Hope all is well. Haven’t seen you at Whole Foods in a few weeks; I hope that doesn’t mean you’ve been getting takeout instead of cooking for your kids! Could that be why your son, Chuckie, currently cast as “Tree #2” in The Wizard of Oz, is completely tanking on stage?

I’m partly asking because I’m not totally sure you know Chuckie is even in the school play at all. This is because he is not very good and seems entirely unrehearsed. Running lines with my dear Knoxville (The Tin Man) has given me access to the script and every performance Chuckie has “attempted.” With that said, I have a few notes for him:

  • Chuckie doesn’t appear to have chosen an accent for his role (all actors should have an accent). Yes, I know he has no speaking lines. That doesn’t change what I said. Diane, I was lead in my high school rendition of Beauty and The Beauty, our more peaceful take on Beauty and The Beast. I know what I’m talking about.
  • Actors must be able to take notes from other actors. When Chuckie made the choice (wow, look at that! I guess he made one!) to be in the Space Center Intermediate Theatre Department, he chose to begin a lifelong career in acting. He needed to start taking notes…yesterday. So next time I come backstage and give him a note to help his career, please tell him to take it.
  • Diane, your son is an expressionless stump on stage (no pun intended). I can’t stress this enough. How is Katie Meyer (Dorothy) supposed to find her motivation when a lifeless-looking boy is staring at her from a tree? Because let me tell you, Diane, when Chuckie is out there, he looks like a lifeless boy. A dead, lifeless boy. I’m telling you this to help you. Lifeless. And dead.
  • Now Diane, I know you’re a scientist, so you know that trees don’t move. Well, this is the theater, and in The Wizard of Oz, you bet your ass they move. Piece of friendly advice: watch every movie ever made with personified trees (Maleficent, Pocahontas, countless others, etc.) so Chuckie can study how these wooded beasts move and sway when taken to life. Chuckie moves like a sixth grader in a tree costume, and honey, that’s not who Chuckie is supposed to be when that curtain is pulled. Trust me, from my experience as a Boston University Theatre Ticketholder (BUTT), when the curtain is pulled, the play has begun.
  • There seems to be a general lack of focus during the pivotal “Wicked Witch of the West Encounter With Dorothy” scene (page 5 of his script… if you’ve ever opened it). The golden rule of the theatre states: acting is reacting. Knoxville and I say this two-hundred times a night before we do our chapter of The Artist’s Way. Diane, it might benefit you and Chuckie to work on reacting. As a BUTT we get to observe one undergraduate theater class a semester, so I have some outstanding exercises in my pocket. For example, Knoxville and I practice the art of mirroring each night. “Yes, and” with me here, Diane, these are simple ways to help!

If you have any questions about anything I have said here, please let me know. Again, this is to help Chuckie; I want him to succeed. Why would I send notes if not? I could easily let him lose his role, but as the thespians say, “I’ve got your back.”

Also, I’m going to be out of town following the cast of Shrek: The Musical on tour for the next two months. Could Knoxville grab a ride with you to rehearsal? (I’m assuming you can drive?)

Thanks so much!