Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This is the final weekend to see "Lucid" at the Athenaeum Theatre featuring my friend, Laura Shatkus as Becky. I first met Laura about six years ago when we took several acting and movement classes together. She quickly joined a growing list of classmates and artists such as; Rani, Madelon, and Amanda whom I respected greatly and hope to one day earn their respect. Years later, I gathered some artistic friends to hold a reading of my first full length screenplay. Laura read the female lead, a character based on a real life woman with whom I was in love. Laura truly brought that character to life in a way I could never have imagined. There was one scene where the two male leads are talking and one of them makes a sarcastic remark which received a few chuckles from my friends, but Laura burst out laughing in a way that let me know the joke had hit the mark. I was most impressed that I could make her laugh in such a way. In that moment, Laura had such a beautiful sexy laugh that it made me think, that is exactly how the female lead in this screenplay is suppose to sound. Laura is this character! While I'm confident I earned it a long time prior to then, it was that singular moment when I felt I had arrived and earned Laura's respect as a writer and artist. Prior to then and since then, I have seen Laura in several performances and she is always at the top of her game. All live performance lovers need to experience a performance of Laura's wonderful talents on display!

Lucid. Thursday-Saturday 8p and Sundays 3p For more info

Friday, February 19, 2010

Savage In Limbo

This is the final weekend to catch "Savage In Limbo" at Village Players Theater Studio Theatre. Besides seeing a terrific show put on by a great cast and crew, one can witness the leadership and vision of director, Jacque Lueken. I first met Jacque when my theater piece, "Life Of Cards" was selected by Prop THTR as part of the New Play Fest in 2007. Jacque was named the director of my piece for that workshop. Many writers write the piece, hand it off to the people who will carry it through the next process, and get out of the way. I prefer to be as involved with every aspect of my shows. Some projects I write. Others I write and act. Still others, I write, act, and direct. Although these are my "babies", I see myself as a consensus builder requesting others involved with any and every aspect of the piece feel free to give thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. I want all to feel free to express what will get the best out of talented individuals. From my initial conversation with Jacque, we were on the same page. In fact, she made me feel at ease. Still very much a young writer, I find myself some times hesitating to push the boundaries of accepted societal norms as a responsible playwright should do, but Jacque insisted I embrace my voice and be willing to push as hard and as far as I can in order to evoke a response from artists and audiences alike. In the short time Jacque commanded my piece I could see the vision and impact she could bring to a show. I knew right then, I wanted to work with her more in the future. I also knew that it was up to me to take the next step in improving the piece to ensure that the next time an audience sees this piece it will be of much better quality. If I am so lucky as to have Jacque direct this or another of my piece then I owe it to her to bring forth a better script to enable her to push herself in getting the best out of her abilities as a director while getting great performances out of the cast. What Jacque can do has been on display with "Savage In Limbo" and now this is the final weekend to see her mastery on this show.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Caroline Stepping Up

In August 2008, the night before the Chicago Triathlon, I sat in a restaurant in downtown Chicago engaged in conversation with a young woman named Caroline who stated, "It's nice to see you smile, Israel. You have a beautiful smile. I would have never guessed it last month." The month before, I met Caroline in New York during the weekend of the NYC Tri. Apparently, she tried to engage me in conversation several times throughout the weekend, but I never responded. She asked others, "What's up with that guy?" She was told that Israel was nervous. NYC Tri was his first ever triathlon and he was having a nervous break down about the one mile swim in the Hudson River because he didn't know how to swim. A month later, I was laughing having a wonderful time. As time has gone on, I've been lucky enough to get to know Caroline a little better and she makes me smile all the time. Usually, in disbelief. Caroline is a great person with a kind heart. She is intelligent, beautiful, and athletic! When most people are getting dressed for their New Year's Eve parties, she is getting in one final work out on the trainer. When others are toasting in the new year at midnight, Caroline is in Time Square crossing the start line for a 5K. From what I have observed, Caroline doesn't so much train for specific events or season, but she instead lives an athletic healthy lifestyle enabling her to be ready at a moment's notice for any athletic event anywhere in the world. Although, it is a word used quite frequently, Caroline is an inspiration!

Caroline recently participated in the Empire State Building Run where participants start at ground level and race to the top floor. One of the more famous events in Chicago is the Hustle UP The Hancock. In late March 2010, Caroline will fly to Chicago to race up the stairs of four buildings making up The Presidential Towers to raise funds benefiting the American Lung Association. It is a wonderful cause from such a wonderful woman. For anyone interested in reading more on the cause, event, and Caroline, please visit and tell your friends and loved ones to visit: