Sunday, April 22, 2012

Please Back Us at our KICKstarter site

If you found your way to this blog without seeing our invitation to support the filming of Shakespeare's Sonnets Project, please visit our KICKstarter site to read the full description of the project. As it develops, we'll continue to chronicle The Sonnets Project on this blog, and we hope that you'll want to become a supporter. Our campaign ends on April 30, and if we haven't met our goal by then, we won't receive anything toward funding the project. Thanks for visiting and please tell your friends about our project!

Tom Atkins Adds The Sonnets Project to his Amazing Resumè

After appearing in The Detective, which starred Frank Sinatra, Tom Atkins remarked, “Frank was great. He was very easy to work with. He didn't like to do a lot of takes. But then it's not like we were doing Shakespeare.” Now Tom is doing Shakespeare and we’re the lucky recipients of his work in The Sonnets Project.
Tom began acting at Duquesne University in his hometown of Pittsburgh and began his professional career on the New York stage; he received the 1973 Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Performer for his work in David Storey's The Changing Room. He also appeared on Broadway in The Front Page and off-Broadway in Whistle in the Dark and Long Day's Journey Into Night, and in regional theaters across America, including six seasons at Long Wharf in New Haven, CT, and ten summers at Williamstown (MA) Theatre Festival.
After many appearances in TV series and movies, often playing police detectives, Atkins began specializing in horror and science fiction genres and he has worked with all the masters. He starred in two films directed by John Carpenter: The Fog and Escape from New York. He then took the leading role, Dr. Dan Challis, in the sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and produced by John Carpenter. He did further work with George A. Romero, appearing in the Romero-Stephen King project, Creepshow (1982), in the anthology, Two Evil Eyes (1990), based upon tales by Edgar Allan Poe; and Bruiser (2000).
He may be best remembered as Detective Ray Cameron, the “thrill me” guy in the 1986 cult horror film Night of the Creeps, a role Atkins calls his very favorite. He tells Classic-Horror magazine “It was the most fun film I've ever worked on,” and you can see that in this video collage.
He has continued to act in both the thriller and police procedural genre, too. He is well known to moviegoers for his role as Michael Hunsaker in Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon (1987), with Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Gary Busey. He also took a role in the action-thriller, Striking Distance (1993), alongside Bruce Willis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tom Sizemore. In television, Atkins played Lt. Alex Diehl in the 1970s television series The Rockford Files with James Garner. He reprised his role of Commander Diehl for a series of Rockford Files movies in the 1990s.
Atkins has made numerous guest appearances on many popular television shows, including M*A*S*HBarettaHarry OThe Fall GuyXena: Warrior PrincessWalker, Texas RangerOz, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Nowadays, he is a frequent player in shows in the Pittsburgh theatre scene, most famously in the one-man show The Chief at Pittsburgh Public Theater, in which he depicted the late founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney. He was also the star of A Musical Christmas Carol at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, portraying the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. In 2009, he performed Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten.
In 2009, he had a supporting role as a retired sheriff in the remake My Bloody Valentine 3Dand co-starred with Nicolas Cage in Todd Farmer's Drive Angry, in 2011 and he is scheduled to have a lead role in Patrick Lussier's Halloween 3D.
To get more up and close to Tom Atkins, see the 2009 interview from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review when he was performing O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten in Pittsburgh.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Please help us fund this project

If you found your way to this blog without seeing our invitation to support the filming of Shakespeare's Sonnets Project, please visit our KICKstarter site to read the full description of the project. As it develops, we'll continue to chronicle The Sonnets Project on this blog, and we hope that you'll want to become a supporter. Our campaign ends on April 30, and if we haven't met our goal by then, we won't receive anything toward funding the project. Thanks for visiting and please tell your friends about our project!

Lisa Harrow has Joined the Sonnets Project

Lisa Harrow was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London; she later was invited to become a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and, in her first season (1969), portrayed Olivia in Twelfth Night. Her credits with the RSC include Desdemona in Othello, Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII and Portia in The Merchant of Venice. More critical success came her way with Juliet opposite John Hurt's Romeo, her Eliza in Shaw's Pygmalion, and the Queen in The Eagle has Two Heads, directed by actress Susannah York. 
She first appeared in film opposite Glenda Jackson in the Italian-made film The Devil is a Woman (1974), for which she was named the Variety Club's "Most Promising Newcomer." She won the major Australian film award for her superb work in the drama The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992) as well as the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her outstanding TV credits include Shaw's Man and Superman, which developed from the highly successful  stage production of the same play starring Peter O'Toole. She gave a most memorable performance in the title role of the Masterpiece Theatre series, Nancy Astor. In 1997, she moved to the United States.
Since her move, Lisa has been an increasingly formidable presence on the live stage with such daunting productions of Wit, Medea, The Lion in Winter and Mary Stuart, among her credits. A full list of her accomplishments on stage, screen, and television is available here.
She and her husband, Dr. Roger Payne, founder and president of "Ocean Alliance" who is an internationally recognized expert on whales, share environmental concerns, particularly in matters pertaining to the health of our oceans. Based on this, Lisa has written and performed SeaChange: Reversing the Tide, a performance piece that uses science and poetry to urge us all to make sustainable living our primary goal. Lisa and Roger also wrote and performed Lessons From Copernicus, a blend of art and science that vividly demonstrates how mankind has gone horribly wrong. In addition, Lisa is also the author of the environmental handbook, What Can I Do?, which has been published internationally. A video of the same title is available here from YouTube.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Adam Pribila Joining the Sonnets Project.

We’re very happy to be able to announce that Adam Pribila will be a part of The Sonnets Project. Most recently, he recreated the role of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing for The Great Plains Theatre in Abilene, Kansas, a role he first played for the Winchester (VA) Little Theatre. Before that, he garnered excellent reviews as Randall McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for McKeesport Little Theatre in the greater Pittsburgh area. He was Giancarlo in Heads of State in The Access Theatre in New York City, and Philip in The Lion in Winter at The Bleeker Street Theatre. In Washington, DC, he played Piper in Rock n Roll at The Studio Theatre. These roles, plus many others were all created in the five years since Adam graduated cum laude from Shenandoah Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Acting and a B.A. in English literature, and while there he performed in numerous Conservatory productions, and also co-founded a company, Shut Up! It’s Shakespeare!, for which he played Romeo and Count Orsino in the company’s productions.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"The Poet Addresseth his Kickstarter Backers"

You all deserve a sonnet. Here's a fitting one:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How much could you want to know?

Will Sutton, actor and scholar, keeps an amazing blog on the Sonnets. If your interest in "The Sonnets" began with the sonnets and not with film, you'll find much to interest you here. If you came to us because you love movies and how they transform the word, you'll also find much to enjoy here. There will not be an exam at the end, so just enjoy.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ashley Laurence will perform in The Sonnets!

Ashley Laurence's website tells us that this stunning actress "grew up in the cultural excitement of Southern California. Encouraged to explore every artistic avenue available to her, she soon found her love for acting was equaled by her passion for painting. Ashley’s acting career was kicked into high gear at a very young age, when she was cast as the strong-willed heroine of Clive Barker’s quintessential horror classic: Hellraiser. The award winning actress subsequently appeared in a wide variety of roles for Film and TV, including the highly acclaimed "Red", "Lightning Bug, "E.R.", and national advertising campaigns for Geico, Coors Lite, AT&T."

There are several videos of her work available on her website. I particularly love the many moods that flash by on her commercial reel. It might even make you envy the Geico Gecko.

Ashley brings exactly the skills and sensibilities this production of The Sonnets will require. We are very fortunate indeed to have made contact with this established leading actress, and we hope our Blog family will agree.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sonnet I, posted in honor of our first blogger, J. Helfrich

This is the first sonnet in Shakespeare's sonnet sequence:

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
   Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
   To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recent Interview with Jeff Monahan

This interview with Chris Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is not directly related to Jeff's work on the Sonnets or other films, but it is centered on his recent work as a producer and actor in "Hospitality Suite" by Roger Rueff. "Hospitality Suite" was a play and also crossed over as a film. This discussion then is an excellent introduction to understanding how the filmmaker thinks in terms of angles and frame composition as integral to moving the viewing audience.