I Started a Podcast – First Guest Anna Carini

It’s called “The GOATcast.”

Only folks who’re GOATS are on my show.

I was going to call it “The GOAT Podcast,” but one ep it’s clear that it’s so One ep in and The GOATcast is already a GOAT so I thought limiting it with the “pod” was insufficient.

My first guest is Anna Carini. Anna is a talented actor, playwright, and screenwriter, who did theater in Chicago for a longtime before moving to LA a couple of years ago.

We talk about writing for yourself, being frustrated with the lack of roles for women being an impetus to to start writing plays, and the writing process itself.

I have a website for the podcast in the works, but for now just listen to it on the site I’m currently hosting the audio, Spreaker. As soon as you listen to it, you’re a GOAT too.

Anna Carini

Anna Carini

Anna Carini an actor, playwright and screenwrite. She is a founding member and the Artistic Director of SiNNERMAN Ensemble, a storefront theater company formed by graduates of the School at Steppenwolf in Chicago. She is now based in Los Angeles and a proud member of The Road Theatre.

Anna’s play, Sweet Confinement, won four “After Dark Awards” when it premiered in Chicago in 2008 including Outstanding New Work. The play has had three subsequent productions to date including being remounted at Chicago’s Theater On The Lake, a prestigious invitation offered to eight standout Chicago productions of the year. Two of her plays, Sweet Confinement and Facing Back, have both had readings at The Road Theatre in LA as part of their Summer Playwright’s Festival. Facing Back has also had a reading at Chicago Dramatists and was chosen by The Women’s Theater Alliance in Chicago for participation in their New Play Development Workshop. Her first short film, Bliss Blue, that she wrote, starred in and produced will soon have it’s LA premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Anna can also be seen in a recurring role on the Amazon show, Good Girls Revolt.

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Kilroys Fundraiser in LA December 3rd

The Kilroys are awesome. They’re a group of female playwrights that have banded together from NYC, Chicago, and LA to promote gender parity in theater. They act as a de facto literary agent and advocate for new plays from female and transgender playwrights. Each year they publish and publicize a list of recommended plays so to get access to and encourage theaters to publish more female and transgender playwrights. They’re doing their first-ever fundraiser on December 3rd here in Los Angeles.

Here’s a link to the fundraiser.

Tickets are $25/$50/$75. Feel free to donate if you can’t make it.

To Read More About the Kilroys:
Here’s a 2014 NY Times article about them.

Here’s a 2016 NY Times article about them. 

Thesis play chosen for Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival

My thesis play, “Born 2 Hit/Let the Good Times Roll” (I don’t know the title yet!!!) will be produced in April at Ohio University’s Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival. It runs April 15-23, 2016, and will be directed by Rani Crowe.

Cast is:
Claire Autran
Carson Cerney
Sophie Mitchem
Tyler Tanner

Here’s a rambly (not even rambling) blurb I wrote about it:

Synopsis: Leland, Michigan. The summer of 1994. The Montreal Expos are the hottest team in baseball with a collection of amazing young talent, like the 22-year-old Pedro Martinez, and are in contention to win their first World Series in franchise history. Communism has been defeated, and the Clinton White House is presiding over a time of peace and prosperity. The internet is just starting to take off, and NAFTA has just been passed. The world seems to be getting smaller, and a freer flow of information and trade seems to signal an unprecedented era of prosperity. Darkness swirls underneath the veneer of the America Dream, however.  The possibility of the baseball strike looms over the season. Kurt Cobain just killed himself. O.J. Simpson went from hero to murder suspect. Factories are starting to shut down as jobs move over seas, which signal problems for the middle class.

Glenn O’Rourke, 43, had a gift as a kid. He could hit a baseball. Glenn set Michigan state record for batting average in a season in 1969 that still hasn’t been broken. Not that athletic, everyone said he was “Born to Hit.” He was drafted in the Montreal Expos original expansion draft in 1969, but only lasted two seasons in rookie ball, where he wasn’t able translate his talent in a more competitive setting. After two tours in Vietnam, Glenn O’Rourke, and then moved back home and spent the rest of his life in northwest Michigan working menial jobs and running a bait shop for tourists in the summer. After the death of his business partner, and lifelong best friend, Russell, to drugs and alcohol, Glenn wonders if he should leave the wintry climes of Michigan, and everything and everyone he knows, for California where he could coach baseball, his one true passion, year round. When he meets and hits it off with Sarah, a young college graduate waitressing tables for the summer before heading to law school in L.A., a pipe dream begins to grow into a distinct possibility. Two locals, Keith and Ally, question his wisdom in trying to start over while chasing a woman twenty years younger. Is it still possible to pursue the American Dream approaching Middle Age, or is it only the quest of the young and affluent?

 

Beg for Forgiveness Later

Usually, I just use this blog to announce theater things. I’ve got so much to get off my chest, by chest, I mean shoulders, because that’s where most of my tension goes. I’m approaching my last semester in grad school. I’ve got upcoming deadlines. Deadlines for deadlines for Deadlines. Research to do about things to apply for when I leave, and knowing I will have to write things for those applications.

When my mind floats away from this massive load of The Rest of My Life, there’s one thing I can’t get out of my head: the Royals’ Eric Hosmer’s sprint from third to home in Game 5 of the World Series.

Nov 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) score the tying run past New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (7) in the 9th inning in game five of the World Series at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) score the tying run past New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud (7) in the 9th inning in game five of the World Series at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals were up 3-1 in the World Series, but down 2-0 in the top of the ninth. Hosmer hit an RBI double, and was at third when Perez hit a broken bat ground ball. As you probably know, or can read online. Hosmer scored, and the Royals went on to win the game in extra innings, and thus the World Series.  All this is very well documented all over the internet.

Wearing KC hat when I'm 3 or 5, with big sister and mom.

Wearing KC hat when I’m 3 or 5, with big sister and mom.

I’ve been a Royals fan since I gained consciousness. I could translate the box scores and standings before I could read. I would make my parents open up the sports page every morning when I was three so I could see how they did, and look at the stats. The first World Series I remember was the 1980 World Series when I was five, and they lost to the Phillies in six games. I was ten, when the Royals won it all in 1985. Then for 30 years, they were mostly awful. One of the worst franchises in sports. There are plenty of essays online that talk about the trials and tribulations of being a Royals fan. No matter how bad they were though, I could not but help to check the box score every day in the paper, and later on the internet. I remember my freshmen year at Georgetown in the fall of 1993. I found out a guy down on the hall had his computer set up so he could get the internet and could see who won the baseball games in real-time. I used to go down and bug him, like I bothered my grandfather to play catch with me when I was kid, to dial into his Compuserve account so I could look at the scores.

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Dressed up for Easter. Clearly the mitt was a requirement. It’s the spring.

When your team loses continually for 30 years, you learn to detach and emotionally disconnect immediately. It helps when you attend multiple Chiefs playoff games in the frigid cold to see heartbreaking losses, and to see a Jayhawks basketball team suffer a lot of tourney upsets. The 2014 season, again which has been documented well, was a miracle for Royals fans. A team and organization that had shown promise for several years with the drafting and development of talented players, made the Wildcard game vs the A’s, and had one of the most improbably comeback wins in the history of the sport. I watched that game alone in a Buffalo Wild Wings in Athens, Ohio. The five-hour game went so late, that the only people left in the bar were the manager and the bartender. When we scored the winning run, I backed up into the middle of the bar to give myself room to breathe, held my head and literally said, “Oh My God!” thirty times over and over.

The Royals went on to sweep the Angels and Orioles, both of whom were favored, and lost in 7 games to San Francisco in the World Series. Alex Gordon was stranded on third base, when Sal Perez made the last out. We were 90 feet away from home, and a tie game.

Property of the Kansas City Royals

“Property of the Kansas City Royals”

This year, the team defied expectations of nearly everyone, and finished with the best record in the American League. The two teams I feared the most, the Astros and Blue Jays, we defeated in the ALDS & ALCS. This Royals squad become known as one of the most “clutch” teams in baseball history, with multiple come from behind wins in the last three innings. It got so that Royals fans, like myself, conditioned for it all to go wrong at some point, started to have more and more faith that we would somehow find a way to win even when losing.

So we get back to Game 5 of the World Series. Hosmer on third, one out, the Royals down by one. Perez hits a little broken bat flare in the infield. Mets’ third-baseman, David Wright ranges to his left to field it. No one on the Mets is covering  third, and Hosmer crow hops towards home after Wright looks back at him and turns to throw to first. Hosmer could have actually even taken a bigger lead. Every time I watch the play, I scream at him in my head to take a couple more steps towards home. The Royals scouting reports relayed to the players said that Wright, and first basemen, Lucas Duda, were both below average fielders, with weak and erratic arms. Hosmer knew this. Hosmer also knew that your dreams can die on third base when for someone else to make something happen as it did in Game 7 the year before. He also knew that aggressiveness combined with research and diligence wins games, as Lorenzo Cain and third base coach, Mike Jirschele demonstrated in the ALDS vs the Astros when Cain went to first-to-home after an Astros fielder slipped, and the ALCS vs the Blue Jays series when Cain scored from first base on a single, the only time that had happened all year in MLB when a runner wasn’t already trying to steal second on the pitch.

Cain scored on both of those easily because of his speed and alertness by Jirschele and himself.

Hosmer’s run home in Game 5 was bold to put it kindly. A good throw home by Duda would have nailed him. But Hosmer had all these past experiences, knew what was on the line, knew that the Royals make the other teams make mistakes, knew the scouting reports, and knew that sometimes you have to make it happen rather wait for luck, or someone to tell you it’s okay to take a risk, or for someone else to get a hit against the odds. He saw a window of opportunity, and he took it. And it was smart. They had two games at home to win just one game, if he was called out and the Royals lost the game.

The Royals went for it this year. After coming 90 feet away the year before. The Royals went and traded away a handful of really good prospects for big name players, Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. The Royals wanted nothing less than a World Series victory. They were going to go all-in, and if they didn’t succeed, well then at least they gave it their all.

In theater, comedy, and entertainment, and anything you’re passionate about, no one is going to give you anything. Your family doesn’t want to you take a risk and fail, but the thing is anyone who’s really successful has to fail over and over and over. You will be told you’re not good enough a million times more often than you can succeed. When you are told you have what it takes to do well, and it’s by someone that’s in a position of more experience or a mentor, it’s such a shock that it’s like someone just handed you $100,000 out of the blue.

You will have fear. You have fear lying on your bed with your laptop sitting across the room waiting for words to be typed in it. With the script lying on your bedside table waiting to be broken down, and learned and sweated in, and eaten, and spit back out. You will have fear of being alone, dying alone, never finding anyone, never being able to be a good partner when you do find someone because you’re so handicapped with fear from everything else.

When Hosmer first came up to the big leagues, he would ask veterans on his team and around the league how to do deal the fear and anxiety and the adrenaline when he found himself in Big Moments. When it’s bottom of the 9th, and a runner is in scoring position, and he has to knock it in. Even spending all your life preparing for these moments doesn’t prepare you to do it on a big stage in a stadium with 40, 000 screaming fans while a future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera looks in for signs from the catcher. The game speeds up. Doubt creeps in. Making sure your mechanics on your swing are sound. Remembering your mantra. Knowing how he’s pitched you in the past, what the scouting reports say he usually does to left-handed batters in a certain count. Doubting that research, and knowing the pitcher knows the book on him, because he thinks you’ll be looking for that one pitch that he usually throws (a fastball away on on 2-0 counts), and throws an inside slider he knows you have a tendency to swing at. Doubt of how you’ll face your teammates if you fail. How you’ll face your loved ones. Your fans. The girl you like. What if you fail? And you try so hard. You try too hard and you make a mistake and you fail. Of course you fail. If you’re a great hitter, you’re going to fail 7 out of 10 times in the best case scenario. You just have to keep doing it over and over and over again, and experience some success and realize your teammates  treat you the same when you get back to the dugout no matter what you do, and your family still loves you, and maybe that girl still loves you and maybe she doesn’t, but you know if she doesn’t there will be one that does.

Royals celebrate their World Series win.

Royals celebrate their World Series win.

But on this play, this defining play, Hosmer wasn’t up to bat. He was standing on third. He’s still quick for a first basemen, but doesn’t have elite speed. Good players can beat you a variety of ways, just like a good writer can tell a good story a variety of ways. Lorenzo Cain, the fifth best player in the Majors this year according to a stat called WAR, hit for a high average throughout the post-season, but underneath the numbers, at least to my eye, struggled in most big situations at the plate. he was hampered by a bruised knee, and opposing teams were hammering him with high fastballs that he’d chase out of the zone or foul off. Yet, Cain, of course, played sterling defense, and as I wrote in this post, won two games with his speed on the basepaths. His two biggest at-bats in the post-season he was able to draw a walk, when neither he nor most of the Royals walk very much. He drew a walk, and got on base, and that kick started game-changing rallies. So Hosmer, who’s known first for his glove and bat, and his leadership ability and affability, was on third, and decided to make something happen with his legs.

Hosmer said the first two steps towards home, he thought it was a huge mistake. The third base coach thought he was crazy. Alex Gordon, the all-star third baseman standing on the on-deck circle, thought “oh crap.” But Hosmer knew once he took that second step there was no going back. He runs fast. He got up to 19 MPH. I’ve played and watched enough baseball, to know that he would not be able to get to home before the throw go there. I was standing in a Royals bar in Chicago with my best friend and a couple hundred other fans. I think I screamed, and jumped up and down, and grabbed my buddy Dan’s shoulder. At least I think I screamed, but I don’t remember sound. I feel like a vacuum sucked all of the air and the sound of the bar. The Royals were the team that was relentless and took risks and believed in ourselves and took any bit of luck and ran with it. A good throw would have nailed him. But Duda yanked the ball and it flew past the catcher and Hosmer slid in safe. We won the game three innings later. Of course, we did. We knew we would.

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Hosmer greeted in the dugout after scoring the tying run in Game 5.

When Wade Davis called third strike hit Drew Butera’s glove and the Royals won the World Series, I thought “now what?” To want something so bad for so long, and to finally get it. It’s surreal. You’re head is in this game. It’s a GAME for God’s sake. And then it’s over, and people call their Uber’s, and go home, and go to bed. Now what? I lay in bed that night and watched Hosmer’s slide at home over and over. From the different angles, you could see the reactions of the Mets fans. The entire stadium’s hands went to their heads in disbelief when the throw went wild and Hosmer scored. I watched it over and over and over. Incredulous that it happened. Wright looked back. Hosmer tense. He takes off. Duda throws the ball. It sails to the right of the catcher. Hosmer slides in safe.

Me and my friend Dan on the night the Royals won it all.

Me and my friend Dan on the night the Royals won it all.

I woke up the next morning early, but not early enough, to head back to Ohio and grad school. I was just kind of groggy and lost and drove through Chicago wondering why everything felt the same. A light bulb sparked, and I brought up sports talk radio stations from KC on my phone, and listened to them for two hours. I got to relive the highlights of the entire post-season they’d play periodically. To hear these guys on the radio talk about what it meant to the city and the fans.

Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr waves to fans during a World Series victory parade in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr waves to fans during a World Series victory parade in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Two days later, Kansas City hosted a victory parade for the Royals (see first picture). In 1985, the last time the Royals won the World Series, my mom took me out of school, when I was in fifth grade, to see the parade. There were old cars and tons of confetti, and no barriers to keep the crowd back. Cars kept setting the confetti on fire, and after waiting for several hours in front of Crown Center, the parade route changed and turned away from us toward’s Liberty Memorial and never went past us. We streamed to the Liberty Memorial to try to see and hear the rally, but really heard and saw very little. It was disappointing, but the excitement and memories of the parade are still clear in my mind. This year, all the schools canceled class so students and parents could go. 800,000 people showed up. They lined the streets 10 to 15 rows deep. Cars parked on the side of the highways into downtown, because of the traffic, and fans walked to the route. I saw a picture of thousands of fans on Broadway, a couple of miles north of downtown walking to the parade, and that really hit home. So many people, so far away, streaming to the parade. I was able to watch all of this online. I was able to feel connected to my hometown, to my tribe, just all of my friends and family that no longer live in KC were able to. I was able to see the players and coaches and GM give their shoutouts to the fans to culminate the parade.

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article42764673.html/video-embed

In KC or Ohio, where I’m in grad school, I wear a Royals hat or Royals t-shirt almost every day. It’s just sort of a uniform for me since I don’t really have to dress up. I’m glued to MLB Gameday during every game, and obsessively check twitter for the latest news, analysis, and quotes. I seem over-the-top. Maybe, I am. But looking at these pictures, going to a playoff game with my father last year, I realized that I was a not a singular phenomenon. I was just a fan away from home. Always prepared for the worst, and dumbfounded and giddy and dangerously hopeful, as my team kept winning.

And I could not get that image of Hosmer taking off for home. Taking off for home. He would not be left on third. He refused. He went for it. He went for it. He went for it. Forcing the issue. If he was out, he’d beg for forgiveness later. Actually, he would never have to or at least need to. Not to himself, or his teammates, or to me. He prepared his entire life for this moment. He could have waited on third, forever waiting for someone to do something, but he saw his chance, and he went.

 

“Daddy’s Little Girls” Nominated for National Partners of American Theatre Playwriting Award

Playwright, Cast, and Director of "Daddy's Little Girls" at KCACTF, Region II.

Playwright, Cast, and Director, David A.Miller, of “Daddy’s Little Girls” at KCACTF, Region II.

In conjunction with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), Dolan’s 10-minute play, “Daddy’s Little Girls,” garnered him one of the eight nominations for the National Partners of American Theatre Playwriting Award which recognizes “best-written, best-crafted script with the strongest writer’s “voice.””

There is one nominee from the combined submissions for 10-minute, one-act, and full-length plays from each of one of the eight KCACTF regions.

“Daddy’s Little Girls” was also a National Semi-Finalist for the THE GARY GARRISON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING TEN-MINUTE PLAY. It was one of two chosen out of the KCACTF Region, and one of 16 nationwide.

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS Named KCACTF National Semi-Finalist

My 10-minute play, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS, was one of six 10-minute plays accepted to Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 2, which just took place in Cleveland. In the closing ceremonies, it was named one of the two National Semi-Finalists from our region.

There will be a total of 16 KCACTF National Semi-Finalists. Four of those will be invited to Washington, D.C. for the national KCACTF in April.

Below is a pic of me (on the left), my director David A. Miller (right), and my cast.

KCACTF Daddy's Little Girls Cast

 

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS was created for one of our “Madness” shows at Ohio University. That show was produced by Tyler Whidden, and were given the prompt “Coffin Block.” Coffin Block’s are long rectangular blocks that we use in our black box theater to use as benches, car seats, etc. I had my sisters jump on the “bed,” comprised of the coffin blocks, to start the play. Read the play by clicking on the title: DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS.

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS accepted into KCACTF. Also new 10-minute play added to the site

Right Hand, Red

My 10-minute play, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS, was accepted to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival – Region 2 (KCACTF). The regional festival takes place in Cleveland from January 2 -6, 2015. The region consists of nine different states in the Northeast part of the country. Six were chosen. Two of those six will go onto the national KCACTF in Washington, DC in the spring.

I also just added a new play, RIGHT HAND, RED, to my plays page. We did our first Madness on the set of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble’s production of George Brant’s GROUNDED. The set was designed by the head of Ohio’s Theater Division, Michael Lincoln. Michael does light design for Broadway and regional theaters. He had an amazing light design which lit up 9 different cubes from above. We never have such cool lighting so I wrote a piece that could utilize it for the week we had access to it. The two pictures in the post are from rehearsal for that piece that were taken by the Athens Post photographer. My actors were Connor Baker and Constance Sabo.

The picture below was the final image of the play. It was super fun to have a cool lighting design that we were able to write to. Usually, we don’t have that. And when we’re writing five and ten minute plays, we don’t make them technically crazy because most theaters won’t be able to do it. It can also be hard to read and understand with all the stage directions. With the pics, I think it’s a lot easier for the reader to visualize. Since it’s so specialized, it probably won’t ever be produced outside of our Madness workshop, but it’s one of my favorites.

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