Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Bottle Rocket

 "Is that what I think it is?"

(she slams the oven door and grabs the bottle rocket out of the boys hand. She throws it toward the window but it bounces off the screen and lands amid the other fireworks.)

"Is that cherry pie?"

(she opens the oven and grabs the pie. It's hot and she nearly drops it but manages to set it on the floor.)

"Yes. That was a close one."

(a chain reaction of fire work sparklers light up the kitchen. Small popping sounds and Gilles. She grabs the boys hand and leads him in a gallop out of the kitchen. They both narrowly miss stepping in the pie on the way out. As soon as they are gone the whole kitchen explodes.)


(She returns with a fire extinguisher and gets the exploding fireworks out. It's a mess. She picks up the miraculously in tact pie and carries it out. Wisps of smoke float gently around the kitchen. Pause.)


-- douglas brent smith

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


Written from a scene prompt, page 337 from "The Playwright's Handbook" by Stuart Spencer.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Dealing with it


We just have to deal with it. It's not new. It's not going to change. The people who are younger than you feel the need to rebel against you. The people who are older than you care so much about their own generation that yours seems insignificant. It doesn't make any of it true, just present.

We might as well deal with it by staying calm, mindful, and attentive to our own approach to multiple-generations. Eventually, if you live long enough, you get to be every generation cliche available.

-- doug smith

Friday, June 3, 2022

Raw Emotions

image: doug smith

Rough drafts lead to raw emotions.

Raw emotions lead to truth.

Truth leads to change.

-- doug smith

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Funny Props


Funny Props
As an occasional actor I've been known to buy my own props. Sometimes it's part of my process (of becoming the role) and sometimes it's because the theatre I'm working with has a small budget. 

This picture (above) is no doubt the result of a stalking retail site (you know who) sorting thru my purchases (and views) and deciding that yes, Doug you need this: this marvelous pair of glasses.

I don't. Not at the moment. But I'll keep it in mind if a role requiring that lands in my lap.

It reminds me of other funny props that I've worked with: mouse ears, beaver ears, a bell, a wine bottle, real food (beef stew from a can, yum), and that's not even mentioning the many props I've used with children's theater when I toured with Child's Play. 

What were your most unusual tools of the trade? Did you master them? Did they bring you fully into your role and make you seem more alive?

Funny props are more than funny. They facilitate fun.

-- doug smith

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Keep Moving

The whole universe is in motion. Keep moving.

-- doug smith 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

User Agreement Rider

User Agreement Rider

Do you like reading and committing to User Agreements?

Of course you don't. They are pure rubbish. .Designed to make you read them, but written so that you can't read them (because they are confusing and massively too long) we mostly end up pretending that we did read them just to get on with whatever we want to do.

Not fair.

Not designed to be fair. Designed to cover the butts of the people who wrote the User Agreement and to restrict the rest of us from being ourselves, from doing what we want and need to do, and from exercising our rights.

In a perfect world, all of those user agreements are unenforceable. Maybe, even in an imperfect world.

Is it really an agreement if we don't agree to it? If we don't have any influence on what goes INTO an agreement, how is THAT an agreement?


We need some sanity. 

I hereby propose a universal User Agreement Rider to invoke whenever you've had enough of an evil User Agreement.  No lawyers have been involved in the drafting of this universal escape clause. I offer no legal advice. The fun, the humor, the blatant disregard is completely up to you.

There are no guarantees, but aren't you tired of being TOLD what you agree to? Try this on for size.

User Agreement Rider 1.0

This Rider amends any user agreement the user intends to amend. No signature is necessary, simply refer to User Agreement Rider 1.0 to invoke your rights to amend the agreement.

Regardless of the intentions of the conditions of any user agreement, we reject and refuse any agreement for any condition that:

  1. Requires binding arbitration or restricts our right to litigate.
  2. Limits our right to quote or make fair use of the content.
  3. Claims ownership for any content that we contribute or collaborate on.
  4. Requires us to indemnify, legally protect, or compensate the originator of the agreement for anything caused by or contributed to by the originator of the agreement.
  5. Any other condition that restricts or violates our rights as described by the laws of the land where we live. 
  6. Any provision that appears after the 500th word of the agreement.
  7. Any provision presented in less than 12 point font.
  8. Any provision that attempts to void this rider.

That's it. That's the whole thing. If you'd like a pdf copy you can find one here.

Thanks for playing. Good luck. 


This is not legal advice. If you need legal advice you should consult an attorney. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Sketch: Cat in the Middle


Cat in the Middle

Sketch from Journal #61

douglas brent smiyth

The cat in the middle wonders what Tom was thinking about.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Sometimes the Best Thing to Do Is Draw


Sometimes the best thing to do is draw

sketch by douglas brent smith

What have you drawn today? Why not take a moment and draw something, anything?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Theatre: "The Box Show" (with a nod & wink to Samuel Becket)

A person starts surrounded by and covered with boxes of all sizes. These are boxes that must be unpacked for that person to be free.

The boxes contain limiting thoughts, assumptions, cultural restrictions, religious constraints, bigotry, fears - lots of fears, illness, affliction, authority, rules, regulations, anarchy, chaos, regional assumptions, ethnic blurring, ethnic purity, ethnic ethos, ethics, non-ethics, commandments, sermons, skewed exegesis, historical oppression, satire, sarcasm, judgment, broken relationships, damaged relationships, power, powerlessness, pain, lost love, stolen love, broken love, broken promises, broken dreams, forgotten dreams, forgotten lessons learned, forgotten family, estranged family, substance abuse, sugar stars and swings, animal distancing and objectivizing, sexism, racism, greed, slander, lust, deference, danger, risk, confusion, misunderstanding, brokenness, separation, turning away, turning against, ignorance, stagnation, sloth, sorrow, and maybe more.

What is the worst box? What should be done about each box?

Is there a single universal box cutter?

Should some boxes be sealed and forgotten: released? 

How does one release?

Can you make money releasing?

Music plays. Choose your music carefully because music changes everything. Or, don't.

And then, and then (another ACT) we find useful positive, powerful boxes: the love of others, the joy of a baby's smile, spring mornings, birds singing, learning to play the guitar, running, swimming, helping others, learning to get a sound out of a flute, learning to get an answer from a person, serving others, releasing, breathing, meditating, praying, redemption, salvation, sanctification, saving, preserving, remembering, faithfulness, dedication, creative flow, courage, compassion, clarity, centeredness, shelter, warmth, relief, rolling into change, a first kiss, a hundredth kiss, endless kissing, kindness, forgiveness, release.

Theatre of learning. Theatre of dreaming. You.

"I was trapped in a box. But, the box was inside another box. It reminded me of a bib that I wore as a toddler sitting in my primitive wooden high chair: it was a picture of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti. He was wearing a bib that had a picture of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti - and also wearing a bib of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti.

"Did this make me enjoy spaghetti more? Or did it distort my sense of time and space? Or did it more accurately describe time and space than anything after which is why I remember it so many years later? What do you think?

"Have you unpacked all of your boxes? Are you sure?"

-- doug smith

This is an open-source, public domain performance piece. You may perform it in any medium and alter it in any way. Please do acknowledge the use with attribution to the author, douglas brent smith. Thanks.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Not Obsolete

Things -- and people -- well cared for need not go obsolete. Getting tired of something is a choice. Discarding the old is a choice. While we should continually improve ourselves, our materials, our technology, there is still value in preserving what lives on with quality.

That great guitar. That classic car. That recipe that still tastes good.

There was an episode of "The Twilight Zone" on this week about "Obsolete." Burgess Meredith plays a librarian who in some autocratic society had been judged (under penalty of death) as obsolete. The last forbidden book he pulls from hiding, as he awaits his execution, is a Bible. He was not truly obsolete. His value as a being was unquestionable and though thru cleverness he brings his executioner to fear at being himself on the edge of facing his own imminent death, locked in a room with a bomb, the librarian does allow mercy (in God's name) to prevail, setting free his captor even though he himself will perish.

Like many "Twilight Zone" episodes it is a metaphor, loaded with truth. The librarian is not obsolete.

Books -- in their physical form with pages you can touch and smell -- are not obsolete. E-books are wonderful. It's amazing to be able to carry a library in your pocket and search for any word or passage. We're lucky and blessed to have such great technology. That advanced technology can, and does, co-exist with the world-changing older technology of physical publishing. There's something untouchable about physical touch. Something invincible. Something lasting.

I wrote this (in my journal) by hand even though it would have been far faster to type into my computer, because as Julia Cameron insists regarding Morning Pages we do feel a tighter connection and create flow putting pen to paper. That is true for me. 

My notebooks remain vital, physical reminders of the vitality of life itself. We flow on. We find the connections, We create with love and joy.

And the impact is both instant and deferred. I feel an immediate boost. A smile lights and lightens my old face making me younger. Later, the deferred part fuels a longer day and greater range of creativity. Maybe I'll make a college. Maybe I'll write a song. Maybe I'll write a play.

Possibilities abound. I'm old, but not retired, and hopefully, not obsolete.

Indeed, life is good.

-- doug smith

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