend, Peter, a truly great artist (and animal rights activist and poet and novelist) is my Baby Brother in many ways. My friend, Brian, is learning how to write and produce film (and succeeding). And all of us are a little obsessive and pretentious and probably didn't pay attention to the details of life while we sweated over a keyboard or a canvas. I have no husband or children and never will. I only have a pile of unproduced scripts. But Brian acts for me in readings. Peter may create a flyer for me (please, please, Peter!). I can't do a damned thing without a cast and crew completing my canvas. Go to readings of plays. Buy people's books and sculptures whenever you can. Support. Support. Support or we will all surely collapse and be gone. And that's a generation of Art we could lose.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #20

Never, EVER Underestimate How Tough, Nasty and Cruel This Business Can Be
As I limp toward the end of a run at trying to break into the Theater, which is pretty much dead unless we fight to revive it, I'm looking around me at the casualties. Too many of us get stuck in the Temporary job. I was lucky to avoid debt and can return to writing, but many didn't and can't get out of the "Temporary" job. I am planning a novel about the people who basically just live in New York City and perform for family and friends but consider themselves in Show Business because they spend Saturday night having dinner with other Show Business people. And they really just want to live in New York City, and are thus happy. We latecomers couldn't afford the rents. Thanks to Facebook, I've had a glance into Hollywood and hey! Guess what? It chews up the talented and drives them away even more efficiently than New York! The concept of "You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again" is true. But I've also met a group of Independent Film Producers and Artists who are having a grand time and making great little movies. I am trying to get theater started in Montclair, from the ground up, with readings at no cost. We are in danger of losing a generation of artists to the greed and the economy. I say we stand and fight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #19

Write the Perfect (Fill in the Blank With Play Name)

We did the reading of The Talking God last night and were delighted to discover that it is the perfect The Talking God. Doesn't mean it's a masterpiece or a huge seller, but that it is what it is and the story of The Talking God was told perfectly. That means, don't try to write Hamlet or The Twilight Saga (ICH ICH ICH), write the perfect version of your play. Get your vision out there. YOUR vision, even if it's as nuts as Najavo deities boinking all the women in the back yard of a suburban house. ("Gordon...what is he doing to her? I've never heard a woman make those noises!" "Neither have I, Martha. Neither have I.") "Frenzy Witchcraft" is my masterpiece, but you have to start with Charlie Malone. I was proud I could still just hear the words and not worry about the perfect casting. Prouder still that I blindly wrote exactly two one hour acts. BOOLYAH! And I again talked to the Pastor about teaching a playwriting class called REINHARD RITES!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #18

Is It Only Possible to Develop Plays in New York City?

OK, granted, they LOVE having plays developed in Colleges because the University foots the bill for the first production. However, are new plays really developed in most New York theaters or are the Play writing Classes basically just there to pay the rent and throw on a performance night at the end for friends and family. And the big productions go to the Professors of Universities. I ask this because my Nephew and Niece want me to think about moving to Seattle. Now, granted, with the Internet, there are many ways to submit a script. None of which have much punch unless you have an agent...which tend to flock to New York City. As a 60-year-old woman, I have virtually no chance but this annoying thine happened...I'm writing better than ever. However, quality of writing generally doesn't have a lot to do with it. I might love Seattle. Maybe there's a theater to work at but is the road to publishing there...or here? Do my readings in Montclair matter? What does an apartment cost in Seattle? And can I start over and make new friends. Remember, I am very, VERY weird and nonconformist. Or is that Seattle?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #18

Six Days Till The Reading of Talking God

I can't read The Talking God to myself again. It's starting to look frail and hollow. I can't worry about the actors as my faith in them will make them better. Joel told me he was going to have his script typed so I handed him a copy of Redemption so he can see what they are supposed to look like. I am aiding the competition. I don't have the heart to tell him I have a finished Gay wedding play. Someone in London is reading the script. I am thinking that London might be the place to turn to, my ego being great.

Glen and Patricia want me to move to Seattle. It is possible. I am so bored with Montclair and New York is too expensive. But what about the theater? Can I do anything anywhere at age 60? Still, the kids want to take care of me. But am I West Coast? Can I ever be a Moonbeam? Am I Jersey to the bone? This is the longest week of my life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #17

I Started With a Final Speech of Bulldog, Because of a Ghost
Me and men, some damned Feminist. We let them rule everything. We slave for them and mourn for them and alas, we spoil them. I did not say this. I should have said this. I should have not allowed the most brilliant human being...who taught me you CAN split infinitives in English, you just can't do it in Latin...I should not have let him disappear. Treasure such lessons as the split infinitive. We will never hear their like again.

You don’t have time, period, Burt! If you go out into the woods and rot in your Mother’s apartment, you will blow your chances to ever, ever give us all your beautiful words. Your mind. Oh, God! This is not about me! I know! I know! I’m weird and I’m crippled! I’m not beautiful! Got it! You don’t have to love me! But what about them? What about the readers? When God gives you a gift like this and you refuse, REFUSE to use it. What in HELL happened in your life that you can’t take pride in your mind...you can’t use your talents. Did your father beat you? Did a priest abuse you? What happened to make you hate yourself so much? Why won’t you fight back?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #16

Now, Comes The Hard Part
After months of whining, I have the actors. I have the room. We're ready to do a read through of The Talking God on September 20...and we seem to have an audience. Now, usually, I would ask you to do your first reading without any viewers, so you can just work. But the theater group at the church is feeling so much enthusiasm, I'm going to let them see it and pray. You have to time it. You have to hear lines go CLUNK! and fix them. People don't understand that you have heard the CLUNK! and want to fix it. They will just remember the CLUNK! And that is what they might tell their friends. I also have not heard 2 of the actors, but then, that's something one would have to deal with and the play has to help the actors do it right. I tell actors about my play set in the hills of Virginia not to worry about the accent. Because it's my job to make sure it's there. There is just something about the Southern Girl's "Fuck You", which is the phrase "Now, isn't that special?" that actors instinctively know. The most important character in The Talking God is Charlie Malone. I have to have that "He'd be a good friend to have right now, Son." laconic THING in the words. I cannot look at other plays. I cannot work on other plays until the 20th of September. I may explode.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #15

Dedications Can Be Fun and Dangerous

One of the best moments of writing is when you are done and ready to dedicate a play to someone. It’s a small gift and a bit of a statement. “Talking God” went to my Niece, Patricia, as she is a dancer. as is the character, Bonnie Fieldstone. “Kinaalda” went to Paula Hoza, who rescued all the plays from her closet. “Frenzy Witchcraft” went to FXA, a man so charming, manipulative, and destructive that he makes Voldemort look like Chuck E. Cheez.

And then “Tutorial” is “For DB--Thanks for putting the “sweet” in “bittersweet.” Thirty-two years ago. WOW! And of course, he was easy to find on the $%@!*& Internet. So, I sent him a message. He replied, friendly, remembering me...kind of. I asked if I could send the play and he replied: “Sure!” And I did. And silence. And what else could there be? If he didn’t really remember, I was just a crazy lady. And if he did...I was someone he remembered painfully. It was meant as a “Goodbye”, so I had to then leave the room, stop bothering him, go away. I pray that he saw it as something good and simple. You deserve nothing but the best, Big Guy. Be happy the rest of your life. You have done so many good things for so many people. (Googled and found a thousand references of accomplishments. Can I pick ‘em or what?)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #14

Choose the perfect music, till you get the bill

One of the benefits of obscurity is that you can pretty much use whatever music you want because no one is going to see your production who can make trouble by calling in the Royalty question. I have been so obscure that I don't even know where Royalties are calculated, but I suspect ASCAAP is involved. If there is any publicity, you may have to change your idea of the ideal.

The strangest thing has been happening lately. People are finally reading my plays and are telling me that they are good. Even that sick m#$%@(* "Frenzy Witchcraft," which, DUH, is a masterpiece. It makes it really hard for me to be sensible and accept that a 61 year old cripple will never be produced. The only thing I have to do is get them to READ it, which, most play readers for theaters and contests are trying to avoid.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #13

The Internet--A Stalker’s Paradise
I have a television writer character in Bulldog called “Burt Oosterhaus”, who is OF COURSE, based on someone I know. I discovered that the newspaper in Albany has DOZENS of “Burt’s” columns from the 1990’s. And this one, strangely enough puts my feelings for “Burt” and “DB” in wonderful perspective. I quote from KN (the real “Burt”...SCARY smart and self-destructive.)

Words like "forever" and "always" spring more easily to the lips of lovers than to other people. There is something in the experience of falling in love that makes us comfortable with the never- ending - a concept that, in other contexts, can be terrifying.
But what, exactly, is pledged when we promise to love another through time? Are we promising our love will keep pace with the person who changes and grows and diminishes as the years go by? Or is our loyalty devoted only to an idea of the beloved as he or she is now, adoring an image trapped in a mirror long after the real person has left the room and gone on with their life?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #12

Jump! Jump! Jump Around

OK! You might be having a reading of "The Talking God", or they might prefer the one act "Redemption". You wrote them both. They are totally different styles and headsets. In the meantime, you have to get jumping on the newspaper story "Bulldog", so that you have a brand new drama to peddle. Nobody in this one is allowed near a bed, that means you, male and female war reporters. I am not used to bedless plots. Also, you need to have a new comedy to sell, so start making notes for "Flounder on a Roll". BUT, snap! Back to "The Talking God", in case there's a reading. Learn makeup and lose weight so that you can get in the Saleslady Mode. Remember Mamet, Always Be Closing. Big purse needed for carrying scripts, remember that "God" costs $7.00 to xerox. And realize that the gun battle in drama "Redemption "needs clarification. (I love being a chick writing a gun battle.) Fix that page. Uniform color is wrong in Comic "Tutorial". Fix that page. And remember that you promised to read that friends novel when you no longer are capable of describing characters beyond "A tall man in a long coat, with a wide brimmed hat over his eyes, enters.) Which is the hugely charismatic and complicated Charlie Malone. Leave rest to actor and director. PUFF! PUFF! AND DO THE REWRITES ON GOOGLE DOCS, too. YOU ASKED FOR IT!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #11

August is the Cruellest...and loooooongest month

Nothing much theatrical happens in August. This is the vacation time. The blow-up-up movie time and YOU do not have one coming out. There are no contests. No reason to schmooze anyone with any power because they're off at Casa de Loco Lupo Whatever. You have to wait. There will be some signs of life, but they will run away quickly, their flip-flops flapping. You have to wait till after Labor Day. The Internet, I'm discovering, is the stalker's paradise, but if it involves a University YOU HAVE TO WAIT! Trust me. I have these 5 plays and I gotta just hear human beings read the words to hear what I have. But nooooooooooooo...they're at the Beach! And with the East Coast entering day 75 of heat above 90 degrees...they are not coming back till after Labor Day and then they'll be ALL BUSY with getting the season or the academic year. SIGH!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #10

To Steal or Not to Steal...That is the Query
As I dive into the monster "Bulldog", I am spinning tales from thin air, but sometimes, there's the thickness of reality. I have a television reviewer and I worked with a television reviewer twenty years ago when United Media created more than comics. In a review of "Thirtysomething" he came up with the fabulous line, and I recreate from memory: "In the 1970's, we marched down the street, shouting Dylan's lyrics: 'Something is happening, but you don't know what it is...do you...Mr. Jones?' at the top of our lungs. In the 1990's we whisper it into the bathroom mirror at 2 a.m." OUCH! BANG ON THE TARGET! PERFECTION! WHEW! Men wept. Women offered their bodies. (I was between boyfriends.) And then, he disappeared into the wilds of the Massachusetts mountains, never to be heard from again 'cause he was a TEENSY nuts. I don't think he owns a television or a computer, but he probably talks to the moose. Can I then...use this line? The character's name Burt Oosterhaus is a play on the real name. I'll credit the character...BUT DAMN! That's a good line!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #9

Yes, I know there were 2 sevens, but is anyone reading anyway?

In many ways, blogging is indeed talking to oneself. I am stunned a bit by Facebook. I feel there should be one for happy, sunny, people. One for people who want to talk about every meal they have (and are really, truly disinterested in YOUR meals). And one for the nutsy, delicious artists that I like to hang out with providing they don't beat one over the head with causes. Since Obama failed us, I no longer care about causes. I now have a ton of material. I don't need to pay some theater's rent taking "Writing Classes," and am not sure what to do with the lumbering beasts I've created. I am happy that the young lady is having success with "Bachelorette Party", but the fact that they get drunk and hump strange men IS A CLICHE!!!!! TV writing done big. WHOOPEE!!! I Thank God I didn't write that play. I'll stick with my little State Trooper and writing a really great scene of his last traffic stop. They got Valjean, but they paid with their lives...YES! BE ORIGINAL! LOOK CLOSELY AT LIFE! DO NOT LISTEN TO THE "EXPERTS" UNLESS TELEVISION AND FILM IS WHERE YOU WANT TO END UP! Hey! It's fun knowing no one will read this! I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #8


I had not been able to track down two one act plays, so I decided a little challenge would be recreating them. Alas, they ARE outgrowths of the trilogy. I felt bad about putting Riza through the hell of “Frenzy Witchcraft”, so it is actually MY “Redemption” and I wanted to give her a good man. I introduce Virginia State Trooper, the wonderfully named Christian Soldier:
Valjean Roland.

I run the procedure. Check the plates on the computer. Get out my book and pen. Unsnap the holster on my gun and place my hat on my head. I take a moment to talk to Jesus. I tell him that I understand that he believes in Peace, so it’s up to him to make sure this encounter stays peaceful...and if it doesn’t, then he has to understand that I have to do what I have to do. We seem to have come to terms with the necessities of my job.

I couldn’t resist thinking of the story in "Frenzy" of Rob Jr. being 16 and losing his virginity to his 22 year-old Tutor. It is, of course, called “Tutorial”. Could be a fun double bill.

OK. Let’s look at this Binary Table. There’s my first lesson...what the Hell is Binary?
(Serena casually removes her blouse, exposing her lovely breasts clad in a lacy bra, and picks up a tee shirt and dons it. She is barely aware of Rob.)
It’s a number system based on two. Each number expressed by powers of two by using only two digits.
Two. Right. God bless two. I just love the number two. You know, I am in the room and I did pass puberty three years ago.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #7

Drag Yourself Kicking and Screaming into the 21st Century NOW!

OY! Spent a day driving my friends nuts, but I have posted the plays on Google and my friend taught me how to turn the 20 character file names into short names. Talking God is now http://tiny.cc/talkingg instead of the formula for making cold fusion. And I apologize to all the friends I drove nuts with messages. It's great that I can e-mail submissions and play entries instead of printing and posting (sorry printers), but I don't have all the right formats. (And don't tell this MAC, but it may have to be r-e-p-l-a-c-e-d soon.) Remember the first rule of computing: cheaper is always better. It may not work better, it may not serve the client better...BUT IT'S CHEAPER and isn't that all that really matters?

No blogs for a few days. Preparing for a Colonoscopy and that kind of expression will probably trump this till Friday. (The spell check suggested Cloudscape or Kaleidiscope for Colonoscopy. I wish.)

Friday, July 30, 2010




$90 bucks, a pulse and a script!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #6


One of the reasons more than one rewrite of any piece is needed is that you must first get the plot straight, and then go back to create motifs and symbols that flow through the play, holding it together. The second draft, especially after a table reading, is where the fun begins. “Flores! Flores por los muertes!” the chant runs through the Williams play, driving home the theme with a sledgehammer as only 1950’s plays can. (Especially meaningful and disturbing to me as my Doctor is Jose Flores. Seriously. Glen Ridge, NJ. Look it up.)

As bored as you are about hearing about my never-to-see-the-light-of-day trilogy, we had dragged you into the process in an earlier blog by talking about changing Rob Senior’s suit in the first play, “The Talking God”. The changes in Rob’s suits are very significant in #2, “Kinaalda”, as he slowly becomes Judge Gallagher. (No, not like Dredd. My plays are not quite pulp. And you reeeeaaallly don’’t want a “Frenzy Witchcraft” video game.) In the final play, “Frenzy Witchcraft”, I thought I had finished it, but it dawned on me. SUIT! And I had not answered the question: “Where has Rob, Junior been the last three years? Well, stop losing sleep. In the final scene, he is wearing the full dress blues of a Naval Lieutenant. Rounds out the scene, puts him BACK in the wandering, heroic mode of his Grandfather in the first play. And I had a fun time on the web site of the Naval Judge Advocate’s Office that actually has a subject ATTORNEY AND WANT TO JOIN. OK! Sure! Get in there. Question: Are you an Attorney? Um. SURE! And it takes 15 weeks, including Officer Candidate School and voila! A new Looie! Well worth it as long as Naval Intelligence doesn’t show up at my door. AND THE THEME IS COMPLETE!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #5


I was told, in no uncertain terms, by 2 theaters, and both my directors, that the title of my 1999 play about the Johnstown Flood “Sails on the Mountain” was too long. I was contemplating reviving it when I saw that the Goodman Theater of Chicago is currently working on their own Johnstown Flood play.



O.K., O.K., I’m not the Goodman, but COME ON! See, the lake was ABOVE Johnstown, and a lot of people, being illiterate, didn’t know it was a private club and they would look up from their backbreaking, dirty jobs in the valley and see SAILS ON THE MOUNTAIN! No, it’s not like “Dances with Wolves” (Got bless you Pauline Kael for calling that movie “Plays With Camera.”) Ya got yer mountain. Ya got yer sails. Sails on the mountain!

Bottom line: Nobody knows what’s going to appeal to the public as their tastes change constantly. Yeah, you don’t want it to be bigger than the marquee, but name it whatever feels right. If it affects the sale, then come up with something else. It may be more memorable to call it a one word like “RENT” or “LOOT” or “ORPHANS”, but if you’re in the zone and you know what your play is, you will know what to call it.

And that’s why my new play is BULLDOG. See “Citizen Kane” and you’ll know why and what it’s about.

Reinhard Rule of Riting #4


It is necessary to take classes in playwriting and to get readings done as you don't know what you got till you hear it and you will probably hear it at the end of the classes. Remember, the most desirable playwrights come from colleges BECAUSE THE COLLEGE PAYS FOR THE FIRST SHOW. And what do playwriting classes do? They pay the rent.

That said, go by the teacher. The best I had were the Mad Genius, Patrick Meyers (K2), at T. Schreiber Studio and Will Scheffer (Big Love, HBO) at EST. Patrick got me $6,000 worth of prizes by teaching me, if I don't have actors, read it out loud myself. You have to hear it SOMEHOW. And it is revenge on my noisy upstairs neighbors, who might have me committed some day. Will Scheffer is God. When people ask me why I don't write about MS...don't have to. Will's AIDS play, "The Falling Man" says it all. Find it.

Will taught me freewriting. Take the characters and do a scene that is not meant to be in the script. Take them to the grocery store. Change their genders. I just saved my trilogy by changing a character's suit. Rob was the perennial do-gooder, charity, public service lawyer in cords, Reeboks and a VW. I put him into a Bill Blass suit, gold watch, and convertible and changed him to a Corporate Lawyer. Rob Gallagher, Associate, Archer and Peales. Management Led Buyout specialist. KABOOM! Suddenly, it all worked. And kids, your freewrite ALWAYS goes in the play. Bless you, Will! Hope HBO is making you rich.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #3


After 40 years slogging at this, play writing pretty much breaks down into original scripts and adaptations. If you want to adapt great literature, the words "great literature" should not make you think, "Prithee, Farthingale, wast that thy hound I heard falling into the moat?"

The adaptation has great legs, often provides a one-woman show (Guys: anybody done a one man Hemingway?) for an actress and has the plots and the characters pretty clearly defined. The challenge is to interpret it for the stage.

For the original script writer...the challenge is that white screen in front of you. I was going to say "white sheet of paper" BUT THAT JUST SHOWS HOW OLD I AM.

Had to update my 15 year old plays
I called your cell phone a dozen times. Did you get my messages?
Damned thing fell in the river. Pirhanas probably choked on it.

And the solution of the Kinaalda question


(Bonnie’s grave. Night. Wind is blowing. Rob enters, dressed in an overcoat and scarf, leather gloves. He is faultlessly groomed and is now completely Judge Gallagher. He walks to the statue and stands, hands crossed in front of him. In the darkness, we see a bit of movement. It is Charlotte. She enters silently and sits on the bench behind him. A long silence. Rob’s shoulders start to shake a bit and his head drops. Charlotte stands and comes to him, lays her head against his back and puts her arms around him. This must be quiet and low key.)
Riza cries herself to sleep, asking for you. Robbie wants to know what he did wrong.
I know. I’m sorry.
Charlie’s my son, Charlotte.
I know. And I am Riza and Robbie’s mother.
Seven years old! And already...this...morbid. Hateful.
Don’t. Don’t. He can’t help it. Maybe they’ll be someone in Washington who understands this.
I’m not sure you should come with us.

ALAS, BEING GOOD PARENTS, she goes to Washington.

AND NOW, THE OPENING OF FRENZY WITCHCRAFT. Ladies and gentlemen, fresh from the bowels of Hell: Charles Solomon Gallagher:

(Charlie’s voice blasts a war cry and he runs down the aisle and onto the stage, dressed only in jeans and boots, soaked with water, soaked with rain. The music is “Guilty” by Gravity Kills. Loud. He dances joyously, glorying in the rain on his body. There is a duffel bag at the edge of the stage. The music stops.)

Charlie, full power
GOD BLESS THE ARIZONA RAINSTORM! POW! BAM! AND GONE! Black sky’s already full of stars again. Like diamonds on the breast of their Mother, anthracite. Damn, but freedom is sweet!

Monday, July 26, 2010

We pause to contemplate our current opus

KINAALDA The Middle Child of The Talking God

What's fun about having so little chance of getting a play done, is a certain freedom to let yourself go. My The Talking God trilogy starts from the light, optimistic, save the Earth opener "The Talking God". The closer play is about as dark as anyone has ever written a play, called "Frenzy Witchcraft". It's one reading had people yelling "Bravo!" and then coming over and smacking me in the shoulder saying things like "There's something wrong with you for creating that monster and then you made us CARE about him!" Well, we have to get there from Play One and Play Two is "Kinaalda". (Navajo coming of age ceremony for girls.) I have to take my characters and lead them into huge errors that, indeed, creates the monster of the Third Play. I want to warn them "DON'T DO IT!" "RUN! RUN!" But that doesn't serve the trilogy. And it has to possibly stand alone, which it probably will never do, though one and three can. It's really kind of sad. I feel bad for them. THEY'RE NOT REAL...but then, they are.

Amazing. Start with one blank sheet of paper and 180 pages, 12 characters and 6 hours later...there you are.

Reinhard Rule of Riting #2


Zac is reading along, trying to concentrate on whatever emotions his pretty head is capable of, and he does not have time to correct your typos. "Oh, that this too, too, solid flash should..." WAIT! UM. ER. No. You don't have to worry about punctuation, that's why you write plays... (Ellipsis covers so many moments), but you must not toss a stone into an actor's already precarious path. I have to read my scripts once a day for a week, with hearty screams of "#%@#%#$%!" when I have misspelled or assigned the wrong character name to a speech, like one who had just "#%#$%#$%ing" died!

Producers have huge piles of scripts to read. They are looking for reasons to stop. Don't give them ammunition with typos. Also, don't start a play with "Back in the day when trees were people and could talk..."* This will make their brains hurt and THERE GOES THE SCRIPT! "I think the throw's going all the way to the green, Al!" *The Talking God" by S. Reinhard.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reinhard Rule of Riting #1


Always remember that no matter how wonderful, witty, or profound your script may be, there is a limit to the human bladder. If the act goes over one hour, you will hear rumbling and after more than an hour, some folks, especially folks like me with MS bladder, will have to take a fast run to the facilities. You can throw the Snit from Hades about it, but when they gotta go, they gotta go. Give them regular breaks and they will be much happier viewers and can take time to applaud at the end, rather than having to leap over exiting audiences to get to the shiny white throne. And why are there NEVER enough for women?