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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blogging On Stage

For some, blogging is grassroots journalism. For others, it's merely a hobby and social outlet. For UCLA, it's fodder for theater:

That, in a nutshell, was the classroom assignment UCLA professor Mel Shapiro gave to students in his Advanced Graduate Acting course last fall. The fruits of those efforts have evolved into "The Bloggers Project," an experimental theater piece based on real weblogs that began taking final shape a few nights ago at the school's Freud Playhouse.

Cast members, inspecting scenic designer Francois-Pierre Couture's labyrinth-like set for the first time, amble through a gallery of historic mock-blog installations including a booth-like "cave" that will house actor Brian Allman as he blog-speaks from the vantage point of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Next to the glass-walled "prison" compound where actress Jamaica Perry would be faux-blogging as Black Power activist Angela Davis, circa 1971, the actors pause in front of a pedestal crowned with a bust of Marie Antoinette. Amy Rush, the actress who would soon be thrusting her own head into the display, pops her bubble gum and wonders out loud, "Are people going to be able to turn me on and off, or do I just keep talking?"

"They push the button and the light goes on, and then you just keep talking," Shapiro replies.

And the blather goes on.

In an adjoining chamber decorated with a semblance of the U.S. presidential seal, a quartet of TV sets awaited pre-taped opinion pieces by actor/pundits such as Matt Weedman, who compiled his comments from the liberal site. To ensure what Shapiro wryly calls "fair and balanced" coverage, Jason Greenfield's televised tape loop features hand puppets voicing Republican and Democratic perspectives on the Iraq War.
-- Live-action blogs

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