Blame it on Beckett
by
John Morogiello

Blame it on Beckett


Director
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Production Stage Manager
Public Relations
Technical Director
Set Construction
Scenic Artist
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

Andrew Barnicle
Stephen Gifford
Kate Bergh
Paulie Jenkins & Ilya Mindlin
Drew Dalzell
MacAndME
Ricky Moreno
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colegrove
Stephen Gifford
Watson Bradshaw, Sean Kozma,
Dustin Maberry, Christopher Rivera
Kathryn Horan
Brian Cordoba
Andrea Dean, Genetra Tull
Doirean Heldt
Michael Lamont

CAST
(in order of appearance)

Jim Foley
Heidi Bishop
Tina Fike
Mike Braschi

Louis Lotorto
Blythe Auffarth
Peggy Goss
Brian Ibsen


SETTING

The literary office of a regional theatre in New England

TIME


The Present

ACT I

Scene 1:
Scene 2:
Scene 3:
Scene 4:

Around noon
The next day, late afternoon
A week later
The day before opening

ACT II


Scene 1:
Scene 2:
Scene 3:
Scene 4:

Opening Night
Later that night
The next morning
The following day

Running Time

Approximately 2 hours
There will be one fifteen-minute intermission



From the Playwright

Plays about the backstage antics of a theater usually take two forms. Either they are centered on the actor, often in farcical depictions of a disastrous performance, or they are centered on the author, who writhes and twists with existential angst as his precious words are mangled by the vain or misunderstood by the venal. Both of these forms assume theater to be an inherent good. They are fun for anyone who has ever tried to write or perform on their own, and they employ the same lack of self-criticism as a shirtless, middle-aged man who gazes at himself in a mirror.

JOHN MOROGIELLOBut what about the other, less glamorous toilers in the thespian vineyard? What about the dramaturg, who is forever researching historical detritus, writing program notes and study guides, developing scripts with resistant authors, and managing a never abating pile of godawful submissions from every fool who ever put pen to paper? Why has no attention been paid to such a man?

I could say that’s why I wrote Blame It On Beckett, but I’d be lying. The truth is I was angry, after having spent three years developing a script with a Tony Award-winning director, only to see him drop the project one week before a backer’s audition. The project crashed and burned with his departure. To purge my fury, I set out to write a vicious comedy depicting the futility of theatrical endeavor, one that assumed theater to be an inherent evil. No one would be spared, not even myself.

Anger, however, is a quick emotion, while the process of writing a play is slow. A bitter laugh brings just as much joy as an innocent one. Enjoy enough of them and anger dissipates. Over the course of a few months or a year, the characters wrestled the wheel from my hands and drove the action for themselves, eventually confronting me with Heidi’s inevitable question in the second act: "Why bother?” Tina’s response propelled me beyond the slings and arrows.

With the quantity of film and television scripts being read and revised here every day, Burbank is the perfect city for the west coast premiere of Blame It On Beckett. But more than a glimpse behind the curtain, if you’re a starry-eyed intern, eager to change the world; if you’re overwhelmed and unappreciated in a dead-end job; if you pine for youth from the jaded vantage point of success; or if your "best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley,” I wrote this play for you.

John Morogiello


FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

"Do you ever miss the old theatre?”

"Not for a minute.”

I’ve had this exchange many times, the questioner always a subscriber who has been with us since the old days, before we came to Burbank.

Starting in 1975 and for the next 25 years, our home was a 99-seat theatre near Dodger Stadium. In our marketing materials we said we were in Silver Lake (which was cool even then), but actually we were located in an un-named, undistinguished part of LA we affectionately referred to as The Land That Time Forgot.

Despite this unfortunate location, we achieved a level of success that startles me even now. As people discovered us and told their friends, our subscriber base grew. I was always astonished to learn the distances some of our subscribers traveled to attend our shows. They came from everywhere – not just from our neighborhood and nearby communities, but from the West Side, Orange County, Ventura County, and the east San Gabriel Valley. By the early nineties, there were over 3,000 of them.

And that made it possible to fulfill the dream I had had since the day we started.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many 99-seat theatres in Los Angeles? It’s because professional theatre actors are members of Actors’ Equity Association, and are not permitted to work in theatre without an Equity contract that establishes wages and benefits. Except where the theatre seats fewer than 100 people, in which case Equity waives the requirement for a contract. There is no pay for rehearsals, a small stipend for performances, and no benefits. Producing theatre is never easy, but those economics make it a lot less hard!

I have been a member of Actors’ Equity since 1967, and my Equity card is one of my proudest possessions. (To me, it gives dignity to a noble profession that has often had to fight for the smallest ounce of respect.) And my dream for The Colony was to be in a theatre large enough to pay its actors actual wages and meaningful benefits. The size of our loyal audience, and the generosity of the City of Burbank in providing us a 270-seat home, made it possible.

So, yes, in the old days I rarely had a sleepless night worrying about our finances, and I have a lot of those now. (The economic environment has hit us hard.) But when I look at our stage and know that every actor up there is working under an Equity contract, I am filled with pride.

And I don’t miss the old days at all.

Barbara Beckley
Artistic Director


SPECIAL THANKS

Brad Brown   Rosanne Choley   Wadler Data Systems

Phil Torf & House of Props