Features

Ben Hill’s Hollywood Fringe – Part II

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Last month, Hollywood Fringe Festival founder and director, Ben Hill, spoke with FootLights  about the 2016 Summer lineup and the general direction of the festival going forward. Fringe has uniquely positioned itself as a front-runner in the U.S. festival scene, successfully promoting local Los Angeles talent as well as attracting shows from other cities across the country including New York. So it occurred to me ...

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When Actors Wage Battle

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Steven Leigh Morris reports the latest twist in the ongoing discussion about the preservation of intimate theater in Los Angeles: actor Ann Colby Stocking has filed an official wage claim against the Odyssey Theatre for back wages from a 2013 show.  Her claim, which concerns not being paid minimum wage, had to be filed within 3 years time of her employment. Her show at the ...

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New Fools On The Block

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“I must learn to love the fool in me – the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.” ~Theodore Isaac Rubin The survival of Los Angeles Theatre on Hollywood Row may not rest solely in the hands of one ...

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Steve Julian – A Voice in the City of Angels

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Sometimes you can be a strong presence without being a physical presence. If you lived in Los Angeles in the past 15 years, it’s likely you’re familiar with Steve Julian’s voice.  I can’t remember a time when I was in my car in the morning when he wasn’t there with me.  He was the morning man for NPR station KPCC, the station’s call letters alluding ...

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What’s the Motivation?

Understanding the moment-by-moment emotional drive of a character is fundamental to good acting. That’s why the most clichéd of all actor statements is “What’s my motivation?” (To which Alfred Hitchcock would reply “Your salary.”) When an actor judges a character – imposing their own world view on what the writer wrought – the ability to understand motivation is lost. Or as my acting instructor often ...

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The Bechdel Test and the Art of Politics

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Have you heard of the Bechdel test?  It was developed to formalize an observation made by Virginia Woolf about the simplicity of women’s characters in literature.  A piece of fiction passes the test if, and only if, three conditions are met: The work has at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man. Given the simplicity of ...

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Letter: 99-Seat Plan to Equity Contract – The Data

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[The database discussed in this letter has since been updated.  Details may be found here.] I just spent about a year of researching 99-Seat productions that moved to contracts. And here’s what I found (with help from the Los Angeles Theater Community): At least 127 productions that began in 99-Seat theaters graduated to a level where the actors received Equity contracts. 917 Equity contracts were ...

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Letter to Editor: Plaintiffs’ Response to AEA President (Part 2)

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“And the other is that – and I think this is one of the things that guided the Council – the idea that a mid-sized theater could open at this point, or even a smallish theater, could open at this point in Los Angeles when they had to compete with the 99-seat business model (which is much more cost-effective) is kind of preposterous.”  ~ Actors’ ...

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Letter to Editor: Plaintiffs’ Response to AEA President (Part 1)

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We thank Dakin Matthews, Steven Leigh Morris and many others for their eloquent, considered responses to Kate Shindle’s recent statements during her interview on The Producer’s Perspective. As Mr. Matthews said we also think “she is an admirable, trustworthy, and hard-working president,” and we “don’t for an instant question her integrity or her motives.” Like Mr. Matthews, our concern is with ideas and actions. We ...

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The Anonymous Creator

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If you’ve ever walked through a museum like LACMA or the Norton Simon, it’s likely you’ve run into art objects from antiquity.  These objects are not signed.  There’s no clue as to the artisan’s name.  They are of anonymous origin. And yet the objects are undeniably true works of art, representing aesthetic sensibilities and skills requiring years to develop. I was reminded of this anonymous ...

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