Friday, April 26, 2013

Theatre Rant: What I've learned this Month

Five Words of wisdom

So for this month I want to recap all of the things I learned. We all need to keep learning and sharing the wisdom we learned the hard way through the school of hard knocks.
  • That when you're doing a crazy thing for a great cause there are lot's of great people to give you love and support. Check out the crazy thing at #27daysplay on twitter.
  • When life gives you lemons take out your aggression squeezing them to a pulp!
  • Sometimes you take on too much then you just have to knuckle down and git-r-done.
  • I love crazy ideas! I wish there were more out there and that people would get out of their shells and do them!
  • It's the weird things that you remember most.
Me playing the new cigarbox guitar I built this month.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April Blog Challenge: My Dream Event

My dream event would have to be to cover the Humana Festival of New Plays. Every year the Actor's Theatre of Louisville puts on a festival of new plays with the fiscal sponsorship of Humana. What I love about this festival is that it's not the place for safe and conventional plays. They're always doing something new and crazy out there.

I went twice as a student but I would love to go as press because I love new plays and know that when I get home they get my juices flowing. They have wonderful stages out there and do new plays the way that they're supposed to. And when the festival gets underway just going and meeting people is a great thing.

I haven't been in a few years but I would love to go as press and cover this event. Who knows? If money starts getting better I might be making a trek up to Louisville on my own dime again someday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Imposing Structure Prt. 3 #writerwednesday

This clock belongs to DragynAlly

In the Nick of Time

Hey guys! Since everyone loved the first two installments I figured we should keep the series going. For this week we're going to talk about time, as in the amount of time it take for your story to get done. A lot of times when we're working on plays we think a lot about the amount of time that it's going to take on the stage. But sometimes we don't think about how much time that it takes for your story to happen. So let's take a look at the possibilities. Remember, don't think about time in page count, think about the time ticking by in your character's lives. 

The Stop Watch

Can you make you story happen in a matter of seconds? Can you make it happen in a matter of minutes? Sometimes the best stories out there, the best fight scenes, moments, kisses, and pulls of a trigger can happen in the blink of an eye. Can you highlight that moment, slow things down, repeat something, take something from another person's perspective?

The Clock

In the Ancient Greek plays people used to follow the Unity of Time. The entire story had to be told within a 24 hour period. That's two times around the clock. Can your play happen in less time? Can your story be condensed into an hour? Can you pick up the story at the worst six hours in the character's life? Maybe it's a slice of the life of a group of people that gives us a peek at their inner secrets.

The Calendar

Some stories take place over a series of months. How can you capture those months? Maybe a story is told with the changing of the seasons. What about a whole sports season? Maybe your story spans a whole year? What happened last Christmas that makes this Christmas different? Maybe you're following a kids whole school year. Embrace the seasons and the possibilities!

Embrace Infinity

I see very few plays that span more than a few years. I think this is a disgrace! What kind of stories could be told over decades? What kind of stories could be told over centuries? Think millenia! What changes about your story when told over a large scale? Think of the Medieval cycle plays or the relatively recent Kentucky Cycle

We think about page count all the time as playwrights and that's fine sometimes. But what are we missing out on when we let that dictate our story. What happens when you let the time of the story be your master? 

So that's it for this week guys. Keep embracing crazy ideas and get those plays out there! Theatre has had enough of safe let's get crazy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Blog Challenge: Why I love @DragynAlly!

Okay I know what all you guys are going to be saying "Of course, Dr. Fronkensteen, we know you love your girlffriend's blog, you have to or she'll kill you." But even before DragynAlly and I got together I liked her blog. She was the blogger that made me want to get back into blogging. She has been my mentor and social media coordinator and all around blog jedi master. I knew that she was a blogger that knew what she was doing and that she had a veritable goldmine of tricks up her sleeve.

So what do you find on the blog? Everything that makes all geeks giggle like school girls! Do you like toys? Movies? Disney or any of the other companies in the community that makes Disney the geek Mecca. Do you like wine, clothes, and great products from other companies and cool giveaways? Look no further! She's all that and a side of cheese! What does that mean? I don't know but it must be super awesome!

Did I just hear you say that you want more? I know I did! You should go to DragynAlly's blog, The Dragyn's Lair, here. You should also check her twitter and facebook page too. If you even look for just a second you'll know why I think she's my favorite person on the web!

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Blog Challenge: Stagehand Flashlight #blogshare #iatse

Today we're going to talk about a tool we know every techie needs (no it's not gaff tape and cigarettes!)  No when we techies don our tech blacks and enter the darkness of the backstage world there is the one tool we all have on our belts...a flashlight.

Now all my fellow techies will swear by their high priced Maglites with their blue or red lenses that give you enough light to see but keeps stray light off the stage. But these Maglites have their problems. One they all need a heavy amount of batteries to keep charged and they're all so heavy you could use them like a club to smash a stupid actor's skull in. (probably why stage managers like them.) And everyone knows that the one thing you don't always want to be spending money on is a bunch of batteries.

But I found something that threw all those problems out the window. This handy little flashlight is a light, durable, led flashlight that shines a bright blue light that doesn't spill out onstage. And what's better? You shake it up before a show and it charges itself! I've dumped these things in buckets of water, dropped them from the flyrail, and stepped on them and they're still working fine! I love them! You buy them once and they last forever. When I started my own company I ended up buying a lot of them for all of my techies. Now that's money well spent!

So next time that you're getting ready for a show and the batteries in your heavy Maglite are out get yourself a flashlight that makes sure you don't need batteries ever again! Keep it going, people, and rock it out!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Blog Challenge: Photo Thursday #blogshare

This is one of my favorite nature photos that I've ever taken.  I love bids and nature and my house has three bird feeders.  One of my best loved things about winters is watching all of the hungry birds go to the birdfeeder (and maybe the occasional hungry squirrel). 

I love nature and all of God's creation. They always make me smile when I see them. After I took these pictures the next day I likes seeing all the little footprints in the snow. Now spring is here and soon they won't be coming by the feeders at all. But I'll still be able to smile as I see them fluttering from tree to tree, basking in nature's glory.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writer Wednesday: What keeps you up at night? #newplay

We as writers often have hard times coming up with ideas. We always seem to be wanting to create stories right off the bat! Well that's hard to do sometimes!

A lot of times we're going at writing the play backwards. Instead of starting with a story maybe we need to start with the issues behind the stories? What are things in the stories that make you come back every time to write it? What are the things under the surface of the play that drive you to get it out in front of the audience. Where are the demons that need to be exorcised from our souls by producing this play?

Here's a checklist to get you started. Before you write the play or maybe if you're stuck on the one you're trying to write try to answer these questions...

  • What breaks your heart?
  • What makes you so angry that you feel motivated to stop it?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What do you care about that no one else does?
  • What cuts you to the bone?
  • What dramatic moments do you see everyday that make you stop and watch?
When you start to answer these questions then you'll see the things in this world that you are burdened to change. These will be the things that will drive you to write. Your stories will start to make sense. You needed to tell this story for a reason...there was a reason that these characters have to get out of the page and onto the stage. It was when I started answering these questions that I found out why some of the plays I kept coming back to seemed to haunt me. 

What are your demons? How can you exorcise them in this play? It costs the audience something to see the play it should cost you something to write it.

Do you like playwriting? Do you want to talk more about this? Check out my new tumblr here. There we playwrights can take our hair down and get down and dirty!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Theatre Rant: Who Inspires Me

My grandmother inspires me so much. She was one of the first people in my life to see something in me that wanted more, wanted to exceed the status quo. She took me in when my mother's MS got too bad for me to stay with her. She was the first woman in my life that recognized that my Tourettes was an issue and despite what everyone else said got me into a doctor's office to get diagnosed.

My grandmother (left) and me with my mother (right) after my college graduation.

My mother and I have two far different personalities. She is always the practical one, never getting too hotheaded and valuing hard work. If something had to be done it had to be done and whatever work and struggle you had to do you did what you had to do to weather the storm.

I was completely opposite. I'm bullheaded and prefer to treat obstacles with a scorched earth policy. If I can't run around or over the obstacle I'll take a sledgehammer and go through it. Those two outlooks on life made for a lot of tough arguments when I was younger.  But she taught me calmness and determination when you know that you're right. She taught me about generosity and compassion. And I learned over time that under that smooth and calm exterior was someone willing to do anything to protect family and someone tough enough to sacrifice of herself to make sure that her children made it.

When you mess with any of her kids you mess with Mama Bear.

You don't want to mess with Mama Bear.

When I think all of those times when she had to pull out the checkbook when I was sick...or when I had messed many times she without things when me or one of the other kids needed them.  I remember how she stood up to bullies and people that crossed one of her kids.

I'm proud to say that I am one of Mama Bear's kids and hope someday that when I start my own family my kids will have the best Papa Bear ever.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April Blogging Challenge: What I want to do with my life.

So for today's installment of the April Blog Challenge we're going to be talking about plans. It's hard question. If you go to grad school like me it's what you spend a lot of time wondering. For all this money I'm spending is this really what I want to do with my life?

It all boils down to this: I want to make. I love writing plays, doing theatre, drawing, bringing people together, and having fun but it all involves making. I'm always tinkering with things. Studying them, figuring out how they work. It's one of my favorite things in this world after hours of tinkering to find out how something works and how it's made. Process is also key.

As far as careers go I really want to work in the theatre and make theatre. Music is very important to me  as well so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate that in. Someday I would like to be the head of a department and run my own company. I like getting artists together. I like teaching and mentoring people. Whether it's theatre, music, or dance I love being where art is made and getting people together to make it.

And I also like making things. I make my own guitars, I dabble in making furniture. I doodle and push the paint around sometimes. No matter what I'm doing I want to be making something.

So I guess that's it. As soon as my grad work is over I'll be looking for a job. And as long as my job has those things in it... Making art, making community, and mentoring others I'll be happy.

What is the one word that describes your drive? What do you want to be remembered for?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April Blog Challenge: Favorite Color and Why

So for today's part of the blogging challenge let's talk about colors. More importantly my favorite colors.  I have a lot of favorite colors. As a designer I have favorite color schemes! But my favorite power color is Red. Not just be cause I like the way it works but because I lately I love how it's been used for powerful things in this world. Let's take a look...

Anyone who's read my blog knows that I have been active in the End it Movement. One of the keys symbols of the movement was the "Red X" that they challenged every body to put as many places as they can. People were drawing them on their hands and putting the photos on instagram but some people were going even farther. You saw Red X's on car windows and t-shirts, lawn art, and even architecture. It was our banner and battle cry.

The red wasn't just a rallying point but a cry for action. And a symbol of community. Red is the color all of us have in common. the color of the blood that runs deep within us. And when I was doing my own work with the movement writing my play, 27 Days, it felt so good to know that there was a great community of people working for the same cause at the same time.

Red is a great color and for the past few months has been a motivator and flag for community. I have other favorite colors but when I wear my red I know that I'm not alone!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Theatre Rant: 10 things that describe the Lounge!

So hey guys! Love the Lounge? Are you one of my blog stalkers or just a random visitor who just walked in? Well welcome to the Fronkensteen Lounge! So you wanna know what it's about? Well here are ten things that are essential to the Lounge's unique brand of craziness!

10 Things about the Fronkensteen Lounge!

  1. Reviews: Great reviews of awesome shows and events.
  2. Rants: Ravings about what's hot or not in the theatre world!
  3. New Plays: Written and posted by R. S. Young
  4. Artists: Great profiles of up and coming artists!
  5. Upcoming: News about upcoming Fronkensteen events!
  6. Crazy ideas!
  7. Wacky Worldviews!
  8. Prompts: Kickstarters for the writing brain!
  9. Tips: Writing tips and how-tos.
  10. Insane: Because to work in the theatre and write about it requires some craziness!
 So that's all folks! Why don't you kick your shoes off, click on the links in my sidebar of my most popular blog posts, and stay a while! I hope you'll find my brand of crazy to your liking. But be wary: the craziness can be contagious!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#EndItMovement Update: Are you ready to Shine a Light? #27daysplay

Are you ready for the End it Movement? Are you ready to shine a light on slavery? You may or may not have seen the Movement's national commercial on the History Channel or online but let me tell you guys, I was pumped!

Are you ready to do what you can to Shine a Light on Slavery on April 9th? If you've been reading my blog you know that I'm going to be up for 27 straight hours, that's one hour for every million people out there living under the weight of slavery, and writing a new play to be used as a tool for any group to use to raise awareness or funds for the cause.

So how do you follow what I'm doing? Well it helps to follow me on twitter here. You can also follow the hashtag #27daysplay to see live updates, photos, and maybe video. And at the end of it all I'll be posting my new play for everyone to see here on the blog. And I want to hear from you while I do it. I'll be on my social media all twenty-seven of those hours tying to spark a conversation for anyone that would care to listen that slavery will not allowed to exist in my lifetime. Together we can come together and raise a voice that will tell everyone that we are in it to END IT!

You should also follow all the stuff that the End it Movement and their partners are doing on twitter and the other social media sites. The movement's website has a lot of suggestions about how to sport the movement's red "X" and other great ideas to shout the movement out.

But more important talk just talk! Share some links, tell all your friends! And stop by my Twitter and Facebook and talk to me. I'll be happy to share my thoughts with you and be grateful for any encouragement I can get!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#WriterWednesday: 10 Things you don't know about Me #newplay

So for this week's Writer's Wednesday I wanted to start off with one of the prompts from DragynAlly's April Blogging Challenge. As playwrights we have each our own styles and preferences. As Charles Mee says, "Society writes us, then we write the play". I find it funny when you see a playwright list their world-views and philosophies and then reread their work to see how their work changes without that knowledge. So without further ado here are some of the things that make me...!

10 Things You Don't Know About R. S. Young

  1. I started writing plays to pass the boring down time in High School: My highschool teacher was very supportive of me. Her husband was a playwright too and we did lot's of productions of his plays. This inspired me to write some of my first plays on my school notebooks when I was bored in class.
  2. My favorite playwrights are Neil Simon, Arthur Miller, Christopher Durang, and the Husband and Wife team of Cherie Bennet and Jeff Gottesfeld 
  3. I find inspiration in the theatre I hate: There are a few playwrights that I hate. I won't name them because Theatre is a small town and we might end up working together someday. I found out that a lot of the playwrights whose plays I hated the most were the ones that I always quoted. I found that sometimes the best dramatic theories are wrapped up in the plays that we struggle the most with. I hate them but there is always something that keeps me coming back.
  4. I love Shakespeare's stories but I don't love how people worship the scripts and the wordiness. There are several great playwrights, directors, and theater's that are doing great work with his plays in the modern era. But his scripts today are literature, his stories still make great plays.
  5. I love/hate staged readings: They're good for getting your play out their to producers and is great as a development tool but a reading does not equal a production. Theatre companies that think they're giving apprentices, interns, and young playwrights a break with a staged reading are only lying to them. if they were being honest they should really say, "we think you're important but we really don't want to spend the money on a production for you"
  6. I read a lot of realists but I love the experimental work too: If you asked me I would say that I'm an impressionist or expressionist. I don't care about the realism in my plays but the actions and ideas flowing out. Every writer makes their own subjective reality onstage. The rules of the real world may or may not reply.
  7. I believe theatre can happen on the back of a truck. I believe it can happen in a large stadium. Theatre can happen everywhere. 
  8. I'm always looking for better ways to support artists: Many of the ways that playwrights have been supporting themselves (the traditional method) is royalties and publishing. I've been wondering if there isn't a way to value the PROCESS of play writing rather than the PRODUCT. This may be from residencies, teaching engagements or more...I'm still finding it out.
  9. I believe that adaptations of classic works get a bad rep. There are several great books and movies that really deserve it but no one wants to touch.
  10. I would rather have a play of mine produced in a tiny blackbox with a enraptured audience than a stadium full of people who don't care.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fools from Fonkensteen Lounge

Fake Breaking Up is Hard to Do!

So everyone who reads my blog and the blog of my smoking hot girlfriend will know that we are hopelessly in love. We've spent so much space on our blogs telling y'all how much we love and admire each other.

Well now for a confession....

DragynAlly and I decided to be naughty on our Facebooks (get your mind out of the gutter people) and  "break up" with each other on Facebook as an April Fools joke. We soon discovered, other than that we are both very silly people, that friends and family came out of the wood work in either support or defense of us. We learned a lot of things from this prank but the top four are...

Yes we are very much together!
  • We love each other very much: It was the hardest and most painful thing to push that relationship status button. We were messaging and skyping the whole time but it was still one of the more painful things...just contemplating the fact that we could someday break up.
  • We are idiots: We are both writers and love a good story and we never created a back story. Don't try to ask us because we don't know who dumped whom and who cheated first. For two writers we have the most narratively flat break up story ever!
  • We are both evil: We kinda planned this off and on since January. At first it started out as a "what if" kind of statement and then as we kept talking about it it seemed like the coolest idea ever! DragynAlly and I are both silly people with silly ideas and are always coming up with these Pinky and the Brain style schemes. That's what we first found out we have in common.
  • We have the best friends in the world: we had four groups of friend reactions during this prank. We had the people who suspected right away because they knew us too well. We had the comforters that wanted to tell us it was all okay. We had the defenders (mainly on DragynAlly's side) that were ready to kick butt for us. And finally we had the quiet supporters who just "liked" all the rants we posted on our wall. All of these people were great and we really found out who our friends are!
You think I would break up with this? I'm not crazy!
So it's funny that us pulling this mean and super cruel prank was the one thing that really strengthened our relationship. We also know that we will never do it again. The thought of us even breaking up was too painful for us even after we laughed forever because of it. It was really fun...but we can't do the same trick twice. We love eachother and on April 2 we'll be back together as if nothing ever happened, because nothing did. 


Dr. Fronkensteen and DragynAlly!