Friday, February 26, 2010

"Shout out to nerds in their twenties and thirties."

Our latest in the series of posts I'm affectionately calling "better-know-a-Ruckuser" comes from production manager and bad-joke-teller extraordinaire Brian Ruby. Brian's the guy who can always get you what you need -- like the guy in The Shawshank Redemption that gets Tim Robbins the Rita Hayworth poster, only theater-related. Brian is also the only new Ruckus member who appreciates the Cylon jokes I've been making. Take it away, Brian!

Following in the footsteps of my fellow new additions to The Ruckus, allow my to start by blogging about blogging for a moment. Unlike the others, I must admit that I have a past that includes blogging. I had a blogger account; in college I was on LiveJournal; hell, I even had a blog of sorts on my old Angelfire website (Shout out to nerds in their twenties and thirties). I was of course not a real blogger per se, but rather I rambled somewhat self-indulgently in a manner none would care to read. (Side note: Microsoft Word does not recognize the words blog, blogger or blogging, but why should it, those word have only been in the lexicon a scant ten years or so). [Editor's note: iWork recognizes those words. Just sayin'. -- AS]

I suppose my involvement in theater technically began at summer camp when I was young, performing in plays crudely written by our counselors, and dealing primarily with the events of that summer. Looking back I suppose it was all rather Brechtian considering that due to a general lack of acting ability we mostly wore signs around our necks with our character names on them, though I’m guessing that was not a conscious choice on behalf of the camp and rather a happy accident I later realized.

In high school I reconnected with theater, acting in my schools play and musicals, as well as building sets, and becoming involved in local summer productions. At the time I viewed all this as merely a hobby, a belief I carried with me into college and my initial participation in the theater program there. It was over my first few summers home from college that I gained the certainty that theater was what I would pursue as a career. Returning home from my first year at college I found that the summer theater I had been involved with in the past was no longer in existence and took it upon myself to fill the void. Through mounting multiple productions with a company I created over the next few summers I realized that my passion was theater. That belief was only cemented by the time I spent studying theater in London and getting the chance to see approximately 75 plays in one of the most amazing cities for theater in the world.

I’ve worked with a number of theaters in Chicago, and while my experiences with them have ranged from wonderful to horrible, The Ruckus is the first group that’s made me feel like I have a home. I’ve been thrilled to work with them in the past, and look forward to everything I will do as one of them in the future.

Brian Ruby is a Chicago based director, designer and generally awesome guy. He was one of several talented directors that made TELL IT & SPEAK IT & THINK IT & BREATHE IT possible, and he'll be working tirelessly on The Gay American this spring. Brian is also an avid fan of bad movies; if you've got a great one, email

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friends of The Ruckus!

I just launched the latest edition to The Ruckus' website: Friends of The Ruckus. Check it out!

Our first Featured Friend: ElvisBride.

Wanna be friends with The Ruckus? Come and join the fun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Gay American - Teaser Trailer #1

Etcetera IX here we come. [Byron Melton]

I got in touch with my old pal Chris Rutherford, (exceptional playwright, actor and producer who’s been making his living in the Tampa scene for the past few years) and borrowed a script.

The first time Chris and I worked together we put up a small art show in the “gallery” on the first floor of our dorm.

It was a concept piece based around a hip-hop record cover from 1989. The Album and the show shared the same name:

“What is it, Yo?!”

The show mostly included garbage and found art. Scene shop dumpster diving will reveal some real treasures. We dressed up in suits, invited the press, and help court at the grand opening. Many people suspected it was a joke. We had no comments for them. The only thing we told people was that:

To this day I still really don’t know if it was a joke. And all this was done before I had ever done any drugs or drank heavily.

Chris and I teamed up a few times over the years, and later our projects turned to short films. He wrote a great script called “What Lies Ahead” and we never got to shoot it.

I thought it might be perfect for submission when Allison approached me about getting something together for this.

It’s a great script – I think with the right tweaking it might make a pretty cool short play. And given that Etcetera this year is billed as “four nights of contemporary, experimental, progressive, and interdisciplinary live performance”, I think we can show those sword swallowers and acrobats that theatre isn’t always cherry orchards and cancer.

So we’ll see if it wants to fly as a short play. Film on stage Byron? You swore off projectors. They never work! Well, maybe it’ll be different this time. I read somewhere that if Shakespeare was alive today he’d be doing films. Maybe this humble project can bridge the gap.

Also, I have no shortage of good actors around me. Who doesn’t have time to memorize 15 pages of dense, rapid–fire dialogue?

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Birthday Party!

We celebrated the second birthday/reading of our upcoming play, The Gay American by Kristian O'Hare this evening. We learned a lot--both about the play and the maximum length of audio recordings in GarageBand--and can't wait to punch you in the face with this awesome new "farcudrama" (c) The Ruckus, 2010. Watch us Ruckusers and our co-conspiring friends work to make this play better one slice of red velvet cake at a time.

Want in on the action? E-mail us at or visit

Intrigued, enticed and excited to see the thing? Get in line. Tickets go on sale soon.