Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"I Hate This" Radio Drama Now Online

Miss the broadcast? Here you go.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank you for listening.

A sample of listener feedback from Friday's broadcast.

"Thanks to David for sharing his story, thanks for the many local talents whose voices brought it to life, and thanks to WCPN for bringing it to us."

"I'm just blown away. It's like the most powerful piece of radio I've heard in a long time. I'm just stunned."

"It really captured me - so brutally honest, so heartbreaking, so well done. I was in tears by the end, and I certainly will not forget it."

"This topic is often lost in the abortion rights cacaphony. It is refreshing to hear the first-hand perspective instead of the polished up political rhetoric."

"Broadcasting it the day after Thanksgiving was significant; it made me think about the births of my own children and how easy it is to take things for granted."

"An encore presentation, please, and when?"

If you, also, want a rebroadcast of I HATE THIS, please be sure to contact WCPN directly. That's what they want to hear.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

One for the Fathers

Dear Father of an Unborn Child,

I am so sorry for your loss. Or is it a loss? I don't know you, I don't know when your child died ­ when it was at 8 weeks, sixteen weeks, full-term? Maybe the length of the pregnancy was irrelevant, you wanted that child and he or she was real to you and that's all that mattered. I understand that. Again, I'm sorry.

Unless you feel you weren't really attached to this baby. It was only an embryo or a fetus. It wasn't inside you, after all. And maybe you had doubts from the beginning whether this child was viable. It's good sometimes not to get your hopes up.

Or maybe you are really feeling all the things I wrote in the first paragraph and are telling yourself the things in the second paragraph. Can't say.

It is all right for the father to grieve. It is all right for the father to be disappointed. This can take time.

There are a number of phases we go through when learning to cope with neonatal death. Sometimes knowing what they are can make them less scary ­ or upsetting, if you are not the kind of guy who gets scared.

1. Shock and numbness: Can't concentrate, can't make decisions, time gets confused. (First 2 weeks)

2. Yearning and searching: Blame, anger, guilt, bitterness, obsession for your wife to be pregnant again ­ and dreams. (2nd week through 4th month)

3. Disorganization and despair: Depressed, withdrawn, or forgetful. (5th ­ 9th month)

4. Reorganization: Sense of release, the ability to laugh, and new energy. (18 to 24 months)

Whatever you are feeling inside, for real, find it, and be honest with yourself ­ and for God's sake, be honest with your spouse.

And that's the part I strongly urge you to keep in mind at all times; what you and your partner are going through ­ when you are in synch, and especially when you are not. Maybe you yourself are bearing up well, you feel good, it's all behind you, it's time to "move on" - and best of all, your wife hasn't said a word about the baby in weeks.

My friend, you could be in for the Big Hurt.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you really knew how she is feeling? When was the last time you asked her - directly, specifically - and said how sorry you are you lost the baby, or called the baby by name (if he or she has a name) or got her flowers or did any of those things you really know you are supposed to do, but are too afraid to (yes, afraid) because you assume she's over it, or because you don't want to upset her, or because maybe, just maybe, you don't want to upset yourself.

Maybe the two of you have all of this figured out, and you don't need any of this advice. If so, I am happy for you. Because in spite of this horrible, useless thing that happened to you, and to your child, you know you have each other, and that means there will be a tomorrow, and one day it won't hurt as much.

But why take a chance? Ask her again today.

Happy Thanksgiving,

David H.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Who's Who In The Company

Almost everyone performing in the radio drama I Hate This is either currently in a production, or working on one. If you get the opportunity, please go see their work. They are all extremely talented people, and I cannot thank any of them enough for their contribution to this project.

Dorothy and Reuben Silver star in G.B. Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession - directed by Scott Plate - at Beck Center, opening March 31, 2006.

Scott is also a company member of A Christmas Carol at Great Lakes Theater Festival, opening Friday.

Nina Domingue is the Ghost and Thomas Weaver is Mr. Bob Cratchit in Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge by Christopher Durang, opening tonight at Cleveland Public Theatre.

Brian Pedaci was recently appointed President of the Board and Managing Director of Charenton Theater Company. Charenton's latest production is A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, now playing at a venue near you.

Alison Garrigan and Nick Koesters are currently appearing in the world premiere of Eric Coble's T.I.D.Y. at Beck Center.

Betsy Hogg is hard at work on college applications.

Dennis Yurich and Vanity Crash released their eponymous debut recording on October 8. Buy it.

Sadie Grossman performs in Stephen Belber's The Death of Frank presented by The Night Kitchen this February.

Dee Perry can be heard weekdays on Around Noon on WCPN 90.3 FM.

Magdalyn Donnelly will appear in A View From the Bidge by Arthur Miller for Ensemble Theatre in January, 2006 and The Diary of Anne Frank at Beck Center, opening February 3.

And me? I will appear in Sarah Morton's new play, Night Bloomers directed by Eric Schmiedl for Dobama Theatre, opening May 12, 2006.
Screening for Abnormal Embryos Offers Couples Hope After Heartbreak - NY Times, 11/22/05

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Don't You (Forget About Me)

I graduated from Bay High in 1986. Our theater clique was called (or rather, we called ourselves) the Brat Pack. Of course.

This evening Erin held a (partial) Brat Pack reunion at her home. She bought a house about two blocks from where we live almost a year ago. The fact that this is the first time we have been there for a social event is no fault of hers and everything to do with the directions our lives run.

I was nervous, to be honest. Any ties to my past make me nervous. Attending our ten year high school renuin (which was, uh, almost ten years ago) was difficult, I was at a nadir in a number of ways. Recently divorced, kind of unhealthy. It gave me strength to be walking in with some of the same old friends.

(Lynn is closest to me in this photo - she hasn't aged a fricking day, has she?)

I don't think I'd seen Sharon in all that time, and I know I hadn't seen her husband Ray (or Raymond - I called him Ray) in longer than that. He and I played bass drum in marching band. That was a real long time ago. They came in from Beaumont, Texas for Thanksgiving - we usually spend Thanksgiving in Athens, and so our paths had not crossed since then. They have two great kids. It was delightful, as always, to see Lynn. She is a vet in Aurora. We don't see her enough.

It was a nice, if all-too-brief reunion. Sorry we didn't hear from the guys.

I was always the one with the Big 80s obsession. I could tell you exactly what year which single was released, and I was a big fan of the old videos. Not so much anymore. I've even found that the memory for pointless 80s trivia has begun to crumble - and no, I do not watch the I (heart) the 80s shows on VH1 to bone up.

Sometimes I think I fell in love with Toni the day my future ex-wife and I spent with Toni and her eventual-non-boyfriend in Central Park when I almost but not quite kicked her ass in Trivial Pursuit: 80s Edition.

Which is to say, I lost. But not by much. And she's never let me forget it.

When I think of my high school experience, I am usually only remembering Senior year, when we were the Brat Pack. Before that, I don't know what happened before that. I'm not even sure sometimes why that last year in high school has any resonance with me, I was actually hideously depressed and neurotic. I have terrible memories of lashing out at my friends in some cringe-inducing ways. It may have been simply that I'd never been laid.

In fact, I think that's exactly what the problem was. When that was taken care of, I mellowed out considerably.

For about five minutes. (drum fill)

The really painful shit comes bubbling up to the surface just before any of these gatherings - and just as quickly dissipate in the presence of the actual people. Our entire lives have happened since then, who is thinking of their adolescence in those situations? I mean, we're all almost forty, right?

God, am I sorry I said that.

I was asking a lot of questions about everyone else. I was fascinated to find out what Raymond's brothers have been up to - and how he and Sharon fared in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. They were lucky, it caused some damaged, didn't sound unbearable for them.

Zelda started blowing a fuse around 8:30 (that's normal) but before we went Sharon cornered me and started asking about the radio show. "Tell me about it," she said, and I was like, "Uh, do you know what the original show is about?" And she said she did, like it was no big deal, and so I got to talk to her about it.

That was really, really great.

Lynn has also promised to try to catch it, though she'll be working Friday. It's starting to dawn on me the crush of people who are going to be listening in on Friday, people who either couldn't make the show ... or just couldn't face it in person. Listening in, in the privacy of your own home, that's got to be easier for some folks, right?

Man. Look at that picture up there. The hair was pretty conservative - and weren't we all. I am well off without it.

The hair, I mean.

And I couldn't resist creating another retro-playlist.

When We Were Suave: 1985-1987

01. Consider Me Gone Sting Dream of the Blue Turtles
02. Miami Vice Theme Jan Hammer Miami Vice
03. Conga Miami Sound Machine Primitive Love
04. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) Kate Bush Hounds of Love
05. Perfect Kiss New Order Low Life
06. Forever Live and Die Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark Pacific Age
07. Hang On To Your Love Sade Diamond Life
08. Left of Center Suzanne Vega Pretty In Pink
09. Something About You Level 42 World Machine
10. The Edge Of Heaven Wham! Music from the Edge of Heaven
11. Anotherloverholenyohead Prince Parade
12. Paranomia The Art of Noise In Visible Silence
13. Take My Breath Away Berlin Count Three & Pray
14. I Can't Wait Nu Shooz Poolside
15. The Captain Of Her Heart Double DOU3LE
16. Breakout Swing Out Sister It's Better to Travel
17. Fortress Around Your Heart Sting Dream of the Blue Turtles

Can I have a big shout out for my man Dennis Yurich?

Thanks to those who caught the interview - I got an email from Brian P. during the show saying, "'Am I missing someone'??? HELLO?" Luckily, the piece from the show they played began with Brian's voice - DeOreo and I cracked up in the studio. "Yep," he said, "always forget the announcer."

One person I wanted to mention, but couldn't slip in (you'll notice they had three guests today, and not the usual two) was music designer Dennis Y. I don't feel that man gets enough credit. It has not been lost on me that the Plain Dealer has always been dismissive of his involvement in local productions, when not being downright insulting.

Dennis composed and performed songs for my production of The Vampyres and Lysistrata as well as creating original music for Bad Epitaph shows Sin and Cloud 9 as well as, of course, I Hate This. He has also composed music for shows at Dobama and Beck Center, and was the musical director - and lead guitarist - for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at CPT.

Back in 1999, when director Roger Truesdell INSISTED we have an original score for Sin, I thought, that's ridiculous, nobody has original music, everyone in Cleveland lifts music from existing sources. And back then, that was pretty much accurate. The extent to which his contribution to Cleveland theater has gone unrecognized is depressing.

The twin themes of I Hate This - the haunting electronic voice and the bright, guitar theme - have become very close to my heart. And it took me a few listens before I realized they were the same melody.

DeOreo asked me what the origin of the electronic voice was and I said, I wasn't sure, what did he think, and he said he thought it was the sound of an ultrasound.

Of course, he's exactly right, only no one's every said that out loud to me before. It's Calvin's voice. I almost lost it right there in the editing studio.

It goes without saying I am really happy Dennis let us use his music for the show. I have a page on the I Hate This site on the inspirations for the music.

What time is that show on?

Just a reminder, I'll be on Around Noon today, to promote the Friday special. Jim Goldurs is sitting in for Dee today, which will be interesting. Dee's already interviewed me about the show - and I have no idea the kinds of questions a guy might ask.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Duh.

"Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine," Vincenzo Giuliani said quietly. "'Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'"

"But the sparrow still falls," Felipe said.


Spending part of the day listening to the latest cut on my iPod, looking for things to adjust, places to "add a little air," things to irritate Al with on Monday. Monday we wrap this sucker up.

I was driving home from work yesterday with a splitting headache. I was listening to the end. And I started crying. I surprised myself. I have told this story countless times, in just this way. I never get lost in it when telling it, I'm just not that kind of actor. But hearing it ... God. We still miss that boy so much.

Right now we're in Athens, visiting Toni's family. I was walking Orson around, trying to get him to go to sleep, when I spotted a copy of The Sparrow on the shelf in Connie's office. The paperback edition has a number of questions in the back for "readers' groups" - the kind of questions we ask as actor-teachers for Great Lakes. Why do characters make certain choices, what were alternative outcomes, what would you do in a similar circumstance.

It has been a while since I have read the book, but of course, this question caught my eye; "The Sparrow" tells a story by interweaving two time periods -

Well, okay, I didn't need to get any further than that. Did I know I got the structure for my play from this book? Did I know that once, and then forget? It doesn't bother me to think I did, I feel that falls more under the heading of "inspiration" than that of "plagiarism." But after so much reflection, it stuns me to think I could have un-remembered it. Or that I may never have even thought of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vertigo

We're almost through. Today Brian cut the credits, and Dee did the intro, outro, and :20 and :40 minute IDs. Producer Mark Rosenberger gave his stamp of approval by conference call - I was floored by his comments. He said it was everything they could ask for - he laughed, he teared up, he got really angry at that nurse.

There were several simple-to-fix technical notes, and he told me that he just didn't understand where we are in "First Birthday" or even what we are doing. So I re-wrote and re-recorded it right then and there. Short of having a voice-over stating "This is where we are and what we're doing" I think I have made it pretty clear. And it was a scene I was relieved to re-take anyway, I wasn't entirely happy with what we had.

Our friend Patty asked me tonight if I was nervous. And you know, I am nervous. Just the other night, while Toni was listening to the rough cut, I sat and took in the last five scenes. I sat, put my head in my hands - and got very, very dizzy. It's so fast! Everything just spills out so fast!

And it wasn't until tonight I figured out why. I've never heard my own show. When I perform it, it's like telling an old story, you never really hear yourself doing it, you are it.

I think, maybe, a little more than a thousand people have seen this show. In two and a half years, that's it. A grand. One grand. Around Noon has a daily listenership of around 40,000 - or so they tell me. I don't know how that translates to a holiday - or whether anyone will stick around for radio drama (some "personal despise" it) but at the very least, at one go we'll be sharing Calvin's story with an exponentially larger number of people.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ira Doesn't Like Me

Speaking of influences, I'm a big fan of This American Life. The intimacy it engenders, in spite of its archness, is difficult to resist, and I have long felt an attachment to many of the regulars.

Sarah Vowell is a combination of several women I dated at school. David Rakoff lives my other life for me: an openly-gay, closeted-Canadian living in Manhattan. I once was hot for Sandra Tsing Loh until she became this spastic Erma Bombeck-wannabe for Marketplace. And then there's David Sedaris. My David Sedaris story is for some other time.

And those are just the contributors (many of whom have been busy with better paying gigs lately as a result) not the reporters or editors, like Alix Spiegel or Julie Snyder, Both of whom I adore, and each of whom has a voice for print.

In the past few years - well, since 9/11, really - the show has gone from quirky to important, I think. Stories about the extraordinary in the ordinary (there's that line again) are vital to being a compassionate person. Opening your mind to people who aren't like yourself, discovering your own prejudices. But they've been doing actual journalism these days, in New Orleans and Mississippi, Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere.

And through it all there's been Ira. Ira doesn't know me, and doesn't like me. That's okay, I didn't like him at first, either. His smug vows (in early promos) that listeners would sit in their cars and wait until a story was over when hearing his show - that really pissed me off. Only it was true.

Yeah, we've tried to get on the show. Dave D. sent the Spencer Tunick piece around trying to get someone to replay a part of it. TAL wasn't interested - Tunick was old news. And they're right. The Tunick piece was eventually repackaged, or rather, butchered, into a much shorter version played on the horrid Weekend America hosted by the intolerable Barbara Bogaev, Bill Radke, and guest-hosted on that particular afternoon by the aforementioned Ms. Loh, whose commentary following our package resulted in my losing my last shred of respect for her.

I actually sent the T-shirt essay to TAL a few years back - with a cassette of my reading it. Didn't even receive a reply. I am pathetic.

And to top it off, this week I opened my copy of Time Out Chicago (someday ask me why I have a subscription to Time Out Chicago) when I find an article on the 10th Anniversary of This American Life. In it I learn, among other interesting facts, that Mr. Glass "personally despises" radio drama.

Despises.

He put that in specifically because he knew I have a radio drama coming out next week, that he knew I'd read this article, and because he doesn't like me.

But I will keep listening. I can't help myself. He's such a cute little guy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ode to Harvey

I can't remember when I was first made familiar with the work of Harvey Pekar. It was definitely when I was at school - I was big into comic books when I was an adolescent, less so when I was in my late high school years. I think I was still getting X-Men by habit when I was sixteen, but stopped around then.

There was a brief era in the late 80s/early 90s (well-documented in Reinventing Comics) where so-called "comix" were finally getting respect and attention. Or so they said. There were always well-written comics out there with an adult audience in mind, only they started getting reviewed in the NY Times. Harvey had been publishing American Splendor since 1976.

Again, can't remember who told me, "hey, you should read this." I'm fairly certain I was already collecting his work before I even knew he was making guest shots on Letterman. He can be a bad influence on a young writer. Harvey's mantra is that extraordinary things happen to ordinary people. And since most of his work is autobiographical, countless writers and artists have used him as a template for their own existential-funny-angst prose. It's an excuse to write about the crap you just took. For a very successful example, see Derf's The City.

One of his techniques is to narrate a story by simply telling it as monologue, with a page or more of images of himself, directly addressing the reader - which I felt was translated pretty well into the film version of American Splendor(see right: click on to enlarge.) In spite of any other solo performance I have ever seen - and I have seen a lot - I think this style, more than any other, had a great impression on my comic art, and on the route I chose to take with I Hate This. I don't know that I would have had the stones to just stand there and flatly state what was going on, and my reaction to it, and feel it was worth saying. I "perform" things a little, but feel much more comfortable just standing there, telling.

Thanks, Harvey.

Friday, November 11, 2005

More Chocolate



Austin is a member of one of Toni's writers' groups. He drew this picture of Zelda at our house last night.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Adjusting Blog For Irony: Please Stand By ...

No, no one at WCPN suggested the baby live at the end.

There were people, when the play debuted in 2003, who suggested a coda about Zelda which I thought was as offensive then as I do now.

Or a follow-up play about fatherhood called "I Love This."

Ew?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Now With Less Content!

A very exciting day in the editing studio. You folks must think we're taking forever to cut this thing; truth is, these sessions are about two hours each - two sessions last week, two this week.

We're adding more sound effects, and today one of the other actors re-took an entire scene - that was extremely rewarding for everyone involved.

Tomorrow we are going to tape at the Old Stone Church to get the correct ambiance for the Cloisters scene. There isn't that much background sound in the show, but any scene that's just acting with little or no exposition from me needs something or it can be confusing.

And there have been rewrites. Just today I reworked the opening to Hamley's for a second (third?) time. The description of summer in London was trimmed, and some of my more accusative comments have been rendered a bit more passive (much like this entire sentence.)

Oh, and I eliminate an entire character.

Meanwhile, remember how I said I needed to get the show down to 58:30? Not true. That's without station IDs at twenty and forty minutes. I needed to get it down to 57:30. That's two minutes we still needed to excise, not one.

And I did it, sucka. Don't think it didn't hurt. What is missing? Any mention of RU-486, John Phillips, or the Baby Food Company That Must Not Be Named.

What's left? Everything else. They wanted the baby to live at the end, but I stood my ground.

Two weeks, two days, and counting. And we're not done yet.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just another adolescent fantasy ... and one for the fellahs.

The Musical Box - not Gabriel-era Genesis, but an incredible simulation!!! - played the Allen Theatre tonight, and I was there. Woo. This season they are performing a 30th Anniversary recreation of the original 1974-75 tour of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Because, yes, in high school I was the biggest Genesis fan. Ever. I am no longer the coolest guy you know. And apparently, I never was.

So this band does old, old Genesis, the Peter Gabriel stuff, uhm, the only actually good stuff. If you're into that. Old, sit down, nod your head a little, arty, "progressive rock" kind of stuff. And they are surprisingly talented at it.

I tried to feign outsider status, judging the rest of the sold-out crowd who attended. I mean, who the hell would pay good money to see this, heh? Not all the guys were over fifty - though all of the women were. Both of them. We got excellent seats, front row, lower balcony. Looking down, I'd never seen so many bald heads at a rock show before, and I couldn't see mine.

When I say we, I mean me and Josh. I told Toni I wanted to see this and she was very kind. But no way in hell would be come with me, if she could.

But how was the show? It was very enjoyable. The guy playing Gabriel does a stunning impersonation ... even if he is at least fifteen years too old for the part. Gabriel took his shirt off a lot in the show (I've seen photos) and at 25, he looked pretty good. This guy needs to join me in laying off the doughnuts.

I would have said the show was excellent (the drummer, the "Phil Collins" part, was outstanding - he even plays left-handed) only the slides went out halfway through the show. I didn't realize how much I was enjoying the slides, and how much they contributed to the experience, until they were gone. They came back for the end, only one projector was still knocked out, which was distracting.

I got over my irritation when I decided this was just another part of the 70s art-rock show experience; things going wrong with the tech.

Thank you, Kristen!

Speaking of tech, here is a photo from my MetroHealth performance in May:



And from last month:



Notice any difference? Yes, you could SEE MY FACE in the October performances. Mille grazie to Kristen F., not only for arranging the October performances at MetroHealth, but for being our champion in making sure that there was front-lighting. Oh, and thanks for the photos!

One for the Fellahs

I got a lot of stuff on my I Hate This page, some of which is valuable to people who have found the page looking for comfort, advice, sanity, what have you. And a lot of it is trivia, material of interest to those who want to know how one goes about constructing a solo performance based on the worst thing that ever happened to them.

What I have avoided, probably due to the weight of such an undertaking, is providing any direct advice. I'm not a therapist, only a survivor. And an artist - I am much more acclimated to saying, "Watch the show, draw you own conclusions."

At the first MetroHealth perf., the Q&A began with a doctor asking, sincerely, earnestly, "What should we say or do for someone who has just lost a child?" I had an answer for that.

At Akron a day later, the Q&A started (after an awkward silence) by a nurse asking, "Well, you've told us all the wrong things to say, what are we supposed to say?" I had an answer for that, too. I think it was the same answer, at least the words were the same, even if I wasn't, as you might imagine, a bit more defensive.

Recently some friends of ours had a miscarriage, and it is causing some problems. I believe the pregnancy was eight weeks along. It happened in the middle of the night, they did not even go to the hospital.

Early tests had suggested it was going to be a difficult pregnancy, if it even continued for much longer. Maybe this is a familiar story. And the outcome, the disconnect between the two of them, might also be something you can imagine.

As events fell out, I was with him yesterday morning, while Toni was with her. And now we know what was already pretty obvious. She is very upset, and he was oblivious of that fact. Okay, maybe he wasn't, but he wanted to be.

His story is that since it didn't look good at the outset, he was ready for the pregnancy to be "unviable," was not surprised when it ended, and was relieved when she didn't want to talk about.

Her story ... well, you can guess her story. And you can guess how she was coping with the silence.

I found myself being surprisingly direct with him yesterday. As though I know everything about the subject. But I do know a lot more than he does. Most of these blogs are written by women, not only because it "happened to them" but because there is never enough talk going on about their children, their pain, anger, frustration, helplessness.

And a lot of that is the husband's fault. I know there's a lot of supportive guys out there. But I also have the impression that there aren't enough.

So I am going to put a letter to The Guys on my site. I think I know what to say in it, but I would value additional input. As the doctor asked, "What should we say or do?" Anyone who wants to pitch in, either leave a comment or email me at pengo (at) davidhansen (dot) org. I would really, really appreciate it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sound Advice

Spent the last two days editing the radio version. Working with Dave and Al has been great - they are the prodcers, and they seem to really "get" what I was hoping to do with it.

When we last met, we had cobbled together all of the recording we had done with the actors. It was all out of order, we put it all in place, and found it was 101 minutes long. It needs to be 58:30 - and less, if we are going to provide IDs for the station, or brief reminders for listeners who drop in just exactly what the hell they are hearing.

It's because of that last point that no one does radio drama anymore. People don't sit down in front of their radio anymore, they jump from station to station, in their car or at work. If they don't know what is going on, they quickly move on to something else.

After adding sound effects and Dennis' music, and taking out the more obvious big gaps in air we had only added a minute. So at 102, there were three and a half minutes of material to cut.

On Wednesday I re-recorded some new language, cut some passages, and we found mistakes we had missed the first time through. The good news is we cut two and a half minutes - that's a lot. But there's still one (or two) minutes that must be excised.

On Thursday, we added sound effects. I use the phone a lot in the show, a device that shames me because writing half a phone conversation is always stilted ("How are you? You're fine? You're coming down with a cold? You say you have a brain tumor? No, I'm not repeating everything you say.") but it does sound a lot better when you run it through an EQ and make it sound like you are hearing half the phone conversation.

There are also a lot of places in the stage show where I make noise which needed to be recorded. Drawing on pavement with chalk, rocking in a rocking chair.

We're stuck trying to come up with ambient sound for The Cloisters. Nick and I are speaking in hushed tones, and we put a reverb on that which will sound great - if there's background noise. The scene's too long to go without it. But The Cloisters has close rooms and stone walls. We can't think of a place in town where we can get the hushed whispers and echoey footfalls necessary to provide background.

Anyway, hearing all of the different voices with added effects and sounds, I am more confident than I was that using other people was exactaly the right idea. Or that anyone will want to listen to it - it all just jumps out at the listener. At least, I hope so.

A lot of what I cut were jokes. Things I said just to be funny. I don't think they will be missed. Dave and Al will be handing the rough cut off to one of the higher-ups at WCPN, who will no doubt suggest some merciless trimming, which is just what I need at this point. I only hope he has a suggested three minutes of cuts, so I can put back in the minute that hurts the most.

Can you imagine? "I know this story is important to you, but we don't really need to hear about ..." But it has to be done.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005