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?