The Show in General

So there I was in September; things were fairly on-track for once. I had actually started updating The Bad Movie Report (two months in a row – woo!), kept up 50 Foot DVD, was entering into a new writing contract for a video game, so naturally, something had to come along and disrupt things.

In this case, it was a phone call one Saturday afternoon, from a fellow named Steve Fenley. I had worked in the Main Street Theater company with Steve back in the 90s, and I knew he had started a new theater in Northwest Houston. Now, I had pretty much absented myself from the stage for several years, albeit filling in at the eleventh hour for an old friend who’d had to fire an actor, and web project that I am assured will see the light of day “soon” – but I had, more or less, retired myself. Though I pondered returning, off and on.

The phone call concerned their upcoming production of Dracula, for which they looking for someone old enough and possessing – this is Steve’s wording – the gravitas to pull off the role.

Now, I had been contacted well over a year before by the same theater for a peach of a role in The Fantasticks; I had begged off citing the distance I’d have to commute each day.

This time they got smarter. They offered me Van Helsing.

Every actor has a list of roles they want to play. Van Helsing has been high on my list for… well, ever. So long that back when I was in college in the late ’70s, and the drama department produced the Hamilton Deane version, I was crestfallen when the director decided Van Helsing should be played by a woman.

Texas Rep was doing a newer stage version, one written by Steven Dietz, who is, according to sources, the “most produced playwright in America”. Given I’ve only done three shows this year, and two were by Dietz, I believe this might actually be correct.

So, I waited a few seconds, to pretend to be thinking about it, and said “Yes.”

More later. For now I inflict upon you a photo of Van Helsing’s opening scene, in which he reads the letter from Dr. Seward begging him to come to London to treat Lucy Westenra, a letter containing phrases such as “You have an absolutely open mind, an iron nerve, a temper of ice, an indomitable resolution, and the kindest and noblest heart that beats. These things provide the equipment for the noble work which you are doing for the good of mankind.” The photo is taken as Van Helsing turns to audience and says, “I, for one, would love to meet the man young Dr. Seward describes.”

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Now playing: Ray Wylie Hubbard – Screw You, We’re from Texas
via FoxyTunes


  1. Van Helsing! I couldn’t act my way into a wet paper bag, amd I’m still jealous of you! Congrats.If it wouldn’t violate any secrecy clause in the contract, might I enquire about the videogame script? (Anything in the horror genre?)

  2. Alas, no, nothing in the horror genre. It is, in fact, educational in intent, and paid for by a government grant, which means any attempt to inject dramatic tension into the story is thoroughly quashed.But hey, it’s money.

  3. We shall expect Youtubery of your stage appearances…

  4.…Go…to… the…window…

  5. Hi,I am the owner of and would like a link exchange with your site.If you are interested please let me know and I will add your site.Email me on moviereviewworld@gmail.comThx and rgds,Kevin

  6. Freeman Williams!!!!Do you remember moi? Ray Ivey here, 1977 BHS grad. I had a nice chat with Robbin Olsen Major today and she mentioned seeing you in Dracula.I still have memories of your Samurai Trophy Delivery Service after one of our speech tournaments. Do you remember doing that?I also just heard from David Cowen. Do you still talk to him? He’s an attorney in Houston.How about Cyborg? Is he still on your radar?Anyway, I hope you are well. I’m very pleased to see you are still acting!If you like, visit my blog (much more primitive than yours) at email address is care!!Ray

  7. Wow, will you look at all these cobwebs? And the dust is really thick! Look at this–and these are brand new gloves, too.

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