Hi, I’m David Schrag

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Jun 142009
 

Thanks for checking out davidschrag.com. Here you’ll find information about my “creative” side — acting, writing, and various other endeavors. If you’re looking for information about my small business technology consulting practice, please visit the web site for SCHRAG Inc.

I thrive on feedback, so please send thoughts, suggestions, compliments, criticisms, or other notions about the site to david@davidschrag.com. Thanks!

 

The months of October and November have been CRAZY!!!!!

The run of She Loves Me in Sherborn was brief but successful. Doug Hodge is a great director and it was a privilege to work with him again. Rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance are going well. They’d better be, because we open in a week and a half.

In other news since my last post, I got engaged and bought a house on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island. Moving has been practically a full-time job, but things are starting to settle down. Now it’s time for me to find some work.

I decided not to renew my paid listing on Agency Pro. It’s only $120 a year, but it wasn’t doing anything for me when I lived in Boston and now that I’m down here it just doesn’t seem worth it. So in a few days, www.bostoncasting.com/davidschrag might not work anymore (I don’t remember if you still get a public website with a free listing at Agency Pro).

Off to work on my resume(s)….

 

I’ve been trying for a couple years now to get work in commercials, industrial films, and other local film and video projects. So far it’s been all auditions and no work, except for one photo shoot and some background work. Maybe things are turning around, though. This past Monday I had my first speaking part (one line!) in an industrial film – an educational video made by the Philadelphia Reserve Bank. And today I got a call-back for a commercial that shoots later this month. The start of a trend? I hope so!

 

I said I’d post more frequent updates, didn’t I? Well, at least this time only three months have passed since the last post, compared to six months the time before.

The Hovey Summer Shorts were great fun. I got the rare opportunity to do a dramatic (rather than comedic) piece as well as a comedy that gave me the opportunity to create some "bits" that weren’t in the script. (Unbeknownst to me, the writer of the comedy was in the audience for one of the performances. Fortunately, he liked the bits I added. Or at least he was polite enough to say so.)

I have a busy fall. Next up for me is She Loves Me at the Woodland Theatre Company, a show from the composer and lyricist who did Fiddler on the Roof and based on the same source material as You’ve Got Mail. I’m looking forward to reuniting with director Doug Hodge, who did such a great job with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum last year. She Loves Me has four performances over Columbus Day weekend. After that, I’ll be appearing in the Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production of one of my favorite shows, The Pirates of Penzance. I was lucky enough to have seen the Broadway production of Pirates with Kevin Kline, Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt, Estelle Parsons, George Rose, and Tony Azito and I’ve been in love with it ever since. As a sophomore in college, I played the Pirate King and stole as much from Kevin Kline’s performance as I could. In the Fiddlehead production I’ll be playing the Sergeant of Police, who sits out the first act but has two great numbers in the second. I’m looking forward to acting once again with my friend Maya Murphy, who I met doing FishNet-NetWorks.Net back in 2009.

I learned a lot from the reading of Right Ho, Jeeves in June. Most importantly, I learned that it was too long. Most of the material worked, but you can’t have a light British comedy of manners that runs over two hours. You just can’t. So I have to cut and cut and try it again. My cast and director were great and I hope to work with all of them again.

I’ve also made a big decision this summer: I’m going to quit my day job. I’ve been running my own information technology consulting company for the last 11+ years, and I’ve decided that it’s time for a change. I need to spend my time on more creative endeavors. I have a couple of ideas for what comes next that I’m not quite yet ready to share. Stay tuned!

 

Wow, over six months since my last entry. Whoops! It’s been an extremely busy time for me in all aspects of my professional and personal lives. Some of the highlights included:

  • A very successful run of Alarms and Excursions at the Hovey Players in Waltham last January.
  • An enormously successful run of Blackadder II:Live at Theater on Fire in Charlestown in April. I played five different characters in this recreation of six episodes of the British sitcom. It was the first time I show I was in got reviewed by the Boston Globe, and they even mentioned me by name (“very funny, despite dropping a few lines”). Well, that’s what you get when the reviewer comes on opening night.
  • An upcoming reading of my first evening-length play, Right Ho, Jeeves. It’s part of the Second Annual Three Rings Reading Series and will take place on June 3 at the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston’s South End.
  • Getting cast in two pieces that are part of the Summer Shorts festival, back at the Hovey Players in Waltham. The festival funs July 7 – 16.

I’ll try to be a good boy and post more frequent updates going forward.

 

I’ve been cast in Michael Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions, to be produced by the Hovey Players in Waltham, Mass., from January 14-29, 2011. We’ve had one week of rehearsals so far and I think it’s going to be a fun show. When I was 15, I saw Frayn’s Noises Off in London’s West End and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. While Alarms and Excursions might not be quite up to that standard, it’s similarly full of quick-paced banter, physical comedy, and people making a cock-up of everything they touch. I’m in three of the seven short plays that make up the evening, and I get to do both British and German accents. Fun!

 

Tonight’s the dress rehearsal for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It’s pretty amazing what we’ve been able to pull together in only a month with just 9 hours of rehearsal a week. Kudos to director Doug Hodge, who plots a sure course and runs a tight ship. I’ll miss the show when it’s done. All this running around on stage has been great exercise!

 

As a way of introducing myself to video editing, I created a slide show of the photos I took in June 2010 at Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks. I’ve posted it to Vimeo. Watch it in full-screen mode if you can.

 

Auditioning for stage plays and auditioning for commercials are about as similar as teeing off with a driver and making a putt. And right now, I think my commercial audition skills might be even worse than my golf game.

I just finished a callback for a thirty-second commercial in which I was to play a football fan with a Boston accent. There were two characters with speaking lines in the commercial and they called us in three at a time. We rotated through the parts and sometimes did two takes, so I did the scene five or six times for a total of 2-3 minutes of on-camera time. In that short time span, I think I managed to make all of the following mistakes:

  • During the ad-lib before the lines started, I was in character but didn’t have a specific action in mind. As a result, I don’t think I did anything interesting or memorable.
  • When I delivered a line talking about the product, I don’t think I smiled. I might have come across as excited about the product, but not happy.
  • One one of the two takes when I had a line, I stumbled on a couple of words. They were small stumbles, but if you only have a couple dozen words to say, you probably ought to get them perfect.

I’m not quite sure how to improve my commercial auditioning skills. It’s a very challenging task. You often don’t get the lines until minutes before your slot, you generally have no opportunity to rehearse with the people you’re auditioning with, you never have the opportunity to rehearse with the people who are feeding you lines from off camera, and you rarely get feedback or a second chance.

Maybe one simply gets better with more experience. I hope so.

 

Melba LaRose was interviewed about the International CringeFest, now running in Times Square. She mentions that one of her favorite pieces in the festival runs under five minutes. Hmmm … Phil in Customer Service runs under five minutes. Could she have been talking about me?

 

I’ve recently become co-chair of the Boston chapter of Harvardwood, a group of Harvard alumni, students, faculty and staff involved in arts, media, and entertainment. If you have a relationship with Harvard (and with the arts, media, and/or entertainment) and would like to get involved in chapter activities, please contact me.

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