RABBIT TRAILS: DISPATCHES FROM THE SHED

Updates, news and blog stories from around the Ted and Company universe.

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Anatomy of a Work in Progress Part V: Stealth Genius

January 26, 2021

Steven Stauffer sneaks up on you. It’s not just that he is innately quiet, the third child in a family of 6, and a natural peacemaker. No it’s something else…something else. Hmmm. If you have been following along in this series, Steven has been mentioned many times. AND If you haven’t been following along, why not?! (Go check out the previous posts, starting here, for the whole story.) The series moves from Steven’s idea to shoot in a “really cool theater,” to Michelle’s description of him:  “I’m there too, watching both the screen … and Steven’s dance. It’s a beautiful dance to behold… up then down, tilting to one side, leaning in, backing up. Ted leads, Steven follows.” We feel Steven’s presence.  He has a lanky athletic grace, could be a poster child for skinny jeans, and moves a bit like a small forward looking for the crevices in a…

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Anatomy of a Work of Art in Progress: Shifting Perspectives… A Director’s View

January 21, 2021

Shifting perspectives a bit… Michelle here, Director of the Work of Art in Progress. So, one afternoon last week, I’m watching the first video cut from Steven — and I’m feeling the story, we’re carrying it through. On screen, Ted makes me laugh, brings me to tears, enlarges my heart… he draws me in, it’s just him and me. I’m Audience Member Number One, first focus group member, and my feedback is in: we haven’t finished editing yet, but it’s there. It’s working. I’m with him. And then… I take off my Audience Member goggles, moving on to other Director Duties, and I’m struck by something. I’ve been pulling photos for social media posts, and there’s a striking contrast here. On video, I was right there with Ted, feeling it with him, just him and me — as the Very Special Audience Member. But looking through these pictures as Director,…

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Anatomy of a Work of Art in Progress Part III: The Crew

January 15, 2021

When we last left off, I was being convicted to not only take the script to a deeper, more vulnerable space but my acting as well, aaack! We now found ourselves in that beautiful theater space in tech rehearsals. Now, when we rented the Goshen Theater, Jerry Peters came with it. It’s right there in the contract: “In signing this contract, as a bonus, you also receive a healthy dose of Jerry Peters.” Everyone needs a healthy dose of Jerry Peters. I first met Jerry in 1991… JERRY: …29 years ago. TED:  Wow, that makes me feel… JERRY: Seasoned? TED: Seasoned. JERRY: So, I’ll be there a bit, get the heat going, turn the lights on, run the spot if you need it.  TED: Right. JERRY: But mostly dropping in and out… checking in. TED: Can you join us for a pre-production meeting via Zoom? JERRY: Sure. And he was…

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Anatomy of a Work of Art in Progress Part II: The Questions Directors Ask

January 12, 2021

When we last were with you, Steven and Ted had found the Really Cool Theater.  So, a change in plans–don’t shoot the video in the barn, amongst the detritus and memories of my childhood, but rather travel to Goshen, Indiana, and rent the gorgeous, recently renovated Goshen Theater where they have been unable to host events because… all together now:  “The pandemic hit and all performances were canceled.” In light of this change in plans–a real theater instead of a barn–maybe I need to be better; a better writer, a better actor. The stakes have been raised.  So we need to hire an exceptional director. Enter Michelle Milne… MICHELLE: How long are you thinking the shoot will take? TED: I was thinking one day of shooting. MICHELLE: Really? One day? TED: I mean after a day of rehearsal. MICHELLE: A day? TED: Well, we could do a 2 hour Skype…

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Anatomy of a Work of Art in Progress: Part 1

January 8, 2021

In January of 2020, Ted & Company had a book release party and show. The book, Portraits From The Human Faces Tour, was created by Valerie Serrels, Steven Stauffer and me.  The show was to become a part of the touring repertoire of Ted & Co.  We succeeded in getting a grant to underwrite the tour, then planned a 10-15 show campaign. The Ted & Co office was gathering steam and momentum, the entire office I tell you!  Both of us. And…here is where the performer holds the mic out to the audience and they sing the next lines, all together now…”The pandemic hit and all performances were canceled.” In late summer my wife Sue made a prescient suggestion, “ Why don’t you put that show on video to create an online product and we can sell those pallets of books in our basement?”  A great idea. In August I…

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The Gospel Proclaimed…

October 28, 2020

Since early September I have been living in my childhood home in Spring City, PA with my dad, who is in a gentle stage of dementia. I wanted to use this time of imposed sabbatical to work on some personal things, be present in his life and give breaks to my brother and his wife who live next door.  As well, I have been cleaning out rooms and the basement, discovering a few gems but mostly decades of memories and fleetingly meaningful detritus.  This time has been deep, occasional hilarious, and an exercise on being present in the moment. I’ve also dabbled in a new written form, with apologies to actual poets…  Gospel  During supper the gospel is proclaimed. Willie, Johnny and EmmyLou sing of grace and blood, and sacrifice.   Prepared by care-giver for Dad. She, with a Menno background  ‘Fallen away’ and returned, carrying life as a blessing and…

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