Douglas Whaley. Law professor, gay rights advocate, atheist, heart transplant recipient, actor, director, novelist, playwright, bridge player, husband, father, cat owner, storyteller. Much humor and, since the writer is a teacher, advice on many topics.
Acting Crazy: Doug in a New Show
Last week I opened in a new show: Harold Pinter’s (Winner of
the Nobel Prize for Literature) “The Homecoming,” a very famous play (and which
now looks impressive on my theatrical resume).In it I play the mentally unbalanced head of a very dysfunctional lower-class
English family, in what is a dark comedy that sends the audience out of the
theater arguing about what it all meant.For this role I had to learn a new accent, which was difficult, and,
since I have the largest part, pages and pages of dialogue that ramble
disconcertingly from one topic to another.My character, Max, is a 70 year-old retired butcher, who has three sons,
one of whom comes back suddenly from America with his new wife (hence the “homecoming”
of the title).Max has dialogue like
this one as he talks about his deceased wife with his newly-discovered daughter-in-law,
while pointing to his three sons:
Mind you, she taught those boys
everything they know . . . Every single bit of the moral code they live by was
taught to them by their mother.And she
had a heart to go with it.What a
heart!Listen, what’s the use of beating
around the bush?That woman was the
backbone to this family.
But less than a minute later, angry at his brother for
possibly being late for work, he descends to this diatribe:
I worked as a butcher all my life,
using the chopper and the slab . . . to keep my family in luxury.Two families!My mother was bedridden, my brothers were all invalids.I had to earn the money for the leading
psychiatrists.I had to read books!I had to study the disease, so that I could
cope with an emergency at every stage.A
crippled family, three bastard sons, a slutbitch of wife—don’t talk to me about
the pain of childbirth—I’ve felt the pain, I’ve still got the pangs—when I give
a little cough my back collapses—and here I’ve got a lazy idle bugger of a
brother won’t even get to work on time!
Language this chaotic is—I’ve discovered—harder to learn
than Shakespeare because Max jumps wildly from one thought to another, often
with no obvious connection between them.At one moment he’s a loving man, and the next he needs a straight jacket
(and everyone on stage would help put him in it).
Our cast is terrific (five men, one woman), with every one
of these talented people having a great time with their roles. Our director, Bo
Rabby, is possibly the best director I’ve ever worked with (he directed me in “The
Price” last year), and he knows how to make his cast delve into the inner
workings of any play, particularly ones as interesting and mysterious as “The
Harold Pinter at the time of the play
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Harold Pinter,
the playwright.Whenever I see or read
one of his plays I always think the same thoughts: people don’t talk like this,
people don’t act like this, but—wow!— what’s happening on the stage is fascinating.In “The Homecoming” the play veers from
simple conversations into a major fight scene with injured people all over the place,
to a major seduction scene in which various men vie for the attention of the newly-arrived
daughter-in-law, to an ending that produces gasps from the audience.
Aftermath of the Fight Scene
Each night when I go out front after the show to talk to the
audience as they exit, I clown with them and challenge them to “Please explain
to me what the play means.”I thought
they would throw up their hands at this question, but I was wrong.They all have definite thoughts about what’s
just happened and what the characters were doing (and I’ve learned some things
from listening to their comments).Three
very young women who came on opening night told me that the seduction scene in
Act One was mesmerizing, which surprised me greatly.Also surprising is how funny much of the play is, with the laughs coming not only at
predicable moments, but also when Pinter spins things so that the audience is
gasping to keep up with the shenanigans on stage.
We have twelve performances left.“The Homecoming” plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday
nights at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. for the last week of October and the
first two weeks of Novemberat the Columbus Civic Theater, 3837 Indianola Ave. Columbus, OH
43214. Tickets can be reserved by calling (614) 447-PLAY or online at
see us and then perhaps you can explain to me your own take on what this
terrific play is all about.I also
predict that same night, as you put your head on your pillow, you’ll puzzle
over the play for some time.Theater
that makes you think—just what Pinter had in mind!
[Click to enlarge]
"Douglas Whaley, Actor," August 14, 2010
"Directing 'Closure'," June 5, 2010
“I Am an 89 Year-Old Russian Jew,” January 31, 2011
“Another Opening, Another Show: Doug is in ‘Hamlet,’”
April 29, 2011
Since I graduated from law school in 1968 I've always had some sort of legal practice which varied from extensive in the early years, to these days when I'm retired and mostly just doing consulting work for a hefty fee.In this period I've written a lot of letters threatening legal action on behalf of my client (or, on the rare occasion, myself—see Related Posts below).In the classroom I've passed on my advice on how to create an effective letter, and now I offer it to you, blog reader.
A letter threatening legal action almost always discombobulates a recipient who is not him/herself routinely involved in legal actions.I tell my law students that in their coming practices they will often receive such letters (or nowadays even emails), and they will calmly evaluate what to do about them depending on the legal issues involved and the wisdom of litigating them.But the non-legal recipient of such a letter is in a very differen…
Having a dispute with a creditor? One way to win it (and fast) is to send that creditor a "payment in full" check [hereafter "PIFC"] and end it things in your favor. How does this bit of legal magic work? Read on.
It's always been the law that if you and I have an existing contract, either one of us can propose a modification to that contract, and if we both agree, the contract changes accordingly. There are technical names for this. Say, for instance, that I owe you an undisputed amount of $500. I send you an email and ask if you would take my horse Dobbins is settlement of the debt, and you reply in the affirmative. My offer of something different than what was originally owed (the horse for the money) is called the offer of an "accord." Your agreement to take Dobbins is the "satisfaction." Thus an "accord and satisfaction" in our law is nothing more than a fancy name for a modification agreement. I no longer owe you $500; I owe…
For the last few years I have been crossing the country giving lectures on what I now call the "Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosures," which is that such foreclosures cannot proceed without production of the original promissory note signed at the closing. A symposium at Western State University Law School last year at which I gave the keynote address turned into a law review article on point, and that law review article is reprinted below in full. The correct citation for the printed version is 39 W. St. U. L. Rev. 313 (2012). As subsequent developments occur I will add them in red to the original article below. Any corrections or suggestions may be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mortgage Foreclosures, Promissory
Notes, and the Uniform Commercial Code By Douglas J. Whaley*
Introduction As is true
of many things in life the Uniform Commercial Code’s statutes concerning the