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St. Alice of Chattahoochee
It will have been almost five years now since I received an email from my friend and acting coach Rod Menzies with a general invitation to come see Alice Johnson Boher in a solo performance called “St. Alice of Chattahoochee.”  I joke around that I don’t get out much. And the joke is, it’s mostly true. I didn’t know what to expect – but I decided to go, even though the traffic in LA doesn’t exactly motivate one to go out at any time unless it is a matter of life and death.

Well, I could have died laughing that night. I don’t think I have ever quite seen (or heard of) a comedienne like Alice Johnson. Rod directed this one-woman show that was at-once touching, embarrassing (in a good way), raucous, physical and poignant .  It was the first time since Phantom of the Opera that I had contemplated coming back for the next performance. I left the theater thinking to myself, “what a lucky guy Rod is to be able to work with people like Alice Johnson.”

Alice Johnson Boher and Rod Menzies

On Points and Arcs
Rod and I see each other only occasionally since I have moved to Arizona. But my foray into HDSLR video production seems to draw us back together. I do the video mostly on behalf of charitable organizations in Arizona. But if we are both in LA at the same time, we like to have breakfast at Nick’s Coffee Shop & Deli on Pico near La Cienega on a weekday morning to catch up.

It was at that last breakfast that I was telling Rod how moved I was to watch him coach Elisa Donovan the day before her read of her upcoming solo-performance called “Sweet Dreams,” which is based on the death of her father.  Like any outsider, I am woefully unaware and unappreciative of the work and skills that are required for a successful performance.  This is not practically true – but it feels that way sometimes.  I watched silently as Rod listened to Elisa’s read.  He had a calm but focused attention that was registering on not only every word, but on the “arc,” of the story.  She paused … he would ask about one word.  She would immediately understand the obvious and subtle implications for the performance, mark-up the script and continue reading.  It was a delight to watch. The next day I was lucky to be asked to film the read.

Elisa Donovan

So at breakfast I told him that I would love to be able to film such a session.  He got a strange look on his face and said, “Well, Alice is coming over in about an hour.  I’ll call her and see how she would feel about it.  I am sure she won’t mind.  That’s the kind of person she is.”

“You don’t mean “Saint” Alice, do you?” (I could feel the grip of destiny on my shoulder).

“Yes, didn’t you see her first play?  Well,  she’s working on another one and I am going to meet with her to discuss it.”

I reminded Rod, “Of course I saw it– twice!”

I just shut my mouth and was glad that I had a Westcott Spiderlite TD5 in the car.  I set up at Rod’s place.

Alice arrived and I became a fly-on-the-wall for the next 90 minutes – camera ‘rolling.’  I am hoping that Rod will have some snippets of this session on his web site soon, and I can hardly wait to see what Alice comes up with next.

Growing up in Hollywood should have numbed me by now — but I am still such a fan of people like Alice and Rod!

Post Script:

Here is a “snippet” from Alice & Rod’s session. Enjoy being the fly-on-the-wall!

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