Denise Dances: A Return to Perfect Health - Body, Mind & Spirit!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"COMING SOON: To a Theater Near You"

Hi! "'s go out to the movies" -- Niantic Cinemas. (I have to see this movie. I have to see it; I have to see it. Are we going? We're going, aren't we? If we don't go, I'm going to be mad!...*** Excerpts from an article by Ralph Gardner, Jr.: "Cosmo Talks to Jay Presson Allen (Who Would Rather Write), 1990-91. "Still dreamin'!" "Jay Presson Allen is virtually a one-woman entertainment industry. Her screenplays...earned her Academy Award nominations...Unlike most writers, her involvement with a project usually doesn't end when she turns in a script and collects a check..."Tru," which she wrote and directed was a hit on Broadway...A sixtyish woman whose aristocratic bearing belies her shoot-from-the-hip style, Allen recently spoke with COSMO about what it takes to succeed in show biz. You've been successful as a Broadway playwright, a Hollywood screenwriter, and a movie producer. Which has been the most exhilarating? Whichever I'm not doing at the time. It's all hard work. Which is the most romantic? There's no romance, sweetheart. Many of your works are adaptations -- novels turned into plays and plays into movies. Is writing an adaptation harder or easier than working from scratch? In some instances, it's more difficult. The parameters are so defined; you can't fly. On the other hand, you don't have to do a lot of extra heavy, original thinking. Was any project especially hard or challenging? I try not to take on anything that I feel is going to be very, very difficult for me to do. I work best when I work at ease -- when I'm comfortable -- and it flows very fast. I'm not looking for challenges. If I wanted to challenge myself, for God's sake, I'd be a poet. Back in 1981, you were reportedly earning $500,000 per movie script. Is it hard to turn your back on that kind of money? Just one word -- yes. I read about guys getting paid $3 million for a script. But they do something I never did. They write a lot of these things "on spec." If I ever had an idea, I'd never put it into a screenplay. I'd put it into a play or a novel and try to parlay it. These young people go straight to screenplay, take big risks, and they're making big money. More power to them. Your most recent Broadway hit, "Tru," was not an adaptation but an original one-man show starring Robert Morse as Truman Capote. What compelled you to write about Capote? I was asked to write about him by the lawyer for Capote's estate, and I was quite reluctant...I was afraid the last ten years of Capote's life would be so off-putting to an audience. But...Capote had a kind of gallantry in the face of a devastating situation. Did you know Capote? No, I met him but I didn't know him. During Capote's high years, I was living quietly in the country with my child. Some of the best known roles you've written have been for women...Was writing a play in which the protagonist was a male, and a gay male at that, a stretch? Not at all. I don't have any trouble writing about men. They're easier than women. They're not as complicated. Some top actresses have complained that there aren't nearly as many juicy leading roles being written for women as for men today. Why not? In Hollywood, it's all blood and guts and Uzis at the totally alienates the female audience. "Pretty Woman" knocked them dead, to everybody's astonishment. That was somebody's "mistake" that worked. Along comes another "mistake," "Driving Miss Daisy" -- and it makes a fortune and wins all the Academy Awards. But that isn't conventional thinking. With so much pressure on producers -- both in Hollywood and on Broadway -- to make blockbusters, has the fun gone out of the producing game? Oh yes. The costs are so great that producing has turned into a collaborative financial experience rather than an aesthetic one. Does the success of such extravaganzas as "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera" make it harder to raise money for plays in which ideas are more important than orchestration and that aren't guaranteed to make a killing off postcards and T-shirts? Sure. That was true even before "Cats." The big money was always in musicals...Today, you can't do anything for under a million dollars. But you've probably earned a few bucks off "Tru," right? (Smiling broadly) Yes, I'm doing okay. A play has an afterlife that's wonderfully remunerative. That's a substantial financial life. In most plays, of course, you have stock and amateur rights that are very, very valuable. But there must be something beyond boredom that motivates you. Everybody assumes that if you're successful in show business, you're wrapped up in the glamour of it. People in this business have got to make a living. This is what I do for a living. I could probably have done better on Wall Street, but I made a big mistake back then. It's too late now. You created the critically acclaimed TV show, "Family." Yet you haven't been as prolific in television as you have in theater and in movies. Why not? I tried to do a series three years ago called "Hothouse," a drama that took place in a psychiatric clinic. I liked that work better than anything I've ever done. Unfortunately, ABC didn't have the courage of their initial convictions...It was on for eight weeks. However, if they'd picked it up and I'd had to turn out twenty six episodes, I'd be in Forest Lawn (Cemetary) now. Television is a killer job. It really is not for sissies. I said to somebody, 'God, I'm fifteen years too old to do this.' And he laughed at me and said, "What you don't understand is that everybody's fifteen years too old to do this.' Is trying to get quality on network television a losing battle? Oh boy. But it's a wonderful battle. It's getting worse all the time. There's no way to win. But it does stretch everything you've got going. It's an extraordinary medium and fascinating to try to do. What advice would you offer women who want to become screenwriters or who want to produce plays or movies? If you want to produce plays or movies, I think it would be very shrewd to work two or three years at a big theatrical agency or network. It really is the best way to get to know who does what when and to whom. Regarding writing: If you feel you have to write, just write...if you feel that you are a quality writer, that you have real literary talent, don't do screenplays, which are out of your hands instantaneously. Write something you have some control over -- novels or plays. But a screenplay is a wonderful way for a woman who has a family and wants to work at home to make money. It has served me extraordinarily.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"More to Come!"

Hi! I hope you enjoyed reading the first two stanzas of the poem, "Renascence" by the "turn of the century" poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay. Next in store... (1) "Even More on Millay:" Details of her childhood and adult hood not revealed previously; and (2) "Diabetes Denial" article excerpts; and (3) Excerpts from the Book of Job; and (4) "Hot Commodity," a poem about corporate life in the 80s; and (5) "Black Maxx," a song sung at the last Coast Guard concert I attended in April (by MU1 Lisa Williamson). Also...(6) O.A.S.I.S.: "Outdoor Art Studio (isolated scene);" my new workspace at the end of the Nature Trail, Observation Deck, Ocean Beach, New London, CT...Take care, Denise......Denise


From RENASCENCE AND OTHER POEMS/1917 Renascence All I could see from where I stood/ Was three long mountains and a wood; I turned and looked the other way,/ And saw three islands in a bay. So with my eyes I traced the line/ Of the horizon, thin and fine, Straight around till I was come/ Back to where I'd started from; And all I saw from where I stood/ Was three long mountains and a wood. Over these things I could not see:/ These were the things which bounded me. And I could touch them with my hand,/ Almost, I thought, from where I stand! And all at once things seemed so small/ My breath came short, and scarce at all. But, sure, the sky is big, I said:/ Miles and miles above my head. So here upon my back I'll lie/ And look my fill into the sky. And so I looked, and after all,/ The sky was not so very tall. The sky, I said, must somewhere stop.../ And -- sure enough! -- I see the top! The sky, I thought, is not so grand;/ I 'most could touch it with my hand! And reaching up my hand to try,/ I screamed to feel it touch the sky....and there we have it, the first two stanzas of the Pulitzer prize-winning poem, goes for several more stanzas...easier to digest if I present it to you in pieces. Enjoy and take care. Have a nice weekend. Show someone you care today......Denise...Denise

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"More Parlay on Millay"

I want to present to you her prize-winning poem, "Renascence," on being buried alive. In parts, as it is a big chunk to read and comprehend all of a piece. Coming soon...DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION...NAME OF PRIZE IT WON...WHERE PUBLISHED. "Buried alive." Which is how I often feel here at "The Residence." No one ever comes over. Huddled deep in a hollow. Not far from Ocean Beach but worlds apart. (Ocean Beach is a forgiving place.) Alone. Abandoned. Unwanted. Cast aside. Put away. Forgotten. Among the sick and the dying. Guilt by association. A negative. Dire consequences. Oh, God! Please don't let me die here alone! Along with my talents. Buried in the ground. Buried alive. "Renascence." Is what I'm trying to create. The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest of all. Never having found love. Don't let life pass me by. To pass away in my sleep. To never wake up! Here at The Residence. Barely eking out a living off the system. Living among the Rich. Almost Famous. "Starving Artist Syndrome" (S.A.S.). High hopes. Pulitzer Prize. Hopefully, not posthumously. "You've sent a lot of doctors on vacation." {that's not all.} {sic} I laughed. But it wasn't meant to be funny. Before I present to you the poem, "Renascence," VOCABULARY...(once a teacher, always a teacher...). Harass: fr. harer- to set a dog on. 1: to worry and impede by repeated raids...2a: exhaust, fatigue... stalk: (akin to OE stealc lofty, stelan -- to steal. 1: to pursue quarry or prey stealthily...slander: (OF esclandre. fr. LL scandalum...stumbling block, offense -- more at SCANDAL.) 1: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation...2: a false and defamatory oral statement about a person. Compare LIBEL...bribe: n. (ME, something stolen) 1: money or favor given or promised to a person in a position of trust to influence his judgement or conduct. SOURCE: "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary," G. & C. Merriam Co.; Copyright 1973; Springfield, MA. Prize, 6th Grade: "Dr. Charles E. Murphy Creative Writing Award" for "The Secret of Cherrygrove Manor." I promise to proudly present to you the first stanza or so of "Renascence" tomorrow or as soon as I can...Take care, all. Show someone you care. Today. Denise...Denise Dances...2009.