Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surfacing Wrap-Up (Video to come later)

Alright, so we had a roller coaster ride this year. Two directors (one the AD) and one show out, no venue and a near void of on campus advertising, and we pulled it off.

I have to thank a not small handful of people here, so let me do that:

First, to Jenni, my original director and the original Artistic Director: You laid the foundation for the show, and it could not have been done without all the work you did. I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to see it through, but I'm sure we did you proud. And I don't just mean Apartment Ten, I mean the whole thing.

To Megan, who did her best and beyond to fill Jenni's shoes. Megan, now, when you leave, your shoes will be enourmously hard to fill. You rock and we all love you.

To Kathleen, my awesome friend, pretty much my favorite former co-worker and my favorite schoolmate, and the writer of the best show at Surfacing 2008. Thanks for organizing the cast party at the last minute. You are incredible. Just like Target was never the same after you left, Webster will never be the same without you. You've been a true friend, a confidant and always a shoulder to lean on, and you know that I've always been and will continue to be the same for you. More than just the general you rock and we love you (which is true), you absolutely rock and I love you.

To Michael Ericson, my advisor and the faculty advisor to Surfacing. Sorry for the last minute jolt, but as you became well aware eight days before the curtain went up, communication this year was next to non-existent. Your help was not just invaluable; it was infinitely more important than anything else in those crucial last few days. Thank you.

To Hannah, writer and subsequent director of Confessions of a True Romantic. You did it! This is less of a thanks and more of a congratulations, but thanks to you anyway because without you, Surfacing 2008 wouldn't have been the same. You, Kathleen and I were certainly not the only writers who cared, but I think the three of us got the full experience out of Surfacing that we possibly could have.

To the family and friends who came to see the show. I want to write, and it's because of you that I don't give up. Thank you so much for the support. I appreciate all the kind words about my play, even if I don't believe mine was the best, it was nice to hear it from you.

To Theresa, whom I met at the cast party Saturday Night. We had never met before and probably will never meet again, but that only makes your comment stand out more. For those of you who haven't heard this story, I introduced myself to her, she introduced herself to me, she asked me if I was a writer or director and of which show, and when I told her I wrote and directed Apartment Ten, her eyes got big, she grabbed her boyfriend's arm and said, "That was my favorite one! Dan, didn't I tell you that was my favorite one? That was my favorite one!" Hearing it from family is awesome, but hearing it from a stranger can be life fulfilling.

To my cast. Beth, Tyler, Sheri, and Sam. Each of you reached into your character and brought out something I didn't intend but that should not have been left out. I guess the right cast for the script can do that. Beth, thank you so much for stepping up and being my assistant, I needed you more than I think I let on. Tyler, I wish we had more nights just so I could see what else you could do with your character...taking a bite of the pizza? Ho-ly awesomeness. Sheri...what can I say, except Oh God Yes? And Sam, awkward white boys everywhere are in awe of your awkward white boy dance moves. For serious. You four were the best cast I could have possibly hoped for. Watching the other plays, looking at the people I had considered for your parts, I realized how completely different the show would have been, and I don't think it would have been half as good.

To the rest of the writers, directors and cast members not yet mentioned, you all were awesome. Thank you for not bailing when things looked grim. Four days until curtain and we still didn't have a venue, and you stuck it out. We couldn't even get into the venue until the day of, and nobody lost their cool. And look, we came through it and I made many new friends and so did you. You were all fantastic.

And, finally, last but not least, I want to thank my wife Kathy. Not just for video taping Sunday's performance, not just for showing up with three people outside the Webster University fold, but for everything else. While you had no affiliation whatsoever with Surfacing or Apartment Ten, neither would have been a success without your love and support. Thank you for believing in me, thank you for your honesty, and most of all, thank you for loving me. Sometimes I wonder why you love me, but I read something last week in a play by Neil LaBute: Don't worry about "why" when "what" is right in front of you. Okay. Sounds good to me.

Sorry for those of you looking for a review of Surfacing, I just can't do it. Stay tuned, though, I'll throw a video up here as soon as Google Video Uploader takes care of it. If you want to read a review, I suggest not going to Lanz Christian Banes' um, "story" about Surfacing at The Webster University Journal for a review as it is not in any way shape or form a review. Also, note, that I am listed as a senior and not a junior. Despite this typo, the dean has decided I am not eligible for graduation (even though I cited the saying "If it's in the paper it must be true." He says that only holds if the story accompanied by lots of complimentary colorful graphs and pie charts like USA Today). Lanz himself has a long history of not getting the story right, or of getting only half of it, or of telling an in-depth investigative piece when he should be reviewing a play festival. But enough about how much I dislike this guy. This is about my play.

Well, like I said, stay tuned, I'll post a video of it soon. It will be located at the end of this post, right...um...just a second...wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...keep waiting...hominahominahomina HERE:

(video to follow. not here yet)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coming Attractions

Coming soon to an Interweb-Gateway-Enhanced Computeroliamatron: Updates Galore! The long-anticipated series of posts from the acclaimed writer/producer of such favorites as "You Think You Know Webster University?", The "Fall Break Blogapalooza Extravaganza," and "Your Questions, Answered: Volumes 1, 2, 4, and 5" comes this season's most exciting epic:

Elliot Is Not A Writer: The Blogpire Strikes Back!

Read as Elliot updates you on Surfacing:

Elliot: It was totally awesome, except for the botched back flipping Ninjas and the untimely pizza delivery. That poor squirrel never saw it coming.

Continue reading as Elliot restarts his Tuesday Excerpts:

from a Term Paper, Spring 2008:

...Oim a gud gohrl, Iyamm! God, just shut up, Liza Doolittle. You make me sick!

Watch as he answers your questions:

Q: Are you...do you like...you like girls right?

A: Yes, mother.

Read his All New Free Write Fridays:

And suddenly, without warning, the sentence ended before it was finishe.

Coming soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, as I said before, we lost our venue. And now we have a new one!

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 18-20) at Nerinx Hall, EAC Auditorium (if you come, just follow the signs). Nerinx Hall is the all girls Catholic High School next to Webster University in Webster Groves. Friday and Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2. It should be fun. The plays are as follows:

The Walk On - A Study in Heroics, Villainy, Innocence and Plot Twists.
One Hundred Million Dollars and The Penguin Trainer - A Treatise on Fate.
Don't Die In Teeter - A Portrait of Life and Death in Rural USA.
Confessions of a True Romantic - The Love Life and Times of A Young Woman.
Apartment Ten - A Gripping Tale of Love, Death, and Take-Out.
Cafe Deux Parfaits - Fifty Years in Four Cups of Coffee.

Things are going well with the show. I mean, we have some kinks to work out before tomorrow night, but things should be smooth. I was having trouble with some of the performances from my cast, not anything I could put my finger on, just a nagging sense of something, but last night at the dress rehearsal almost all of those nagging lingering doubts were blown out of the water. I think it was being in front of an audience of sorts that made it work. It's hard to act in front of just your director, but when you've got a room full of people, the adrenaline kicks in. I'm proud of my cast for the way they pulled it off last night.

As for the rest of the shows, they will make you laugh. Some might even make you think. Some might make you cringe and/or cry. But that's to be expected in the Theatre.

I hope to see you all there. Becca, catch a flight. Minnesota kids, it's all about the carpool. Home friends, you will be written out of my will and into my stories (and not in a good way) if you do not come. Family, you are obligated. OBLIGATED!

I will not take no for an answer.

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Okay, Joke's Over...

If you hadn't already figured it out, that last post was indeed an April Fool's Day Prank. Not the best one, but the better one I had planned fell through due to a lack of the victims being home. Silly parents.

But now, to the bad news; In two weeks, Surfacing has lost the artistic director (and subsequently, the director of my play), the venue, and an entire play due to people pulling out. Damn.

So, our Assitant Director stepped into the Artistic Directing role, and I stepped into the role of director of my play, but who knows how that will turn out. I hate directing. It's a disaster and a half. I also had to play the messenger to the writer of the play that is being taken out of the show...although we've got eight days, she may put something together, and if push comes to shove, the artistic director said we could just do a dramatic reading of it. Hmm.

As far as the venue, well, we've got some possibilities. One of them would mean cutting the Friday performance from the run, and doing only matinee showings on Saturday and Sunday. That's Stage 3. I made the suggestion of using WGHS's little theater, and now I am making it my mission to get in touch with somebody at the high school who can help me out there (any of you WGHS alumns in my audience have any ins...I know Grooms left the year after I graduated, I have no idea who the drama teacher is now). And in doing so, plus being there during the discussion of the ousted play, and having a lot of input, it looks like maybe now I am second in command. Which, really, I don't have time for.

So...to recap: Surfacing will be next weekend. Maybe Friday-Sunday, but also maybe just Saturday and Sunday. It will be at...um...TBA? And no, not TBA the band that I formed for one show only my sophomore year of high school, and also not TBA, the Bluth Family's fundraising benefit.

I would list Surfacing 2008 as a qualified disaster. But we'll see. As far as my play goes, I just need to take the reins a little more and direct them. I like what I see, but I don't love it. I need to trust them to listen to me when I tell them what I want. They can't read my mind, they can only read my script. I've got to do the rest now.

Hmm. Well, further bulletins as events warrant. Good night and good luck.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An Update

Well, folks, it has been a while. So sorry.

My cast got changed on me. For my play. Not cool. See, when I had the guys read, I was pretty ho-hum on some of them, three stood out as quality leads, but one and only one stood out as the secondary male character; John Richter. And so we cast him as the secondary male lead.

My director, though, has been not returning my phone calls/facebook messages/e-mails/smoke signals/frantic pleas of help, so I had no idea how my play was going until last Thursday when she (finally) made it to our Thursday night class, and told me "Things are going well, but I need you to rewrite the ending. Beth is not eating spaghetti off of Ben's head."

Total bullshit, that's what I wrote in my play, but I see her point...ultimately, the spaghetti would spill onto the stage, and somebody would have to then clean it up before the next play went on, which could take a while. It is, after all, spaghetti.

So last night, I ran into Beth (the secondary female lead) and asked her how it was going. She also said it was going well, and that the cast was really great, that Ben's characterization of the lead is awesome, that Sherry's moments shine, etc, so I was enheartened. Then, I saw John Richter and asked him how he thought it was going. And he had no idea what I was talking about. No clue. Hmm...

He had been cast in two plays, as a very minor character in one and a relatively minor character but with a major prescence in mine. And he's only doing the other play. My director hadn't even approached him! What the crap?

So, today, I ran into Beth again, and she said that the guy (I already forgot his name) who is playing the second male lead is...okay, but that Richter would have been perfect. I agree. He would have been.


But school, other than that, is going...um...crappy. Listen, all you hangers-on and faithful fews, I gotta tell you; title abstracting ain't glamorous, but it pays the bills a lot better than any dewey-eyed fantasies I may have about writing idiotic stories for the rest of my life. I'm definitely going through a quarter-life crisis, but I'm definitely coming out the other end of it realizing that I've made some good choices and some bad, and amongst those bad choices are the return to school. Well, no, but to return to school and invest so much time and effort (not to mention the cash) into a degree that will let me do what? Nothing! Continue my job title abstracting, apply to grad schools and rekindle that dying hope for another two measley years at great financial cost? And at the end? Another degree, another sixty-thousand dollars in debt, and a stack of Works by Elliot Rauscher that aren't fit to wipe snot with. Because let's face it, I am not a writer.

Alright. I'm done. My point is that after this semester, I'm dropping out of school forever. There's nothing there for me anymore. And there's no reason to stay on. I've had my fun...I got a story published at one school and I'm getting a play produced at this one, so I figured I should go out when there's nowhere to go but up. I couldn't stand falling back down after that. So no more school. No more Webster University, no more sitting in a class filled with people who every year look younger and younger (think of it...next year's freshman were born in 1990/91. I've wrecked cars older than that!), no more silly stories, no more plays. No more Tuesday Excerpts or Free Write Fridays. None of that. After this semester, I graciously hang up my quill and focus on just breathing and living life. Setting attainable goals.

So this shall be my last blog post. Fare well, readers. I will leave the blog up for a few days, to give the stragglers a chance to read these, my last words to the masses. Goodbye. And remember; in years hence, when people ask you about me, your response should be, "Elliot? Elliot is not a writer."

An Update.