The Tardy Times
  Delisa: From backstage to leading role.
  Cameron: From professor to monster.
  Morgan: From Billy to filly in Frisco.

Killer Joe
Delisa Freistadt
( as Dottie)

DELISA Freistadt’s debut as an actor stunned her family and friends. They had no inkling that the shy UC Davis alumna from Oroville would so dominate her scenes as Dottie Smith, the TV-addicted teenager in “Killer Joe.”
    Chico’s Rogue Theatre, which produced the Tracy Letts play in February, billed it as “white trash gothic with a comic book spin.”  Delisa, the volunteer stage manager with no acting experience, was cast in a part that ended the first act when she disrobed entirely. Her real-life housemate, Betty Burns, was convincing as the vacuous Dottie’s demented mother, Sharla Smith.
   Next: Delisa may return in a two-person drama in September.            
Beowulf: A Thousand
Years of Baggage
Cameron Galloway
(as Grendel and a fussbudget academic)

SHE SPENT so many years in the fringiest of fringe theaters that Cameron Galloway, although all too familiar with the tip jar at improv shows, might have forgotten other ways to judge a performance. Like, for example,  critics.
   It must have been a pleasant shock in May when a reviewer in the Daily Californian wrote that Cameron “offers possibly the best moment of the show . . .” In Theatredogs, Chad Jones wrote, “Galloway is priceless.”
  That’s not easy for a character best described as “as a fussbudget scholar-turned-monster.”
    In the Mercury News, Karen d'Souza explains: “The legend of ‘Beowulf’ has roared back to life at Berkeley's Ashby Stage. Only here the heroic 6th century Scandinavian warrior must fell not only the snarling beast Grendel but also a panel of academics holding forth on the Old English narrative poem from the safety of their ivory towers … Part funky rock opera, part tart Brechtian parable, the thoroughly visceral ‘Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage’ is billed as a song-play.”
  Robert Hurwitt in the San Francisco Chronicle made the Little Man applaud.
   “Cameron Galloway anchors the show as a mousy academic before undergoing a striking transformation, part of which involves a dynamic rendition in the original Old English."  
   The song-play, written by Jason Craig, was produced by Banana Bag and Bodice with Berkeley's Shotgun Players in a run from May to June 22.
    “Not to toot my horn,” Cameron told The Tardy Times, “but this is kind of fun.”
   (Full disclosure: Her late father, attorney Hal Galloway, was once an adviser to the Muir League youth group that included Al Klyce, Ted Wassam, Jane Fowler, Dave Freeman, Carl Rissman and others, including a frequently tardy teenager. We met weekly at the Mill Valley Community Church a long, long time ago. When Hal passed the bar exam, his job as a ditch digger at Mt. Tam State Park went to the tardy teenager. Years later, the tardy ditchdigger was teaching half-time at SF State when Hal’s daughter enrolled in his journalism class. It was fate.
   Cameron soon left newspaper work for a  day job as a typist for a law firm. It supports her multi-talented stage career as an actress, improv comedian and playwright in San Francisco. She had the leading role in “The Visitor” at San Francisco Rec-Park theaters in Randall Junior Museum and Eureka Valley in mid-October. She performed in “Twisted Christmas” in Marin and “The New District Manager” at the Exit Theater in San Francisco. That's where she does “unique monologues and performances pieces” during the Thursday Night Combo.  
   She had a vivid dream the other night: She envisioned herself as a grad student in creative writing.  “I was happy,” she said. “That's settled! I'll do it.”
    She has been accepted at USF, but don't be surprised if those reviews send her back to the stage. “Beowulf” is scheduled for a two-week off-Broadway run in New York, and Cameron is sorely tempted to head for the Land o’ Critics.

The Widow West
Morgan Ludlow

IT'S 1850, and San Francisco is in the throes of Gold Fever. Billy, a naive prospector, is trying to make his fortune. In a city of 30,000 men all clobbering each other to get ahead how does a young man on his own survive?  By becoming a woman of course

That’s the introduction drafted for Morgan Ludlow’s three-act drama, “The Widow West,” which was premiered in September at Stage Werx in San Francisco.
  "This was a really amazing play that I am still thinking about," said Vivian Cordial. "It  was so funny my ribs ached, but it had an added dimension of being a warm-hearted tale of acceptance. The main characters were well-developed and the story came together to a very satisfying conclusion. The live music score added a polish that I usually don’t see in places this small. I think this play could become something very big."
   Directed by Sumya Kapil with original music by Kat Downs, the play starred Nate Levine as the penniless Billy whose transformation into a lovely lass was so effective that he/she was pursued by Sam Brannan, Adolph Sutro, Jasper O'Farrell and other characters of the era.
    Morgan's one-act plays have been read or performed in a half dozen theaters in the Bay Area, where he settled after growing up in Salt Lake City, studying playwriting at the University of Utah and working for four years with the Salt Lake Acting Company.
    Morgan's latest one-act play, “The Edge,” was performed in a full production in February at the Exit Theater.  “Scratch,” a play “about three nutty women,” was produced by the Ross Valley Players' program for emerging playwrights and performed  at the Marin Art and Garden Center. Two years ago, we watched as a cast of five performed a “developmental reading” of “The Spider's Banquet” with the Playwright's Center.
    The son of former ballet stars Conrad and Joy Ludlow, Morgan is a manager at Teatro ZinZanni – “a circus dinner extravaganza.”

More Stage Notes

“Once on This Island”
THE ASHBY STAGE drew our family in the spring to the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical adapted for children by Imagination Players of the Berkeley Playhouse. Jackson Grigsby had the key role of Daniel, and his older brother, Cameron Grigsby, in the part of Kaifu (“God of Night”), took a good-natured mid-winter recess from baseball.

"The Boundary Lands"
Paul Sussman's bio for  his one-man, one-act show last summer at the Marsh: “Paul developed his approach to melodrama and farce through many years of work in financial management with Bay Area nonprofit organizations. He has written and performed a series of solo pieces over the past six years, seeing the world through the eyes of road-ragers, cooks, Anabaptists and others who persist in the search for meaning amidst the puzzling evidence.” In March this year, as part of Charlie Varon's solo class, he did “Not a Necess-ary Assumption.” His daughter, Maya, played Christopher in Tom Stoppard's “On the Razzle” at Lowell High School in the fall.

"The Odyssey"
Ted Gold, a student actor since 2005 with the New Conservatory Theatre Center, played “Young Odysseus” in an adaptation of “The Odyssey.”

"Lovers and Executioners"
The imaginative Steve Coleman’s sets for  Marin Theatre Company’s “Lovers and Executioners” in December were called “stunning” (Robert Hurwitt, Chronicle), “magical” (David Templeton, The Bohemian) and a “success” (Marin Independent Journal). 

The Tardy Times
September 2008

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