The Story of “Ugly People”
It has been said that “Politics is show business for ugly people”. And never have there been a more ugly time in politics than now. In this new comedy by the author of "The Happy Couple" and "Broken Record", two candidates for office take two wildly different approaches to their campaigns. Each has help form some of the ugliest people in Washington. "Ugly People" is the show that asks the question, “What if running for office was like a game show, or a realty show?” Maybe it already is.

Here are two more great bits of press for the show. The first is an interview I did with local TV anchor Jeff Vaughn for his blog on the KENS-5 website. Check it out at the link below:

Also, Deborah Martin wrote a great article about filmmaker Bryan Ortiz and the videos he’s made for the Overtime Theater, including Ugly People. Check it out at the link below:

San Antonio’s weekly alternative paper, The Current, has run the following review of Ugly People.

Theatre critic Scott Andrews gives me what is perhaps my favorite quote so far about the show. He says that the play, “opened up at last to something I never would have expected — an opportunity for catharsis of sorts, and better yet, a real effect on the action. Extra ballots are available for purchase at $1 apiece, and this is no fraud. Venhaus has equipped the play with alternate endings, so maybe here at least your vote might really count.”

Get down to the theatre now and cast your vote. It really does count!

Director Kyle Gillette was interviewed on KABB-TV’s morning news program the day before openign night. Kyle talks about the origin of the play’s title and promotes the audience chosen endings. The interview is short but Kyle does a great job of promoting the play. Check it out!




The San Antonio Express-News has posted Deborah Martin’s review of the show on line. The review will be printed in Sunday’s edition of the paper. Click the link below to see the full review.

I am hopeful that the San Antonio Current will review the show as well. I’m also working on getting the video from director Kyle Gillette’s appearance on the KABB Fox29 morning show. Stay tuned!

Ugly People played to a sold-out house on opening night. The play was everything I had hoped, and the video segments, created by the great Bryan Ortiz, were incredible. Hats off to director Kyle Gillette and the fantastic cast and crew.  I’m going back tonight to see what I hope will be the second ending. I’ll post more after that.

Item #1: The San Antonio Current listed Ugly People as one of their “Top Picks” for the weekend. They ran a brief blurb about the show and a wonderful photo. Click the image below for a full-size scan of the piece.

Item #2 : The San Antonio Express-News ran a nice interview with me in the Weekender stage listings. Click here to read the article, and click below to see a scan of the paper, with photo.

Item #3: Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express-News gave the show a huge thumbs-up in her “first impress” on her “Art Beat” blog. This is a precursor to a full review which will run in Friday’s paper. Click here to read the mini-review.

Item #4: Texas Monthly listed Ugly People as the top arts event in San Antonio for this weeekend in thier “Out and About” e-mail to subscribers. Click here to read the article.

Matthew Sinclair

Today’s “Meet the Cast and Crew” post comes from Matthew Sinclair. Matthew plays a boat-load of parts in the show.

“The last time (and first time) I acted at the Overtime was in February 2010, doing Sob! Choke! Love! 3D!, and I’m glad to be back in the space.  Working on Ugly People has been fun, entertaining, and has presented new ideas and challenges to work through.  As a member of the Ensemble, along with Elizabeth, I play a variety of characters who range from very real to very absurd.  And the play really plays on that line that gets blurred between reality and what feels like a strange cartoon.  You have some very real people who are surrounded by others that we’ve seen and interacted with before in real life, but thought they belonged on a comic strip. The challenge has really been trying to find a voice and identity for each of these characters.  In one scene, Elizabeth and I play five different characters with a split second between the changes.  But also we are trying to keep things simple enough to make the changes clear to the audience and the other actors, since we really don’t leave the stage during our time in the scene.  Though each night we get to play a little more and in the last few days when I’ve got some of the props in hand, the identities have come forward more and one of the sight gags I had been miming actually worked better than I thought it would.  I personally cannot wait to get this show started and am proud to be a part of this very talented cast.”

And on another note, this process of writing, readings and then further developments really has spring boarded my mind into working on my screenplay I wrote as my undergrad thesis and then convert it into a stage play.  Several friends have suggested I edit it for stage, and after four years of not touching it, I’m ready to get back into it.  But first, “Ugly People” takes center stage…pun intended.”

Jeanne Saadi

Today’s post is from Jeanne Saadi. Jeanne plays several roles in the show. I don’t want to give too much away, but her hilarious portrayal of a local daytime TV host is worth the price of admission.

“This production has not only been my first foray into the San Antonio theatre scene, but also my first opportunity to work on an original play. The process has been very exciting for me. I have enjoyed every step, from the read-throughs which led to animalted discussions, radical ideas and several re-writes which incorporated our ideas. As a control freak, I’ve been so impressed with the James’s reception to all these ideas and how easily he wrote many of them into his script.”

“It became, for me – and I think many of us, more than James’s play, but is now “our” production and I can see that sense of ownership in it from everyone in the cast.”

“The play itself is like watching a political tennis match bewtween Idealism and Realism as we see the two candidates and their families grow and change and BE changed by the whole process of each campaign.  I have a more limited role in the play, which has given me more of a chance to watch the process from the audience’s perspective for much  of the rehearsal. Every night, I see these talented actors become more  comfortable with their characters, as if they have been using the last several weeks to wear in a favorite pair of jeans or new pair of boots. As I sit and watch every night, I find myself thinking, “that’s my favorite scene – no, that’s my favorite scene.” There are so many great moments in this script, I can’t wait to share them with an  audience next week! I think everyone will come thinking they are going to watch a political farce, but leave realizing they have participated in a reflection of the actual process – in an amusing and touching production.”

Kyle Gillette

The next in our series of “Meet the Cast and Crew” blog posts comes from director Kyle Gillette. Kyle is a masterful director who has shown great insight in to my writing, as well as the patience of a saint in rehearsals. Here is what he had to say about the show.

“Directing Ugly People has been an interesting process. As we go into tech this weekend, I’m struck by how the progress of the play demands a unique combination of artifice and sincerity. On the one hand, Scott faces a world askew, one that is distorted and stylized. In that sense, there is a touch of expressionism in some parts and vaudeville in others. Rob and Chelsea are larger than life, in some ways caricatures of Sarah Palin. The political consultants and ensemble have these very funny rat-ta-tat rhythms and routines. But at the same time, Scott has some real concerns and some real vulnerabilities. His relationship with his wife, Christy, and his intern, Amanda, demand commitment and attention. Even Rob and Chelsea end up finding their humanity in the midst of an increasingly inhuman election machine.”

“For rehearsals, this has often meant exploring both realism and absurdity, often in rapid juxtaposition. This quality of real relationships in the maelstrom of a strange political world demands from all of the actors both the presence and attention to what they want from each other and the precision, specificity, and simplicity of sharp satire.”

“Tonight, Billy Munoz, the lighting designer, and Bryan Ortiz, the videographer, will bring in what they’ve been working on. I can’t wait to see how the rapid shifts of the lighting and the absurd campaign videos add to, distort, complicate, and create a dialog with the live action.”

Thanks, Kyle. Tune in again soon for more “Meet the Cast and Crew” blog entries.

Rachel Joseph (with Andrew Thornton and E.J. Roberts)

Today’s blog post comes from cast member Rachel Joseph. Rachel plays Christy Middleton, wife of political candidate Scott Middleton, with a subtlety and grace that is a joy to watch. Here is what Rachel had to say about the show, so far:

“Rehearsals for Ugly People have been both fun and like a complex puzzle in which all the pieces need to find their place.  The role I play, Christy–Scott’s wife–has been challenging in that she is relatively innocent in the midst of all the political craziness, yet she somehow gets sucked into the game. I’ve really enjoyed watching the other actors in the show find the world of the play. Observing others has given me both inspiration (everyone is very talented) and has helped me see where Christy fits into the scheme of things. I love this part of the rehearsal process when everything is coming together–the set, lights, video, costumes, and acting. It always seems that everyone takes a collective leap in the last few weeks of rehearsal and the play comes to life. I’m looking forward to tech–one of my favorite parts of being in a show–and really feeling the play click into place.”

Check back often for more observations from the cast and crew. Opening night is 9 days away. Do you have your tickets yet? Click here to get them on-line.