Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Forgiven-Starring Lawrence Saint-Victor-By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine

Many loyal fans may have wondered when they would see Lawrence Saint-Victor(Guiding Light’s, Remy) again. Recently, however, we learned that the good looking leading man from the day-time drama is keeping busy both on and off screen. Saint-Victor is not only capable of delivering great comedic and emotional scenes on television, but he is also adept at making films and can offer just as much behind the camera that he does in front of it.

Forgiven 2

In his eleven-minute short film that recently aired during BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival, Saint-Victor offers a malicious, engrossing and contemplative story about forgiveness and fearlessness.

In the opening scene of “The Forgiven”, a man is discovered bound and gagged and is beaten profusely by a couple of assassins. Moments later, Gabriel (Saint-Victor), also a hitman, is given the assignment to kill a young girl, played by Taylor McIntyre. She’s being held captive, awaiting her fate. It’s obvious that Gabriel has a strong fondness for the girl from the moment he seees her. Once she learns that it is her turn to be killed, she prays
for Gabriel and asks God to forgive him. Afterwards, telling him that if he is going to kill her, he has to do it while looking her in her eyes. Conflicted, Gabriel must make a decision to kill his victim or be killed!

The short was entirely engaging from start to finish. Along with co-director,Teisha Hickman, the duo pays great attention to detail and the theme of this fictive plot. Lawrence Saint-Victor astutely teams up with his wife, Shay Saint-Victor, Executive Producer and Co-Director, Tiesha Hickman and Executive Producer, Editor and Director of Photography, Jamon Lewis (The Works Films), to create a world in this 11 minute film that would take some a feature length of time to produce.

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Saint-Victor gives a credible performance as a hitman, even with the many hats he wears as Writer, Editor and Director. The most astounding performance, however, was delivered from the 11-year old actress, Taylor McIntyre. McIntyre’s portrayal was honest and natural. She bore a truthfulness that compares to a young Dakota Fanning. I hope to see her in future films.

“The Forgiven” will also be featured in the Big Apple Film Festival during November 2nd- 6th @ Tribeca Cinema. So if you missed the premeire showing, you can still catch it there. In the meantime, check out the trailer below!

Article by Contributing Guest Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Squeaky Moore reviews BCAM/Macbeth

Play: BCam Macbeth / Flamboyan Theatre / New York City, New York

Reviewed by Squeaky Moore for Riveting Riffs Magazine

What do you get when you stage Macbeth and combine it with live action, a mixture of live-feed and filmed projections?You get ambiguity.

Kevin Kittle’s production begins with a pre-show of a women reading a book on stage and occasionally citing bible quotes and other miscellaneous clich├ęs, such as, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” “Opportunity seldom knocks twice,” and “Christmas comes but once a year,” while at the same time having a young man sitting on the floor and searching it with a magnifying glass.

Then, suddenly, there is a shift in the lighting and fourteen actors and actresses spill onto the stage at various times and from different directions. One is dressed in a tutu and carrying a pig nose, while another is barely clothed and is holding a mirror and that individual is accompanied by a crossdresser. With so much happening on stage, one can only assume that by now the play had begun, as there was nothing definitive to indicated to the audience that was in fact the case.

The set, designed by Doug Durlacher was simple, yet artful, with four white partitions that served well for location changes. Long, white fabric was used to add a classical feel and it aided with the film projection as well. The media design, created by Jared Mezzocchi and Theo Macabeo was also impressive. One of the best stage pictures of the night, (not sure if the credit goes to Kittle, Mezzocchi or Macabeo), is at the end of the play when the cast takes off their shirts and their backs are used to show images of faces.

The material added by Don Nigro and the ensemble bordered for the most part on themes of evil and forced their way into the play, without transitioning smoothly. Then there was the man walking on metal stilts and a school age boy playing with a dead pigeon, which offered no discernable perspective.

Kittle brought together an adequate company of actors, however there were positive exceptions such as the honest and strong portrayal of Banquo by actor Lawrence Ballard. Ballard’s commitment to the other three characters he played was also believable. Danielle Liccardo as Lady Macbeth delivers a solid sleepwalking scene in Act 2.

All and all, if the production of Bcam/Macbeth’s intentions were to show the repercussions and responses to the primary and primal acts of evil, then some of the material was just enough to evoke those ideas, while other ideas were lost in translation.

September 2010

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Squeaky Moore is an actress and acting coach whose website The Coaching Corner with Squeaky Moore provides advice and tips for young actors. She also wrote, produced and directed the improve-based variety show Act Like You Know and Guud Timez, a hilarious send up of the 70s sitcom Good Times. Squeaky appears in the film Gang Girls. Please visit the Squeaky Moore blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tasha Smith Teaches During UWFF...By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine

When thinking of Tasha Smith, the first few thoughts that come to mind are around-the-way-girl, real, cut-throat, loud and tell-it-like-it-is! These are just a few attributes that come to me, solely based on the type of characters I have watched her play in movies like Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” (1 and Too) and “Daddy’s Little Girls.” But personally, experiencing Tasha Smith during her workshop, has shed a whole new light on who this driven, passionate, spiritual and funny woman that I met at TSAW (Tasha Smith Actor’s Workshop) during the Urban World Film Festival2010 is.

We first learned of Tasha’s spirituality as she began the workshop with a prayer. She declared blessings and understanding over the class and prayed for our instruments (what we use to act/perform). She rebuked fear and prayed that our faith was released…then her tutelage officially began.

Tasha showed her humility by stating “I may not be the best actress in the world, but my passion for what I do and teaching you what I know about this technique is strong!” In Ms. Smith’s workshop she provided a no holds barred, multi-level instructional session for actors based on her mentor, Ivana Chubbuck’s technique, which can be found in her book The Power of the Actor.

Tasha’s passion for acting and her love for teaching indeed spews from her every word. What she teaches is simple – use what’s in yourself to build your character; apply your experiences and circumstances to your role and to each scene you’re in. The training she provided helped to strip away all of the layers of ’stuff’ - the pretentiousness, self-consciousness, the desire to push and/or mimic, etc. – so that you are finally left with something simple and pure…a human being having a sincere experience and living in a moment of truth.

Tasha led class along with her two Los Angeles instructors, Zenja Ricks andBrooklyn McLinn, who were equally as knowledgeable and passionate about the craft. Their combined expertise aided us in digging deep for the emotional preparation for our respective scenes. All I can say is that I was blown away and honored to be a part!

The most exciting part of the two day, intensive workshop was on the second day, towards the end of the class. Tasha reached into her purse and pulled out some bills, then she asked, “who in here is struggling and has no money?” After a few participants raised their hands, she explained that she likes to bless actors because she remembered what it was like when she was broke and could hardly pay her own bills. She also explained that she believed in planting seeds to reap a harvest and this was just another seed that she was ready to sew. The moment was so touching, so profound and so sincere that it started a phenomenon. One by one people who were a part of the workshop were going into their wallets to help other starving artists. It wasn’t about the money, it was a movement of passion and love. And in the end, the real lesson was not just about the craft of acting, but about being humble and planting the right seeds, so that your harvest is great!

For more information on TSAW, go to Tasha’s websiteand if you are an actor or want to pursue the craft, check out her listing of classes and also Ivana Chubbuck’s book,“The Power of the Actor.”

Article by Guest Contributor for XI Magazine-Squeaky Moore

Monday, September 20, 2010

Promises, Promises...reviewed by Squeaky Moore-Riveting Riffs Magazine

Musical: Promises Promises / The Broadway Theatre / New York City, New York

Reviewed by Squeaky Moore for Riveting Riffs Magazine

When it comes to keeping promises, novice director and one of Broadway's leading choreographers Rob Ashford doesn’t disappoint. In Broadway’s first-ever revival ofPromises Promises, Rob Ashford succeeds in casting an all-star musical, starring, (Will & Grace’s) Sean Hayes and (Tony nominated) Kristin Chenoweth, as well as, Promises’ best kept secret, Katie Finneran, whose known for her exceptionally brilliant featured roles and alas, Tony Goldwyn.

Adapted from Neil Simon's book, The apartment, with music from Burt Bacharach and lyrics from Hal David, Promises Promises, is set in Manhattan, in the 1960’s. A hardworking Chuck Baxter (Hayes) works at the Consolidated Life Insurance Company in what appears to be a position offering no prospects for progress.

Hopeful and determined to move up in his position and in an attempt to move up the corporate ladder, he makes a deal to lend out his apartment to various executives, whose infidelities are seemingly out of control. Overriding his moral judgment, he agrees to accommodate the needs of one of the top executives, JD Sheldrake, (Goldwyn), who is the only executive who actually follows through with moving Baxter up the ladder, provided that Baxter keeps his infidelity “their little secret.” It is when Baxter learns that JD Sheldrake is having an affair with the love of his dreams, Kristin Chenoweth’s character Fran Kubelik that everything becomes riled.

Rob Ashford, intelligently creates stage pictures with brilliant symmetry during dance routines such as the opening, when the actors danced with their chairs, while upside down and using only coat hangers to leverage themselves, as they did the splits and the stage rotated. If the opening routine was not enough to woo you and convince you of Ashford skill as a choreographer, then you were probably sold on him by the end of the dance number for “She Likes Basketball,” which featured a company of men doing barrel jumps over an expressive Sean Hayes.

Under the direction of Rob Ashford, Sean Hayes shone in his role as Chuck Baxter and he gracefully carried the show. Hayes charmed the audience with his freeze-framed asides, as he daydreamed that his love interest, (Fran Kubelik), was reciprocating the same affection he had for her. Hayes also proved to be a comedic genius during his shtick, while waiting to meet with his boss JD Sheldrake.

Kristen Chenoweth makes more of an impression with her melodic voice than she does with her acting. While she delivers sweet melodious vocals in a dramatic fashion, there are moments when her character choices were not as believable as they were when she sings, and seldom misses an “acting beat.” Chenoweth’s most impressive performance came during her rendition of the Burt Bacharach / Hal David song “A House is Not a Home,” when she authentically expresses her pain.

Tony Goldwyn puts in a solid performance throughout and he is a man's man while playing JD Sheldrake.

One of the most exciting scenes during Promises, Promises takes place in a bar when Katie Finneran, who portrays a wannabe and hard-to-get, Marge MacDougall, steals the show with her rendition of the song “A Fact Can Be A Beautiful Thing.” You will laugh and you will remember this scene.

You can visit the Promises Promises website to purchase tickets and for information concerning this outstanding musical.

Top Photo: Katie Finneran

Middle Photo: Sean Hayes

Bottom Photo: Kristen Chenoweth

July 2010

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Riveting Riffs Magazine would like to thank Producer Pat Addis for making it possible for us to review Promises Promises

Squeaky Moore is an actress and acting coach whose website The Coaching Corner with Squeaky Moore provides advice and tips for young actors. She also wrote, produced and directed the improve-based variety show Act Like You Know and Guud Timez, a hilarious send up of the 70s sitcom Good Times. Squeaky appears in the film Gang Girls. Please visit the Squeaky Moore website

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