Monday, July 20, 2009

N.A.S.A Grant Awardee Margot Lasher on "Calming Energy"

Naomi Flanders and Shiro

Monday, July 20 - "We have taken a short break because everyone in the cast (except me, and maybe Newton) is intensely directing/performing. Naomi Flanders is directing Pirates of Penzance which opens in Plainfield this weekend, and Irene is in the Pirates cast. David Klein is performing in A Little Hotel on the Side at Unadilla. I went last weekend and, for those of you who know old comedians, he reminded me of Sid Caesar on the early television program Your Show of Shows. Hotel is a farce, and David has the same amazing frantic energy, at the boundary between funny and frightening. Or laughter and hysteria. In one scene, in which he almost has a heart attack, I forgot it was a play and started worrying about him.

"There is good research that now shows that dogs are very healthy for people. Being with a calm dog lowers one’s blood pressure. In stressful situations, being with a dog is more beneficial than being with another person. In the photo above, I love the look on Naomi’s face as she relaxes with Shiro."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

N.A.S.A. Grant Awardee Margot Lasher: "Ghost in the Window"

David Klein & Shiro

Tuesday, July 7 - "This is one of my favorite photos, taken by Irene Facciolo. David Klein (Dog) is saying some line, and Shiro is at the window looking in. It is as if Shiro is feeding David his lines, or at another level, David is getting his understanding of ‘dogness’ from Shiro.

"Dogs are always going in and out of the house. Outside are the deer, the coyotes, the birds, and the living food. Inside are the humans, the pack, and the dead food. Dogs live in two realities, and the window is the boundary.

"When working we use only a small part of the space, the size of the raised platform in FlynnSpace. Charlie and Shiro wander around the rest of the space freely. Now that they’re used to the human sounds and motions, they ignore us and sleep a lot. In the play, David often gets down on the floor, sometimes sitting and sometimes lying down. When he sits Charlie ignores him, but the instant he lies down Charlie goes over to make sure he is okay.

"There is a scene is which Naomi Flanders (the Human) loses sight of David, and she calls loudly ‘Dog, Dog’ (everyone knows the content of this scene, in which your dog wanders off and you are afraid she is lost, stolen, or run over). In this scene Charlie and Shiro, no matter where they are, come running to see why she is calling them, and more importantly, why she is projecting fear.

"In this next photo, Naomi has picked up Shiro’s leash for the dogtrainer scene, and Shiro ties to grab it. This is unusual—Shiro doesn’t normally interrupt the rehearsal. Charlie was not with us that day and I think Shiro was nervous being in the studio without him. When Naomi got his leash, Shiro decided it was time to leave and go home."

David Klein, Naomi Flanders, Shiro