Monday, March 11, 2013

Look Homeward, Angel

My oldest son's newest drama production opened this past weekend: Look Homeward, Angel. The play is based on the book by Thomas Wolfe, which is considered a masterpiece of American literature. The play ran on Broadway for nearly 600 shows and won several awards. Most importantly, though, this was my son's first lead role.

He was in the role of 17-year-old Eugene Gant, a boy desperately wanting out from under his mother's controlling thumb but unsure of how to do that. That is until 23-year-old Laura James shows up at his family's boarding house. Without meaning to, my son completely channeled Jimmy Stewart for this role, and it was impressive. There's this one scene where Eugene is telling Laura the kinds of things you can feel and see by laying your hand on a train, the places you get pieces of, and it could have been that scene from It's a Wonderful Life where Stewart is talking about how he's going to see the world. Mostly, though, he takes that stammer and transforms it into a boy who is unsure of himself and how to get what he wants out of life. He was really quite good.

The rest of the cast was good, too, just mostly not as good. The girl who played Eugene's mother was probably as good, though I found her to get better as she moved through the play, which leads me to think that her performance in the first act may have been a little weak. The boy that played Eugene's father had moments where I thought Jim Carrey had stepped in for him.

Overall, I just continue to be impressed and more impressed with the drama department at my son's high school. They do good work and, most impressively, they do most of it themselves. They have a teacher there, but he seems to be there mostly to supervise and to prompt them to work it out for themselves. Whatever he does, he gets good stuff from the students.

Shadow Spinner News

Every year, the school my younger kids go to has an auction fund raising event. It's kind of a big deal as it accounts for the bulk of the school's funds every year. This year, I decided to donate one of my proof copies of Shadow Spinner to the auction. After all, I had an extra one, since no one won it back during the Greatest Chocolate in the World contest. Just to be clear, only three of these books exist: the one I'm using as my editing copy (that's got red marks all in it), the one my younger son stole from me, and the one I donated (signed). There will be no other proof copies like this as next time I order proofs, there will be cover art on the book.

I was kind of unsure about donating the book. I mean, although I have fans at the school, it's not a kid event, so it made me a bit uneasy. What if it just sat there and no one bid on it at all, you know? That would be, like, the height of embarrassment to have them bring it back to me after the auction with a "sorry, no one wanted it." But! I took it up and donated it anyway. I mean, even if someone paid $5.00 for it, that would be $5.00, right?

I had to fill in a retail value of the book on the donation form, so I put $12.00, because I think that's what it's going to be priced at in physical form. I think. The woman taking the book from me, though, told me I should point out on  the form that it was a proof copy and not something you could actually buy, so I wrote that in.

Now, I didn't go to the auction (because it was the same night as my son's opening performance in Look Homeward, Angel), so I'm not sure if that information was available to the public or not. I have no idea how the items were displayed and what information was included or anything (it was a silent auction), but I imagine it just sat on a table somewhere with a sheet of paper next to it for people to write their bids on. Just a plain gray book with no cover art sitting on a table.

And it went for $30.00. I'm pretty pleased with that. I hope it turns out to be a worthwhile investment for the family that got it.


  1. $30. Impressive. Maybe you have a bigger fan club than you thought.

  2. I remember the days of going to watch The Spawn perform in choir. Video taped every minute, Glad to hear your son is doing so well.

    Congrats on the auction!

  3. $30 is great! I bet it stood out as something unique among the auction items (I bet you could have gotten something for putting a copy of Chapter Shorts in the auction as well, though I guess that parents have already seen that). Congrats to your son! High school plays are fun to watch and dissect. It can be hard not to expect more out of the actors. My stepdaughter is playing Helena in next month's A Midsummer Night's Dream~ she's pretty nervous :)

  4. Thirty dollars isn't bad!
    Glad your son did well in the play.

  5. 30 bucks! That's awesome...and for a good cause too. Look Homeward Angel is sitting on a small shelf in my living room.

  6. Your review seems a little biased.

  7. Awww that's great about your son's winning performance, and congrats on the $30 sale price of your book!

  8. $30 is pretty good. And I'd add that they are getting content not available to internet readers right now either. So there's that.

    And congrats on the play. Sounds like it was awesome.

  9. An entire family full of talent. I had no idea you had an actor in the clan. Sounds like he did a good job- I don't doubt that you'd not let him off the hook if he hadn't (although maybe you wouldnt have blogged about it if he'd had an off day?)

    Anyway, congrats to him. I used to do some acting in bit roles. I always wanted the lead. (Bet you'd never have guessed that, right?)

    And that $30 will no doubt turn out to be a great investment when you get rich(er) and famous(er).

  10. Martin: Maybe. All I know for sure is that I'm not able to write fast enough to satisfy the kids at the school.

    Anne: Mine does choir, too. Mostly, we're not allowed to film or take pics :(

    Jess: Unfortunately, I'm out of copies of Charter Shorts, at the moment, and I don't plan on ordering more books until I'm ready to place my Shadow Spinner order. Next year, I'll donate copies of Shorts 1 & 2!
    Good luck, um... a broken leg to your step daughter! I love that play.

    Alex: I certainly didn't think so.

    Rebecca: I haven't decided, yet, if I want to read any Wolfe.
    And, yeah, I thought it was awesome.

    PT: Well, it probably is, but, then, my son has already earned over $1000 in paying acting jobs this school year, something his classmates have not done.

    JKIR,F!: Thank you!

    Rusty: That's true. The winning family are the only people that have access to the whole book, right now. Other than my family, of course.

    Briane: Two actors, actually. My younger son is pretty good, too. Possibly better than my older son when my older son was the age that my younger son currently is. If that makes sense.
    I don't let him off the hook. He had one bit at the beginning of the third act that I had to ask him about where he fell out of character for a bit. But it was only a few minutes.

    When I was in high school, I had a partner that I used to perform Abbott & Costello skits with. Those were a lot of fun!

    Michael: Thanks!

  11. $30 is great.

    I used to love doing school plays, but didn't get leads until I joined drama classe when I was older. Way to go to your son, sounds like he did a really good job.


  12. Jo: I was in a drama group during college and did a few plays then, too.

  13. I joined a class later, in my 20s when I moved to live in London, UK. How I met my first hubby actually. He was a brilliant actor. Sadly deciding to get married put the kibosh on any acting career.


  14. Jo: yeah, Marriage can do that, unfortunately.

  15. Good for your son! Sounds like you've got a budding star in the family.