Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Writer Wednesdays: The 4x4 Prompt!

Here is a Writing Prompt for the next time you go to the Library. Now follow this prompt and see if you can write a four scene play with the following things...

Scene Themes:

Go through the stacks of the library and pick a book. The title of that book is the "theme" of your first scene. Every time you go to a next scene go four shelves down, four sections over, and pick the fourth book on the shelf and that title will be the theme of your next play.

Next come your scenes. Each scene will have a different objective.

Scene One:

Go to the fourth chapter and take every fourth word and write it down.
Work each of those words into a ten minute monologue.

Scene Two:

Take every fourth sentence from a new page.
Work these sentences into a 10 minute scene between two characters.

Scene Three:

Take four pictures from a book.
These pictures become four actions that have to happen in your next 10 minute scene.

Scene Four:

Take the title of every fourth chapter.
Those titles become topics of conversation in a two person dueling monologue.

And remember that a prompt is more about sketching and mental sudoku than getting a "finished play". Feel free to open up to the possibilities. You can rewrite later!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tourettes Tuesday: Tips for Kids Part Two

Here is part two of my series of Tourettes Tips for Kids:
Remember to just keep on truckin'!
  1. The depression is normal: Yes kids are cruel and it will feel like everyone is picking on you and it will seem like Tourettes will never give you a break. It's okay to be sad but be sure to surround yourself with people that make you happy too. Surround yourself with people that treat you right. 
  2. Allow people to not understand: Not everyone is going to know about your Tourettes and they're  going to say or do some hurtful things. Allow them to not understand but be sure that you are someone trying to educate. Let them know that what they are doing is rude but educate them by being someone who is above all of that. You are better than the cruelty of others.
  3. Activity helps a lot: I wish I had known this more as a child. Get out and get active. Work out some excess physical energy on the soccer field or let go off mental stress writing a poem or painting. I'm giving you permission to let it all out and channel it creatively. 
  4. Be honest with those trying to help you: Your parents, therapists, neurologists, and teachers are trying to help you. They are not the enemy. Be honest about what you need to help you get through the day. Be honest about your feelings and if someone is hurting you. You are not whining. You're silence does not help you!
  5. You are not alone: There a lot of adults and kids with TS that can help you. Look with your parents to find a support group or online resource. And there are also a lot of books and videos out there. Go find them!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Monday: @thebeefseeds

So when I was thinking of bands to start pitching for the start of my new Music Mondays I checked my Twitter and a band totally pitched me! I was in the mood for some bluegrass covers (I live for a good cover band!) And lo and behold a Welsh Bluegrass Cover Band called the Beef Seeds found me!

So I know what us Yanks are thinking... Welsh AND Bluegrass? How does that work. My only answer can be, very well! I live only forty miles away from Music City in Tennessee and the Bluegrass State and I bet they'd be a welcome addition anywhere!

So what do I love about them? They have the great attributes of any good bluegrass cover band.

  • A good bass: Good BLuegrass needs a great rhythm section to play Top 40 well. And the Beef Seeds bass works very well.
  • The Novelty Factor: Yes they do the slow ballads but they also get brave and play some Katy Perry and Robin Thicke. You should go on their Youtube channel and watch their cover of "Blurred Lines"
  • A reimagining: If you didn't know where some of their songs came from you could swear that they were born to be bluegrass songs. They find a twang in Pop that most people wouldn't find.
  • A fun and innovative style: From the lead singer playing a double washboard (something I've never seen) to a rip roaring harmonica solo you can tell that they are willing to bend the style and have fun!
  • They're fun to watch: You have fun watching them and know that they're having fun doing it. What more could you ask for?
So without further ado why don't you watch the video below and tell me if you agree. And then why don't you go to their Youtube page and subscribe and their Facebook  and Twitter page and like them. Tell them that the Lounge sent you!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fronkensteen Announces the Redeye!

At 8 PM on Friday, September 27 6 directors will meet with 6 casts to rehearse and stage a 10 minute play. The only problem? They have only 24 hours to produce it. Show time starts at 8 PM on Saturday the 28th and like the saying goes, the show must go on!

So I'm glad to announce that I and the APSU SDS are hosting the Redeye Ten Minute Play Festival, a 24 hour play festival that will go up simultaneously in all four Time Zones. In its second year the Redeye is a national event that produces the plays of six playwrights nationally in the format of a crazy theatre marathon.  Tickets for the Central Redeye are on sale now here. You can get tickets online for only $8 or as low as $5 for students. And you had better get them fast. Ticket prices move up to $10 at the door.

Think of it like the White Box Challenge on HGTV or Cutthroat Kitchen on Food Network. You have a huge time constraint and a seemingly impossible task and you have to find some way to get it all done. It's like that but with theatre. It also builds community as artists band together to get the work done and share it immediately with a waiting public.

And did I mention that half of the proceeds of the show go to the New Works Initiative, a fund that helps playwrights raise money to produce their work? And another twenty percent of the proceeds go to help the local Students for a Democratic Society. So it's not only a fun event that gets artists together but it also helps a worthy cause. What more could you ask? It's community theatre in it's ultimate form!

So what can you expect?! Come see art happen right before your eyes as actors and directors undergo a theatrical experiment live in front of the audience. Help us answer the question "can 6 plays happen successfully in 24 hours?

Do you also live in the Clarksville, TN area and want to do more than just watch the show? Come be one of over 20 actors to take the stage and make this crazy idea happen!  Could that be you? Well you better act fast. The first 20 actors that email get in. And let me tell you slots are gonna go fast!

Always wanted to act but never could get past an audition? There is no audition. All you have to do is email the Fronkensteen Lounge and get on the list!  

All you have to do is fit a few qualifications and you’re in!

  • Be available from 8 pm 9/27 thru 10 pm 9/28
  • Must sign a waiver and release form at check-in
  • Must be willing to go crazy!

Are you ready to go crazy for the arts? Then don’t forget to email to sign up!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writer's Wednesdays: How should you use Writing Prompts

So I like Writing prompts. One of the things I like better than finding a good writing prompt is writing my own. But you may be like a couple of people who have asked me "how in the world do I use a writing prompt?"

Well let me first say that there are two points of view when it comes to the writing prompt. Some people believe that a writing prompt should be followed to the letter which I whole heartedly believe but there is some credence to the idea that it's like pulling the cord on the motor that is your brain. Once the motor starts running you stop pulling the cord.

Get the Words on the Paper!
A writing prompt can be like a literary sudoku where you wrack your brain trying to get all the little things to match. And that's all well and good. But a writing prompt is also not a play. It's a way of getting you to shut off the part of your brain that is doubting and turning on the part that is getting words on the page. A rough draft is more like making sketches on a pad. It's what you look at and say "oh, there's a painting in there somewhere".

Like a rough draft you're eventually going to rewrite it. It's revisions where the play is going to be made. The writing prompt is where you have fun and get the words out there. The work comes later. Enjoy the fun while it lasts.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tourettes Tuesday: Tips for Kids Part One

So today for Tourettes Tuesday I'm listing the first half of my tips for kids. Let me say I'm not a doctor and my only expertise in Tourettes comes from having it since I was nine years old. Some of these tips may or may not work for you. But here is the advice that I wish I had when I was a kid. 
Playing really helps my Tourettes a lot.
  1. You are special: You are not "deformed" or a "freak". You actually have something that makes you think better. You think faster, are more creative, and and have no inhibitions. If you were a stereo your volume knob would be jacked all the way up to 11!
  2. Breathe in and breath out: When you're having a bad day focus on taking deep cleansing breath's in and pushing all of your excess energy out. Close your eyes and try to shut everything else out. You can also try to think of pushing all of your energy out through the palms of your hands. Don't ask me why but this helps.
  3. Let yourself decompress: You are going to get overloaded. Sometimes it's going to feel like you have a million things pressing on your shoulders. You need to give yourself extra time to decompress and get ready for the next part of the day. 
  4. Listen to your body's signs: Your Tourettes is going to tell you when it needs to take a break or if you're getting overloaded. Don't try to power through and "tough it out". Listen to your body and understand that you have different limitations than the "normal" people. 
  5. The rage is normal: You feel that you have to shield yourself all the time at school so that the kids don't make fun of you and that the teachers don't bother you. You start to feel that you have to hold it together all the time and when you start to wear at the edges you find yourself lashing out at everyone, especially people that you love. It's normal...remember that it's the anger is okay but dealing with it is not. Remember to let yourself to decompress.
Watch out next week for part two. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Reasons People Produce Shakespeare

Borrowed from Darren Michael

Ten Reasons People Produce Shakespeare (but won't tell you)

  1. It's cheap: You don't pay royalties to a dead man. (Yay public domain!)
  2. All actors dream of playing Shakespeare: Who wouldn't want to be among the small group of actors to play Hamlet or Macbeth? People line up to audition!
  3. Directors and designers love to mess with Shakespeare: Shakespeare plays are one of the few plays that you can put you own little conceptual spin on. Want to set King Lear on the moon? Go for it!
  4. It's audience bait: It's kinda on everybody's bucket list. Even if you don't like the theatre you have to get dragged to see Shakespeare at least once. And many schools love to bus kids in to indoctrinate them in the words of the Bard.
  5. Large Cast: So it's free and the average cast is about a million people. (The smallest I've seen is Othello that can handle eight.) Especially for high schools this means you can cast a million people as spearchuckers and ladies in waiting.
  6. Shakespeare can't sue you: You can ruin the entire play and mess with it all you want and the playwright can't sue you or even strangle you. An English Teacher might but when have you listened to them since you've graduated.
  7. Sword fights: Can you name any other play where you get to swing steel at another person and get away with it?
  8. No one can understand it anyway: If you get it wrong, well what normal person could understand it anyway?
  9. It get's you grants: Since it can qualify as an educational component most theatres will add it in to get extra grant money.
  10. Borrowed from Darren Michael
  11. It's tradition: Every theatre and theatre person has done at least one Shakespeare play in their life. It gives a common bond between us and stories to tell over cocktails after rehearsal. In the culture that is the regional/community theatre world it's the duck tape that binds us together. And that's why we all love that Billy Shakes. <3

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writer Wednesdays: The 5 Cubed Prompt

Introducing a new prompt for Writer's Wednesday! In this prompt you have to write a play with 5 scenes that are five pages long with five things to accomplish in each scene. Hence the title "5 Cubed". Can you accept the challenge? If so please let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to read it. And now without further ado...
Borrowed from Kill Your Darlings Atl

The 5 Cubed Prompt

Scene 1:

Create a monologue with the following w
ords: Baptism, Preacher, Thief, Violin, Barn

Include a rant from a Facebook Friend

The character in a hat must hold a gun.

A pan of scalloped potatoes is getting cold.

A character butchers a one corrects him

Scene 2:

Monologue Words: Wade, Tent, Trick, Music, Pig

Include a random Tweet from an enemy.

Two characters discuss the finer points of twerking.

In interpretive dance the word "credence" is defined.

A banana peel isn't tripped over.

Scene 3:

Monologue Words: Brook, Car, Steal, Banjo, Cow

Take inspiration from a Pinterest photo.

The character in the hat's gun goes off.

No one believes what is said for the next minute.

One character reveals their secret catchphrase.

Scene 4:

Monologue Words: River, Bible, Weasel, Fiddle, Farm

Include that random tweet that you want to say but won't

Three characters celebrate an "un-funeral"

A chicken is choked.

Humanity sinks to a new low.

Scene 5: 

Monologue Words: Wallow, Church, Lie, Twang, Horse

Include a rave about your favorite actor.

The Character in the hat raves about why that character could never play Rat Woman.

It is revealed that the character in the hat is bald

Someone is forced to line dance.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tourettes Tuesday: Tips for Parents

Welcome to the new Tourettes Tuesday Weekly posts! This week let's share some tips for parents of kids with TS.
  1. Let them Decompress: Yes I know it's hard not to unload everything onto them right as they get home but they have to hold it together every day at school. Let them decompress for an hour or so before you start to add anything else onto them.
  2. Warn in advance: It might sound odd but it's best to warn them about any change in a schedule or daily routine. Even something like "In a few minutes we'll have to do something else but the good news is you're the first to know". People with TS take longer to mentally prepare for things so the advanced warning helps relieve stress.
  3. Stand your ground in public: People are going to stare and some may even snicker. You're going to get a lot of "advice" from well meaning parents. Your child is different, not a freak and they have the same rights as everyone else.
  4. To medicate or not medicate?: There are great medicines that help sometimes and then there are some other therapies. And then there is the choice to not medicate at all. I've done all three with varied amounts of success. It's up to you and you alone to decide.
  5. Educate not Insinuate: TS has become pretty well known amongst teachers these days. Make friends with teachers and principals and partner with them. Hesitate to jump to conclusions when things don't come out your way.
  6. Listen to you child: It can get to the point where you are so busy taking care of your kids that you  forget to have time for them. Listen to what they want out of life. How is the medicine making them feel? How are they doing in school?
  7. There is no cure: This isn't meant to be a downer. Just know that your kid will be living with TS for a long time. Stop thinking in the short term with medicine and fab therapy and start thinking more about giving them life skills that will help them become well adjusted adults. 
  8. Invest in physical activity: A lot of my friends with TS are dancers and athletes. The physical activity seems to help with the decompression. 
  9. Invest in creative activity: A lot of my friends with TS are also artists, musicians, and theatre people. Most people with TS have exceptional creativity.
  10. It's gonna get better: It might seem while they're hitting puberty that the world is so hostile to them. But we eventually grow up and learn to live with our tics just fine. 
Borrowed from the CDC
Quick Note: I'm not a doctor. The only expertise I have with Tourettes is my personal experiences having it. What worked for me may not always work for you! Use your own discretion.

Monday, September 9, 2013

FYI If you're a Teen Boy(Fronkensteen Style)

So there's been an article rolling around about a mother that wrote an open letter to the facebook friends of her teen boys. She was talking about the concept of teen girls taking selfies of themselves in their rooms or in their jammies. She got very down on the fact that girls were taking pictures of themselves and that her boys were being barraged by these images.

Because when boys take selfies girls don't notice at all!
Well here's my list to the teen boys in question:
  1. You're temptation about women is not their fault: Yes you will be stimulated by women until the day you die. That's your body doing what it does naturally. But just because you look doesn't mean it's their fault for being there.
  2. Be the boy that a girl deserves, not the ones they're warned about: Imagine someone looking at your sister, mom, or close female friend the same way you look at other girls. How does that change your outlook?
  3. A woman is not there for your amusement: what they want to post on their social media is their business. But you are not to treat them like they're only there for you to get a thrill.
  4. Be a friend before being a boyfriend: Have you ever sat down and had a conversation with a girl before you tried to date them? Do you try to appreciate their brain over their body? 
  5. Act like your momma raised you right: Regardless of what people say you are not just horndogs looking for women to hook up with. You are responsible for your actions. Just as all girls are responsible for theirs.
  6. Treat them with respect: Trust me when you treat a woman like she's the beautiful creation of God that she is and show her just how precious that she is to you she'll love you more than anything.
  7. Stop being macho: If you think that something that a girl says is insulting your masculinity then you didn't have it in the first place. 
  8. You need some modesty too: If you look at all the girls' pj selfies out there and think they're sluts but you have a hundred shirtless photos of you flexing your pecs in the bathroom...well you may have a problem.

Friday, September 6, 2013

5 Tips for Theatre Bloggers!

Borrowed from

So you want to Blog Huh?

  1. Keep it short: Theatre Blogs are one of the biggest offenders of having posts that read like a novel or a scholarly journal. Keep it to one thought and then move on. You're not writing your dissertation here.
  2. Embrace the Series: If you do have an idea that's leaning on the long side break it up into segments. It gives your readers a reason to come back.
  3. Think national: It's great to review local shows (I love doing it myself) but remember that your audience will be from all over the world! Don't leave them out!
  4. Keep it personal: In essence a good blog is a diary. People are coming to see what you like and what you are working on. This is one of the few places where people ask you to voice your unadulterated opinion!
  5. Don't hold anything back: There really are no rules to blogging when it comes to content. Don't be afraid to share something or write a post because it's not "academic" or "professional" if it's something you are passionate about that's where the blogging gold is!
Borrowed from Theatre Memes

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dating Someone with Tourettes

Um... I guess I have one HUGE problem as I attempt to write this... I don't have a great basis for comparison. The dudes in my past never made their way to boyfriend level (I went through dudes like tissue). And even if I talked to a dude for a while it turned out that he was a creep with self-confidence issues that would project those on to me... I needed that rant.

I guess what I'm saying is I am one lucky girl who found a really great dude and Tourette's is a small price to pay for that. Very small.

Dr. Fronkensteen isn't the first person with Tourette's I've ever met. He's actually the 3rd. So I had some understanding. Just to prove how crazy I am when he told me he had Tourette's my response was "and I'm a Taurus." That's Dragyn speak for "I do not care." And I don't. Not really.

I worry more about how his Tourette's affects him and his life. Ricky (sorry have to use real names for seriousness) is probably one of the strongest people I know. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yes it took him years to get that way but he exudes an energy that makes you feel safe when you're around him.

However when his Tourette's is bad Ricky is vulnerable and helpless (or he feels that way to me). I feel like I have to take up a sword and shield and protect him. I want to make sure the world can't hurt or judge him. They don't know Ricky like I do. Frankly I am probably the first person he has ever felt comfortable enough with to be that vulnerable.

But with all that said he is my best friend and the love of my life. He's good to me and has treated me with more kindness and respect than anyone I've ever met. Ricky is sweet, kind, caring and I am lucky (blessed) to have him.

If I had to give advice to other people dating someone with Tourette's it would be:

  1. Your life will never be dull. From what I know they are fascinating people who are smarter than most people I know. 
  2. Also know Tourette's has no off switch. Ricky is always on and Tourette's is in everything he does from how he walks and talk to the noticeable tics and vocal tics. 
  3. No they can not just stop it. In fact the moment you feel the need to ask them to do so you may want to rethink your relationship. 
  4. This is way harder for them than it is for you. It is. Period. 
  5. However their Tourette's will affect your life. When Ricky tics loudly at a restaurant we both get stares. Unfortunately Ricky is dating someone who will stare back and maybe even confront them... But that's cause I'm crazy.
  6. There are bad days and good days. When Ricky is at his worse he doesn't want to (and can barely) leave the house. He's strong, as I've said, and will soldier through but it isn't easy.
  7. Don't baby them or try to treat them like they are different. Every time I try to baby Ricky he teases me... He's a dork!
  8. They've read everything you read and they know more about Tourette's than you do. No that meditation thing won't work nor will anything else you suggest. I actually never suggested anything because what Ricky wants to do about his Tourette's is up to him, not me.
  9. Communication is key!!! I cannot stress this enough. Communication is great for all relationships. But when you are dating someone with Tourette's you have to be able to talk about everything and be honest and open with them. Ricky's Tourette's made it so he and I had to be open and honest with each other from jump. It is why we are so close and our bond is so strong. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Five Types of Characters you Write in Your Play

#1 Yourself

Problem: No matter what your setting or the situation you have that one character that's basically an extension of you in the play. They talk like you and walk like you and they're always the hero. 

Solution: Change something about the character. Switch genders or nationalities...anything that makes the character "not you".

#2 Your Significant Other

Problem: You keep milking every fight you've ever had with your girlfriend/boyfriend or every cute thing that they've said that the love interest of your protagonist is basically a portrait of them.

Solution: Steal from somewhere else. Watch a romantic comedy or a sitcom. Heck, even read a good romance novel. Find another source to inspire your plays romantic fling.

Borrowed from Reddit

#3 Your Ex/Arch Nemesis

Problem: The same problem as above but villianizing someone who's done you wrong. All your antagonists are reminiscent of your high school bullies or the girl that turned you down for the prom.

Solution: Change something about them. Or you can mash two of them up to make someone completely unique.  What would the perfect Frankenstein amalgam of all the people that drive you up the wall?

#4 You're High School Crush

Problem: Everyone had that guy or gal that they always loved...but from afar. You idolize everything about them. Now every time that you need someone with some sex appeal your crush is taking the stage again. And all of that idolization starts to come into play.

Solution: Try to find something human about them. No one's a saint. Find some flaws or quirks you can give them to help them out.

#5 Your Mother/Grandmother

Problem: Maybe it's because they have such an impact on our lives but for some reason or another the women that brought us into the world get brought into the world of our plays. Again with like your gf every nice thing that they said or every argument that you've ever had get's aired out onstage.

Solution: Make a concentrated version of them. Take their best and worst traits and exaggerate them. Be sure not to villianize them or idolize them. Just make your favorite or least favorite things about them a jumping off point to a great character.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ten things People with Tourettes are tired of hearing!

If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me one of these questions that I tell them I have Tourettes I would be a very rich person.  Feel free to read these so you can be better prepared for your next Tourettes encounter.

Here's the List

  1. "Well I have a friend who's Tourettes is way more severe than yours."
  2. "Can't you just stop?"
  3. "Can you show me a little?"
  4. "Well I read on this (insert website here) that (insert random treatment or medicine here) really works. Why don't you try that?"
  5. "Doesn't it hurt sometimes?"
  6. "Do you prefer to date girls/boys that have TS too?"
  7. "You know the sound that you're making is really irritating. Are you aware of that?"
  8. "So you get to curse whenever you want and say anything you want without getting in trouble. That's the life right there!"
  9. "Why don't you just take the pills? It'll make the Tourettes stop right?
  10. "Maybe you just shouldn't go out anymore."
There are also a lot of disorders that piggy-back with TS. Borrowed from Great Plains Laboratory

Here are the Answers

  1. Would you say that someone who has their right arm amputated at the shoulder is worse off than someone who was amputated at the elbow? No matter what you call them they're still lefties.
  2. In one word: No.
  3. Again in one word: No.
  4. I read up on all of the new theories and treatments. A lot of people with TS do. So what could you tell us that we don't already know?
  5. Yes but not always.
  6. I have once but it's not a must for me.
  7. Yes I am aware. I try to be aware of my surroundings and my effect on people. But if we're in a public place and you don't like to hear me you are welcome to get up and go somewhere else.
  8. No, it's nothing like that.
  9. The pills sometimes lessens the Tics but it also puts you in a haze or makes you drowzy. After a while I decided that I'd rather deal with the TS I grew up with than the side effects of new medications.
  10. I have just the same rights to enjoy public places as much as everyone else. I decided that TS was not going to make me into a hermit and that I was not going to retreat into my shell and keep apologizing for something that's as part of my body as the blood in my veins. If other people don't like it they can deal with it.