Baltimore press

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:51 am

The local paper has an excellent article on my play: Down and dirty in an old hotel.

For those of you in places far, here’s my director’s notes from the program:

“Itís not often you run across a play that presents people and places that are unquestionably real. There are many that try, but there are too many concessions made in the name of stagecraft. The characters may speak slowly in turn, or the plot is contrived to resolve itself in two hours, or the set may ask you to imagine many of the details. But when I first read this script, I was struck by how Lanford Wilson managed to fit reality onto the stage. The characters here are not shallow portrayals of a single human trait, they donít patiently wait their turn to talk, they donít force the plot, and they donít inhabit an imaginary world.

“But The Hot l Baltimore does not give us the most pleasant slice of life there is. The time is the mid-seventies, when America was in its famous malaise, and a ďcrisis in confidenceĒ loomed. It was a hard time for a lot of people (my own family included, when my father got caught owning a gas station hot potato when the oil embargo struck), but especially so for those on the margins of society. Itís those people that Wilson gives us here. The Hotel Baltimore was once a proud place, but now itís neglected and falling down; the ďeĒ is missing from the marquee. It is here that retirees with no place else to go, prostitutes selling their most precious possession to make it another day, and transients on the move find a place of refuge. Theyíre not people you may want in your home, but itís good to visit theirs, if only for a day.

“Often, community theater will only portray the ďshiny happy peopleĒ. Thatís not true here. These people have curse up a storm, fight and yell, interrupt one another, and sometimes break the law. But we all know people like that or even act like that ourselves on occasion. It can be a shock to see that presented on stage, though. When the shock wears off, I hope youíll appreciate the people that they are and remember (if youíre not one of these whipper-snapper college kids) the times they lived in. Sooner or later, our national malaise will return, but maybe this time weíll be ready for it.

“As usual, it took a lot of your friends and neighbors to make this show happen. Many are listed here in the program, but most of our volunteers, such as box office personnel and ushers, poster hangers and prop gatherers, are not. I thank them all. Hope Vance was a spectacular assistant director, and will be a more-than-able director someday soon. Ben Teague, having just directed the previous mainstage show, still attended all of my set calls and was able to turn my vague concepts into the form you see on stage. Without his help, the hotel lobby would be a mere box. Bill Akin found the most unlikely of props and took photos for publicity. Bobby Harris squeezed in making the switchboard around a Christmas cruise, with help from Radio Shack. The cast and crew worked extra hard to negate the disadvantages of having the holidays fall right in the middle of rehearsal time. And my new wife Chris Wagoner was beyond understanding Ė itís not nice to get married and then disappear for two months. Iíve now directed five shows here in the last three years. Iíve enjoyed each one; directing is a stress release for me. (I get a lot of funny looks when I say that.) But, Iíll move along for a while now, to devote more time to Chris and our new farm. Iíll still be involved Ė I canít really stay away Ė though when youíll see me Iím likely to have a basket of fresh eggs and vegetables with me.”


  1. it was a wonderful play eric!!!

    Comment by kim — 1/18/2002 @ 11:41 am

  2. this is a little off subject, but I used to work for the Baltimore Press newspaper and am trying to locate a copy of it for my portfolio. I happened to missplace mine while I was moving.
    If anybody has a spare copy please contact me
    sorry for using this space for such an irrellevant subject

    Comment by Katia — 9/16/2003 @ 7:43 am

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