The Monkeybar Mafia – Opening

Since 2008, I have appeared in six shows with the Gateway Players, our local Community Theater group. I’ve written about this in the past, but suffice to say, I came across them by pure happenstance and it’s been a great change-of-pace from the usual nine-to-five. Very therapeutic to discharge from the rigors of normal life and just plug into a fantasy – for a couple of days a week during a couple of months each year, anyway

In 2008, I had a small role as Nurse Ratched’s right hand man in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I chased that two years later with the lead in Love, Sex & the IRS – during which I got none of the former two nouns but plenty of the latter. One out three is pretty bad – but not as bad as the blistering review that sucker-punched me. I thought about returning solely to my day job but that thought was fleeting and a year later, I climbed back on the horse and disappeared under mounds of make-up to play a ninety-year old evil bastard in Murder’s in the Heir – giving me a glimpse of good times to come. That same year, I took a small role in the chorus for Bye Bye Birdie – which paved the way for my role as Grandpa Joe in this past Summer’s Willy Wonka. That’s a year that also saw a cameo appearance in You Can’t Take It With You.

This year, as you may know, we completed production of my first play – The Monkeybar Mafia – something I dreamed up, scribbled down and got the one-chance-in-a-lifetime to see it all come to life. Although I wasn’t on stage – I got to collaborate as onset creative consultant and Assistant Director.

And – budding cinematographer – as one night, just before we opened wide to the world, I dragged in my trusty HD camcorder and shot the thing. Now, I’m knee-deep through chopping and re-assembling; getting to put the Macbook Pro that my main man Sean recently gift me – through its paces.

My favorite part of putting these features together is working on the opening and closing titles and crafting little mock ads with the footage. Just my way of putting a personal stamp on the production and giving the actors a little something extra to enjoy when they go to watch this or show it to someone.

I just completed the opening titles – and I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. I know a lot of people came to the play expecting a crazy comedy and while there are laughs, this is more of a drama at heart. So – in building this – I chased down black & white photos that mirrored the characters and situations. And then I backed it with that heartbreakingly hopeful Mumford & Sons song, The Cave, which we opened Act 1 with.

I’ll drop some more clips here as I complete them. Not every stitch of the play but certainly those I’d like to store out here. I hope you dig it.