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text 2017-10-08 03:53
Produce your own Theatre - Free Scripts and Production rights

This time of year is when theatre groups, big and small, amateur and professional, experimental or conventional unveil their new season.


I love live theatre. I was even a member of the Vancouver Playwrights Theatre Centre and under their mentorship wrote two plays.


One of the biggest thrills I ever experienced was to have professional actors perform a reading of my one-act play, Harry’s Truth. It was truly mind-blowing to witness other people interpreting my work in ways I never imagined while still staying true to the script.


To celebrate live theatre I’m offering the scripts of Harry’s Truth and End of the Rope free until December 31, 2017 to any individual, drama class, amateur or professional theatre group to read, workshop or produce. Here’s what one reviewer had to say about Harry’s Truth.


“You show the interactions between the five of them and let us have a glance at everybody’s past. A lot gets revealed in every scene. I like the detailed stage instructions and the symbolism in the last scene. One can read Harry’s Truth as if it were a short story. I’d really like to see this play on a stage someday…”


Often theatre groups are inhibited by the price of mounting a production. I will sign off on all production rights during that period and also authorize you to reproduce the copies of the script.


As the reviewer I quoted pointed out, these plays also make entertaining reading even if you’re not a theatre buff.


If you send me an email I’ll forward the website address and the coupon codes so you can download your free e-book scripts of Harry’s Truth and End of the Rope.




If anyone would like to take advantage of this offer I’d love to be involved as a script consultant or in any other aspect (no, I won’t pay to produce the production). Who knows maybe I’ll even come and see it.


Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.



Website:   http://www.rodraglin/com

Amazon Author Page:   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00SD6LEU

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/


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review 2017-08-07 00:22
And Furthermore (Dench)
And Furthermore - Judi Dench

"Do not consider this an autobiography. I have neither the time nor the skill to write one," warns Dame Judi right at the beginning of her introductory remarks. She points to the 1998 biography by John Miller, and it is that same John Miller who has the "as told to" credit on this book. That said, "And Furthermore" is chatty and not obviously ghost-written in tone, and the assistance to its celebrated author seems to have been chiefly rendered in keeping names, dates and projects straight. Unlike a later-in-life memoir with a similar title, Lauren Bacall's "And Then Some," this book does not confine itself just to the years since the last biographical outing, but instead covers off, in an orderly and comprehensive, if fairly superficial way, all of Judi Dench's long life. There is a solid emphasis on her performing rather than her personal or emotional life, though of course she talks a bit about major events like the passing of her much-loved husband, Michael Williams. The narrative is mostly anecdotal, sometimes funny but not exclusively so, and very generous to her co-workers in theatre, film and television. She also reveals a somewhat surprising penchant for misbehaving on stage or set - practical jokes and the like.

Dench, if she is generally apt to suppress criticism of other people, makes no secret of her dislike for certain material. She loathes "The Merchant of Venice," for instance. And even at the distance of more than 40 years, she has no hesitation in pronouncing a minor play from French, "Content to Whisper," "the most terrible play known to man."

The names are not so much dropped as just wonderfully, gloriously omnipresent. Judi Dench has worked with everyone from Gielgud onwards. She can say of two productions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "What was so uncanny for me was hearing Rachael Stirling as Helena, the part her mother Diana Rigg had played with the RSC when we did it before." She knows and has worked with all the British classical actors who have crossed over to Hollywood celebrity - Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Irons, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Craig, you name 'em. A little to my surprise, she also has a solid resume in musicals; she was only prevented by a rehearsal injury from being in the original London cast of "Cats" and she played big houses in "Cabaret" and "A Little Night Music."

Judi's right though, in a way. This is an autobiographical work, but it's not "the autobiography" or "the biography." Like many actors, she shies away from analyzing or even watching her own work. And, likeably enough, she doesn't indulge in a lot of introspection, at least not for public consumption. I shall probably end up trying Miller's 1998 biography in hopes for more insights to add on top of this entirely amiable work.

Oh yes, there's a decent collection of photos from her collection too, including some in colour. Definitely a keeper.

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review 2017-05-12 21:52
This Time Together (Burnett)
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection - Carol Burnett

I haven't read the various other books by "serial autobiographer" Burnett. This one I would describe as light and, without the slightest snarkiness, "heart-warming." It consists of anecdotes of a page or two each about various people in Burnett's life, mostly celebrated people, and mostly funny anecdotes. She has anchored it with some stories about family as well, but there is no prolonged anlysis of the career, let alone psychological navel-gazing. This is Carol Burnett sitting at dinner or at a party, telling her best stories. I have no doubt that many of them have been polished or even improved a little over time. It doesn't matter. Throughout the book she exposes what seems to be a very real gift for appreciating those around her and, more unusually it seems to me, a strong gift for forming mutually respectful working creative partnerships with other very talented women (Lucille Ball, Julie Andrews, Beverly Sills).


One of the delights of the internet age is to read an anecdote about a particular TV episode or special, and then be able to go online and find it, however fuzzy, to watch and appreciate as if for the first time. It slows up the reading, but most enjoyably so. In the case of this book, a two-page anecdote turned into an hour of media-watching several times over!

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review 2016-09-27 16:39
Thank Heaven (Caron)
Thank Heaven: A Memoir - Leslie Caron

I found this memoir quite interesting, the more so since Caron had an international career rather than merely a Hollywood one. Like so many people whose name is made in Hollywood (and particularly women, unfortunately), her greatest celebrity came very early in her life, and from her thirties onward, both her career and her personal life appear to have been spent searching for new identities, sometimes successfully sometimes not.


Unusually, Caron had an extra string to her bow from the very beginning: her ballet career, which was associated primarily with the highly reputable Roland Petit company. Being picked out by Gene Kelly to co-star in one of the most celebrated Hollywood musicals of all time, An American in Paris, meant that she had many more opportunities than a dancer would normally have when the dancing legs failed, but she also identifies (with some frustration) the negative effect of that Hollywood association upon her acceptance within the continental European artistic communities. It is notable that the straight dramatic role that got her a Best Actress Oscar nomination, in "The L-shaped Room", was for a British film, not American or French. However, she did eventually work with Truffaut, whose ghost, she jokes, finds her parking spaces. In mid-career, she also appears to have become part of the Film Festival circuit, appearing on a number of major juries.


The chapters about American in Paris, Lili, Daddy Long Legs, and Gigi (the four roles instantly associated with her) I found the least interesting, possibly because we already know the principal characters so well. It's hardly news that Gene Kelly was a taskmaster and that he overrode the nominal director of American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli. We know that Fred Astaire was traumatized by the loss of his wife during "Daddy Long Legs" and nearly quit; it's nice to hear that he was able to genuinely lose the sadness for a moment as they filmed the Slue Foot number. On the other hand, I found the chapters about Caron's strong friendships with eccentric men like filmmaker Jean Renoir and author Christopher Isherwood to be new and illuminating. I was also completely unaware, until I read this memoir, that Caron was temporarily "Queen of Stratford", being married to Peter Hall of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Unfortunately, it appears that professional jealousy on his part greatly depressed her acting career: notably for this Canadian reader, he apparently put a stop to her projected appearance in two Shakespeare plays at the infant Shakespeare festival in Stratford, Ontario (where audiences, as she says carefully, would be "less doctrinaire" - read, unsophisticated). On her way out of that marriage, Caron had a lively affair with Warren Beatty.


Rudolf Nureyev pops up periodically in the narrative, which is always delightful - once, dancing a trio at a Met Gala with Caron and Baryshnikov; and then again teaching Caron Russian swear words for "On Your Toes", a return to a dancer's role that apparently was ill-conceived, given that she was in her fifties and had not danced seriously for decades.


There was another passing mention of a Canadian connection that intrigued me enough to do a little research - she mentions having signed on to do a "small Canadian movie", flying to Toronto, and then retreating - and presumably buying her way out of the contract - when she discovered the actors who were supposed to be teenagers were in their 20s. She gives the name of the movie as "Beginners Three", but it turns out that it was made as "The First Time", filmed chiefly in Niagara Falls, but a U.S. not a Canadian production. The lead was played by Jacqueline Bissett, and the whole thing looks entirely forgettable.


Although I think there are many episodes that didn't make the pages of this volume (one Goodreads reviewer points out the name of a lover in the 90s who is entirely omitted), Caron is nonetheless quite happy to be frank about people she didn't get along with, including David Niven, and both Kirk and Michael Douglas. Given the stories about how she breezed into a small town and imposed her will upon both bricks and mortar and the local townsfolk in creating and running an auberge, she doesn't seem overly worried about having rough edges herself. Certainly, losing the perks of a well-heeled childhood and surviving World War II in France, as she describes in the earliest chapters, must have made her into a rather tougher cookie than that shy little girl we think of dancing across from Kelly and Astaire. Given the length and variety of her career, it's good to have this record of how she saw her world.


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text 2016-09-26 02:16
Narrators who anime fans might recognize (Part 1?)

This post is inspired by a purchase I just made. Let's see how many of these folks I can track down. It's too bad that several of them have only narrated stuff I'm not interested in listening to, but I guess that keeps my Audible library from ballooning too much.


I've made an effort to list only those people who I was reasonably sure were really the audiobook narrators. For example, I found an audiobook narrated by a guy named Kirk Thornton, but he didn't sound like the Kirk Thornton I know from anime and I couldn't find any evidence they were the same person. Same with Liam O'Brien - I couldn't confirm that the audiobook narrator and the anime voice actor were the same person. If there are mistakes on this list, feel free to let me know.


Anyway, on to the list. Who knows, maybe there will be a part 2.


1. Alessandro Juliani


Anime fans may know Juliani as: L (Death Note)


A few audiobooks:


Nine Princes in Amber: The Chronicles of Amber, Book 1 - Roger Zelazny,Alessandro Juliani  Solaris: The Definitive Edition - Stanislaw Lem,Bill Johnston (translator),Alessandro Juliani,Audible Studios  


2. Chris Patton


Anime fans may know Patton as: Greed (Fullmetal Alchemist), Soushi Miketsukami (Inu X Boku Secret Service), Creed Diskenth (Black Cat)


A few audiobooks:


Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Chris Wyatt, Marvel Press,Chris Patton,Disney  Fatal Shadows - Josh Lanyon,Chris Patton  


3. Vic Mignogna


Anime fans may know Mignogna as: Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist), Death Scythe (Soul Eater), Zero (Vampire Knight)




A Howl at the Moon - Nathan Squiers,Vic Mignogna,Tiger Dynasty Publishing 


4. Eric Vale


Anime fans may know Vale as: Yuki Sohma (Fruits Basket), Trunks (Dragon Ball Z), both America and Canada (Hetalia: Axis Powers)


A few audiobooks:


Beast: Blood, Struggle, and Dreams at the Heart of Mixed Martial Arts - Doug Merlino,Eric Vale,Audible Studios for Bloomsbury  The Crippler: Cage Fighting and My Life on the Edge - Chris Leben,Daniel J. Patinkin,Eric Vale,Audible Studios  


5. Stephanie Sheh


Anime fans may know Sheh as: Orihime (Bleach), Micchon (Eden of the East), Hinata (Naruto)




Til Morning's Light: The Private Blog of Erica Page - Ross Berger,Stephanie Sheh,Audible Studios 


That's it for now. Hopefully I'll come across some more later.

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