Thoughts on the First Tobolowsky Files Live


Last week, Stephen Tobolowsky and I took to the stage of the Brattle Theatre for our first-ever staging of The Tobolowsky Files Live. By most measures, the shows were a success: hundreds of people showed up, most of whom appeared to enjoy themselves (based on the comments I got afterwards and the general "mood" of the room. See also this lovely review from Pajiba). More importantly, Stephen and I got to play around with how we are going to do this thing in Seattle in January, when our audience is estimated to be around 700 people. Subsequent shows are currently being discussed for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and maybe even Boston again in a few months.

Photo: Tech Check at the Brattle (t-minus 2.5 hours till the show!)

The Brattle Theatre was an excellent host for us. Not only did they take a chance on what, at this point, is somewhat of an "unproven property," they also made a whole weekend out of it, honoring Stephen by playing many of his movies in the theater, and by making him the guest of honor at the annual Brattle Gala. Here's a video of them presenting a gift to Stephen at that gala:



As for my own personal experience, it was, by any measure, a thrill. Many people from the audience had never heard Stephen live, so it was great to be spreading the "Tobolowsky gospel." Moreover, I met tons of amazing fans, both of the /Filmcast and of the Tobolowsky Files. One couple had driven four hours just to see the show that night. It was humbling and inspiring to see. And it was heartening to know that I had helped to create something that brought people together in a way that I hope was powerful.

Beyond that, there is something magical about the art of live storytelling -- the idea that by uttering a few words, a person can change the entire mood of a room, can make you re-think your life, can move you and make you angry, sad, or joyful. Stephen Tobolowsky has this gift. To see him deploy it in an intimate theater with people whose hearts were open is an experience I shall never forget.

Some of my personal thoughts on Tobolowsky Live night #2 (mp3)


A few other snippets of media:

Here's a video I recorded of Stephen and I chatting before the very first show. I was pretty nervous. Stephen may have been too, but he remained a consummate professional:



I was able to place my iPhone in my front breast pocket before I walked out on stage the second night. The video is almost incomprehensible, as the camera is at an extremely weird angle, but I still think this gives you a sense of what the mood was like for the packed audience that night.



Lastly, here's a photograph I took of Stephen and Ann on their last day. Her support and encouragement helped to make last weekend possible.

Stephen and Anne

3 comments :: Thoughts on the First Tobolowsky Files Live

  1. Congratulations on the success of the first 3 shows. I am really pleased it went well. You and Stephen produce something that is really special, and it needs to be heard by as many people as possible. His stories are truly moving and beautiful.

    You (and the others) spoke a while ago on the /filmcast about being there at the start of someone's career taking off, and witnessing something special. This was in regards to Dan Trachtenberg, and how lucky we (the /film community)were to be there at the beginning, to witness something truly great happening.

    Well, I hope that we the /filmcast & Tobolowsky Files community can soon say the same thing about what you and Stephen are doing. I believe that we are witnessing the start of something much bigger and even more special. We are the lucky ones. We will be able to say that we were here from the start.

    Best Wishes David and Stephen.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Sam. I hope you're right!

  3. Great photo of Stephen and Ann. I'm really glad the event was a success. I'd love Jonathan Demme to do a 'Swimming to Cambodia' of one of Stephen's shows.

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