Archive » August 17, 2006
On the Beat
By Steven Libowitz
ALL THE WEISER
We know Montecito is bursting with accomplished entertainment industry folks, with famous writers, musicians, actors, directors (more on that later) and others calling the village home. But nearly all of them moved here after making it somewhere else.
Then there’s Macy Weiser.
Macy is just 21, but she’s already produced two plays at the Center Stage Theatre under the guise of We Wear Pants Productions, and this week the company will present “A Day in the Life of Crazy,” which was also written by Weiser, her first full-length play.
It all began just last summer, when Weiser turned a 10-minute short she’d written for a school assignment from a college class at University of the Pacific in Stockton into a feature length revue.
“I’d always been into writing fiction and acting since my days at Cate, but I wasn’t thinking about majoring in it or as a career,” Weiser said over a cup of coffee at Starbucks on Coast Village Road, referring to the Carpinteria school that educates many Montecito students. “But then my play got entered into a festival in Stockton, and was picked up to be one of six that was produced.”
Seeing her own play performed was a revelation.
“It was the first time I’d seen something written on the stage,” she says. “It was awesome.”
Bitten by the bug, Weiser followed through on her promising start when she returned to Montecito last summer. She contacted friends from Cate who had spread out at colleges around the country and asked them to submit 10-minute scenes via e-mail. As she scanned the results, she realized that the best ones were either set in a bar or a restaurant. Putting them together with some space for songs and a spoken-word poet resulted in “A Guy Walks into a Bar…,” which sold out two nights at Center Stage last summer.
Buoyed by the success, We Wear Pants staged “Roommate Wanted,” written by Weiser’s friend and co-producer, Rob Ready, at Victoria Hall earlier this summer, and also sold out the shows. But Macy stayed behind the scenes.
“I really missed being on stage and seeing my own work,” she says.
So following the format of its predecessor, “Crazy” is a blend of scripted scenes, improvisation, musical performances and a multimedia presentation, which Weiser describes as a fun social parody that comments on the craziness of “normal” neurotics by highlighting the interactions they have with each other. A young woman, played by Weiser but whom she insists is only loosely based on herself, deals with an overbearing roommate, a long distance lover, an unwanted suitor and parents who are missing their marbles. (Macy’s dad is well-known local dentist Mark Weiser, so there can’t be too much truth to the character.)
“Everyone refers to everyone else as crazy, but there are so many different factors and backgrounds that it really is just your own perspective,” she explains. “The play is a parody of stereotypes, and what goes into being called ‘crazy.’ But everyone gets crazy at some point.”
Weiser says the play is a lighthearted romp geared toward people her own age. “But we got great feedback from audiences of all ages at the previous shows,” she says. “It’s original. It’s fresh theater, and something you’re not going to see anywhere else.”
Weiser is off to Italy to finish her studies abroad right after the play closes, but she expects to return and pick right up again with We Wear Pants next summer.
“Hopefully, I’ll have written something Italian-based that we can do next year,” she concludes.
(“A Day in the Life of Crazy” plays August 17-20 at Center Stage Theatre. Call 963-0408 for tickets and information.)
Focus on Film
Ivan Reitman’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” – a slight romp that carries one joke for too long and suffers from uninspired casting – has already come and gone. The Robert Zemeckis-produced “Monster House” – which sports a charming story, adorable characters and absolutely scintillating digital 3-D animation courtesy of the Arlington’s new projection equipment – closes just two days after we publish (go if you still can).
Meanwhile, “World Trade Center” – directed by Oliver Stone, another filmmaker with local connections – has just opened and is likely to stay in theatres for weeks.
I’m not sure why.
Movies should inform, enlighten, outrage, move, offend, provoke, amuse, entertain or divert. Unfortunately, Stone’s film doesn’t do any of these very well.
Based on the true story of two Port Authority police officers trapped in the rubble following the September 11 attacks, the film follows the 24 hours between the morning of the attacks and the first few hours after their rescue. It’s a typical Hollywood feel good film about courage and survival, which would be fine for just about any other subject. Instead Stone seems to trivialize the momentous calamity by focusing on a tale with such limited scope and impact.
The fact that it’s made by Stone – one of the country’s most controversial directors – is doubly distressing. In this uncharacteristically tactful and sensitive handling of the terrorist attacks, it’s a movie that serves virtually no purpose. There’s no mention whatsoever on the pre- or post-attack world or on the paralyzing polarization of society, both subjects one would expect to be tackled by Stone.
It’s lovely, but ultimately empty.
As we were going to print, we learned that Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser’s most improbable run could certainly have no end.
The Santa Barbara-based team won the Manhattan Beach Association of Volleyball Professionals tournament – considered the granddaddy of them all and the final one in Southern California in 2006 – last weekend, bringing this year’s victory total to an astounding six.
Earlier this season, the first-year duo set a record with four consecutive victories, becoming the first team to do so in 10 years, and in the first week of August Rogers and Dalhausser won the FIVB A1 Grand Slam at Klagenfurt, Austria, pocketing $42,300 and becoming the first American team to capture an international title in 50 tournaments spanning nearly four years.
The victory – which included a triumph in the finals over the tough Brazilian team of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, whom Rogers had never beaten before – bodes well for Americans’ hopes to capture gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“We’ve already gone way beyond my expectations for 2006,” Rogers said on the eve of the opening day of competition. “Finally winning in Santa Barbara was number one on my list of all time but last week is certainly in the top five.”
(Local note: Montecito resident Stephen “Arri” Jeschke played in his first Manhattan tournament, entering through the qualifiers, earning one of eight spots out of more than 100 entries. Jeschke and partner Kyle Denitz, of Carpinteria, finished 25th.)
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