‘The Life’…..how do I know so much about it?

prostitution, research, short plays, monologues          I’ve been asked by  several of my readers how can I write so accurately and make it so ‘real‘ when I write about prostitution and ‘the life?‘  Experience, my dear.  How else?
      Many, many years ago, I was staying on the beach in Honolulu and late one night, I went down to the hotel’s coffee shop for a cup of Joe.  Across the street I noticed tall, beautiful, well dressed women, (there were dozens of them) walking up and down.  Where were they going?  It was close to midnight.  My waitress arched an eyebrow as she informed me that ‘they were….you know….’ladies of the night‘.  This was in the 90’s and ladies did not throw out words like, ‘whores‘ or’ ho’s’.  So I paid for my coffee and dashed across the street and started following these high class hookers up and down Kalakaua Avenue, on Waikiki Beach.  They were well dressed, provocative but not cheap. Hair and makeup was perfect. As a writer, this was my chance to observe up close and personal.  But not too ‘up close’, I hoped. The part I found hysterical was the girls would pick up Asian men and take them, not to a hotel, but down the boulevard to a park bench several blocks away from the busy sidewalks.  The men would sit, all lined up, and wait patiently until the girls came back and got them. Later I noticed that the girls took their ‘breaks’ in an all night ice cream shop. I followed a few in, got in line behind them and introduced myself.  I told them I was a writer and I asked if I could talk to them and ask questions. They cheerfully agreed.  They told me that their biggest, best paying customers were Japanese business men.  I asked about the ‘johns’ lined up on the park bench.  They laughed and explained that the girls stored them there until they had enough men to take to the hotel.  Kind of like a holding pen. The girls actually knew a little Japanese so that they could ‘negotiate’.  Which act for how much??
They seemed almost as fascinated with me as I was with them.  They fired away with their questions:  why do I write? (a hard question to answer) would their stories be in a movie or on the stage?  They laughed so hard when I told them how much (or how little) I make as a writer.  They told me, Girl? You gotta get into the ‘life’ and make some real money!’
In 2005 I directed “The Oldest Profession” by  Paula Vogel.  It is a funny, bitter-sweet story of several old (over 60) prostitutes and their long time Madame.  Again, RESEARCH!!  This time as a director I needed to research prostitution so that we could do justice to Vogel’s script.  I Googled the Chicken Ranch, a famous (if not the most famous) bordello in Nevada and then I called the Ranch. They put me right through and the manager was kind enough to answer all of my questions. We were so cordial that by the end of the call she said she was going to send me a ‘grab bag’ of goodies for my ‘girls.  The funniest item she sent us was a menu that the men (customers, Johns, tricks) receive while waiting to pick a girl.  ‘Nuff said!   She seemed  entertained by our conversation and she was very curious about our end of the business, that is, portraying old hookers on stage.  We had a good laugh together!!  Managing a stable of prostitutes wasn’t that much different from ‘directing’ a bunch of actresses! 

Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS.  A NEW SERIES, The Writer’s Corner” INTERVIEWS with other  best-selling AUTHORS!I have had a wonderful response from other authors and plan on featuring an interview at least once a month .  I have invited such luminaries as:  Anne Purser, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Tasha Alexander, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.
So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!
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“Monologues 4 Women” released!…and how they were created

monologues, contemporary and classic monologues, theatre, acting, auditioning, auditions      I am proud to announce that my new book of monologues for women has been published and is available here and on www.amazon.com.

I woke up one morning recently and thought, “I’ve got some soliloquies tucked away that would make pretty good monologues.  This book is, I think, unique because all the contemporary monologues are original.  Directors get bored and tired of the same old shoes like speeches from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Barefoot in the Park, Streetcar Named Desire, Pygmalion, View from the Bridge and others. Make them sit up and listen when you use something they have never heard before!

And that brings me to the point that I want to share with my readers out there who are writers or want to be writers.  Previously I was talking about my digging out some old and new work and turning them into a book of monologues.  Never, never throw anything away.  Open up that dusty old box of your scribbles that you have hidden away on the top shelf of the closet.  You might be surprised what you find and how much you like it after a year, five years or ten.  “Note from a Watery Grave” which I scribbled down back in 2002?….turns out it was pretty good with some additional editing on my part.  The end result was a new book.  My motivation: as an actor, I know how hard it is to find that perfect monologue for an audition.  How difficult it is to get the director’s attention and keep it.

While compiling this book, I remembered how I would go to an audition and announce that my classical piece was going to be Anne from Richard III.  The director (or audition panel) would roll their eyes and yawn in my face.  The ‘Anne’ that they were thinking of was an old tired thing that’s been done to death, when Richard confronts Anne over the coffin.  My ‘Anne’ was a conversation that I pieced together into a soliloquy and I was certain that they had never seen.   I got the same reaction from the director every time;  they sat up and listened!  And afterwards, they laughed and told me they were expecting something else and how refreshing mine was.

A final note:  I have included not only some classics (so that your audition will show contrast in your acting ability)  but also some original monologues for the African-American actress.